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Thursday, October 16, 2003


VATICAN CITY, OCT 16, 2003 - Yesterday, October 15, at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran and Franco Frattini, Italian minister of Foreign Affairs, exchanged the instruments of ratification of the Social Security Convention between the Holy See and the Italian Republic, signed in the Vatican on June 16, 2000.

According to a communique made public yesterday afternoon, "in the course of the conversation preceding the act, Archbishop Tauran and Minister Frattini acknowledged the fruitful collaboration between the Holy See and Italy concerning bilateral relations as well as international problems."

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 16, 2003 (VIS) - Made public today was the Postsynodal Apostolic Exhortation "Pastores Gregis" written by Pope John Paul in conclusion to the Tenth Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme "The Bishop, Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World." The synod was held in the Vatican from September 30 to October 28, 2001.

Pope John Paul signed the document in the Paul VI Hall this morning at 11 in the presence of the College of Cardinals and members of the Roman Curia.

The 196-page document is divided into an Introduction, seven Chapters and a Conclusion.

The Introduction has four sections: the Tenth Assembly of the Synod of Bishops; a hope founded on Christ; Hope, when hopes are dashed; Servants of the Gospel for the hope of the world (which was the synod's theme).

Chapter One is entitled "The Mystery and Ministry of the Bishops" and has five parts: "... and He chose from them Twelve" (Lk 6:13); The Trinitarian Foundation of the episcopal ministry; The collegial nature of the episcopal ministry; the missionary character and the unitary nature of the episcopal ministry; and "He called to Him those whom He desired" (Mk 3:13-14).

The Holy Father divided Chapter Two, "The Spiritual Life of the Bishop," into 15 sections: "And He appointed Twelve that they might be with Him" (Mk 3:14); The call to holiness in the Church in our time; The Bishop's spiritual journey; Mary, Mother of Hope and teacher of the spiritual life; Entrusting oneself to the word; Drawing nourishment from the Eucharist; Prayer and the Liturgy of the Hours; The way of the evangelical counsels and the Beatitudes; The virtue of obedience; The spirit and practice of poverty in Bishops; With chastity at the service of a Church which reflects the purity of Christ; The proponent of a spirituality of communion and mission; a journey undertaken in everyday life; The permanent formation of Bishops; and The example of sainted bishops.

In Chapter Three, he writes of the Bishop as "Teacher of the Faith and Herald of the Word." There are six parts: "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel" (Mk 16:15); Christ at the heart of the Gospel and of humanity; The Bishop, hearer and guardian of the word; Authentic and authoritative service of the word; Episcopal ministry for the inculturation of the Gospel; Preaching by word and example.

"Minister of the Grace of the High Priesthood" is the title of Chapter Four. It has ten sections: "Sanctified in Jesus Christ, called to be saints" (1 Cor 1:2); The source and summit of the life of the particular Church; The importance of the Cathedral Church; The Bishop, moderator of the liturgy as a pedagogy of faith; The centrality of the Lord's Day and the liturgical year; The Bishop as minister of the Eucharistic celebration; The Bishop's responsibility for Christian initiation; The Bishop's responsibilities in the discipline of penance; Attention to popular piety; Promoting holiness for all the faithful.

John Paul II entitles Chapter Five "The Pastoral Governance of the Bishops." Its thirteen sections are: "I have given you an example" (Jn 13:15); The Bishop's authority as pastoral service; Pastoral style of governance and diocesan communion; The elements of the particular Church; The Pastoral Visit; The Bishop with his presbyterate; The formation of candidates for the priesthood; The Bishop and permanent deacons; The Bishop's concern for persons of consecrated life; The lay faithful in the pastoral care of the Bishops; The Bishop's concern for the family; Young people, a pastoral priority for the future; The promotion of vocations.

