What's Planned at Malta Congress for Priests

Deadline for Registration Is Aug. 31

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 9, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican Congregation for Clergy has published the program and organizational details of the international congress for priests, to be held in Malta from Oct. 18-23.

The theme of the congress is “Priests for the Formation of Saints for the New Millennium, in the Footsteps of the Apostle Paul.”

In a May 21 letter to priests worldwide, Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, prefect of the dicastery, said that the registration forms must be sent to the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi no later than Aug. 31.

The Mediterranean island of Malta was selected for the meeting because St. Paul spent three months there, after the shipwreck of the vessel that was taking him as prisoner to Rome.

Archbishop Joseph Mercieca of Malta will welcome the participants on Monday, Oct. 18, in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, in the capital of Valletta. Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos will preside over the solemn Mass marking the opening of the congress.

Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia, will preside at the Oct. 19 lauds and meditation.

Two conferences will follow: “Paul, Evangelization, and the Challenge of the Encounter of Cultures” by Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, and “Trinitarian Holiness of the Priest” by Monsignor Bruno Forte, theologian and member of the International Theological Commission.

In the afternoon, in parishes of Malta and in the cathedral of Mosta, there will be penitential celebrations and confessions by linguistic groups, entrusted to Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, librarian of the Holy Roman Church; Cardinal Peter Turkson of Cape Coast, Ghana; Cardinal Marian Jaworsky of Lviv of the Latins, Ukraine; and Cardinal Francisco Álvarez Martínez, retired archbishop of Toledo, Spain.

Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, will preside at the Mass that afternoon in the cathedral.

Archbishop Sean O’Malley of Boston, Massachusetts, will preside at lauds and the meditation on Oct. 20.

A talk will follow by a theologian, Monsignor Juan Esquerda Bifet, who will focus on “The Christological Holiness of the Priest.” The Papal Household preacher, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, will speak on the “Pneumatological-Pauline Holiness of the Priest.”

“Pauline Holiness for Evangelization” will be addressed by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Pope’s vicar for Rome. He will deliver his address in the Grotto of St. Paul the Apostle in Mdina. The Mass which will follow in the cathedral will be presided over by Cardinal Ivan Dias of Bombay, India.

Cardinal Julio Terrazas of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, will preside at lauds on Oct. 21. Cardinal Angelo Scola of Venice, Italy, will follow with a talk on “The Eucharistic Holiness of the Priest.” A conference on “The Marian Holiness of the Priest” will be delivered by Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Sainthood Causes.

In the afternoon, after a tour of the city of Valletta, Archbishop Csaba Ternyak, secretary of the Congregation for Clergy, will preside at Eucharistic adoration in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. The Mass will be celebrated by Cardinal Cormack Murphy-O’Connor of Westminster.

A pilgrimage has been scheduled to the Marian Shrine of Ta’Pinu, on the island of Gozo, on Friday, Oct. 22. Gozo Bishop Nikol Cauchi will welcome the participants, while Cardinal Georg Sterzinsky of Berlin will preside at lauds.

The rosary will then be prayed, which will include a meditation prepared by the Congregation for Clergy, followed by a Mass, presided over by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, attended by the Christian community of Gozo. Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos will preside over an Act of Consecration to the Blessed Virgin.
<br> The date of the participants’ departure has been scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 23.

Plans have also been made for an optional extension of the program, to include visits of a tourist-cultural character from Oct. 23-26.

Registration is obligatory for all participants. Completed forms must be sent to the congress’s secretariat, at its headquarters in the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi in the Vatican (e-mail: clero.malta@orpnet.org) or to the Congregation for Clergy (www.clerus.org).

Registration forms and other details are available on the secretariat’s Internet site (www.orpnet.org) as well as that of the Congregation for Clergy.

Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos lamented that “it has not been possible to establish a solidarity fund for those who need financial assistance.”

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