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Wednesday, February 18, 2004


VATICAN CITY, FEB 18, 2004 (VIS) - During this Wednesday's general audience which took place in the Paul VI Hall, the Pope spoke about the canticle, "God the Savior," which opens the Letter to the Ephesians and is recited on Mondays in the liturgy of the Vespers.

John Paul II said that this text exalts "the marvelous work of God, carried out for us through Christ. . In this transcendent plan which includes creation and redemption, the world and human history, God pre-established 'in his benevolence that we should summarize all things in Christ'."

"The supremacy of Christ extends, therefore, to the world as well as to that more specific horizon which is the Church. Christ fulfills the function of 'fullness'." And the Pope continued, quoting Ephesians 1, 9: "For He has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of His will, according to his purpose which He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth."

The Holy Father affirmed that the hymn emphasizes "the exaltation of the 'redemption through the blood' of the cross, the 'forgiveness of sins,' the abundant effusion 'of the riches of His grace'." It also highlights the divine filiation of every Christian and "the 'knowledge of the mystery of God's will' through which one enters into the intimacy of the same trinitarian life."


VATICAN CITY, FEB 18, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Fr. Carlo Ellena, "fidei donum" priest of the archdiocese of Turin, Italy and executive secretary of the "Northeast 5" of the Episcopal Conference of Brazil, as bishop of Ze Doca (area 40,000, population 300,000, Catholics 260,000, priests 20, religious 31), Brazil. The bishop-elect was born in Valperga, Italy in 1938 and was ordained a priest in 1962.
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VATICAN CITY, FEB 18, 2004 (VIS) - During today's general audience, in the Paul VI Hall in the presence of 9,000 faithful and of a group of bishops, friends of the Focolare movement who are meeting in Rome, the Holy Father greeted the bishops and presented them with a Message for their annual meeting. The foundress of the Focolare Movement, Chiara Lubich, was also present at today's audience.

Noting that their encounter is centered on the theme of holiness, the Pope told the bishops that "Vatican Council II reminded us that holiness is the vocation of every baptized person. . In fact, only a Christian community shining with holiness can efficaciously fulfill the mission entrusted to it by Christ, that is, to spread the Gospel to the far ends of the earth."

"The universal character of the Church's vocation to holiness," he went on, "is a truth that represents one of the pillars of the conciliar constitution

'Lumen Gentium'. Two general aspects should be underlined here. Above all the fact that the Church is intimately holy and is called to live and to manifest that holiness in every one of its members. In the second place, the expression 'holiness of people', makes us think of ordinariness, that is of the need for the baptized to know how to live the Gospel coherently in every day life: in the family, in one's work, in every relation and occupation. It is precisely in the ordinary that one must live the extraordinary."
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