March 26, 2008

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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

SUMMARY: 19 - 26 MARCH


EASTER TRIDUUM AND APPEAL FOR THE SITUATION IN TIBET

VATICAN CITY, 19 MAR 2008 (VIS) - The general audience held this morning, 19 March and the Holy Father's name day, was divided into two parts. In the Vatican Basilica at 10.15 a.m. the Pope met with 3500 students who are participating in the international congress UNIV 2008; he then moved on to the Paul VI Hall where he delivered his catechesis and greeted pilgrims from various parts of the world.

  Benedict XVI encouraged the young people of UNIV 2008 not to be afraid, "when necessary, to be nonconformist, at university, in college or anywhere else. ... Being friends with Christ and bearing witness to Him wherever we may be", he told them, "requires the strength to swim against the tide".

  In the Paul VI Hall the Pope concentrated his remarks on the significance of the Easter Triduum in which, he said, "we relive the central event of our redemption".

  On Easter Thursday, "the Church remembers the Last Supper during which the Lord, on the eve of His passion and death, established the Sacrament of the Eucharist and that of priestly ministry. On that same night, Jesus left us the new commandment ('mandatum novum'), the commandment of fraternal love".

  Good Friday "is the day that recalls the passion, crucifixion and death of Jesus", said the Pope. On that day Christians "meditate upon the great mystery of the evil and sin that oppress humanity" and "adore the cross".

  Easter Saturday "is marked by profound silence" Pope Benedict explained. "As they await the great event of the resurrection, believers persevere expectantly with Mary, praying and meditating". The day "ends with the Easter vigil which leads into the most important Sunday in history, the Sunday of Christ's Easter. ... In the darkness of the night the new flame of the Easter candle is lit, a symbol of Christ arising in glory".

  At the end of the audience, the Pope made an appeal concerning the situation in Tibet. He spoke of his "sadness and pain at the suffering of so many people. ... Problems are not solved with violence", he said, "but only get worse. I invite you to join me in prayer. Let us ask Almighty God, the source of light, to illuminate the minds of everyone and give each the courage to chose the way of dialogue and tolerance".

 

HOLY THURSDAY: CHRISM MASS AND THE LORD'S SUPPER MASS

VATICAN CITY, 20 MAR 2008 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica at 9.30 a.m. today, Holy Thursday, the Holy Father presided at the Chrism Mass, which is celebrated on this day in churches and cathedrals throughout the world. Cardinals, bishops and priests present in Rome concelebrated with the Pope. Following the homily, there was the renewal of priestly vows and the blessing of the oil used for catechumens, the sick and those being confirmed.

  In his homily, the Pope explained how the Chrism Mass "encourages us to revive that 'yes' to the call of God which we pronounced on the day of our ordination as priests".

  The Old Testament describes the tasks that define the essence of priestly ministry as "standing before the Lord" and "serving", he said.

  A priest "must be on his guard against the threatening powers of evil. He must awaken the world to God. He must remain standing upright against the currents of the times".

  "To stand before the Lord must also mean, in the most profound sense, taking on responsibility for mankind before the Lord Who, in His turn, takes on responsibility for all of us before the Father. And this must mean accepting Him, Christ, accepting His word, His truth, His love".

  Secondly, the Pope went on, a priest must serve. "What a priest does ... in celebrating the Eucharist is to serve, to accomplish a service to God and a service to mankind. Christ's worship of the Father was His total giving of Himself for mankind. The priest must become part of such worship, of such service.

  "Thus", he added, "the word 'service' includes many dimensions". It implies "the correct celebration of the liturgy and of the Sacraments in general". In this context he highlighted how priests "are familiar with the Word, they love it and they live it; only then can they adequately explain it".

  Service, the Holy Father proceeded, "also means closeness, it requires familiarity" such as that of the servant to his master. However, "such familiarity also brings a danger: that continual contact with the sacred may become a habit for us. Thus we lose our reverential awe. Conditioned by habit, we no longer perceive the great, new and surprising fact that He Himself is present, He speaks to us and gives Himself to us".

  Service "means, above all, obedience" said Pope Benedict. "Humanity's temptation is always that of wanting to be completely autonomous, of following only their own will and of insisting that only thus will we be free, that only through such limitless freedom can mankind be fully realised and become divine. Yet it is precisely thus that we run counter to the truth". We are free, the Pope stated, if "we share our freedom with others, ... if we obey the will of God".

