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Tuesday, February 22, 2011


VATICAN CITY, 22 FEB 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Holy See Press Office, a press conference was held to present the 2011 Lenten Message of the Holy Father Benedict XVI. The title of this year's Message is: "You were buried with Him in Baptism, in which you were also raised with Him".

  Participating in today's conference were Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum"; Msgr. Giampietro Dal Toso and Msgr. Segundo Tejado Munoz, respectively secretary and under secretary of the same council, and Myriam Garcia Abrisqueta, president of the Spanish association "Manos unidas".

  Referring to the bonds between Baptism and charity, which the Holy Father emphasises in his Message, Cardinal Sarah affirmed that "in the face of the very real suffering that we encounter on a global level ... we are obliged to seek out concrete solutions to alleviate misery. ... But Christ founded the Church to give much more. Suffering, both global and personal, ... requires an answer that only the possession of eternal life can give", as promised by Baptism. The new nature received in Baptism "is the source of specific deeds of charity on behalf of our brothers and sisters", he explained.

  The president of "Cor Unum" then went on to identify three elements of the Holy Father's message which, he said, represent "a road map to rekindle the supernatural life that was given to us in Baptism". Firstly, the Pope "fixes for us concrete appointments with specific persons and events on the five Sundays of Lent. He puts before us the Word of God proclaimed on those Sundays. By doing so, he wishes us to experience a personal encounter with Christ, the answer to the deepest longings of the human person and the world". Secondly, "the encounter with Christ in His Word and the Sacraments manifests itself in concrete works of mercy". Finally, Lent is presented to us as "a path or journey, a span of time to bring to fruition the seed planted at Baptism".

  For her part, the president of "Manos unidas" recalled how "more than fifty years ago the women of the World Union of Female Catholic Organisations launched an appeal for attention to be given to hunger in the world. In a beautiful expression of 'feminine genius' in the Church they published a manifesto, ... inspired by their nature, as mothers, to give and protect life; and as Catholic women called by Jesus Christ 'to bear witness to a universal and effective love for the human family'".

  "From the very beginning", she concluded, "they understood that they had to struggle against hunger: hunger for bread, hunger for culture and hunger for God. ... In this way this organisation of the Church in Spain has stood alongside men and women in more than sixty countries through some 25,000 development projects".
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VATICAN CITY, 22 FEB 2011 (VIS) - Made public today was the 2011 Lenten Message of the Holy Father Benedict XVI. The text, dated 4 November 2010, has as its title a passage from St. Paul's Letter to the Colossians: "You were buried with Him in Baptism, in which you were also raised with Him". Extracts from the English-language version of the document are given below:

  "The fact that, in most cases, Baptism is received in infancy highlights how it is a gift of God: no one earns eternal life through their own efforts. The mercy of God, which cancels sin and, at the same time, allows us to experience in our lives 'the mind of Christ Jesus', is given to men and women freely".

  "Hence, Baptism is not a rite from the past, but the encounter with Christ, which informs the entire existence of the baptised, imparting divine life and calling for sincere conversion; initiated and supported by Grace, it permits the baptised to reach the adult stature of Christ.

  "A particular connection binds Baptism to Lent as the favourable time to experience this saving Grace. ... In fact, the Church has always associated the Easter Vigil with the celebration of Baptism. ... This free gift must always be rekindled in each one of us, and Lent offers us a path like that of the catechumenate, which, for the Christians of the early Church, just as for catechumens today, is an irreplaceable school of faith and Christian life. Truly, they live their Baptism as an act that shapes their entire existence.

  "In order to undertake more seriously our journey towards Easter and prepare ourselves to celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord - the most joyous and solemn feast of the entire liturgical year - what could be more appropriate than allowing ourselves to be guided by the Word of God? For this reason, the Church, in the Gospel texts of the Sundays of Lent, leads us to a particularly intense encounter with the Lord, calling us to retrace the steps of Christian initiation: for catechumens, in preparation for receiving the Sacrament of rebirth; for the baptised, in light of the new and decisive steps to be taken in the 'sequela Christi' and a fuller giving of oneself to Him".

  "The Lenten journey finds its fulfilment in the Paschal Triduum, especially in the great vigil of the Holy Night: renewing our baptismal promises, we reaffirm that Christ is the Lord of our life, that life which God bestowed upon us when we were reborn of 'water and Holy Spirit', and we profess again our firm commitment to respond to the action of the Grace in order to be His disciples.

  "By immersing ourselves into the death and resurrection of Christ through the Sacrament of Baptism, we are moved to free our hearts every day from the burden of material things, from a self-centred relationship with the 'world' that impoverishes us and prevents us from being available and open to God and our neighbour. ... Through the traditional practices of fasting, almsgiving and prayer, which are an expression of our commitment to conversion, Lent teaches us how to live the love of Christ in an ever more radical way.

