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Tuesday, April 17, 2007


VATICAN CITY, APR 14, 2007 (VIS) - This morning in the Hall of Congregations of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Pope presided at a meeting with the heads of dicastery of the Roman Curia. The main subject of discussion was Benedict XVI's forthcoming apostolic trip to Brazil, due to take place from May 9 to 14. Attention also focussed on the situation of the Church in Latin America.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 15, 2007 (VIS) - Today, the second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, the Pope presided at a Eucharistic concelebration in St. Peter's Square to mark his own 80th birthday which falls tomorrow, April 16. The event was attended by 50,000 people.

  Concelebrating with the Pope were 60 cardinals, archbishops and bishops of the Roman Curia, as well as auxiliary bishops and a representative of the priests of the diocese of Rome. Also present at the Mass was Metropolitan Ioannis (Zizioulas) of Pergamo, the envoy of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.

  Opening his homily, Benedict XVI recalled how Servant of God John Paul II had wished this Sunday to be dedicated to Divine Mercy. In the word "mercy" said Pope Benedict, John Paul II "saw the entire mystery of the Redemption summarized and newly interpreted for our times. ... He had a profound experience of the shadows that threaten the world even in our own time. But he also experienced, and no less strongly, the presence of God Who opposes all these forces with His power that is completely different and divine: with the power of mercy."

  "It is mercy that places a limit to evil. In mercy, all God's utterly unique power is expressed: His sanctity, the power of truth and of love."

  At his death John Paul II "entered into the light of Divine Mercy, from where ... he new speaks to us in a completely new way. 'Have faith,' he tells us, 'in divine Mercy! Day after day, become men and women of God's mercy!'."

  Pope Benedict then recalled how "precisely during these days particularly illuminated by Divine Mercy," he was celebrating his own 80th birthday.

  "I have always considered it a great gift that birth and rebirth were granted me, so to say, together, on the same day," said the Holy Father referring to the fact that he had been baptized on the day he was born. "Thus, in the course of one single day, I was born as a member of my own family and of the great family of God."

  The Pope gave thanks to God for having had the chance to experience "the meaning of 'family,' ... the meaning of paternity, ... and for having been able to enjoy a profound experience of the significance of maternal goodness."

  And the Holy Father expressed particular thanks "because, from my first day, I was able to enter and grow in the great community of believers."

  "Birth and rebirth; earthly family and the great family of God," he said, "this is the great gift of God's multiple mercies, the foundation upon which we rest."

  Ordained a priest on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul in 1951, Benedict XVI recalled his vocation as "a new and demanding gift," that gave him the opportunity to experience how "the Lord is not only the Lord, but also a friend. He has placed His hand over me and will not abandon me."

  Having become Pope, "with the increased burden of responsibility the Lord has also brought new help to my life. I often note with joy how many are the people who support me with their prayer; who with their faith and love help me to undertake my ministry; who are indulgent with my weakness."

  The Pope concluded by noting how "God's mercies accompany us each day. All we must do is remain alert to perceive them. We are too inclined to note only the daily struggle, ... but if we open our hearts, then we can, though immersed in that struggle, continually note how good God is to us; how He thinks of us in small things thus helping us to achieve great ones."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 15, 2007 (VIS) - In St. Peter's Square, at the end of the Eucharistic celebration marking his 80th birthday, the Holy Father prayed the Regina Coeli with the pilgrims gathered there.

  The Pope thanked those present and noted how over these days "the entire Church, as a true family," was surrounding him with affection.

  The Holy Father then went on to recall that it was Servant of God John Paul II who instituted Divine Mercy Sunday, and that he died on the eve of that Feast.

  "This Sunday," said Pope Benedict, "marks the end of the week - or more correctly the 'Octave' - of Easter, which the liturgy considers as a single day, 'the day that the Lord has made.' It is not a chronological time, but a spiritual time that God opened in the fabric of the days when He raised Christ from the dead. The Creator Spirit, infusing new and eternal life into the buried body of Jesus of Nazareth, brought the work of creation to completion giving rise to a 'novelty', the novelty of a new humanity which, at the same time, is a novelty of a new world and a new era.

  "This renewal of the world," he added, "can be summarized in a word: the word that the Risen Christ pronounced to His disciples as a greeting and, even more so, as an announcement of His victory: 'Peace be with you.'

  "Peace is the gift that Christ left to His friends as a blessing intended for all men and all peoples. Not peace as a balance of power according to the mentality of the 'world,' but as a new reality, fruit of God's Love and of His Mercy. This is the peace that Jesus Christ bought at the price of His Blood and that He communicates to those who believe in Him."

