FRI-SAT-SUN     February 25-27, 2000    vol. 11, no. 40    SECTION TWO

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SECTION TWO Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • Michael Vincent Boyer's HOW HOLY WOULD HELP HOLLYWOOD column
  • Events that happend this weekend in Church History
  • Daily LITURGY
  • Daily WORD

  • Leisure lies in the lies we're being fed because of our voracious appetite for junk

        Michael Vincent Boyer, a well-respected Catholic insider on what's happening in the entertainment industry, investigates this weekend why so many Americans waste their "leisure" time either lying around or lying to themselves by watching the boob tube, depriving not only themselves of precious time and energy, but loved ones and friends as well. He illustrates how so many alienate others because of their voracious appetite for the inane at the expense of everything else. For his column, Why TV is destroying American Leisure see HOW HOLY WOULD HELP HOLLYWOOD

    What Hollywood doesn't want you to know

    Why TV is destroying American Leisure

        "Too many go out to eat and pass on warm conversation for something they 'might miss' - a television program. Never mind that almost everything on television will be rerun again and again, even sports. Never mind that feelings can be hurt by ignoring loved ones and things that are really important. Never mind that precious seconds, minutes, hours, days, even years are wasting away as we are mesmerized by those who control our lives...those who we willingly surrender our thoughts, actions and souls to, thus making it all the easier for nihilistic Hollywood to continue on the pagan, pantheistic path. "

          John P. Robinson is a sociology professor at the University of Maryland and has conducted a project called "The Use of Time/" In his study, Robinson concludes that average Americans have five more hours of leisure per week than they had in 1965. According to Robinson, the problem is that people have increased their time watching television so much that it has consumed all their new found leisure time.

          Says Robinson, "We had many people tell us that they didn't have any free time because they were busy watching television. People do feel rushed, harried, and stressed because they spend so much time in front of the tube." Robinson and his colleague, Geoffrey Goodbey of Penn State University have written a book describing their findings, "Time for Life: the Surprising Ways Americans Use Their Time".

          Pervasive television is no longer a problem of the home where communication has been reduced to "Change the Channel" and "What's on TV tonight?" You can no longer enter a retail establishment, doctor's office, barber shop, pharmacy, or grocery store without the constant noise and glare of television blaring in your face. The worst case of this form of pollution is restaurants. Once the quiet solitude and escape for an evening out for conversation with friends, the restaurants, hotel lobbies and lounges are now the haven for TV overload. Charles Timmons of Columbia, South Carolina came to visit friends at a favorite restaurant in Montgomery, Alabama called "Adams". The restaurant was a favorite gathering place for friends who enjoyed hours of conversation discussing their day at work, problems with the boss, a good report card from the children, seeing old friends and telling jokes and sharing anecdotes on everything from politics to fishing. As Timmons recalled, "It was one of those congenial places where you could strike up a friendly conversation with a total stranger and bump into old friends and unwind after a long day at work."

          Timmons had been away for ten years having retired from the Air Force and was anxious to renew old friendships. Timmons and his wife, along with their mutual friends Robert and Cathy Johnson, decided it was time to eat dinner at their favorite restaurant. When they arrived, the atmosphere was strangely quiet and low-key. As they sat around one of the high tables, Timmons noticed that most of the patrons were staring up at the ceiling; or so he thought. As he looked around, Timmons noticed a television set where people were transfixed on an old rerun of "Laverne and Shirley." At the entrance where diners came to hang their coats, a group of people were staring up at another television broadcasting a basketball game, which was a rerun from the previous week. Standing up, Timmons began to count the number of televisions which were all tuned to different channels creating a disturbing mix of play-by-plays, music, ptiches from the Home Shopping Network, and canned laughter from old sitcoms like "Roseanne." After touring his old hang-out, he had counted 18 televisions. He spotted Randy Bergen, an old friend, and rushed up to greet him. Bergen quickly looked over and gave Timmons a big bear hug and before he could say, "How are you doing?" he quickly pointed up to the screen which was playing the weekend wrap-up of drag racing. "Now watch this Charlie - this guy in the left lane is going to wipe out before leaving the starting gate." Charlie watched out of courtesy as the car exploded into a ball of fire. "How's the kids Randy?" Charlie interjected trying to pry his eyes off the tube. Without turning, Bergen said, "Oh, they're great, couldn't be better...Now, watch this!" Charlie walked off and went back to the table.

