FRI-SAT-SUN     February 4-6, 2000    vol. 11, no. 25    SECTION TWO

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SECTION TWO Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • Events that happened this Weekend in Church History
  • Weekend LITURGY
  • Daily WORD
  • SPECIAL LOURDES NOVENA - Day Three through Five

  • Events that happened this Weekend in Church History

        On Sunday 78 years ago Cardinal Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti had to resign his post as Archbishop of Milan for he had been chosen by his fellow College of Cardinals as the 259th successor of Peter. He took the name Pope Pius IX and besides signing the Lateran Treaty with Benito Mussolini in 1929 which essentially made Vatican City State a sovereign nation, he canonized Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and Saint Bernadette as well as proclaiming Saint John of the Cross, Saint Albert the Great, Saint Robert Bellarmine, and Saint Peter Canisius Doctors of the Church. His pontificate lasted seventeen years bridging two wars. 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 4:

    • 540 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Isidore of Pelusium. This Alexandrian monk was a prolific writer, having said to have written over 10,000 letters with 2000 of his written epistles still in existence today. He was a vociferous foe of Nestorian and his heresies as well as those who promoted Eutychianism.

    • 708 A.D.
    • Death of Pope Sisinnius, 87th successor of Peter. There was very little noteworthy to report in a very brief pontificate that lasted only 20 days. He worried about the restoration of the walls of Rome which were constantly menaced by the Lombards and Saracens, but he never had the chance to put his reinforcement plans into action.

    • 1505 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Joan of Valois, deformed daughter of King Louis XI. Though she was hunch-backed and ugly, she was married for political purposes at the age of 9 to Louis, the Duke of Orleans. Though she remained a virgin, she loved her husband but never bedded with him. When Louis appealed to Pope Alexander VI, the notorious pontiff who kept courtiers, for an annulment, Joan did not stand in his way but saw it as an opportunity to become a religious. After time in seclusion she received help from a Franciscan friar to found a contemplative, cloistered order of nuns with the specific purpose of praying for reconciliation for all our enemies and those who did not share the faith. Even though she suffered from an unknown disease the left her physically doubled over and hideous to look at, she was beautiful on the inside and received her Heavenly crown officially when she was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1950.

    • 1612 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Joseph of Leonissa, austere Capuchin missionary who was also a victim soul, suffering much and offering it all for the honor and glory of God. The fruits of his harvest were many, manifested in countless miracles spiritually and physically.

    • 1693 A.D.
    • Death of Saint John de Britto, Jesuit missionary to India who was responsible for many miracles and who, more than once, was captured and subjected to unspeakable tortures but managed to escape until finally at Orirur in Marava, the raja there was so upset with the number of Christian conversions that he ordered de Britto out of the country. But Fr. John, knowing the people needed him, could not obey the order and thus the raja had him beheaded. Like the early Romans, his martyrdom did more for future conversions despite the raja's drastic measures to stop the flow of Christianity.

    Historical Events in Church Annals for February 5:

    • 250 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr. For more on this early saint, see DAILY LITURGY.

    • 345 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Abraham of Arbela, Bishop of that see who was martyred in Iraq by the shah of Persia Shapur II in what was then Assyria.

    • 519 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Avitus of Vienne, Bishop of Vienne. He was the son of Saint Isychius a former Roman senator who preceded his son as Bishop. Avitus converted the monarch of Burgundy King Sigismund. He also was effective in fending off the heresies of Arianism and deleting the pagan customs of the Franks through his preaching and effective letters.

    • 1005 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Fingen, Irish saint fwho was abbot of Metz whose specialty was restoring run-down monasteries and abbeys throughout Ireland. When a controversy arose regarding administration of the abbeys by foreign monks, he was able to convince Pope John XVII to decree that Irish abbeys could only be administered by Irish monks.

    • 1015 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Adelaide, Abbess of the Abbey at Bellich in Germany. She was a stickler insisting her nuns knew Latin in order that when they prayed they would know what they were praying and offer more edification in their chanting. She did not confine her care just to the contemplative sisters but reached out to the villagers, ministering to them when they were in the greatest need of help during a great famine.

