Vatican City, 30 July 2013 (VIS) - Following are highlights of the activities of Pope Benedict XVI and of the Holy See for the months of January to April 2013.

JANUARY

7: Video-message from the Holy Father Benedict XVI on the occasion of the National Congress of the Church in Cambodia on the theme of "Vatican Council II and the Church".

8: "Go and do likewise" is the theme for the Holy Father's message on the 21st World Day of the Sick to be celebrated 11 February, the liturgical feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lourdes, which will take place this year at the Marian Shrine of Altotting, Germany.

10: The Holy Father receives in audience Mrs. Slavica Karacic, the new ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Holy See, presenting her credential letters.

12: The Holy Father receives in audience His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco and his wife, Princess Charlene.

13: Celebration of World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

18-25: Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on the theme: "What does God require of us?", inspired by a passage in the book of the prophet Micah.

18: The French and German Bishops' Conferences publish a joint declaration marking the 50th anniversary of the Elysee Treaty, signed on 22 January 1963 by General Charles de Gaulle and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer to seal the reconciliation between the two opposing nations after the Second World War.

19: Benedict XVI receives in audience participants in the plenary session of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum on the theme: “Charity, Christian Anthropology, and Global Ethics".

22: The Holy Father Benedict XVI receives in audience for the first time the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, His Excellency Nguyen Phu Trong.

24: Death of Cardinal Jozef Glemp, archbishop emeritus of Gniezno and Warsaw and primate of Poland, at the age of 83.

24: Presentation of Benedict XVI's message for the 47th World Communications Day (12 May) on the theme: "Social Networks: Portals of Truth and Faith; New Spaces for Evangelisation".

25: Study Day on “The Code: A Reform Desired and Requested by the Council” marking the 30th anniversary of the promulgation of the Code of Canon Law.

25: With the Motu Proprio “Fides per doctrinam”, signed 16 January, the Holy Father modifies the apostolic constitution "Pastor bonus", transferring responsibility for catechesis from the Congregation for the Clergy to the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation.

FEBRUARY

1: Presentation of the Holy Father's Lenten Message, dated 15 February 2013 and entitled "Believing in Charity Calls Forth Charity: 'We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us'".

6-9: Annual Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council for Culture, dedicated to the theme "Emerging Youth Cultures".

8: Death of Cardinal Giovanni Cheli, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care, at the age of 94.

11: In the Consistory Hall of the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father presides over an ordinary public consistory for the canonization of the blesseds: Antonio Primaldo and Companions, martyrs, (1480); Laura de Santa Catalina de Siena Montoya y Upegui (1874 -1949), virgin, foundress of the Congregation of the Missionaries of Mary Immaculate and St Catherine of Siena; and Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, co-foundress of the Congregation of the Handmaids of St Margaret Mary (Alacoque) and the Poor. During the course of the consistory, the Pope decrees that blesseds Antonio Primaldo and his companions, Laura di Santa Caterina da Siena Montoya y Upegui and Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala be inscribed in the book of saints on Sunday, 12 May 2013.

11: At the end of the consistory for causes for canonization Benedict XVI announces to the College of Cardinals, in a declaration read in Latin, his resignation from his ministry as Bishop of Rome, from 8 p.m. on 28 February 2013.

14: “I will always be near to all of you in prayer” says the Holy Father to the priests and clergy of the Diocese of Rome, accompanied by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, vicar general, and auxiliary bishops.

14: Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the Papal Household and secretary to Benedict XVI, continues to carry out both roles and thus accompanies the Pope during his stay at Castel Gandolfo and at the monastery that he will retire to after his resignation from the papacy.

15: The Holy Father Benedetto XVI receives in audience Traian Basescu, president of the Republic of Romania.

15: The Commission of Cardinals for the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) appoints, in accordance with the Institute’s statutes, a new president of the Supervisory Board, Ernst von Freyberg.

16: The Pope receives Senator Mario Monti, Prime Minister of the Italian Republic, in a private audience.

16: The Pope receives in audience Otto Perez Molina, president of the Republic of Guatemala.

22: The Holy See and the Republic of South Sudan establish diplomatic relations at the level of Apostolic Nunciature on the part of the Holy See and the Embassy on the part of the Republic of South Sudan.

23: The Holy Father receives in a farewell audience the president of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, accompanied by his wife.

24: Final Angelus of Benedict XVI's pontificate, attended by over 200,000 people.

25: Publication of an Apostolic Letter in the form of a Motu Proprio by Holy Father Benedict XVI on amendments concerning the election of the Roman Pontiff, in which the College of Cardinals is granted the faculty to bring forward the start of the Conclave.

25: Death of Belgian Cardinal Julien Ries at the age of 92.

