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Monday, May 7, 2007


VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter, written in Latin and dated April 13, in which the Pope appoints Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, as pontifical legate to solemn opening celebrations marking the 90th anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady at Fatima, Portugal. The event is due to be held in Fatima on May 12 and 13.

  The cardinal will be accompanied on his mission by Msgr. Piero Pioppo, nunciature counsellor at the Secretariat of State, and by Luigi Roberto Cona, secretary of the apostolic nunciature to Portugal.


VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope received participants in the meeting of the senior council of the Pontifical Missionary Works and in the world congress of "fidei donum" missionaries. Both events were held this week to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Servant of God Pius XII's Encyclical "Fidei donum," which was published on April 21, 1957.

  Benedict XVI pointed out how Pius XII, in conceiving of a new kind of missionary known as "fidei donum," sought "to encourage, alongside traditional forms, another kind of missionary cooperation between so-called 'ancient' Christian communities and those just born or taking their first steps in recently evangelized territories."

  Pope Pius' aim was, "on the one hand, to awaken a renewed missionary 'flame' in all Christian people and, on the other, to promote more conscious collaboration between dioceses of ancient tradition and regions of primary evangelization." Over the last fifty years, Pope Benedict went on, the number of "fidei donum" priest's has grown. They, "together with religious and lay volunteers, have departed on mission for Africa and other regions of the world, sometimes at the cost of no small sacrifice for their dioceses of origin.

  "I would like," he added, "to express my special thanks to these our brothers and sisters, some of whom spilt their blood to spread the Gospel."

  Going on to consider the difficulties faced by the missions, Benedict XVI referred to the "diminution and aging of the clergy in dioceses that once used to send missionaries to distant lands. Within the context of a widespread vocational crisis, this clearly represents a challenge that has to be faced," he said.

  Despite such problems, however, "we must look with trust to the future" because "all over the world signs of hope bear witness to the encouraging missionary vitality of Christian people. ... The Lord, before leaving His disciples for heaven, in sending them out to announce His Gospel in all corners of the earth, said: 'Remember I am with you always, to the end of the age'."

  "The Lord of the harvest," the Holy Father concluded, "will ensure that there is no lack of workers in His harvest if we, trustingly and insistently, ask this of Him in prayer and in the docile acceptance of His Word and His teachings."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, the Holy Father received 38 new recruits to the Pontifical Swiss Guard who tomorrow will take the oath as members of that corps. Family members and friends of the new recruits accompanied them in their meeting with the Pope.

  Speaking in German, French and Italian, Benedict XVI pointed out how the Pontifical Swiss Guard has "a long history of loyalty and of generous and dedicated service, sometimes performed even unto the heroic sacrifice of life." In this context, he expressed his gratitude for "your silent but effective presence at the Pope's side. Thank you for the professionalism and for the love with which you undertake your mission.

  "Indeed, yours is not just a professional service," he added, "it is also a true mission in the service of Christ and of His Church. ... The Lord calls you to sanctity, in other words to be His disciples, always ready to listen to His voice, to undertake His will and to accomplish it in your daily duties. This will help to make you 'good Christians' and at the same time 'exemplary soldiers,' animated by that evangelical spirit that makes of all the baptized a 'leavening' to ferment the dough and a 'light' to illuminate and warm the workplace and the home."

  "May the Lord," the Pope told the guards, "help you to accomplish your mission ... with courage and loyalty. To this end, never cease to nourish your spirit with prayer and with listening to the Word of God. Participate devotedly in Mass and cultivate a filial devotion towards Mary. Invoke and seek to imitate your patron saints - Martin, Sebastian and Niklaus von Flue 'defensor pacis et pater patriae' - that they may assist you from above and that you may 'serve the Supreme Pontiff and his legitimate successors faithfully, loyally and honorably' as each of you says in the words of your oath."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 7, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Mauro Piacenza as secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. Archbishop Piacenza will retain "ad interim" his current offices of president of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Patrimony of the Church and of the Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology.

  On Saturday, May 5, it was made public that he appointed:

 - Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, archbishop emeritus of Munich and Freising, Germany, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the millennium of the archdiocese of Bamberg, Germany, due to be held on July 8.

 - Archbishop Edward Nowak, secretary of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, as assessor of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem and canon of the papal basilica of St. Peter's in the Vatican.

 - Msgr. Michele di Ruberto under-secretary of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, as secretary of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, at the same time elevating him to the dignity of archbishop.

 - As prelate auditors of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, Msgr. Alejandro Arellano Cedillo, judge of the Rota of the apostolic nunciature to Spain, and Msgr. Michael Xavier Leo Arokiaraj, head of the chancellery of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

 - Fr. Vito Angelo Todisco of the clergy of the diocese of Avellino, Italy, as defender of the bond of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 7, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope received participants in the plenary assembly of the International Union of Superiors General, a body that represents 794 families of female religious on five continents. The plenary is being held over these days and has as its theme: "Challenged to weave a new spirituality which generates hope and life for all."

