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December 15, 1998
SECTION TWO vol 9, no. 242
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION ONE
Events Today in Church History
Today is 53rd anniversary of the ordination of Cardinal John J. O'Connor, ranking prelate of the United States and current Archbishop of New York City. He became a priest in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. For other pertinent events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history today, click on MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES
Historical Events in Church Annals for December 15:
Death of Saint Nino, also called Saint Christiana, Georgian slave in Iberia. She effected countless conversions throughout the Russian state of Georgia because of her miraculous healings and devout faith. She is the Apostle of Georgia in Russia.
Pope Saint Sergius I is elected 84th successor of Peter, ruling for 14 years. Nominated after two antipopes, he would strive to extinguish the schism which had arisen in Rome itself, and would succeed in terminating Aquileia Sergius would introduce the use of the Agnus Dei into the Holy Mass.
Death of Saint Mary di Rosa, foundress of the Handmaid of Charity in Brescia which ministered to the wounded on the warfront in Northern Italy and in the hospitals of Breschia. Five years after Pope Pius IX gave papal approval for her order, she died at Breschia of a disease at the age of 42 on this date and nearly a century later was canonized by Pope Pius XII.
John J. O'Connor is ordained a priest at the age of 25 in Philadelphia. He, of course, would go on to be elevated to bishop and appointed cardinal by Pope John Paul II on May 25, 1985. He remains the ranking prelate in America, is a representative of the Curia and is one of the most respected cardinals serving as the Archbishop of New York.
Pope Pius XII publishes his 25th encyclical Orientales Ecclesias on the persecutions suffered by the Eastern Church.
LITURGY FOR TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY
Today and tomorrow we commemorate the Third Tuesday and Wednesday of Advent. For the readings, liturgies, and meditations, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.
Tuesday, December 15, 1998
First Reading: Zephaniah 3: 1-2, 9-13
Psalms: Psalm 34: 2-3, 6-7, 17-18, 19, 23
Gospel Reading: Matthew 21: 28-32
Wednesday, December 16, 1998
First Reading: Isaiah 45: 6-8, 18, 21-25
Psalms: Psalm 85: 9-14 and Isaiah 45: 8
Gospel Reading: Luke 7: 18-23
PRAYERS & DEVOTION
For the special Novena Prayer for this day during this time of preparation during Advent, click on ADVENT
ADVENT NOVENA PRAYER
O Triune Divinity, we come to you through the intercession of Blessed Mary, ever-Virgin, and St. Joseph, her chaste, holy spouse. In this season of Advent we desire to obtain the grace of purity of intention, that through our obedience to Your Heavenly Will, we, too, can transform our poor, miserable lives into the resplendent stable at Bethlehem where You Only-begotten Son was born.
Through the intercession of Mary, and all the hosts of Heaven, we beseech You, through the merits gained for us by Jesus Christ, Your Only-begotten Son, to help us convert our hearts, to live the messages of Your Mother, and to ardently beseech You to bring about the Triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart now, that the Reign of the Sacred Heart might be upon the world.
Heavenly Father, we trust in Your goodness and beseech You to hear us, not because of our worthiness, but because of our willingness to be Your little children who kneel in adoration to their God. Come, let us adore Him!
PRAYER for December 15: Third Tuesday of Advent
St. Michael the Archangel, we ask you to assist us now as we draw closer to the Birth of Jesus. You, who are the guardian of God's Holy Name, and who worship so profoundly before Jesus in the Eucharist, obtain for us through your intercession a deeper devotion to the Blessed Sacrament, and to reverence for God in every aspect of our lives. Keep far from us the evil one and all of his schemes, that we might embrace God at every moment until we see Him for all eternity.
NEWS & VIEWS
with a Catholic slant
Faithful show outpouring of love for Patroness of the Americas on Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
All over the western hemisphere fervent prayers, devotions, special Masses and festivities were offered this past weekend in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Nowhere was this more evident than at the Shrine of Guadalupe near Tepeyac Hill where the Blessed Virgin appeared to Blessed Juan Diego 467 years ago. Over three million swarmed the Shrine grounds this weekend just outside Mexico City beneath a graying sky, sooted because of the rumbling Mt. Popo that has been spewing smoke and volcanic ash for the past week high into the air. For more, click on Guadalupe.
