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Monday, March 1, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 1 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Five prelates from the Uganda Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Sabino Ocan Odoki, apostolic administrator of Arua.

    - Bishop Giuseppe Franzelli M.C.C.J. of Lira, accompanied by Bishop emeritus Joseph Oyanga.

    - Bishop Martin Luluga of Nebbi.

 - Archbishop Julian Barrio Barrio of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, accompanied by an entourage.

  On Saturday 27 February, he received in audience Fr. Enrico Dal Covolo S.D.B., preacher of the Lenten spiritual exercises.
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VATICAN CITY, 27 FEB 2010 (VIS) - At the end of his annual Lenten spiritual exercises, the Holy Father made some brief off-the-cuff remarks thanking the preacher, Fr. Enrico Dal Covolo S.D.B. who, he said, had guided the participants in the exercises "along the path of renewal of our priesthood".

  The Holy Father recalled how the preacher "chose as starting point, as ever-present backdrop and as goal, ... Solomon's prayer for 'a heart that listens'. Truly I feel", he went on, "that this encapsulates the entire Christian vision of man. Man is not perfect in himself, man needs relationships, he is a relational being. It is not his 'cogito' that can 'cogitare' all of reality. He needs to listen, to listen to others, above all to the Other with a capital 'O', to God. Only in this way does he know himself, only in this way does he become himself".

  The Pope went on: "From my place here I was always able to see the Mother of the Redeemer, the 'Sede Sapientiae', the living throne of wisdom with Wisdom incarnate in her womb. And, as we have seen, St. Luke presents Mary as a woman with a heart that listens, a woman immersed in the Word of God, who listens to the Word, meditates upon it ... and conserves it in her heart. The Fathers of the Church said that at the moment of the conception of the eternal Word in the womb of the Virgin, the Holy Spirit entered into Mary through her ear. Through listening she conceived the eternal Word, gave her flesh to this Word. Thus she shows us what it is to have a heart that listens.

  "Mary", he added, "is here surrounded by the fathers and mothers of the Church, by the communion of the saints. Thus over these days have we seen and understood that it is not in the isolated 'I' that we can truly listen to the Word, but only in the 'us' of the Church, in the 'us' of the communion of saints".

  "You", said Benedict XVI addressing Fr. Dal Covolo, "have shown us and given voice to five exemplary figures of priests, from St. Ignatius of Antioch to the beloved Venerable John Paul II. In this way have we again perceived what it means to be a priest, to become priests ever more profoundly".

  "Consecration tends towards mission", the Pope concluded. "Over these days we have, with God's help, deepened our own consecration. And with renewed courage we now wish to face our mission".
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VATICAN CITY, 27 FEB 2010 (VIS) - Made public today was a telegram from the Pope to His Holiness Bartholomew I Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, for the latter's seventieth birthday.

  The English-language text reads: "The happy occasion of your seventieth birthday offers me a welcome opportunity to give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and the giver of every good gift, for the abundant blessings which He has bestowed upon Your Holiness, and at the same time to convey my warm good wishes.

  "These fervent and fraternal good wishes are accompanied by my prayers that our one Lord will sustain you with His strength and grace as you carry out your high ministry of pastor, preacher of the Gospel and teacher of the spiritual life.

  "With pleasant memories of our meetings, particularly my visit to the Phanar for the feast of the Apostle Andrew, Peter's brother, I exchange with Your Holiness a holy embrace, while expressing my prayerful confidence that the spirit of God will continue to enlighten and guide our path towards the full communion willed by Christ for all His disciples".
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VATICAN CITY, 27 FEB 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. Jose de Jesus Gonzalez Hernandez O.F.M., rector and pastor of the cathedral church of Inhambane, Mozambique, as bishop prelate of territorial prelature of Jesus Maria (area 25,000, population 146,000, Catholics 134,000, priests 27, permanent deacons 1, religious 72), Mexico. The bishop-elect was born in Etzatlan, Mexico in 1964 and ordained a priest in 1994. He succeeds Bishop Jose Antonio Perez Sanchez, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same territorial prelature the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium, also as military ordinary for Belgium.
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VATICAN CITY, 28 FEB 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered below in St. Peter's Square.

