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Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Vatican City, 21 January 2014 (VIS) – Today, on the liturgical memory of St. Agnes, the lambs which had been blessed in the basilica where the saint is entombed on the Via Nomentana in Rome were presented to the Pope. The wool of these lambs is used to weave the pallia for the new metropolitan archbishops.

The pallium – a white stole adorned with six black crosses – is a liturgical vestment worn by the Pope and the metropolitan archbishops in their Churches and in those of their Provinces. The pallia are stored in a casket near the Confessio Petri and the pontiff bestows them upon the new archbishops on the Solemnity of the Saints Peter and Paul, as a sign of union with the Apostolic See.

The nuns of the Roman convent of San Lorenzo in Panisperna raise the lambs who are offered to the Holy Father by the Canons Regular of the Lateran on the feast day of St. Agnes, martyred in the year 305 and depicted with a lamb according to the traditional iconography.


Vatican City, 21 January 2014 (VIS) – “We cannot ignore the pitiful situation in which many fisherman and their families live. … And we offer a special thought for those seafarers who are still being held hostage by pirates, and for their families who await their release”. With these words, Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, inaugurated the Annual Meeting of the Co-ordinators of the Apostolate of the Sea, currently being held in Rome until 24 January. The participants will attend the Pope's general audience tomorrow, 22 January.

In his address, the cardinal made a plea to chaplains and those who are responsible for offering assistance to seafarers to give all possible support to those who are experiencing the drama of kidnapping at sea, and to show their families “the loving face of the Church”. He recalled that Blessed John Paul II had urged the promotion of an ecumenical spirit in the maritime world, to encourage co-operation and mutual co-ordination of projects involving the Episcopal Conferences and local Ordinaries, adapting them to the current scenario. In view of the phenomenon of the opening of new trade routes and the merging of companies in order to maximise efficiency and profit, the cardinal emphasised the need to strengthen solidarity between nations and to share resources.

The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, to guide the activity of the Apostolate of the Sea more effectively, has divided the world into nine regions: North America and the Caribbean, Latin America, Indian Ocean Africa, Western Africa, Europe, South Asia, South-East Asia, Arab Gulf States and Djibouti.

Speakers at the meeting include Roberto Giorgi, president of the company Vships, world leader in the field of maritime services, in trade, cruises, and the sectors of energy and defence, who will speak about current trends, developments and the main problems the maritime sector will face over the next five years. Msgr. Giacomo Martino, consultor of the dicastery and John Green of the Apostolate of the Sea in Great Britain will speak about the current economic crisis and how networking and sharing pastoral experiences can contribute to facing it. Msgr. Martino will also give a presentation on the tragic subject of the modern slavery that affects a growing number of fisherman who are victims of forced labour on sub-standard ships where their lives are placed at risk, on human trafficking and sexual exploitation. The lawyer Deirdre Fitzpatrick, director of Seafarers' Right International (SRI), which deals with the defence of seamen, will speak about the many violations of their rights.


Vatican City, 21 January 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father:

- accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Yoro, Honduras, presented by Bishop Jean-Louis Giasson, P.M.E., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.

- appointed Rev. Joseph de Metz-Noblat as bishop of Langres (area 6,211, population 194,100, Catholics 142,500, priests 44, permanent deacons 16, religious 85), France. The bishop-elect was born in Cherbourg, France in 1959 and was ordained a priest in 1987. He began a military career, attaining the naval rank of frigate captain, after which he undertook the role of head of personnel in a metal works. He studied philosophy and theology in the major seminary of Metz and then at the Institut Catholique in Paris, where he obtained a licentiate in Canon Law. He has served in the following pastoral roles: vicar in Saint-Michel and Commercy; priest in Triaucourt et Rembercourt and Verdun, chaplain of the Mouvement Eucharistique des Jeunes, head of the diocesan service for vocations, diocesan head of youth pastoral, and superior of the “Saint Jean-Baptiste” interdiocesan preparatory seminary. He has served in the Interdiocesan Tribunal, as Defender of the Bond and as adjunct judicial vicar. He is currently vicar general of Verdun. He succeeds Bishop Philippe Gueneley, whose resignation upon reaching the age limit was accepted by the Holy Father.

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