TUESDAY     February 8, 2000    vol. 11, no. 27    SECTION TWO

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  • Daily LITURGY
  • Daily WORD
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    WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

  • Holy Father opens special new entrance to Vatican Museum


       Today is the Fifth Tuesday in Ordinary Time as well as the Feast of Saint Jerome Emiliani, priest while tomorrow we observe the Fifth Wednesday in Ordinary Time. For the readings, liturgies, meditations, and profile on St. Jerome, see DAILY LITURGY.

    Tuesday, February 8, 2000

      Tuesday February 8:
      Fifth Tuesday in Ordinary Time and
      Feast of Saint Jerome Emiliani, Priest and Religious Founder

      Green or White vestments

        First Reading: 1 Kings 8: 22-23, 27-30
        Responsorial: Psalm 84: 3-5, 10-11
        Gospel Reading: Mark 7: 1-13

    Feast of Saint Jerome Emiliani, Priest and Religious Founder
            Known as the patron saint of orphans and abandoned infants, Saint Jerome Emiliani founded the Company of Servants of the Poor which was approved by Pope Paul III in 1540. Born in 1486 in Venice, Italy he was raised in a noble family and joined the military to fight against Maximilian I. Captured and imprisoned, he asked the Blessed Mother for help and made a vow to dedicate his life to God. Our Lady interceded, freeing him and, true to his word, Jerome plunged into taking care of the sick during the plague and gathering orphans. It was in Somasca, Bergamo where he founded his congregation of clerks regular. It was there in 1537 where he contracted the deadly plague and died with his orphans at his bedside. His feast is celebrated on February 8 as pronounced by Pope Benedict XVI who canonized Jerome in 1867.

    Wednesday, February 9, 2000

        First Reading: 1 Kings 10: 1-10
        Responsorial: Psalm 37: 5-6, 30-31, 39-40
        Gospel Reading: Mark 7: 14-23

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    "Well did Isaias prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, 'This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me; and in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrine the precepts of men.'"

    Mark 7: 6-7

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      In preparation for the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes next Friday, we present a special Nine Day Novena from the Treasurey of Novenas that begins today. See NOVENA

    Nine Day Novena for Our Lady of Lourdes and Saint Bernadette


        Between February 11 and July 16, 1858, the Blessed Virgin Mary came down from Heaven eighteen times and showed herself at Lourdes to Bernadette Soubirous a little girl of fourteen years of age. On February 11, while gathering wood, Bernadette heard a whistle of wind. With astonished eyes she saw a niche in the upper part of a rock filled with golden light, and there in the midst of it stood a Lady of great beauty.

        Her robe glowed with the whiteness of snow in the sunshine and swept in majestic folds to the ground. Her head and shoulders were framed by a white veil, which feel the full length of her robe. A blue sash encircled her waist, and its two ends, wide and unornamented, reached down in front almost to her feet. Each of her feet bore a rose of purest gold. A rosary, whose beads were white and whose cross and chain were of gold, hung from her right arm. Her hands were open, and her arms outstretched slightly in front.

        In her apparitions our Lady appealed for penance and prayers for sinners. On March 25, the feast of the Annunciation, the Blessed Mother declared her name to Bernadette and to the world. On that day Bernadette made this request: "My Lady, would you be so kind as to tell me who you are?"

        This is how Bernadette describes what happened in that last apparition: "Three times I asked the Apparition her name. At the third instance, she stretched out her hands, which until then she held joined, raised them, and she said: 'I am the Immaculate Conception.'" Then having completed her great message to the world, the Lady smiled on Bernadette and withdrew without further word of farewell.

        Less than four years before these apparitions, on December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed that Mary in the first instant of her conception was preserved free from all stain of original sin through the merits of her Divine Son. At Lourdes the Virgin Mary had come to confirm the infallible utterance of God's Vicar on earth and declared herself not only immaculately conceived, but "the Immaculate Conception."

