THURSDAY     April 27, 2000    vol. 11, no. 83    SECTION TWO

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SECTION TWO Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • APPRECIATION OF THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH: Installment 160 - The Ascension part two
  • Events that occurred today in Church History
  • Daily LITURGY
  • Daily WORD
  • April 25th Medjugorje Message
  • Be an angel! Please help us stay on line with whatever you can send to help this ministry.

  • Appreciation of the Ascension of Our Lord

        Today we continue our series in the search to uncover the wonderful treasures of the Church contained in the great Deposit of Faith. We present the second part of the catechesis on The Ascension as explained in My Catholic Faith and the mystery of His returning to His Heavenly Father while not leaving His flock alone, but promising to send the Holy Spirit to guide His Church and her people. For part one in the 160th installment, see APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

    installment 160: The Ascension part two

          Some unbelievers urge that Christ was dead only in appearance after an interval recovered from His swoon and left the grave. The loss of blood following the scourging alone would have been enough to cause death, not to mention the wounds He received on the cross.

          In the second place, Christ really came to life. On the first Easter morning He appeared to Mary Magdalen and the other women who sought Him at the sepulchre. Then He appeared to Saint Peter. In the evening He walked with two disciples on the road to Emmaus. At night He appeared to the assembled Apostles. Nor were these witnesses easily deceived. The Apostles did not at first believe the women who told them the Lord had risen. They would not even believe their own sense, thinking the risen Savior was a ghost. Christ had to call for something to eat, to prove that He was not a ghost. Saint Thomas refused to believe the other ten Apostles, who had seen Christ first. He only believed when Our Lord appeared to him and bade him touch His wounds.

          The Jews bribed the guards to say that while they were asleep, the disciples had stolen the body of Christ. Such an act was made impossible by Christ's enemies themselves. They had sealed and guarded the tomb. "So they went and made the sepulchre secure, sealing the stone, and setting the guard" (Matthew 27:66). Even supposing the guards to have fallen asleep, the great stone which covered the sepulchre could not have been moved without waking at least some of the guards. Finally, it is a remarkable circumstance that the guards were not punished for this breach of duty.

          When we say that Christ sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, we mean that Our Lord as God is equal to the Father, and that as man He shares above all the saints in the glory of His Father, and exercises for all eternity the supreme authority of a King over all creatures. Christ as God is equal to the Father in all things. But even as man Christ is only next to God. He is above all the angels and saints. To sit at the right hand of anybody is a mark of honor from that person. "Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thy enemies Thy footstool" (Psalm 109:1,2).

          Christ ascended into Heaven in order to:

    • (a) Enter into the glory He had merited.
    • (b) Send down the Holy Spirit on His Church.
    • (c) Be our intercessor with the Father.
    • (d) Prepare a place for us in Heaven.

        When we say that Christ will come from thence to judge the living and the dead, we mean that on the last day Our Lord will come to pronounce a sentence of eternal reward or of eternal punishement on every one who has ever lived in this world.

        Jesus Christ will be our Supreme Judge because He is "King of kings and Lord of lords" (Revelation/Apocalypse 17:14). "For the Son of Man is to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will render to everyone according to his conduct" (Matthew 16:27).

        One poor young Man, teaching for three years in the hills and valleys of Galilee, and dying a shameful death, has brought light, love, peace, and hope into men's lives, even the lowliest. Before Christ the world was the abode of sin and vice, idolatry, polygamy, divorce and slavery. However, the world today, although reformed by Christianity, is far from perfect. This is because many refuse to obey the teachings of Christ. It is our duty to make Christ better known and loved, so that all may "seek first the kingdom of God."

    Tomorrow: The Holy Spirit part one

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    Events that happened Today in Church History

      On this date 395 years ago in 1605 Pope Leo XI, the second successive Florentine Pontiff and 232nd successor of Peter, passed away. His pontificate lasted only 17 days. He was given over completely to the ascetical life and very popular with the people due to his great generosity. He took ill and died during a procession to the Lateran Basilica. For other time capsule events that happened in Church history on this date, see MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES

    Historical Events in Church Annals for April 27:

    • 1278 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Zita, patroness of servants, who was credited with many miracles in helping the poor and the derelict of Italy.

    • 1478 A.D.
    • After the death of seventy more from riots following the death of Guiliano de' Medici, the Pope at that time Pope Sixtus IV is drawn into war with Florence - a war that would last two years.

    • 1509 A.D.
    • Pope Julius II excommunicates the entire city of Venice because of her refusal to rid themselves of those parts of Romagna they had occupied under the supervision of the dangerous and heretical Cesare Borgia.

    • 1521 A.D.
    • Death of Portuguese explorer and navigator Ferdinand Magellan who was killed by Filipino natives in the Philippines.

    • 1565 A.D.
    • Establishment of the first Spanish settlement in the Philippines at Cebu City. These islands bordering the Orient and Oceania would become a Catholic stronghold over the years thanks to the dauntless efforts of so many missionaries, mostly from Spain.

    • 1605 A.D.
    • Death of Pope Leo XI. 232nd in the line of Peter who died during a procession on the way from the Vatican to the Lateran after just under three weeks on the papal throne.

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       Today is Thursday in Easter Week or the Easter Octave with tomorrow being the same for Friday where white vestments are the norm, alleluias and Easter lillies are in vogue, the Regina Coeli replaces the Angelus and the Paschal Candle, assembled and lit at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday evening is lit for every Mass until the Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday. Eastertide supersedes the normal feasts of Saint Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort and Saint Peter Chanel and Blessed Gianna Beretta Molla. For her story, see Blessed Molla. For the readings, liturgies, meditations, and profiles on the two saints, see DAILY LITURGY.

