MONDAY January 3, 2000 vol. 11, no. 1 SECTION TWO
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Why are we loved? God only knows!
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".
"The great mystery is not why we love, but why we are loved. IT is easy to understand why we love because of our incompleteness and our radical dissatisfaction apart from goodness. But why anyone should love us is the mystery, for we know when we look at our real selves how very little there is to love. Why creatures should love us is not too great a mystery, for they are imperfect too. But for God to love us - that we will never understand."
Today is the Monday of Epiphany with tomorrow being the celebration of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, the American religious educator who helped establish Catholic education in parochial schools. For the readings, liturgies, meditations, and profile Mother Seton, click on DAILY LITURGY.
LITURGY FOR MONDAY AND TUESDAY - January 3 and January 4
Monday, January 3, 2000
First Reading: 1 John 3: 22-24; 4: 1-6
Psalms: Psalm 2: 7-8, 10-11
Gospel Reading: Matthew 4: 12-17, 23-25
Tuesday, January 4, 1998
Tuesday January 4:
Tenth Day of Christmas
Feast of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious founder and educator
First Reading: 1 John 4: 7-10
Psalms: Psalm 2: 7-8, 10-11
Gospel Reading: Mark 6: 34-44
Feast of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious founder and educator
Considered the first American-born saint, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, known as Mother Seton, went on to found numerous schools throughout the eastern seaboard. Born Elizabeth Ann Bayley on August 28, 1774 in New York City, she was raised an Episcopalian and married William Magee Seton at the age of 20. While raising five children, Elizabeth founded the Society for the Relief of Poor Widows with Small Children when she was only 23. In 1803, having lost their income and becoming poor themselves, the family went to stay with Catholic friends in Pisa, Italy both for economic and health reasons. While there William died leaving Elizabeth a widow. Influenced by her Italian friends, she returned to New York in 1805 and converted to Catholicism. Though she was ostracized by her own family and friends, the director of St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore offered her the opportunity to open a school in that city. At the age of 35 she, along with four other widows, founded the Sisters of St. Joseph and began a Catholic school in Emmitsburg, Maryland exclusively for poor kids who could not afford tuition. The new nuns' rule was approved by Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore in 1812 and a year later, having been elected Mother Superior, Mother Seton took vows with eighteen others on July 19, 1813. It officially signaled the beginning of the Order of the Sisters of Charity in America, the first religious society formed in the United States and patterned after the rule of Saint Vincent de Paul. Mother Seton not only opened schools, training teachers herself, but also wrote most of the textbooks for the children. When she died on January 4, 1821 in Emmitsburg, there were already 20 communities and schools established. Pope John XXIII beatified her in 1963 and his successor Pope Paul VI canonized her in 1975 as the first American-born saint. Her legacy lives on. Founding the Catholic school concept she did signaled the advent of the Catholic parochial school system that would become the backbone of the Church in America until after Vatican II, when the new-age concept of "Total Catholic Education" spawned by satan himself, would not only infiltrate every diocese, but kill the long respected tradition of each parish and parent taking an active interest in the young Catholic leaders of tomorrow through their selfless time, talents, and treasures. In a time of great need, the sisters of every Order disappeared and the government began dictating what should and shouldn't be taught; the very reason Mother Seton began her schools in the first place, so that Catholicism would be at the root of any education. Ironically, loyal Catholics, when faced with today's alternatives have turned back to the very way Mother Seton herself was first educated - at home, through home schooling where the parents take total charge of their children as the Church teaches. Maybe it is no coincidence that the leader in Catholic home schooling today is called the Mother Seton Home Study!
TENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS
Today is the Tenth Day of Christmas represented by the ten lords a-leaping which symbolize the Law of God - the Ten Commandments. It was not a leap to obey the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai for the Protestants, who were persecuting the Catholics of those times and countries, also believed in the Ten Commandments, but the reference to "lords" was in reference to the rich and powerful for they were the ones who could change the laws that governed persecution and curtailment of the Catholic Faith. Yet it was the "lords" who were lax in obeying God's laws and Catholics wanted to remind their fellow Catholics that no matter how wealthy or spoiled the princes were, faith and perseverance was more important by reminding them of the law of ages. For the rest of the days, see the explanations below:
"On the first day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, a Partridge in a pear tree."
