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Monday, October 18, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 15 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Ninth General Congregation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops took place this afternoon in the Synod Hall of the Vatican. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. The Holy Father was present for the period of free discussion at the end of the session.

  Extracts from some of the Synod Father's speeches are given below:


VATICAN CITY, 18 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Eleventh General Congregation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops was held this morning in the Synod Hall in the presence of the Holy Father. The sitting was dedicated to the presentation of the "Relatio post disceptationem" (report after the discussion), and the president delegate on duty was Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches.

  The "Relatio post disceptationem" was delivered by His Beatitude Antonios Naguib, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt. Extracts from the document are given below:



VATICAN CITY, 16 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Tenth General Congregation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops was held this morning in the Vatican's Synod Hall. During the session, the draft of the final message was presented and discussed, and a first round of voting took place for members of the Special Council for the Middle East of the General Secretariat of the Synod. The president delegate on duty was His Beatitude Ignace Youssif III Younan, Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians, Lebanon.
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VATICAN CITY, 16 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Bronislaw Komorowski, president of the Republic of Poland. 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.

  "The cordial discussions began by recalling the felicitous coincidence of the president's visit with the thirty-second anniversary of the election to the papacy of Servant of God Pope John Paul II. Attention then turned to the importance of dialogue between Church and State, each according to its own competencies, for the promotion of the common good. The parties expressed their mutual desire to continue effective co-operation in areas of joint interest - for example, in education and in promoting the fundamental values of society - and emphasis was given to the importance of defending human life in all its stages. The meeting closed with an exchange of opinions on the current situation in Europe".
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VATICAN CITY, 16 OCT 2010 (VIS) - This evening in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, Benedict XVI and the Synod Fathers attended a concert given in the Pope's honour by the composer Enoch zu Guttenberg. He conducted the Klang Verwaltung orchestra and the Neubeuern choir in Giuseppe Verdi's Requiem Mass.

  At the end of the concert the Holy Father arose to address some remarks to those present.

  "Giuseppe Verdi", he said, "spent his life scrutinising the heart of man, and in his works he highlighted the drama of the human condition. ... His theatre is full of unhappy souls, of the persecuted, of victims. This tragic vision of human destiny is echoed in many parts of his Requiem Mass, where we touch the inescapable reality of death and the fundamental question of the transcendent world".

  Verdi, "who in a famous letter to the publisher Ricordi, defined himself as being 'a bit atheist', wrote this Mass which seems to like a great appeal to the Eternal Father, an attempt to overcome the cry of desperation in the face of death, to rediscover the breath of life which becomes the silent and heartfelt prayer: 'Libera me, Domine'".

  "This 'musical cathedral'", the Pope concluded, "thus appears as a description of the spiritual drama of man before Almighty God, of man who cannot escape the eternal question concerning his own existence".
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VATICAN CITY, 17 OCT 2010 (VIS) - At 10 a.m. today Benedict XVI celebrated the Eucharist in the atrium of the Vatican Basilica, and canonised the following six blesseds: Stanislao Soltys, called Kazimierczyk, Polish professed religious of the Order of Canons Regular Lateranense (1433-1489); Andre Bessette (ne Alfred), Canadian professed religious of the Congregation of the Holy Cross (1845-1937); Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola (nee Juana Josefa), Spanish founder of the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus (1845-1912); Mary of the Cross MacKillop (nee Mary Helen), Australian founder of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart (1842-1909); Giulia Salzano, Italian founder of the Congregation of Sisters Catechists of the Sacred Heart (1846-1929), and Battista da Varano (nee Camilla), professed nun of the Order of Poor Clares (1458-1524).

  At the beginning of his homily the Pope explained how "this Sunday's liturgy offers us a fundamental teaching: the importance of ceaseless prayer. Sometimes we get tired of praying, we have the impression that prayer is not very useful in life, that it is not terribly effective. So we are tempted to dedicate ourselves to activity, to using human means to achieve our aims, without turning to God. However, Jesus affirms that we must always pray".

  "Faith is essential as the basis for prayerful behaviour", said the Holy Father, noting that "this was the approach of the six new saints who today are being proposed for veneration by the Universal Church".

  On the subject of the Polish Stanislao Kazimierczyk, recalled how "his entire life was tied to the Eucharist", particularly "through his ardent love for Christ present in the species of bread and wine" and "through love for others, of which Communion is the source and the sign".

  Andre Bessette from the Canadian city of Quebec was "doorman at the Notre Dame College in Montreal, where he showed boundless charity and did everything possible to soothe the despair of those who confided in him", said the Pope. "He was witness to many healings and conversions. ... For him, everything spoke of God and His presence. May we, following his example, search for God with simplicity to discover Him always present at the centre of our lives".

  On the subject of the Spanish Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola, Benedict XVI highlighted how "she lived for God and for what He most loves: to reach all people and bring them the hope that does not waver, especially those who need Him most. ... Though possessing few resources, she managed to inspire other sisters to follow Jesus and dedicate themselves to teaching and to the promotion of women. This is how the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus was founded, which today sees in its founder a model of sublime life to be imitated, and a mission to be continued in the many countries already reached by the spirit and apostolic zeal of Mother Candida".

  Mother Mary MackKillop, the first Australian saint, "dedicated herself as a young woman to the education of the poor in the difficult and demanding terrain of rural Australia. ... She attended to the needs of each young person entrusted to her, without regard for social position or wealth, providing both intellectual and spiritual formation. Despite many challenges, her prayers to St. Joseph and her unflagging devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to whom she dedicated her new congregation, gave this holy woman the graces she needed to remain faithful to God and the Church. Through her intercession, may her followers today continue to serve God and the Church with faith and humility".

