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Monday, January 5, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 3 JAN 2009 (VIS) - Today the Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Allen H. Vigneron, previously bishop of Oakland, California in the United States, as metropolitan archbishop of Detroit (area 10,106, population 4,441,551, Catholics 1,478,231, priests 698, permanent deacons 165, religious 2,018), Michigan in the United States. He succeeds Cardinal Adam J. Maida, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese was accepted upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Bishop Claude Champagne, O.M.I., previously auxiliary bishop of Halifax, Canada, as bishop of Edmundston (area 12,838, population 52,073, Catholics 48,695, priests 33, religious 103), Canada. He succeeds Bishop Francois Thibodeau, C.I.M., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese was accepted in conformity with canon 401 §2 of the Code of Canon Law.

- Accepted the resignation of Bishop John J. McRaith from the pastoral care of the diocese of Owensboro, Kentucky in the United States in conformity with canon 401 §2 of the Code of Canon Law.

- Appointed Fr. Vicente Carlos Kiaziku, O.F.M. Cap., as bishop of Mbanza Congo (area 39,459, population 676,400, Catholics 339,258, priests 16, religious 50), Angola. The bishop-elect was born in Kimacaka-Bamba, Angola in 1957, made final vows in 1984, and was ordained a priest in 1985. He was previously councillor general of his order.

- Appointed Fr. Cirilo Flores as auxiliary bishop of Orange in California (area 2,025, population 2,988,072, Catholics 1,165,826, priests 276, permanent deacons 93, religious 449) in the United States. The bishop-elect was born in Corona, California, U.S.A, in 1948 and was ordained a priest in 1991. He was previously pastor of St. Anne parish in Santa Ana, California.

- Appointed Archbishop Bruno Musaro, previously apostolic nuncio to Guatemala, as apostolic nuncio to Peru.

 This past Saturday, 3 January, it was made public that the Pope:

- Accepted the resignation of Bishop Jan De Bie from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium in conformity with canon 401 §2 of the Code of Canon Law.

- Appointed Bishop Jean-Jacques Koffi Oi Koffi, previously bishop of Abengourou, Ivory Coast, as bishop of the diocese of San Pedro-en-Cote-d'Ivoire (area 30,375, population 1,280,110, Catholics 71,084, priests 52, religious 45), Ivory Coast.

- Appointed Bishop Jean Salomon Lezoutie, previously bishop of Odienne, Ivory Coast, as bishop coadjutor of the diocese of Yopougon (area 7,367, population 2,552,000, Catholics 512,282, priests 104, permanent deacons 2, religious 111), Ivory Coast.

- Appointed Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, as a member of the Congregation for Bishops.

- Appointed Cardinal Karl Lehmann, Bishop of Mainz, Germany, as a member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
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VATICAN CITY, 4 JAN 2009 (VIS) - After the Angelus the Pope invited all to pray for an end to the war in Gaza, recalling that hatred and war do not resolve problems.

 "Today, in all the churches of the Holy Land, the patriarchs and leaders of the Christian churches of Jerusalem invite the faithful to pray for an end to the conflict in the Gaza Strip and implore justice and peace for their land. I join with them and ask you to do the same, remembering, as they are saying, 'the victims, the wounded, those with broken hearts, who are living in anguish and fear, that God bless them with consolation, patience, and the peace that proceeds from Him".

 The Holy Father affirmed that "the dramatic news that we are receiving from the Gaza Strip shows that the refusal to dialogue leads to situations that weigh unspeakably on the populations who are again victim to hatred and war".

 War and hatred are not a solution to problems. Most recent history again confirms this. Let us pray, then, that 'the Baby in the manger ... inspire the authorities and those responsible on both sides, Israeli and Palestinian, to act immediately to put an end to this tragic situation".
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VATICAN CITY, 4 JAN 2009 (VIS) - At noon today the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus with the thousands of pilgrims present.

 At the beginning of the Mass the Pope recalled that "the liturgy again invites us to meditate on the same Gospel proclaimed on Christmas Day, that is, the Prologue of St. John. After the chaos of racing around buying gifts these past days, the Church invites us to contemplate again the mystery of Christ's birth in order to better understand its profound meaning and its importance for our lives".

 "It is", he said, "an astonishing text that offers an extraordinary synthesis of all of Christian faith. It begins from on high: 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God"; herein lies the unheard of and humanly inconceivable novelty: 'And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us'".

 Benedict XVI emphasized that this "is not a figure of speech but a lived experience! John, an eyewitness recounts it to us. ... They are not the erudite words of a rabbi or doctor of the law but the impassioned witness of a humble fisherman who, called by Jesus when he was young, in his three years of living with Christ and His apostles felt His love - to the point of defining himself 'the disciple whom Jesus loved' - who saw Him die on the cross and appear resurrected, and who received His Spirit together with the others. From these experiences, meditated upon in his heart, John drew a certain conclusion: Jesus is the Wisdom of God incarnate, is His eternal Word who was made a mortal man".

 Highlighting that "knowing Jesus, being with Him, listening to His preaching, and seeing the signs he performed, the disciples recognized that all of Scripture was fulfilled in Him", the Pope said that "each man and woman needs to find profound meaning in their own existence. To do so it is not enough to read books or to follow Sacred Scripture. The Child of Bethlehem reveals and communicates to us the true 'face' of the good and faithful God who loves us and does not abandon us, not even in death".

 The Holy Father affirmed that "the first to open her heart and contemplate 'the Word made flesh' was Mary, the Mother of Jesus. A humble girl of Galilee thus became the 'Seat of Wisdom'. Just like John the apostle, each of us is invited to welcome her into our homes in order to know Jesus more deeply and to feel His faithful and inexhaustible love. This is my wish for each of you, dear brothers and sisters, at the beginning of this new year".
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VATICAN CITY, 3 JAN 2009 (VIS) - A letter from the Pope, written in Latin and dated 28 December 2008, was made public today. In it he names Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, as Papal Legate to the 6th World Encounter of Families to be celebrated from 13 to 18 January in Mexico City.

 Fr. Rogelio Alcantara Mendoza, Spiritual Director of the Hispanic Seminary of Santa Maria de Guadalupe and Fr. Martin Munoz Lopez, Chaplain of the choir of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe will accompany the cardinal.

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