  Benedict XVI concluded by highlighting how priests "announce not ourselves but Him and His Word. ... Our obedience is believing with the Church, thinking and talking with the Church, serving with her".

  At 5.30 p.m. in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, Benedict XVI presided at the Mass of the Lord's Supper. During the celebration, imitating the gesture of the Lord towards His Apostles, the Pope washed the feet of 12 priests. At the presentation of the gifts, he was given alms collected for the "Edad de oro" orphanage in Havana, Cuba.

  Commenting in his homily on Jesus' gesture of washing His disciples' feet, the Pope dwelt on the need for interior purification as a necessary condition for living in communion with God and our fellows.

  "Day after day", he said, "we are, as it were, covered with dirt, with empty words, with prejudices, with watered-down and adulterated wisdom; multiple forms of semi-falsity or open falseness continually infiltrate our inner being. This clouds and contaminates our soul, it threatens us with an incapacity for truth and goodness. If we accept the words of Jesus with an attentive heart, they wash and purify the soul".

  The Gospel episode of the washing of the feet invites us "always to let ourselves be washed by that pure water, to allow ourselves to be capable of convivial communion with God and with our brothers and sisters".

  "The gift and the example that we find in the story of the washing of the feet are characteristic of the nature of Christianity in general", said the Pope. "Christianity is not some kind of moralism, a system of ethics. ... It is, first and foremost, a gift: God gives Himself to us. He does not give something but gives Himself. ... For this reason, the central act of being Christian is the Eucharist".

  We need the 'washing of the feet', the washing away of everyday sins. It is for this that we need the confession of sins". In the Sacrament of Penance "the Lord ever and anew washes our dirty feet so we can sit at table with Him".

  Benedict XVI concluded his homily by highlighting how "Easter Thursday calls us to this: not to allow rancour towards others to become, deep down, a poisoning of the soul. It exhorts us to continual purification of memory, forgiving one another from the heart, washing one another's feet, thus to be able to go together to God's banquet".

 

GOOD FRIDAY: LORD'S PASSION, WAY OF THE CROSS AT COLOSSEUM

VATICAN CITY, 21 MAR 2008 (VIS) - In the Vatican Basilica at 5 p.m. today, Good Friday, the Pope presided at the celebration of the Lord's Passion. Following the reading of the Passion, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa O.F.M. Cap., preacher of the Pontifical Household, pronounced his customary Good Friday homily. The ceremony continued with the universal prayer, veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion.

  At 9.15 p.m., the Holy Father travelled to the Colosseum where he led the 'Via Crucis' or Way of the Cross. The meditations this year were prepared by Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun S.D.B., bishop of Hong Kong, China, and their central theme was the persecutions suffered by the Catholic Church in various parts of the world.

  On a cold and rainy night, Benedict XVI oversaw the ceremony from the Palatine Hill and carried the cross for the last station. Over the other thirteen stations, it was carried by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, vicar general for the diocese of Rome, a religious from Burkina Faso, a Roman family, a woman on a wheelchair, two Franciscan friars from the Custody of the Holy Land and a young Chinese woman.

  At the end of the ceremony, the Holy Father addressed some remarks to those present. "The cross", he said, "is the source of immortal life, it is a school of justice and peace, it is a universal legacy of forgiveness and mercy, it is permanent proof of the oblational and infinite love which brought God to make Himself a vulnerable man like us, and to die crucified".

  "Unfortunately mankind does not always manage to perceive the profundity of this boundless love that God nourishes for His creatures" said Benedict XVI. "For Him there is no difference in race or culture. Jesus Christ died to liberate the entire human race from ignorance of God, from the cycle of hatred and revenge, from the slavery of sin. The cross makes us all brothers and sisters".

  "Many people, even in our own time, do not know God and cannot find Him in the crucified Christ. Many are those who seek a form of love and freedom that excludes God, many believe they have no need of God. Dear friends, having experienced the passion of Jesus together, let us this evening allow His sacrifice on the cross to probe us; let us allow Him to put our human certainties in doubt; let us open our hearts to Him. Jesus is the Truth that makes us free to love. Let us not fear! By dying, the Lord saved sinners, in other words, all of us".

  "This is the truth of Good Friday", the Holy Father concluded. "On the cross, the Redeemer gave us back the dignity that is ours, He made us adoptive children of God Who created us in His image and likeness".

