TUESDAY     February 1, 2000    vol. 11, no. 22    SECTION TWO

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SECTION TWO Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • Daily LITURGY
  • Daily WORD
  • Daily PRAYER

    WORLD NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:

  • Holy Father encourages religious to three days of recollection
  • Mexican Indians pour into Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe for anniversary
  • Rome braces for crush of pilgrims in next few months


       Today is the Fourth Tuesday in Ordinary Time while tomorrow we celebrate the glorious Feast of the PRESENTATION OF OUR LORD in the Temple. Previously this was called the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary which occurred at the same time when she and Joseph presented two turtle-doves in accordance with Jewish Law for the mother to be purified after giving birth. For the readings, liturgies, meditations, and vignettes on this feast, see DAILY LITURGY.

    Tuesday, February 1, 2000

        First Reading: 2 Samuel 18: 9-10, 14, 24-25, 30-31; 19: 1-3
        Psalms: Psalm 86: 1-6
        Gospel Reading: Mark 5: 21-43

    Wednesday, February 2, 2000

        First Reading: Malachi 3: 1-4
        Psalms: Psalm 27: 7-10
        Second Reading: Hebrews 2: 14-18
        Gospel Reading: Luke 2: 22-40


          The Presentation of Jesus is also called the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or Candlemas Day, since on this day the Church blesses the candles used in the procession (if there is one) and which will be used to bless throats on the next day - the feast of Saint Blase. The main focus of course is on the Presentation of Jesus which is in accordance with the old Jewish Law given from God to Moses for the Jewish women after childbirth. A mother was still considered unclean and not to appear in public for 40 days after the birth of a son, and 80 days after the birth of a daughter. At the end of this period, the first place she was to go with her husband was to the temple. There, at the door of the tabernacle she was to present a young pigeon or a turtle dove as a sin-offering. The ideal offering was a lamb, the highest immolation one could offer, as documented throughout the Old Testament - specifically with Abraham and Isaac and culminating with the Sacrifice of the Lamb - Jesus Christ on the Cross. However, very few could afford to donate a lamb for the altar. Therefore, they were allowed to substitute a second turtle-dove in lieu of a lamb. Once the high priest sacrificed these gifts to Almighty God, the woman was cleansed of the legal impurity and free to return to a normal life with all its privileges. In accordance with all this, the Blessed Mother, accompanied by her chaste husband Saint Joseph, complied, bringing Jesus with them since there was also a Hebrew code commanding the first-born be brought to the temple and presented to God. Hence, the Presentation. The Gospel Reading in Luke 2: 22-40 relates all that happened in the temple. Though the Virgin Mary was always pure she still was obedient to the law and humble in all she was asked to do by God and by man. There was also present in the mysteries of the Purification and the Presentation, a third "mystery", that of the prophecies of the holy Simeon and the prophetess Anna. Simeon knew immediately that this child was the Messiah. This was foretold by the prophet Malachi in his book of the Old Covenant and selected as the first reading in this feast's celebration of the Mass. He was also charged by God to reveal further the sorrows Mary would undergo by her fiat to God. The second reading in Hebrews 2: 14-18 reveals much of what Our Lady understood, especially verse 18 where Paul writes: "For in that He Himself has suffered and has been tempted, He is able to help those who are tempted." Yes, Jesus walked in our shoes, so to speak, which allows us to follow in His footsteps.

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      "And Jesus, instantly perceiving in Himself that power had gone forth from Him, turned to the crowd, and said, 'Who touched My cloak?' And His disciples said to Him, 'Thou seest the crowd pressing upon Thee, and dost Thou say, 'Who touched Me?' And He was looking round to see her who had done this. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened within her, came and fell down before Him, and told Him all the truth. But He said to her, 'Daughter, thy faith has saved thee. Go in peace, and be thou healed of thy affliction.'"

    Mark 5: 30-34

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    February 1st used to be the Feast of Saint Ignatius of Antioch which has since been transferred to October 17th. Since no saint has replaced him on this day, we bring you the Prayer for St. Ignatius:

       Behold our weakness, Almighty God; and since the weight of our misdeeds is heavy upon us, grant that the glorious intercession of Blessed Ignatius, Thy Martyr and Bishop, may be our protection.

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    WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

    John Paul II Prepares Jubilee of Consecrated Life

        VATICAN CITY, JAN 30 (ZENIT).- The Holy Father has invited all consecrated persons in the Church to join in a 3-day retreat to renew their commitments before God. The consecrated life "is a gift for the whole Church," he stressed in his "Angelus" message.

