May 31, 2007

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

The following, in it's entirety, is a copyrighted transcript of the Vatican Information Service.

SUMMARY:


DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

 VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2007 (VIS) - A communique made public today announced that the Holy See and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), "being desirous of promoting bonds of mutual friendship and of strengthening international cooperation, have decided by common accord to establish diplomatic relations at the level of apostolic nunciature on the part of the Holy See and at the ambassadorial level on the part of the United Arab Emirates, conforming to the rules fixed by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of April 18, 1961."

   The joint communique states that the agreement was signed on the part of the Holy See by Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, and for the United Arab Emirates by Abdulaziz Nasser Al-Shamsi, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the UAE to the United Nations.

   A note attached to the communique recalls that the United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven independent emirates (Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Al-Fujayrah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Qaiwain) located along the central-eastern coast of the Arab peninsula, and has Abu Dhabi as its capital city. It has a surface area of 83,600 square kilometers and a population of more than four million including a large percentage (more than 70 percent) of foreign workers, mostly from other Middle Eastern countries, Pakistan, India, Philippines and Bangladesh. The official language is Arabic.

   The majority of UAE citizens is Muslim, which is the official religion of State. "The constitution," the note reads, "affirms the principle of religious freedom and Christians are able to perform their public religious activities in churches and parish centers."

   The United Arab Emirates forms part of the Apostolic Vicariate of Arabia which is under the pastoral care of Bishop Paul Hinder O.F.M. Cap. and has its headquarters in Abu Dhabi. "According to reliable estimates," the note continues, "there are more than a million Christians, mostly Catholics, of more than a hundred nationalities who contribute to the social wellbeing of the nation. There are seven churches in the country where Mass is celebrated in various languages and rites. The expectation exists that  the authorities, who maintain cordial relations with the Catholic Church, will approve the building of new centers of worship. Various religious congregations offer educational services in seven schools."

 

PROCESSION AND MASS FOR CORPUS CHRISTI

 VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2007 (VIS) - The Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff today announced that at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 7, Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Pope Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass on the square in front of Rome's St. John Lateran Basilica. Following this he will preside at the traditional Eucharistic procession from the basilica, along Via Merulana, to the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

 

AUDIENCES

 VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

  - Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

  - Five prelates from the Central African Episcopal Conference on their "ad limina" visit:

     - Bishop Agostino Delfino O.F.M. Cap., of Berberati.

     - Bishop Francois-Xavier Yombandje of Bassangoa.

     - Bishop Armando Umberto Gianni O.F.M. Cap., of Bouar.

     - Bishop Albert Vanbuel S.D.B., of Kaga-Bandoro.

     - Bishop Guerrino Perin M.C.C.I., of Mbaiki.

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

 VATICAN CITY, MAY 31, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

  - Appointed Fr. Phillip Pollitzer O.M.I., provincial for Namibia of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, as bishop of Keetmanshoop (area 264,110, population 142,000, Catholics 39,400, priests 25, permanent deacons 9, religious 46), Namibia. The bishop-elect was born in Mortelsdorf, Austria in 1940 and ordained a priest in 1965.

  - Appointed Archbishop Jose Octavio Ruiz Arenas of Villavicencio, Colombia as vice president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.

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