  "Fasting, which can have various motivations, takes on a profoundly religious significance for the Christian: by rendering our table poorer, we learn to overcome selfishness in order to live in the logic of gift and love; by bearing some form of deprivation - and not just what is in excess - we learn to look away from our 'ego', to discover Someone close to us and to recognise God in the face of so many brothers and sisters. For Christians, fasting, far from being depressing, opens us ever more to God and to the needs of others, thus allowing love of God to become also love of our neighbour.

  "In our journey, we are often faced with the temptation of accumulating and love of money that undermine God's primacy in our lives. The greed of possession leads to violence, exploitation and death; for this, the Church, especially during the Lenten period, reminds us to practice almsgiving - which is the capacity to share. The idolatry of goods, on the other hand, not only causes us to drift away from others, but divests man, making him unhappy, deceiving him, deluding him without fulfilling its promises, since it puts materialistic goods in the place of God, the only source of life".

  "The practice of almsgiving is a reminder of God's primacy and turns our attention towards others, so that we may rediscover how good our Father is, and receive His mercy.

  "During the entire Lenten period, the Church offers us God's Word with particular abundance. By meditating and internalising the Word in order to live it every day, we learn a precious and irreplaceable form of prayer. ... Prayer also allows us to gain a new concept of time: without the perspective of eternity and transcendence, in fact, time simply directs our steps towards a horizon without a future. Instead, when we pray, we find time for God, to understand that His 'words will not pass away', to enter into that intimate communion with Him 'that no one shall take from you', opening us to the hope that does not disappoint, eternal life".

  "The Lenten period is a favourable time to recognise our weakness and to accept, through a sincere inventory of our life, the renewing Grace of the Sacrament of Penance, and walk resolutely towards Christ.

  "Dear brothers and sisters, through the personal encounter with our Redeemer and through fasting, almsgiving and prayer, the journey of conversion towards Easter leads us to rediscover our Baptism. This Lent, let us renew our acceptance of the Grace that God bestowed upon us at that moment, so that it may illuminate and guide all of our actions. What the Sacrament signifies and realises, we are called to experience every day by following Christ in an ever more generous and authentic manner".
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VATICAN CITY, 22 FEB 2011 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that at 6.30 p.m. on Sunday 27 February Cardinal Fortunato Baldelli, penitentiary major of the Apostolic Penitentiary, will take possession of the diaconate of St. Anselm on the Aventine, Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta 5, Rome.
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VATICAN CITY, 22 FEB 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Gerald Cyprien Lacroix I.S.P.X., auxiliary of the archdiocese of Quebec, Canada, as metropolitan archbishop of the same archdiocese (area 35,180, population 1,192,108, Catholics 1,027,166, priests 737, permanent deacons 91, religious 3,515). The archbishop-elect was born in Saint-Hilaire de Dorset, Canada in 1957 he was ordained a priest in 1988 and consecrated a bishop in 2009.

 - Appointed Bishop Gilles Lemay, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Quebec, Canada, as bishop of Amos (area 127,237, population 111,220, Catholics 88,875, priests 35, religious 96), Canada. He succeeds Bishop Eugene Tremblay, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Msgr. Charles Drennan of the clergy of Christchurch, New Zealand, diocesan chancellor, as coadjutor of the diocese of Palmerston North (area 36,200, population 470,000, Catholics 59,099, priests 58, religious 141), New Zealand. The bishop-elect was born in Christchurch in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1996.

 - Appointed Fr. Jean Kockerois of the clergy of the archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium, dean of Brussels-south; Fr. Jean-Luc Hudsyn of the clergy of the archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels, episcopal vicar for Brabante Vallone, and Fr. Leon Lemmens of the clergy of Hasselt, Belgium, official of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, as auxiliaries of the archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels (area 3,635, population 2,524,000, Catholics 1,615,000, priests 1,909, permanent deacons 90, religious 3,761). Bishop-elect Kockerois was born in Brecht, Belgium in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1993. Bishop-elect Hudsyn was born in Uccle, Belgium in 1947 and ordained a priest in 1972. Bishop-elect Lemmens was born in Boorsem, Belgium in 1954 and ordained a priest in 1977.

 - Appointed Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams, apostolic nuncio to the Philippines, as apostolic nuncio to Greece.

 - Appointed Bishop Joseph Kalathiparambil of Calicut, India, as secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of San Luis, Argentina, presented by Bishop Jorge Luis Lona, upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Pedro Daniel Martinez.
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