Chapter Six is entitled "In the Communion of the Churches" and it looks at: "Anxiety for all the Churches" (2 Cor 11:28); The Diocesan Bishop in relation to the Church's Supreme Authority; Visits "ad limina Apostolorum"; The Synod of Bishops; Communion between the Bishops and the Churches at the local level; The Eastern Catholic Churches; The Patriarchal Churches and their Synods; The organization of the Metropolitan See and of Ecclesial Provinces; Episcopal Conferences; The Church's Unity and ecumenical dialogue; Missionary Spirit in the episcopal ministry.

Pope John Paul calls Chapter Seven "The Bishop Before the Challenges of the Present." In it he addresses: "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (Jn 16:33); The Bishop, Promoter of justice and peace; Interreliguious dialogue, especially on behalf of world peace; Civil, social and economic life; Respect for the Environment and the protection of creation; The Bishop's ministry in the field of health; The Bishop's pastoral care of migrants.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 16, 2003 (VIS) - At 11 this morning in the Paul VI Hall, in the presence of the College of Cardinals and members of the Roman Curia, Pope John Paul II signed the Postsynodal Apostolic Exhortation "Pastores Gregis." The College of Cardinals began a four-day meeting yesterday in the Vatican.

As the Pope entered the Hall, the Sistine Choir sang "Tu es Petrus" (You are Peter). He was joined by Cardinal Jan Pieter Schotte, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, by presidents delegate Cardinals Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, Bernard Agre, archbishop of Abidjan, Ivory Coast and Ivan Dias, archbishop of Bombay, and by relators general Cardinals Edward Egan, archbishop of New York, U.S.A. and Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Also present was the special secretary Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Oria, Italy.

Following an introduction by Cardinal Schotte, Pope John Paul signed the apostolic exhortation, the Sistine Choir sang "Alma Redemptoris Mater" and the Holy Father then addressed the assembly.

The Pope affirmed that in the document "the synodal fathers emphasized the great importance of the episcopal service for the life of the People of God. They underscored the collegial nature of the episcopate. They also stressed that the functions of teaching, sanctifying and governing must be exercised in hierarchal communion and fraternal unity with the Head and other members of the episcopal college."

Referring to the characteristics of the episcopal ministry, the Holy Father highlighted "the love for everyone and the attention to each person, mercy and the search for the lost sheep. ... In addition," he continued, the bishop "is called to be a father, teacher, friend and brother to everyone following Christ's example. Faithfully following this path, he will be able to attain sanctity, a sanctity that must grow not with the ministry but through the ministry."

"In terms of being a herald of the divine Word, teacher and doctor of the faith, a bishop has the task of teaching the Christian faith with apostolic clarity, proposing it again and again in an authentic way. ... As guide of the Christian people ... a bishop must concern himself with promoting the participation of all the faithful in the edification of the Church. ... He will be a prophet of justice and peace, defender of the rights of the helpless and those who are ostracized. He will proclaim to all the Gospel of life, truth and love. He will look upon the multitude of the poor that inhabit the earth with compassion. ... Recalling Christ's desire 'ut omnes unum sint', he will sustain the ecumenical way ... and will become a promoter of interreligious dialogue."

The Holy Father said that "the office to which we are called is difficult and serious. Where will we find the strength to carry it out according to Christ's wishes? Undoubtedly only in Him. Being shepherds of his flock is especially difficult and demanding. However, we must be hopeful 'contra spem in spem.' Christ walks with us and sustains us with His grace."

Upon concluding his discourse, as the choir sang the "Cantate Domino," the Pope handed a copy of the apostolic exhortation to the cardinals present, the general relators and five prelates who represented the five continents. The ceremony ended with the singing of the Our Father and the apostolic blessing.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 16, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Rouen, France, presented by Archbishop Joseph Duval upon having reached the age limit.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 16, 2003 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon the Holy Father received in separate audiences:

- Eight prelates from the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop Patrick Altham Kelly of Liverpool, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishops Vincent Malone and Thomas Anthony Williams.

- Bishop John Rawsthorne of Hallam.

- Bishop Michael Ambrose Griffiths, O.S.B., of Hexham and Newcastle.

- Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue of Lancaster.