          "Pretty sad, isn't Charlie," remarked his friend Robert. That why we don't get out much. It's not like these people don't have televisions at home with a hundred channels to choose from. Take a look; nobody is really talking. They're keeping one eye on the tube and the other on their companion." Robert continued, "The whole town is like this. Everytime they open a new restaurant, the grand opening ads proclaim "We have more TVs' and there's two restaurants that are having a television war. One boasts of 27 televisions and the other just came out with a new add that proclaims 30 sets."

          Charlie Timmons realized that conversation and laughter had vanished from his old hang-out, as it has been doing all across America; zombies to the tube who no longer can speak except in short blurbs and grunts during comercials. If smoking is being banned from public places due to claims of second-hand smoke, what about second-hand television? Maybe its time to take TV out of public places and keep it in the home where it belongs.

          As the Timmons and the Johnsons left through the hotel lobby entrance Charlie and his wife recognized Connie Taylor, who has worked there for years. As they approached to say hello, Ms. Taylor gave a big over-the-counter hug to both and without skipping a beat pointed to the wide-screen TV in the lobby where the kitchen help had gathered. "Get out the way you idiots!" she screamed and said, "now I bet you anything he is going to the corner, climb up and slam the entire force of his body on the guy below." The TV was blaring with "wrestlers" screaming at the fans and the camera. The two couples walked out as Connie said good-bye without leaving her gaze. It was a sad day for Charlie. He saw the life zapped from a community in the threshold of anything that moved on a tiny little screen.

          Now multiply that by 23 million, the number who watched that travesty on Fox last week called "Who wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?" Not only during their leisure time, but around the water cooler at work they most probably consumed valuable work time talking about the absurdity of it all and, like hungry wolves, kept right on watching every newscast for more tid-bits on the lives of two people who before that night had never been heard from and had much too much exposure than their supposed "fifteen minutes of fame" as Andy Warhol coined. Because of the legs gained by an added week of programs like "Dateline" and "Good Morning, America", not to mention the nightly entertainment schlock shows and late night talk entertainers, possibly ten more million people were caught up in the frenzy with each person no doubt giving their opinion of the whole thing.

          My question is: If it was so offensive, if it was so ridiculous, then why do they continue to perpetuate it by talking about it? Aren't all of us just giving credence to this trivial garbage by making it more important in our lives than our own families and friends? That, unfortunately is what is happening to family values in America today. Too many go out to eat and pass on warm conversation for something they "might miss" - a television program. Never mind that almost everything on television will be rerun again and again, even sports. Never mind that feelings can be hurt by ignoring loved ones and things that are really important. Never mind that precious seconds, minutes, hours, days, even years are wasting away as we are mesmerized by those who control our lives...those who we willingly surrender our thoughts, actions and souls to and make it all the easier for nihilistic Hollywood to continue on the pagan, pantheistic path. Leisure time may have increased for Americans, but we have made watching television not something to relax in leisure, but a full-time obsession that makes us all edgy with blinders on, insulted if anyone comes into our view or distracts our "leisure concentration." Like Charlie Timmons, we can sadly see the erosion of the family and friends, sacrificed on the altar of the boob tube!

    Michael Vincent Boyer

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    Events that happened this Weekend in Church History

        On Sunday, the day after the Holy Father returns from Egypt, we commemorate the death 1,672 years ago in 328 of a great Egyptian saint - the Bishop Saint Alexander of Alexandria who played a significant role in the First Ecumenical Council, the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. in which he successfully fought to condemn the Arian heresy that had been such a threat in his diocese where he ruled as the shepherd from 313 to 328. Arianism had its roots in his diocese by Arius whom Alexander was forced to excommunicate before the Council in 321. For other time capsule events that happened in Church history on this date, see MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES

    Historical Events in Church Annals for February 25:

    • 284 A.D.
    • Death of the Corinthian Martyrs Saints Claudian, Dioscorus, Papias, Nicephorus, Serapion, Victor and Victorinus who were martyred at Diospolis in the Thebaid region of Egypt during the persecution of the Roman emperor Decius.

