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Monday, April 30, 2007


VATICAN CITY, APR 30, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Timothy Costelloe S.D.B., rector of the Salesian Theological College in Melbourne, Australia, and Msgr. Peter John Elliott, of the clergy of Melbourne, episcopal vicar, as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Melbourne (area 27,194, population 3,554,000, Catholics 1,039,000, priests 584, religious 1,888). Bishop-elect Costelloe was born in East Melbourne in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1986. Bishop-elect Elliott was born in Melbourne in 1943 and ordained a priest in 1973.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 30, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences six prelates from the International Episcopal Conference of Sts. Cyril and Methodius:

    - Archbishop Zef Gashi S.D.B., of Bar, Montenegro.

    - Archbishop Stanislav Hocevar S.D.B., of Beograd, Serbia.

    - Bishop Janos Penzes of Subotica, Serbia.

    - Bishop Laszlo Huzsvar of Zrenjanin, Serbia.

    - Bishop Ilija Janjic of Kotor, Montenegro.

    - Bishop Djura Dzudzar, apostolic exarch for faithful of Byzantine rite in Serbia and Montenegro.

  On Saturday, April 28, he received in separate audiences:

 - Three prelates from the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Cardinal Angelo Scola, patriarch of Venice.

    - Archbishop-Bishop Cesare Nosiglia of Vicenza.

    - Bishop Giuseppe Zenti of Vittorio Veneto.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, APR 30, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning, April 30, Albert Pintat Santolaria, president of the executive council of the Principality of Andorra, was received in audience by His Holiness Benedict XVI. The president subsequently went on the meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.

  "The principal topic of the cordial discussions was the current relations between the Catholic Church and the Principality of Andorra, and the possibility of consolidating them further. Opinions were also exchanged on the problems of young people and of education, and on questions concerning the situation in Europe."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 29, 2007 (VIS) - At midday, before praying the Regina Coeli with thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope recalled that today is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, during which "all the faithful are invited to pray especially for vocations to the priesthood and to consecrated life."

  The Holy Father referred to the fact that he had just ordained 22 deacons in the Vatican Basilica and called for all priests to be granted "the gift of perseverance, that they may continue to pray faithfully, to celebrate Mass with ever renewed devotion, to live their lives listening to the Word of God, and that day after day they may assimilate the same feelings and attitudes as Jesus the Good Shepherd.

  "We also pray," he added, "for those preparing themselves for the priestly ministry, and for formators in the seminaries of Rome, Italy and the entire world. We pray for families that, in them, the 'seed' of the call to priestly ministry may continue to nurture and ripen."

  This year, Pope Benedict continued, the theme of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations is "vocation to the service of the Church as communion." All the baptized, he said, "are called to contribute to the work of salvation. In the Church there are, however, a number of vocations especially dedicated to the service of communion. The person primarily responsible for Catholic communion is the Pope, Peter's Successor and Bishop of Rome. Alongside him, custodians and masters of unity are the bishops, successors of the Apostles, assisted by priests. But consecrated persons and all the faithful are also at the service of communion.

  "In the heart of the Church as communion," he added in conclusion, "is the Eucharist: the various vocations all draw from this supreme Sacrament the spiritual strength to build ... the one ecclesial Body."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 29, 2007 (VIS) - At 9 a.m. today, the fourth Sunday of Easter and the 44th World Day of Prayer for Vocations, Benedict XVI presided at a Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican Basilica during which he conferred priestly ordination upon 22 deacons of the diocese of Rome.

  Eleven of the newly-ordained priests are from the Major Roman Seminary, eight from the "Redemptoris Mater" College and the other three from the Seminary of Divine Love, the "Almo Collegio Capranica," and the Seminary of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ.

  The Pope began his homily by referring to the Gospel episode of the Good Shepherd. "Christ," he said, "knows His sheep and His sheep know Him, just as the Father knows Him and He knows the Father. This is not merely intellectual knowledge but a profound personal relationship; a knowledge of the heart typical of those who love and are loved, of those who are faithful and who know that, in turn, they can trust. It is a knowledge of love by virtue of which the Shepherd invites His followers to follow Him, and that finds full expression in the gift He gives them of eternal life."

  Addressing the newly-ordained priests, the Holy Father said "may the certainty that Christ does not abandon us and that no obstacle can prevent the realization of His universal plan of salvation be for you a cause of constant consolation - even in times of difficulty - and of unshakeable hope. The goodness of the Lord is always with you and is strong.