- Bishop David Every Konstant of Leeds, accompanied by Coadjutor Bishop Arthur Roche.

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VATICAN CITY, OCT 16, 2003 (VIS) - At 4:45 in the afternoon of October 14, 1978, ten days after the funeral of Pope John Paul I, 110 cardinal electors, and 88 persons selected to assist them, entered into conclave, sealed off from the world, to elect his successor.

At 6:18 p.m., on October 16, white smoke appeared from the small chimney of the Sistine Chapel, thus signalling that the cardinal electors had chosen a new Roman Pontiff. Twenty-seven minutes later, Cardinal Pericle Felici appeared on the central loggia of St. Peter's Basilica and announced the election of Pope John Paul II to the See of Peter with the words: "Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum Habemus Papam Carolum Wojtyla, qui sibi nomen imposuit Ioannem Paulum II."

At 7:15 p.m. the new pontiff, clad in the traditional papal white, appeared on the same balcony and spoke in Italian the words now familiar to tens of millions of people around the world: "Praised be Jesus Christ!"

"Dear brothers and sisters," he continued, "we are still all very saddened by the death of the very dear Pope John Paul I. And now the most eminent cardinals have called a new bishop of Rome. They called him from a far-away country, ... far, but always near in the communion of faith and the Christian tradition. I was afraid in receiving this nomination, but I did it in the spirit of obedience to Our Lord and with total trust in his Mother, the Most Holy Madonna.

"I don't know if I can express myself well in your - in our - Italian language. But if I make a mistake, you will correct me. And so I introduce myself to you all, to confess our common faith, our hope, our trust in the mother of Christ and of the Church, and also to begin again on this path of history and of the Church with the help of God and with that of men."

John Paul II, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, archbishop of Krakow, was elected as the 264th Pope on the second ballot of the second day of the second conclave of 1978, just five months after his 58th birthday. Six days later, on October 22, 1978, his pastoral ministry was inaugurated.

Today, October 16, 2003 marks day 9,125 of his pontificate, calculating from October 22, 1978.

His is the 4th longest pontificate in the history of the papacy. The longest was that of St. Peter (precise dates unknown), followed by Pope Pius IX (1846-78: 31 years, 7 months, 17 days), and his successor, Leo XIII (1878-1903: 25 years, 4 mos. and 17 days).

In his 25 years as Pope, John Paul II has held eight consistories in which he has created 201 cardinals. He announced the ninth such consistory on September 28, naming 31 new cardinals, of whom one is "in pectore." The consistory will be held on October 21, 2003, and will bring the number of members of the College of Cardinals to 194 (not including the "in pectore"), of whom 135 will be under the age of 80 and thus cardinal electors. On that day John Paul II will have created 232 cardinals during his papacy.

From the start of his pontificate to today, the Holy Father has named over 3,300 of the world's nearly 4,200 bishops. He has met each of them a number of times over the years, particularly when they fulfill their quinquennial obligation of a visit "ad limina Apostolorum."

He has written 14 encyclicals, 14 apostolic exhortations, 11 apostolic constitutions, 42 apostolic letters and 28 Motu proprio in addition to hundreds of other messages and letters. In preparation for the Jubilee Year 2000, Pope John Paul wrote the Apostolic Letter "Tertio Millennio Adveniente," dated November 10, 1994, and published four days later. He also created the Committee for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.

The 83 year-old Pope has also presided over 15 synods of bishops: six ordinary (1980, 1983, 1987, 1990, 1994, 2001), one extraordinary (1985) and eight special assemblies (1980, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998 (two synods) and 1999).

Over the years, the Holy Father has undertaken 102 pastoral visits outside Italy, the latest of which was September 2003 to Slovakia. He has made 143 trips within Italy and nearly 700 within the city and diocese of Rome, including visits to 301 of the 325 parishes of the diocese of which he is bishop, in addition to religious institutes, universities, seminaries, hospitals, rest homes, prisons and schools.

With his 245 foreign and Italian pastoral visits, Pope John Paul II has reached the 1,163,865 kilometer mark (698,310 miles), that is, just over 28 times the earth's circumference or 3 times the distance between the earth and moon.