So many have misinterpreted the Twelve Days of Christmas with a secular meaning, but they fail to realize that, in fact, they were a "secret catechism code" sung by persecuted Roman Catholics from the Protestant Reformation through the French Revolution. It was their way of communicating their faith much in the same manner the early Christians did with symbols such as the fish. The first day is a given since Christmas Day is the first day of Christmas and the "Partridge in a pear tree" represents Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ the King.
"On the second day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, two turtledoves."
The two turtledoves represent the Old and New Testaments - the Word of God which over the years has been so watered down by "interpretations and political correctness" that often it loses its true meaning and must be properly discerned through the Church's reliance on the Holy Spirit.
"On the third day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, three French hens."
The three French hens represent the Three theological Virtues of FAITH, HOPE and CHARITY which enabled Catholics to stay in the state of grace by practicing and promulgating these vital virtues when the sacraments were not readily available.
"On the fourth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, four calling birds."
The four calling birds represent the four Gospels where truly the Word of God through Jesus and His life for all of us to emulate was recorded. Since Catholics were not allowed to keep bibles or preach during those times, they reinforced others through the song to read the Gospels in private and live it.
"On the fifth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, five Golden Rings."
The five golden rings represent both the first Five Books of the Old Testament or the Pentatuch which reminded fellow Catholics of the roots and, after the devotion became more widespread and known, the Five Decades of the Rosary and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
"On the sixth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, six geese a-laying."
The six geese a-laying represent the six days God took to create the earth, the universe, and all creatures. It was a way for all Catholics to remind fellow faithful and be reminded that, despite persecution, they were not second-class citizens but rather first-class children of God and rightful heirs to His mansions in the Heavenly regions if they persevered in the One, True Faith. Thus the sixth day represents the sixth day octave of Christmas and Creation.
"On the seventh day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, seven swans a-swimming."
The seven swans a-swimming represent the Seven Sacraments established by Jesus Christ as well as the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. With the Sacraments and Gifts Catholics could sustain themselves through the dark times and encourage others at this holy time of the year with this Christmas song, reminding each other of the wondrous glory of God and His munificence on the seventh day of the octave of Christmas.
"On the eighth day of Christmas my True
Love gave to me, eight maids a-milking."
The eight maids a-milking represent the Eight Beatitudes preached by Jesus Christ on His sermon on the mount and which Catholics, no matter how persecuted, could practice good deeds through the Beatitudes and gain great consolation and courage from these.
"On the ninth day of Christmas my True
Love gave to me, nine ladies dancing."
The nine ladies dancing is not about partying but rather the Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit as described in Galatians 5: 22 - "But the fruit of the Spirit is: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, modedesty and continency." These fruits helped Catholics to practice the virtues and remind fellow Catholics how to stay out of harm's way as far as their souls were concerned.
"On the tenth day of Christmas my True
Love gave to me, ten lords a-leaping."
The ten lords a-leaping symbolize the Law of God - the Ten Commandments. It was not a leap to obey the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai for the Protestants, who were persecuting the Catholics of those times and countries, also believed in the Ten Commandments, but the reference to "lords" was in reference to the rich and powerful for they were the ones who could change the laws that governed persecution and curtailment of the Catholic Faith. Yet it was the "lords" who were lax in obeying God's laws and Catholics wanted to remind their fellow Catholics that no matter how wealthy or spoiled the princes were, faith and perseverance was more important by reminding them of the law of ages.
"On the eleventh day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, eleven pipers piping."