    • 298 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Ananias, a Phoenician priest who converted eight of his guards while he was imprisoned. They, along with Ananias, received the trophy of martyrdom at the hands of the cruel emperor Diocletian.

    • 369 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Caesarius, brother of Saint Gregory Nazianzen. Caesarius was a renowned physician who ministered to the emperors both spiritually and physically even though he remained a catechumen until one year before his death when he was baptized.

    • 586 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Prix, Archbishop of Rouen, France. He was badly maligned by the French court, so much so that besides conning the Council of Paris in 577 to have him exiled, he was stabbed to death on this date while praying the Daily Office with his peers in church. The culprit was a plant, masquerading as a priest and hired by Queen Fredegonda whom Prix constantly tried to convince to amend her life. Rather than choosing eternal life, she chose the path to hell by embracing sin over salvation.

    • 779 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Walburga, Benedictine Abbess who answered the call of Saint Boniface to help evangelize Germany. She founded monasteries there, both for men and women and became abbess over the nuns. Before the bishop of the diocese died, he appointed Walburga in charge of both the monks and the nuns. She was well known for her knowledge of medicine and this played a part in the people of Germany transferring the pagan feast of witches and superstitions into a Christian occasion by proclaiming May 1 as Walburga Night. For this she is considered the patron saint for fruitful harvests and those with coughs, plague or rabies are encouraged to pray to her for intercession.

    • 1570 A.D.
    • Pope Saint Pius V, 225th successor of Peter, excommunicates England's Queen Elizabeth for her persecution of Catholics. With this interdict the Pope absolves all English people from holding allegiance to the staunch, feminist and crazed queen.

    Historical Events in Church Annals for February 26:

    • 251 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Nestor of Perga, Bishop of Pamphylia was arrested by the governor of Lycia and crucified because of his faith and zeal during the persecution of the Roman emperor Decius.

    • 303 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Dionysius, First Bishop of Augsburg, Germany. Ordained by Saint Narcissus he was fleshed out by Roman soldiers and martyred during the terrible reign of Diocletian.

    • 328 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Alexander of Alexandria, Bishop of Alexandria who died two years after the First Ecumenical Council at Nicaea in which he took part and saw the fruition of his efforts to eradicate Arianism, quite prevalent in his diocese, by the Council's formal condemnation of the Arian heresy.

    • 1154 A.D.
    • Death of Sicilian and Anjou king Roger II Guiscard who was a constant thorn in the side of the Holy See throughout his reign.

    • 1266 A.D.
    • Death of Manfred, illegitimate son of the emperor Frederick Hohenstaufen whom Manfred's mother had entrusted to the Holy See to raise. But Manfred, like his father and grandfather, turned on Rome. Two years after his death the last of the Hohenstaufen's - Conradin would die and thus bring to an end the line of the house of Hohenstaufen and a chance for peace in Italy and Sicily.

    • 1361 A.D.
    • Birth of Wenceslaus of Bohemia who would go on to become the Holy Roman Catholic German emperor from 1378 to 1400.

    • 1732 A.D.
    • The first Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is celebrated in the first American Catholic church in Philadelphia on this date.

    Historical Events in Church Annals for February 27:

    • @280 A.D.
    • Birth of Constantine to Saint Helena who would go on to find the true cross while her son would convert at the sign in the sky - "In hoc signo vinces" and go on to liberate Christians, proclaiming it the state religion of the Roman empire and contributing much to furthering the faith throughout the vast empire after three centuries of persecutions.