    Historical Events in Church Annals for February 6:

    • 300 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Dorothy, Virgin and Martyr who was thrown into jail for her faith. Not only did she convert two women who had infiltrated the prison to convert her to apostasy in Caesarea, but on her way to be executed she was taunted by the Caesarean lawyer Theophilus who taunted her about her faith, baiting her to send him a basket of "golden apples and roses" when she reached the promised land she spoke of. To his utter surprise an agnel appeared to her a few seconds later with a basket that she presented the incredulous Theopilus. He was so moved that he renounced apostasy and was converted on the spot and he, too, was put to death with St. Dorothy on this date. She is considered the patron saint of gardeners.

    • 312 A.D.
    • Death of the Martyrs Saint Silvanus, Phoenicia, Luke, and Mucius who were all tortured and sentenced to death because of their faith after an interminable time in a dank dungeon with little to eat or drink at the order of the cruel emperor Maximian.

    • 337 A.D.
    • Election of Pope Saint Julius I, 35th successor of Peter. His pontificate would last 15 years in which wh would order that the Eastern Church should celebrate Christmas on December 25th instead of uniting it with the Epiphany. He would go on to be considered the founder of the Holy Archives of the Holy See since he would order that all official acts be preserved.

    • 1077 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Gerald of Ostia, Bishop of Ostia. He had succeeded Saint Peter Damian as Prior at Cluny before Pope Alexander II made him papal legate to France, Spain and Germany. It was in the latter where the German emperor Henry V, incensed over the investiture issue and Alexander's steadfast refusal to budge, had Gerald arrested for a while, trying to use the holy legate as a bargaining chip with the pontiff. It didn't work and so Gerald was finally released and appointed to the See of Ostia.

    • 1897 A.D.
    • Deaths of Saint Paul Miki and his Companion Martyrs near Nagasaki, Japan by fierce pagan Samurai warriors. For more on this, see DAILY LITURGY.

    • 1922 A.D.
    • Cardinal Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti, Archbishop of Milan is chosen the 259th successor of Peter taking the name Pope Pius XI on this date. His pontificate would last 17 years. In the seventh year of his pontificate he would conclude a Concordat with Benito Mussolini between the Church and the Italian State. He also would commission Marconi to construct Vatican Radio.

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        This weekend we commemorate Ordinary Time on the FIRST FRIDAY and the Feast of the martyred virgin Saint Agatha on Saturday and the FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME. For the readings, liturgies, meditations, and profile on St. Agatha, see DAILY LITURGY.

    Friday, February 4, 2000

        First Reading: Sirach 47: 2-11
        Responsorial: Psalm 18: 31, 47, 50-51
        Gospel Reading: Mark 6: 14-29

    Saturday, February 5, 2000

        First Reading: 1 Kings 3: 4-13
        Responsorial: Psalm 119: 9-14
        Gospel Reading: Mark 6: 30-34

    Feast of Saint Agatha, Virgin and Martyr

          The virgin martyr Saint Agatha was born in Sicily into a rich and noble family. Her parents consecrated her to the Trinity before she was born as a result of the promise from God that she would indeed be born despite incredible odds. As she grew into the flower of her teens, the beauty of her soul was somewhat overshadowed by her physical attractiveness which drew raves throughout Sicily; so much so that Quintanus, governor of Sicily under the Emperor Decius, enforced laws against the Christians as a pretext for seducing this beautiful flower of God. Praying for purity and the fortitude to withstand his advances, she prevailed, much to Quintanus' wrath who ordered vile mutilations on this faithful virgin who bore all for the love of her one true Love - Jesus Christ. Having cut off her breasts, they were miraculously healed when Our Lord sent Saint Peter to heal her. So incensed was Quintanus that he stripped her and subjected her to cruel humiliation, rolling her naked through the streets and over broken shards before her Spouse heard her pleas and called her Home. In testimony to her purity, it is believed that her body is still incorrupt and her intercessory prayer has proved victorious for many young women subjected to sexual harassment. She was truly a temple of the Holy Spirit.

