Tuesday, December 20, 2011



VATICAN CITY, 17 DEC 2011 (VIS) - The Jubilee year of the Church in Naples, Italy, came to a close yesterday evening with a celebration presided by Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, archbishop of Naples, in the city's cathedral. The ceremony also included the projection of a video message from the Holy Father, specially recorded for the occasion. Extracts from his remarks are published below. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)

"Your journey over these months has involved the joyful participation of the ecclesial and civil communities, and of many people of good will. ... This special Jubilee Year has, for the Church in Naples, been a time of immersion in the mystery of God, and therefore a time of grace. ... The Jubilee caused heaven to open above you and the power of the Holy Spirit to descend upon your lives and communities, just as it descended on the disciples in the Upper Room at Pentecost".

"Now, with renewed enthusiasm and with the strength of faith, hope and charity, you can face the many and complex problems of your daily lives. Just as, after Pentecost, the Apostles courageously began to announce the Good News so you too, after this Jubilee, can renew your hope, allow yourselves to be guided by the power of the Holy Spirit and work together with renewed energy in the mission of the Church. May each of you put the gifts you have received to good use, placing them at the service of others and of the entire community, without selfishness or rivalry, but in a spirit of sincere humility and joyful fraternity. Have special care, as you already do, for the weakest and most fragile, the poorest and most disadvantaged of our brothers and sisters.

"May Our Lady of Mount Carmel, protectress of the city of Naples, and St. Genarius, watch over you and help you to maintain, with perseverance and faithfulness the commitments you have taken on in this Jubilee Year".
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VATICAN CITY, 17 DEC 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received prelates from the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference and the Conferentia Episcopalis Pacifici, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

In his address to the group, the Pope spoke of the challenges "which are common to all of you, in spite of the many social, economic and cultural contexts in which you work". In particular, he mentioned secularism and its "significant impact on the understanding and practice of the Catholic faith. This is seen specifically in a weakened appreciation for the sacred nature of Christian marriage and the stability of the family", he said.

"Ultimately, Christian faith provides a surer basis for life than the secular vision. ... Thus, the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation was recently established. Since the Christian faith is founded on the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, the new evangelisation is not an abstract concept but a renewal of authentic Christian living based on the teachings of the Church. You, as bishops and pastors, are called to be protagonists in formulating this response according to local needs and circumstances in your various countries and among your peoples".

Benedict XVI then reminded the prelates of the importance of caring for their priests, "especially those who are experiencing difficulties and those who have little contact with their brother priests. ... In our day young people need more assistance with spiritual discernment so that they may know the Lord's will. In a world affected by a 'profound crisis of faith', ensure too that your seminarians receive a well-rounded formation". The Pope also acknowledged the "significant contribution" made by religious to the work of evangelisation, and the contribution of the lay faithful.

"I have had this opportunity to discuss with you the new evangelisation, I do so mindful of the recently proclaimed Year of Faith, which 'is intended to give a fresh impetus to the mission of the whole Church to lead human beings out of the wilderness in which they find themselves'. May this privileged time serve as an inspiration as you join the entire Church in the ongoing efforts of the new evangelisation, for although you are spread among many islands and we are separated by great distances, together we profess 'one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all'".
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VATICAN CITY, 17 DEC 2011 (VIS) - The Synod of Bishops today published a communique concerning the tenth meeting of the Special Council of Oceania, which took place on 9 December under the presidency of Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod, and was attended by most of the prelates of Oceania, currently in Rome for their "ad limina" visit.

The council focused its attention on the application of John Paul II's 2001 Apostolic Exhortation "Ecclesia in Oceania" to the daily lives of the particular Churches of the region. The participants highlighted how the Exhortation maintains all its validity in the current social and ecclesial situation, "which has undergone a certain degree of radicalisation, especially in the process of secularisation and particularly in Australia and New Zealand. At the same time, there are signs of hope, such as the openness of young people and of certain intellectuals to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Although these aspects involve a minority, they are important signals and nourish hope for the future".

The challenges facing the Church in the region include human rights, bioethics, ecology, the family, charity, inculturation, and ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue. At the same time, "the 'ad gentes' mission is a pressing necessity in Oceania, where the particular Churches are committed to continuing the mission of the evangelisers who first announced the truth of Christ. It is important to continue along this path, both in the context of secularised societies and among the traditionally religious peoples of the Pacific, paying particular attention to indigenous peoples. ... The announcement of the Gospel requires fresh ardour from all Christians, including the laity, who must rediscover their missionary vocation".

The meeting also examined the preparations underway for the thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, due to be held in the Vatican in October 2012.
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VATICAN CITY, 17 DEC 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Fr. Serge Thomas Bonino O.P., professor of philosophy at the "Institut Catholique" and of theology at the Dominican Studium in Toulouse, France, as secretary general of the International Theological Commission.

- Msgr. Giovanni Battista Gandolfo of the clergy of the diocese of Albenga-Imperia, Italy, president of the Committee for Charitable Initiatives in Favour of the Third World and director of the same Office at the Italian Episcopal Conference, as a member of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum".

- As members of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples: Bishop Wojciech Polak, auxiliary of Gniezno, Poland, and Bishop Edward Janiak, auxiliary of Wroclaw, Poland.

- Msgr. Enrico Feroci, director of diocesan Caritas in Rome, as a consultor of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.

- Msgr. Antonio Grappone of the clergy of the diocese of Rome, official of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, as bureau chief of the same pontifical council.

- Sr. Nicoletta Vittoria Spezzati of the Congregation of the Sisters Adorers of the Blood of Christ, official of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as under secretary of the same congregation.
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VATICAN CITY, 18 DEC 2011 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father made a pastoral visit to the prison of Rebbiba in northern Rome. On his arrival he was welcomed by Paola Severino, minister of justice; Franco Ionta, head of the prison administration department, and Fr. Pier Sandro Spriano and Fr. Roberto Guarnieri, prison chaplains.