    • 1862 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Gabriele dell' Addolorata, patron of Italian Catholic youth who died in Abruzzi, Italy at the age of 24. The eleventh of thirteen children born to the Possenti family, he was christened Francis Possenti. His family was very wealthy and he became spoiled. In his mid-teens he fell very ill and pledged to enter religious life if he was healed. He was and he fulfilled that promise, but the stronger he got, the more he procrastinated entering the Jesuit novitiate and making that final commitment. Guess what? He fell ill again and once again, in desperation, made the same pledge and this time made good on his promise, becoming a Passionist priest in 1861. Almost immediately he contracted TB and, though in great pain, offered it all up cheerfully for he had learned from his own mistakes that God allows these sufferings for good. He prayed for all and it has been documented that another Italian saint Saint Gemma Galgani was cured of her TB because of his intercession. Throughout Italy Gabriele is considered the patron saint of students, seminarians and young priests. He was canonized in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.

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        This weekend we observe Ordinary Time plus the Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday and the EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME. For the readings, liturgies, meditations, and vignette on Saturday's feast, see DAILY LITURGY.

    Friday, February 25, 2000

        First Reading: James 4: 9-12
        Responsorial: Psalm 103: 1-4, 8-9, 11-12
        Gospel Reading: Mark 10: 1-12

    Saturday, February 26, 2000

      Saturday February 26:
      Seventh Saturday in Ordinary Time and
      Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

      Green or White vestments

        First Reading: James 5: 13-20
        Responsorial: Psalm 141L 1-3, 8
        Gospel Reading: Mark 10: 13-16

    Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

          Honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary is a custom first promoted by the Benedictine Monk Saint Alcuin back in the days of Charlemagne. He composed different formulas for Votive Masses for each day of the week, with two set aside to honor Our Lady on Saturday. This practice caught on with great enthusiasm and eventually the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday became the Common of the Blessed Virgin. This Mass was a favorite with retired priests and those whose sight was failing for most had memorized this Mass and were able to say it by heart without having to read the Lectionary or Sacramentary. One reason Saturday was dedicated to Mary was that Saturday held a special meaning in Mariology. First of all, as Genesis accounts for, God rested on the seventh day. In the Old Testament, the Sabbath was Saturday. Jesus, Son of God rested in the womb and then, when He became incarnate, in the loving arms of Mary from birth until she held His lifeless body at the foot of the Cross. Thus the God-head rested in Mary. It was also on Saturday after Good Friday that Jesus gave His Mother a special gift and reward for keeping her faith in His Divinity intact by making an exceptional appearance to her. Thus, because of these reasons, the devotion spread by St. Alcuin and other liturgies that evolved within the Church, Saturday took on a special Marian significance. Saturday took on even more significance in honoring Mary when Our Lady imparted to visionary Lucia in her third apparition at Fatima on July 13, 1917, "Our Lord wishes that devotion to my Immaculate Heart be established in the world. If what I tell you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace; the war will end...I ask the consecration of the world to my Immaculate Heart and Communion of reparation on the First Saturday of each month...If my requests are granted, Russia will be converted and there will be peace...In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph, and an era of peace will be conceded to humanity." As we draw nearer to that wonderful event, it is more important than ever to honor Mary's request on the First Saturday as well as each Saturday that her feast is commemorated in the Church calendar, not to mention responding to her call daily with the Rosary and attending Daily Mass, nourished by her Divine Son present body and blood, soul and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament. It is in the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary where she remains in the background in the liturgy of the Word so that her Divine Son's words and His Presence take the spotlight as He should while Mary remains the chief intercessor before the Holy Trinity as she should and serves as the ideal for all Catholics to strive for, as we should. The Dictionary of Mary states quite succinctly, "Through these liturgical acts, (honoring Mary on Saturday) Christians exalt the person of Mary in the action that renews the sacrifice of Christ and in the action that prolongs His prayer."

    Sunday, February 27, 2000

        First Reading: Hosea 2: 16-17, 21-22
        Responsorial: Psalm 103: 1-4, 8, 10, 12-13
        Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 3: 1-6
        Gospel Reading: Mark 2: 18-22

    Monday, February 28, 2000

        First Reading: 1 Peter 1: 3-9
        Responsorial: Psalm 111: 1-2, 5-6, 9, 10
        Gospel Reading: Mark 10: 17-27

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    For the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time:

        "Can the wedding guests fast as long as the Bridegroom is with them? As long as the Bridegroom is with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the Bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day."

    Mark 2: 19-20

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    February 25-27, 2000     volume 11, no. 40
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