  Giulia Salzano "well understood the importance of catechesis in the Church and, uniting educational skill to spiritual zeal, she dedicated herself to this with generosity and intelligence, contributing to the formation of people of every age and social class. She repeated to her fellow sisters that she wanted to teach catechism until the last hour of her life, showing with her whole being that if 'God created us to know, love and serve Him in this life', nothing should take precedence over that task. May the example and intercession of St. Giulia Salzano sustain the Church in her perennial task of proclaiming Christ and forming authentic Christian consciences".

  The Pope concluded his homily by referring to Battista Camilla da Varano, who "bore profound witness to the evangelical significance of life, especially by her perseverance in prayer. ... Completely immersed in the depths of the divine, hers was a constant ascent along the path of perfection, demonstrating heroic love for God and neighbour. Her journey was marked by great sufferings and mystical consolations, for she had in fact decided, as she herself wrote, 'to enter into the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and to drown in the ocean of His most bitter sufferings'. In an age in which the Church was experiencing a relaxation of customs, she decisively followed the way of penitence and prayer, animated by the ardent desire for renewal of the Mystical Body of Christ".
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VATICAN CITY, 17 OCT 2010 (VIS) - Following Mass this morning, during which he canonised Stanislao Soltys, Andre Bessette, Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola, Mary of the Cross MacKillop, Giulia Salzano and Battista da Varano, the Holy Father prayed the Angelus with thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

  Addressing French-speaking pilgrims, the Pope encouraged them to follow in the footsteps of St. Andre Bessette, "in order to accept freely and lovingly the will of God in your lives", and to show the same charity that the new saint showed "towards your brothers and sisters who are suffering hardship".

  Speaking English he then called for the example of St. Andre Bessette and St. Mary MacKillop to inspire people "by the example of their holy lives". Saints, he said to German faithful, "are the living image of God's love, ... models to follow and advocates for our lives as Christians".

  Speaking Spanish he entrusted the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus to the intercession of their founder, St. Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola, and expressed the hope that young people "may increasingly welcome the Lord's call and commit their lives entirely to proclaiming the greatness of His love".

  "From Stanislao Soltys (called Kazimierczyk)", said the Pope in Polish, "we learn the spirit of prayer, of contemplation and of sacrifice for others. May he always maintain the Church in Poland in the presence of the Lord".

  Finally, the Holy Father greeted Italian pilgrims celebrating the canonisation of Sts. Battista da Varano and Giulia Salzano. He reminded them that today marks the closure of the forty-sixth Social Week of Italian Catholics, and expressed the hope that "the search for the common good may always be the firm foundation for the commitment of Catholics in social and political activities".
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VATICAN CITY, 18 OCT 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received the Letters of Credence of Cesar Mauricio Velasquez Ossa, the new ambassador of Colombia to the Holy See.


VATICAN CITY, 18 OCT 2010 (VIS) - "The ties binding the faithful people of El Salvador to the Chair of the Prince of the Apostles are proof of a noble tradition and cannot be separated from the history and customs of that blessed land", the Holy Father said this morning to Manuel Roberto Lopez Becerra, El Salvador's new ambassador to the Holy See.


VATICAN CITY, 18 OCT 2010 (VIS) - Given below are ample extracts from the English-language version of a Letter to Seminarians, written by the Pope to mark the end of the Year for Priests and dated 18 October.

  "When in December 1944 I was drafted for military service, the company commander asked each of us what we planned to do in the future. I answered that I wanted to become a Catholic priest. The lieutenant replied: 'Then you ought to look for something else. In the new Germany priests are no longer needed'. I knew that this 'new Germany' was already coming to an end, and that, after the enormous devastation which that madness had brought upon the country, priests would be needed more than ever. Today the situation is completely changed. In different ways, though, many people nowadays also think that the Catholic priesthood is not a 'job' for the future, but one that belongs more to the past. You, dear friends, have decided to enter the seminary and to prepare for priestly ministry in the Catholic Church in spite of such opinions and objections. You have done a good thing. Because people will always have need of God, even in an age marked by technical mastery of the world and globalisation: they will always need the God Who has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ, the God Who gathers us together in the universal Church in order to learn with Him and through Him life's true meaning and in order to uphold and apply the standards of true humanity. Where people no longer perceive God, life grows empty; nothing is ever enough".


VATICAN CITY, 18 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the office of auxiliary of the archdiocese of Milwaukee, U.S.A., presented by Bishop Richard J. Sklba, upon having reached the age limit.

  On Saturday 16 October it was made public that he appointed:

 - Fr. Jaime Rafael Fuentes, teacher at the "Mons. Mariano Soler" Faculty of Theology of Uruguay, as bishop of Minas (area 17,776, population 76,100, Catholics 69,900, priests 17, permanent deacons 1, religious 12), Uruguay. The bishop-elect was born in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1945 and ordained a priest in 1973.

 - As members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace; Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., perfect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and Archbishop Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

 - Fr. Massimo Palombella S.D.B., professor at Rome's Pontifical Salesian University and founder and director of the Inter-University Choir of Rome, as director of the Pontifical Choir.
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VATICAN CITY, 18 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, Italy and president of the Italian Episcopal Conference.

  On Saturday 16 October he received in separate audiences:

 - Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow, Poland, accompanied by Jozef Michalik of Przemysl of the Latins, president of the Polish Episcopal Conference; Bishop Stanislaw Budzik, auxiliary of Tarnow and secretary general of the Polish Episcopal Conference, and Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz of Warsaw.

 - Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
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