The Holy Father met the prisoners in the institute's central church, dedicated to Our Father. Excerpts from his remarks to them are given below.

"'I was in prison and you visited me'. These are the words of the Final Judgment according to Matthew the Evangelist, the Lord's words in which He identifies Himself with those in prison, words which fully express the significance of my visit to you today. Wherever someone is hungry, a stranger, sick or in prison, there is Christ Himself Who awaits our visit and our assistance. ... The Church has always considered visiting the imprisoned as one of the corporal acts of mercy, but this, in order to be complete, means fully accepting the prisoner, 'making space for him in our time, in our home, in our friendships, in our laws, in our cities'. ... The Only-begotten Son of God, the Lord Jesus, also experienced jail. He was judged before a tribunal and suffered a ferocious death sentence.

"During my recent apostolic trip to Benin last month, I signed a Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation in which I underlined the Church's concern for justice in States. I wrote: 'Independent judiciary and prison systems are urgently needed, therefore, for the restoration of justice and the rehabilitation of offenders. It is time to put a stop to miscarriages of justice and ill-treatment of prisoners, and the widespread non-enforcement of the law ... which represents a violation of human rights, as well as imprisonment either without trial or else with much-delayed trial. The Church in Africa ... recognises her prophetic mission towards all those affected by crime and their need for reconciliation, justice and peace. Prisoners are human persons who, despite their crime, deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. They need our care".

Justice is inseparable from mercy

"Human justice and divine justice are very different. Men are not, of course, capable of applying divine justice, but they must at least ... seek to understand the spirit that moves it, in order to illuminate human justice and to ensure that prisoners do not become outcasts, as unfortunately they often do. God, in fact, is He Who strongly proclaims justice, but at the same time heals wounds with the balm of mercy".

"Justice and mercy, justice and charity are cardinal points of Church social doctrine. They differ only for we human beings, as we carefully distinguish between an act of justice and an act of love. ... But this is not true of God. In Him justice and charity coincide; there is no act of justice that is not also an act of mercy and forgiveness while, at the same time, there is no act of mercy that is not perfectly just".

"The penitential system has two main points, both of them important: protecting society from possible threats, and rehabilitating those who have erred without trampling on their dignity or excluding them from social life. Both of these aspects ... are aimed at avoiding that 'chasm' between what life in jail is really like and how it was intended by the law, which gives fundamental importance to the re-educational function of punishment and to respecting the rights and dignity of persons".

Overcrowding and degradation make prison sentences worse

"I know that overcrowding and the dilapidation of jails can make detention even worse. ... Public institutions must carefully analyse the situation in prisons today, monitoring structures, resources and staff so that prisoners do not serve a 'double sentence'. It is important to develop the prison system in such a way that, while respecting justice, it is increasingly adapted to the needs of human beings, also by using non-custodial penalties or different forms of custody".

"Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent. May the Lord's Nativity, which is now drawing near, reawaken hope and love in your hearts. The birth of the Lord Jesus, which we will celebrate in a few days' time, reminds us of His mission to save all mankind, excluding no one. ... Let us ask Him ... to free everyone from the prison of sin, arrogance and pride. Each of us, in fact, has need to leave this inner prison in order to be truly free from evil, anguish and death".

"I would like to conclude by saying that the Church supports and encourages all efforts to ensure that everyone lives a dignified life. Be sure that I am close to each of you. ... May the Lord bless you and your future".
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VATICAN CITY, 18 DEC 2011 (VIS) - Following his address to inmates in the Roman prison of Rebbibia this morning, the Pope responded to six questions put to him by his audience. Summaries of the questions and his answers are given below:

Q. I would like to ask His Holiness whether the simplicity of his gesture [in coming here today] will also be understood by our politicians, so that the dignity and hope which belong to each living being may be restored to all mankind, including we prisoners.

A. "I have come here above all to express my personal and intimate closeness, in communion with Christ Who loves you. But of course this visit ... is also a public gesture reminding our fellow citizens, our government, of the fact that there are serious problems in Italian jails. Clearly, prisons exist to favour justice, and a primary factor of justice is human dignity. ... In as much as I can, I would like to give a signal of how important it is for prisons to respond to their purpose of renewing human dignity, supporting it not undermining it. Let us hope the government has the possibility to respond to this vocation".

Q. Rather than asking a question, I would like to ask you to allow us to come to you with our suffering, our own suffering and that of our families, like a cable which communicates with the Lord Jesus. I love you.

A. "I also love you. ... The Lord's self-identification with the imprisoned is an obligation upon us, and I too have to ask myself whether I have acted according to the commandment of the Lord. ... This is one of the reasons I came here, because I know that in you the Lord is waiting for me, that you have need of human recognition, that you need this presence of the Lord. I hope that prisons may realise their true goal of helping people to find themselves, ... to find self-reconciliation and reconciliation with others, with God, in order to re-enter society and help the progress of humankind".

Q. Do you feel it is right that, ... now that I am a new man and father to a beautiful two-month-old daughter, ... I am not granted the possibility to return home despite the fact that I have paid my debt to society?

A. "First of all congratulations! I am happy you consider yourself to be a new man. ... You know that, according to Church doctrine, the family is fundamental and it is important for a father to be able to hold his daughter in his arms. Thus, I pray and hope that you will soon embrace your daughter, be with her and your wife to build a beautiful family, and so collaborate in the future of Italy".

Q. What can sick and HIV-positive prisoners ask of the Pope? ... We are not often mentioned, and then in aggressive terms, as if seeking to eliminate us from society. This makes us feel subhuman.

A. "We have to endure the fact that people speak about us 'aggressively'. They also speak 'aggressively' about the Pope, yet nonetheless we persevere. I think it is important to encourage everyone to think positively, to understand your sufferings, to understand the need to help you rise again. I will do my part, inviting everyone to think in the right way, not abusively but humanly, understanding that anyone can fall, but God wants everyone to reach Him. We must cooperate in a spirit of fraternity recognising our own fragility so that people can truly ... continue their journey with dignity".

