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TUESDAY      December 15, 1998      SECTION TWO       vol 9, no. 242

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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:


      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

Wednesday, December 16, 1998


      For the special Novena Prayer for this day during this time of preparation during Advent, click on ADVENT


PRAYER for December 15: Third Tuesday of Advent

with a Catholic slant

provided by
Catholic World News Service
and Noticias Eclesiales Church News



      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 constant intercession.

      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.


      VATICAN ( -- 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 to make."


      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.


      VATICAN ( -- 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 weekend.

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


"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