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Friday, April 4, 2014


Vatican City, 4 April 2014 (VIS) – Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, accompanied by His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrived in the Vatican yesterday, following their visit to the Quirinal Palace, at around 3.20 p.m.

They were greeted in Piazzetta John Paul II (between the Paul VI Hall and the Palazzo della Canonica) by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States and Msgr. Antoine Camilleri, under secretary for Relations with States. They were awaited inside the room by Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, archbishop emeritus of Westminster.

The Holy Father received Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in his study next to the Paul VI Hall for a private meeting, which lasted around twenty minutes. This was followed by greetings with the entourage and an exchange of gifts in the adjacent room. The gift offered to the Pope by Her Majesty was a large basket of food products (jams, drinks etc) produced on the various royal estates. The Pope gave Her Majesty a facsimile of a valuable document conserved in the Vatican, by which the cult of St. Edward the Confessor, an ancestor of the British royal family and founder of Westminster Abbey, where he is buried) was extended to the universal Church in 1679, by Pope Innocent XI. The Pope also gave an ornament composed of a lapis lazuli sphere topped with a silver cross of St. Edward, for the Queen's great-grandson, Prince George of Cambridge. He gave a triptych of pontifical medals to the Duke of Edinburgh.

The royal entourage left the Vatican shortly before 4 p.m.


Vatican City, 4 April 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has sent a message to Ignatius Aphrem II, the new Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch and all the East, congratulating him on his election. Pope Francis expresses his joy at receiving this news and prays that His Holiness “may be a spiritual father for your people and an untiring builder of peace and justice, serving the common good and the good of the entire Middle East in today's difficult circumstances”.

“It is important for all Christians to bear witness to the love and fellowship that binds us together, mindful of the prayer offered by our Lord at the Last Supper: that all may be one, so that the world may believe”. The Pope gives thanks to the Lord “for the bonds of fraternity between the Catholic Church and the Syrian Orthodox Church”, and prays “that our continuing friendship and dialogue may be further developed and deepened. May our heavenly Father fill Your Holiness with peace and strength for the noble task that awaits you”.


Vatican City, 4 April 2014 (VIS) – During the Sunday Angelus, and on various other occasions, Pope Francis has urged the faithful to carry a pocket-sized book of the Gospels and to read it often to meditate on Jesus' words and deeds, especially those referred to in the day's liturgy, on which Pope Francis himself has commented.

To help put this suggestion into practice, and communicating a clear message, next Sunday during the Angelus in St. Peter's Square, several thousand pocket-sized copies of the Gospel will be distributed free as a gift to the faithful at the behest of the Pope.

The initiative, similar to the distribution of the “Misericordinas” some months ago, will be implemented by the Almoner of His Holiness, with the collaboration of a number of volunteers: 150 scouts, seminarians from the Roman Seminary, the Sisters of Mother Teresa and other religious, and individuals. Indeed, it is the role of the Almoner to distribute charity, not only material but also spiritual, on behalf of the Pope.

The book, printed by the Vatican Typography (in a special edition for this occasion, which will not be available for sale), contains the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, and begins with the Pope's words from the Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium”: “The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus”. On the inner cover leaf there are instructions on how to recite the “chaplet of Mercy” and it ends, on the inner back cover, with Blessed Cardinal John H. Newman's prayer: “Dear Jesus...”, that Mother Teresa advised her nuns to recite every day.


Vatican City, 4 April 2014 (VIS) – Published below are extracts from the message sent by Cardinal Antonio Maria Veglio, president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples to the members of the International Catholic Committee for Gypsies (CCIT), who will meet in Cavallino-Treporti, Italy from 4 to 6 April.

In our globalised world, in fact, walls continue to be built that divide the peoples of the same continent, people from the same country or the same city”, he writes. “Also among the European countries, some are still negatively influenced in their political choices regarding the Roma to whom you are close in your respective pastoral commitments. … The challenge you face with evangelical courage in your pastoral activities demonstrates that to tear down walls, one must begin in the heart, the first space where another is included, and as long as hearts are not open, it will not be easy to achieve an inclusive society. So this moment of reflection offers you the opportunity to put your energies together to create a social dynamic in which the different cultures can live together”.

“The Gypsies need the humanity of the society in which they live in order to feel like members of the human family and benefit from the rights enjoyed by the other members of the community in respect for their dignity and identity. … There is a need for tenacious, patient work on everyone's part. The Church can be of inspiration and make the efforts converge into a common commitment in order to face the dilemmas at the basis of the Roma's human difficulties. … The document 'Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Gypsies' continues to be a fundamental reference for you and you should use it as well as possible for your service in the midst of this People because it offers important guidelines that are the fruit of common work”.

“The Roma have the right to be recognised at least as ethnic minorities in the countries where they live since they are the largest minority in the European Union”. He concludes, “The Church has the task to bring Jesus' Gospel in their midst but also to support their dream of integration which passes through education, health, work and housing, and all of this in collaboration with people of good will”.


