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Tuesday, February 5, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 5 FEB 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Bilbao, Spain, presented by Bishop Carmelo Echenagusia Uribe, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Mario Iceta Gavicagogeascoa, vicar general of the diocese of Cordoba, Spain, as auxiliary of the diocese of Bilbao (area 2,193, population 1,136,181, Catholics 1,006,197, priests 780, permanent deacons 1, religious 1,816), Spain. The bishop-elect was born in Gernika, Spain in 1965 and ordained a priest in 1994.
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VATICAN CITY, 5 FEB 2008 (VIS) - On 10 February, the first Sunday of Lent, the annual spiritual exercises of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia will begin in the "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace.

  This year's exercises are dedicated to the theme: "Let us welcome Christ, our High Priest. 'Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession'". The exercises will be directed by Cardinal Albert Vanhoye S.J., former secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission.

  The retreat will begin at 6 p.m. with the celebration of Vespers, the first meditation, adoration and Eucharistic blessing.

  Over the following days there will be the celebration of Lauds and meditation at 9 a.m.; celebration of Terce and meditation at 10.15 a.m.; meditation at 5 p.m.; and Vespers, adoration and Eucharistic blessing at 5.45 p.m.

  The spiritual exercises will come to an end on Saturday, 16 February, with the celebration of Lauds and a closing meditation at 9 a.m.

  During the retreat all audiences will be cancelled, including the weekly general audience of Wednesday, 13 February.
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