26: After the end of his Pontificate Benedict XVI will be “Pontiff emeritus” or “Pope emeritus”, and will keep the name of “His Holiness, Benedict XVI”. He will dress in a simple white cassock without the mozzetta.

27: Benedict XVI celebrates his final general audience, attended by thousands of people.

27: The Holy Father receives in audience Ivan Gasparovic, President of Slovakia.

28: The Holy Father Benedict XVI greets the College of Cardinals on the last day of his pontificate.

28: Death of Cardinal Jean Honoré, archbishop emeritus of Tours, France, at the age of 92.

28: Shortly after 5:00pm, Benedict XVI leaves the Vatican for the last time as Supreme Pontiff, destined for Castel Gandolfo where he will reside temporarily before transferring to the Monastery on the Vatican Hill, which has previously housed four cloistered orders.

MARCH

1: On the first day of the Sede Vacante, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, summons the cardinals to the first of the General Congregations, in accordance with the Apostolic Constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis”.

8: The eighth General Congregation of the College of Cardinals decides that the Conclave will begin on Tuesday, 12 March 2013.

12: “Pro eligendo Romano Pontifice” Mass, presided by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, and concelebrated by over one hundred cardinals, electors and non-electors.

12: The 115 Cardinal electors enter into the Conclave.

13: Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., is elected Supreme Pontiff, the 265th successor of Peter, and chooses the name Francis, the first Pope to do so.

14: The Holy Father's first liturgical celebration with the 114 cardinals who participated in the Conclave. They concelebrate the “Pro Ecclesia” Mass in Latin, with readings in Italian.

15: The new Roman Pontiff receives all the Cardinals, electors and non-electors in the Clementine Hall.

16: The Holy Father greets over 6,000 journalists and media workers accredited in Rome, permanently or temporarily, in the Vatican's Paul VI Hall.

17: Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Vatican parish of St. Anna.

17: First Angelus of the pontificate of Pope Francis.

18: Audience and lunch with Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, President of Argentina.

19: Solemnity of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, in St. Peter's Square. Celebration of the Mass inaugurating Pope Francis' Petrine Ministry.

20: Audience with the Fraternal Delegates.

20: The Pope receives in audience Dilma Vana Rousseff, president of Brazil, and entourage.

22: The Pope receives in audience members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See in the Sala Regia.

23: Meeting with the Pope emeritus Benedict XVI and lunch in the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo.

25: The Square Garden (“Giardino Quadrato”), created in the 1500s at the behest of Pope Paul III Farnese, who commissioned Michelangelo's “The Last Judgment” in 1534, will be open to visitors of the Vatican Museums.

27: Pope Francis' first General Audience, reflecting on Holy Week.

28: Pope Francis celebrates the “in Coena Domine”—the Lord's Supper—Mass at the Casal del Marmo Penitential Institute for Minors and not in the Basilica of St. John Lateran, as is usual on this day.

APRIL

5: Presentation of the new print and digital versions of the Jesuit journal “La Civilta Cattolica” (Catholic Civilization).

7: In the Basilica of St. John Lateran on Divine Mercy Sunday, Pope Francis celebrates Mass, during which he officially takes possession of the Cathedra of the Bishop of Rome.

7: Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria, takes possession pf the title of San Saturnino, Via Avigliana, 3, Roma.

9: The Holy Father receives in audience Ban Ki-moon, secretary-general of the United Nations, with his wife and entourage.

10: Death of Cardinal Lorenzo Antonetti, president emeritus of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, former pontifical delegate to the Patriarchal Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, at the age of 90.

11: The Holy Father receives in audience Alberto Clementino Vaquina, prime minister of Mozambique.

13: The Holy Father establishes a group of cardinals to advise him in the government of the Universal Church and to draw up a plan for revising the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, 'Pastor Bonus'.

14: Pope Francis presides over Mass at Saint Paul Outside-the-Walls on his first visit there as Bishop of Rome.

15: The Holy Father receives in audience Mariano Rajoy Brey, prime minister of Spain, with his wife and entourage.

16: Presentation of the Vatican Foundation “International Family Centre in Nazareth”, to be erected on the outskirts of Nazareth above the hill dominating the city centre and the Basilica of the Annunciation.

17: The Holy Father receives Saleh Mohammad Al Ghamdi, ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Italy, bearer of a message from King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

- 19: The Holy Father receives in audience Rafael Correa Delgado, president of the Republic of Ecuador, and entourage.

- 22: Cardinal Rubén Salazar Gómez takes possession of the title of St. Gerardo Maiella, Via Romolo Balzani, 74, Roma.

- 26: The Holy Father receives in audience Andry Nirina Rajoelina, president of the High Transitional Authority of Madagascar.

- 30: The Holy Father receives in audience Shimon Peres, president of the State of Israel.

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