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Monday, June 7, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 7 JUN 2010 (VIS) - Made public today was the Letter in which Benedict XVI appoints Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. as pontifical legate to the Eucharistic Congress of Slovenia, due to take place in Celje on 13 June. The Letter, written in Latin, is dated 3 May.

  The mission accompanying Cardinal Bertone on his mission will be made up of: Msgr. Janez Gril, editor of the "Druzina" Catholic weekly and bursar of the diocese of Novo Mesto; Fr. Bogdan Kolar S.D.B., former dean of the faculty of theology of Ljubljana, currently professor of history at the same university; Msgr. Lech Piechota, official of the Secretariat of State; Msgr. Guillermo Javier Karcher, official of the Secretariat of State and a master of pontifical ceremonies, and Fr. Roberto Lucchini, nunciature secretary in service at the Secretariat of State.
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VATICAN CITY, 7 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Carlos Garfias Merlos of Netzahualcoyotl, Mexico, as metropolitan archbishop of Acapulco (area 18.603, population 4,190,000, Catholics 3,024,000, priests 118, permanent deacons 24, religious 119), Mexico. The archbishop-elect was born in Tuxpan, Mexico in 1951, he was ordained a priest in 1975 and consecrated a bishop in 1996. He succeeds Archbishop Felipe Aguirre Franco, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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VATICAN CITY, 6 JUN 2010 (VIS) - At 4.30 p.m. today the Holy Father visited the Maronite cathedral of Cyprus, which is dedicated to Our Lady of Grace. The cathedral, consecrated in 1960, was built with funds collected from the faithful and a donation from the Cypriot government.

  Having been greeted by Archbishop Joseph Soueif of Cyprus of the Maronites, the Pope delivered his address. "As I visit this building", he said, "in my heart I make a spiritual pilgrimage to every Maronite church of the island. Be assured that, moved by a father's care, I am close to all the faithful of those ancient communities.

  "This cathedral church in some way represents the very long and rich - and sometimes turbulent - history of the Maronite community in Cyprus", he added. "Maronites came to these shores at various times throughout the centuries and were often hard-pressed to remain faithful to their distinct Christian heritage. Nevertheless, in spite of their faith being tested like gold in a fire, they remained constant in the faith of their fathers, a faith which has now been passed on to you, the Maronite Cypriots of today. I urge you to treasure this great inheritance, this precious gift".

  The Holy Father went on: "This cathedral building also reminds us of an important spiritual truth. St. Peter tells us that we Christians are the living stones which are being 'built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ'. Together with Christians throughout the world, we are part of that great temple which is the mystical Body of Christ. Our spiritual worship, offered in many tongues, in many places and in a beautiful variety of liturgies, is an expression of the one voice of the People of God, united in praise and thanksgiving to him and in enduring communion with each other. This communion, which we hold so dear, impels us to carry the Good News of our new life in Christ to all mankind.

  "Commending you and your families, and especially your beloved children to the intercession of St. Maron, I willingly impart to all of you my apostolic blessing", he concluded.

  Following the Holy Father's words, His Beatitude Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon, prayed the prayer of forgiveness in the Syriac rite, followed by a hymn of invocation to the Virgin. Benedict XVI then travelled by car to the airport at Larnaca.
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VATICAN CITY, 6 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The departure ceremony at the end of the Pope's apostolic trip to Cyprus took place at Larnaca airport at 5.45 p.m. today.

  Following some brief remarks from Demetris Christofias, president of the Republic of Cyprus, the Pope pronounced his address.

  He began by thanking the president, the government and the civil and military authorities for everything done "to make my visit such a memorable and successful one".

  He then went on: "As I depart your shores, like many pilgrims before me I am reminded again of how the Mediterranean is made up of a rich mosaic of peoples with their distinctive cultures and their beauty, their warmth and their humanity. In spite of that reality, the Eastern Mediterranean is at the same time no stranger to conflict and bloodshed, as we have tragically witnessed in recent days. Let us all redouble our efforts to build a real and lasting peace for all the peoples of the region.

  "Together with that general objective", he added, "Cyprus can play a particular role in promoting dialogue and co-operation. Striving patiently for the peace of your own hearths and for the prosperity of your neighbours, you will then be well placed to hear and understand all sides of many complex issues, and to help peoples to come to a greater understanding of one another. The path that you are taking, Mr President, is one which the international community looks to with great interest and hope, and I note with satisfaction all the efforts that have been made to favour peace for your people and for the whole island of Cyprus.

  "As I give thanks to God for these days which saw the first encounter of the Catholic community in Cyprus with the Successor of Peter on their own soil, I also recall with gratitude my meetings with other Christian leaders, in particular with His Beatitude Chrysostomos II and the other representatives of the Church of Cyprus, whom I thank for their brotherly welcome. I hope that my visit here will be seen as another step along the path that was opened up before us by the embrace in Jerusalem of the late Patriarch Athenagoras and my venerable predecessor Pope Paul VI. Their first prophetic steps together show us the road that we too must tread. We have a divine call to be brothers, walking side by side in the faith, humble before almighty God, and with unbreakable bonds of affection for one another. As I invite my fellow Christians to continue this journey, I would assure them that the Catholic Church, with the Lord's grace, will herself pursue the goal of perfect unity in charity through an ever deepening appreciation of what Catholics and Orthodox hold dearest."

  The Holy Father then reiterated his "sincere hope and prayer that, together, Christians and Muslims will become a leaven for peace and reconciliation among Cypriots and serve as an example to other countries".

  Addressing the president and the government, Benedict XVI recalled how "among your most important tasks is that of assuring the peace and security of all Cypriots. Having stayed these past nights in the apostolic nunciature, ... I have seen for myself something of the sad division of the island, as well as learning of the loss of a significant part of a cultural heritage which belongs to all humanity. I have also listened to Cypriots from the north who wish to return in peace to their homes and places of worship, and I have been deeply moved by their pleas. Surely truth and reconciliation, together with respect, are the soundest foundation for the united and peaceful future of this island, and for the stability and prosperity of all her people. Much good has been achieved in this regard through substantive dialogue in recent years, though much remains to be done to overcome divisions. Let me encourage you and your fellow citizens to work patiently and steadfastly with your neighbours to build a better and more certain future for all your children. As you do so, be assured of my prayers for the peace of all Cyprus".

  Having concluded his remarks the Pope blessed an olive tree and greeted the various delegations. Then, following the pontifical hymn and the Cypriot national anthem, he boarded his plane for Rome, arriving at Ciampino airport at 8.15 p.m. He then travelled by helicopter to the Vatican.
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