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Wednesday, June 9, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 9 JUN 2010 (VIS) - During his general audience today, celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope reminisced about his recent apostolic trip to Cyprus, "in itself a historical event" being the first time a Bishop of Rome "has visited that land blessed by the apostolic work of St. Paul and St. Barnabas, and considered part of the Holy Land".

  On 4 June in the ancient city of Paphos, during the first stage of his journey, an ecumenical celebration was held "with Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos II and representatives of the Armenian, Lutheran and Anglican communities. We fraternally renewed our reciprocal and irreversible commitment to ecumenism", said the Holy Father.

  On 5 June in Nicosia, capital of Cyprus, having visited the president of the Republic, the Holy Father met with civil authorities and the diplomatic corps, to whom "I reiterated the importance of founding positive law on the ethical principles of natural law in order to promote moral truth in public life. This was an appeal to reason based on ethical principles, full of important implications for today's society which often no longer recognises the cultural tradition upon which it is founded".

  Benedict XVI then went on to recall how during the liturgy of the word, celebrated in St. Maron primary school, "I was able to witness personally the apostolic fervour of Cypriot Catholics. This is expressed through activities of education and assistance, with dozens of structures at the service of the community which are much appreciated by both the governmental authorities and by the population".

  "During that same celebration", he went on, "I was able to admire the apostolic commitment of the Latin community, guided by the solicitude of the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem and the pastoral zeal of the Friars Minor who serve the people with constant generosity".

  The Holy Father then referred to the Mass he had celebrated in the church of the Holy Cross, during which "I made a heartfelt appeal to all the Catholics of the Middle East, despite their great trials and the difficulties they notoriously face, not to give in to discouragement and the temptation to emigrate, because their presence in the region represents an irreplaceable sign of hope. I gave them guarantees, especially to priests and religious, of the entire Church's affectionate and intense solidarity, and her incessant prayers that the Lord may help to ensure their presence always brings life and peace.

  "Surely the culminating moment of my apostolic trip was the consignment of the 'Instrumentum laboris' of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops", the Pope added. On that occasion "we prayed together for the soul of the late Bishop Luigi Padovese, president of the Turkish Episcopal Conference, whose sudden and tragic death left us pained and distressed".

  The Special Assembly for the Middle East, due to be held in the Vatican in October, will "be accompanied by the prayerful affection of the entire Church", said the Holy Father, noting how the Middle East "occupies a special place" in the Church's heart "being the place where God made Himself known to our fathers in the faith. There will also", he continued, "be no lack of attention from the other components of global society, especially important figures in public life who are called to work constantly so the region can overcome the situations of suffering and conflict that still afflict it, and finally rediscover peace in justice".

  Benedict XVI continued his remarks: "Before leaving Cyprus I was happy to visit the Maronite cathedral of Cyprus, where Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, Lebanon, was also present". The Maronites came to Cyprus in various periods, he said, "and often suffered difficult trials in order to remain faithful to their specific Christian tradition, the history and art of which represent a cultural heritage for all humankind".

  The Pope concluded his remarks by highlighting how "the Cypriot Catholic community in its various ramifications - Maronite, Armenian and Latin - incessantly seeks to be of a single heart and a single soul, both in itself and in its cordial and constrictive relations with our Orthodox brothers and with other Christian groups. May the Cypriot people and the other nations of the Middle East, with their political leaders and the representatives of the various religions, together build a future of peace, friendship and fraternal collaboration".
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VATICAN CITY, 9 JUN 2010 (VIS) - In his greetings at the end of today's general audience, Benedict XVI said: "The Feast of The Sacred Heart of Jesus, which we celebrate the day after tomorrow, marks the end of the Year for Priests. Thousands of priests from all over the world will come together in Rome to praise the Lord and renew their vows. I invite everyone to participate in this event with their prayers".

  Turning then to greet Polish pilgrims, he mentioned the new blessed, Jerzy Popieluszko who, he said, "taught love and solidarity with those in need of spiritual or material support. To his protection I entrust the people suffering because of recent flooding, and everyone who is seeking to help them".
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VATICAN CITY, 9 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Regensburg, Germany.
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VATICAN CITY, 9 JUN 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Mario Antonio da Silva, chancellor and pastor in the diocese of Jacarezinho, Brazil, as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Manaus (area 64,079, population 1,501,000, Catholics 1,288,000, priests 139, permanent deacons 5, religious 275), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Itarare, Brazil in 1966 and ordained a priest in 1991.
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