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Thursday, February 3, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 3 FEB 2011 (VIS) - Yesterday, Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the Day of Consecrated Life, the Holy Father presided at second Vespers in the Vatican Basilica.

  "The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple", he said, "is an eloquent symbol of complete donation of life, for all those men and women who are called to reproduce, in the Church and the world, via the evangelical counsels, the characteristic features of Jesus: chastity, poverty and obedience. It is for this reason that today's feast was chosen by the Venerable John Paul II to celebrate the annual Day of Consecrated Life".

  Benedict XVI then went on to propose three themes for reflection on this feast day: "Firstly", he said, the evangelical image of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple contains the fundamental symbol of light; the light which, irradiating from Christ, shone on Mary and Joseph, on Simeon and Anna and, through them, on everyone. The Church Fathers associated this shining light with the spiritual journey. Consecrated life is an expression of this journey, especially in ... love for divine beauty, reflection of the goodness of God".

  "Secondly", he continued, "the evangelical image is an expression of prophecy, gift of the Holy Spirit. Simeon and Anna, contemplating the Baby Jesus, foresee His destiny of death and resurrection for the salvation of all mankind, and they announce this mystery as universal salvation. Consecrated life, with its dual aspect of contemplation and activity, is called to offer such prophetic witness. Consecrated men and women are in fact given the chance to express primacy of God and passion for the Gospel, practiced in life and announced to the poor and to the weakest of the earth".

  Finally, the Presentation also "expresses the wisdom of Simeon and Anna, the wisdom of a life totally dedicated to seeking the face of God, His signs and His will; a life dedicated to listening to and announcing His Word".

  The Pope then went on to encourage consecrated men and women "to listen assiduously to the Word, because all of life's wisdom arises from the Word of the Lord. ... The Holy Spirit, in Whom the Bible was written, is the same Spirit Who illumines the Word of God with new light for the founders and foundresses. Every charism and every rule springs from it and seeks to be an expression of it, thus opening up new pathways of Christian living marked by the radicalism of the Gospel.

  "The situation in which we live today, especially in the more developed societies, is often marked by a radical plurality, by a progressive marginalisation of religion from the public sphere, by a relativism which extends to fundamental values", the Holy Father added. "This means that our Christian witness must always be luminous and coherent and our educational efforts attentive and generous". And he concluded by exhorting the religious: "With the wisdom of your lives and faith in the infinite possibilities of true education, guide the minds and hearts of the men and women of our time towards 'the good life in the Gospel'".
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VATICAN CITY, 3 FEB 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of Alfons M. Kloss, the new ambassador of Austria to the Holy See.

  Addressing the diplomat in German the Holy Father mentioned his 2007 apostolic trip to the Austrian shrine of Mariazell during which, he said, he had had the chance to experience the profound Catholic faith so deeply rooted in the Austrian people. He likewise observed that the Austria is a country with a long tradition of peaceful coexistence among different religions and cultures.

  The Pope then went on to consider the relationship between State and religion, highlighting how the latter cannot be relegated only to the private sphere, and underlining the Catholic Church's role in education, and in assistance to the disadvantaged for whom she often acts as spokesperson.

  Another of the themes addressed in the Pope's remarks was defence of the family, and the need for policies to support and protect it.

  Finally, Benedict XVI referred to the building of the "common European home", underlining once again the role played by Christianity in the civilisation and culture of the continent.
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VATICAN CITY, 3 FEB 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received members of the Emmanuel Community, currently marking the twentieth anniversary of the death of their founder Pierre Goursat, the cause for whose beatification was opened last year.

  In his address to the group the Holy Father recalled other anniversaries due to fall in coming months: forty years since the foundation of the Emmanuel Community itself, the thirtieth anniversary of the community's NGO FIDESCO, and twenty years since the recognition of its statutes by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

  "The profound grace of your community arises from Eucharistic communion", he said. "This adoration leads to compassion for all human beings, and from this compassion comes the thirst to evangelise. In the spirit of your charism, I exhort you to develop your spiritual life, giving pride of place to the personal meeting with Christ, Emmanuel, God with us".