The eleven pipers piping stood for the Eleven Faithful Apostles who stuck with Jesus when seemingly all others
had abandoned Him. They were referred to as "pipers" for
they indeed were sent out to all corners to spread the Gospel
as Our Lord had commanded and, like the "Pied Piper of
Hamlin" they attracted many to the One, True Faith. It was a
way for Catholics to remind their fellow faithful to keep this
in mind during the hard times for all but Saint John were
persecuted and martyred for the faith. If they remained
faithful to their Faith and to Jesus, they too would one day
enjoy the same rewards of Heavenly bliss.
"On the twelfth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, twelve drummers drumming."
The twelve drummers drumming represented the Twelve
Points or Articles of Belief in the APOSTLES' CREED It's interesting
that Catholics chose drummers for their symbolism for to
keep reminding each other of the twelve points of the solid
creed known as the Apostles' Creed for this was their
profession of faith and there was a constant need to keep
hammering home this point or should we say "bang the drum"
so fellow Catholics would get the "beat" and get into a
rhythm of their religion, encouraged by all Jesus promised
and professed in the Creed.
December 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message
Dear children! This is the time of grace. Little children, today in a special way with little Jesus, Whom I hold in my embrace, I am giving you the possibility to decide for peace.Through your 'yes' for peace and your decision for God, a new possibility for peace is opened. Only in this way, little children, this century will be for you a time of peace and well-being. Therefore, put little newborn Jesus in the first place in your life and He will lead you on the way of salvation. Thank you for having responded to my call.
The DAILY WORD
"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its strength, what shall it be salted with? It is no longer of any use but to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Neither do men light a lamp and put it under the measure, but upon the lamp-stand, so as to give light to all in the house. Even so let your light shine before men, in order that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in Heaven."
Matthew 4: 13-16
WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS
with a Catholic slant
Holy Father opens Holy Door at St. Mary Major on Solemnity of Mary
Three Holy Doors down, one to go. That was the account after Saturday's ceremonies in Rome. On the first day of 2000, John Paul II examined the questions raised by this symbolic date in his homily after opening the Holy Door at the Basilica of St. Mary Major. continued inside
THE NEW YEAR SHOULD BE THE DAWN OF A MILLENNIUM OF PEACE
John Paul II Opens Holy Door at St. Mary Major
ROME, JAN 1 (ZENIT) - On the first day of 2000, John Paul II examined
the questions raised by this symbolic date in his homily after opening
the Holy Door at the Basilica of St. Mary Major.
"In what direction will the great human family set out?" asked the Holy
Father. His prayer is that it will be along the path of peace. Thus he
prayed in this, the first Western church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin
Mary, that the world would entrust itself to the Mother of God in the
Before the ceremony, the Basilica was already packed. The ceremony began
at 9:30 with the opening of the door. The readings and prayers of the
Mass focused on the nead for peace.
The commentary before the entrance procession asked God for the gift of
peace so that "the year that is beginning may be the dawn of a new
In his homily, John Paul II stated, "Year 2000, which comes to meet us,
may Christ give you peace!" He then recalled the day of prayer for peace
that was held in Assisi in October, 1986. Even though it was in the
height of the Cold War, that meeting drew leaders from all the major
religions of the world.
"We gathered together and prayed to remove the serious threat of a
conflict that it seemed was about to come upon humanity. In a certain
sence, we gave voice to the prayer of all people, and God accepted the
prayer raised by his children," the Pope recalled. "Even though we must
admit that there are still many dangerous local and regional conflicts,
the worldwide confrontation that seemed on the horizon never happened."
The prayers of the faithful were recited in various languages, among
which were Hebrew and Arabic. One asked Christ for a new climate
constructed out of values taken from Christians of the East and West:
hope and peace. Another remembered those responsible for nations and
international organizations, praying that "they always follow the road
of negotiation, mediation, and pacification," and that "in the light of
the Good News of Bethlehem, they may think of the poor as the subjects
and main players of a new future."
At the end of the celebration, John Paul II returned to the Vatican to
pray the "Angelus" in St. Peter's Square. Among the gathered pilgrims
were the runners of the Roman Marathon. "May the new year and the new
millenium be as beautiful as today," added John Paul II.
