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Thursday, May 28, 2009

VATICAN CITY, 28 MAY 2009 (VIS) - Made public today was the Letter in which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Josip Bozanic, archbishop of Zagreb, Croatia, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the 1700th anniversary of the martyrdom of St. Quirinus, due to take place in Krk, Croatia, on 4 June. The Letter, written in Latin, is dated 4 April.

The cardinal will be accompanied on his mission by Msgr. Ivan Kordic, vicar general in charge of the promotion and co-ordination of the pastoral care of families in the diocese of Krk, and Msgr. Franjo Velcic, provost of the cathedral chapter of Krk, professor of Church history and patrology at the theological faculty of Zagreb and archivist of the diocesan Curia.


VATICAN CITY, 28 MAY 2009 (VIS) - At midday today in the Vatican, the Holy Father met participants in the general assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), which is meeting from 25 to 29 May to examine the theme: "The educational question: the urgent task of education".

The Pope noted how over these days the bishops are reflecting and discussing how to establish "an educational project that stems from a coherent and complete vision of man, which can arise only from the perfect image and realisation of him we have in Jesus Christ".

"At a time in which relativistic and nihilistic concepts of life exercise a powerful enticement, a time in which the very legitimacy of education is placed in doubt, the principal contribution we can make is that of bearing witness to our trust in life and in man, in his reason and in his capacity to love", said the Holy Father.

"The difficulty in forming authentic Christians interweaves and melds with the difficulty of creating responsible and mature men and women", the Pope explained. He also emphasised the importance that "an awareness of truth and goodness, and free adherence to these values, should be at the core of the educational project, so as to give form to a process of overall development. For this reason", he went on, "alongside an appropriate curriculum that identifies the aim of education in the light of the model to be followed, there is a need for authoritative educators to whom new generations can look with trust".

"A true educator places himself in the front line and knows how to unite authority and exemplarity in the task of educating those entrusted to his care. We ourselves are aware of this, having been given the role of guides among the People of God, guides whom the Apostle Peter invites to tend God's sheep and to 'be examples to the flock'".

The Pope then referred to the forthcoming Year for Priests, recalling how priestly ministry "is a service to the Church and to Christian people, requiring a profound spirituality ... nourished by prayer and by intense personal union with the Lord, in order to be able to serve our brothers and sisters through preaching, the Sacraments, orderly community life and help for the poor. All priestly ministry reveals ... the importance of commitment to education, so that people may grow freely and responsibly as mature and conscientious Christians.

"There can be no doubt that the Christian spirit gives renewed vitality to that sense of solidarity so profoundly rooted in the hearts of the Italian people", Benedict XVI added, going on to mention the recent earthquake in the Abruzzo region of Italy and his own visit to the areas affected. There, he said "I personally witnessed the mourning, the pain and the disasters produced by that terrible event, but also the strength of spirit of those people and the movement of solidarity that immediately arose throughout Italy". In this context, the Pope also praised the initiatives promoted by the CEI through Caritas.

He then turned to consider the economic crisis which "has hit the global community so hard. ... Despite the measures taken at various levels, the social effects of the crisis are still being felt, and seriously felt, especially by the weakest strata of society and by families". Benedict XVI also mentioned the fact that the collections raised at Mass next Sunday will be used for the "Loan of Hope" initiative, a CEI aid programme for families affected by the crisis which he described as "an eloquent testimony of the mutual sharing of burdens, .... a moving announcement of the interior conversion generated by the Gospel and a touching expression of ecclesial communion".

Finally, the Holy Father considered a particular form of ecclesiastical charity in Italy, "intellectual" charity, of which "one significant example is the commitment to promote a widespread mentality in support of life in its every aspect and moment, with particular concern for lives marked by conditions of fragility and precariousness. Such commitment is well expressed in the manifesto 'Free to live, loving life unto the end', which sees the Italian Catholic lay people working together to ensure the country does not lack an awareness of the complete truth about man and promotion of the authentic good of people and society".

"Thus", the Pope concluded, "our minds return to the central theme of your assembly - the urgent task of education - which must be rooted in the Word of God and requires spiritual discernment, cultural and social programmes, and gratuitous and united witness".
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