Q. Holiness, I was taught that the Lord can see and read inside each one of us. Why has absolution been delegated to priests. If I, alone and on my knees, asked the Lord to absolve me, would He?

A. "Of course if you, on your knees and with authentic love for God, ask Him to forgive you, He will do so. ... However, sin is not only a 'personal' thing, an individual account between me and God. Sin also has a social dimension. ... And it is this social dimension of sin that needs to be absolved at the level of the human community, the community of the Church. ... It requires the Sacrament. ... Sacramental absolution is necessary to absolve me of this bond of evil and to rehabilitate me in the will of God, ... to give me the certainty that God forgives me and receives me into the community of His children".

Q. Holy Father, last month you visited the African nation of Benin, one of the poorest countries in the world. ... They place their hope and faith in God, and die amidst poverty and violence. Why does God not listen to them? Does God perhaps listen only to the rich and powerful who have no faith?

A. "God's criteria are different from ours. God gives these poor people the joy of His presence, He makes His closeness felt in their suffering and difficulties, and of course He calls on us all to do everything we can to ensure they can emerge from their sickness and poverty. ... We must pray to God for justice, so that everyone can live in the joy of being His children".

Having answered the questions, the Pope then prayed with prisoners. On leaving the church, and before returning to the Vatican, he blessed a cypress tree planted in memory of his visit.
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VATICAN CITY, 18 DEC 2011 (VIS) - Following his visit to the Roman prison of Rebbiba this morning, the Holy Father returned to the Vatican Apostolic Palace where he appeared at the window of his private study to pray the Angelus with faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square.

The Pope introduced the Marian prayer with a reflection on the importance of Mary's virginity. Recalling the words of the Prophet Isaiah: "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Emmanuel", he explained how "this ancient promise was abundantly fulfilled in the incarnation of the Son of God. Not only did the Virgin Mary conceive, but she did so by the Holy Spirit; that is, by God Himself. The human being Who began life in her womb took Mary's flesh, but His existence derived entirely from God".

"The fact that Mary conceived while remaining a virgin is, then, essential for an understanding of Jesus and of our faith. It is a testament to the fact that the initiative was God's and, above all, it reveals Who the person conceived is. As the Gospel says, 'the child to be born will be holy; he will be called the son of God'. In this perspective, Mary's virginity and Jesus' divinity are warranties of one another".

The Holy Father continued: "God awaited the 'yes' of this young girl in order to achieve His plan. He respected her dignity and her freedom. ... Mary's virginity is unique and unrepeatable, but its spiritual significance concerns all Christians, ... because those who have profound trust in the love of God welcome Jesus and His divine life into their own lives, by the action of the Holy Spirit. This is the mystery of Christmas".

Following the Angelus, Benedict XVI expressed his concern for people in the southern Philippines where a tropical storm has caused great loss of human life and material damage. "I pray for the victims, of whom so many are children, for the homeless and the missing", he said.

Finally he delivered greetings in a number of languages. Addressing Spanish pilgrims, her recalled the fact that twenty-two Oblates of Mary Immaculate, killed in 1936, were beatified in Madrid yesterday. "Joy at their beatification is linked to the hope that their sacrifice may yet bring great fruits of conversion and reconciliation", he concluded.
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VATICAN CITY, 19 DEC 2011 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received a delegation of children from Italian Catholic Action, with whom he exchanged Christmas greetings.

The Holy Father thanked the group for their visit, then went on to remark on a theme they have been studying this year, the invitation made to Bartimaeus in the Bible: "Arise, He is calling". This call, the Pope explained, "has already been repeated often in your lives, and it is repeated again today. The first call was in the gift of life. Always be attentive to this great gift, appreciate it and be grateful to the Lord. Ask Him to give a joyful life to all the boys and girls of the world, that they may all be respected and none may lack what they need to live".

"Another important call was Baptism. ... At that moment you became brothers and sisters of Jesus Who loves you more than anyone else and wants to help you to grow. Another call was First Communion. On that day your friendship with Jesus became closer and more intimate. ... Respond generously to the Lord Who calls you to be friends with Him. He will never let you down".

"Dear friends", Pope Benedict concluded, "I would like to ask you for one thing. Take this beautiful invitation - "Arise, He is calling" - to your own friends and tell them: Look, I have responded to Jesus' call and I am happy because I have found a great Friend in Him, a Friend I meet in prayer, Who I see among my Friends, to Whom I listen in the Gospel. My Christmas wish for you is that, when you make your nativity scenes, you imagine you are saying to Jesus: come into my life and I will listen to you always".
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VATICAN CITY, 19 DEC 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and authorised the promulgation of decrees concerning the following causes:


- Blessed Giovanni Battista Piamarta, Italian priest and founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family of Nazareth and of the Congregation of the Humble Sister Servants of the Lord (1841-1913).

- Blessed Jacques Berthieu, French martyr and priest of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) (1838-1896).

- Blessed Maria del Carmen (born Maria Salles y Barangueras), Spanish foundress of the Conceptionist Missionary Sisters of Teaching (1848-1911).

- Blessed Maria Anna Cope, nee Barbara, German religious of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis in Syracuse U.S.A. (1838-1918).

- Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, American laywoman (1656-1680).

- Blessed Pedro Calungsod, Filipino lay catechist and martyr (1654-1672).

- Blessed Anna Schaffer, German laywoman (1882-1925).

- Servant of God Louis Brisson, French priest and founder of the Oblates of St. Francis of Sales (1817-1908).

- Servant of God Luigi Novarese, Italian diocesan priest and founder of the Silent Workers of the Cross (1914-1984).

- Servant of God Maria Luisa (nee Gertrude Prosperi), Italian abbess of the convent of the Order of St. Benedict of Trevi (1799-1847).

- Servant of God Mother St. Louis (nee Maria Luisa Elisabeth de Lamoignon, widow of Mole de Champlatreux), French foundress of the Sisters of St. Louis (1763-1825).