Pope reminisces on past, looks ahead to future while celebrating present with reverent New Year's Eve celebration with packed crowd in St. Peter's
Friday evening, John Paul II celebrated first Vespers in the Vatican Basilica, followed by the "Te Deum," in
thanksgiving for all the blessings God has sent over the last 2000 years. For more, click on continued inside.
JOHN PAUL II ANALYZES THE OUTGOING MILLENIUM ALTERNATIVE NEW YEAR'S EVE
Asks God's Pardon for Mistaken Use of Progress against Humanity
VATICAN CITY, JAN 1 (ZENIT)- Friday evening, John Paul II celebrated
first Vespers in the Vatican Basilica, followed by the "Te Deum," in
thanksgiving for all the blessings God has sent over the last 2000
years. In his homily, he examined the high and low points of the last
century and millennium.
Five hundred boys, the "Pueri cantores," whom the Pope called
"messengers of that beauty that touches the heart," were the musical
interpreters of the ancient hymn, which was sung in alternation between
the choir and the congregation.
"What has most marked the millennium that is now coming to its end? How
did the geography of the countries, the situation of peoples and
nations, appear a thousand years ago? Who knew then of the existence of
the other great continent west of the Atlantic Ocean?" the Pope asked
himself. "The discovery of America," he replied, "which began a new era
in the history of humanity, constitutes without a doubt an extremely
important element in the evaluation of the millennium that ends today."
"This last century has also been characterized by profound and sometimes
rapid events," the Holy Father continued, "that have affected culture
and relations among the peoples. It is enough to consider the two
destructive ideologies [Nazism and Communism], responsible for
innumerable victims that were consumed by them. How many sufferings, how
many tragedies! But also, how many surprising conquests! These years
were entrusted to humanity by the Creator, and bear the signs of man's
efforts, of his failures, and of his victories."
According to the Pope, "the greatest rist in this change of epoch, is
that a great number of our contemporaries are not capable of really
identifying with perenneal values and harmonizing them with recent
discoveries as they should. This is a great challenge for us, men and
women who prepare to ender the year 2000."
In the course of this rereading of history, John Paul II made a
significant act of asking forgiveness, imploring the divine mercy: "We
ask forgiveness because in many occasions, the discoveries of science
and technology, so important for true human progress, have been used
The press called it an "Alternative New
Year's Eve" celebration: some 130,000 youth gathered in St. Peter's
Square to listen to music, hear testimonies, and to pray. The high
point, at 12 midnight, was not the fireworks, but rather the appearance
of the Holy Father at the window of his apartment to give a New Year's
blessing to the assembled crowd.
Despite the cold, the youths were enthusiastic to be at this very unique
New Year's Eve party. "I think this is the best way to begin the
millennium," stated Miriam, a 22-year-old Spaniard, who was there in the
Square with a group of friends.
"This Pope has always been with us," added Stefano, a 23-year-old
Italian. "He is the best person with whom we could end the year."
The evening alternated between moments of music and moments of prayer
and reflection on the Gospel. Sr. Nirmala, successor to Mother Teresa as
superior of the Missionaries of Charity, was present to give witness to
works of charity. Claudio Baglioni, one of the big names on the Italian
music scene, added excitement to the event.
A group of athletes from the Italian Sports Center lighted St. Peter's
Square with a torch carried from Bethlehem, following the path taken by
the Apostle Paul. This connection with Jesus' homeland fit in well with
the Holy Father's thoughts when he arrived at midnight. "As we cross the
threshold of the new year, I would like to knock on the door of your
houses to bring every one of you my heartfelt greeting: Happy New Year
to all, in the light that radiates from Bethlehem to the entire
As the youth listened attentively in silence, John Paul II told them
that they must not lose the certainty of God's love. "Today, as 2000
years ago, Christ is coming to direct the uncertain and faltering steps
of peoples and nations with his Gospel, leading them to a future of
After fireworks, New Year's greetings, and glasses of champagne, the
concert continued for some time more. Several groups of youth then went
to other churches of Rome to await the dawn in prayer.
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January 3, 2000 volume 11, no. 1
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