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Monday, June 1, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 1 JUN 2009 (VIS) - Given below is the calendar of liturgical celebrations due to be presided over by the Holy Father, and his trips, between the months of June and September.


- Thursday 11: Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Mass at 7 p.m. in the basilica of St. John Lateran, followed by a procession to the basilica of St. Mary Major for Eucharistic blessing.

- Friday 19: Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Vespers at 6 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica for the opening of the Year for Priests.

- Sunday 21: Pastoral visit to San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy.

- Sunday 28: At 6 p.m. in the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, First Vespers for the closing of the Pauline Year.

- Monday 29: Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles. Mass at 9.30 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica. Blessing and imposition of the pallium on new metropolitan archbishops.


- Saturday 15: Solemnity of the Assumption. Mass at 8 a.m. in the parish church of St. Thomas of Villanova in Castelgandolfo.


- Sunday 6: Pastoral visit to Viterbo-Bagnoregio, Italy.

- Saturday 26 - Monday 28: Apostolic trip to the Czech Republic.


VATICAN CITY, 1 JUN 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Anthony Ademu Adaji M.S.P., auxiliary of Idah, Nigeria, as bishop of the same diocese (area 12,898, population 1,465,000, Catholics 202,069, priests 55, religious 207).

- Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Rome, presented by Bishop Enzo Dieci, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Msgr. Guerino Di Tora of the clergy of the diocese of Rome, director of diocesan Caritas, and Msgr. Giuseppe Marciante of the clergy of the diocese of Rome, pastor of the parish of San Romano Martire, as auxiliaries of the diocese or Rome (area 881, population 2,809,000, Catholics 2,473,000, priests 5,936, permanent deacons 110, religious 28,347), respectively for the northern and eastern pastoral sectors. Bishop-elect Di Tora was born in Rome in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1971. Bishop-elect Marciante was born in Catania, Italy in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1980.
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VATICAN CITY, 1 JUN 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

"This morning, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Viktor Yushchenko, president of Ukraine. Subsequently the president, accompanied by Volodymyr Khandogiy, his ad interim foreign minister, went on to meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

"During the cordial discussions attention focused on the international situation. At the bilateral level, the good relations between Ukraine and the Holy See were noted with pleasure, as were the prospects for increased collaboration in the cultural and social fields. While expressing the desire to find equitable solutions to outstanding questions between State and Church, mention was also made of the Catholic Church's contribution to Ukrainian society for education in Christian values and their diffusion, and of the importance of dialogue among Christians in order to promote unity, while respecting everyone and with the aim of peaceful coexistence".


VATICAN CITY, 1 JUN 2009 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for June is: "That international attention towards the poorer countries may give rise to more concrete help, in particular to relieve them of the crushing burden of foreign debt"

His mission intention is: "That the particular Churches operating in regions marked by violence may be sustained by the love and concrete closeness of all the Catholics in the world".


VATICAN CITY, 31 MAY 2009 (VIS) - Following the celebration of the Eucharist in the Vatican Basilica for the Solemnity of Pentecost, at midday today the Holy Father appeared at the widow of his study to pray the Regina Coeli with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

"Today, Solemnity of Pentecost, the Church throughout the world is reliving the mystery of her birth, of her 'Baptism' in the Holy Spirit", said the Holy Father. "The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church, without Him what would she be reduced to? She would certainly be a great historical movement, a complex and stable social institution, perhaps a kind of humanitarian agency. And, to say truth, that is how she is seen by those who consider her without the eye of faith. In reality though, in her true nature and in her most authentic historical presence, the Church is constantly moulded and guided by the Spirit of her Lord. She is a living body, the vitality of which is the fruit of the invisible divine Spirit".

The Pope also remarked how this year Pentecost falls on the last day of May, which traditionally marks the Feast of the Visitation when Mary, pregnant with Jesus, went to visit her elderly cousin Elisabeth, also pregnant. "The young Mary who, carrying Jesus in her womb, forgets her own needs and runs to help another is a beautiful image of the Church in the perennial youthfulness of her Spirit, of the missionary Church of the incarnate Word, called to carry that Word into the world and to bear witness to it, especially through the service of charity", said the Holy Father.

He concluded: "Let us, then, invoke the intercession the Most Holy Virgin that she may obtain for the Church in our time powerful reinforcement from the Holy Spirit. May the comforting presence of the Paraclete be particularly felt by ecclesial communities suffering persecution for the name of Christ so that, by participating in His suffering, they may receive the Spirit of glory in abundance".

