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The Vatican Information Service is a news service, founded in the Holy See Press Office, that provides information about the Magisterium and the pastoral activities of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia...[]

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Monday, March 21, 2005


VATICAN CITY, MAR 21, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Wellington, New Zealand, presented by Cardinal Thomas Stafford Williams, upon having reached the age limit. Cardinal Williams is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop John Atcherley Dew.

 - Appointed Bishop Paul Hinder O.F.M. Cap., auxiliary of the apostolic vicariate of Arabia (area 3,143,669, population 47,760,000 Catholics 1,300,000 priests 42, permanent deacons 2, religious 98), Arabian Peninsula, as apostolic vicar of the same apostolic vicariate. He succeeds Bishop Giovanni Bernardo Gremoli O.F.M. Cap., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same apostolic vicariate the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

  On Saturday, March 19, it was made public that the Holy Father appointed Bishop Stefan Cichy, auxiliary of Katowice, Poland, as bishop of Legnica (area 8,500, population 1,051,984, Catholics 983,840, priests 574, religious 370), Poland. He succeeds Bishop Tadeusz Rybak whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 21, 2005 (VIS) - At midday today, Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute for the Secretariat of State, read a message from John Paul II to participants in the 38th University Congress UNIV, whose theme this year is: "Projecting Culture: the language of music." Also present at the meeting, which was held in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall, was Bishop Javier Echevarria Rodriguez, prelate of the personal prelature of Opus Dei.

  Before listening to the Pope's message, 4,000 students and teachers from more than 200 universities throughout the world who participate in the formative activities promoted by the prelature of Opus Dei, watched a film of the meeting of the Holy Father with UNIV participants in 1985, the International Year of Youth.

  "Music, like all artistic languages," writes the Holy Father in his message, "brings man closer to God. ... Yet at the same time, art can on occasion transmit a conception of man, of love and of happiness that does not correspond to the truth of God's design. For this reason it is necessary to discern clearly."

  The Pope also affirms that young people must "renew the languages of art and of culture," and have the courage "not to accept forms of behavior and entertainment marked by noise and excess."

  After recalling that "the vocation of the lay faithful is holiness, animating temporal reality in a Christian way," John Paul II writes: "Dear university students and teachers, as St. Josemaria liked to repeat, work and study must be 'a constant prayer for you. It has the same loveable words, but a different tune each day. It is very much our mission to transform the prose of this life into poetry, into heroic verse'."

  "May Mary Most Holy help you to encounter her Son Jesus Christ in the liturgy of this Holy Week and in the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist."
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 20, 2005 (VIS) - At the end of Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square, presided over by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar for the diocese of Rome, Pope John Paul appeared at the window of his study overlooking the square and, to the enthusiastic cheers of the estimated 50,000 faithful gathered there, including many young people for World Youth Day, he blessed the crowd with an olive branch. The Pope did not speak, and Archbishop Leonardo Sandri read the reflections that preceded the Angelus prayer.

  "Twenty years ago," said the papal message, "right here in St. Peter's Square, World Youth Days began. Thus, today I am addressing young people in a special way. You, dear ones, gathered here in the square, and the youth throughout the world.

  "My dear young people! This coming August World Youth Day will take place in Cologne, in the heart of Germany and of Europe. In the stupendous cathedral of that city the relics of the Three Magi are venerated and they have become in a certain sense your guides towards that appointment. They came from the East to pay homage to Jesus and they said: 'We have come to adore Him'. These words, so rich in meaning, constitute the theme of your spiritual and catechetical itinerary towards World Youth Day.

  "Today, you adore the Cross of Christ that you carry throughout the world, because you believed in God's Love, fully revealed in the crucified Christ."

  Asking young people to be tireless "witnesses to the glorious Cross of Christ," the Holy Father's reflections concluded: "I become more and more aware how providential and prophetic it is that this day, Palm Sunday and the Passion of the Lord, has become your day. This feast contains a special grace, that of joy united to the Cross which epitomizes the Christian mystery."
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 20, 2005 (VIS) - Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, presided in the Pope's name at the Eucharistic celebration for Palm Sunday in St Peter's Square. Prior to the Mass, the cardinal blessed palms and olive branches.

  During the ceremony, the window of John Paul II's private apartment was open, and a palm was affixed to one side.

  Some 50,000 faithful participated in the event, most of them young people who today celebrate diocesan World Youth Day, a prelude to the international World Youth Day which will be held in August in Cologne, Germany.

  In the homily, Cardinal Ruini spoke on the Lord's Passion as recounted in today's Gospel reading: "If we consider the large amount of human suffering, especially guiltless suffering, we feel lost and are impelled to ask ourselves if God truly loves us and if He takes care of us, or whether there is not, perhaps, some evil destiny that not even God can change."

  "Yet in the cross of Christ," the cardinal continued, "we come into contact with the true face of God. ... Indeed, in the cross of Christ, the face of God does not lose its greatness and its mystery, yet it becomes extraordinarily close and friendly, because it is the face of the One Who, in His own Son, fully shared even the darkest side of the human condition."

  The Holy Father's vicar for the diocese of Rome went on to emphasize: "Thus, from the cross of Christ arises a strength and a hope of redemption for all human suffering. In this way, the drama and the mystery of suffering - which in the final analysis are the drama and mystery of our lives - are not eliminated, but they no longer appear as something dark and meaningless."

  Addressing himself especially to the young people present, the cardinal encouraged them to follow Christ's invitation: "'If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.' These words understandably give rise to fear, even more so for us, men and women of our time who tend to see suffering only as something useless and harmful. Yet, precisely this is our mistake, preventing us from understanding not only the meaning of suffering, but also the meaning of life."

  "The cross of Christ neither depresses nor weakens. On the contrary, from it comes ever new energy, energy that shines forth in the deeds of saints and that has made the history of the Church fruitful, energy that stands out particularly clearly today in the tired face of the Holy Father."
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 19, 2005 (VIS) - In response to a question about news from Argentina concerning a dispute with the government over declarations made by the military ordinary of that country, Bishop Antonio Juan Baseotto, C.SS.R., Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls replied:

  "I do not usually comment on news appearing in the press.

  "Concerning what was announced by news agencies on measures taken by the president of Argentina regarding Bishop Antonio Juan Baseotto, we are awaiting an official communique from the Argentinean side to the Supreme Pontiff, who appointed him as military ordinary.

  "Clearly, if a bishop legally appointed by the Holy See in keeping with canon law and current agreements were to be impeded from carrying out his pastoral ministry, we would be facing a violation of religious liberty and of those same agreements."


VATICAN CITY, MAR 19, 2005 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon, Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the following declaration concerning the visit by Dragan Covic, a member of the collegial presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, to Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano:

  "During the meeting, a valuable exchange of opinions on the current situation in the country took place. The president also gave the cardinal secretary of State his heartfelt best wishes for the Holy Father's speedy recovery.

  "For his part, the secretary of State promised to pass on those best wishes to His Holiness, who nourishes deep interest and affection for all the people of Bosnia Herzegovina.

  "The cardinal secretary of State then gave assurances that the Holy See well understands the current difficulties of the country, expressing the hope that all citizens respect the law and that everyone's rights are respected.

  "In closing, His Eminence expressed the Holy Father's ardent best wishes to all the people of Bosnia Herzegovina, together with his hopes for peace and harmony among them.

  "Finally the cardinal secretary of State presented a special greeting from the Holy Father to Cardinal Vinko Puljic, to the entire episcopate, to the clergy and to all the Catholic faithful of the country."

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