Wednesday, January 25, 2012



VATICAN  CITY, 21 JAN 2012 (VIS) - This morning in the Urban VIII Chapel of the  Vatican Apostolic Palace the Pope was presented with two lambs which had  earlier been blessed for today's feast of St. Agnes. The blessing took place  in the basilica on Rome's Via Nomentana which bears the saint's name and  where she is buried. The wool of the lambs is used to make the palliums  bestowed on new metropolitan archbishops on 29 June, Solemnity of Sts. Peter  and Paul, Apostles. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

   The pallium is a white woollen band embroidered with six black crosses which  is worn by the Pope and by metropolitan archbishops. The lambs, the symbol of  St. Agnes who was martyred in Rome around the year 305, are raised by the  Trappist Fathers of the Abbey of the Three Fountains in Rome and the palliums  are made from the newly-shorn wool by the sisters of St. Cecilia.
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VATICAN  CITY, 22 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which runs  from 18 to 25 January, was the theme for the Pope's reflections before  praying the Angelus this morning, as he invited the faithful "to join  the prayer which Jesus addressed to the Father on the eve of His Passion:  'That they may all be one, so that the world may believe'".

   The theme of the texts for this year's Week of Prayer has been taken from St.  Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians: "We will all be changed by the  victory of our Lord Jesus Christ". The Pope explained how "we are  all called to see Christ's victory over sin and death - that is, His  Resurrection - as an event which radically transforms those who believe in  Him and opens their way to incorruptible and immortal life. Recognising and  welcoming the transforming power of faith in Jesus Christ supports Christians  in their search for full unity among themselves".

   Benedict XVI affirmed that "our search for unity will be realistic if  change first comes about within us, if we let God act, if we allow ourselves  to be transformed in the image of Christ, if we enter into new life in Christ  Who is the true victory. The visible unity of all Christians always comes  from on high, from God; it requires humility to recognise our weakness and to  accept the gift. However, to use a phrase often repeated by Blessed Pope John  Paul II, each gift is also a task. And so the unity that comes from God  requires a daily commitment on our part to open ourselves to one another in  charity. ... The time we dedicate to prayer for the full communion of  Christ's disciples will give us a deeper understanding of how we will be  transformed by His victory, by the power of His Resurrection".

   In concluding the Pope recalled how the Week of Prayer will conclude this  Wednesday with the celebration of Vespers in the Roman basilica of St. Paul's  Outside-the-Walls for the Feast of the Conversion of the Apostle Paul. The  event will be attended by representatives from other Churches and Christian  communities, he said, "and together we will renew our prayer to the  Lord, source of unity".

   After the Angelus prayer, Benedict XVI expressed his best wishes for a happy  New Year to countries in the Far East which are celebrating the new lunar  year. "In the present global economic and social crisis, my hope for  those peoples is that the new year may be marked by justice and peace, and  bring relief to the suffering. My particular wish is that the young, with  their enthusiasm and ideals, may offer a new hope to the world".
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VATICAN  CITY, 23 JAN 2012 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

 -  Six prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their  "ad limina" visit:

     - Archbishop Joseph Edward Kurtz of Louisville.

     - Bishop Roger Joseph Foys of Covington.

     - Bishop Richard Frank Stika of Knoxville.

     - Bishop Ronald William Gainer of Lexington

     - Bishop James Terry Steib S.V.D. of Memphis.

     - Bishop William Francis Medley of Owensboro.

 -  Stanislas Lefebvre de Laboulaye, ambassador of France, on his farewell visit.

   On Saturday 21 January he received in audience:

 -  Bishop Antoni Stankiewicz, dean of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.

 -  Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

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