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Friday, May 3, 2013


Vatican City, 3 May 2013 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father received in audience His excellency Mr. Michel Sleiman, president of Lebanon. President Sleiman then met with the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

During the cordial talks, discussion touched on the situation in the country, emphasizing the importance of dialogue and collaboration among the members of the various ethnic and religious communities that make up the nation's society and constitute its richness. Likewise, the common good, development, and the nation's stability were also considered. In that regard, best wishes were expressed for the formation of a new government that will have to face the important challenges in the national arena as well as in the international sphere.

The regional situation was also discussed, referencing in particular the conflict in Syria. The enormous number of Syrian refugees who have sought safety in Lebanon and neighbouring countries arouses much worry. Greater humanitarian assistance, with the help of the international community, was requested for the welcoming countries as well as for the suffering peoples. At the same time, the desire for a rapid and beneficial resumption of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, evermore necessary for the peace and stability of the region, was expressed.

Finally, the delicate situation of Christians throughout the Middle East was not overlooked as well as the meaningful contribution that they can offer in light of the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Ecclesia in Medio Oriente”, which constitutes an important point of reference for Catholic communities and societies of that region.


Vatican City, 3 May 2013 (VIS) – Yesterday afternoon, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI returned to the Vatican after a two-month stay at Castel Gandolfo.

Arriving by helicopter at the Vatican heliport shortly after 4:45pm, Benedict XVI was accompanied by Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the Papal Household, and was greeted by: Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals; Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., secretary of State; Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State; Archbishop Angelo Becciu, substitute of the Secretariat of State; Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States; and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca as auditor general of the Apostolic Camera. Bishop Sciacca, secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State.

The Pope emeritus then travelled to his new residence, the “Mater Ecclesiae” monastery. At the entrance, Pope Francis was awaiting him and welcomed him warmly. The two went to pray together in the monastery's chapel.

Benedict XVI,” reads a press release from the Press Office of the Holy See, “is very happy to return to the Vatican, to the place where he wishes to dedicate himself … to the service of the Church, primarily through prayer.” This was his intention, announced by the Pope emeritus this past 11 February, the day he resigned the Petrine ministry.

The monastery, recently restored, is “a welcoming house,” Benedict XVI said. “Here one can work well.”


Vatican City, 3 May 2013 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, 2 May, the Holy Father received in audience Cardinal Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and authorized the promulgation of decrees concerning the following causes:

MIRACLES, attributable to the intercession of:
   - Venerable Servant of God Maria Cristina of Savoy, Italian, Queen of the Two Sicilies (1812-1836).

   - Venerable Servant of God Maria Bolognesi, Italian, layperson (1924-1980).

   - Servant of God Joaquim Rosello Ferra, Spanish, priest of the diocese of Mallorca, Spain, founder of the Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (1833-1909).

   - Servant of God Maria Teresa of Saint Joseph (nee: Janina Kierocinska), Polish, founder of the Carmelite Sisters of the Child Jesus (1885-1946).


Vatican City, 3 May 2013 (VIS) – This morning the Holy Father received six prelates from the Marche region of the Italian Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

   - Archbishop Edoardo Menichelli of Ancona-Osimo,

   - Archbishop Piero Coccia of Pesaro,

   - Bishop Giuseppe Orlandoni of Senigallia,

   - Bishop Giancarlo Vecerrica of Fabriano-Matelica,

   - Bishop Gerardo Rocconi of Jesi, and

   - Bishop Claudio Giuliodori, apostolic administrator of Macerata-Tolentino-Recanati-Cingoli-Treia.

This afternoon he is scheduled to receive:

   - Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and

   - Fernando Cardinal Filoni, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.


Vatican City, 3 May 2013 (VIS) – Today the Holy Father appointed Fr. Michael Charles Barber, S.J., as bishop of Oakland (area 3,798, population 2,589,322, Catholics 555,000, priests 374, permanent deacons 108, religious 944), California, USA. The bishop-elect was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA in 1954 and was ordained a priest in 1985. Since ordination he has served in several missionary, academic, and pastoral roles, most recently as Director of Spiritual Formation at St. John's Seminary in Boston, Massachusetts.
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