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Thursday, June 21, 2007


VATICAN CITY, JUN 21, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Francisco Cerro Chaves, diocesan delegate for youth pastoral care and director of the diocesan center of spirituality in Valladolid, Spain, as bishop of Coria-Caceres (area 10,052, population 263,430, Catholics 251,701, priests 170, permanent deacons 1, religious 332), Spain. The bishop-elect was born in Malpartida de Caceres, Spain in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1981.
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 21, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Ignace Moussa I Daoud, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Oriental Churches.

  This evening, he is scheduled to receive in audience Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care (for Healthcare Ministry).
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 21, 2007 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that at 5.30 p.m. on June 28, eve of the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles, Benedict XVI will preside at the celebration of first Vespers in the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls.

  During the ceremony, the Pope will proclaim a year especially dedicated to St. Paul, to mark the 2000th anniversary of the birth of the "Apostle of the Gentiles."
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 21, 2007 (VIS) - Benedict XVI has written a Letter to Cardinal Renato R. Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, for the occasion of the golden anniversary of his priestly ordination. Cardinal Martino was ordained on June 20, 1957.

  Yesterday evening, to celebrate his 50 years in the priesthood, Cardinal Martino celebrated Mass at the altar of the Cathedra in St. Peter's Basilica.

  The Holy Father has also written a Letter to Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, for the 25th anniversary of his consecration as a bishop on June 19 1982. In his Letter, the Pope praises the cardinal's efforts as an "attentive and faithful pastor," and "promoter of evangelization."


VATICAN CITY, JUN 21, 2007 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received participants in the annual Meeting of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches (ROACO), telling them that he shared their "pain and concern for the delicate situation affecting vast areas of the Middle East."

  "Peace," said the Pope, "becomes even more fragile because of injustices, old and new. Thus it is extinguished altogether and gives way to violence which often degenerates into more or less open war until it ends up, as in our own time, as an urgent international problem."

  "I appeal to the hearts of those who have specific responsibilities, that they may accept the vital duty of guaranteeing peace for everyone, without distinction, freeing [peace] from the mortal illness of religious, cultural, historical or geographical discrimination."

  Benedict XVI repeated his assurances that "the Holy Land, Iraq and Lebanon are present, with the urgency and constancy they deserve, in the prayers and activities of the Apostolic See and of the entire Church." He also called on the Congregation for Oriental Churches and its associated institutions to ensure that their "intervention in favor of so many of our brothers and sisters becomes more incisive."

  To His Beatitude Emmanuel III Delly, patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, who was present at the audience, the Pope renewed his condolences "for the barbarous killing of a defenseless priest and three sub-deacons in Iraq at the end of Sunday liturgy on June 3. The entire Church accompanies all her sons and daughters with affection and admiration, and supports them at this time of true martyrdom in the name of Christ."

  The Holy Father thanked members of ROACO for their collaboration with the Congregation for Oriental Churches, encouraging them to continue their endeavors, "so that the priceless support you give to the witness of ecclesial charity may be fully developed in the community. ... Teamwork and collaboration is always a guarantee of a more ordered and evenhanded service."

  "As we appeal to the Lord to speed the day of full unity among Christians, and the long-awaited moment of serene inter-religious coexistence animated by mutual respect, we ask Him to bless our efforts and to illuminate us so that what we do is never to the detriment but always to the advantage of the ecclesial community. May He make us attentive so that, rejecting all forms of indifference, we never forget, in exercising charity, the mission of the local Catholic community."

  Benedict XVI concluded his talk by highlighting how "in prayer we will always find the true source of commitment to charity, and in prayer we will verify its authenticity."
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 21, 2007 (VIS) - Today in the Vatican, the Holy Father received His Holiness Mar Dinkha IV, Catholicos Patriarch of the Assyrian Church of the East, accompanied by an entourage.

  In his address, the Pope recalled the patriarch's 1994 visit to John Paul II when the two men signed a joint declaration concerning Christology, which included "the decision to establish a Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Assyrian Church of the East."

  That commission, said the Holy Father continuing his English-language talk, "has undertaken an important study of the sacramental life in our respective traditions and forged an agreement on the Anaphora of the Apostles Addai and Mari. I am most grateful for the results of this dialogue, which hold out the promise of further progress on other disputed questions."

  "The Assyrian Church of the East is rooted in ancient lands whose names are associated with the history of God's saving plan for all mankind. .... Today, tragically, Christians in this region are suffering both materially and spiritually. Particularly in Iraq, the homeland of so many of the Assyrian faithful, Christian families and communities are feeling increasing pressure from insecurity, aggression and a sense of abandonment. Many of them see no other possibility than to leave the country and to seek a new future abroad.

  "These difficulties," the Pope added, "are a source of great concern to me, and I wish to express my solidarity with the pastors and the faithful of the Christian communities who remain there, often at the price of heroic sacrifices.

  "As a result of successive waves of emigration, many Christians from the Eastern Churches are now living in the West. This new situation presents a variety of challenges to their Christian identity and their life as a community. At the same time, when Christians from the East and West live side by side, they have a precious opportunity to enrich one another and to understand more fully the catholicity of the Church, which, as a pilgrim in this world, lives, prays and bears witness to Christ in a variety of cultural, social and human contexts."

  "New hopes and possibilities sometimes awaken new fears, and this is also true with regard to ecumenical relations." Nonetheless, "it is to be hoped that the fruitful labor which the commission has accomplished over the years can continue, while never losing sight of the ultimate goal of our common journey towards the re-establishment of full communion."

  "However long and laborious the path towards unity may seem, we are asked by the Lord to join our hands and hearts, so that together we can bear clearer witness to Him and better serve our brothers and sisters, particularly in the troubled regions of the East, where many of our faithful look to us, their pastors, with hope and expectation."

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