- Servant of God Maria Crescencia (nee Maria Angelica Perez), Argentinean professed religious of the Congregation of the Daughters of Our Lady of the Orchard (1897-1932).


- Servant of God Nicola Rusca, Swiss diocesan priest, killed in hatred of the faith (1563-1618).

- Servants of God Luis Orencio (ne Antonio Sola Garriga) and eighteen companions of the Institute of Brothers of Christian Schools; Antonio Mateo Salamero, diocesan priest, and Jose Gorostazu Labayen, layman, all killed in hatred of the faith in Spain in 1936.

- Servants of God Alberto Maria Marco y Aleman and eight companions of the Order of Carmelites of the Ancient Observance, and Agustin Maria Garcia Tribaldos and fifteen companions of the Institute of Brothers of Christian Schools; all killed in hatred of the faith in Spain between 1936 and 1937.

- Servants of God Mariano Alcala Perez and eighteen companions of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy, killed in hatred of the faith in Spain between 1936 and 1937.


- Servant of God Donato Giannotti, Italian diocesan priest and founder of the Congregation of Sisters Handmaidens of the Immaculate Conception (1828-1914).

- Servant of God Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus (ne Henri Grialou), French professed priest of the Order of Discalced Carmelites and founder of the Institute of Notre-Dame de Vie (1894-1967).

- Servant of God Alphonse-Marie (nee Elisabeth Eppinger), French foundress of the Congregation of Sisters of the Blessed Saviour (1814-1867).

- Servant of God Marguerite Lucia Szewczyk, Polish foundress of the Congregation of the Daughters of the Sorrowful Mother of God - Seraphic Sisters (1828-1905).

- Servant of God Assunta Marchetti, Italian co-foundress of the Missionary Sisters of St. Charles (1871-1948).

- Servant of God Maria Julitta (nee Teresa Eleonora Ritz), German professed sister of the Congregation of Sisters of the Redeemer (1882-1966).

- Servant of God Maria Anna Amico Roxas, Italian laywoman and foundress of the Society of St. Ursula (1883-1947).
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VATICAN CITY, 19 DEC 2011 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience:

- Esteban Kriskovic, the new ambassador of Paraguay to the Holy See for the presentation of his Letters of Credence.

- Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.

On Saturday 17 December he received in audience:

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

- Five prelates from the Conferentia Episcopalis Pacifici, on their "ad limina" visit:

- Fr. Olivier P. Aro, M.S.P., superior of the "sui iuris" mission of Tokelau.

- Archbishop Petero Mataca of Suva.

- Bishop Paul Donoghue S.M. of Rarotonga.

- Bishop Paul Eusebius Mea Kaiuea M.S.C. of Tarawa and Nauru.

- Bishop Soane Patita Paini Mafi of Tonga.
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Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT|:
The Lights of Christmas and Sister Act-in admiration
The spectacular laser Lights of Christmas at Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral was webcast live around the world last night with the rain stopping just in time.
Heavy rain during the afternoon and early evening didn't dampen the spirits of those who came to see the nightly light show on the western facade of the Cathedral however the atmosphere was even brighter when the rain stopped seconds before the light show got underway.
With this year's theme of "Peace" the show was streamed live on the social network of the Archdiocese of Sydney,
Thousands clicked on to see the display and hear the creative director, Anthony Bastic, explain the concept and imagery.
As Anthony explained Christmas is often a time of personal growth and with growth often comes wisdom. However the first scene reveals doves, the universal symbol of Peace, flying across the facade.
Plants and flowers then appear and move across the Cathedral bringing with it the segment of Growth followed by an owl which appears in the tree as a pond below reflects the foliage.
As the owl takes flight a feather drops - imparting Wisdom. As the feather falls on to the pond the ripples signifies the affect our wisdom can have on others.
Images of the stained glass windows of the Cathedral are used for the next segment and as rays of light appear around these images they symbolise the dawning of a new beginning which in turn brings hope.


"We invite the who search and doubt"
Logo der Heilig-Rock-Wallfahrt 2012 in Tier.
INTERNET TRANSLATION FROM KATHOLISCH.DE : The next Holy rock pilgrimage takes place from April 13 until 13 may in Trier.

Judith Rupp on the preparation for the Holy rock pilgrimage 2012 in Trier

The Holy rock pilgrimage in Trier will take place from 13 April to 13 may 2012.The first pilgrimage in the 21st century under the motto "and do together what is separated".The Roman Catholic Diocese of expects about 500,000 pilgrims.This must be well prepared, both spiritually and has knocked in Judith Rupp, the press officer of the pilgrimage, and obeys even as preparations. rock Mrs. Rupp, as originated the idea for the holy pilgrimage?

Rupp: This pilgrimage has a long tradition.The year 2012 has deliberately been chosen because it is a historical date.The first pilgrimage of this kind in 1512, 500 years ago.At that time there what the first public exhibition of this cloth relic - it is of particular historical importance, because the people has enforced this Zeigung.It what Reichstag in Trier and when Emperor Maximilian I, this has demanded by the then Bishop, to see the relic.When people heard, they have obtained almost the public Zeigung is in a 'movement from below'. the name "Holy rock pilgrimage" suggests an association with a rock festival.What is it about?

Rupp: We hear more often and be telephone calls, in which we are asked, which bands than occur with US so.We then explain that it is a relic in the Cathedral of Trier.The tradition is the unzerteilte robe of Jesus Christ.The Gospel of John reports that that part of the garments of Jesus after his crucifixion were distributed.Leibrock of Jesus but, who what without seam, was found by the soldiers for a fragmentation as to precious and therefore they have drawn to him.Tradition says that country has brought this tunic from the Holy, Saint Helena, the mother of Roman Emperor Constantine to Trier.