 

EGYPTIAN MUSLIM JOURNALIST BAPTISED BY THE POPE

VATICAN CITY, 22 MAR 2008 (VIS) - Late this afternoon, Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. released the following declaration to journalists:

  "During this evening's Easter vigil, the Holy Father will administer Baptism to seven people, five women and two men from various countries.

  "As is known, the Holy Father normally administers the Sacrament of Baptism on two liturgical occasions. In the Sistine Chapel on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord he administers Baptism to a group of new-born infants. On the Easter vigil he administers Baptism and the other two Sacraments of Christian initiation (Confirmation and Communion) to a group of adults of varying nationalities and conditions who have followed the necessary spiritual and catechetical preparation, which Christian tradition calls the 'catechumenate'.

  "The catechumens who will receive Baptism tonight come from Italy, Cameroon, China, the United States and Peru. Among them is Magdi Allam, a well-known journalist of Egyptian origin, vice-director 'ad personam' of the Italian newspaper 'Corriere della Sera'.

  "For the Catholic Church, anyone who asks to receive Baptism - following a profound individual exploration, a free choice and adequate preparation - has the right to receive it.

  "For his part, the Holy Father administers Baptism during the course of the Easter liturgy to the catechumens who have been presented to him, without making any 'distinction between people', in other words considering them all as equally important before the love of the Lord and welcome in the community of the Church".

 

EASTER SATURDAY: CHRIST'S DEPARTURE IS A NEW RETURN

VATICAN CITY, 22 MAR 2008 (VIS) - At 9 o'clock this evening in St. Peter's Basilica, the Pope presided at the solemn Easter vigil during which he administered the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation to a number of catechumens from various countries.

  The celebration began in the atrium of the basilica where the Holy Father blessed the new fire and lighted the Easter candle. This was followed by the procession towards the altar with the singing of the "Exultet." Then came the Liturgy of the Word and the Baptismal and Eucharistic Liturgies which the Holy Father concelebrated with cardinals.

  In his homily, the Pope recalled the words with which Jesus announced to the disciples His forthcoming death and resurrection: "'I go away, and I will come to you'. ... Dying is a 'going away'", he said. "Yet in Jesus' case, there is something utterly new, which changes the world. ... It is by going away that He comes. His going ushers in a completely new and greater way of being present. By dying He enters into the love of the Father. His dying is an act of love. Love, however, is immortal. Therefore, His going away is transformed into a new coming, into a form of presence which reaches deeper and does not come to an end".

  "Jesus, Who is now totally transformed through the act of love, is free from ... barriers and limits. He is able not only to pass through closed doors in the outside world" but also "through the interior door separating the 'I' from the 'you', the closed door between yesterday and today, between the past and the future. ... His going away is transformed into a coming, in the Risen Lord's universal manner of presence, in which He is there yesterday, today and forever, in which He embraces all times and all places. Now He can even surmount the wall of otherness that separates the 'I' from the 'you'".

  "The mysterious words spoken by Jesus at the Last Supper become present for you once more", the Holy Father told his audience. "In Baptism, the Lord enters your life through the door of your heart. We no longer stand alongside or in opposition to one another. He passes through all these doors. This is the reality of Baptism: He, the Risen One, comes; He comes to you and joins His life with yours, drawing you into the open fire of His love. You become one, one with Him, and thus one among yourselves".

  "Believers, the baptised, are never truly cut off from one another. Continents, cultures, social structures or even historical distances may separate us. But when we meet, we know one another on the basis of the same Lord, the same faith, the same hope, the same love, which form us. Then we experience that the foundation of our lives is the same. We experience that in our inmost depths we are anchored in the same identity, on the basis of which all our outward differences, however great they may be, become secondary".

  "The Church expresses the inner reality of Baptism as the gift of a new identity through the tangible elements used in the administration of the Sacrament" said Pope Benedict, explaining that the fundamental symbols in Baptism are water and light. Going on to comment on the readings of the Easter vigil, he noted how "Jesus appears as the new, definitive Shepherd who brings to fulfilment what Moses had done: He leads us out of the deadly waters of the sea, out of the waters of death. ... In Baptism He takes us, as it were, by the hand, He leads us along the path that passes through the Red Sea of this life and introduces us to everlasting life, the true and upright life".

