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Wednesday, May 5, 2004


VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2004 (VIS) - The following prelates died in recent weeks:

- Archbishop Barthelemy Batantu, emeritus of Brazzaville, Republic of Congo on April 26 at age 78.

- Bishop James Leonard Doyle, emeritus of Peterborough, Canada on April 22 at age 74.

- Archbishop Andrea Mariano Magrassi, emeritus of Bari-Bitonto, Italy, on April 15 at age 73.

- Archbishop Andre Makarakiza, M. Afr., emeritus of Gitega, Burundi on April 17 at age 85.

- Bishop Joseph Roy, emeritus of Mysore, India on April 18 at age 78.

- Archbishop Ramon Torrella Cascante, emeritus of Tarragona, Spain on April 22 at age 80.

- Bishop Hernando Velasquez Lotero, emeritus of Facatativa on April 26 at age 77.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed Bishop Aldo di Cillo Pagotto, S.S.S., of Sobral, Brazil as metropolitan archbishop of Paraiba (area 6,546, population 1,282,844, Catholics 1,044,100, priests 107, permanent deacons 17, religious 285), Brazil.  The archbishop-elect was born in 1949 in Sao Paulo, Brazil and was ordained a priest in 1977. The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese presented by Archbishop Marcelo Pinto Carvalheira upon having reached the age limit.
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2004 (VIS) - At 5 p.m. tomorrow in the San Damaso Courtyard of the Apostolic Palace, thirty-three new recruits will be sworn in as members of the Pontifical Swiss Guards in the presence of members of the Roman Curia, diplomatic representatives and civil and religious authorities from Switzerland.

  The day will start at 7:30 a.m. when Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, secretary for Relations with States, will preside at Mass at the Altar of the Cathedra in St. Peter's Basilica for the Swiss Guards and their family members At 8:45 there will be a ceremony in the Honor Courtyard of the Swiss Guard Barracks in Vatican City to honor the fallen members of the Corps. May 6, in fact, is the date chosen for the swearing-in ceremony of the new guards because on that date in 1527, 147 members of the Swiss Guards lost their lives during the Sack of Rome when they fell in battle, protecting Pope Clement VII and the Church from the onslaught of the troops of Emperor Charles V.

  The Pontifical Swiss Guard was founded by Pope Julius II in 1506 as a stable corps, directly dependant on the Holy See, whose main duties were to guard of the person of the Roman Pontiff and the Apostolic Palaces. 

  From the commandant to the newest halberdier of the 110-man corps, all members of the corps on May 6 are dressed in full dress uniform. The new members will take their oath of office in four languages: 23 in German, 7 in French, 2 in Italian and 1 in Romansh. 

  The oath is read by the Swiss Guard chaplain: "I swear to faithfully, loyally and honorably serve the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II and his legitimate successors, and also dedicate myself to them with all my strength, sacrificing if necessary also my life to defend them. I assume this same commitment with regard to the Sacred College of Cardinals whenever the See is vacant. Furthermore I promise to the Commanding Captain and my other superiors respect, fidelity and obedience. This I swear! May God and our Holy Patrons assist me."

  Each recruit is then called by name and, in his native tongue, confirms the oath. The patron saints of the Pontifical Swiss Guards are St. Martin, St. Sebastian and St. Niklaus von Flue, "defender of the peace and father of  the Country."
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VATICAN CITY, MAY 5, 2004 (VIS) - In today's general audience which took place in St. Peter's Square, the Pope spoke about the Canticle of the Letter of St. Paul to the Colossians, "Christ was created before all creatures; He is the first-born of all who rise from the dead."

  John Paul II indicated that the liturgy of Vespers presents this "admirable Christological hymn" in which the "great figure of Christ, Lord of the universe" is highlighted:  "'Because in Him all things were created. ... Everything was created by Him and for Him.' Therefore, there exists the transcendent plan of God which is carried out by His Son."

  The Letter also presents, he continued, "another one of Christ's functions: He is also the Lord of the history of salvation which manifests itself in the Church and is brought to fruition in the 'blood of the cross,' font of peace and harmony for all of humanity.  Therefore, not only is the external horizon characterized for us by the effective presence of Christ as well as ... history. History is not subject to blind and irrational forces despite sin and evil, it is subject and directed - through Christ's work - to plenitude."

  The Holy Father said that the hymn "depicts a beautiful vision of the universe and of history, inviting us to have faith. We are not a small particle of insignificant dust, dispersed in space and time without meaning but rather we are part of a well-thought out project which comes from the Father's love."

  The gratuitous love of God, he concluded, is expressed "when we read that all things were created by Him." St. Paul "also speaks about His love for human beings: 'He is the head of the body which is the Church,' seeking to show His intimate communion with us."
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