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Monday, March 22, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 20 MAR 2010 (VIS) - Yesterday evening in the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, Benedict XVI attended a concern held in honour of his name day.

  The Henschel string quarter and the mezzo-soprano Susanne Kelling performed "The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross" by Joseph Haydn in a new arrangement of Haydn's "Passion" by Jose Peris Lacasa, composer to the royal court of Spain.

  At the end of the concert the Holy Father made some brief remarks in which he thanked the musicians and praised the "austere beauty" of the composition. It is, he said, "worthy of the Solemnity of St. Joseph, ... appropriate for the period of Lent, and prepares us to experience the central Mystery of the Christian faith".

  Haydn's work "conceals a universal rule of artistic expression: that of using a physical medium to communicate a beauty that is also good and true. ... This is the same law that God followed when communicating His love to us: He became incarnate in our human flesh and created the greatest masterpiece of the entire creation: the 'one mediator between God and humankind, the man Jesus Christ'".

  "The 'harder' the material, the more the constraints on expression and the greater the genius of the artist. Thus, on His 'hard' cross God pronounced in Christ the most beautiful and true Word of love, which is Jesus in His full and definitive giving of Self".

  Christ's "bond with history, with the flesh, is the supreme sign of faithfulness, of a love so free as not to be afraid to commit itself forever, to express the infinite in the finite, the whole in the fragment. This law, which is the law of love, is also the law of art in is most exalted expressions", Benedict XVI concluded.
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VATICAN CITY, 20 MAR 2010 (VIS) - At midday today the Holy Father received prelates from the Conference of Bishops of Burkina Faso and Niger, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

  Talking about the results of evangelisation in their countries, the Pope encouraged the prelates to "new missionary efforts that will stimulate your communities fully to accept the evangelical message and faithfully to put into effect. Faith needs to consolidate its roots to ensure there is no return to certain ancient practices that may be incompatible with following Christ, and to resist the lure of a world sometimes hostile to the evangelical ideal". In this context, he praised "the efforts that have been made over many years towards a healthy inculturation of the faith".

  Benedict XVI likewise expressed his satisfaction at the efforts being made by the Church in the dioceses of Burkina Faso and Niger "in their struggle against the evils that prevent people achieving authentic development". He also mentioned last September's floods in the region, noting how "they were an occasion to promote solidarity with everyone". And he went on: "This solidarity, rooted in the love of God, must be a permanent commitment of the ecclesial community. Your faithful have also demonstrated their generosity towards the victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti", he said.

  Referring then to the Year for Priests, the Pope noted how it is helping "to highlight the greatness of the priesthood and to promote interior renewal in the life of the clergy, that their ministry may become increasingly intense and fruitful". In this context he also identified the need "to ensure priests have a solid formation, not only as they prepare for ordination, but also throughout their ministry. It is vital that a priest should have time to intensify his own priestly life, so as to avoid the danger of sliding into activism. May the example of St. John Mary Vianney arouse in your priests' hearts ... a renewed awareness of their total gift of self to Christ and the Church", and lead to "numerous priestly vocations".

  Catechists, said the Holy Father, "are the indispensable collaborators of priests as they announce the Gospel", and he encouraged them in their work of evangelisation, at the same time highlighting the fact that the lay faithful have need of formation in order "to take responsibility in the Church and in society, and to become true witnesses of the Gospel". He also invited the prelates to pay particular attention to outstanding figures in the political and intellectual life of their two countries, "who often have to face ideologies opposed to Christian conception of human beings and society".

  "Enable young people", Pope Benedict told the bishops, "to have the joy of meeting with Christ. Strengthening school and university chaplaincies will help them to find in Him a light capable of guiding them throughout their lives, and of giving them a true sense of human love".

  The Holy Father concluded by referring to the "generally positive situation of inter-religious relations" and expressed the hope that "the ties that bind Christians and Muslims may continue to be consolidated, so as to favour the progress of peace, justice and the common good, rejecting any temptation to violence and intolerance".
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VATICAN CITY, 20 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "The commission established by Benedict XVI in 2007 to study questions of importance concerning the life of the Catholic Church in China will meet in the Vatican from 22 to 24 March. Said commission includes superiors of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia with responsibility in this area, as well as certain representatives of the Chinese episcopate and of religious congregations.

  "The first plenary meeting, which took place from 10 to 12 March 2008, had as its theme the Letter the Holy Father Benedict XVI addressed to Chinese Catholics on 27 May 2007. The meeting considered how that pontifical document was received, both inside and outside China. Participants also reflected upon the theological principles that inspired the Letter in order to understand the prospects arising therefrom for the Catholic community in China.

  "The second plenary meeting, which took place from 30 March to 1 April 2009 examined the question of the human, spiritual and pastoral formation of seminarians and consecrated people, as well as the permanent formation of priests.

  "This plenary meeting will continue to study the abovementioned question of formation so that in China, as in the rest of the world, the work of priests and consecrated persons may help the Church to incarnate and bear witness to the Gospel, also in the face of the challenges arising from changes in social and cultural circumstances".
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VATICAN CITY, 20 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Dominic Kimengich, vicar of the diocesan tribunal of Nakuru, Kenya, as auxiliary of the diocese of Lodwar (area 77,000, population 540,000, Catholics 69,145, priests 49, religious 95), Kenya. The bishop-elect was born in Kituro, Kenya in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1986.