  "In the second place", he went on, "there is the symbol of light and fire". ... Jesus Christ truly took light from heaven and brought it to the earth - the light of truth and the fire of love that transform man's being. He brought the light, and now we know who God is and what God is like. Thus we also know what our own situation is: what we are, and for what purpose we exist. When we are baptised, the fire of this light is brought down deep within ourselves. Thus, in the early Church, Baptism was also called the Sacrament of Illumination".

  The Holy Father concluded his homily by recalling that the early Church had a custom whereby "the bishop or the priest, after the homily, would cry out to the faithful: 'Conversi ad Dominum' - turn now towards the Lord. This meant in the first place that they would turn towards the east, towards the rising sun, the sign of Christ returning. ... Linked with this was the other exclamation that still today, before the Eucharistic prayer, is addressed to the community of the faithful: 'Sursum corda' - Lift up your hearts, high above the tangled web of our concerns, desires, anxieties and thoughtlessness - 'Lift up your hearts, your inner selves!'

  "In both exclamations", the Holy Father added in conclusion, "we are summoned, as it were, to a renewal of our Baptism. ... We must turn ever anew towards Him Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We must be converted ever anew, turning with our whole life towards the Lord. And ever anew we must allow our hearts to be withdrawn from the force of gravity, which pulls them down, and inwardly we must raise them high: in truth and love".

 

EASTER SUNDAY: THE RESURRECTION IS AN EVENT OF LOVE

VATICAN CITY, 23 MAR 2008 (VIS) - Benedict XVI celebrated the Easter Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord at 10.30 this morning in St. Peter's Square, which was decorated, as is traditional, with flowers, shrubs and flowering plants from Holland. At midday, from the central loggia of the basilica, he pronounced his Easter Message, delivered Easter greetings in various languages and imparted his "Urbi et Orbi" blessing.

  In the words "I have risen, I am still with you" which ring out at the beginning of today's Mass, said the Pope, "the Church recognises the voice of Jesus Himself Who, on rising from death, turns to the Father filled with gladness and love, and exclaims: ... Your Spirit never abandoned me. ... The death and resurrection of the Word of God incarnate is an event of invincible love, it is the victory of that Love which has delivered us from the slavery of sin and death. It has changed the course of history, giving to human life an indestructible and renewed meaning and value".

  "With His redeeming sacrifice, Jesus of Nazareth has made us adopted children of God, so that we too can now take our place in the mysterious dialogue between Him and the Father", said the Pope. "In this perspective, we note that the words addressed by the risen Jesus to the Father on this day ... apply indirectly to us as well, 'children of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him'".

  "In this way we enter the depths of the Paschal mystery", he explained. "The astonishing event of the resurrection of Jesus is essentially an event of love. ... From today's solemnity, in which we relive the absolute, once-and-for-all experience of Jesus' resurrection, we receive an appeal to be converted to Love; we receive an invitation to live by rejecting hatred and selfishness, and to follow with docility in the footsteps of the Lamb that was slain for our salvation".

  The Holy Father proceeded: "Dear Christian brothers and sisters in every part of the world, dear men and women whose spirit is sincerely open to the truth, let no heart be closed to the omnipotence of this redeeming love! Jesus Christ died and rose for all; He is our hope - true hope for every human being. Today, just as He did with His disciples in Galilee before returning to the Father, the risen Jesus now sends us everywhere as witnesses of His hope. ... Fixing the gaze of our spirit on the glorious wounds of His transfigured body, we can understand the meaning and value of suffering, we can tend the many wounds that continue to disfigure humanity in our own day".

  The Pope indicated that in Christ's wounds "we recognise the indestructible signs of the infinite mercy of the God. ... It is He who heals the wounds of broken hearts, who defends the weak and proclaims the freedom of slaves, who consoles all the afflicted and bestows upon them the oil of gladness instead of a mourning robe. ... If with humble trust we draw near to Him, we encounter in His gaze the response to the deepest longings of our heart: to know God and to establish with Him a living relationship in an authentic communion of love, which can fill our lives, our interpersonal and social relations with that same love".

  "How often", the Pope remarked "relations between individuals, between groups and between peoples are marked not by love but by selfishness, injustice, hatred and violence! These are the scourges of humanity, open and festering in every corner of the planet, although they are often ignored and sometimes deliberately concealed; wounds that torture the souls and bodies of countless of our brothers and sisters. They are waiting to be tended and healed by the glorious wounds of our Risen Lord and by the solidarity of people who, following in His footsteps, perform deeds of charity in His name, make an active commitment to justice, and spread luminous signs of hope in areas bloodied by conflict and wherever the dignity of the human person continues to be scorned and trampled. It is to be hoped that these are precisely the places where gestures of moderation and forgiveness will increase!"

