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Tuesday, September 15, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 15 SEP 2009 (VIS) - Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, president of the Department for External Church Affairs of the Patriarchate of Moscow, is due to visit Rome from 15 to 20 September at the invitation of Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, according to a communique released by the council.

  This will be Archbishop Hilarion's first visit to Rome since he was appointed as president of the Department for External Church Affairs of the Patriarchate of Moscow to substitute Metropolitan Kirill following the latter's election as Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.

  The archbishop will be received by the Holy Father and will meet, among others, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.; Cardinal Walter Kasper; Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

  "In the wake of the many meetings and conversations with the Patriarch in the past", says the communique, "this visit will confirm the ties of friendship between the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, on the solid basis of mutual understanding and respect, with a view to closer collaboration and to favour the presence of the Church in the lives of the peoples of Europe and the world".
CON-UC/VISIT/HILARION:KASPER                 VIS 20090915 (230)


VATICAN CITY, 15 SEP 2009 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office a conference was held to present the forthcoming second award of the Van Thuan Prize and of the Van Thuan - Solidarity and Development Prizes. Participating in today's meeting were Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Msgr. Marco Frisina, director of the choir of the diocese of Rome and author of a composition in honour of Cardinal Van Thuan entitled: "Sentieri della speranza" (Paths of Hope).

  The Van Thuan Prize is awarded to people who have distinguished themselves in the promotion and defence of human rights.

  The award ceremony itself will take place tomorrow, 16 September, at Palazzo Colonna in Rome, on the seventh anniversary of the death of Cardinal Francois-Xavier Van Thuan, whose beatification cause was opened in 2007. The Vietnamese cardinal was Cardinal Martino's predecessor at the head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

  The 2009 Van Thuan Prize will be awarded to Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg for his efforts to defend the right to life and religious freedom.

  The Van Thuan - Solidarity and Development Prizes, to the value of 15,000 euros each, will be given to four humanitarian projects:

 - The Skills Development Centre for the Blind run by Fr. Carlo Velardo S.D.B. in Pakkred, Thailand.

 - The ALAS project of the "Caminos de Libertad" Foundation in the archdiocese of Bogota, Colombia, for the building of a national centre for pastoral care in penitentiaries.

 - The Non-profit Organisation "Cooperazione Missionaria e Sviluppo" run by Msgr. Andrea Vece at the Our Lady of Fatima parish in Salerno, Italy.

 - "ROCHER L'oasis des cites", an association dedicated to educational and social projects at the service of inhabitants of "difficult" neighbourhoods of French cities.
OP/VAN THUAN PRIZES/MARTINO                 VIS 20090915 (310)


VATICAN CITY, 15 SEP 2009 (VIS) - From 6 to 11 September the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" held spiritual exercises for presidents and directors of the Church's ministry of charity throughout Asia, according to a communique released by the dicastery today.

  The spiritual retreat, under the theme of Jesus' words, "You did it to me ..." (Mt 25, 40), took place at Fu Jen Catholic University in Taipei, Taiwan, and was attended by 450 participants from 29 nations, including five cardinals and over sixty bishops.

  "Participants", says the English-language communique, "prayed in a special way for those struck recently by Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan". On 6 September Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, President of "Cor Unum", travelled to the worst hit area of Kaohsiung "in order to visit personally and bring the Lord's consolation to those affected by the tragedy".

  The Holy Father sent a Message to the participants, transmitted by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., in which he manifested "his warm appreciation and gratitude for all those who commit themselves to the 'diakonia' of charity, an essential activity of the life of the Church and a responsibility for the entire ecclesial community". The Pope also expressed the hope that the spiritual exercises will strengthen in participants "the virtue of heartfelt compassion for all who suffer".
CON-CU/SPIRITUAL RETREAT/VIETNAM:CORDES                 VIS 20090915 (230)

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