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Thursday, May 8, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 8 MAY 2008 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, the Holy Father attended a concert offered by the Chinese Philharmonic Orchestra and the Shanghai Opera House Chorus who presented Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Requiem Mass.

 The Pope affirmed that this concert "puts us in touch, as it were, with the living reality of the world of China," recognizing that "in a group of such accomplished artists, we see represented the great cultural and musical tradition of China, and this performance helps us to understand better the history of the Chinese people, their values, and their noble aspirations".

 "Music, and art in general," he continued, "can serve as a privileged instrument for encounter and reciprocal knowledge and esteem between different populations and cultures, a means attainable by all for valuing the universal language of art".

 Benedict XVI emphasized the orchestra and choir's interest in "European religious music. This shows that it is possible, in different cultural settings, to enjoy and appreciate sublime manifestations of the spirit such as Mozart's Requiem which we have just heard, precisely because music expresses universal human sentiments, including the religious sentiment, which transcends the boundaries of every individual culture."

 Referring to the "great hall", the Paul VI audience hall in which "the Pope receives his guests", he said: "It is like a window opening onto the world, a place where people from all over the world often meet, with their own personal stories and their own culture, all of them welcomed with esteem and affection".

 "In greeting you this evening, dear Chinese artists," he added, "the Pope intends to reach out to your entire people, with a special thought for those of your fellow citizens who share faith in Jesus and are united through a particular spiritual bond with the Successor of Peter."

 The Pope pointed out that "the Requiem came into being through this faith as a prayer to God, the just and merciful judge, and that is why it touches the hearts of all people, as an expression of humanity's universal aspirations".

 In closing, the Pope extended his greetings, through the artists, "to all the people of China as they prepare for the Olympic Games, an event of great importance for the entire human family" and added, speaking in Chinese, "I thank you all and I offer you my best wishes".
BXVI-CONCERT/…/CHINESE ORCHESTRA                VIS 20080508 (380)


VATICAN CITY, 8 MAY 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received 300 members of the Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarchate, headed by His Beatitude, Patriarch Gregorios III Laham, who are on pilgrimage to Rome.

  The Pope praised "the vitality of the Melkite Church, despite the difficulties of the region's social and political situation", affirming that "on drawing near to the beginning of the year dedicated to St. Paul, I cannot forget that the seat of your patriarchy is established in the city of Damascus, on the road to which the apostle lived the event that transformed his existence and opened the doors of Christianity to all the nations".

  The Holy Father used the occasion of the Pauline Year to invite the patriarch to carry out "an intense pastoral outreach" to awaken in the faithful "a new impetus to know ever more closely the person of Christ, thanks to a renewed reading of Paul's writings". This focus," he emphasized, "will also guarantee a thriving future for the Melkite Church".

  "In order to ensure the evangelical dynamism and unity of the communities, as well as the proper functioning of the ecclesial work in the patriarchal Churches," Benedict XVI observed, "the role of the Bishops' Synod is of primary importance. That is why it is necessary, every time the right allows for it, above all when it has to do with questions related to those same bishops, to give this venerable institution and not only the Permanent Synod, the standing it merits".

  Referring to ecumenical outreach, the Pope recalled that "the commitment to the search for unity of all Jesus' disciples is an urgent obligation" and therefore "everything possible must be done to tear down the walls of division and mistrust that prevent us from achieving it. Nevertheless, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the search for unity is a task that concerns not only a particular Church but the entire Church, in respect of its nature".

  "I also appreciate," he added, "your good relations with the Muslims (…) as well as your efforts to resolve, with a sincere and objective spirit of fraternal dialogue, problems that may arise. (…) In line with Vatican Council II, the Melkite Church has sincerely sought mutual understanding and the promotion and a shared defense of social justice, moral values, peace, and freedom with the Muslims to the benefit of all".

