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Tuesday, July 15, 2008


VATICAN CITY, 15 JULY 2008 (VIS) - Today, Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia, initiated the World Youth Day, which will culminate in the vigil and Mass presided by Benedict XVI this 19 and 20 July at the city's Randwick Racecourse.

  The Eucharistic celebration, which took place at the port of Barangaroo on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, gathered thousands of pilgrims who had arrived from various countries from all over the globe.

  The inaugural act began with the arrival of the great wooden cross that many young people had helped carry in pilgrimage to Sydney in a trip that spanned the country.

  Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., yesterday affirmed that the Holy Father was "absolutely serene and rested", thus denying reports that had appeared in the press saying that he was "exhausted" after the more than 20 hour flight.

  Father Lombardi showed the journalists a video of the Pope praying, strolling and talking with his secretaries at Kenthurst Study Centre, the residence near Richmond where he is spending a few days.

  He noted that the Pope, arriving at the residence this past Sunday after the flight, celebrated a private Mass at 18:00, then had supper and rested.

  Yesterday morning, 14 July, he celebrated Mass with his personal retinue and a dozen persons, took an early walk, and retired to his work as he does every morning. Shortly before 13:00, Cardinal George Pell and Bishop Anthony Fisher, coordinator of the WYD, arrived for lunch with the Pope and to talk of the preparations.

  After lunch the Holy Father took his typical afternoon walk with his secretaries. Afterward he returned to work and at 16:00, Fr. Lombardi said, he met again with Cardinal Pell.

  The director of the Holy See Press Office stated that around the residence there is a pond, a little lake, and a small chapel where the Pope stopped to pray the rosary.

  At five in the evening there was a concert with pieces from Schumann, Mozart, and Schubert followed by dinner at 19:00.

  Benedict XVI will remain at the Kenthurst Study Centre until Thursday morning when his visit to Australia officially begins with a welcoming ceremony given by the Australian authorities.
PV-AUSTRALIA/WYD INAUGURATION/SYDNEY                    VIS 20080715 (370)


VATICAN CITY, 15 JULY 2008 (VIS) - Today, the Holy Father's message to Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, representative of the Holy See for the "Day of the Holy See" at the International Expo of Saragossa (Spain), was made public. The message, written in Spanish, is dated 10 July.

  "I am pleased to send a message of faith and hope", the Pope writes, "to those who are visiting the 2008 Saragossa Expo dedicated to the complex themes tied to the importance of water for human life and the maintenance of equilibrium among the diverse elements of our world. The Holy See wanted to be present at the Expo with a pavilion that was jointly prepared with the archdiocese of Saragossa, which I thank for their generous commitment to promoting proper cultural initiatives that draw the visitor closer to the immense patrimony of spirituality, art, and social wisdom that is inspired by water and which has been safeguarded by the Catholic Church".

  "We have to be aware that, regrettably, water - an essential and indispensible good that the Lord has given us to maintain and develop life -, because of incursions and pressures from various social factors, is today considered a good that must be especially protected through clear national and international policies and used according to sensible criteria of solidarity and responsibility. The use of water - which is seen as a universal and inalienable right - is related to the growing and urgent needs of those living in poverty, keeping in mind that the 'limited access to drinkable water affects the wellbeing of an enormous number of people and is frequently the cause of illness, suffering, conflict, poverty, and also death'".

  "Those who consider water today to be a predominantly material good", the Pope concludes, "should not forget the religious meanings that believers, and Christianity above all, have developed from it, giving it great value as a precious immaterial good that always enriches human life on this earth. How can we not recall in this circumstance the suggestive message that comes to us from Sacred Scripture, which treats water as a symbol of purification and life? The full recovery of this spiritual dimension is ensured and presupposed for a proper approach to the ethical, political, and economic problems that affect the complex management of water on the part of all concerned, as well as in the national and international spheres".
MESS/EXPO SARAGOSSA/MARTINO                          VIS 20080715 (410)


VATICAN CITY, 15 JUL 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father elevated the apostolic prefecture of Galapagos, Ecuador, to the rank of apostolic vicariate, with the same name and territorial configuration. He appointed Bishop Manuel Valarezo Luzuriaga O.F.M., apostolic prefect of Galapagos, as the first apostolic vicar of the new apostolic vicariate.
ECE:NER/.../VALAREZO                            VIS 20080715 (60)

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