After praying the Regina Coeli, the Pope mentioned young people from the Italian region of Abruzzi, who are currently hosting the World Youth Day Cross. "In communion with the youth of that land, so deeply affected by the recent earthquake", he said, "let us ask Christ, Who died and rose again, to effuse His Spirit of consolation and hope upon them".
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VATICAN CITY, 31 MAY 2009 (VIS) - At 9.30 a.m. today, the Holy Father celebrated Mass in the Vatican Basilica for the Solemnity of Pentecost. During the ceremony, the Cologne chamber orchestra and cathedral choir played the last Mass composed by Haydn the bi-centenary of whose death falls this year.

In his homily the Pope spoke of the signs of Pentecost, the commemoration of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Mary and the Apostles in the Cenacle in Jerusalem in the form of "tongues of fire" and a "violent wind".

"What air is for biological life, so is the Holy Spirit for spiritual life", said Benedict XVI, "and just as there is atmospheric pollution which poisons the environment and the people who live in it, so there is a pollution of the heart which mortifies and poisons spiritual existence".

Among the "many products that pollute the mind and the heart", the Pope mentioned "images that make a spectacle of pleasure, violence or contempt for man and woman", and he highlighted the importance "of breathing clean air, both physical air with the lungs and, spiritual air with the heart, the healthy air of the spirit Who is love".

Referring then to the image of the fire, the Pope pointed out that "having possessed himself of the energy of the cosmos - the 'fire' - man today seem to present himself as God, and wishes to transform the world while excluding, marginalising, or even rejecting the Creator of the universe. Man no longer wants to be the image of God but of himself, and declares his own autonomy, freedom and maturity".

"In the hands of such a person, the 'fire' and its enormous potential become dangerous", the Holy Father warned. "They can turn against life and against humanity itself, as history unfortunately shows. The tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki remain as a perennial admonition where atomic energy, used for bellicose ends, ended up causing death on an unprecedented scale".

Later in his homily, the Holy Father explained how, with the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, the Apostles lost their fear. "They were not longer afraid because they felt themselves to be in the hands of the strongest. ... When the Spirit of God enters", he explained, "it drives out fear and makes us know and feel that we are in the hands of an Omnipotence of love. Whatever happens, His infinite love will not abandon us.

"This is clear from the witness of the martyrs", he added in conclusion, "from the courage of the confessors of the faith, the intrepid energy of missionaries, the forthrightness of preachers, and the example of all the saints, some of whom were just adolescents and children. It is clear from the very existence of the Church which, despite the limitations and sins of man, continues to the traverse the ocean of history, impelled by the breath of God and animated by His purifying fire".
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VATICAN CITY, 30 MAY 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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VATICAN CITY, 30 MAY 2009 (VIS) - At 8 p.m. today, the traditional procession marking the end of the month of May wound its way through the Vatican Gardens, from the Church of St. Stephen of the Abyssinians to the Grotto of Lourdes.

Benedict XVI arrived at the Grotto at 9 p.m. where, before imparting his apostolic blessing, he made some brief remarks to the faithful present.

"The great Feast of Pentecost", he said, "is an invitation for us to meditate upon the bond between the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, a close, privileged and indissoluble relationship. The Virgin of Nazareth was chosen to become the Mother of the Redeemer by the action of the Holy Spirit: in her humility she found favour in the eyes of God".

The Annunciation, the Virgin's visit to her cousin Elisabeth, the birth of Jesus and His early infancy were all "guided, almost palpably, by the Holy Spirit, although He is not always mentioned. Mary's heart, in perfect harmony with her divine Son, is a temple of the Spirit of truth, where each word and each event is treasured in faith, hope and charity".

"Mary's faith", the Holy Father went on, "supported that of the disciples until their meeting with the risen Lord, and it continued to accompany them even after His ascension to heaven, as they awaited 'Baptism in the Holy Spirit'. At Pentecost, the Virgin Mother once again appears as the Bride of the Spirit", an expression of "universal maternity towards all people who have been generated by God through faith in Christ. This is why, for all generations, Mary is the image and model of the Church which, accompanied by the Spirit, advances through time invoking the glorious return of Christ: 'Come, Lord Jesus'".

