ASH WEDNESDAY     March 8, 2000    vol. 11, no. 48    SECTION TWO

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SECTION ONE Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • 2000 VOYAGE ON THE BARQUE OF PETER - installment 39
  • Daily LITURGY
  • Daily WORD
  • Monthly Medjugorje Message of February 25th
  • Be an angel! Whatever donation you can send will help reach countless more souls!
    WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:
  • Clarifying the document "Memory and Reconciliation"

  • In-fighting, ill-advised advice, greed and the lust for power prove fateful for the Third, Fourth and Fifth Crusades

        Today, in our on-going series of this abridged History of the Mass and Holy Mother Church over a 2000 year span called 2000 YEAR VOYAGE ON THE BARQUE OF PETER, we cover the latter part of the twelfth century from the Third Crusade through the ill-fated Fifth Crusade, also known as the "Children's Crusade" in the early part of the thirteenth century. The period covers spans four good Popes who sought to restore Holy Mother Church after the schisms and antipopes of the recent past. During this time the Sacred Conclave elected first the oldest Sovereign Pontiff ever to be chosen - Pope Celestine III followed by one of the youngest ever - Pope Innocent III. For Installment thirty-nine The Third, Fourth and Fifth Crusades, see BARQUE OF PETER

    Installment 39: The Third, Fourth and Fifth Crusades
    Next Wednesday: Installment Forty-one: The beginning of Century of the Saints.

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      Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent when the Church charges us to put on the mantle of penitence for forty days and forty nights through the Passsion and Death of Jesus in preparation for His glorious Resurrection. We receive ashes to remind us of the temporary vessels that we are. Tomorrow is Thursday after Ash Wednesday and the optional Feast of Saint Frances of Rome, religious. For the readings, liturgies, meditations, and profile on St. Polycarp, see DAILY LITURGY.

    ASH WEDNESDAY, March 8, 2000

        First Reading: Joel 2: 12-18
        Responsorial: Psalm 51: 2-6, 12-14, 17
        Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5: 20-21; 6: 1-2
        Gospel Reading: Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-18

    Even though it is superseded because of Ash Wednesday, March 8th is traditionally the Feast of Saint John of God:
    Saint John of God, religious founder
             This saint, known for his work in the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy, lived in the 16th Century in Portugal and Spain. One day while traveling he came across a small child with no shoes. Because his own shoes would not fit the child he lifted Him upon his shoulders and carried him, offering solace and help. While stopping to drink, the child revealed Himself as the Infant Christ Child and presented John a pomagranate, the fruit of the region which is sweet and stood for charity. It was crowned with a cross, representing sacrifice, which Jesus said would be the "Cross of Granada" where John, at the age of 42, would establish the Brother Hospitallers of St. John of God in the year 1537. John was given the name "John of God" by his own bishop who saw in John, a true saint. John died saving others. After many close calls rescuing people from the streets and burning hospitals, he dove into the River Xenil to save a drowning lad and succumbed of pneumonia from the cold, icy waters at the age of 55.

    Thursday, March 9, 2000

      Thursday March 9:
      Thursday after Ash Wednesday and
      Optional Feast of Saint Frances of Rome, religious

      Purple vestments

        First Reading: 1 Deuteronomy 30: 15-20
        Responsorial: Psalm 54: 17-20, 23
        Gospel Reading: Luke 9: 22-25

    Optional Feast of Saint Frances of Rome
          Born in Rome in 1384, Saint Frances of Rome was married off by her parents at the age of 12 to Roman nobleman Lorenzo Ponziano. Though Frances had desperately wanted to become a nun, she succumbed to her parents' will and thus it was God's will that she be with her husband for 40 years during which time they never had an argument. Though the couple went through severe financial hardships, Frances always praised God for His providence. Frances had a large family and always felt her household duties were as much a prayer as kneeling in church as she often said, "A married woman must leave God at the altar to find Him in her domestic cares." After her husband died, she founded the Oblates and became a nun. She had many visions including often where her guardian angel would shine such a bright light that she was able to read her Divine Office at night via the Heavenly light. She promoted the concept of guardian angels and was also given the day she would die, March 9 and true to God's word, He took her home on that day in 1440 at the age of 56.

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    "But when thou prayest, go into thy room, and closing thy door, pray to thy Father in secret; and thy Father, Who sees in secret, will reward thee."

    Matthew 6: 6

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    It takes a giving heart which needs to care for others!

       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".

    "Many a man when he was poor had a heart that was open to every call of pity, but as riches increased he set his heart more upon them. The massing of wealth has a peculiar effect on the soul; it intensifies the desire of getting. What is often lust in youth is avarice in old age. Could they but expose themselves to the great joy of giving and respond to pity's claim, they would sense the great thrill in benevolence. "

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    February 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message

    NOTE: We respectfully recognize and accept the final authority regarding apparitions, locutions and prophecies presently being reported around the world rests with the Holy See of Rome and the Magisterium of Holy Mother Church to whose judjment we humbly and obediently submit.