  Benedict XVI noted how on the morning of the resurrection, he could not "fail to remember certain African regions, such as Darfur and Somalia, the tormented Middle East, especially the Holy Land, Iraq, Lebanon, and finally Tibet, all of whom I encourage to seek solutions that will safeguard peace and the common good!" The Pope concluded by invoking "the fullness of His Paschal gifts, through the intercession of Mary who, after sharing the sufferings of the passion and crucifixion of her innocent Son, also experienced the inexpressible joy of His resurrection".

 

MISSIONARY MARTYRS AND THE STRUGGLE AGAINST TUBERCULOSIS

VATICAN CITY, 24 MAR 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, Easter Monday, the Pope prayed the Regina Coeli with pilgrims at the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo and, through television linkup, with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. The Pope travelled to his Castelgandolfo residence yesterday evening to rest after the Easter celebrations.

  Before the Marian prayer, the Pope remarked upon the signing of Hallelujah, the word that in the wake of Lent and the Passion passes "from mouth to mouth, from heart to heart". It "echoes forth", he said, "from an absolutely new event: the death and resurrection of Christ".

  "This experience", said the Holy Father, "has forever inscribed the word 'Hallelujah' in the heart of the Church". Therefrom "derives also the prayer we recite today and on every day of the Easter period, ... the Regina Coeli. Its text is brief and has the direct form of an announcement. It is like a new 'annunciation' to Mary, this time not by an angel but by Christians who invite the mother to joy because her Son ... rose again as He promised".

  "Let us allow this Easter Hallelujah to impress itself deeply within us", said the Pope, "so that it becomes not just a word but the expression of our very lives: the lives of people who invite everyone to praise the Lord, and who do so through their own behaviour as 'people who have risen'".

  After the Marian prayer, the Holy Father recalled that today marks the Day of Prayer and Fasting for Missionary Martyrs. "Remembering and praying for these our brothers and sisters (bishops, priests, religious and lay people), who fell during the year 2007 while undertaking their missionary service, is a duty of gratitude for the whole Church and a stimulus for each of us to bear witness ever more courageously to our own faith and hope in Him Who on the cross overcame, once and for all, the power of hatred and violence with the omnipotence of His love".

  The Pope concluded by remarking that today also marks World Tuberculosis Day. He expressed his own "special closeness" to the sick and to their families, and the hope for "an increase in international efforts to combat this sickness".

 

TELEGRAM FOR THE DEATH OF CARDINAL SUAREZ RIVERA

VATICAN CITY, 24 MAR 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father has sent a telegram of condolence to Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega, archbishop of Monterrey, Mexico, for the death on 22 March at the age of 81 of Cardinal Adolfo Antonio Suarez Rivera, archbishop emeritus of the same archdiocese.

  In his telegram, the Pope associates himself with the "fervent prayers" of those mourning the loss of the cardinal, and asks "that the Lord may grant His peace to one who so intensely and generously served the Church during his pastoral ministry", first as bishop of the dioceses of Tepic and Tlalnepantla, and later as archbishop of Monterrey.

 

CHRIST GIVES US THE CERTAINTY OF OUR OWN RESURRECTION

VATICAN CITY, 26 MAR 2008 (VIS) - Today in St. Peter's Square, more than 30,000 people participated in the weekly general audience. The Pope, who arrived at the Vatican by helicopter from his Castelgandolfo residence, dedicated his catechesis to the period of Easter.

  "The entire liturgy of the Easter period proclaims the certainty and joy of Christ's resurrection", he said. This is "the central truth of Christian faith in all its doctrinal richness and its inexhaustible vitality".

  Christ's Easter, he went on, "is also our Easter because in the risen Christ we are given the certainty of our final resurrection. ... The death of the Lord shows the immense love with which He loved us, even to the point of sacrificing Himself for us. But only His resurrection is 'certain proof' ... that what He says is true".

  "It is important to reiterate this fundamental truth of our faith", explained the Holy Father, "the historical truth of which is amply documented, even if today as in the past there is no lack of people who put it in doubt or even deny it. The weakening of faith in the resurrection of Jesus leads to the weakening of the testimony of believers. ... Whereas adhesion to Christ, dead and risen, changes lives and illuminates the entire life of individuals and peoples".

