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Wednesday, July 1, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 1 JUL 2009 (VIS) - The Year for Priests was again the theme of the Holy Father's catechesis during his general audience, held this morning in St. Peter's Square.

  The Pope began his remarks by expressing the hope that the Year "may be an opportunity for the inner renewal of all priests and, consequently, for the revitalisation of their commitment to the mission". He then announced that his catecheses over the next few months will focus on the figure of St. John Mary Vianney, the holy "Cure of Ars", on the 150th anniversary of his death.

  What most stands out in the life of this saint, said Benedict XVI, "is his complete identification with his ministry. He used to say that a good pastor, a pastor after God's heart, is the greatest treasure the good Lord can give a parish".

  "In fact, it is by considering the dual term 'identity-mission' that each priest will become better aware of the need for that progressive self identification with Christ which guarantees the faithfulness and fruitfulness of his evangelical witness. Thus, in the life of a priest, missionary announcement and worship are inseparable, just as sacramental identity and evangelising mission are likewise inseparable".

  "The goal of priests' mission is, we could say, 'of worship': that all men and women may offer themselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, receiving the charity which they are then called to dispense abundantly to one another. ... Love for others, concern for justice and the poor are not so much a question of social morals as the expression of a sacramental conception of Christian morality because, through priestly ministry, the spiritual sacrifice of all the faithful is accomplished, in union with the sacrifice of Christ, the only mediator. This is the sacrifice that priests offer bloodlessly and sacramentally while awaiting the second coming of the Lord".

  "In the face of so many uncertainties and so much weariness, even in the exercise of priestly ministry, it is vitally important to regain a clear and unequivocal view of the absolute primacy of divine grace", said the Holy Father. "The mission of each individual priest depends, then, also and above all on an awareness of the sacramental reality of his 'new existence'. Upon the certainty of his own identity - not artificially and humanly constructed but freely and divinely given and received - depends his perennial enthusiasm for the mission".

  "Having received such an extraordinary gift of grace with their consecration, priests become permanent witnesses of their own encounter with Christ", and "are able to carry out their mission to the full, announcing the Word and administering the Sacraments.

  "Following Vatican Council II", Pope Benedict added, "in some places the impression arose that there were more important things in the mission of priests in our time: some people believed that the priority was to build a new society".

  Yet "the two essential elements of priestly ministry" always remain "announcement and power", said the Holy Father recalling how Christ sent His disciples out to announce the Gospel giving them the power to drive out demons. "Announcement and power", in other words "Word and Sacrament, are the pillars of priestly service, over and above the many forms it can take".

  The Pope continued: "When the 'diptych' of consecration-mission is not taken into due account, it becomes truly difficulty to understand the identity of priests and of their ministry in the Church. ... During this Year for Priests", he said, "let us pray for all the clergy. ... Prayer is the primary duty, the true path of sanctification for priests and the heart of authentic pastoral care of vocations".

  And he concluded: "The low numbers of priestly ordinations in some countries not only must not discourage us, it should stimulate us to dedicate greater space to silence and to listening to the Word, to improving spiritual guidance and the Sacrament of Confession, so that the voice of God, which always continues to call and to confirm, may be heard and followed by many young people".
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VATICAN CITY, 1 JUL 2009 (VIS) - Among his greetings at the end of the general audience, celebrated this morning in St. Peter's Square, the Pope addressed representatives of the Italian National Anti-Usury Council, whom he thanked for the "important and much appreciated work you carry our with victims of this social blight.

  "My hope", he added, "is that there be a renewed commitment on everyone's part effectively to combat the devastating phenomenon of usury and extortion, which constitutes a humiliating form of slavery. On the part of the State may there be no lack of appropriate aid and support for families in difficulties who find the courage to denounce those who take advantage of their often tragic situation".

  He then turned to address people currently on holiday, expressing his hope that this period will prove "serene and profitable for everyone" To the people who, for various reasons, "are unable to enjoy a vacation", he said, "goes my hope that you may not lack the solidarity and closeness of your loved ones".

  Finally, "my special thoughts go to young people who are currently sitting examinations, I assure them all of a mention in my prayers".
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VATICAN CITY, 1 JUL 2009 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for July is: "That the Christians of the Middle East may live their faith in full freedom and be an instrument of peace and reconciliation".

  His mission intention is: "That the Church may be the seed and nucleus of a humanity reconciled and reunited in God's one and only family, thanks to the testimony of all the faithful in every country of the world".
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VATICAN CITY, 1 JUL 2009 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office at 11.30 a.m. on Tuesday 7 July a press conference will be held to present Benedict XVI's new Encyclical "Caritas in veritate".

  Participating in the conference will be: Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino and Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", and Stefano Zamagni, professor of political economy at the University of Bologna, Italy and consultor of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
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VATICAN CITY, 1 JUL 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father yesterday received in audience Archbishop Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki of Lviv of the Latins, Ukraine.
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VATICAN CITY, 1 JUL 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Fernando Antonio Saburido O.S.B. of Sobral, Brazil, as metropolitan archbishop of Olinda e Recife (area 2,226, population 3,758,000, Catholics 3,552,000, priests 228, permanent deacons 7, religious 462), Brazil. The archbishop-elect was born in Cabo de Santo Agostinho, Brazil in 1947, he was ordained a priest in 1983 and consecrated a bishop in 2000. He succeeds Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho O. Carm., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Gbaya Boniface Ziri, vicar general of the archdiocese of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, as bishop of Abengourou (area 18,214, population 1,000,000, Catholics 312,000, priests 67, religious 40), Ivory Coast. The bishop-elect was born in Gagnoa, Ivory Coast in 1949 and ordained a priest in 1976.

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of Minas, Uruguay presented by Bishop Francisco Domingo Barbosa Da Silveira, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Fr. Antoine Kone of the clergy of Katiola, Ivory Coast, professor of dogmatic theology and Latin in the major inter-diocesan seminary of Anyama and in the formation centre of the Society of African Missions, as bishop of Odienne (area 51,200, population 800,000, Catholics 5,000, priests 12, religious 13), Ivory Coast. The bishop-elect was born in Ferkessedougou, Ivory Coast in 1963 and ordained a priest in 1991.

 - Appointed Bishop Jacinto Bergmann of Tubarao, Brazil, as bishop of Pelotas (area 20,594, population 574,000, Catholics 333,000, priests 57, permanent deacons 15, religious 173), Brazil. He succeeds Bishop Jayme Henrique Chemello, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Marcellin Yao Kouadio of the clergy of Daloa, Ivory Coast, national director of Catholic education, as bishop of Yamoussoukro (area 19,890, population 1,102,825, Catholics 131,200, priests 51, religious 79), Ivory Coast. The bishop-elect was born in Vavoua, Ivory Coast in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1990.

 - Appointed Fr. Joaquin Hermes Robledo Romero, vicar general of the diocese of San Lorenzo, Paraguay, as coadjutor of the diocese of Carapegua (area 8,705, population 248,000, Catholics 225,000, priests 17, religious 48), Paraguay. The bishop-elect was born in Asuncion, Paraguay in 1950 and ordained a priest in 1975.
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