MILLIONS EXPRESS THEIR FAITH IN THE DAY OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE
Mexico City, 13 (NE) Along Friday and Saturday, more than
three million pilgrims arrived at the Basilica of Guadalupe to
pray before the image of the Virgin of the Tepeyac on the 467
anniversary of her appearances to the Blessed Juan Diego. As
every year, a few minutes before the 12th, the pilgrims sang the
"mañanitas" to the Virgin -a typical mexican song which is used
to receive a special day-, greeting her in this way for her new
anniversary and also expressing their gratefulness for her
The traditional story of the appearances of the Virgin of
Guadalupe goes back to the year 1531, when the Indian Juan Diego
was in his way to participate of the Holy Mass. On his way he
listened a voice that called him in his native language:
«Juanito, Juan Diego ...I much desire that here they build me my
sacred house». The Lady who appeared to Juan Diego then sent him
to see the Bishop of Mexico to complete her desire. Two days
after when he was looking for a priest that could aid his uncle
who was badly sick, Juan Diego was called again by the Virgin.
The Virgin said to Juan Diego not to worry, for his uncle would
not die, as he had already been cured. Then the Indian requested
her for the sign that he should take to the Bishop. Mary told
him to go to the top of the hill, where he found some roses.
Juan Diego cut as many roses as he could and took them to the
Bishop. When opening his cloak in front of Bishop Fray Juan of
Zumarraga it was discovered that the Virgin of the Tepeyac had
formed her image on it.
One of the aspects that have always attracted the attention
is that the «tilma» doesn't seem colored, but impregnated of
color. Doctor Ricardo Kuhn in 1936, being manager of the
Department of Chemistry of the University of Heidelberg, in
Germany, wanted to determine the nature of the pigments reaching
the conclusion that there are no vegetable colorings, animals,
or minerals that could give place to those combinations. Another
characteristic that a surprise is that it doesn't present
paintbrush prints. From 1531, Juan Diego's cloak was placed in a
hermitage, to be transferred two years later to the first
sanctuary of the Virgin of Guadalupe. In 1709 the building of
the «old Basilica» was finished which welcomed the cloak up to
1976, year in which the current Basilica was consecrated.
Oceania Synod finishes on high note as Archbishops and Bishops realize you can't sugarcoat the faith, for the shepherds must be the "salt of the earth."
Archbishop George Pell of Melbourne pinpointed the essence of the Oceania Synod when he quoted Cardinal Ratzinger's remarks, "we are called to be the salt of the earth, not sugar or artificial sweetening! Our duty is to comprehend ever more fully the teaching of Christ, not to reduce or "improve" it to suit ourselves." That also was the message conveyed by the Holy Father as he presided over the closing Mass and ceremonies this past weekend, assuring all that compromise will only water down the faith and make efforts for evangelization and teaching that much harder. For more, click on Oceania Synod.
FORMAL CONCLUSION FOR OCEANIA SYNOD AS
AUSTRALIAN BISHOPS ACKNOWLEDGE CRISIS FOR FAITH
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- On Saturday, December 12, the special
Synod of Bishops for Oceania formally ended its meeting with a
solemn Mass at St. Peter's Basilica.
In his homily at that Mass, Pope John Paul II thanked the 117
bishops from the Pacific region for the work they had accomplished
in meetings which began November 22 and ended last Friday. He
praised them for the "common witness" they had made during their
meetings, and encouraged them to continue the struggle against
forces which would reduce religion "to an individual experience
which should have no influence of the life of society."
The closing liturgy, like the one with which the Synod opened, was
marked by the rhythmic chants of Pacific Island cultures, and the
offertory procession was complemented by a Samoan dance.
The Australian bishops, together with
leaders of the Roman Curia, issued a 20-page document
outlining difficulties in the Australian Church, and detailing the
measures which should be taken to correct them.
The new document reflects the work of a special meeting, which held
at the request of Pope John Paul II just prior to the November
meeting of the special Synod of Bishops for Oceania. The Australian
bishops have also been making their ad limina visits to the Holy See
during recent weeks.
The document indicates that the Catholic faith is in crisis in Australia
today, because of the development of an extreme individualism, a
rejection of all authority, a decline in the sense of recognition of sin,
and a general belief that every individual should form his own
conscience by himself. The Australian bishops admit that the faithful
are not well informed about Church teachings, and that confusion has
arisen particularly around such issues as the role of women and the
acceptance of homosexuality.
In the face of these difficulties, the Australian bishops and Curial
officials agree that they must be more united in their emphasis on
the essential duties of bishops: to teach, sanctify, and govern, in
collaboration with the priests of their dioceses. The document
stresses the need for proper spiritual formation of priests, and
underlines the distinction between the roles of lay people and
ordained clergy. The document also insists on respect for Church
liturgical norms and for the text of approved liturgical translations.