The Holy Father concluded his comments by telling the faithful "let us, in Mary's school, learn to recognise the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, to listen to His inspiration and humbly to follow it".


VATICAN CITY, 30 MAY 2009 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from the Holy Father appointing Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O'Brien, archbishop of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the centenary of the foundation of Long Tower church in the Irish city of Derry, due to be held on 9 June. The Letter, written in Latin, is dated 2 May.

The cardinal will be accompanied on his mission by Fr. Thomas P. Donnelly, pastor emeritus of Nazareth House, Fahan, Co. Donegal, and expert on the life of St. Columba, and by Fr. Michael Canny, administrator of St. Eugene's Cathedral in Derry.


VATICAN CITY, 30 MAY 2009 (VIS) - In the Paul VI Hall at midday today Benedict XVI met with more than 7,000 children of the Pontifical Work of Missionary Childhood. In the course of the meeting he replied to questions put to him by three of the infants.

A young girl asked the Holy Father if he felt that different cultures could live together without arguing in the name of Jesus.

The Pope replied by recalling how when he was a child his family had moved to another village where he attended primary school. That village had four hundred inhabitants including rich farmers, members of the middle class and people with limited resources. Hence, he said, his school "reflected highly varied social situations. Yet there was communion among us. ... We collaborated together well and, I must say, naturally we sometimes argued. But afterwards we made up and forgot what had happened. I think this is important. Sometimes in human life it seems inevitable that we should argue but what remains important is the art of reconciliation, of forgiveness, of starting afresh and not letting bitterness remain in our hearts".

He went on: "Together we also leant to know the Bible, from the creation to Jesus' sacrifice upon the cross, and then the beginnings of the Church. Together we learnt the catechism, together we learnt to pray, together we prepared for first confession and First Communion: that was a splendid day. We understood that Jesus Himself comes to us, that He is not a distant God. He enters into my own life, into my own heart". The Pope also recalled how First Communion, "a tangible encounter with Jesus Who comes to me, Who comes to all of us, ... contributed to forming our community".

"We discovered the ability to live together and be friends", the Holy Father continued his reminiscences, "and although since 1937 ... I have not been back to that village, we still remained friends. Thus we learnt to accept one another and to shoulder one another's burdens. ... Despite our weakness we must accept each another and, with Jesus Christ, with the Church, together we discover the road to peace and learn to live well".

Benedict XVI was then asked whether he ever thought he would become Pope.

"Truth to tell", he replied, "I never imagined I would have become Pope because, as I said, I was a rather ingenuous boy in a small village far from large centres of population. ... Of course we knew, venerated and loved the Pope - Pope Pius XI - but for us he seemed to stand at an unattainable height, almost another world; a father to us but nonetheless far above us. And I have to say that even now I find it difficult to understand how the Lord could have thought of me, elevated me to this ministry. But I accept it from His hands, even though it is surprising and I feel it far beyond my powers. Yet, the Lord helps me".

"How can we help you to announce the Gospel?" was the third question put to the Holy Father.

He replied by telling the members of the Pontifical Work of Missionary Childhood that they already form "part of a great family that carries the Gospel into the world", and he reminded them of their programme of "listening, praying, knowing, sharing and showing solidarity".

"Praying is very important", the Pope explained, "because it makes the power of God present. ... To listen is truly to learn what Jesus says, to know Sacred Scripture, the Bible. In the story of Jesus, we learn to know the face of God. ... To share is to want things not only for ourselves, but for everyone, sharing them with others ... in our own little world which is part of the great world. And thus we together become a family where one has respect for the other, and accepts others in their difference".

"All this", Pope Benedict concluded, "simply means living in this great family that is the Church, in this great missionary family. Living the essentials - such as sharing, knowing Jesus, prayer, listening to one another and solidarity - is part of missionary work, because it helps to ensure the Gospel becomes a reality in our world".


VATICAN CITY, 30 MAY 2009 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

"This morning, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic. The president subsequently went on to meet Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

"The cordial discussions focused on the situation in the country, with particular attention being given to questions concerning relations with the Catholic Church, and on the future of Europe, bearing in mind the importance of the continent's cultural, spiritual and Christian heritage. President Klaus also expressed his great pleasure at the visit His Holiness will make to the Czech Republic in September this year, where he will visit Prague, Brno and Stara Boleslav".
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