Judith Rupp, Pressesprecherin der Heilig-Rock-Wallfahrt 2012 in Trier.
Judith Rupp is the press officer of the Holy rock pilgrimage in 2012. Who is the target group of this pilgrimage?
Rupp: The last pilgrimage in 1996 which produced by the character rather intended as Diocesan pilgrimage.For 2012 we said: we load a worldwide in all relationships in which our Diocese and the Catholic Church is.This begins with our has been going on for over 50 years Bolivia Partnership, beyond our control the connections to other dioceses in Germany and abroad to the partners in the Ecumenical work, which very preparations this pilgrimage engage.We invite not only Christians who see a sign for Jesus Christ in the cloth relic, but we invite the who seek and those who doubt.We want to Singapore people of all ages.Currently, we note that there is a lot of interest in young people.Our Youth Ministry is offering very much: for example a church of youth, the young people themselves their church room itself can make. Currently runs the preparatory year - is the organisational side of the preparation or the spiritual?

Rupp: It's something of both.It as important that we 'stumble into it' as a diocese in the pilgrimage, but also spiritually and mentally next so apart sit to the organisational preparation our Bishop Dr. Stephan Ackermann.As a result, we launched the year of spiritual preparation on May 6 2011.We have put it under the theme 'salvation' and to make this topic can be experienced, we have shown a ' redemption ' path through the Emmaus story, which has five steps: existence, fainting, encouragement, leisure and hope.We note that a large number of parishes, associations, Deaconries and facilities in our Diocese to take this opportunity and make many actions in the approach to the pilgrimage., Parish communities, which have been newly founded on the 1 September go together to get to know better a pilgrimage route to.This is also the motto of our pilgrimage: 'And do together what is disconnected.' Spiritual runs the preparation so well, how does it at the organizational level?

Rupp: Organizationally, we are concerned to adjust US to half a million people that will come in this time to Trier for so many months.That is, for example, that we must organize places, places, spaces, where events can take place, from small church services to out to large groups services.We develop a concept and a concept of security.And we try to set as a day for many pilgrims and pilgrims can see, also include cultural and accompanying programmes and catering.The volunteer search is another key priority in our Organization, we need a total 2,500 volunteer helpers and helpers.Currently we have about 1,400, because we need to put course a little.

Accommodation for pilgrims

This area is outside the Organization of the Diocèse, but is taken over by the tourism centres of the city of Trier and its surroundings.You can reach the Tourist Office at the contact options:
Tel.: 0651 / 97808-16
Fax: 0651 / 97808 69 must a potential helpers meet what criteria?
Rupp: Everyone is invited to register as volunteer with US.The helpers must be so not Catholic.The joy of the encounter with people and a willingness to put a bit of time for the pilgrimage are important.We train the volunteers, they are equipped by US and fed.We can not provide generally an accommodation, therefore most of the volunteers and helpers occur naturally from the vicinity of Trier.But in individual cases we can organize on accommodation for dedicated volunteers who help on several days in a row.If for example someone from Hamburg says: 'I would like to come three days and help', then he is welcome to participate! What is specifically the pilgrims in the of pilgrimage month?

Rupp: In the 31 pilgrimage days a variety of expected pilgrims: addition to the daily times of pilgrimage in the Cathedral, there will be various service activities, also in extensive cultural and accompanying programs.And the various groups of pilgrims will naturally shape with the days.

To get the substantive priorities that we set for this pilgrimage.The first focuses on pilgrims.This is 'in', quite clear.By 1996, we know that many people walking on the road have made and partly in several one-day stages are pilgrimages to Trier.Because we have recognised and give the people of "Tools" on the way.For this we have published a spiritual Pilgrim leader, a book with seven routes of pilgrimage from the whole Diocese of animal, which can be made in several stages.We have so short pilgrimage routes, around Trier, for people who do not trust to a distance or time does not make itCurrently, a course in the pilgrims Companion is trained, so people who accompany groups, show them not only the way, but they so spiritually accompany.And when the foot or bicycle pilgrimage then in Trier, they can dip in a pilgrimage oasis at the trier brother hospital and strengthen - a very nice offer, as I find.

The second focus is: spiritual communities.We have invited various spiritual communities such as Taizé, Ark or EmmanuelThese will be present on the entire pilgrimage era in varying degrees in many churches in the city centre.The pilgrims can experience there as spiritual life in such a community can see and are invited to participate in. must consider what pilgrims in advance?

Rupp: We would like to ask the groups to log on.1996 700,000 pilgrims came, but only around 110,000 pilgrims were logged on.Therefore we have great interest in this pilgrimage course, that the groups sign up, simply so that we can better plan and also the days can facilitate the groups thus.

Note: For more information, see .
Interview conducted by Sarah Schortemeyer
The next Holy rock pilgrimage takes place from April 13 until 13 may in Trier.


ACTION SAINTS RELEASE: Action Saints is a part of Kolbe Film School, a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit public charity. The school’s mission is to train artists to create media that inspires a culture of life. Kolbe Film School provides online training for students around the world. As part of their curriculum each Action Saint is animated by students providing them real world experience in all facets of 3D computer animation.
Kolbe Film School is proud to announce their first line of four inch tall poseable saint-based action figures called Action Saints. This new line of toys fits the school’s mission of training artists how to create media that inspires a culture of life. Action Saints provide children the ability to put the heroes of our faith in action. They allow children to ask, “Who are your heroes?” St. Michael the Archangel leads the “fight for the toy box” as the company’s first action figure in the series. As the prince of the heavenly host, St. Michael leads the holy angels, Saints, and the Church militant over the evil powers against the Church today; a true hero for our times. They are scheduled for immediate shipment around December 1st, just in time for Christmas.
Surprisingly, there is nothing like Action Saints in the Catholic or Christian markets. There are many dangerous and breakable ceramic, metal, and glass statues of Saints but none that children can play with. These breakable statues literally relay to children the message about Saints is, “Do not touch!” Action Saints engage children in imaginary play and remove the child’s fear of breaking something. Additionally, they provide parents a wonderful opportunity to evangelize children in our faith. Action Saints are an affordable alternative for children to become acquainted with the heroes of our faith.
One parent told them that they let their son play with a non-child friendly statuette of St. Michael. Within two hours the wings broke off and he punctured himself with the spear. He loved playing with it however. He even slept with their ceramic statuette of St. Joseph, which by the way had an infant child Jesus missing a head and a hand. There clearly is a need.
Action Saints brings the lives of the Saints into an updated, exciting, and current toy that any child would be interested in playing with. The style and design is on par with any current action figure found in secular markets. Complementing the Action figures are trading cards for children to further learn more about the Saints. Many future Saints are planned and you can visit their website to vote for the next one to be produced. TO ORDER VISIT:


