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Wednesday, March 31, 2004


VATICAN CITY, MAR 31, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Francis Xavier Dilorenzo of Honolulu, U.S.A. as bishop of Richmond (area 86,071, population 4,674,975, Catholics 208,008, priests 201, permanent deacons 34, religious 61), U.S.A.
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VATICAN CITY, MAR 31, 2004 (VIS) - Pope John Paul sent a Message to the participants in the Eighth International Youth Forum, whose meeting started today in Rocca di Papa near Rome on the theme "Young People and the University: Witnessing to Christ in the University World." The youth will join the Pope tomorrow afternoon in St. Peter's Square and again when their meeting concludes on April 4 for the Palm Sunday Eucharistic celebrations in the square. The Message is dated March 25.
  "It is important in our age," he writes, "to rediscover the bond that unites the Church to the world of higher education. For the Church not only played a decisive role in founding the first universities, but throughout the centuries she has been a workshop of culture, and continues in the same direction today through the Catholic universities and various forms of presence in the vast world of higher education."

   "In the university," he tells the students, "you are not only recipients of services, but you are the true protagonists of the activities performed there. ... Fortunately, the influence of ideologies and utopias fomented by the messianic atheism that had such an impact in the past on many university environments has waned considerably today. But there are also new schools of thought, which reduce reason to the horizon of experimental science alone, and hence to technical and instrumental knowledge, sometimes enclosing it within a sceptical and nihilistic vision. These attempts to evade the issue of the deepest meaning of existence are not only futile; they can also become dangerous."

  "Jesus is the truth of the universe and of history, the meaning and the destiny of human existence, the foundation of all reality! It is your responsibility, you who have welcomed this Truth as the vocation and certitude of your lives, to demonstrate its reasonableness in the university environment and in your work there. ... But if your faith is linked merely to fragments of tradition, fine sentiments or a generic religious ideology, you will certainly not be able to withstand the impact of the environment you are in. You must therefore seek to keep your Christian identity steadfast, and rooted in the communion of the Church."

  Pope John Paul urged the young people to persevere in prayer, play an active part in Church life and "build the Church within your Universities, as a visible community which believes, prays, gives account for our hope, and lovingly welcomes every trace of good, truth and beauty in University life."

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VATICAN CITY, MAR 31, 2004 (VIS) - In today's general audience, celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke about a canticle, the "Hymn of those who are saved," in Chapters 4 and 5 of the Book of Revelation.

  The Holy Father explained that this canticle "depicts a glorious heavenly scene.  At the center of this hymn is the throne of God, Whose name is not even invoked out of veneration. Later, a lamb, a symbol of the risen Christ, appears on the throne. ... Around these figures is the chorus of the heavenly court."

  "This assembly of the People of God sings a hymn to the Lord exalting 'the glory, honor and power' that were manifested in the act of the creation of the universe. At this point, a symbol of particular importance is introduced, a 'biblion' or book in Greek, which is completely inaccessible: there are seven seals that prevent it from being read." 

  John Paul II indicated that this book "contains a series of divine decrees that must be fulfilled in the course of human history so that perfect justice may reign. If the book remains sealed, these decrees will not be known or carried out and evil will continue to be spread and to oppress believers. This is why authoritative intervention is necessary by the immolated and risen Lamb. ... Christ is the great interpreter and lord of history."

  "Christ has been 'immolated' and with His blood He has 'saved' all of humanity from the power of evil.  His redemption has not only the function of saving us from our past of evil but also of cleansing our wounds and relieving us of our miseries. Christ gives us a new interior life."

  The Pope concluded by affirming that "referring to the words that God proclaimed on Mt. Sinai - 'you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation' - the hymn emphasizes that the people of the redeemed God is made up of kings and priests who must guide and sanctify all of creation. It is a consecration that has its origin in the Paschal mystery of Christ and takes place during baptism. This is where an appeal to the Church to recognize its dignity and mission comes from."
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