      "Dear children! Wake up from the sleep of unbelief and sin, because this is a time of grace which God gives you. Use this time and seek the grace of healing of your heart from God, so that you may see God and man with the heart. Pray in a special way for those who have not come to know God's love, and witness with your life so that they also can come to know God and His immeasurable love. Thank you for having responded to my call."

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    WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:

      "Mea Culpa" Sunday is not intended to bash the Church but rather serve as a cleansing

         Preparing for the First Sunday of Lent this coming Sunday, the Vatican has released a more detailed description of the ceremony that will take place when Pope John Paul II as the authorized Vicar of Christ begs pardon for all the sins committed in the name of God throughout the centuries. The ceremony is significant in the history of the Church and must be understood in the light in which the Holy Father intends, rather than a finger-pointing exercise of which many non-Catholics view it as an opportunity to bash the Church. continued inside

    Homosexuals want inclusion in Vatican pardon, but Holy See not buying into motives

        VATICAN ( -- Pope John Paul II will lead a special penitential service on March 12, the first Sunday of Lent, in which he will ask pardon for the faults of the Catholic past.

        The ceremony, in which dozens of bishops and cardinals will participate, is one of the most important events of the Jubilee year, and one which has aroused unusual interest among Catholics and non-Catholics alike. At a press conference in Rome on March 7, Msgr. Piero Marini, the master of ceremonies for pontifical liturgies, explained the ceremony to the media.

        Msgr. Marini explained that Pope John Paul II saw the appeal for pardon as an important part of the Jubilee, and more particularly for Lent, which is a time specially dedicated to conversion. He added that the appeal for pardon would be directed toward God. "It is not a judgment on those who have gone before us," he said. He elaborated by explaining that the appeal for pardon would not be intended as an indictment of the Christians of previous eras, nor would it ignore the possibility that there were extenuating circumstances for their actions. Rather it would simply be an acknowledgment of the evil that had been done.

        "There is solidarity, even in sin, among the members of the People of God," Msgr. Marini said. "Christians do not think of themselves as better than their fathers," he continued, but wish merely to say that there were "historical errors in behavior" among Christians.

        At the beginning of the ceremony, at the entry to St. Peter's Basilica, the Pope will pray silently before Michelangelo's renowned Pieta. The symbolism of that moment suggests that, just as the Virgin Mary received the dead body of her crucified son, the Church cares for souls of sinful Christians. Next the Pope and the cardinals will enter the basilica in a "penitential procession." During that procession the Litany of the Saints will be chanted-- recognizing the saints as witnesses to the sanctity of the Church, and as intercessors for sinners.

        The confession of faults and appeal for pardon will follow the Pope's homily and the Profession of Faith. Pope John Paul will lead the recitation of this "universal prayer," accompanied by the heads of Vatican dicasteries. The recitation of faults will include sins "committed in the service of truth," such as intolerance, violence against dissidents, and religious wars. The list will also include the failings which contributed to the division of Christianity. And the prayer will acknowledge the "hostility and silence" which helped to set the scene for the Holocaust. The confession will include an acknowledgment of failure in preventing the evils of the current day, such as abortion. The listing will conclude with a general confession of faults in the spread of the Gospel-- sins "against love, peace, human rights, and respect for other cultures and other religions."

        During this prayer, candles will be illuminated before a 14-century crucifix at the altar-- a crucifix which has traditionally been venerated at St. Peter's during holy years. At the conclusion of the prayer, Pope John Paul will embrace the crucifix as a sign of his appeal for God's pardon. Then at the conclusion of the Mass he will add another prayer for "the purification of memory" that comes through confession and conversion.

        Meanwhile, aAn Italian homosexual activist group today called for the Vatican to include homosexuals among the groups which the Catholic Church will acknowledge have suffered by a failure of Christians to live up to their faith.

        While many observers have mistakenly characterized the new Vatican document, Memory and Reconciliation: The Church and the Faults of the Past, as an apology by the Church to others, Catholic leaders have pointed out that the document and a reconciliation service on March 12 will ask pardon from God for the failures of Christians which led to evil.

        "The Vatican is asking forgiveness from everyone except homosexuals, who are among the most numerous victims of the theocratic violence of yesterday and today," said Franco Grillini, president of Arcigay. "Catholic hierarchy should implore forgiveness from lesbians and homosexuals ... who were jailed, tortured, and killed" in the past. The charges against the Church cannot be historically documented.

        In a statement, Grillini accused the Catholic Church, which says homosexual activity is a immoral, of abetting repression of homosexuals over the centuries.

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    March 8, 2000     volume 11, no. 48
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