CISA REPORT: YIDA, December 16, 2011 (CISA) -The settlement of Yida, in South Sudan is home to more than 20,000 refugees who have fled sporadic fighting in neighbouring states.
Despite the treaty, which grants predominantly Christian South Sudan Independence from the Muslim Sudan in the north, both sides continue to fight over disputed territory. Both are claiming strategic and economically valuable swaths of land for themselves.
South Sudan denies that it is actively fighting Sudan for control of these regions. However, two divisions of soldiers formerly allied with South Sudan are actively engaged in the fighting. It is unclear whether or not they are participating with support from South Sudan’s central government.
Meanwhile, Sudanese forces are well equipped and using Soviet era bombers, MiG aircraft, and long-range artillery to invade the disputed territories reports Catholic Online.
What makes the current situation particularly tragic is the plight of tens of thousands of refugees caught between the warring factions. Many of the refugees have already fled their homes in neighbouring states as conflicts raged there. Now, their new refuge has become engulfed as the conflict spills over from state to state.
The United Nations has already asked the refugees in the region to relocate, but many are reluctant to do so. They have established makeshift residences, and they have access to basic supplies in their current surroundings. However, the escalating violence puts that stability in doubt.
Many refugees are finally answering the call to leave. However, leaving the region does not guarantee their safety. For many, the journey is being made without food. At least one elderly woman is reported to have died after starving for four days. Thousands of children are reported to be malnourished. Fighting is disrupting the normal flow of food aid to the region, and whether people move or not they are being exposed to serious food shortages.
Some refugees have even reported being attacked by Sudanese aircraft while on the road. Multiple reports suggest that Sudanese aircraft are dropping bombs on civilians as they try to flee the region.
The United Nations is also reporting that thousands of people have already fled the country altogether. Some 50,000 people have fled the Border States for safety deeper in South Sudan. Approximately 33,000 people have crossed the border into Ethiopia.
It is unlikely the situation will soon improve. South Sudan denies that it is conducting a campaign to control the disputed territories while two divisions of its former Army are actively engaged in conflict. Sudanese forces are holding nothing back as they attack troops, villages, and columns of refugees in an effort to secure control of the regions they insist are theirs. There appears to be very little that anyone can do, except let the two sides fight one another until the conflict is exhausted.
Still, the humanitarian toll is great and United Nations and other aid agencies remain on hand to do all they can to help, even as it looks like that help will be needed for a very long time to come.
ASIA NEWS REPORT: His death said to have occurred two days ago. The son has already been proclaimed "the great successor." South Korea on alert. The funeral of the "Dear Leader" will be held December 28. Until then, national mourning declared. Nuclear power and a starving population.

Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Kim Jong-il, the leader of one of the most bizarre and cruel Communist dictatorships in the world, today from a heart attack at the age of 69. North Korean television, which gave tearful announcement of his death (see here), has already said that all the Korean people will follow the new leader Kim Jong-un, the third son of the deceased (pictured, second from left), famous for his unscrupulous character and desire to show the military and nuclear power of his country.

South Korea and Japan have called for meetings of the Security Council to address the situation. Seoul's army is on alert emergency.

According to the Korean government agency, the KCNA, Kim Jong-il died two days ago, during a train journey around 8.30 am from "an advanced acute myocardial infarction, complicated by serious heart shock." His father, Kim Il-sung died of a heart attack in 1994.

The health of the "dear leader" had deteriorated after he suffered a stroke in 2008.

His remains will be placed in Kumsusan Memorial, where the embalmed body of his father also lies. According to official information the funeral will be held December 28 and will not include the presence of foreign delegations. Until then, a national mourning period has been declared.

Kim Jong-un, today officially called "the great successor", was named first on the list of the State Commission in charge of the funeral.

The death of Kim Jong-il comes at a time of tension between the two Koreas. In the past, in 2000 and 2007 there were meetings with the presidents of the South, in an effort to stop the nuclear development and missile experiments of the North, in exchange for aid for the country impoverished by floods, drought and a disastrous agricultural economy.

In 2008, the current president of the South, Lee Myung-bak, blocked aid demanding a halt to the North’s nuclear programs.

In March 2010, just months after the promotion of Kim Jong-un to the military command, the South Korean navy vessel, the Cheonan, was sunk, killing 46 sailors (see Seoul 04/22/2010: "For South Korea, a torpedo from the North sank the ship "). In November 2010 the North bombed an island on the border between the two Koreas, injuring dozens of civilians and causing the death of a soldier (see 23/11/2010 Pyongyang bombs South Korean island: houses destroyed, one dead).

Once considered the pride of the Soviet constellation, North Korea is a nation sinking into poverty. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Russia has no longer helped its economy; China has also tried to break away from its overly volatile friends, while maintaining some contact.

While the country makes public displays of its strength with huge military parades and nuclear tests, the population suffers from lack of food and basic necessities. It is estimated that nearly two million North Koreans have died of hunger. Even today the situation is nothing short of an emergency (see 25/02/2011 Hunger reaches alarming levels as people resort to eating wild grasses and dirt).

On the side of human rights, North Korea has always stood for an all-out repression of any dissent or criticism of the leader. No religion is allowed if not the worship of the "father of the nation," Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il.

Nevertheless, in recent months, for the first time, there have been critical protests (02.23.2011 First public protests against the Kims’ regime), driven by their own misery and fear that Kim Jong-un, commonly known as ruthless and bloody, will ascend to the throne, (2/12/2009 The "third Kim" frightens the two Koreas).


