Archive of April 13, 2008

NYPD, Secret Service and Swiss Guard to protect Pope

, Apr 13, 2008 (CNA) - Massive security operations will protect Pope Benedict XVI in his visit to New York City, including bomb-sniffing dogs, rooftop snipers and hovering helicopters, CBS News reports.

"The closer you are to those locations, the more you are going to feel the effects of it," said NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.

A reporter asked Kelly if the security for the visit will be like a United Nations General Assembly, followed by a parade, followed by a presidential visit, Kelly said “yes.”

On Friday the Pope’s visits to the United Nations, the Park East Synagogue, and St. Joseph’s Church will clog the streets of New York.

In addition a “frozen zone” will be established around St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  Those entering the zone will need tickets and a security check.

The U.S. Secret Service said that crowds can view the Pope as he drives north from St. Patrick’s Cathedral along Fifth Avenue to 72nd Street, continuing on to St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers.

"From the moment he lands in the United States we will be involved in transportation and the popemobile is here and will be utilized in both Washington D.C. and here in New York," said Brian Carr of the Secret Service, according to CBS News.

Though security measures will resemble those established for Pope John Paul II’s 1995 visit, there will be a highly visible uniformed police presence and bomb-sniffing dogs on the streets.  Harbor units and scuba divers will be stationed in the East River, and police helicopters will patrol overhead.

"Many of these measures have become part and parcel of our protection of New York since Sept. 11," Kelly said. "While we are not aware of any specific threats to the pope during his visit, we are obviously cognizant of the fact that Osama bin Laden in his latest videotape was critical of the pope."

The NYPD, the Secret Service, and the Vatican Swiss Guard will all be on security duty when the Pope is in New York City.  On Sunday, when the Pope visits Ground Zero and celebrates Mass at Yankee Stadium, officials say mass transit will provide the best transportation.

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Pope Benedict: consecrated religious testify to God's primacy

Vatican City, Apr 13, 2008 (CNA) - During his midday Regina Caeli prayers on Sunday in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict XVI emphasized the role played by those Catholics who are consecrated for life.  Consecrated religious, the Holy Father said, proclaim Christ and radically live the Gospel with their vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience.

“On this fourth Sunday of Easter, in which the liturgy presents Jesus as the Good Shepherd, we celebrate the World Day of Prayer for Vocations,” the Holy Father said.  

“In every continent, the ecclesial communities ask the Lord for many and holy vocations to the priesthood, to the consecrated life, to the missionary life, and to Christian marriage.  They meditate on the theme ‘The vocation to the service of the mission-Church.’”

The Holy Father said that the World Day of Prayer for Vocations “puts itself in the perspective of the Year of Paul, which will begin next June 28 to celebrate the two thousandth anniversary of the birth of the apostle Paul, the missionary par excellence.  

“In the experience of the Apostle to the Gentiles, whom the Lord called to be a ‘minister of the Gospel,’ vocation and mission are inseparable.  

“He therefore represents a model for all Christians, in particular for missionaries for life, that is, for those men and women who dedicate themselves totally to proclaiming Christ to the many people who do not now know Him:  this is a vocation that preserves its whole validity.

“In the first place,” the Holy Father said, “the priests perform this missionary service, dispensing the Word of God and the Sacraments, and manifesting the restoring presence of Jesus Christ with their pastoral love to all, above all to the sick, the young, the poor.  We give thanks to God for these our brothers who give themselves without reserve in pastoral ministry--at times combining fidelity to Christ with the sacrifice of their lives, as happened yesterday for the two religious killed in Guinea and Kenya.

“To them goes our grateful admiration together with our prayers of support.  We pray also that the choice of those who decide to live radically the Gospel vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience will always be nourished.  

“There are men and women who have a primary role of evangelization.  Others dedicate themselves to contemplation and prayer, and others to the many forms of educational and charitable action.  

“But all have in common the same purpose:  that of testifying to God’s primacy over all things and spreading his Kingdom to all areas of society.  Many among them, the Servant of God Paul VI writes, 'are enterprising and their apostolate is often marked by an originality, by a genius that demands admiration. They are generous: often they are found at the outposts of the mission, and they take the greatest of risks for their health and their very lives.'"

The Holy Father said it should not be forgotten that Christian marriage is also a missionary vocation:  “the spouses, in fact, are called to live the Gospel in their families, in the workplace, and in the parish and civil communities.  In some cases, moreover, they offer their precious collaboration in the mission to the nations.”

The Holy Father invoked the protection of Mary upon the “manifold vocations” existing in the Church, saying Mary “can make a powerful missionary impact.”

Pope Benedict also entrusted to Mary's protection his upcoming visit to the United States, inviting Catholics to accompany him in their prayers.

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Pope Benedict requests prayers for "spiritual renewal" in U.S. visit

Vatican City, Apr 13, 2008 (CNA) - After his Sunday Regina Caeli prayers, Pope Benedict XVI addressed in English those gathered in St. Peter’s Square, asking them to pray that "spiritual renewal" would result from his upcoming apostolic journey to the United States.

In his remarks recorded by the Vatican Information Service, the Holy Father alluded to the theme of the papal visit, “Christ our Hope.”  The U.S. visit will last from April 15 to April 20.

In his greeting to English-speaking pilgrims, the Holy Father said, “This Tuesday I leave Rome for my visit to the United Nations and the United States of America. With the various groups I shall meet, my intention is to share our Lord’s word of life.”

“In Christ is our hope! Christ is the foundation of our hope for peace, for justice, and for the freedom that flows from God’s law fulfilled in his commandment to love one another,” the Holy Father said.

“Dear brothers and sisters, I ask you all to pray for the success of my visit, so that it may be a time of spiritual renewal for all Americans. Upon each of you present, I invoke the protection and guidance of Jesus the Good Shepherd,” he concluded.

Speaking in Italian before the Regina Caeli prayers, the Holy Father entrusted his upcoming “special missionary visit” to the United States to Mary, Mother of the Church and Queen of Peace.

Pope Benedict also asked all Catholics to accompany him in their prayers.

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