Receiving a group of Australian bishops in a Vatican audience on Monday,
Pope John Paul II alluded to the "complex situation" of the Church in
that country, and cautioned against concessions to secular pressure
which would "force the Church into changes which she has not right
Special CD on Padre Pio released in Italy in anticipation of the faithful flocking to his grave and other sites related to this mystical stigmatist
A new CD was released in Italy this past week which documents the life of the mystic Capuchin priest Padre Pio who was declared venerable a year ago in the process toward beatification and eventual canonization. Many are anticipating a flood of pilgrims to descend on San Giovanni Rotundo in Southeastern Italy along the Adriatic Sea this year, but record numbers during the Jubilee 2000 year when Italy will be overrun with faithful pilgrims from Rome to Assisi to Loreto to Padre Pio's tomb and other sites regarding this holy priest who bore the visible stigmata. For more, click on Padre Pio.
THE LIFE OF FATHER PIO OF PIETRELCINA ON «CD-ROM»
Rome, 13 (NE) Under the name «Padre Pio», a cd-rom about the
life and works of Father Pio of Pietrelcina was recently put to
sale in Italy. The compact disc is the first one carried out in
Italy about the capuchin friar, and it narrates the Venerable
friar's life with numerous interviews and inedited pictures.
Father Pio´s life is a testimony of sacrifice taken with
happiness, of prodigies carried out with detachment and with
humility, of intense prayer, of the apostolate of the
reconciliation of thousands of penitents who made long lines to
be confessed by him, as well as of virtuous life already
proclaimed by the Church.
The great example of Christian life manifested along the life
of the capuchin friar attracts every year thousands of devotes
to the Sanctuary of San Giovanni Rotondo where the religious man
is buried. In view to the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, it is
expected that an unprecedented number of devotes pilgrim to this
sanctuary in the region of Foggia, Italy. On December last year,
nearly 30 years after God had called him to His presence, the
Holy See recognized the heroic virtues of who had received in
his body the stigmas of Our Lord.
Newsweek article stirs rumors about Holy Father's health again as Pope continues his hectic schedule
Claiming that Parkinson Disease is taking its toll on the Holy Father, the US Magazine Newsweek is stirring up rumors once again about the Pope's health despite the fact he remains the most active, busiest pontiff in history. Yet the article portends that soon Pope John Paul II will become so frail he won't be able to deliver his talks personally and will need to rest more. Resting is what most 77-year-olds do, but His Holiness is no ordinary man for he realizes, to paraphrase Robert Frost that "he has miles to go before he sleeps." While many reporters corroborate Newsweek's findings, just as many point to the tremendous stamina of this Polish Pope who has reigned over the universal Church for over two decades. For more, click on Pope and Parkinson's
NEW FOCUS ON POPE'S DECLINING HEALTH
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Just two weeks before Christmas, and
less than two months before his scheduled trip to Mexico and the
United States, the health of Pope John Paul II has once again
emerged as a major press topic, as a result of new reports in the
American magazine Newsweek.
Newsweek reported that the Pope will soon be unable to deliver his
own public speeches. That report was quickly echoed by several
Italian publications. Newsweek cited medical experts who remarked
on the usual progress of Parkinson's disease, and said that the Pope
has been showing the usual symptoms of the illness at each stage--
including the quivering of a hand, loss of control of facial muscles, an
unsteady walk, and most recently a slurring of speech. The Pope is
generally understood to suffer from Parkinson's disease, although the
Vatican has never officially acknowledged that diagnosis. As the
disease progresses, Newsweek's experts said, the Pope will soon be
unable to speak in public, and will be required to ask collaborators to
deliver his public talks.
Several Italian reporters, reacting to the Newsweek article, noted
that despite the obvious problems with his health, the Holy Father
continues to show remarkable stamina. He has recently presided at
several long public liturgical celebrations, and he attended all of the
sessions of the Synod for Oceania, which concluded in Rome this
For more headlines and articles, we suggest you go to the Catholic World News site. CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.
November 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message
For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE AND MORE
Dear children! Today I call you to prepare yourselves for the coming of Jesus. In a special way, prepare your hearts. May holy Confession be the first act of conversion for you and then, dear children, decide for holiness. May your conversion and decision for holiness begin today and not tomorrow. Little children, I call you all to the way of salvation and I desire to show you the way to Heaven. That is why, little children, be mine and decide with me for holiness. Little children, accept prayer with seriousness and pray, pray, pray. Thank you for having responded to my call.
PROVERB OF THE DAY
"A path to life is his who heeds admonition, but he who disregards reproof goes astray. "
Proverbs 10: 17
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December 15, 1998 volume 9, no. 242 DAILY CATHOLIC