Philippines Welcomes Vatican Aide

MANILA, Philippines, JUNE 1, 2001 ( A papal envoy has arrived here for the golden anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Vatican and the Philippines.

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This Sunday, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Vatican secretary of state for relations with states, will preside over a Mass in the cathedral and bless the new premises of the apostolic nunciature.

The archbishop will meet with the country´s bishops and hold discussions with local leaders of other religions. He also plans to meet with Catholic youth and Philippine lay people.

Next Tuesday, the archbishop will receive an honorary degree in international relations from La Salle University in Manila. The university is under the direction of the Brothers of Christian Schools.

The Philippines is about 85% Catholic, the only Asian country with a Catholic majority. John Paul II visited this country in 1981 and 1995.

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