  "The liturgy invites us - and especially in this octave of Easter - to encounter the Risen One personally and to recognise His life-giving action in the events of history and in our daily lives".

  As with the disciples of Emmaus who figure in today's Gospel, "the Lord is walking with us and he explains the Scripture to us. He brings us to understand this mystery in which everything speaks of Him. This should make our hearts burn so that our eyes may also be opened. The Lord is with us, He shows us the true path".

  The disciples of Emmaus recognised Christ "as He broke the bread. ... We too", the Holy Father concluded, "can meet and know Jesus Christ in the celebration of the Eucharist, ... on the double altar of the announced Word and the consecrated Bread and Wine. Each Sunday the community relives the Lord's Easter and draws from the Saviour its witness of love and fraternal service".

 

OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS

VATICAN CITY, 26 MAR 2008 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Thomas Kwaku Mensah of Obuasi, Ghana, as archbishop of Kumasi (area 5,118, population 1,579,000, Catholics 363,000, priests 79, religious 127), Ghana. The archbishop-elect was born in Assamang, Ghana in 1935, he was ordained a priest in 1973 and consecrated a bishop in 1995. He succeeds Archbishop Peter Kwasi Sarpong, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Port Moresby, Papua new Guinea, presented by Archbishop Brian James Barnes O.F.M., upon having reached the age limit. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Archbishop John Ribat M.S.C.

 - Appointed Bishop Ramon Alfredo Dus, auxiliary of Reconquista, Argentina, as bishop of the same diocese (area 35,000, population 267,500, Catholics 235,000, priests 42, religious 58).

 - Appointed Bishop Gabriel Justice Yaw Anokye, auxiliary of the archdiocese of Kumasi, Ghana, as bishop of Obuasi (area 6,350, population 1,004,790, Catholics 100,243, priests 48, religious 44), Ghana.

  On Tuesday 25 March it was made public that the Holy Father appointed Fr. Augustine Tochukwu Ukwouma of the clergy of the diocese of Orlu, Nigeria, pastor of the parish of St. Teresa at Uli, as bishop of Orlu (area 929, population 996,000, Catholics 571,015, priests 287, religious 168). The bishop-elect was born in Amucha, Nigeria in 1953 and ordained a priest in 1983. He succeeds Bishop Gregory O. Ochiagha, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

  On Thursday 20 March it was made public that the Holy Father:

 - Appointed Fr. John Niyiring O.S.A. provincial superior of the Augustinians in Nigeria, as bishop of Kano (area 43,178, population 9,504,000, Catholics 139,353, priests 38, religious 19), Nigeria. The bishop-elect was born in Zonkwa, Nigeria in 1960 and ordained a priest in 1992. He succeeds Bishop Patrick Francis Sheehan O.S.A., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

 - Appointed Fr. Giuseppe Fiorini Morosini O.M., former superior general of the Minim Fathers, as bishop of Locri-Gerace (area 1,248, population 130,779, Catholics 117,701, priests 80, permanent deacons 5, religious 163), Italy. The bishop-elect was born in Paola, Italy in 1945 and ordained a priest in 1969.

  On Wednesday 19 March, it was made public that the Holy Father:

 - Appointed Bishop Dominic Ryoji Miyahara of Oita, Japan, as bishop of Fukuoka (area 14,808, population 7,729,183, Catholics 31,065, priests 78, religious 442), Japan.

 - Accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Rio do Sul, Brazil, presented by Bishop Jose Jovencio Balestieri S.D.B., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. He is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Augustinho Petry.

 - Appointed Msgr. Oswaldo Brenes Alvarez of the clergy of the diocese of Tilaran, Costa Rica, vicar general and pastor of the parish of "Inmaculada Concepcion" in Bocas de Nosara, as bishop of Ciudad Quesada (area 9,838, population 270,321, Catholics 216,257, priests 43, religious 28), Costa Rica. The bishop-elect was born in Liberia, Costa Rica in 1942 and ordained a priest in 1966.

 - Appointed Fr. Adam Balabuch, vicar general and rector of the major seminary of the diocese of Swidnica, Poland, as bishop of the same diocese (area 4,060, population 679,600, Catholics 671,699, priests 371, religious 558). The bishop-elect was born in Scinawka Srednia, Poland in 1961 and ordained a priest in 1986.

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