        On October 30, 1867, Bernadette made her religious profession in the Convent of the Congregation of the Sisters of Nevers, France. In January, 1873, Bernadette became ill. On April 16, about three in the afternoon, Bernadette prayed: "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for me, a poor sinner!" She made a Sign of the Cross, took the glass that was handed to her, twice swallowed a few drops of water, and then bending her head gently gave up her soul to her Creator.

        Bernadette died, worn out with physical suffering, on April 16, 1879, at the age of thirty-six. Now her incorrupt body can be seen as she lay in death in the side chapel of the motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity at Nevers, where she lived and died as Sister Marie Bernard. Thirty years after her death her body was found in a perfect state of preservation, undoubtedly a token of love of the Immaculate Virgin Mary. She was beatified in 1925, and on December 8, 1933, she was canonized by Pope Pius XI.


    • "You have visited the land and watered it; greatly have you enriched it." (Psalm 65:10)
    • "I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever; My eyes and My heart also shall be there always." (2 Chronicles 7:16)
    • "I found delight in the children of men." (Proverbs 8:31)


            Mary, Mother of God, I firmly believe in the doctrine of Holy Mother Church concerning your Immaculate Conception: namely, that you were, in the first instant of your conception, by the singular grace and privilege of God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.

            Alone of all the children of Adam, you were gifted with the fullness of sanctifying grace that made you the object of a very special love on the part of God. How wonderful were the workings of Divine power to make you a fitting dwelling for the Redeemer of the world! With no tendency to evil, but with a deep yearning for the highest virtue, you glorified God more than all His other creatures. At the very instant of your conception your mind was filled with the light of God, and your will was entirely conformed to the Divine Will. You were always intimately united with God.

            I thank God with you for these wonderful blessings. Help me to imitate your holiness to some degree. Your holiness was not the result of the privilege of your Immaculate Conception and sanctifying grace alone, but followed from your gift of yourself to God and your constant cooperation with His graces. Help me to be generous with God by turning to good account the graces that He ever bestows on me, and by rising promptly when I fall, with renewed confidence in His Mercy.

            Ever Immaculate Virgin, Mother of mercy, health of the sick, refuge of sinners, comfort of the afflicted, you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. Deign to cast upon me a look of mercy.

            By appearing in the Grotto of Lourdes, you were pleased to make it a privileged sanctuary, from which you dispense your favors; and already many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal. I come, therefore, with the most unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession.

            Obtain, O loving Mother, the granting of my requests. Through gratitude for your favors, I will endeavor to imitate your virtues that I may one day share your glory.

            Through your loving compassion shown to thousands of pilgrims who come to your shrine at Lourdes, and through your special love for your devoted client Bernadette, I ask for this grace if it be the Will of God:

        (Mention your request).

            Our Lady of Lourdes, aid me through your prayer with your Divine Son, to be a true child of yours, as Bernadette was, and to grow daily into your likeness.


            Saint Bernadette, little shepherdess of Lourdes, favored with eighteen apparitions of the Immaculate Virgin Mary and with the privilege of lovingly conversing with her, now that you are eternally enjoying the entrancing beauty of the Immaculate Mother of God, do not forsake me, your devoted client, who am still in this valley of tears.

            Intercede for me that I, too, may walk the simple path of faith. Help me to imitate your example, at our heavenly Queen's request, by saying the Rosary daily and by doing penance for sinners.

            Teach me to imitate your wonderful devotedness to God and our Lady, the Immaculate Conception, so that, like you, I may be blessed with the grace of lasting faithfulness and enjoy the happiness in heaven of the eternal vision of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.


            God of infinite mercy, we celebrate the feast of Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, the sinless Mother of God. May her prayers help us to rise above our human weakness. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever. Amen.