Luke 1: 5 - 25
5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechari'ah, of the division of Abi'jah; and he had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.
8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty,
9 according to the custom of the priesthood, it fell to him by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.
11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12 And Zechari'ah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechari'ah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.
14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth;
15 for he will be great before the Lord, and he shall drink no wine nor strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.
16 And he will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God,
17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Eli'jah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared."
18 And Zechari'ah said to the angel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years."
19 And the angel answered him, "I am Gabriel, who stand in the presence of God; and I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news.
20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things come to pass, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time."
21 And the people were waiting for Zechari'ah, and they wondered at his delay in the temple.
22 And when he came out, he could not speak to them, and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he made signs to them and remained dumb.
23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.
24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she hid herself, saying,
25 "Thus the Lord has done to me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men."


Bl. Urban V
Feast: December 19

Feast Day: December 19
Born: 1310 Grizac, Languedoc, France
Died: December 19, 1370 Avignon, France
Guillaume de Grimoard, born at Grisac in Languedoc, 1310; died at Avignon, 19 December, 1370. Born of a knightly family, he was educated at Montpellier and Toulouse, and became a Benedictine monk at the little priory of Chirac near his home. A Bull of 1363 informs us that he was professed at the great Abbey of St. Victor at Marseilles, where he imbibed his characteristic love for the Order of St. Benedict; even as pope he wore its habit. He was ordained at Chirac, and after a further course of theology and canon law at the universities of Toulouse, Montpellier, Paris, and Avignon, he received the doctorate in 1342. He was one of the greatest canonists of his day; was professor of canon law at Montpellier, and also taught at Toulouse, Paris, and Avignon; he acted successively as vicar-general of the Dioceses of Clermont and Uzès, was at an unknown date (before 1342) affiliated to Cluny, became prior of Notre-Dame du Pré (a priory dependent on St. Germain d'Auxerre), and in 1352 was named abbot of that famous house by Clement VI. With this date begins his diplomatic career. His first mission was to Giovanni Visconti, Archbishop and despot of Milan, and this he carried out successfully; in 1354 and 1360 he was employed on the affairs of the Holy See in Italy; in 1361 he was appointed by Innocent VI to the Abbacy of St. Victor at Marseilles, but in 1362 was once more dispatched to Italy, this time on an embassy to Joanna of Naples. It was while engaged on this business that the abbot heard of his election to the papacy. Innocent VI had died on 12 Sept. The choice of one who was not a cardinal was due to jealousies within the Sacred College, which made the election of any one of its members almost impossible. Guillaume de Grimoard was chosen for his virtue and learning, and for his skill in practical affairs of government and diplomacy. He arrived at Marseilles on 28 Oct., entered Avignon three days later, and was consecrated on 6 November, taking the name of Urban because, as he said, "all the popes who had borne the name had been saints". The general satisfaction which this election aroused was voiced by Petrarch, who wrote to the pope, "It is God alone who has chosen you".
On 20 November King John of France visited Avignon; his main purpose was to obtain the hand of Joanna of Naples, ward of the Holy See, for his son Philip, Duke of Touraine. In a letter of 7 November Urban had already approved her project of marriage with King James of Majorca, a king without a kingdom; by so doing the pope safeguarded his own independence at Avignon, which would have been gravely imperilled had the marriage of Joanna, who was also Countess of Provence, united to the Crown of France the country surrounding the little papal principality. The letter written by Urban to Joanna on 29 Nov., urging the marriage with Philip, was probably meant rather to appease the French king than to persuade the recipient. The betrothal of the Queen of Naples to James of Majorca was signed on 14 Dec. The enormous ransom of 3,000,000 gold crowns, due to Edward III of England from John of France by the treaty of Bretigny, was still in great part unpaid, and John now sought permission to levy a tithe on the revenues of the French clergy. Urban refused this request as well as another for the nomination of four cardinals chosen by the king. John also desired to intervene between the pope and Barnabò Visconti, tyrant of Milan. He was again refused, and when Barnabò failed to appear within the three months allowed by his citation, the pope excommunicated him (3 March, 1363). In April of the same year Visconti was defeated before Bologna. Peace was concluded in March, 1364; Barnabò restored the castles seized by him, while Urban withdrew the excommunication and undertook to pay half a million gold florins.
The Benedictine pope was a lover of peace, and much of his diplomacy was directed to the pacification of Italy and France. Both countries were overrun by mercenary bands known as the "Free Companies", and the pope made many efforts to secure their dispersal or departure. His excommunication was disregarded and the companies refused to join the distant King of Hungary in his battles with the Turks although the Emperor Charles IV, who came to Avignon in May, 1365, guaranteed the expenses of their journey and offered them the revenues of his kingdom of Bohemia for three years. War now broke out between Pedro the Cruel of Navarre and his brother Henry of Trastamare. Pedro was excommunicated for his cruelties and persecutions of the clergy, and Bertrand Duguesclin, the victor of Cocherel, led the companies into Navarre; yet they visited Avignon on their way and wrung blackmail from the pope. The Spanish war was quickly ended, and Urban returned to his fomer plan of employing the companies against the Turk. The Count of Savoy was to have led them to the assistance of the King of Cyprus and the Eastern Empire, but this scheme too was a failure. Urban's efforts were equally fruitless in Italy, where the whole land was overrun with bands led by such famous condottieri as the German Count of Landau and the Englishman Sir John Hawkwood. In 1365, after the failure of a scheme to unite Florence, Pisa, and the Italian communes against them, the pope commissioned Albornoz to persuade these companies to join the King of Hungary. In 1366 he solemnly excommunicated them, forbade their employment, and called on the emperor and all the powers of Christendom to unite for their extirpation. All was in vain, for though a league of Italian cities was formed in September of that year, it was disolved about fifteen months later owing to Florentine jealousy of the emperor.
