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Monday, May 31, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 29 MAY 2010 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy Father received participants in a pilgrimage promoted by the diocese of Macerata-Tolentino-Recanati-Cingoli-Treia and other dioceses of the Italian Marche region, marking the fourth centenary of the death of the Jesuit Fr. Matteo Ricci.

  In his address the Pope recalled how Fr. Ricci, who was born in Macerata and died in China on 11 May 1610, was "a great missionary and an important figure in the announcement of the Gospel in China in the modern age, following the first evangelisation by Archbishop Giovanni da Montecorvino". He "was granted the extraordinary privilege, unthinkable for a foreigner, of being buried in Chinese soil".

  "Fr. Ricci is a unique model of harmoniously blending the announcement of the Gospel with dialogue with the culture of the people to whom it is brought, an example of balance between doctrinal clarity and careful pastoral activity".

  The Pope highlighted how "the work of this great missionary presents two aspects which cannot be separated: the Chinese inculturation of the Gospel message, and the introduction of Western culture and science into China. ... Fr. Ricci did not go to China to bring Western science and culture but to bring the Gospel, to make God known".

  But "this meeting motivated by faith also became a dialogue between cultures", Pope Benedict explained. "It was a disinterested dialogue, free from economic and political aims, lived in friendship; and this makes the work of Fr, Ricci and his disciples one of the most exalted and felicitous points in relations between China and the West".

  "Our admiration for Fr. Ricci must not, however, makes us forget the role and influence of his Chinese counterparts. The decisions he made did not depend on some abstract strategy of inculturation of the faith, but on events as a whole, on the meetings and experiences he accumulated. Thus, his achievements came about thanks also to his meeting with the Chinese, an experience that took many forms but that was particularly intensified through his relations with certain friends and disciples, especially the four famous coverts, 'pillars of the nascent Chinese Church', of whom the first and most well known is Xu Guangqi".

  Addressing the seven thousand faithful present in the Paul VI Hall, the Holy Father called for "the memory of these men of God dedicated to the Gospel and to the Church, their example of faithfulness to Christ, their profound love for the Chinese people, their intelligence and dedication to study, their virtuous lives, to be a stimulus for us to pray for the Church in China, and for the entire Chinese people, as we do every year on 24 May, addressing ourselves to the Blessed Virgin venerated in the famous shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai.

  May their example, he concluded, "be a stimulus and encouragement to live the Christian faith intensely, in dialogue with various cultures but with the certainty that in Christ lies the true humanism, open to God, rich in moral and spiritual values and able to respond to the most profound desires of the human soul. I too, like Fr. Matteo Ricci, today express my profound esteem for the noble Chinese people and their millennial culture, convinced that a renewed encounter with Christianity will bring abundant fruits of good, just as it then favoured peaceful coexistence among peoples".
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VATICAN CITY, 29 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

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

 - Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
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VATICAN CITY, 30 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Today, Trinity Sunday "which in a certain sense recapitulates the revelation of God in the Paschal mysteries", the liturgy returns to "ordinary time". However, said the Holy Father in his remarks before praying the Angelus, "this does not mean that the commitment of Christians must diminish; quite the contrary, having entered divine life through the Sacraments, we are now called to remain open to the action of Grace in order to grow in love towards God and neighbour".

  "The human mind and human language are inadequate to explain the relation that exists between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Nonetheless the Fathers of the Church sought to explain the mystery of the One and Triune God by putting it into practice with profound faith in their own lives", the Pope told the faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  "The Blessed Trinity comes to dwell in us on the day of Baptism", Benedict XVI explained. "And each time we make the sign of the cross we remember the name of God in which we were baptised. ... The sign of the cross and the name of the living God contain, then, the announcement that generates faith and inspires prayer. And what Jesus promises the Apostles in the Gospel ('when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth'), comes about in the Sunday liturgy when, week after week, priests dispense the bread of the Word and the Eucharist".

  The Holy Father concluded his remarks by quoting a prayer of St. Hilary of Poitiers: "Keep, I pray, this my pious faith undefiled, and even till my spirit departs, grant that this may be the utterance of my convictions: so that I may ever hold fast that which I professed in the creed of my regeneration, when I was baptised in the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit".
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VATICAN CITY, 30 MAY 2010 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus today, the Pope recalled how this morning in the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major, the beatification took place of Maria Pierina De Micheli, religious of the Daughters of the Immaculate Conception in Buenos Aires.

  "Giuseppina, the name with which she was baptised, was born in Milan, Italy, in 1890", said the Pope, noting that "hers was a profoundly religious family which brought forth various vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life. At the age of twenty-three she too started down this path dedicating herself passionately to education, in Argentina and in Italy. The Lord gave her an extraordinary devotion to His Holy Face, which supported her always, even through trials and sickness. She died in 1945 and her remains lie at the Holy Spirit Institute in Rome".

  Turning then to address English-speaking faithful, Benedict XVI recalled how later this week, from 4 to 6 June, he will visit Cyprus "to meet and pray with the Catholic and Orthodox faithful there and to consign the 'Instrumentum laboris' for the upcoming Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Middle East. I ask for your prayers for the peace and prosperity of all the people of Cyprus, as well as for the preparations for the Special Assembly", he said.
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VATICAN CITY, 31 MAY 2010 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for June is: "That every national and trans-national institution may strive to guarantee respect for human life from conception to natural death".