  The Holy Father indicated how all superiors general must "animate and promote ... a mystical and prophetic form of consecrated life, one strongly committed to realizing the Kingdom of God. These are the 'strings' with which the Lord moves you to 'weave' today the living fabric of a productive service to the Church and an eloquent evangelical testimony that is 'ever old and ever new' because it remains faithful to the radical nature of the Gospel and is courageously incarnated in contemporary life, especially where the greatest human and spiritual poverty exists."

  "Only from this union with God," the Holy Father said, "does the 'prophetic' role of your mission arise and find nourishment," a mission "that consists in announcing the kingdom of heaven, so indispensable for all times and all societies."

  Benedict XVI encouraged the religious not to give in "to the temptation to abandon your intimacy with your celestial Spouse, letting yourselves be excessively drawn by the interests and problems of daily life. The Founders of your institutes managed to become 'prophetic pioneers' in the Church because, ... following Jesus' example, they strove to communicate with concrete words and gestures the love of God through total giving of self, always maintaining their gaze and hearts fixed upon Him."

  "May your primary concern be to help your consoeurs to seek ... Christ and to put themselves generously at the service of the Gospel. Do not lose heart and dedicate every possible effort to the human, cultural and spiritual formation of the people entrusted to your care, that they may be capable of responding to modern cultural and social challenges. Be the first to set the example in shunning comforts, luxuries and convenience to accomplish your mission."

  The Holy Father also called upon the religious "to share the wealth of your charisms with those who are committed to the one mission of the Church, which is to build the Kingdom. To this end, establish serene and cordial collaboration with priests, the lay faithful and especially families, in order to meet the suffering, needs, material poverty, and above all the spiritual poverty of so many of our contemporaries. Cultivate, moreover, sincere communion and close collaboration with bishops, who are primarily responsible for evangelization in the particular Churches."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 6, 2007 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to pray the Regina Coeli with the thousands of people filling St. Peter's Square below.

  Before the Marian prayer, the Pope recalled how the month of May "is for many Christian communities the Marian month par excellence. As such it has, over the course of the centuries, become one of the forms of devotion most dear to people and has always been adopted by pastors as an opportunity for preaching, catechesis and community prayer."

  Benedict XVI indicated how following Vatican Council II "Marian devotion underwent a profound renewal. And the month of May, which partly coincides with Easter time, is an appropriate moment to present the figure of Mary as the Mother who accompanied the community of disciples gathered in joint prayer while they awaited the Holy Spirit. This month, then, can be an occasion to return to the faith of the early Church and, together with Mary, to understand that today too our mission is to announce and bear witness with courage and joy to Christ, crucified and risen, the hope of humanity.

  "To the Holy Virgin, Mother of the Church," the Pope added, "I wish to entrust the apostolic trip I will make to Brazil from May 9 to 14. Like my venerated predecessors Paul VI and John Paul II, I will preside at the opening of a General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean," the fifth such meeting "which will take place next Sunday at the great national shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, in the city of that name."

  This, said the Pope, "is my first pastoral visit to Latin America and I am preparing myself spiritually to meet the ... subcontinent where almost half the world's Catholics live, many of them young. For this reason it has been called 'the continent of hope:' a hope that touches not only the Church, but all America and the word entire."

  Pope Benedict called upon the faithful to pray to Mary Most Holy "for this apostolic pilgrimage and, in particular, for the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean, so that all Christians of those regions may feel themselves as disciples and missionaries of Christ, Way, Truth and Life."

  He concluded: "There are many different challenges facing us at the present moment, that is why it is important for Christians to be formed to become a 'ferment' of goodness and a 'light' of sanctity in our world."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to Mexico.

 - Archbishop Csaba Ternyak of Eger, Hungary.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2007 (VIS) - Below is the calendar of liturgical celebrations due to be presided over by the Holy Father between the months of May and June.


 - Wednesday 9 - Monday 14: Apostolic trip to Brazil for the occasion of the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean.


 - Sunday 3: At 10 a.m. in St. Peter's Square, canonization of Blesseds George Preca, Szymon of Lipnica, Charles of St. Andrew (ne Johannes Andreas Houben), and Marie Eugenie de Jesus (nee Anne-Eugenie Milleret de Brou).

 - Thursday 7, Solemnity of Corpus Christi: Mass at 7 p.m. in the basilica of St. John Lateran, followed by a procession to the basilica of St. Mary Major for Eucharistic blessing.

 - Sunday 17, 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Pastoral visit to Assisi, Italy.

 - Friday 19, Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles: Mass at 9.30 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica. Blessing and imposition of the pallium on metropolitan archbishops.


 - Sunday 6, 5th Sunday of Easter: At 11 a.m. in the "Recinto Ferial" of Antequera-Malaga, Spain, beatification of Servant of God Maria del Monte Carmelo of the Baby Jesus Gonzalez Ramos Garcia Prieto.

 - Sunday 27, Solemnity of Pentecost: At 11 a.m., in the cathedral of Citta di Castello, Italy, beatification of Servant of God Carlo Liviero.
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