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Thursday, December 3, 2009


VATICAN CITY, 3 DEC 2009 (VIS) - Made public today was the Pope's Message for the eighteenth World Day of the Sick, which is due to be celebrated in the Vatican Basilica on 11 February 2010, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

  Noting how the forthcoming Day coincides with the twenty-fifth anniversary of the foundation of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, the Holy Father expresses the hope that this fact "will be the occasion for a more generous apostolic commitment at the service of the sick and of their carers".

  "In the mystery of Christ's passion, death and resurrection", writes the Pope, "human suffering finds meaning and fullness of light. ... At the Last Supper the Lord Jesus, before returning to the Father, bent to wash the Apostles' feet in a foretaste of His supreme act of love upon the Cross. With this gesture He invited His disciples to follow His own logic of a love that especially gives itself to the weakest and to those most in need. Following His example all Christians are called to relive, in different contexts, the parable of the Good Samaritan".

  Jesus, says the Holy Father, "exhorts us to attend to the bodily and spiritual wounds of so many of our brothers and sisters whom we meet on the roads of the world. He helps us to understand that, with the grace of God accepted and lived in everyday life, the experience of sickness and suffering can become a school of hope".

  "At the current historical-cultural time", the Message continues, "there is an increasing need for an attentive and extensive ecclesial presence alongside sick people, as well as a presence in society capable of effectively transmitting evangelical values for the protection of human life in all its phases, from conception until natural end".

  The Pope expresses his heartfelt thanks "to the people who daily 'serve the sick and suffering' ensuring that 'that their apostolate of mercy may ever more effectively respond to people's needs'".

  In the current Year for Priests, Benedict XVI also addresses the "'ministers of the sick', sign and instrument of Christ's compassion which must reach everyone who suffers". In this context he invites clergy "to show no reserve in offering help and comfort. Time spent alongside the suffering is rich in grace for all other dimensions of pastoral care.

  "Finally," he adds in conclusion, "I address you, dear sick people, and I ask you to pray and to offer your suffering for priests, that they may remain faithful to their vocation and that their ministry may be rich in spiritual fruits for the benefit of the entire Church".
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VATICAN CITY, 3 DEC 2009 (VIS) - This evening the Holy Father is scheduled to receive in audience Dimitrij Anatolievic Medvedev, president of the Russian Federation, accompanied by an entourage.
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VATICAN CITY, 3 DEC 2009 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Joseph Atanga S.J. of Bafoussam, Cameroon, as archbishop of Bertoua (area 26,320, population 327,550, Catholics 122,655, priests 56, religious 97), Cameroon. The archbishop-elect was born in Akok-Bekoe, Cameroon in 1952 he was ordained a priest in 1987 and consecrated a bishop in 1999. He succeeds Archbishop Roger Pirenne C.I.C.M., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Sosthene Leopold Bayemi Matjei of the clergy of Eseka, Cameroon, professor of philosophy at the University of Central Africa in Yaounde and collaborator of the apostolic nunciature to Cameroon, as bishop of Obala (area 14,849, population 713,842, Catholics 407,865, priests 91, religious 80), Cameroon. The bishop-elect was born in Matomb, Cameroon in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1994. He succeeds Bishop Jerome Owono-Mimboe, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Faustin Ambassa Ndjodo C.I.C.M., provincial superior of the Scheut Fathers and president of the conference of superiors major of Cameroon and of that of Africa and Madagascar, as bishop of Batouri (area 15,981, population 205,000, Catholics 47,000, priests 27, religious 44), Cameroon. The bishop-elect was born in Ekouda, Cameroon in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1997.

 - Appointed Fr. Gines Ramon Garcia Beltran, canon of the cathedral of Almeria, Spain, as bishop of Guadix (area 5,677, population 109,982, Catholics 107,000, priests 66, religious 131), Spain. The bishop-elect was born in Lora, Spain in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1985. He succeeds Bishop Juan Garcia-Santacruz Ortiz, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Barthelemy Adoukonou of the clergy of the diocese of Abomey, Benin, secretary general of the "Conference Episcopale Regionale de l'Afrique de l'Ouest Francophone" (CERAO) and of the Association of the Episcopal Conferences of Anglophone West Africa (AECAWA), and consultor of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture.

 - Appointed Fr. Bernard Ardura O. Praem., secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, as president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences.
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