  His mission intention is: "That the Churches in Asia, which constitute a 'little flock' among non-Christina populations, may know how to communicate the Gospel and give joyful witness to their adherence to Christ".
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VATICAN CITY, 31 MAY 2010 (VIS) - This morning the Holy See Press Office released the following English-language communique concerning the apostolic visitation of Ireland as announced in the Holy Father's 19 March Letter to the Catholics of Ireland:

  "Following the Holy Father's Letter to the Catholics of Ireland, the apostolic visitation of certain Irish dioceses, seminaries and religious congregations will begin in autumn of this year.

  "Through this visitation, the Holy See intends to offer assistance to the bishops, clergy, religious and lay faithful as they seek to respond adequately to the situation caused by the tragic cases of abuse perpetrated by priests and religious upon minors. It is also intended to contribute to the desired spiritual and moral renewal that is already being vigorously pursued by the Church in Ireland.

  "The apostolic visitors will set out to explore more deeply questions concerning the handling of cases of abuse and the assistance owed to the victims; they will monitor the effectiveness of and seek possible improvements to the current procedures for preventing abuse, taking as their points of reference the Pontifical 'Motu Proprio' 'Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela' and the norms contained in 'Safeguarding Children: Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland', commissioned and produced by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church.

  "The visitation will begin in the four metropolitan archdioceses of Ireland (Armagh, Dublin, Cashel and Emly, and Tuam) and will then be extended to some other dioceses.

  "The visitors named by the Holy Father for the dioceses are: Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, archbishop emeritus of Westminster, England, for the archdiocese of Armagh; Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley O.F.M. Cap., archbishop of Boston, U.S.A., for the archdiocese of Dublin; Archbishop Thomas Christopher Collins of Toronto, Canada, for the archdiocese of Cashel and Emly, and Archbishop Terrence Thomas Prendergast S.J. of Ottawa, Canada, for the archdiocese of Tuam.

  "In its desire to accompany the process of renewal of houses of formation for the future priests of the Church in Ireland, the Congregation for Catholic Education will co-ordinate the visitation of the Irish seminaries, including the Pontifical Irish College in Rome. While special attention will be given to the matters that occasioned the apostolic visitation, in the case of the seminaries it will cover all aspects of priestly formation. Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, U.S.A., has been named apostolic visitor.

  "For its part, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life will organise the visitation of religious houses in two phases. Firstly it will conduct an enquiry by means of a questionnaire to be sent to all the superiors of religious institutes present in Ireland, with a view to providing an accurate picture of the current situation and formulating plans for the observance and improvement of the norms contained in the 'guidelines'. In the second phase, the apostolic visitors will be: Fr. Joseph Tobin C.Ss.R. and Fr. Gero McLaughlin S.J. for institutes of men; Sr. Sharon Holland I.H.M. and Sr. Mairin McDonagh R.J.M. for institutes of women. They will carry out a careful study, evaluating the results obtained from the questionnaire and the possible steps to be taken in the future in order to usher in a season of spiritual rebirth for religious life on the Island.

  "His Holiness invites all the members of the Irish Catholic community to support this fraternal initiative with their prayers. He invokes God's blessings upon the visitors, and upon all the bishops, clergy, religious and lay faithful of Ireland, that the visitation may be for them an occasion of renewed fervour in the Christian life, and that it may deepen their faith and strengthen their hope in Christ our Saviour".
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VATICAN CITY, 31 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Benin City, Nigeria, presented by Archbishop Richard Anthony Burke S.P.S., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Bishop Matthias Kobena Nketsiah, auxiliary of Cape Coast, Ghana, as metropolitan archbishop of the same archdiocese (area 9,788, population 1,745,214, Catholics 318,419, priests 121, religious 152). The archbishop-elect was born in Kakomdo, Ghana in 1942, he was ordained a priest in 1970 and consecrated a bishop in 2007.

 - Appointed Bishop Remy Victor Vancottem, auxiliary of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium, as bishop of Namur (area 8,100, population 734,000, Catholics 556,000, priests 726, permanent deacons 63, religious 1,367), Belgium.

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the diocese of Munster, Germany, presented by Bishop Heinrich Janssen, in accordance with canons 411 and 401 para. 1 of the Code of Canon Law.

 - Appointed Fr. Dieter Geerlings of the clergy of the archdiocese of Munster, Germany, president of diocesan Caritas and canon of the cathedral chapter; Fr. Christoph Hegge of the clergy of the archdiocese of Munster, pro vicar general, head of the office for consecrated life and canon the cathedral chapter, and Fr. Wilfried Theising of the clergy of the archdiocese of Munster, provost and dean at Borken, as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Munster (area 15,265, population 4,335,600, Catholics 2,007,335, priests 1,165, permanent deacons 270, religious 2,827). Bishop-elect Geerlings was born in Emmerich, Germany in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1973. Bishop-elect Hegge was born in Rheine, Germany in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1988. Bishop-elect was born in Wettringen, Germany in 1962 and ordained a priest in 1989.

  On Saturday 29 May it was made public that he appointed:

 - Fr. Michael Didi Adgum Mangoria of the clergy of Khartoum, Sudan, rector of St. Paul's National Seminary of Khartoum, as coadjutor of the diocese of El-Obeid (area 888,939, population 8,900,000, Catholics 140,000, priests 38, religious 28), Sudan. The bishop-elect was born in Engoth, Sudan in 1959 and ordained a priest in 1992.

 - Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., archbishop of Quebec, Canada, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the fourth centenary of the baptism of Grand Chief Henri Membertou, due to be held on Chapel Island, Nova Scotia, Canada, on 1 August.
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