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Friday, November 21, 2003


VATICAN CITY, NOV 21, 2003 (VIS) - The fourth day of the fifth Congress on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees, which is taking place from November 17 to 22 in the Vatican, opened today with a speech by Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, former president of the Symposium of the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar.

'Generally, migration and ' the phenomenon of refugees are caused by armed conflicts and by wars ' which continue to spread and to become more and more local,' affirmed the prelate. 'But one of the most subtle forms of this structural violence is the globalization of the public and socio-economic world order which provokes the impoverishment of developing countries and the exodus of their children towards more habitable regions. Disparity in the economic development of peoples ' continues to be a time bomb in the international order and, therefore, a potential cause of conflict. ' It is necessary ' 'to globalize charity' with the goal of taking on the duty of embracing refugees in a dignified manner. At the same time, is it is essential to neutralize ' those who 'create situations which produce refugees' and 'war lords,' mobilizing ourselves peacefully in order 'to institute political and socio-economic systems that respect human dignity and the imperatives of social justice'.'

'Jesus suffered so many obstacles, like the poor of today who do not know where 'to rest their head',' said Cardinal Geraldo Majella Agnelo during his speech. 'He suffered fatigue, hunger, thirst and was a victim of violence just like many migrants today: He escaped being killed during the first days of His life and found refuge and hospitality outside of his national, religious and cultural circle. This interpretation of Jesus' life requires attention and discernment ' in order to discover the loving and liberating presence of the Lord ' in the history of humanity.'

'The Eucharist which makes one body of many,' explained Bishop Renato Ascencio Leon, president of the Episcopal Commission for Human Mobility in Mexico, 'is a powerful evangelical reason to confront, with our faith, the challenge posed by human mobility. ' The need for parishes to become places of acceptance as a faithful reflection of living in the Eucharistic is emphasized in different documents which talk about the need to seek out the 'migrants of Christ,' who go about the world bearing their sorrows and hopes.'
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VATICAN CITY, NOV 21, 2003 (VIS) - Today at midday John Paul II received participants in the twenty-fifth plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council 'Cor Unum,' who are presently reflecting on the theme, 'The dimension of religion in our charitable activity.'

'This topic,' said the Pope, 'highlights the fact that when we are helping the hungry, sick, lonely, or those who are suffering, we must not neglect that intimate aspiration that every human being has to find and get to know God. We are all looking for answers to the big questions about life. We Christians know that only in Jesus will we find the true and complete response to the many anxieties of the human soul.'

The Holy Father said that this is why the 'Church does not limit itself to satisfying only the material needs of those in difficulty. ' It makes an effort to answer the most obscure existential questions, even those that are not clearly expressed.'

'The reflections of these days push you to emphasize the meaning and evangelical value of ' charity which the Church exercises through its charitable institutions and which bears witness to the dedication of so many people. There is no shortage of luminous examples of this service of love towards God and towards one's neighbor. I propose to all Mother Teresa of Calcutta, whom I was personally able to accompany for many years and whom I recently had the joy of inscribing in the book of Blesseds. May she intercede for you from heaven and make your work fruitful.'

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VATICAN CITY, NOV 21, 2003 (VIS) - Yesterday Cardinal Angelo Sodano sent a telegram of condolence in the Holy Father's name to the Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister of Turkey, upon the news of yesterday's terrorist attacks in Istanbul in which many were killed and wounded:

In the telegram, John Paul II expresses his deepest condolences as well as his spiritual closeness to the Turkish nation and to the families of the victims. He asks the Lord to welcome the deceased into His kingdom and to grant strength and courage to the injured, their families and those who are involved in the clean-up efforts. 'The Pope makes yet another appeal,' reads the text, 'in which he condemns terrorist activity which gravely affects innocent populations. Homicidal violence constitutes contempt for people and offends humanity. Dialogue is the only dignified way for human beings to deal with tensions that pit people and human groups against each other. The Holy Father asks God, All-powerful, to enlighten the consciences of those who are involved in terrorism so that they themselves set out courageously on the path of peace.'

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VATICAN CITY, NOV 21, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Fr. Jean-Jacques Koffi Oi Koffi, vicar general and pastor of the Cathedral in Abengourou, Ivory Coast, as bishop of the same diocese (area 28,000, population 1,000,000, Catholics 210,000, priests 48, religious 31). The bishop-elect was born in 1962 in Bongouanou, Ivory Coast and was ordained a priest in 1990. The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese presented by Bishop Bruno Kouame upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Fr. Karl Borsch, director of the St. Paul House, as auxiliary bishop of Aachen (area 3,937, population 2,025,000, Catholics 1,214,451, priests 728, permanent deacons 58, religious 1,345), Germany. The bishop-elect was born in 1958 in Huls, Germany and was ordained a priest in 1992. The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese presented by Bishop Gerd Dicke upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Msgr. Felipe de Jesus Estevez, director of spiritual formation of the St. Paul Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, U.S.A., as auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese of Miami (area 12,836, population 3,955,969, Catholics 830.366, sacerdotes 343, religiosos 495, di conos permanentes 146), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in 1946 in P. Betancourt, Cuba and was ordained a priest in 1970.

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VATICAN CITY, NOV 21, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

- Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, archbishop emeritus of Boston, U.S.A.

- Two prelates from the Belgian Episcopal Conference on their 'ad limina' visit:

- Bishop Aloysius Jousten of Liege.

- Bishop Guy Harpigny of Tournai.

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