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

Tuesday, January 4, 1998

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!


   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:













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.

For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE AND MORE


    "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


with a Catholic slant


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 coming centuries.

    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 millennium."

    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. ZE00010106


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 against man."

    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 universe!"

    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 authentic hope."

    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. ZE00010109 and ZE00010108

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January 3, 2000     volume 11, no. 1
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