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Friday, June 1, 2007


VATICAN CITY, JUN 1, 2007 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon Benedict XVI visited the Palace of the Governorate, which houses various offices responsible for the administration and governance of Vatican City State.

  After greeting Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, president of the Governorate, and members of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, the Pope expressed his thanks to the Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums, a group that finances the maintenance and restoration of works of art held in the Vatican.

  The Holy Father then addressed all the personnel of the Governorate saying: "Every day I am aware of and appreciate the fruits of your commitment and your competency, and I have come here to express my sincere thanks."

  "The Governorate ... has an important function," he continued. "When my venerated predecessor Pius XI undertook the negotiations for the Lateran Pacts he was concerned to ensure that the Holy See could depend on just enough territory to guarantee it 'absolute independence for the fulfillment of its exalted mission in the world.'

  "In accomplishing your duties," he added, "you ensure the continuance of daily life within the State and help the Pope undertake the ministry the Lord entrusted to him at the service of the Church and the world. It is not inappropriate, then, to describe you as 'the collaborators of the Pope'."

  "You work in the Vatican, for and with the Pope," Benedict XVI went on. "You work in a place that has seen the witness of so many martyrs, in particular that of the Apostle Peter. This calls for ... competence, professionalism and dedication, as well as a serious commitment to evangelical witness. I rely upon you, and I ask you to grow every day in knowledge of the Christian faith, in friendship with God and in generous service to your brothers and sisters."

  May the presence of the Church in your offices and workshops," he concluded, "be a daily reminder of the paternal gaze of God Who, in His providence, follows you and watches over each one of you."
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 1, 2007 (VIS) - At 8 p.m. yesterday, the traditional procession marking the end of the month of May wound its way from the Church of St. Stephen of the Abyssinians - located near the apse of the Vatican Basilica - to the Grotto of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens. Hundreds of people participated in the ceremony, which was presided by Archbishop Angelo Comastri, His Holiness' vicar general for Vatican City State.

  Benedict XVI arrived at the Grotto at 9 p.m. and, before imparting his apostolic blessing, delivered a brief address.

  The Pope referred to today's Feast of the Visitation of Our Lady to her cousin St. Elizabeth, saying: "The visitation can be understood in the light of the announcement of the angel and the conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit descended upon the Virgin and encouraged her to 'arise' and leave in haste to help her aged relative."

  "Along the road leading from Galilee to Judea, it was Jesus Himself Who 'urged' Mary on, infusing her with the generous commitment to go out towards others in need, and with the courage not to give first place to her own legitimate requirements, difficulties, concerns, and the dangers to her own life."

  "May Mary," said the Holy Father, "obtain for us the gift of knowing how to love as she did. To Mary we entrust this particular portion of the Church that lives and works in the Vatican. To her we entrust the Roman Curia and the institutions associated with it, that all jobs and all services may be animated by the spirit of Christ.

  "From this hill," Pope Benedict added in conclusion, "we look out over Rome and over the entire world, and we pray that all Christians may say, with St. Paul, 'the Love of Christ drives me on,' and that they may spread, with Mary's help, the dynamism of charity throughout the world."
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 1, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of five new ambassadors to the Holy See: Ayesha Riyaz of Pakistan, Larus Stefansson of Iceland, Juri Seilenthal of Estonia, Domitille Barancira of Burundi and Ahmed Hamid Elfaki Hamid of Sudan.

  In his address to the diplomats, the Pope affirmed that "in the modern world it is more than ever important to affirm the bonds that unite countries, with special attention towards the poorest nations.

  "It is not possible," he added, "to continue using the wealth of the poorest countries with impunity, without them also being able to participate in world growth. Authorities in all countries have a duty to work together to ensure greater distribution of the wealth and resources of the planet. Collaboration to this end will also have an effect on solidarity, peace and fraternity, within countries and between countries."

  Benedict XVI expressed his desire "for a renewed commitment among all nations, especially the richest, to ensure that all human beings may become aware of their responsibility in this matter, and accept a transformation of lifestyle with a view to an ever more just distribution" of wealth.

  Referring to the role of religions in this field, the Holy Father highlighted "the duty they have to form their members with a view to creating fraternal relations among all the inhabitants of a country, and with ever more respectful concern for all mankind. No one should be subject to discrimination or be relegated to the margins of society for their religious beliefs and practices, which are such fundamental elements of people's freedom."

  "Authentic religion," he concluded, "cannot be a source of division or of violence between people or between human communities. On the contrary religion lies at the basis of the awareness that all people are brothers, who must be protected and helped to develop."

  The Pope then gave each ambassador the text of a talk concerning the situation in his or her own country. In the text given to the representative from Pakistan, Benedict XVI praises the country's "commitment to work together with the international community to bring greater stability to your region and to protect innocent lives from the threats of terrorism and violence."

  "A robust democratic society depends on its ability to uphold and protect religious freedom - a basic right inherent to the very dignity of the human person. It is therefore essential to safeguard citizens who belong to religious minorities from acts of violence."

  In the talk given to the ambassador from Burundi, the Holy Father calls upon God to support all that country's citizens "in their valiant and generous commitment ... to build together an ever more fraternal and united society, may this also be a concrete sign and a clarion call for consolidating peace and stability in the region of the Great Lakes."

