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Wednesday, April 4, 2007


VATICAN CITY, APR 4, 2007 (VIS) - In today's general audience, held in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke on the Easter Triduum which begins tomorrow.

  "What we are celebrating over the coming days," he said, "is the supreme confrontation between Light and Darkness, between Life and Death. We too must place ourselves in this context - aware of our own night, our own sins, our own responsibilities - if we wish to gain spiritual benefit from reliving the Paschal Mystery, which is the heart of our faith."

  The Holy Father recalled how on Holy Thursday, during the Chrism Mass, diocesan bishops and priests "renew the promises they made on the day of their priestly ordination," and "the oils used for catechumens, to anoint the sick and for confirmation" are blessed. During Mass "in Cena Domini" the Christian community relives "the events of the Last Supper. In the Cencacle, the Redeemer wished, in the Sacrament of the bread and wine transformed into His Body and Blood, to anticipate the sacrifice of His life, His definitive gift of self to humanity."

  Following Mass "in Cena Domini" the faithful are invited "to adore the Blessed Sacrament, reliving Jesus' agony in Gethsemane. ... Thus they can better understand the mystery of Holy Thursday, which incorporates the supreme triple gift of priestly ministry, the Eucharist and the new Commandment of love."

  Holy Friday, Pope Benedict continued, "is a day of penance, of fasting and of prayer, of participation in the death of the Lord. ... The community adores the Cross and takes the Eucharist, consuming the sacred species conserved from the Mass 'in Cena Domini' of the preceding day." On Holy Friday, Christian tradition also includes "the Way of the Cross, which offers us the chance ... to imprint the mystery of the Cross ever more deeply in our hearts."

  On Holy Saturday, the Pope proceeded, "Christians are called to interior meditation, ... something often difficult to cultivate in our own times, in order to prepare for the Easter vigil" in which "the veil of sadness shrouding the Church for the death and burial of the Lord will be shattered by the cry of victory: Christ is risen and has overcome death forever!"

  "The Paschal Mystery we relive in the Easter Triduum is not just a memory but a current reality. Even today, Christ overcomes sin and death with His love. Evil in all its forms does not have the last word. The final triumph is of Christ, truth, love! If we are prepared to suffer and die with Him, as St. Paul reminds us in the Easter vigil, His life become out life. It is upon this certainty," the Pope concluded, "that our Christian lives are built."

  At the end of today's general audience, the Holy Father greeted participants in the UNIV international congress, being promoted by the personal prelature of Opus Dei, which has as its theme this year: "Being, appearance, communication: trends and social models in cinema and television."

  "Dear friends," the Pope told them, "may these days in Rome be for you all an opportunity for a profound ecclesial experience, that you may return to your homes animated by the desire to serve Christ and your fellows more generously. 'How I like that word: service,' wrote St. Josemaria Escriva, 'I really wish we Christians knew how to serve, for only by serving can we know and love Christ and make Him known and loved'."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 4, 2007 (VIS) - Benedict XVI has written a Letter to Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo, camerlengo of Holy Roman Church, whose resignation from office was accepted today.

  In the text of his Letter, which bears today's date, the Pope thanks the cardinal, who celebrated his 80th birthday on March 31, "for the diligence, competence and love with which you undertook such a delicate task in the service of the Holy See and the Universal Church."

  The Pope expresses particular appreciation "for the great dignity and solemnity with which you carried out the role of camerlengo of Holy Roman Church at the time of the death of the lamented Pope John Paul II, for the occasion of the extraordinary expression of faith during the funeral of the beloved Pontiff, during the entire period of sede vacante, and in the work of the conclave for the election of the new Pope."


VATICAN CITY, APR 4, 2007 (VIS) - In the Vatican's Synod Hall at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 13, the presentation will take place of the book by Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI, "Jesus of Nazareth." The volume will be on sale in bookshops from Monday, April 16 in its Italian, German and Polish editions, published respectively by: Rizzoli, Herder and Wydawnictwo M.

  Participating in the presentation will be Cardinal Christoph Schonborn O.P., archbishop of Vienna, Austria; Daniele Garrone, dean of the Waldensian faculty of theology in Rome; and Massimo Cacciari, professor of aesthetics at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan, Italy. The conference will be presented by Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 4, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of camerlengo of Holy Roman Church presented by Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo in accordance with the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution "Universi Dominici Gregis," and has called to succeed him in the same office, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.

 - Appointed Msgr. Gilbert A. Garcera, national director for the Philippines of the Pontifical Missionary Works, as bishop of Daet (area 2,200, population 508,360, Catholics 462,607, priests 52, religious 35), Philippines. The bishop-elect was born in Magarao, Philippines in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1983. He succeeds Bishop Benjamin J. Almoneda, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Giuseppe Versaldi, vicar general of the archdiocese of Vercelli, Italy, as bishop of Alessandria (area 740, population 156,200, Catholics 150,100, priests 102, permanent deacons 13, religious 218), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Villarboit, Italy, in 1943 and ordained a priest in 1967. He succeeds Bishop Fernando Charrier, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese, the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Stanislas Lalanne of the clergy of Versailles, France, secretary general of the Conference of Bishops of France, as bishop of Coutances (area 5,991, population 486,000, Catholics 405,000, priests 255, permanent deacons 33, religious 312), France. The bishop-elect was born in Metz, France, in 1948 and ordained a priest in 1975.
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