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Friday, March 26, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 26 MAR 2010 (VIS) - Yesterday evening in St. Peter's Square more than 70,000 young people, most of them from dioceses in Rome and Lazio but also from other areas of Italy, met with the Pope for an encounter of prayer, meditation and dialogue, in an event organised to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of World Youth Days, established by John Paul II in 1985. A number of people bore witness to their faith, in a programme of events that also included songs and dances. Silence descended as the World Youth Day Cross was carried into the square in a torchlight procession, accompanied by an image of the Blessed Virgin "Salus Populi Romani".

  On his arrival in the square, Benedict XVI thanked the young people for their participation, their "magnificent witness of faith" and their "eagerness to follow Jesus". He then responded to questions put to him by three of the youthful participants.

  "What can I do with my life to make it great and beautiful?" was the first question put to the Holy Father who, referring to the parable of the rich young man, replied by saying "in the first place, do not waste life, but live it profoundly, not living only for oneself".

  "God wanted my life since all eternity", the Holy Father went on. "I am loved, I am necessary. God has a plan for me in the totality of history. ... For this reason, the first step is to know, to seek to know, God. ... Then it is essential to love. ... These are, so to say, rules of love, ... with the following essential points: the family as the foundation of society; life, to be respected as a gift of God; order in sexuality, in relations between man and woman; order in society and, finally, truth. ... Perfection (that is, being good, living in faith and truth) is substantially one thing, but has many different forms. ... Finding my vocation and living it everywhere is important and fundamental, whether I am a great scientist or a labourer".

  The second question was "what does it mean to say that Jesus looks at us with love, and how can we have this experience today?" to which the Pope replied: "Of course I would say that we can, because the Lord is always present and looks at each one of us with love. But it is up to us to discover His gaze". The first step, he explained, "is to know the figure of Jesus as He appears in the Gospels", but we must know Him, "not just academically and theoretically, but with the heart; that is, we must talk to Jesus in prayer. ... Reason is also necessary but, at the same time, so is the heart". The key elements are "to listen, to respond, to enter into the community of believers and into communion with Christ in the Sacraments where He gives Himself to us (the Eucharist, Confession etc), and finally, to put the words of faith into practice that they may become a power in my life".

  "Where can I find the strength to make courageous choices, and who can help me?" was the third and last question put to Benedict XVI. Let us begin, he replied "with what is a difficult word for us: sacrifice. ... Even a good professional life cannot be accomplished without sacrifices, without adequate preparation, which always requires discipline". In the same way, "the art of being human also requires sacrifices" which "are explained in the Word of God and help us not to fall into the abyss of drugs, alcohol, slavery to sexuality, slavery to money, laziness. ... Being able to renounce the temptation of the moment, to move towards goodness creates true freedom and makes life valuable. In this context, I feel, we must realise that without a 'no' towards certain things, the great 'yes' to true life cannot develop".
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VATICAN CITY, 26 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Alvaro Colom Caballeros, president of the Republic of Guatemala. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "During the cordial discussions attention turned to the good relations that exist between Church and State, and to the specific contribution the Church makes to the country's development. There followed an exchange of opinions on the international situation, with particular reference to the challenges of poverty, organised crime and emigration. The discussions also served to underline the importance of promoting human life from the moment of conception, and of the role played by education".
OP/AUDIENCE PRESIDENT/GUATEMALA                VIS 20100326 (150)


VATICAN CITY, 26 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The following communique was released late this morning by the Holy See Press Office:

  "Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., questioned by journalists concerning a new 'New York Times' article which appeared on 26 March and concerns the period in which Cardinal Ratzinger was archbishop of Munich, referred them to this morning's public denial in a communique published by the archdiocese of Munich, which reads:

  "'The article in the New York Times contains no new information beyond that which the archdiocese has already communicated concerning the then archbishop's knowledge of the situation of Father H.'

  "Thus the archdiocese confirms the position, according to which the then archbishop had no knowledge of the decision to reassign Father H. to pastoral activities in a parish.

  "It rejects any other version of events as mere speculation.

  "The then vicar general, Msgr. Gerhard Gruber, has assumed full responsibility for his own erroneous decision to reassign Father H. to pastoral activity".
OP/NEW YORK TIMES/...                        VIS 20100326 (180)


VATICAN CITY, 26 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Pope's Message for the eighty-fourth World Mission Day has been published. This year the Day falls on Sunday 24 October and has as its theme: "Building Ecclesial Communion is the Key to the Mission".

  Extracts from the Message are given below:

  "The month of October, with the celebration of World Mission Day, offers diocesan and parish communities, institutes of consecrated life, ecclesial movements, and the entire People of God an opportunity to renew their commitment to announcing the Gospel and to giving their pastoral activities a greater missionary scope".