  On achieving its mission in the troubled and at times dramatic context of the Middle East," he concluded, "the Church finds itself faced with situations where politics plays a role that is not indifferent to its life. That is why it is important to maintain contacts with the political authorities and institutions and the different political parties. Nevertheless, it does not fall to the clergy to dedicate themselves to a political life. That is the duty of the laity. The Church, however, should propose the light of the Gospel to all so that all may dedicate themselves to serve the common good and so that justice may always prevail, so that the path to peace for all peoples in this much loved region may be opened".


VATICAN CITY, 8 MAY 2008 (VIS) - Today, the Holy See's Press Office publicized the schedule for Benedict XVI's pastoral visit to Savona and Genoa (Italy) that will take place this 17-18 May.

 The Pope will depart from Ciampino Airport on Saturday, 17 May, at 3:30pm and will land an hour later at Christopher Columbus Airport of Genoa-Sestri where he will be taken by helicopter to the shrine of Our Lady of Mercy in Savona.

 After visiting the shrine, Benedict XVI will be taken by car to the Piazza del Popolo in Savona where, at 5:45pm, he will concelebrate Holy Mass and give the homily. After the celebration he will go to the bishop's palace to privately visit the rooms of Pope Pius VII. At around 8:15pm he will be taken by helicopter from the old dock of the port of Savona to Genoa where he will land a half hour later at the shrine of the Virgin of the Watch in Ceranesi, the Genoese municipality where he will spend the night.

 On Sunday, 18 May, at 9:00am, the Pope will make a private visit to the shrine and will then be taken by helicopter to Genoa where he will arrive at the Villa Gentile Sports Center around 9:40am. From there will be taken by car to the Gaslini Children's Hospital where he will meet the medical staff and the children who are patients and their families. He will then be taken by car to Piazza Matteotti where, at 11:15am, he will meet with the youth of the area, addressing them and praying the Angelus with them.

 From Piazza Matteotti, the Pope will travel to the Genoese Cathedral of St. Lawrence where, at 12:20pm, he will meet with the cathedral's chapter and consecrated men and women, addressing them. He will then be taken to the Benedict XV Seminary where he will lunch with the Ligurian bishops.

 At 4:30pm he will arrive at the Piazza della Vittoria to concelebrate Holy Mass and give the homily. Afterward, Benedict XVI will be taken to Christopher Columbus Airport where his flight will leave at 7:00pm, returning to Rome around 7:50pm.
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VATICAN CITY, 8 MAY 2008 (VIS).- Today, the Holy Father received in separate visits:

-Five prelates of the Hungarian Bishop's Conference on their ad limina visit:
    -Archbishop Csaba Ternyák, of Eger, with Auxiliary Bishop István Katona.

    -Bishop Nándor Bosák, of Debrecen-Nyíregyháza.

    -Archbishop Balázs Bábel, of Kalocsa-Kecskemét, with Auxiliary Bishop László Bíro.

   -Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis, of Aparecida (Brazil), President of the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM), with Bishop Víctor Sánchez Espinosa, Auxiliary Bishop of Mexico (Mexico) and secretary general of the same organization.

-His Beatitude Gregorios III Laham, Patriarch of Antioch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church (Syria).

  This afternoon, the Holy Father will receive in audience Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
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VATICAN CITY, 8 MAY 2008 (VIS).- The Holy Father named:

-Monsignor Ambrose Madtha, in charge of internal affairs at the apostolic nunciature in China, as apostolic nuncio of Ivory Coast, elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The new nuncio was born in Belthangady (India) in 1955 and was ordained a priest in 1982.

-Monsignor Bernardito C. Auza, advisor of the Holy See's pontifical representation  to the United Nations in New York, as apostolic nuncio in Haiti, elevating him to the dignity of archbishop. The new nuncio was born in Talibon (the Philippines) in 1959 and was ordained a priest in 1985.
NN/.../MADTHA:AUZA                        VIS 20080508 (110)

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