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Monday, March 30, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 30 MAR 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Suwon, Korea, presented by Bishop Paul Choi Deok-ki, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Matthias Ri Iong-hoon.

  On Saturday 28 March it was made public that the Holy Father appointed:

 - Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi, archbishop emeritus of Palermo, Italy, as his special envoy to closing celebrations marking the millennium of the dedication of the co-cathedral of Sarsina, Italy, due to take place on 31 May.

 - Msgr. Adriano Tessarollo of the clergy of the diocese of Vicenza, Italy, pastor of the parish of "San Pietro Apostolo in Schio", as bishop of Chioggia (area 1,000, population 124,000, Catholics 123,000, priests 121, permanent deacons 3, religious 155), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Tezze sul Brenta, Italy in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1971.
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VATICAN CITY, 30 MAR 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Four prelates from the Argentinean Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Fabriciano Sigampa of Resistencia.

    - Bishop Hugo Manuel Hugo Manuel Salaberry Goyeneche S.J. of Azul, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Emilio Bianchi di Carcano.

    - Bishop Adolfo Armando Uriona F.D.P. of Anatuya.

 - Bishop Paul Hinder O.F.M. Cap., apostolic vicar of Arabia, accompanied by Bishop Camillo Ballin M.C.C.J., apostolic vicar of Kuwait.

 - Frere Alois, prior of Taize.
  On Saturday 28 March he received in separate audiences.

 - Bishop Walter Mixa, military ordinary for Germany.

 - Three prelates from the Argentinean Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Charbel Georges Merhi of San Charbel en Buenos Aires of the Maronites.

    - Bishop Mario Aurelio Poli of Santa Rosa.

    - Bishop Juan Horacio Suarez of Gregorio de Laferrere.

  Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, 30 MAR 2009 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today published the calendar of ceremonies to be presided over by Benedict XVI during Holy Week.

 - Sunday 5 April: Palm Sunday and Our Lord's Passion; 24th World Youth Day on the theme: "We have placed our hope in the living God". At 9.30 a.m. in St. Peter's Square, blessing of palms, procession and Mass.

 - Thursday 9 April: Holy Thursday. At 9.30 a.m. in St. Peter's Basilica, Chrism Mass. At 5.30 p.m. in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, beginning of Easter Triduum of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection with the Mass of Our Lord's Last Supper. Collection to be given to the Catholic community in Gaza.

 - Friday 10 April: Good Friday. At 5 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, celebration of the Passion of Our Lord. Way of the Cross at the Colosseum at 9.15 p.m.

 - Saturday 11 April: Easter Saturday. At 9 p.m. in St. Peter's Basilica, beginning of Easter Vigil.

 - Sunday 12 April: Easter Sunday. At 10.15 a.m., Mass in St. Peter's Square. At midday, "Urbi et Orbi" blessing from the central loggia of the Vatican Basilica.
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VATICAN CITY, 29 MAR 2009 (VIS) - Having returned from his pastoral visit to the Roman parish of the Holy Face of Jesus, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  The Pope, who is due to speak at length about his recent visit to Africa in his next general audience, highlighted how during his visit to the continent he had been particularly impressed by people's joy "at being part of the one family of God" and by "the strong sense of the sacred which was palpable during liturgical celebrations. ... The visit", he went on, "gave me a better view and understanding of the situation of the Church in Africa, her various experiences and the challenges she has to face at the current time".

  Going on then to quote from today's Gospel where, in the imminence of His Passion, Christ says: "unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit", the Pope highlighted Jesus' readiness to do the will of God, which is "to give eternal life to us who have lost it. For this to happen, though, Jesus has to die, like a grain sown by God the Father in the world. Only in this way, in fact, can a new humanity take seed and grow, free from the sway of sin and capable of living fraternally, like sons and daughters of the one Father Who is in heaven.

  "In the great feast of faith we experienced together in Africa", Benedict XVI added, "we felt this new humanity to be alive, though with its human limitations. There, where missionaries, like Jesus, gave and continue to give their lives for the Gospel, we gather abundant fruits. To them - religious and lay people - goes my gratitude for the good that they do. It was for me a beautiful sight to see the fruit of their love for Christ and to appreciate the profound recognition Christians have for them. Let us give thanks to God for them and pray to Mary Most Holy that Christ's message of hope and of love may be spread throughout the world".