    Sunday, February 6, 2000

        First Reading: Job 7: 1-4, 6-7
        Responsorial: Psalm 147: 1-6
        Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 9: 16-19, 22-23
        Gospel Reading: Mark 1: 29-39

    February 6 is normally the Feast Day of Saint Paul Miki and his missionary companion martyrs, but is superseded this year by the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time:

    Feast of Saint Paul Miki and his Missionary Companion Martyrs
          Like His Savior Jesus Christ, Japanese-born Saint Paul Miki, a Jesuit catechist, was crucified at the age of 33 with 25 other Catholics near Nagasaki, Japan at the hands of ruthless Samurai warriors. Along with two other catechists, six Franciscan priests from Spain, Mexico and India, and 17 lay Catholics from Japan, St. Paul Miki had sought to convert the people of Japan. Fearing the pagan influence and Samurai power would be harmed, some of the Samurai leaders riled up their fellow tribesman and captured the 26 missionaries on February 5, 1897, stringing them up on crude crosses by ropes and chains. As if this wasn't harsh enough, they were then murdered by the quick slash of the sword or the thrust of a sharp lance. Pope Pius IX canonized all 26 in 1862 and their martyrdom is commemorated on February 6th.

    Monday, February 7, 2000

        First Reading: 1 Kings 8: 1-7, 9-13
        Responsorial: Psalm 132: 6-10
        Gospel Reading: Mark 6: 53-56

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    For the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time:

        "And He said to them, 'Let us go into the neighboring villages and towns, that there also I may preach. For this is why I have come.' And He was preaching in their synagogues, and throughout all Galilee, and casting out devils."

    Mark 1: 38-39


      In preparation for the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes next Friday, we present a special Nine Day Novena from the Treasury of Novenas that began on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and will end on the vigil of the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes with this weekend covering Day Three on Friday, Day Four on Saturday and Day Five on Sunday. See NOVENA

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    Last week's top film proves beauty is not in the "Eye of the Beholder"

       Predictably, movie audiences fell off dramatically over Super Bowl week with the top film last week "Eye of the Beholder" garnering a measely six million and all others way down in attendance. Despite the mediocre fare, "Toy Story 2" jumped back into the Top Ten and the two worthwhile films "Stewart Little" and "The Green Mile" maintained their consistency along with the harmless, humorous "Galaxy Quest" continuing to surprise. Word of mouth has greatly helped these flicks as well as Denzel Washington's masterful performance in "The Hurricane". All else other fare in the Top Ten are chaff. For the Top Ten reviews for the 4th week of the third millennium, prepared by the NCCB, see MOVIES AND MORALS


      (Destination Films)$6 million in one week
          Because of recurring brutal violence, promiscuous sexual situations, some nudity, brief drug abuse and frequent rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O - morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R - restricted. "Eye of the Beholder" is a pathetic psychological thriller about a British agent (Ewan McGregor) who becomes obsessed with an icy American murderer (Ashley Judd) he has been assigned to investigate. The trashy melodrama is unintentionally laughable, presenting an absurdly smitten agent who chooses to protect the serial killer instead of her random victims.

  • 2.   NEXT FRIDAY
      (New Line)$5.75 million last week:/   $39.5 million in three weeks
          Because of sexual situations, intermittent violence, recurring recreational drug use, bathroom humor and much rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R - restricted. "Next Friday" is an unfunny sequel to the juvenile 1995 "Friday" in which central character Ice Cube moves to his uncle's home in the Los Angeles suburbs trying to escape a bully only to find trouble with his uncle's Chicano neighbors. The characters become caricatures as the cast squeezes out nothing but cheap laughs from the thin material.