  "A mature faith capable of entrusting itself entirely to God with filial devotion, nourished by prayer, meditation on the Word of God and the study of the truths of faith, is a necessary premise for the promotion of a new humanism founded on the Gospel of Jesus".

  "In a multi-ethnic society which is experiencing new and worrying forms of solitude and indifference, Christians must learn to offer signs of hope, to become a universal brotherhood, cultivating the great ideals that transform history and, without false illusions or misplaced fears, undertake to make the planet a home for everyone".

  "The awareness of the call to spread the Gospel stimulates each individual member of the faithful, and all diocesan and parish communities, to integral renewal, and to open themselves to an ever greater degree to missionary co-operation between Churches, in order to promote the announcement of the Gospel in the heart of each individual, of whatever people, culture, race or nationality, and in all places".

  "Ecclesial communion is born of the encounter with the Son of God, Jesus Christ. ... The Church becomes 'communion' on the basis of the Eucharist in which Christ, present in the bread and wine, through His sacrifice of love builds the Church as His body, uniting us both with the Triune God and among ourselves".

  "On this World Mission Day in which the eye of the heart ranges over the immense area of the mission, let us all feel involved in the Church's commitment to announce the Gospel. This missionary impulse has always been a sign of vitality in our Churches, and the co-operation among them is a unique testimony of unity, fraternity and solidarity, which gives credibility to those who announce the Love that saves.

  "Thus I renew my invitation to everyone to pray and, despite the economic difficulties, to commit themselves to offering fraternal and concrete help in support of the young Churches. This gesture of love and sharing, which will be distributed thanks to the valuable efforts of the Pontifical Missionary Works (to whom I express my gratitude), will go to support the formation of priests, seminarians and catechists in the most distant mission lands, and to encourage the young ecclesial communities.

  "In concluding this annual Message I want, with particular affection, to express my recognition to the male and female missionaries who bear witness in the most far-flung and difficult places, often with their lives, to the coming of the Kingdom of the Lord".
MESS/WORLD MISSION DAY/...                    VIS 20100326 (520)


VATICAN CITY, 26 MAR 2010 (VIS) - Given below is the programme of Benedict XVI's apostolic trip to Portugal, due to take place from 11 to 14 May to mark the tenth anniversary of the beatification of Jacinta and Francisco, the shepherd children of Fatima.

  The Pope will depart from Rome's Fiumicino airport at 8.50 a.m. on Tuesday 11 May, arriving at Portela airport near Lisbon at 11 a.m. Following the welcome ceremony at the "Mosterio dos Jeronimos", he will pay a courtesy visit to Anibal A. Cavaco Silva, president of Portugal, in the "Palacio de Belem". At 6.15 p.m., he is due to celebrate Mass in Lisbon's "Terreiro do Paco".

  At 10 a.m. on Wednesday 12 May he will meet with representatives of the world of culture in the Belem cultural centre in Lisbon, while at midday he is scheduled to meet with Jose Socrates, the Portuguese prime minister, at the apostolic nunciature in Lisbon. That afternoon he will travel by helicopter to Fatima where, at 5.30 p.m., he is due to visit the Chapel of the Apparitions. He will then preside at Vespers with priests, religious, seminarians and deacons in the Church of the Blessed Trinity. At 9.30 p.m. he will bless a torchlight procession on the esplanade in front of the Shrine of Fatima, and complete the day by praying the rosary in the Chapel of the Apparitions.

  At 10 a.m. on Thursday 13 May the Holy Father will celebrate Mass on the esplanade of the Fatima Shrine following which, at 1 p.m. he will have lunch with Portuguese bishops and the papal entourage. In the afternoon he will meet with representatives of social pastoral care organisations in Fatima's Church of the Blessed Trinity. Later the same evening he is due to meet with the Portuguese episcopate.

  On Friday 14 May Benedict XVI will depart by helicopter from Fatima for Porto where, at 10.15 a.m., he will preside at a Eucharistic celebration in the city's Gran Plaza de la Avenida dos Aliados. The farewell ceremony will take place at 1.30. p.m. at the international airport of Porto whence the papal flight is scheduled to depart at 2 p.m., arriving at Rome's Ciampino airport at 6 p.m.
PV-PORTUGAL/PROGRAMME/...                        VIS 20100326 (380)


VATICAN CITY, 26 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

 - Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

 - Albert Edward Ismail Yelda, ambassador of the Republic of Iraq, on his farewell visit.
AP/.../...                                VIS 20100326 (70)
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