  After the Angelus prayer, the Holy Father gave his "affectionate greetings to the large numbers Africans who live in Rome", many of whom were in St. Peter's Square accompanied by Archbishop Robert Sarah, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. "You have come", said the Pope, "to express your joy and recognition for my apostolic trip to Africa. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I pray for you, for your families and for your home countries".
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VATICAN CITY, 29 MAR 2009 (VIS) - At 9 a.m. today, the fifth Sunday of Lent, the Pope visited the parish of the Holy Face of Jesus, located in the Magliana neighbourhood in the western sector of the diocese of Rome. The church, dedicated to St. Maximilian Kolbe in 1982, took the name of Holy Face of Jesus in 2001.

  Before Mass, the Holy Father greeted people gathered outside the church under heavy rain. "Unfortunately it is raining, but the sun is on its way", he told them. "We know that the sun, though it may be hidden, exists; that God is near, that He helps us and accompanies us. In this way do we wish to progress towards Easter, knowing that suffering and difficulties are part of our life, but aware that behind them is the sun of divine goodness".

  In his homily during the Eucharistic celebration, the Pope encouraged the parishioners to place themselves at the service of others in the present time of "economic and social crisis", so as to counter fear and solitude, maintaining trust in God. In this context he identified a model of charity in St. Maximilian Kolbe who sacrificed his own life in Auschwitz concentration camp in order to save the life of another prisoner.

  "In our times, marked by a generalised social and economic crisis, there is a particular merit in the efforts you are making, especially though parish Caritas and the Sant'Egidio Community, to respond ... to the requirements of the poor and needy", he told his congregation.

  Commenting upon the Gospel of St. John of this fifth Sunday of Lent, the Pope exhorted the faithful to seek to share Jesus' state of mind in the period running up to Easter, reliving the mystery of His crucifixion, death and resurrection, not as mere spectators but as protagonists.

  Turning then to address young people, the Holy Father said: "Allow yourselves to be attracted by Jesus. Looking at His Face with the eyes of faith, ask Him: Jesus, what do You want me to do with You and for You? Listen to Him and, guided by His Spirit, accept the plans He has for each one of you".
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VATICAN CITY, 28 MAR 2009 (VIS) - At midday today in the Vatican, the Holy Father received 7,000 young volunteers of the Italian "Servizio Civile".

  The Pope thanked them for the generosity with which they carry out their mission of peace. Commenting then on the final part of the Vatican Council II Pastoral Constitution "Guadium et spes", which focuses on the subject of peace among peoples, he remarked: "unfortunately wars and violence are unending, and the search for peace is always arduous.

  "At a time marked by the danger of possible planetary conflict", he added, "Vatican Council II - with this text - made a strong condemnation of the arms race". The Council Fathers made it clear, he said, that "new approaches based on reformed attitudes must be taken to remove this trap and to emancipate the world from its crushing anxiety through the restoration of genuine peace".

  "Today, as then, the true conversion of hearts is the right way, the only way, that can lead each of us, and humanity entire, to the peace we all long for".

  "Be, then", Pope Benedict told the young people, "always and everywhere, instruments of peace, decisively rejecting selfishness and injustice, indifference and hatred, in order to spread ... justice, equality, freedom, reconciliation, acceptance and forgiveness in all communities".

  "Each of you", the Holy Father went on, "through your experience of voluntary work, can reinforce your social awareness, achieve a closer knowledge of people's problems and become an active promoter of true solidarity. The main objective of the Italian national 'Servizio Civile', is clearly an educational one: to teach the young generations to cultivate a sense of responsibility towards people in need and the common good".

  "Life is a mystery of love", Benedict XVI told the young volunteers, "which is more truly our own the more we donate it; or rather, the more we donate our own self, making a gift of ourselves, our time, our resources and our qualities for the good of others".

  "May this", he concluded, "always be the logic of your lives. Not just now when you are young, but also tomorrow when you hold - I hope - important positions in society and form a family. May you remain people ready to sacrifice yourselves for others, willing even to face suffering for good and for justice".
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VATICAN CITY, 28 MAR 2009 (VIS) - In a communique published today the Holy See Press Office announces that the commission established by Benedict XVI in 2007 to study questions of importance concerning the life of the Catholic Church in China will meet in the Vatican from 30 March to 1 April.

  "Said commission includes superiors of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia with responsibility in this area, as well as certain representatives of the Chinese episcopate and of religious congregations", reads the communique.

  "The first plenary meeting, which took place from 10 to 12 March 2008, had as its theme the Letter the Holy Father Benedict XVI addressed to Chinese Catholics on 27 May 2007. The meeting considered how that pontifical document was received, both inside and outside China. Participants also reflected upon the theological principles that inspired the Letter in order to understand the prospects arising therefrom for the Catholic community in China.

  "During the next plenary meeting, certain aspects of the life of the Church in China will be examined in the light of the same Letter. Particular attention will be given to important ongoing religious questions".
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