Vatican City, 4 April 2014 (VIS) – The second international conference on “Combating Human Trafficking: Church and law enforcement in partnership” will take place on 9 and 10 April in the Academy of Sciences in the Vatican.

The event is being organised by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales and is chaired by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster. There will be an audience with Pope Francis at the close of the conference, where the Holy Father will meet with victims and police chiefs.

From listening to the voices of the victims, who will also be represented at the conference and able to tell their stories to all delegates from both law enforcement agencies and the Church, the Conference aims to bring police chiefs together so they can build an effective network to combat trafficking and work collaboratively with the Church. Closer collaboration will also enable joint investigations between law enforcement agencies, enabling a more co-ordinated international approach to rid the world of the scourge of its second most profitable crime.


Vatican City, 4 April 2014 (VIS) – The heads of youth pastoral care from all over the world will meet in Rome, invited by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, from 10 to 13 April. It will be the first international meeting linked to the Krakow World Youth Day, and will offer an opportunity for checks and review for the organisers of the event. The meeting will be attended by 250 delegates from the Episcopal conferences of around 90 countries and 45 Catholic communities, associations and youth movements, as well as all the local organisational committees for Rio de Janeiro 2013 and Krakow 2016.

The work of the congress will begin on Thursday 10 April with an introductory greeting from Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. The entire day will be dedicated to a review of the Rio de Janeiro World Youth Day in 2013, “a celebration of faith and fraternity”. “Towards Krakow 2016” will be the theme of Friday 11 April: it will be introduced by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, archbishop of Krakow. Saturday 12 April will offer the opportunity for joint reflection on the theme “World Youth Days and their integration in ordinary youth pastoral”. On Sunday 13 April, Palm Sunday, the delegates will attend a Holy Mass celebrated by the Holy Father in St. Peter's Square, with the diocesan celebration of the 29th World Youth Day.


Vatican City, 4 April 2014 (VIS) – The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that on Saturday, 12 April, at 6.30 a.m., Cardinal Orani Joao Tempesta, archbishop of San Sebastian de Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will take possession of the title of St. Mary Mother of Providence in Monte Verde (Via di Donna Olimpia, 35).


Vatican City, 4 April 2014 (VIS) – Today, the Holy Father received in audience:

- Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, apostolic nuncio in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

- Msgr. Erwin Krautler, prelate of Xingu, Brazil.

- Nine prelates of the Episcopal Conference of Tanzania, on their “ad limina” visit:

- Bishop Gervas John Mwasikwabhila Nyaisonga of Dodoma;

- Bishop Salutaris Melchior Libena of Ifakara;

- Bishop Agapiti Ndorobo of Mahenge;

- Bishop Telesphor Mkude of Morogoro;

- Bishop Augustine Ndeliakyama Shao, C.S.Sp., of Zanzibar;

- Archbishop Paul R. Ruzoka of Tabora, apostolic administrator of Kigoma;

- Bishop Ludovick Joseph Minde, O.S.S., of Kahama;

- Bishop Damian Kyaruzi of Sumbawanga, apostolic administrator of Mpanda;

- Bishop Eusebius Alfred Nzigilwa, auxiliary of Dar-es-Salaam.


Vatican City, 4 April 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Bishop Michel Aupetit, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Paris, as bishop of Nanterre (area 175, population 1,568,000, Catholics 940,000, priests 332, permanent deacons 48, religious 637), France.

- appointed Fr. Stefan Oster, S.D.B., as bishop of Passau (area 5,442, population 546,430, Catholics 486,195, priests 383, permanent deacons 38, religious 772), Germany. The bishop-elect was born in 1965 in Amberg Germany, gave his perpetual vows in 1999, and was ordained a priest in 2001. He obtained a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Augsburg in 2003 has served in a number of academic roles, including professor of philosophy in the University of Augsburg faculty of theology, professor of philosophy at the Salesian High School in Benediktbeuern, and ordinary professor of dogmatics and history of dogma at the Salesian High School in Benediktbeuern. He is a member of the Commission for Vocations of the German Bishops' Conference.

- appointed Rev. Pierre-Yves Michel as bishop of Valence (area 6,522, population 492,508, Catholics 287,000, priests 175, permanent deacons 33, religious 347), France. The bishop-elect was born in 1960 in Roanne, France and was ordained a priest in 1991. He holds a “Maitrise” in theology from the university seminary of Lyon and a diploma from the faculty of theology of the Institut Catholique, Paris. He has served in a number of pastoral roles in the archdiocese of Lyon, including vicar of the parish “Saint-Joseph des Brotteaux”; chaplain of the Vendome-Bellcombe College; episcopal delegate for catechesis and for youth pastoral; episcopal vicar for catechesis and the catechumenate; secretary of the episcopal council; priest of the “Saint-Priest” parish and member of the college of consultors and the presbyteral council. He is currently vicar general and moderator of the curia.

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