Vatican City, Oct 14, 2003 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II begins a week full of activities tomorrow in celebration of his 25th anniversary and the appointment of 31 new cardinals. Celebrations are set to begin Wednesday afternoon with a gathering of cardinals, presidents of the bishops’ conferences, heads of the dicasteries and patriarchs. The pope is not expected to attend this particular meeting. However, the following day, Oct. 16, the pope will meet with this group at 11 a.m. in the Paul VI room to sign the post-synodal exhortation on the ministry of the bishops.
The pope will then celebrate a mass of thanksgiving for his 25-year pontificate at 6 p.m. in St. Peter’s Square. At the same time the following day, the Choir and Orchestra of Lipsia will perform Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and Bruckner’s l’Ecce Sacerdos Magnus for the Holy Father.
The College of Cardinals will have met Oct. 17 and 18 at 9:30 a.m. The pope will then address the cardinals at 11 a.m. Oct. 18. It will be followed by a celebratory gathering with the cardinals, presidents of the bishops conferences and head of the dicasteries.
An overnight vigil for the missions will begin at 5:30 p.m. that afternoon in the Paul VI Room. The pope is not expected to attend the vigil. However, the following morning, on Mission Sunday, the pope will celebrate the beatification mass for Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
On Oct. 21, there will be a consistory in St. Peter’s Square at 10:30 a.m. And, at the same time the following day, the pope will celebrate mass with the new cardinals also in St. Peter’s Square.
The College of Cardinals will address six themes for the pope’s 25th anniversary. Bernardin Cardinal Gantin will speak on The Petrine Ministry and the Communion in the Episcipacy; Jean-Marie Cardinal Lustiger will speak on Priests, Consecrated Life and Vocations; Alfonso Cardinal Lopex Trujillo will speak about the family; Nasrallah Pierre Cardinal Sfeir will speak about ecumenism; Ivan Cardinal Dias will speak on the missions and Angelo Cardinal Sodano will speak on the theme A 25-year Pontificate at the Service of Peace.
Vatican City, Oct 14, 2003 (CNA) - In a moving personal testimony during the presentation of his book on the philosophical thought of John Paul II, “Metaphysics of the Human Person,” Polish priest Father Tadeusz Sticzen stated the current Pontiff has been called by God to fulfill his own prophecy.
A student of philosophy of Cardinal Karol Wojtyla and his successor as Professor of Ethics at the Catholic University of Dublin, Fr. Sticzen recounted that during the spiritual exercises the future John Paul II preached to the Roman Curia and to Pope Paul VI in Lent of 1976, the Polish Cardinal focused on the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane, pointing out that the Lord’s request to “watch and pray” was not fully heeded. “The three chosen disciples were unable to fulfill this simple request of Jesus.”
“This was why the Cardinal of Krakow fervently exhorted the Pope (Paul VI) to attempt what appeared to be the impossible: take up the story where it left off, that is, assume the opportunity lost by man 2000 years ago to console God, to translate into reality the yet unanswered invitation to ‘watch’,” said Father Sticzen at the Vatican’s Press Office.
Fr. Sticzen recalled that when he received the phone call on October 16 from Stanislaw Kaminisk, at that time Dean of the School of Philosophy at the University of Lublin, informing him that “Karol Wojtyla is Pope,” “I was scared and I cried, and I am not embarrassed about those tears, as I realized the face of Paul VI had become the face of John Paul II.”
Fr. Sticzen also recounted how after the assassination attempt of May 13, 1981, ironically the day John Paul II was to announce the creation of both the Pontifical Commission for the Family and the Institute for Life and The Family, “As I drove to the clinic to see him I thought, ‘How will he return to St. Peter’s Square?’ It was a concern that even his personal secretary, Don Stanislaw Dziwisz, shared with me.”
“Nevertheless,” he continued,” “the Pope did go to St. Peter’s Square again, without the slightest bit of fear.” Fr. Sticzen also recalled what the Yugoslavian philosopher Milovan Djilas wrote at that time in the German daily “Die Welt:” “The Pope appeared (after the assassination attempt) as if he had been waiting for that crucial moment from the beginning, as if to say, ‘If bullets hit my body, they will bring victory and not defeat.’”
Fr. Sticzen concluded his moving reflection by mentioning that in the midst of his present suffering and old age, the Pope is doing “nothing more than fulfilling his own prophecy.” “I think John Paul is aware that he is sustained by the One who chose him, because he has brought the Lord to the entire world, and the Lord brings him to whole world. This is the key which allows us to touch with our hands the mystery of this pontificate, the mystery of the successor of St. Stanislaw of Crakow, who wished that the Pope recover that lost opportunity to console Christ, who was abandoned by his closest friends at the beginning of his Passion,” he said.
After an intense moment of silence, and unable to hide his emotion, Fr. Sticzen finished his statements saying, “For us too, therefore, the prayer of Gethsemane continues.”
Rome, Italy, Oct 14, 2003 (CNA) - In an interview with the Brazilian daily “O Estado,” Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, reflected upon the 25 years of John Paul II’s pontificate and said the Pontiff will be remembered as the “Pope of Sanctity” because of his constant call to live life fully and the numerous believers he has elevated to the altar.
According the Portuguese prelate, the Pope has left a profound mark on the history of humanity. “In these 25 years, his pastoral activity has been extraordinary and his passion for mankind has been remarkable. Already in his first encyclical, ‘Redemptoris Hominis,’ he said that ‘man is the way of the Church.’ He has always been on the side of man to help him, and to defend his dignity and his fundamental rights, which are sacred and untouchable.”