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    WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

      Holy Father inaugurates new entrance to Vatican museums including section dedicated to his own papacy

         The Renaissance Popes have nothing on our present Holy Father who yesterday officially opened the new entrance to the Vatican Museum designed by famed Florentine sculptor Giuliano Vangi who fashioned a marble monument entitled "Crossing the Threshold" at the entrance to signify and salute John Paul II's magnificent pontificate. The new entrance is not only intended to reduce the wait for pilgrims in touring the vast museum, but will serve as the only entrance, creating a one-way where the exit will be the old entrance. This should expedite traffic through the Museum. continued inside

    Pope John Paul II Dedicates New Entrance to Museums that symbolizes his pontificate of "Crossing the Threshold"

        VATICAN CITY, FEB 7 (ZENIT). - One of the objectives of his Pontificate, as the Pope stated this morning during the inauguration ceremony of the new entrance for the Vatican Museums, has been "to help mankind cross the door, in order to leave behind the constrictions of materialism and pass into the freedom of faith." He said that the completion of this project is a proof of the Church's will for a dialogue between faith and art.

        This is the most ambitious of the architectural projects undertaken by the Holy See for the Jubilee year. The new entrance will serve to reduce waiting time for a continuously growing number of pilgrims and visitors. Over the last twenty years the number of visitors to the Museums has doubled from a million and a half yearly to three million. Now up to 20 thousand people a day will be able to enjoy the art treasures housed by the Vatican. The total cost of the project was $23 million.

        "At the end of the 18th century when Clement XIV and Pius VI founded the Vatican Museums, in the modern sense of the word," said the Pope, "visitors were a very privileged elite. Today there are thousands of people a day, from every social level and culture, coming from all parts of the world. It can truly be said that the Museums represent, culturally speaking, one of the Holy See's most important doors open to the world."

        The old entrance to the Vatican Museums now becomes the exit. The new entrance will take the visitor through the Museums in only one direction. About 1,400,000 cubic feet were excavated under the historic Belvedere fortification to make the project possible. The exterior Vatican walls have remained practically unchanged. However, some of the interior arrangement has been modified to create an ample courtyard with a glass and concrete structure that will be used to protect visitors on rainy days. A spiral staircase and eight elevators take visitors to different service areas: ticket office, children's playroom, currency exchange booth, bookstores, first aid station, and a restaurant capable of serving several thousand a day.

        The new glass and cement structure is reminiscent of that found at the Louvre in Paris. It bears the signatures of the whole team of Vatican engineers and architects that worked on it non-stop for three years.

        At the end of the inaugural ceremony, the Holy Father, accompanied by his closest assistants, visited the completed works. He admired the enormous bronze door by Cecco Bonanotte, where the Creation of the world is represented, and a complex marble sculpture, placed at the entrance, the work of Giuliano Vangi. This last work is entitled "Crossing the Threshold."

        The new entrance to the Vatican Museums was designed by Giuliano Vangi, a Florentine sculptor. The marble sculpture represents the passing of the millenium and John Paul II's extraordinary pontificate.

        Vangi, age 69, accepted this job "with apprehension," he stated. "I thought about the ten thousand people who would be looking at my statue every day. For this reason, I worked on the project for more than a year, making a large number of studies, designs, mockups in clay and stucco. It was a real business."

        The meaning of this work is well expressed by its title, "Crossing the Threshold." "I represented the Pope at two different and crucial moments of his pontificate: the beginning and the end," stated Vangi. "It is a sort of Alpha and Omega of a Magisterium that has helped us to come back from the refuse of ideologies of this 'short' and terrible century. Modern man is represented with a tie and all, while he is freed from a wall that is falling, which not only represents the Wall par excellence, the Berlin Wall, but also the wall of Auschwitz, where the Pope cried; and even more, it is a symbol of all the walls of the world and of the untiring prayer of the Pontiff, of the universal prayer that destroys those walls."

        According to Vangi, this work also affirms the often forgotten value of beauty. "Beauty is a truly universal value," he explained," which finds its complete legitimation in Christian art. Beauty is an indispensable nourishment for every anthropology; it is true satisfaction for the soul." ZE00020706 and ZE00020707


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    February 8, 2000     volume 11, no. 27
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