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Tuesday, May 5, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 5 MAY 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Leslie Rogers Tomlinson of the clergy of the archdiocese of Melbourne, Australia, vicar general, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 27,194, population 3,751,731, Catholics 1,061,570, priests 547, permanent deacons 2, religious 1,803). The bishop-elect was born in Mildura, Australia in 1943 and ordained a priest in 1972.
NEA/.../TOMLINSON VIS 20090505 (70)


VATICAN CITY, 5 MAY 2009 (VIS) - In the San Damaso Courtyard of the Vatican Apostolic Palace at 5 p.m. tomorrow, 6 May, thirty-two new recruits will be sworn in as members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard in the presence of members of the Roman Curia, diplomatic representatives and civil and religious authorities from Switzerland.

The day will start at 7 a.m. with Mass for the Swiss Guards, their families and friends celebrated by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. in St. Peter's Basilica. At 8.30 a.m. Daniel Rudolf Anrig, commander of the Swiss Guard, will place a laurel wreath at the monument in the courtyard of the Swiss Guard barracks commemorating the 147 members of the corps who lost their lives protecting Pope Clement VII from the onslaught of the troops of Emperor Charles V during the Sack of Rome on 6 May 1527. Archbishop Fernando Filoni, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, will then confer military decorations on certain members of the Guard.

Among those present at this year's swearing-in ceremony will be Major-General Andre Blattman, the new commander-in-chief of the Swiss Armed Forces. Also participating as guest of honour will be the Council of the Canton of Zurich. The police band of the canton will play a concert for the new guards and their families in the courtyard of the barracks on 7 May.

"With the participation of a guest Canton at the swearing-in of the new recruits", says a communique released by the Swiss Guard, "the corps intends to promote and strengthen ties with Switzerland and its regions".

The Swiss Guard was founded by Pope Julius II in 1506 when he called on the States of the "Confederatis Superioris Allemanniae" to allow him to recruit young men to form a Pontifical Corps of Guard. The Guard came into being on 22 January 1506 with the arrival in Rome of a contingent of 150 men who had marched on foot from Lucerne along the pilgrim route known as the Via Francigena. The main duty of the Swiss Guard - which has as its motto "Acriter et Fideliter" (Courage and Loyalty) - was and still remains that of guarding the person of the Roman Pontiff and the Apostolic Palaces.

The swearing-in ceremony is celebrated every year on 6 May to commemorate the death of the 147 Swiss Guards who died during the Sack of Rome.


VATICAN CITY, 5 MAY 2009 (VIS) - For the occasion of Benedict XVI's forthcoming pilgrimage to the Holy Land, due to take place from 8 to 15 May, statistics have been published concerning the Catholic Church in Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories. The information, updated to 31 December 2007, comes from the Central Statistical Office of the Church.

Jordan has a population of 5,720,000 of whom 109,000 (1.91 percent) are Catholic. There are three ecclesiastical circumscriptions and sixty-four parishes. Currently, there are four bishops, 103 priests and 258 religious. Major seminarians number seven.

A total of 30,595 students attend the 123 infant, primary, middle and secondary schools that belong to the Catholic Church or are run by priests or religious. Other institutions belonging to the Church or run by priests or religious in Jordan include two hospitals, one clinic, one family counselling centre, and three centres for education and social rehabilitation.

Israel and the Palestinian Territories have a population of 7,180,000 of whom 130,000 (1.81 percent) are Catholic. There are nine ecclesiastical circumscriptions, seventy-eight parishes and three pastoral centres of other kinds. Currently, there are eleven bishops, 406 priests, 1,171 religious and one lay missionary. Minor seminarians number fourteen and major seminarians 110.

A total of 43,876 students attend 192 centres of Catholic education, from kindergartens to universities. Other institutions belonging to the Church or run by priests or religious in Israel and the Palestinian Territories include eleven hospitals, ten clinics, nine homes for the elderly or disabled, eleven orphanages and nurseries, four centres for education and social rehabilitation, and two institutions of other kinds.
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