  Recalling Archbishop Michael J, Courtney, the apostolic nuncio to Burundi who was murdered in 2003, the Pope calls on the State authorities "not to cease their efforts to clarify the causes of the crime and to ensure those responsible are brought to justice."

  To the ambassador from Sudan, Benedict XVI mentions the conflict in the Darfur region, which has been going on since 2003, calling for a political solution "that respects cultural, ethnic and religious minorities." The Pope emphasizes how peace cannot be achieved "by force of arms, but rather by a culture of dialogue and negotiation."

  The Holy Father also highlights the fact that, "in order for all human beings to be able to establish fraternal and sincere relations, and to build a more just society, the contribution of the different religious traditions present in the country, with their rich heritage of human, moral and spiritual values, is of fundamental importance."
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 1, 2007 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Pope received prelates from the Central African Episcopal Conference who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  "You must accomplish your mission of serving people, which the Lord entrusted to you in difficult circumstances," the Pope told them. "When facing the challenges to the Church in your country, real collaboration is a guarantee of greater effectiveness; but such collaboration must be based above all on a living awareness of the collegial dimension of your ministry. ... You are called to bear witness among your people through ever stronger communion and an exemplary daily life."

  Going on to consider the most urgent problems facing the Central African Church today, the Holy Father mentioned the question of "peace and national harmony." And he highlighted how "the poorest are, above all, the victims of dramatic situations that inevitably lead to profound divisions in society and to despair." On this matter, he recalled the fact that the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, currently being prepared, "will provide an opportunity for profound reflection upon the announcement of the Gospel in a context marked by many signs of hope but also by worrying situations."

  "It is my heartfelt hope that this rapidly-changing world does nor forget Africa and that hope may open its doors to the peoples of that continent."

  "The Church has the duty to defend the weakest and to be the voice of those who have no voice. For this reason I wish to encourage people to commit themselves in the defense of the dignity of individuals and their inalienable rights. ... Promoting peace, justice and reconciliation is an expression of Christian faith in the love that God nourishes for each human being."

  "Through her social work, especially in the fields of healthcare and the education of young people, the Church also contributes, in her own way, to the construction of the fraternal and united society to which your people aspire," said the Pope.

  However, he went on, "in order for society to have access to real spiritual and human development, it is also necessary to change its mentality," and "this painstaking task especially involves the family and marriage." The Holy Father stressed that "Christians show everyone the greatness and truth of marriage when they undertake to practice conjugal fidelity and to live in the unity of the couple," and he insisted that marriage "is always founded upon a 'yes' freely and knowingly pronounced by a man and a woman."

  Benedict XVI then went on to speak of the importance - "an importance that cannot be underestimated" - of the formation of candidates to the priesthood. "It is more than ever necessary to be exigent," he said, "because priests are called to bear weighty responsibilities." Hence, "candidates must be required to have an assortment of human qualities that make them capable of achieving a real discipline of priestly life." It is of particular importance "to ascertain the emotional balance of seminarians and to form their sensibilities so as to ensure they possess the right attitude to practice the requirements of priestly celibacy. This human formation must be accompanied by a solid spiritual formation, because it is vital that a priest's life and activities be rooted in a living faith in Jesus Christ."

  Finally, the Pope affirmed the importance of "the active and fruitful participation of the faithful in the 'Sacrament of Love'," observing that "appropriate adaptation to the various cultural contexts must be based on an authentic understanding of inculturation, so that the Eucharist truly remains 'a criterion for our evaluation of everything that Christianity encounters in different cultures'."
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 1, 2007 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for June is: "That the Lord may protect sailors and all those involved in maritime activities."

  His mission intention is: "That the Church in North Africa may bear witness, with its presence and its action, to God's love for every individual and all peoples."
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 1, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins C.M.F., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

 - Archbishop Angelo Comastri, archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Peter's in the Vatican, vicar general of His Holiness for Vatican City and president of the Fabric of St. Peter's.

  This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 1, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Hamilton, Canada, presented by Bishop Matthew Francis Ustrzycki, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of San Diego, U.S.A., presented by Bishop Gilbert E. Chavez, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Kenneth Nowakowski of the clergy of the eparchy of Saskatoon of the Ukrainians, Canada, eparchial chancellor, as bishop of New Westminster of the Ukrainians (Catholics 7,835, priests 13, permanent deacons 2, religious 4), Canada. The bishop-elect was born in North Battleford, Canada in 1958 and ordained a priest in 1989. He succeeds Bishop Severian Stefan Yakymyshyn O.S.B.M., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same eparchy, the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 210, para. 1, of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

 - Appointed Metropolitan Archbishop Brendan Michael O'Brien of Saint John's Newfoundland, Canada as metropolitan archbishop of Kingston (area 16,500, population 321,000, Catholics 117,800, priests 84, permanent deacons 18, religious 170), Canada.

 - Appointed Archbishop J. Michael Miller C.S.B., secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, as coadjutor archbishop of Vancouver (area 119,439, population 2,453,658, Catholics 429,390, priests 189, permanent deacons 1, religious 259), Canada.
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