    Thursday, April 27, 2000

        First Reading: Acts 3: 11-26
        Psalms: Psalm 8:2, 5-9
        Gospel Reading: Luke 24: 35-48

    Friday, April 28, 2000

        First Reading: Acts 4: 1-12
        Psalms: Psalm 118:1-2, 4, 22-27
        Gospel Reading: John 21: 1-14

    This year Eastertide supersedes the feast of Saint Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort and Saint Peter Chanel normally observed on April 28th. Below are their profiles in honor of these two holy men:

    Saint Louis Mary Grignon de Montfort, priest, religious founder, messenger and writer

          Though not officially recognized in the United States as a feast day, we nevertheless celebrate the feast of Saint Louis Mary Grignon de Montfort on April 28. It is an official feast day in Canada. This Dominican, following in the footsteps of his founder Saint Dominic became a great writer, preacher and prophet for the end times. His devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and her Holy Rosary are the substance of his works, including the Total Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary with 33 days of special preparation of prayers and fasting before this Consecration which is professed on the feast of the Purification (February 2), the feast of the Annunciation (March 25), St. Louis de Montfort's feastday (April 28), the feast of the Visitation (May 31), the Solemnities of the Assumption (August 15) and the Immaculate Conception (December 8). Other works of this devoted saint are "How to say your Rosary," "True Devotion to Mary,", "God Alone," "Friends of the Cross," "Reign of Jesus through Mary," "The Secret of Mary," and, of course, "Preparation for Total Consecration." These works are available through Montfort Publications, Queen of All Hearts Confraternity, Bay Shore, NY 11706.

          St. Louis de Montfort was a devoted Dominican Tertiary who was an extraordinary preacher of the Rosary and prophecied many things about Mary's role in our times and of the Second Coming in which he predicted Mary would have a special role saying: "In the Second Coming of the Lord, Mary will be made known in a special way by the Holy Spirit so that through her, Jesus may be better known and served...Mary will shine forth higher than ever in these latter days to bring back poor sinners who have strayed from the Family of God." Well before Fatima, he prophecied that Mary's Heart would triumph and of her role as Co-Redemptrix, Advocate and Mediatrix of all graces. Pope John Paul II has called de Montfort "one of the great doctors of Marian Spirituality." This saint, totally devoted to Mary, founded the Congregations of the Missionaries of the Company of Mary (the Montfort Fathers) and the Daughters of Wisdom, an order of nuns devoted to Our Lady and the Holy Spirit. Born during the reign of Pope Clement X in 1673, St. Louis de Montfort died peacefully in 1716 during the papacy of Pope Clement XI.

    Saint Peter Chanel, priest, religious missionary and martyr

         Considered the first martyr of Oceania, Saint Peter Chanel was born in Belley, France in 1803 where he was raised as a shepherd boy. While in the fields tending the sheep he heard God's call to shepherd men and became a priest in 1827 where he became a parish priest near Geneva, Switzerland. Nine years later in the year Pope Gregory XVI approved the new Marist Order of Priests - Society of Mary, Peter was assigned to Polynesia as part of the Marists' missionary efforts in Oceania. There he worked tirelessly for Jesus and Mary in spreading the faith. A year later he and a companion sailed to the island of Futana, just west of Tahiti where they began evangelizing and baptizing. When the pagan chief discovered that his own son wanted to be baptized by Peter, he went ballistic and dispatched a band of warriors to massacre the missionary and his companion on April 28, 1841. Shortly after this dastardly deed, the people rebelled against the chief for the saintly priest's murder and the entire population of Futana became Catholic, once again fulfilling Tertian's words, "The blood of marytrs is truly the seed of the Faith." Fr. Peter Chanel was canonized in 1954 by Pope Pius XII as the first Marist martyr.

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    "Thus it is written; and thus the Christ should suffer, and should rise again from the dead on the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. And you yourselves are witnesses of these things."

    Luke 24: 46-48

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    God's letting us make our own mistakes in order to learn from them

       They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the words of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen have been known to launch a thousand images in one's mind, one of the ways this late luminary did so much to evangelize the faith. Because of the urgency of the times and because few there are today who possess the wisdom, simplicity and insight than the late Archbishop who touched millions, we are bringing you daily gems from his writings. The good bishop makes it so simple that we have dubbed this daily series: "SIMPLY SHEEN".

    "We have simply reached a moment in history where God is permitting us to feel our inadequacy, so long as we trust only in ourselves. Very often a father will allow his son, who 'thinks he knows all about it,' to fumble and to err in building his playhouse, until in humility he calls upon the father to help him."

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    April 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message

    NOTE: We respectfully recognize and accept the final authority regarding apparitions, locutions and prophecies presently being reported around the world rests with the Holy See of Rome and the Magisterium of Holy Mother Church to whose judjment we humbly and obediently submit.

    "Dear children! Also today I call you to conversion. You are concerned too much about material things and little about spiritual ones. Open your hearts and start again to work more on your personal conversion. Decide everyday to dedicate time to God and to prayer until prayer becomes a joyful meeting with God for you. Only in this way will your life have meaning and with joy you will contemplate eternal life. Thank you for having responded to my call."

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    April 27, 2000     volume 11, no. 83
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