  "An authentically Eucharistic life is a missionary life", the Pope explained. "In a world often disoriented and in search for new reasons to live, the light of Christ must be brought to everyone. Among the men and women of today, be ardent missionaries of the Gospel, upheld by a life radically founded on Christ".

  "Today, the urgent need for this announcement is particularly felt in families, which are so often fragmented, in the young and in the intellectual world. Help to renew the apostolic dynamism of parishes from within, developing their spiritual and missionary impulses. I encourage you to be attentive to people who return to the Church and who have not had the benefit of a profound catechesis. Help them anchor their faith in an authentically theological, sacramental and ecclesial life".

  The Holy Father then went on to invite the community "to live in a state of genuine communion among its members. ... The community life you wish to foster, while respecting the life of each individual, will be a living witness for society of that fraternal love which must animate all human relationships. Fraternal communion is already an announcement of the new life that Christ came to establish", he said.

  "May this communion, which is not a form of closure, be effective also in local Churches. Each charism aims at the growth of the Body of Christ in its entirety and missionary action must, then, constantly adapt to the reality of the local Church, ever attentive to agreement and collaboration among pastors, under the authority of the bishop. Furthermore", the Pope concluded, "the mutual recognition of diversity of vocations in the Church, and their indispensable contribution to evangelisation, is an eloquent sign of the unity of Christ's disciples and of the credibility of their witness".
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VATICAN CITY, 3 FEB 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office a press conference took place to present Benedict XVI's Message for the nineteenth World Day of the Sick which will be held on 11 February, and a seminar on the theme "Catholic healthcare associations and the culture of life", due to be held on 5 February at Rome's St. Pius X Auditorium to mark the end of the twenty-fifth anniversary celebrations of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care.

  Participating in today's conference were Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, Bishop Jose Luis Redrado Marchite O.H. and Msgr. Jean-Marie Mpendawatu Mate Musivi, respectively president, secretary and under secretary of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, and Rosa Merola, consultor of the pontifical council and psychologist at Rome's Rebibbia prison.

  Archbishop Zimowski explained how Benedict XVI's Message - published on 18 December 2010 - encourages people to reflect "on the mystery of human suffering in the light of Christian faith. At the same time it promotes greater sensitivity, within Christian communities and civil society, towards our brothers and sisters who are experiencing situations of suffering and illness, that no-one may be abandoned or deprived of the treatment they need.

  "From this perspective", he added, "the Pope immediately highlights three fundamental preconditions for achieving authentic healthcare renewal, beginning with the weakest sectors of the world population. ... The first of these concerns the centrality of human beings, who must be given care and attention, and even more so if they find themselves in conditions of want, suffering or marginalisation. ...In the second place, there is need for an authentic humanisation of the field of healthcare. ... The third point concerns the commitment of the particular Churches, and the Pope invites dioceses all over the world to strive to ensure that the care of sick and suffering people may be improved and made more effective".

  The president of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care also noted that in this year's Message "the Holy Father calls for serious reflection on certain fundamental themes, beginning with the 'mystery of suffering'. This is necessary, on the one hand, in order to recognise the source of our light and hope and to find the strength to live through a period of suffering and, on the other, to recognise the ... ways in which we are called to care for sick and/or afflicted people".

  "The World Day of the Sick, and suffering in general, are nor limited to the elderly, Benedict XVI explains in his Message. Thus, he also calls on young people - the sick and the healthy - to build bridges of love and solidarity, and to do so on the foundation of the Eucharist", where Christ "gives Himself to us for Love, to make us participants in His life". At the same time the Pope invites us "to recognise and serve Christ in the face and condition of our poor, afflicted, weak brothers and sisters".

  The Pope's Message, Archbishop Zimowski concluded his remarks, "ends with an appeal addressed to everyone, especially to those who, with various roles and responsibilities (including volunteers to whom a recently-inaugurated European Year has been dedicated), work in the field of healthcare and treatment for the sick and suffering".
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VATICAN CITY, 3 FEB 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
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VATICAN CITY, 3 FEB 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Maribor, Slovenia presented by Archbishop Franc Kramberger, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop Marjan Turnsek.
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