Slovakia ready to greet Pope
POPE JOHN Paul will begin a pastoral visit to the Slovak Republic on Thursday, the 102nd foreign trip of his almost 25-year papacy. He returns to Rome on Sunday, September 14.
Upon his arrival at Bratislava he will go to the apostolic nunciature for private meetings with the president of Slovakia, the president of the national parliament and the prime minister. In the late afternoon he will go to Trnava to visit the cathedral.
On Friday, the Pope will fly to Banska Bystrica where he will celebrate Mass on National Risorgimento Square. Afterwards he will meet Slovakian bishops.
On Saturday, the Pope will travel by plane to Kosice and to then to nearby Roznava, celebrating Mass on the periphery of the city, and on Sunday, he will celebrate Mass in Bratislava, during which he will beatify the martyrs Basile Hopko and Zdenka Schelingova.
Claretians pick new leader
THE CLARETIANs have chosen a missionary from the Far East as their new superior general.
Fr Josep Marfa Abella Battle was previously general counsellor and leader of missionary activity for the 3,000 members of the order throughout the world.
In a statement he said his greatest challenge was "how to live Inter-culturality'... and how to serve the missionary plan of the Church in the third millennium."
Fr Abella, 53, was born in Lleida, Spain, and has been involved in intense evangelising work in Japan and the Far East. He is a linguist, speaking native Catalan and Spanish, English, French, Italian, some Portuguese and Japanese.
He will replace Fr Aquilino Bocos.
The Clarelians, or Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. were started in the Catalan city of Vic in 1849, by Fr Antonio Maria Claret. He was canonised in 1950.
Builder dies in Vatican City
A WORKER has died while doing maintenance work on structures in St Peter's Square in Rome.
Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said Costantino Marchionni, 52, fell from mobile scaffolding, about 3.5 metres high, together with a fellow worker.
-The latter underwent minor contusions after the fail,
whereas Marchionni had more serious internal injuries," he said. He died shortly afterward, without regaining consciousness.
Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, the substitute for the secretariat of state, the secretary general of the governorate, personnel from the technical services office, and the pontifical gendarmes, as well as the President of the Tribunal of Vatican City State, went immediately to the site of the accident.
The two men both worked for a firm which carries out essential maintenance and repairs at the Vatican.
Peace group focuses on EU
AN INTERNATIONAL peace movement has held its annual Peace 2003 meeting in Aachen, Germany.
The Community of Sant'Egidio which promotes interreligious dialogue, focused on Europe for the three-day conference which began last Sunday.
Prior to the event details of the conference were discussed between John Paul II and Andrea Riccardi, founder of Sant'Egidio, and Bishop Vincenzo Paglia of Terni, spiritual adviser to the lay Catholic organisation.
Byzantine arts exhibited
THE SPLENDOUR of Byzantine spirituality is being exhibited in Rome. Paintings on wood, frescoes and icons from the are on show at the Capitoline Museums.
Many artifacts, usually kept in the Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens, came from monasteries of Mount Adios which have existed for more than 1,000 years.
The icons reflected Ottoman influence, as well as Cretan and Venetian. Konstantin Yerostokopulos, ambassador of Greece in Rome, said: "Byzantium is the bridge between the Classical world and the Christian world, between East and West, between the old and new Rome and, therefore, between Greece and Italy."
`Friend of poor' dies at 95
THE ITALIAN Cardinal known as the friend of the poor has died aged 95 years.
Cardinal Corrado Ursi, a former Archbishop of Naples had been ill for some time. He hoped to travel to Rome this October for the papal silver jubilee but died in Naples on August 29.
John Paul II sent a telegram of condolence praising him as a "generous pastor" who worked hard to implement the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, Cardinal Ursi was considered a strong papal candidate in the conclave that elected the present pontiff.
At his funeral, attended by some 3,000 people, Cardinal Ursi was called "an elder brother to the poor and the dispossessed".
As archbishop of Naples from 1966-87, he gained fame for his faithful application of Vatican II policies and for his strong anti-crime statements in a city plagued by the Camorra, the local Mafia organisation.