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Tuesday, May 11, 2004


VATICAN CITY, MAY 11, 2004 (VIS) - The following telegram was sent in the Holy Father's name by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, secretary of State, upon hearing of the victims of the terrorist attack Sunday on the stadium in Grozny, Chechnya:

  "Deeply saddened by the news of the serious attack in the Grozny stadium that has caused many victims, the Supreme Pontiff expresses sentiments of deep condolences to the family members and to the survivors. While entrusting to Divine Mercy the souls of those who so tragically died as well as all the victims of violence, His Holiness assures everyone of his prayers that Chechnya, with the contribution of everyone, may find the just path of dialogue and reconciliation."


VATICAN CITY, MAY 11, 2004 (VIS) - This morning the Pope received participants in the general assembly of the Pontifical Missionary Works and told them that through their work they collaborate in the "transmission of the 'Good News' to the ends of the earth."

  After emphasizing that they "must have special consideration" for peoples of the "Third World" where "suffering and needs are greater," the Holy Father said: "You are like Simon of Cyrene, helping the Savior to bring the Cross to every person who suffers and is dying. You are true missionaries in a world marked by globalization, one in which suffering for truth and justice transcends every national border."

  "When you are anguished over the suffering of other peoples and work to alleviate their great need for help, you too are working to help your own peoples to escape the narrow ways of selfishness and of being suffocated by abundance, emptiness and attitudes, sometimes unworthy of human beings."

  John Paul II expressed his pleasure that the Pontifical Missionary Works are updating their statutes. "This," he affirmed, "shows the will to continue to fulfill your mission of 'mercy and peace'."

  "The objective of the general assembly of your Superior Council," he added, "is to search for the ways of the Lord for a renewed mission in a world in continual change.  Concern moves you to bring love and mercy to all peoples. ... I urge you," he concluded, "to collaborate, as you are already doing, with the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, in a continuous search for 'new ways' for the Gospel.  Missionary zeal and cooperation are the reason for your existence and the only purpose for  your tireless 'concern for all churches' for the world's salvation."


VATICAN CITY, MAY 11, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience seven prelates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Region XI) on their "ad limina" visit:

- Archbishop William Joseph Levada of San Francisco, accompanied by Archbishop Emeritus John Raphael Quinn and Auxiliary Bishops John Charles Wester and Ignatius C. Wang.

- Bishop Tod David Brown of Orange in California, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Dominic Mai Luong.

- Bishop Gerald Richard Barnes of San Bernardino.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 11, 2004 (VIS) - On Friday, May 14 at 11:30 a.m. in the Holy See Press Office, an instruction by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples entitled "Erga migrantes Caritas Christi" (Christ's charity toward migrants) will be presented. Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao, Archbishop Agostino Marchetto and Fr. Michael Blume, S.V.D., respectively president, secretary and undersecretary of this dicastery, will participate in the press conference.


VATICAN CITY, MAY 11, 2004 (VIS) - The Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue (PCID) will hold its plenary assembly this year from May 14 to 19 and on the last day will mark the 40th anniversary of its founding in 1964 by Pope Paul VI as the Secretariat for Non-Christians, according to a communiqué released by the council.

  In 1988 Pope John Paul, in "Pastor Bonus,"  the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, changed the name of this office to the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and assigned it the duty of "favoring and regulating relations with members and groups of other religions, which are not included under any Christian denomination, and also with people who are, in whatever manner, endowed with a religious sense."

  The pontifical council, whose president is Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, is composed of members appointed by the Holy Father to five-year terms. There are currently three cardinals of the Roman Curia and seven from all continents. Archbishops and bishops from various countries where people of different religious traditions form a single population, will be invited to reflect on the forty years of inter-religious dialogue as practiced by the Catholic Church.

  Following a report by council secretary Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata on PCID activities since the last plenary, participants in the group discussions will give attention to such questions as: How is the practice of inter-religious dialogue understood or grasped in today's world? What means are used to spread the practice of inter-religious dialogue? How is the message of inter-religious dialogue transmitted? What problems are encountered? How is the duty to proclaim Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of all respected while engaging in dialogue with people of other religions?

  To mark the 40th anniversary on May 19, there will be a public session from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Pope John Paul II Auditorium of the Pontifical Urban University. Archbishop Fitzgerald will give opening remarks, and Cardinal Francis Arinze, former council president and now prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, will  speak on "Forty Years of Developing Theological and Dialogical Engagement."

  In another anniversary celebration, the "Gen Rosso," a musical complex of the Focolare Movement, will present a show based on the Psalms. This will take place in the Paul VI Hall on the evening of May 18, which also coincides with the Holy Father's 84th birthday.


VATICAN CITY, MAY 11, 2004 (VIS) - On Sunday, May 16, Sixth Sunday in Easter,  the Holy Father will celebrate the Eucharist in St. Peter's Square and will canonize six blesseds.

  The future saints are: Luigi Orione (1872-1940), priest and founder of the Little Work of Divine Providence and of the Congregation of the Little Sisters, Missionaries of
Charity; Hannibal Maria di Francia (1851-1927), priest and founder of the Congregation of the Rogationist Fathers of the Heart of Jesus and of the Religious Daughters of Divine Zeal; Josep Manyanet y Vives (1833-1901), priest and founder of the Congregation of the Sons of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the Missionary Daughters of the Holy Family of Nazareth; Nimatullah Al Hardini (1808-1858)), priest of the Lebanese Maronite Order; Paola Elisabetta (1816-1865), foundress of the Institute of Religious of the Holy Family; Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962), mother of a family.
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