May 7, 2010

Vatican Information Service Bulletin

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



VATICAN CITY, 7 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office released the following communique at midday today:

  "This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience Mikheil Saakashvili, president of Georgia. The president subsequently went on to meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. who was accompanied by Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, secretary for Relations with States.

  "The meetings provided an opportunity to examine various bilateral questions, and other important matters concerning life in Georgia, restating the commitment of the parties in favour of intercultural exchange. In particular, The positive humanitarian contributions made by Caritas to the population were noted, and encouragement given to the peaceful coexistence of believers from various religions, for the sake of the common good. As regards the situation in the region, the hope was expressed that all difficulties will be overcome through dialogue and negotiation among the parties concerned".



VATICAN CITY, 7 MAY 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received the thirty new members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard who were sworn in as members of the corps in a ceremony held yesterday afternoon. The guards were accompanied in their meeting with the Pope by their parents.

  Speaking German, Benedict XVI evoked the history of the Swiss Guard, recalling how, from now on, the new recruits will be "visible guardians" of that history. He likewise encouraged them to continue with "generous commitment" the tradition of service to Peter's Successor who, down the centuries, has placed his trust in them. The Pope also expressed the hope that, through their work, the new recruits "may mature as individuals and as Christians".

  Then, in French, the Pope explained how the members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard are, "in an indirect but very real way, associated with Peter's service to the Church". Referring to the mission entrusted to the Apostle following the resurrection (that of showing real solicitude to everyone), the Pope highlighted the fact that Peter's Successor "wishes to show that solicitude to all Churches and to each of the faithful, and to everyone who expects something from the Church".

  For this reason, the Holy Father told the new Guards, "by being close to Peter's Successor, the charity that animates you is called to become universal, and your hearts are called to expand. Your service will bring you to discover, in the face of each man and woman, a pilgrim seeking another face through which to receive a living sign of the Lord".

  The Pope concluded his brief remarks in Italian. "We know", he said, "that everything we do in Jesus' name, however humble it may be, transforms us and makes us a little more like the new man regenerated in Christ. Thus your service to the Petrine ministry will give you a livelier sense of Catholicism, together with a more profound perception of the dignity of all mankind".

  In closing, Benedict XVI entrusted the new Guards to the intercession of the Virgin Mary and to their patron saints: Sebastian, Martin and Nicholas of Flue.



VATICAN CITY, 7 MAY 2010 (VIS) - At midday today in the Holy See Press Office, Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, presented two initiatives due to take place on 19 and 20 May: the "Days of Russian Culture and Spirituality in the Vatican", and a concert in honour of Benedict XVI.

  The events are being promoted by the Patriarchate of Moscow, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and the Pontifical Council for Culture.

  Archbishop Ravasi explained how between 14 and 20 May, Archbishop Hilarion of Volokolamsk, president of the Department for External Church Affairs of the Patriarchate of Moscow, will head a delegation as it visits various Italian cities: Ravenna, Milan, Turin, Bologna and Rome.

  In Rome on the evening of 19 May, Archbishop Hilarion will inaugurate a photographic exhibition by Valdimir Chodakov on the Russian Orthodox Church today. He will also attend a symposium on the theme: "Orthodox and Catholics in Europe today. The Christian roots and the shared cultural heritage of East and West". Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Archbishop Ravasi are also due to participate in the symposium.

  At 9 a.m. on 20 May, Archbishop Hilarion will preside at the divine liturgy in Rome's Russian Orthodox church of St. Catherine Martyr. At 6 p.m. on the same evening, the Russian national orchestra and the synodal choir of Moscow will give a concert in honour of the Pope. The concert, promoted by Kirill I, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, will be held in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall.



VATICAN CITY, 7 MAY 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Two prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Belgium, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Bishop Lucas Van Looy S.D.B. of Ghent.

    - Msgr. Koen Vanhoutte, diocesan administrator of Bruges.

 - Bishop Valentino Di Cerbo of Alife-Caiazzo, Italy, accompanied by members of his family.

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