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Tuesday, February 23, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 23 FEB 2010 (VIS) - Benedict XVI has sent a telegram, through Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., to Bishop Antonio Jose Cavaco Carrilho of Funchal, on the Portuguese island of Madeira, for the storms and flooding that affected the island on Saturday, causing the deaths of forty-two people and vast material damage.

  In the telegram the Holy Father gives assurances of his closeness to the people, and entrusts the victims to the mercy of God. At the same time, he calls for consolation and assistance to be offered to victims' families, the injured and the homeless, and praises the efforts of rescuers and aid workers.
TGR/FLOODS/CAVACO:FUNCHAL                VIS 20100223 (120)


VATICAN CITY, 23 FEB 2010 (VIS) - Before beginning his annual Lenten spiritual exercises on Sunday evening, the Holy Father sent a Message to Archbishop Geraldo Lyrio Rocha of Mariana, president of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, for the Fraternity Campaign traditionally promoted by the Brazilian Church during Lent.

  The theme of the 2010 campaign is "economy and life" and its motto is "You cannot serve God and Mammon". This is the third occasion on which the campaign has an ecumenical flavour as five other Christian Churches, members of the National Council of Christian Churches in Brazil, are also participating.

  In his Message the Pope praises the initiative undertaken by the Churches and Christian communities, "who this year have decided to unite their forces to reconcile people with God and to help them free themselves from slavery to money".

  "Slavery to money and injustice have their origins in the heart of man, which contains the seeds of a mysterious coexistence with evil", writes Benedict XVI. He goes on to encourage participants in the campaign "to persevere in your witness to the love of God, to the Son of God Who became man, ... and to the only good that can satisfy the human heart".

  The World Council of Churches, a group which brings together 349 Churches around the world and more than 500,000 Christians, has also expressed its support for the Fraternity Campaign.
MESS/FRATERNITY CAMPAIGN/ROCHA            VIS 20100223 (250)


VATICAN CITY, 23 FEB 2010 (VIS) - For the occasion of Benedict XVI's apostolic trip to Malta, due to take place on 17 and 18 April to commemorate the 1950th anniversary of St. Paul's shipwreck on the island, statistics have been published concerning the Catholic Church in that country. The information, updated to 31 December 2008, comes from the Central Statistical Office of the Church.

  Malta, the capital city of which is Valletta, has a population of 443,000 of whom 418,000 (94.4 percent) are Catholic. There are 2 ecclesiastical circumscriptions and 85 parishes. Currently there are 9 bishops, 853 priests, 1,143 religious, 43 lay members of secular institutes and 1,231 catechists. Minor seminarians number 269 and major seminarians 91.

  A total of 17,786 students attend 80 centres of Catholic education, from kindergartens to universities. Other institutions belonging to the Church or run by priests or religious in Malta include 24 homes for the elderly or disabled, 26 orphanages and nurseries, 9 family counselling centres and other pro-life centres, 24 centres for education and social rehabilitation, and 4 institutions of other kinds.
OP/STATISTICS MALTA/...                    VIS 20100223 (190)


VATICAN CITY, 23 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The annual meeting of the Joint Committee for Dialogue of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and the Permanent Committee of al-Azhar for Dialogue among the Monotheistic Religions, began today in Cairo, Egypt. The theme of this year's gathering is confessional violence.

  The meeting, which is due to conclude tomorrow, is being presided by Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, and by Sheikh Ali Abd al-Baqi Shahata, secretary general of the Academy for Islamic Research of al-Azhar.


VATICAN CITY, 23 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Alberto Sanguinetti Montero of the clergy of the archdiocese of Montevideo, Uruguay, pastor of the parish of "Nuestra Senora del Carmen" in Cordon, as bishop of Canelones (area 4,532, population 453,000, Catholics 339,000, priests 40, permanent deacons 11, religious 153), Uruguay. The bishop-elect was born in Montevideo in 1945 and ordained a priest in 1973. He succeeds Bishop Orlando Romero Cabrera, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Terry R. LaValley of the clergy of the diocese of Ogdensburg, U.S.A., diocesan administrator and rector of St. Mary's Cathedral, as bishop of Ogdensburg (area 31,161, population 499,700, Catholics 116,000, priests 119, permanent deacons 62, religious 127). The bishop-elect was born in Plattsburgh, U.S.A. in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1988.

 - Appointed Msgr. Joseph C. Bambera of the clergy of the diocese of Scranton, U.S.A., delegate of the apostolic administrator of Scranton and pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas parish at Archbald and of St. Mary of Czestochowa parish at Eynon, as bishop of Scranton (area 22.913, population 1,095,092, Catholics 316,825, priests 352, permanent deacons 63, religious 627). The bishop-elect was born in Carbondale, U.S.A. in 1956 and ordained a priest in 1983.
NER:RE/.../...                                VIS 20100223 (230)
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