Rome had suffered terribly through the absence of her pontiffs, and it became apparent to Urban that if he remained at Avignon the work of the warlike Cardinal Albornoz in restoring to the papacy the States of the Church would be undone. On 14 September, 1366, he informed the emperor of his determination to return to Rome. All men rejoiced at the announcement except the French; the king understood that the departure from Avignon would mean a diminution of French influence at the Curia. The French cardinals were in despair at the prospect of leaving France, and even threatened to desert the pope. On 30 April, 1367, Urban left Avignon; on 19 May he sailed from Marseilles, and after a long coasting voyage he reached Corneto, where he was met by Albornoz. On 4 June the Romans brought the keys of Sant' Angelo in sign of welcome, and the Gesuati carrying their branches in their hands and headed by their founder, Blessed John Colombini, preceded the pope. Five days later he entered Viterbo, where he dwelt in the citadel. The disturbed state of Italy made it impossible for Urban to set out to Rome until he had gathered a considerable army, so it was not till 16 Oct. that he entered the city at the head of an imposing cavalcade, under the escort of the Count of Savoy, the Marquess of Ferrara, and other princes.
The return of the pope to Rome appeared to the contemporary world both as a great event and as a religious action. The pope now set to work to improve the material and moral condition of his capital. The basilicas and papal palaces were restored and decorated, and the Papal treasure, which had been preserved at Assisi since the days of Boniface VIII, was distributed to the city churches. The unemployed were put to work in the neglected gardens of the Vatican, and corn was distributed in seasons of scarcity; at the same time the discipline of the clergy was restored, and the frequentation of the sacraments encouraged. One of Urban's first acts was to change the Roman constitution, but it may be questioned whether "the sacrifice offered to the Pontiff as the reward of his return was the liberty of the people" (Gregorovius).
On 17 October, 1368, the emperor joined the pope at Viterbo. Before leaving Germany he had confirmed all the rights of the Church, and Urban hoped for his help against the Visconti, but Charles allowed himself to be bribed. On 21 Oct. the pope and emperor entered Rome together, the latter humbly leading the pontiff's mule. On 1 Nov. Charles acted as deacon at the Mass at which Urban crowned the empress. For more than a century pope and emperor had not appeared thus in amity. A year later the Emperor of the East, John V Palaeologus, came to Rome seeking assistance against the infidel; he abjured the schism and was received by Urban on the steps of St. Peter's. These emperors both of West and East were but shadows of their great predecessors, and their visits, triumphs as they might appear, were but little gain to Urban V. He felt that his position in Italy was insecure. The death of Albornoz (24 Aug., 1367), who had made his return to Italy possible, had been a great loss. The restlessness of the towns was exemplified by the revolt of Perugia, which had to be crushed by force; any chance storm might undo the work of the great legate. At heart, too, the pope had all a Frenchman's love for his country, and his French entourage urged his return to Avignon. In vain were the remonstrances of the envoys of Rome, which had gained "greater quiet and order, an influx of wealth, a revival of importance" from his sojourn; in vain were the admonitions of St. Bridget, who came from Rome to Montefiascone to warn him that if he returned to Avignon he would shortly die. War had broken out again between France and England, and the desire to bring about peace strengthened the pope's determination. On 5 Sept., 1370, "sad, suffering and deeply moved", Urban embarked at Corneto. In a Bull of 26 June he had told the Romans that his departure was motived by his desire to be useful to the Universal Church and to the country to which he was going. It may be, too, that the pope saw that the next conclave would be free at Avignon but not in Italy. Charles V joyfully sent a fleet of richly adorned galleys to Corneto; the pope did not long survive his return (24 Sept.) to Avignon. His body was buried in Notre-Dame des Doms at Avignon but was removed two years later, in accordance with his own wish, to the Abbey Church of St. Victor at Marseilles. Miracles multiplied around his tomb. His canonization was demanded by King Waldemar of Denmark and promised by Gregory XI as early as 1375, but did not take place owing to the disorders of the time. His cultus was approved by Pius IX in 1870.
Urban V was a man whose motives cannot be called in question: his policy aimed at Eurpoean peace; shortly before his death he had given orders that preparations should be made to enable him personally to visit and reconcile Edward III and Charles V. He had shown great zeal for the Crusade. On 29 March, 1363, Pierre de Lusignan, King of Cyprus and titular King of Jerusalem, appeared at Avignon to appeal for assistance against the Turks, and on 31 March (Good Friday) Urban preached the Crusade and gave the cross to the Kings of France, Denmark, and Cyprus; the chivalrous King John, who was to have been chief commander, died a quasi-prisoner at London in 1364, and though the King of Cyprus captured Alexandria (11 Oct., 1365), he was unable to hold the city. The crusading spirit was dead in Europe. In an age of corruption and simony Urban stood for purity and disinterestedness in church life: he did much for ecclesiastical discipline and caused many provincial councils to be held; he refused to bestow place or money on his relatives, and even caused his own father to refund a pension bestowed on him by the French king. His brother, whom he prompted to the cardinalate, was acknowledged by all to be a man most worthy of the dignity. The pope's private life was that of a monk, and he was always accessible to those who sought his aid.
But Urban was a patriotic Frenchman, a defect in the universal father of Christendom. He estranged the English king by the help given to his rival, and aroused hostility in Italy by the favour shown to men of his own race whom he made his representatives in the States of the Church. He was a great patron of learning, founded universities at Cracow (by a Bull of 1364) and at Vienna (by a Bull of 1365), and caused the emperor to create the University of Orange; he revised the statutes of the University of Orléans; and gave great assistance to the universities of Avignon and Toulouse. At Bologna he supported the great college founded by Albornoz and paid the expenses of many poor students whom he sent thither. He also founded a studium at Trets (later removed to Manosque), but his greatest foundations were at Montpellier. His buildings and restorations were considerable, especially at Avignon, Rome, and Montpellier. He approved the orders of Brigittines and Gesuati, and canonized his godfather, St. Elzéar of Sabran.

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