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Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Vatican City, 6 May 2014 (VIS) – The swearing-in ceremony for the new recruits to the Swiss Guard, which takes place every 6 May, was held at 10.30 this morning in the San Damaso courtyard. Before cardinals, bishops, members of the Curia, representatives of the diplomatic delegations to the Holy See, the Swiss Army, relatives and friends, the thirty new recruits swore their allegiance to the Holy Father one by one, over the flag of the Corps and wearing the traditional uniform. “There is a festive atmosphere. The sound of voices and music, the colours of the uniforms and flags, and the presence of many guests all show that this is an important moment”, said Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu, substitute of the Segretariat of State in his discourse, representing the Holy Father.

“Five hundred and eight years have passed since the establishment of this meritorious Guard corps”, continued Archbishop Becciu, “and the fact that Switzerland continues to send young men keen to serve the Pope is a cause for offering fervent thanks to God”. The prelate went on to encourage the new recruits to invoke with affection and devotion the two new saints, St. John Paul II and Saint John XXIII. “Ask them to help us to fulfil our obligations to the best of our abilities”. He also mentioned that this is the month of May, “the month of Mary, and so the commencement of your service is under the special protection of Mary most Holy”.

During the ceremony, the delegation from the canton Schwyz was led by the president Walter Stahlin and included the new Swiss ambassador to the Holy See, Pierre-Yves Fux. This afternoon at 5.30, Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin will celebrate the Eucharist in St. Peter's Basilica, accompanied by the “Singkreis Brunnen”, a choir from the canton Schwyz.


Vatican City, 6 May 2014 (VIS) – His Holiness Karekin II, head of the of the Catholicate of Etchmiadzin of the Armenian Apostolic Church will visit Rome from 7 to 9 May to meet with His Holiness Pope Francis. Karekin II was elected the 132nd Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians in 1999.

The Armenian Church consists of two catholicates and two patriarchates, and around six million faithful. The two catholicates of Etchmiadzin and Antelias are in full communion, but they are independent from an administrative point of view. The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople refer to Etchmiadzin for spiritual questions.

Following Vatican Council II, new relations have developed between the Catholic Church and the Armenian Church. Representatives of the two catholicates of Etchmiadzin and Antelias are members of the Mixed International Commission for theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches.

During the Jubilee year 2000, the Catholicos Karekin II visited the Church of Rome. In 2001, Pope John Paul II paid a visit to the Catholicate of Etchmiadzin. The patriarch later headed the Armenian delegation during the funeral of John Paul II. Karekin II also met with Benedict XVI in 2008 and 2012, and was present during the inauguration of the Petrine ministry of Pope Francis.

On 8 May the Catholicos will meet Pope Francis and they will pray together. They will visit the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and various other dicasteries of the Roman Curia. Finally, they will visit the tomb of St. Peter and pray before the statue of St. Gregory the Illuminator, which is located on the north courtyard of the Vatican Basilica.


Vatican City, 6 May 2014 (VIS) – The following prelates died in recent weeks:

- Bishop Andrew Joseph McDonald, emeritus of Little Rock, U.S.A., on 1 April at the age of 90.

- Bishop Michael Pearse Lacey, auxiliary emeritus of Toronto, Canada, on 2 April at the age of 97.

- Bishop Pedro Fre, C.SS.R., emeritus of Barretos, Brazil, on 3 April at the age of 89.

- Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, patriarch emeritus of Babylon of the Chaldeans, on 8 April at the age of 86.

- Archbishop Boniface Lele, emeritus of Mombasa, Kenya, on 9 April at the age of 67.

- Bishop Jan Hirka, emeritus of Presov, Slovakia, on 10 April at the age of 90.

- Archbishop Robert-Casimir Tonyui Messan Dosseh-Anyron, emeritus of Lome, Togo, on 15 April at the age of 88.

- Bishop Anselmo Zarza Bernal, emeritus of Leon, Mexico, on 15 April at the age of 97.

- Bishop Ramon Malla Call, emeritus of Lleida, Spain, on 18 April at the age of 91.

- Bishop Francisco Ovidio Vera Intriago, auxiliary of Portoviejo, Ecuador, on 21 April at the age of 71.

- Bishop Boniface Nyema Dalieh, emeritus of Cape Palmas, Liberia, on 25 April at the age of 80.

- Bishop Jose Moreira Bastos Neto, of Tres Lagoas, Brazil, on 26 April at the age of 61.

- Bishop Protacio Guevarra Gungon, emeritus of Antipolo, Philippines, on 26 April at the age of 88.

- Archbishop Aloisio Roque Oppermann, S.C.I., emeritus of Uberaba, Brazil, on 26 April at the age of 77.

- Archbishop Damiao Antonio Franklin, of Luanda, Angola, on 28 April at the age of 63.

- Bishop Tomas Balduino, O.P., emeritus of Goias, Brazil on 2 May at the age of 91.


Vatican City, 6 May 2014 (VIS) – The Holy Father has:

- appointed Fr. Telesphore Bilung, S.V.D., as auxiliary of the archdiocese of Ranchi (area 5,299, population 3,156,000, Catholics 140,503, priests 255, religious 1,266), India. The bishop-elect was born in Sargidipa, India in 1961, professed his solemn vows in 1991 and and was ordained a priest in 1992. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics, philosophy and theology from Jnana Deepa Vidyapeth, Pune, and has served in a number of pastoral roles, including rector of the minor seminary of Sambalpur and of the SVD Formation House of Lungai; priest in Premnagar, Calcutta; pioneer of the mission of Bezda, Calcutta; and rector of the minor seminary of the Divine Word Missionaries in Lungai. He is currently provincial superior of the Divine Word Missionaries.

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