  On Friday 19 March it was made public that he:

 - Appointed Fr. Vilson Basso S.C.J., formator of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Caygayan de Oro City, Philippines, as bishop of Caxias do Maranhao (area 34,449, population 762,450, Catholics 735,220, priests 29, permanent deacons 2, religious 47), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Cinquentenario Tuparendi, Brazil in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1985. He succeeds Bishop Luis D'Andrea O.F.M. Cap., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Conferred the title of archbishop "ad personam" on Bishop Joan Enric Vives Sicilia of Urgell, Spain, co-prince of Andorra.
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VATICAN CITY, 21 MAR 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, the fifth Sunday of Lent, Benedict XVI appeared at the window of his study to pray the Angelus with faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  The Pope commented on the Gospel reading from today's liturgy, St. John's narrative of how Jesus saved the adulteress from being stoned to death. "It is", he said, "a very dramatic scene. A person's life, and Jesus' own life too, depend on the words He uses. Indeed, the hypocritical accusers pretend to entrust judgement to Him when, in fact, it is precisely Him they want to accuse and to judge". Yet, "He knows what is in the heart of each man, He wants to condemn sin, but to save the sinner and unmask hypocrisy".

  The Evangelist, Benedict XVI went on, "highlights a particular detail: while the accusers insistently question Him, Jesus bends down and writes with His finger in the dust. St. Augustine noted how this gesture shows Christ as the divine lawmaker, for God wrote the Law with His finger on the tablets of stone. Thus Jesus is the Lawmaker, He is Justice personified. And what sentence does He give? 'Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her'. These words are full of the disarming power of truth, which breaks down the wall of hypocrisy and opens people's minds to a greater justice, that of love".

  "By absolving the woman of her sin, Jesus introduces her to a new life, one oriented towards goodness: 'Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again'. ... God only wants goodness and life for us. He provides for the health of our souls through His ministers, freeing us from evil with the Sacrament of Reconciliation, that no-one may be lost and everyone may find the way to conversion.

  "In this Year for Priests", the Pope added, "I wish to encourage pastors to imitate the saintly Cure of Ars in the ministry of sacramental Forgiveness, that the faithful may rediscover its meaning and beauty, and be healed by the love of the merciful God, Who 'even forces himself to forget sin, so that He can grant us His forgiveness'".

  After the Angelus prayer, the Pope recalled how next Sunday, Palm Sunday, will mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first World Youth Day, an initiative of John Paul II. "For this reason", he said, "at 7 p.m. this Thursday in St. Peter's Square I hope to see many young people of Rome and Lazio for a special festive celebration".
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VATICAN CITY, 22 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today published the calendar of ceremonies to be presided by Benedict XVI during Holy Week.

 - Sunday 28 March: Palm Sunday and Our Lord's Passion; 25th World Youth Day on the theme: "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?". At 9.30 a.m. in St. Peter's Square, blessing of palms, procession and Mass.

 - Thursday 1 April: Holy Thursday. At 9.30 a.m. in St. Peter's Basilica, Chrism Mass. At 5.30 p.m. in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, beginning of Easter Triduum of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection with the Mass of Our Lord's Last Supper. Collection to be donated for the reconstruction of the seminary in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

 - Friday 2 April: Good Friday. At 5 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, celebration of the Passion of Our Lord. Way of the Cross at the Colosseum at 9.15 p.m.

 - Saturday 3 April: Easter Saturday. At 9 p.m. in St. Peter's Basilica, beginning of Easter Vigil.

 - Sunday 4 April: Easter Sunday. At 10.15 a.m., Mass in St. Peter's Square. At midday, "Urbi et Orbi" blessing from the central loggia of the Vatican Basilica.
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VATICAN CITY, 22 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Two prelates of the Conference of Bishops of Burkina Faso and Niger, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Thomas Kabore of Kaya.

    - Bishop Ambroise Ouedraogo of Maradi.

 - Three prelates of the Scandinavian Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Czeslaw Kozon of Copenhagen.

    - Bishop Teemu Sippo S.C.I. of Helsinki.

    - Bishop Pierre Burcher of Reykjavik.

 On Saturday 20 March, he received in separate audiences:

 - Five prelates of the Conference of Bishops of Burkina Faso and Niger, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Joseph Sama of Nouna.

    - Archbishop Seraphin Francois Roumba of Koupela.

    - Bishop Joachim Ouedraogo of Dori.

    - Bishop Paul Yembuado Ouedraogo of Fada N'Gourma.

    - Archbishop Michel Christian Cartateguy S.M.A. of Niamey.

 - Archbishop Piero Pioppo, apostolic nuncio to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, accompanied by members of his family.

 - Archbishop Novatus Rugambwa, apostolic nuncio to Angola and to Sao Tome and Principe, accompanied by members of his family.

- Archbishop Eugene Martin Nugent, apostolic nuncio to Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles, apostolic delegate to Comoros with functions as apostolic delegate to Reunion, accompanied by members of his family.

 - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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