  Benedict XVI began his remarks by referring to his recently-concluded spiritual exercises with members of the Roman Curia. "We spent", he said, "days of meditation and intense prayer, during which we reflected on the priestly vocation, in keeping with the Year for Priests currently being celebrated by the Church".

  Commenting then on today's liturgy, in which St. Luke recounts the episode of the Transfiguration, the Pope explained how the Evangelist "describes the event using two elements: Jesus face which changed appearance, and His clothes which became dazzling white, in the presence of Moses and Elijah, symbol of the Law and the Prophets. The three disciples present at the scene were overcome with sleep. Theirs was the attitude of people who, though witnesses of divine prodigies, fail to understand. Only by struggling against their torpor could Peter, James and John 'see' the glory of Jesus".

  A little later, as Peter speaks to Jesus in amazement, a cloud came and covered them. "It was a cloud which, while covering, revealed the glory of God, as happened with the people wandering in the desert", said the Holy Father. "Their eyes could not see, but their ears heard the voice emerging from the cloud: 'This is my Son, my Chosen, listen to Him'.

  "Then", he added, "the disciples no longer found themselves before a transfigured face or dazzling garments, nor a cloud revealing the divine presence. Before their eyes 'Jesus was found alone', ... and this is what must suffice us for our journey. He is the only voice to listen to, the only one to follow, He Who climbing towards Jerusalem would give His life and one day 'transform the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed to the body of His glory'".

  "The Transfiguration reminds us that the joys God disseminates in our lives are not goals in themselves but lights He gives us on our earthly pilgrimage, that 'Jesus alone' may be our Law and His Word the criterion that guides our existence".

  "In this period of Lent", Benedict XVI concluded, "I invite everyone to meditate assiduously upon the Gospel. Furthermore, it is my hope that in this Year for Priests, pastors 'may truly be pervaded by the Word of God, know it authentically and love it to the extent that it truly does give them life and form their thoughts'"
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VATICAN CITY, 28 FEB 2010 (VIS) - In remarks following today's Angelus prayer, the Pope mentioned the recent killing of a number of Christians in Iraq, and the people affected by an earthquake in Chile.

  "With great sadness did I learn the tragic news of the killing of a number of Christians in the city of Mosul, and with great concern have I followed other episodes of violence committed against defenceless people of various religious confessions in the martyred land of Iraq. Over these days of intense meditation I often prayed for all the victims of those attacks, and today I wish to unite myself spiritually to the prayer for peace and the return of security promoted by the Council of Bishops of Nineveh. I remain affectionately close to the Christian communities of the entire country. Never tire of being a leaven for good in the homeland to which you, for many centuries, fully and rightly belong.

  "In this delicate political phase that Iraq is currently experiencing", he added, "I appeal to the civil authorities to make every effort to restore security to the population, in particular to the most vulnerable religious minorities, My hope is that no-one succumb to the temptation to make temporary and partisan interests prevail over the safety and fundamental rights of each citizen. Finally, as I greet the Iraqis present here in St. Peter's Square, I exhort the international community to do everything possible to give Iraqis a future of reconciliation and justice, as I trustingly invoke the precious gift of peace from Almighty God".

  The Holy Father then went on to mention the people affected by the recent earthquake in Chile, "which caused great loss of human life and vast material damage. I pray for the victims and remain spiritually close to the people so sorely tried by such a serious calamity. I ask God to being them relief in their suffering and courage in adversity; and I am sure that no lack of solidarity will be shown, especially by ecclesial organisations".
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VATICAN CITY, 1 MAR 2010 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for March is: "That the world economy may be managed according to the principles of justice and equity, taking account of the real needs of peoples, especially the poorest".

  His mission intention is: "That the Churches in Africa may be signs and instruments of reconciliation and justice in every part of that continent".
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