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Friday, June 19, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 19 JUN 2009 (VIS) - In the Vatican this morning, Benedict XVI received His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan, the new Catholic patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, accompanied by various members of the Synod of that Church.

  "Divine Providence", said the Pope in his address, "has made us ministers of Christ and shepherds of His one flock. ... Christ Himself, our Lord, appointed the Apostle Peter as the 'rock' upon which He founded the spiritual edifice of the Church, calling upon His disciples to remain in full unity with Peter, under his sure guidance and that of his Successors".

  "Over the course of your millenarian history", he continued, "your communion with the Bishop of Rome has always been accompanied by faithfulness to the spiritual tradition of the Christian East. These are complementary aspects of a single heritage of the faith which your venerable Church professes".

  The Pontiff then recalled how, in order to emphasise "the Eucharistic roots" of this communion, he had granted "ecclesiastica communio" to the patriarch when he was elected head of the Synod. Addressing the patriarch directly, he added: "With a public sign - yesterday's Eucharistic celebration in the basilica of St. Mary Major - you most appropriately demonstrated the close ties binding you to the bishop of Rome and the Universal Church".

  Pope Benedict went on: "In effect, the Eucharist fuses our different traditions in the unity of the one Spirit, making them a source of wealth for all God's people. May the celebration of the Eucharist, source and summit of ecclesiastical life, keep you anchored in the ancient Syriac tradition which can claim to possess the language the Lord Jesus spoke, and at the same time open your horizons to ecclesial universality. ... The Eucharist is the Bread of Life that nourishes our communities and makes them grow in unity and charity. In the Eucharist, Sacrament of unity and community, may you find the strength to overcome the difficulties your Church has faced over recent years, in order to rediscover the paths of forgiveness, reconciliation and communion".

  Finally the Holy Father expressed his satisfaction at the return to full activity of the Synod of this Church and encouraged "efforts being made to favour unity, understanding and forgiveness, which must always be considered as priorities for the edification of the Church of God".

  "I pray continuously, among other things, for peace in the Middle East, especially for Christians living in the blessed land of Iraq, whose sufferings I offer every day to God during the Eucharistic sacrifice".


VATICAN CITY, 19 JUN 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

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

    - Bishop Jose de la Trinidad Valera Angulo of La Guaira.

    - Bishop William Enrique Delgado Silva of Cabimas.

    - Bishop Jose Hernan Sanchez Porras, military ordinary.

 - Geronimo Narvaez Torres, ambassador of Paraguay, on his farewell visit.
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VATICAN CITY, 19 JUN 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Filippo Iannone O. Carm., auxiliary of the archdiocese of Naples, Italy, as bishop of Sora-Aquino-Pontecorvo (area 1,426, population 152,700, Catholics 150,230, priests 96, permanent deacons 18, religious 176), Italy. He succeeds Bishop Luca Brandolini C.M., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Pierre-Marie Gaschy C.S.Sp., superior of the community of Fameck in the diocese of Metz, France, as apostolic vicar of Iles Saint-Pierre et Miquelon (area 245,000, population 6,125, Catholics 6,076, priests 2, religious 7), France. The bishop-elect was born in Colmar, France in 1941 and ordained a priest in 1969. He succeeds Bishop Lucien Fischer C.S.Sp., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same apostolic vicariate the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Joseph Pibul Visitnondachai of the clergy of Bangkok, Thailand, secretary general for social pastoral ministries of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Thailand, as bishop of Nakhon Sawan (area 93,547, population 8,327,053, Catholics 16,000, priests 34, religious 53), Thailand. The bishop-elect was born in Bang Buathong, Thailand in 1946 and ordained a priest in 1974.

- Appointed Fr. Stephen Tjephe of the clergy of Loikaw, Myanmar, pastor of the church of St. Matthew at Daugneku, as auxiliary of Loikaw (area 11,670, population 309,820, Catholics 75,485, priests 79, religious 195). The bishop-elect was born in Danoku, Myanmar in 1955 and ordained a priest in 1984.

 - Appointed Msgr. Maurizio Malvestiti, bureau chief of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, as under secretary of the same congregation.

 - Appointed as substitute promoters of justice of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura: Fr. Nikolaus Schoch O.F.M., substitute defender of the bond at the same tribunal, and Fr. Markus Graulich S.D.B., vice dean and professor of the faculty of canon law of Rome's Pontifical Salesian University.
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