        Speaking to the more than 700,000 women and 215,000 men consecrated in Orders, religious Congregations, or Societies of apostolic life in the world, the Pope encouraged them "to cross the Holy Door with confidence and hope, renewing their total disposition to make of their own life a song of praise to the Most Holy Trinity."

        As the Pontiff pointed out, over the next three days Rome is preparing for the Jubilee of Consecrated Life (February 2). The celebration will culminate next Wednesday with a Mass presided by the Holy Father himself in St. Peter's Square, in which thousands of consecrated men and women will participate.

        The Bishop of Rome invited all of Catholics to join this celebration spiritually, "because their vocation is a gift for the whole Church! The Bride of Christ, the Church herself, owes much of her beauty to the innumerable charisms of consecration that the Holy Spirit has inspired in the faithful over the centuries, beginning with the apostolic community until today. By their very presence, consecrated persons are a sign of Christ and of his lifestyle, and while they invite us to put nothing before God or his Kingdom, they are an example to all of generosity in prayer and dedication to their neighbor."

        Finally, the Pope proposed the evangelical witness of these men and women as "an effective help to walk in the new millennium according to God's plan."

        Contemplative Orders will also participate in the Jubilee of Consecrated Life, joining spiritually in the special celebrations from their cloistered convents and monasteries. John Paul II has made it possible for the Holy Year to be celebrated not just in Rome or Jerusalem -- the two principal centers of the Jubilee, but also in Cathedrals and shrines of each of the dioceses of the world, as well as in places of residence of religious, without special pilgrimages but, of course, with a decisive conversion of heart, an encounter with Christ and the sacraments, and with special works of charity.

        There are more than 50,000 cloistered nuns in the world. Cloistered monks are less numerous; among them, the most numerous are the Trappists, who have about 100 monasteries in the world, with over 2,300 members. They are followed by the Carthusians and Camaldolese hermits. ZE00013007

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    Commemorating First Anniversary of Papal Visit to Mexico

        MEXICO CITY, JAN 30 (ZENIT).- Yesterday, one year after John Paul II's 4th Mexican visit, 30,000 pilgrims, the majority Indians from all over Mexico, went to the Basilica of Guadalupe to pray for peace and prosperity in the country, especially for its ethnic groups.

        The climax of the pilgrimage was the celebration of Mass, presided by Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, Archbishop Primate of Mexico.

        The theme of the pilgrimage was "Sowers of Faith, Peace, and Progress." It was promoted by the Episcopal Commission for Evangelization and Catechesis and the Episcopal Commission for Indians, as well as two organizations: "Full Time Evangelizers," and "Guadalupe Eagles."

        Among the thousands of participants were representatives from virtually all the Indian ethnic groups.

        With this pilgrimage, the Catholic organizations that convoked the event hoped to contribute to the Mission 2000 plan launched by the Archdiocese of Mexico, which will begin to see its first fruits during the Holy Week 2000 evangelization missions. ZE00013003

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        VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Officials in Rome expect about 4.5 million pilgrims to visit the Eternal City between February and April 2000.

        The Roman agency heading up preparations for the Jubilee made that estimate in a briefing for reporters on January 29. The 4.5 million figure would constitute a 22 percent increase from the number of visitors to Rome in 1999. The agency expects that 3 million of this year's visitors will come from elsewhere in Italy, and 1.5 million from other countries.

        The beginning of the Jubilee, and especially the ceremonial opening of the Holy Door, has caused many people to think about a visit to Rome, the agency believes. The planners are expecting a "high, but not critical" level of pilgrim traffic during Holy Week and Easter. About 70 percent of the foreigners arrive in Rome by airplane, with 68 percent of the Italians coming by car, bus, or train.

        Most of the people coming to Rome from abroad are from other European countries, and the most common age group for pilgrims is 45-54 years. To date there have been relatively few pilgrims under the age of 24, but that statistic is expected to change dramatically in August, when hundreds of thousands of young people will arrive for World Youth Day. The site most frequently visited by the pilgrims is, of course, St. Peter's Basilica. But other Roman tourist attractions, such as the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain, are seeing a heavy volume of visitors as well.

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    NEWS & VIEWS continued in SECTION THREE

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    February 1, 2000     volume 11, no. 22
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