  Benedict XVI called upon Mary, "incarnation of Divine Mercy," to help us "allow ourselves to be renewed by the Spirit in order to cooperate in the work of peace that God is achieving in the world," a work "that makes no noise, but is accomplished in the innumerable gestures of charity of all His children."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 16, 2007 (VIS) - Today, his 80th birthday, Benedict XVI dedicated the morning to audiences, during which he received a number of his fellow countrymen. At 1 p.m. he had lunch with members of the College of Cardinals in the Sala Ducale of the Vatican Apostolic Palace.

  In the evening, in the Paul VI Hall, a concert was held in the Holy Father's honor, given by the Radio Symphony Orchestra (SWR) of Stuttgart, Germany. The orchestra, directed by the Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel, played pieces by Giovanni Gabrieli (1554/57-1612), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904).

  At the end of the concert, the Pope thanked the conductor and musicians, expressing his conviction that music "truly is the universal language of beauty, capable of uniting men and women of good will all over the world, bringing them to raise their gaze to the Heights and aspire to absolute Good and Beauty, the ultimate source of which is God Himself.

  "In looking back over my own life," he added, "I thank God for having given me music which, almost as a travelling companion, has always brought me comfort and joy."

  The Holy Father also expressed his gratitude "to the people who, from the earliest years of my infancy, introduced me to this source of inspiration and serenity. I thank those who unite music and prayer in harmonious praise of God and His works. They help us to glorify the Creator and Redeemer of the world."

  "This is my desire," he concluded: "that the greatness and beauty of music may also give you, dear friends, a new and continual inspiration to build a world of love, solidarity and peace."

  After the concert, those present sang "Happy Birthday" to the Pope in Italian and German.
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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, together presented Benedict XVI's new book "Jesus of Nazareth" in a conference held at the Vatican's Synod Hall on the afternoon of Friday, April 13. In his talk, Cardinal Schonborn recalled how "over and above the grandeur of the analyses, the wealth of intuition and insight with which this book is laden, the whole work is inspired by the contained passion for He whom [Benedict XVI] now has the task of representing upon the earth."

THE HOLY FATHER HAS WRITTEN A LETTER TO CARDINAL Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, appointing him as special papal envoy to the closing celebrations for the centenary of the evangelization of northern Ghana, due to be held in Navrongo on April 23. The mission accompanying the cardinal will be made up of Msgr. Roger Aboteyuure of the diocese of Navrongo-Bolgatanga, and Fr. Francis Bomamsam M. Afr., provincial superior in Ghana and Nigeria of the Missionaries of Africa.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 16, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Edmund Stoiber, minister-president of Bavaria, Germany, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

 - Peter Harry Carstensen, minister-president of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, accompanied by his entourage.

 - Metropolitan Ioannis Zizoulas of Pergamo.

  On Saturday, April 14, he received in audience Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 16, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop John Ribat M.S.C., of Bereina, Papua New Guinea, as coadjutor archbishop of Port Moresby (area 120,224 , population 531,658, Catholics 196,713, priests 56, religious 297), Papua New Guinea. The archbishop-elect was born in Volavolo, Papua New Guinea in 1957, he was ordained a priest in 1985, and consecrated a bishop in 2001.

  On Saturday, April 14, it was made public that he:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Utrecht, Netherlands, presented by Cardinal Adrianus Johannes Simonis, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Phat Diem, Vietnam, presented by Bishop Joseph Nguyen Van Yen, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Bishop Vincentius Sensi Potokota of Maumere, Indonesia, as archbishop of Ende (area 5,084, population 454,000, Catholics 416,000, priests 167, religious 721), Indonesia. The archbishop-elect was born in Saga, Indonesia in 1951, he was ordained a priest in 1980, and consecrated a bishop in 2006.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 17, 2007 (VIS) - On Saturday, April 21, and on Sunday, April 23, the Holy Father will make a pastoral visit to the Italian dioceses of Vigevano and Pavia, for the 750th anniversary of the Bull "Licet Ecclesiae Catholicae" with which Pope Alexander IV unified the various groups following the Augustinian rule into one great Order.

  Soon after his election to the pontificate on April 19, 2005, Benedict XVI was invited by Fr. Robert Prevost, prior general of the Augustinian order, to come and venerate the remains of St. Augustine which are conserved in the basilica of San Pietro in Cieldoro in Pavia. Having accepted invitation, the Holy Father will visit the basilica where he will light a votive candle before the saint's casket in perennial memory of his visit.

  The Pope will also bless the first stone of the Augustinian cultural center, which the Order intends to dedicate to Benedict XVI in honor of the strong spiritual and theological ties binding the Holy Father and the great Doctor of the Church.

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