      (Universal)$5.7 million last week:/$30.9 million in five weeks
          Because of brief violence, fleeting rear nudity, some profanity and recurring rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "The Hurricane" is a powerful fact-based account of the 20-year struggle of boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter (played by Denzel Washington) to regain his freedom, aided by an African-American teen (played by Vicellous Reon Shannon) and his Canadian guardians, after Carter was wrongly convicted of a 1966 New Jersey barroom triple murder. An a study of institutionalized racism, the movie chronicles a man's personal agony and triumph as he spiritually transcends his confines while helped by those committed to social justice.

      (Sony)$4.8 million last week:/   $123 million in seven weeks
          Because of scenes of menace and a few cuss words, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents.. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. "Stuart Little" is a fetching live-action fantasy in which a talking white mouse (voice of Michael J. Fox) is happily adopted as the younger son in a human family (in which Geena Davis plays the mom) only to be targeted as a meal by mean neighborhood alleycats. As loosely adapted from E. B. White's 1945 classic, the cheery tale has ample visual appeal, though purists may find the neatly happy ending a cop-out to the author's more probing tale of self-discovery.

      (Warner Brothers)$4.2 million last week/   $115 million in eight weeks:
          Because of some violence including an horrific electrocution, occasional profanity and intermittent rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "The Green Mile" is a prison drama set in 1935 Louisana where death-row head guard Tom Hanks comes to believe in the innocence of a huge, gentle black man played superbly by Michael Clarke Duncan whose miraculous healing powers affect those around him in startling ways. Adapted from the serialized 1996 Stephen King novel, the movie is unduly long but presents affecting character studies of good and evil men with spiritual undertones and a sobering depiction of capital punishment.

  • 6.   DOWN TO YOU
      (Miramax)$4.1 million last week:/   $13 million in two weeks
          Because of implied affairs, sexual references and an instance of rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III - adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 - parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. "Down to You" is a romantic comedy about college sweethearts (played by Freddie Prinze Jr. and Julia Stiles) who become serious when the are too young to cope with the work involved in making a relationship last. The cookie-cutter film romanticizes the thrill of first love then wraps up all the loose ends too predictably.

      (DreamWorks)$3.4 million last week/   $58.8 million in six weeks:
          It's hard to believe this humorous film has been out for a month and a half and still no available review from the NCCB on this film as of yet, but it has received favorable reviews and is rated PG so it can't be all bad. Actually is quite funny with Tim Allen as a mock William Shatner from "Star Trek" fame.

      (Columbia)$3.3 million last week:/   $21.2 million in six weeks:
          Because of a suicide, implied sexual encounters, crude references, occasional profanity and much rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. In "Girl, Interrupted" a half-hearted suicide attempt lands a spoiled teen (played by Winona Ryder) in a late 1960's private asylum where living with the more seriously disturbed, especially a charismatic sociopath (played by Angelina Jolie), allows her to gain some insight into her own problems. Although unevenly adapted from an ex-mental patient's memoir, the movie is basically engrossing in spite of some melodramatics and sketchy characterizations.

      (Paramount)$2.8 million last week/   $72.2 million in six weeks:
          Because of occasional gory violence, and implied affair, discreet homosexual innuendo, fleeting full nudity and a few instances of rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "The Talented Mr. Ripley" is a disquieting melodrama set in 1958 Italy where, after befriending a rich expatriate couple (played by Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow), an impoverished young American assumes his identity and stops at nothing to keep the risky charade going. Adapted from Patricia Highsmith's 1955 novel, a chilling cautionary tale of materialism expanding to grotesque evil unfolds replete with seductive visuals and sleek performances -- but an ambiguous ending.

  • 10.   TOY STORY 2
      (Disney)$2.3 million last week:/   $234 million in eleven weeks
          The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. In "Toy Story 2" the animated adventures of toys that come to life when humans aren't around continues as cowboy Woody (with Tom Hanks as the voice) is stolen by a greedy toy collector, sending Woody's toy buddies, led by Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen), on a breathless rescue mission. Featuring even better animation, the briskly paced cartoon sequel is slightly less original, but zippy action scenes and gentle humor should amuse small fry and grown-ups alike.

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    February 4-6, 2000     volume 11, no. 25
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