Cardinal Saraiva remarked that “another characteristic of this Pontificate is the great emphasis on the quest for peace for mankind. His annual messages for the World Day of Peace have been great lessons on the how to achieve this precious gift.”
However the Cardinal pointed out the Pontificate of John Paul II has placed special emphasis on personal holiness. “In ‘Novo Millennio Ineunte’ he says all of the pastoral action of the Church should be ordered toward the holiness of the faithful. This is why the Pope has beatified and canonized so many servants of God.”
Referring to the coming beatification of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, scheduled to take place Sunday, October 19, Cardinal Saraiva said television has many times shown the world “the tender person of Mother Teresa together with John Paul II, united in a celebration of life with thousands of young people in stadiums and public squares around the world.”
“Mother Teresa followed the pilgrim Pope all over world with her life-giving gentle and silent femininity. Who can forget the youth gatherings of Paris, Denver and Rome? For this reason the beatification of Mother Teresa on the 25th anniversary of his pontificate, is not only a gift of God for the Church, but also a reason for great joy for the Pope,” said the Cardinal.
“With the beatification of Mother Teresa, the Church holds up to the faithful of today’s world a most excellent model of Christian virtues and the great importance of her human and spiritual message,” the Cardinal added.
Vatican City, Oct 14, 2003 (CNA) - The first collection of all of Karol Wojtila’s essays was launched at the Holy See Press Office yesterday. The 1,600-page book includes all of the essays he wrote between 1948 – when he got his licentiate in theology at the Angelicum in Rome – and 1978 – the year of his election to the pontificate.
The book is titled Metafisica della persona. Tutte le opere filosofiche e saggi integrativi di Karol Wotyla (Metaphysics of the person. All the philosophical and integrative essays of Karol Wojtyla). It is published by Bompiani.
The collection includes: “The doctrine of the faith in St. John of the Cross” (1948); “Evaluations on the possibility of building up the Christian ethic on the foundations of the system of Max Scheler” (1954); “Love and Responsibility” (1960); “Person and act” (1969) and “Man and responsibility” (1978). Ten essays written between 1974 and 1978 are also included.
Rome, Italy, Oct 14, 2003 (CNA) - As a part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Pontificate of Pope John Paul II, which takes place October 16, the John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Marriage and the Family of the Lateran University will inaugurate this Tuesday the “Karol Wojtyla Course.”
The Fides Agency reports the Course will promote the thinking of Karol Wojtyla, its sources and its effects on philosophical and theological anthropology.
The Course will publish and support research, offer systematic courses, lecture series, publications, and seminars and will assume any initiative which it considers useful for scientific research and circulation.
The inauguration will be led by the Dean of the Institute and Rector of the University, Bishop Rino Finichella, and the Course director, Professor Stanislaw Grygiel.
Vatican City, Oct 14, 2003 (CNA) - Pope John Paul II thanked the Catholic youth of the world yesterday for always having been close to him during his 25-year pontificate.
“The response by young people has been truly encouraging,” he told a crowd of 30,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square. “Today I wish to thank them for always having been close to me during these years and I would like them to know that I continue to count on them."
In remarks made before praying the Angelus with the faithful, the 83-year-old pontiff recalled his first days as pope 25 years ago.
"I remember well the days of October 1978," he said. "In a special way I recall today the first Angelus that I prayed from this window on October 22.
"Now, while I think with gratitude of the past, my thoughts turn to young people, with whom I established, right from the start of my petrine ministry a preferential dialogue. I remember that, at the end of that first Angelus, I added a special greeting for them, saying: 'You are the future of the world, you are the hope of the Church, you are my hope."
The Holy Father will celebrate a mass of thanksgiving in St. Peter’s Square Thursday, Oct. 16, at 6 p.m. to mark the 25th year of his pontificate.
Washington D.C., Oct 14, 2003 (CNA) - Moviegoers are so eager to see Mel Gibson's movie about Jesus that they've been crashing Web sites in their search for bootleg trailers.
Hollywood Reporter says "The Passion of Christ," the new title for what has long been called simply "The Passion," won't have an official trailer out until the Christmas season. In the meantime, fans will take what they can get.
Harry Knowles of AintItCoolNews says that in July his site was the first to post the trailer, but he soon had to remove it because of high demand.
"In one day I got 350,000 downloads of that sucker. I had to take it down because it slowed down server traffic. My site ground to a halt," Knowles told the Hollywood Reporter.
Other movie sites, along with religious sites, picked up the slack by featuring the sneak preview.
Greg Dean Schmitz, who does Greg's Previews of Upcoming Movies for Yahoo! Movies, said that of the 100 or so movies scheduled for release early next year, "The Passion of Christ" was the most-visited page in August and No. 2 in September.
According to Schmitz, Gibson hopes the film will get a distribution deal in time for a wide release before Easter.
Frankfurt, Germany, Oct 14, 2003 (CNA) - The first Catholic Encyclopedia in Russian was launched Oct. 9 at the Frankfurt international book fair by Franciscan Publishers (Moscow).
The work is the result of co-operation among more than 180 Russian and international experts, including Russian Orthodox. In addition to information about the Roman Catholic Church, it also includes information on other churches, Christian denominations, non-Christian religions and main philosophic traditions. The encyclopedia consists of four volumes with more than 5,500 articles and 3,000 illustrations.
Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has provided 100,000 Euro for the publication of the encyclopedia.