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Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Vatican City, 8 May 2012 (VIS) - An Agreement was signed this morning at the seat of government of Lower Saxony between the Holy See and that German "Land", modifying the Concordat of 26 February 1965, according to a communique released today by the Holy See Press Office.

The Agreement was signed by Archbishop Jean-Claude Perisset, apostolic nuncio to Germany, as plenipotentiary of the Holy See, and by David McAllister, minster-president of Lower Saxony.

On the ecclesiastical side, the signing ceremony was attended by Bishop Norbert Trelle of Hildesheim; by Msgr. Felix Bernhard, director of the Catholic Office of Lower Saxony for the Land's relations with the dioceses of Hildesheim, Munster (Oldenburg) and Osnabruck, and by diocesan directors for Catholic schools regulated by the Concordat. Among those present on the government side were the minister of culture of Lower Saxony and a number of high-ranking cabinet functionaries.

The document signed today updates paragraph 6 of the Annex to the Concordat and its relative implementation agreement (Durchführungsvereinbarung) in the light of the current legislation of Lower Saxony, which has introduced the definition of high school. The modifications are intended to meet the needs of Catholic schools regulated by the Concordat.


Vatican City, 8 May 2012 (VIS) - The Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) has organised the twelfth European Congress for Catechists, which is being held in Rome from 7 to 10 May on the theme: "Christian Initiation from the Perspective of New Evangelisation". The event will dedicate particular attention to children and young people between the ages of 7 and 16.

The meeting, which is being coordinated by the CCEE's commission for catechesis, schools and universities, is being attended by bishops and by national directors for catechesis from European episcopal conferences. It is taking place with a view to forthcoming Year of Faith, and in the context of Church reflections on new evangelisation in the year marking the twentieth anniversary of the Publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of Vatican Council II.

Work began yesterday with the presentation of the results of a survey of more than 3,600 children and young people, which will serve as the basis for discussion during the congress. The themes of the survey include: family, friends school and their influence on the Christian initiation of children; the Christian community, it members and its liturgical life; and the importance of the children's personal journey towards God.

On Wednesday 9 May, the participants will attend Mas at the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major, celebrated by Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary and president of the CCEE.


Vatican City, 8 May 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Msgr. Stephen Robson of the clergy of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 5,504, population 1,521,000, Catholics 115,000, priests 151, permanent deacons 3, religious 165). The bishop-elect was born in Carliste, England in 1951 and ordained a priest in 1979. He studied in Scotland and in Rome then worked in pastoral care in the archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh. From 1998 to 2006 he was spiritual director of the Pontifical Scottish Seminary in Rome.

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