While in Rome, the Pope welcomes an average of one million people per year, including between 400-500,000 who attend the weekly general audiences in addition to those who come for special liturgical functions such as Christmas and Easter Masses, beatifications and canonizations. He also receives approximately 150-180,000 people per year in audiences granted to particular groups, heads of state and governments.

Including yesterday's general audience (October 15, 2003), Pope John Paul II has held 1,106 Wednesday general audiences, welcoming more than 17 million faithful from every part of the world. Other audiences, including heads of State and heads of government, number over 1,500.

At the start of John Paul's pontificate the Holy See had diplomatic relations with 85 countries. It now has relations with 174 countries, as well as with the European Union and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. It has relations of a special nature with the Russian Federation and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

According to the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, over the past 25 years the Pope has proclaimed 1,324 Blesseds in 140 ceremonies and 477 Saints in 51 ceremonies, including the canonization ceremony on October 5, 2003.

He founded the John Paul II Institute for the Sahel in February of 1984, and the "Populorum Progressio" Foundation for the Indigenous Peoples of Latin America in February of 1992. He also founded the Pontifical Academies for Life and for Social Sciences. In addition, he instituted the World Day of the Sick (celebrated annually on February 11) and World Youth Day (WYD). The 17th youth day was celebrated in Toronto, Canada in July 2002. The Pope himself chooses the theme and develops its contents in an annual Message to the Youth of the World.

Karol Jozef Wojtyla, known as Pope John Paul II since his election 25 years ago, was born in Wadowice, a small city 50 kilometers from Krakow, on May 18, 1920. He was the second of two sons born to Karol Wojtyla and Emilia Kaczorowska. His mother died giving birth to a third child - stillborn - in 1929. His eldest brother Edmund, a doctor, died in 1932 and his father, a non-commissioned army officer, died in 1941.

He made his First Holy Communion at age 9 and was confirmed at age 17. Upon graduation from Martin Wadowita high school in Wadowice, he enrolled in Krakow's Jagiellonian University in 1938 and in a school for drama.

The Nazi occupation forces closed the university in 1939 and young Karol had to work in a quarry and then in a chemical factory in Solvay to earn his living and to avoid being deported to Germany.

In 1942, aware of his call to the priesthood, he began courses in the clandestine seminary of Krakow, run by Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha, archbishop of Krakow. At the same time, Karol Wojtyla was one of the pioneers of the "Rhapsodic Theater," also clandestine.

After the Second World War, he continued his studies in the major seminary of Krakow, once it had re-opened, and in the faculty of theology of the Jagiellonian University, until his priestly ordination in Krakow on November 1, 1946.

Soon after, Cardinal Sapieha sent him to Rome where he worked under the guidance of the French Dominican, Garrigou-Lagrange. He finished his doctorate in theology in 1948 with a thesis on the topic of faith in the works of St. John of the Cross. At that time, during his vacations, he exercised his pastoral ministry among the Polish immigrants of France, Belgium and Holland.

In 1948 he returned to Poland and was vicar of various parishes in Krakow as well as chaplain for the university students until 1951, when he took up again his studies on philosophy and theology. In 1953 he defended a thesis on "Evaluation of the Possibility of Founding a Catholic Ethic on the Ethical System of Max Scheler" at Lublin Catholic University. Later he became professor of moral theology and social ethics in the major seminary of Krakow and in the Faculty of Theology of Lublin.

On July 4, 1958, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Krakow by Pope Pius XII, and was consecrated September 28, 1958, in Wawel Cathedral, Krakow, by Archbishop Baziak.

On January 13, 1964, he was named archbishop of Krakow by Pope Paul VI, who elevated him to the cardinalate on June 26, 1967.

Besides taking part in Vatican Council II with an important contribution to the elaboration of the Constitution "Gaudium et Spes," Cardinal Wojtyla participated in every assembly of the Synod of Bishops since it was created by Paul VI in 1967.

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