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Friday, June 12, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 11 JUN 2009 (VIS) - At 7 p.m. today, Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Benedict XVI celebrated Mass on the square in front of the basilica of St. John Lateran, then led a Eucharistic procession to the basilica of St. Mary Major.

In his homily, the Pope commented on the words pronounced by priests at the moment of consecration: "this is My Body, ... this is My Blood".

Addressing his remarks to priests, the Holy Father said: "Becoming the Eucharist: let this be our constant desire and commitment! So that the offer of the Body and Blood of the Lord we make upon the altar may be accompanied by the sacrifice of our own lives. Every day we draw from the Body and Blood of the Lord the free and pure love that makes us worthy ministers of Christ and witnesses to His joy. What the faithful expect from a priest is the example of authentic devotion to the Eucharist. They like to see him spend long periods of silence and adoration before Jesus, as did the saintly 'Cure of Ars' whom we will especially recall during the imminent Year for Priests".

"Aware that, because of sin, we are inadequate, yet needing to nourish ourselves from the love the Lord offers us in the Eucharistic Sacrament, this evening we renew our faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Such faith must not be taken for granted!

"Today there is a risk of insidious secularisation, even inside the Church", Benedict XVI added. "This could translate into a formal but empty Eucharistic worship, in celebrations lacking that involvement of the heart which finds expression in veneration and respect for the liturgy.

"There is always a strong temptation to reduce prayer to superficial and hurried moments, allowing ourselves to be overcome by earthly activities and concerns", he warned.

"With the Eucharist", the Pope explained, "heaven comes down to earth, God's tomorrow descends into the present moment and time is, as it were, embraced by divine eternity".

During the Eucharistic procession which traditionally follows today's Mass "we will ask the Lord in the name of the entire city: Stay with us, Jesus, make us a gift of Yourself and give us the bread that nourishes us for eternal life. Free this world from the poison of evil, from the violence and hatred that pollute people's consciences, purify it with the power of Your merciful love".

After Mass, the Pope presided at the Eucharistic procession along Rome's Via Merulana to the basilica of St. Mary Major. Along the route, thousands of faithful prayed and sang accompanying the Blessed Sacrament. A covered vehicle transported the Sacrament in a monstrance, before which the Holy Father knelt in prayer.
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VATICAN CITY, 12 JUN 2009 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office this morning, a press conference was held to present a forthcoming congress on the theme: "Female Religious in Network against Trafficking in Persons". The event, due to be held in Rome from 15 to 18 June, has been organised by the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) and by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Participating in today's press conference were Fr. Eusebio Hernandez Sola O.A.R., bureau chief at the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life; Sr. Victoria Gonzales de Castejon R.S.C.J., secretary general of the UISG; Carmela Godeau, vice head of mission of the IOM; Sr. Bernadette Sangma F.M.A., and Stefano Volpicelli of the IOM.

"The problem of human trafficking represents a new form of slavery of the twenty-first century, one that offends the dignity and freedom of many women and minors, but also of youths and adult men, most of them from poor countries" said Fr. Hernandez Sola. "These new forms of poverty remind us that religious life is, by vocation, called to play a prophetic role in society and the Church today. A new conception of charity must carry consecrated life to the new frontiers of evangelisation, and to the new forms of poverty, among the most serious of which is the loss of personal dignity".

For her part, Sr. Bernadette Sangma explained that awareness about the phenomenon of human trafficking has increased to such an extent over the last few years that "some congregations ... have adopted the struggle against trafficking as part of their capitular deliberations, making it an obligatory mandate for members of their congregation. This has also included a number of male orders".

"Given the complexity of the factors involved in human trafficking, networking in this field is not an option but a necessity if we hope to make any kind of strategic commitment. The criminal bands that prey on women and children are highly organised and linked to one another, from one part of the world to the other. Only through a networking strategy which includes the victims' countries of origin, of transit and of destination, will it be possible to implement measures to prevent the weakest and most vulnerable people from becoming human merchandise".

Sr. Victoria Gonzales de Castejon noted how, for the religious of the UISG, the last six years of collaboration with the IOM have provided "an opportunity to put the intentions of the Union into real effect, and to increase the scope of our actions aimed at contrasting human trafficking. ... What emerges clearly from the work that has been achieved is the richness and complementarity in exchanges and collaboration between two organisations that represent public and the private aspects - lay people and female religious - in the common cause of defending the lives of people who live in situations of poverty and marginalisation".


VATICAN CITY, 12 JUN 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

- Seven prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Venezuela on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Ubaldo Ramon Santana Sequera F.M.I. of Maracaibo, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Castor Oswaldo Azuaje Perez O.C.D.

- Archbishop Antonio Jose Lopez Castillo of Barquismeto, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Tulio Manuel Chirivella Varela.

- Bishop Vicente Ramon Hernandez Pena of Trujillo.

- Bishop Enrique Perez Lavado, apostolic administrator of Carupano.

- Archbishop Reinaldo Del Prette Lissot of Valencia in Venezuela.

This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Archbishop Francisco Ladaria Ferrer S.J., prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
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VATICAN CITY, 12 JUN 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Gregory Michael Aymond of Austin, U.S.A., as metropolitan archbishop of New Orleans (area 10,898, population 1,069,428, Catholics 384,994, priests 369, permanent deacons 183, religious 721), U.S.A. The archbishop-elect was born in New Orleans in 1949, he was ordained a priest in 1975 and consecrated a bishop in 1997. He succeeds Archbishop Alfred Clifton Hughes, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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