  "The Sacrament of Holy Orders," Benedict XVI added, "makes you participants in Christ's own mission. You will be called to spread the seed of His Word, the seed that brings people to the Kingdom of God, to dispense divine mercy and to nourish the faithful at the table of His Body and His Blood. In order to be worthy ministers you must constantly nourish yourselves from the Eucharist, source and summit of Christian life.

  "In approaching the altar, your daily school of sanctity and of communion with Christ, ... you will always discover the wealth and tenderness of the love of the divine Master, Who today calls you to a more intimate friendship with Him.

  "If you listen to Him meekly, if you follow Him faithfully, you will learn to translate His love and His passion for the salvation of souls into life and pastoral ministry. Each of you will become, with Jesus' help, a good shepherd ready to give, if necessary, even your lives for Him."

  The Holy Father went on: "Despite misunderstandings and contrasts, the apostles of Christ do not lose their joy; indeed they are witnesses of the joy that arises from being with the Lord, from love for Him and for our fellows."

  At the end of his homily, the Holy Father called for prayers "so that in all parishes and Christian communities concern for vocations and the formation of priests may grow." In particular, he called upon the newly-ordained priests "to be faithful to the mission to which the Lord calls them today, and to be ready to renew every day their 'yes ' to God, their unreserved 'here I am.' And let us ask the Lord of the harvest, on this Day of Prayer for Vocations, to continue to produce many holy priests, completely dedicated to the service of Christian people."
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VATICAN CITY, APR 28, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy See Press Office released the following communique:

  "The Holy Father Benedict XVI today received in audience Valdas Adamkus, president of the Republic of Lithuania. The president subsequently went on to meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.

  "In the course of the cordial discussions, satisfaction was expressed for the good relations that exist between the Holy See and Lithuania, the fruit of a mutual trust and of a shared desire to collaborate. The convergence of ideas and aims on the contribution the Catholic Church can make for the good of the entire nation was also noted, and the hope expressed for an ever more tangible collaboration.

  "The meeting also served for an exchange of information and ideas on the role played by Lithuania within the European Union and upon her relations with neighboring States."


VATICAN CITY, APR 28, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received participants in the extraordinary Synod of the Syrian Catholic Church, which has just concluded. The assembly, held in the Vatican from April 26 to 28 and presided, in the Holy Father's name, by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., was attended by His Beatitude Ignace Pierre VIII Abdel-Ahad, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, Lebanon, and thirteen other bishops.

  In his talk to them, the Pope affirmed that he had called the extraordinary assembly in order "to revive the secular ties that bind your Church to the Apostolic See and, at the same time, to express the esteem and interest of the Bishop of Rome for each one of you, pastors of a part of the People of God that is not large but ancient and important."

  Recalling the traditional Easter readings from the Acts of the Apostles, Benedict XVI highlighted how they reveal the progress of the nascent Church "which was not always easy, but was rich in apostolic fruits. From the beginning there was no lack of external hostility and persecutions, nor of ... tensions and contrasts within the communities themselves." Yet, "despite the shadows and difficulties of various kinds which the first Christians had to face, the shining light of the Church's faith in Jesus Christ has never been extinguished."

  Pope Benedict then went on to refer to John Paul II's concern for the Oriental Churches and how the late pontiff had always invited them to "to seek unity and reconciliation;" and he reaffirmed his own "profound conviction" that "today too, as at the dawn of Christianity, each community is called to give a clear witness of fraternity."

  "Over these days," he went on, "you have reflected upon the means to overcome the obstacles that hinder the normal practice of ecclesial life. You are aware that this is necessary and even indispensable. It is required by the ministry of the Lord Who entrusted His flock to you; it is required for the good of the Syrian Catholic Church. It is required by the particular situation in which you live in the Middle East and the witness that the Catholic Churches together can give."

  "At this time, Catholic communities have to face numerous challenges all over the world" because of dangers and problems that "can obscure the values of the Gospel. As for your own Church, the violence and conflicts suffered by a part of the flock entrusted to you represent supplementary difficulties that further endanger not only peaceful coexistence, but even people's lives."

  "In such situations, it is important for the Syrian Catholic ecclesial community to announce the Gospel decisively, promoting appropriate pastoral activities to face the challenges of post-modernity, and as a shining example of unity in a fragmented world."

  The Pope concluded his talk by recalling how Vatican Council II had highlighted that the Oriental Catholic Churches "are called to play a special role in furthering the ecumenical journey." And he invited the members of the Synod "to continue with enthusiasm, trust and perseverance in the missionary activity of St. Paul, following the footsteps of St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Ephraim and the patron saints."

  After the meeting, the Pope lunched with participants in the Synod at the Vatican's "Domus Sanctae Marthae."

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