This weekend we embrace a plethora of great feasts, beginning with Late Advent and the Optional Feast of Saint John Kanti, to Christmas Eve and the multi-Masses of the Nativity of Our Lord for Christmas. Saturday is the Feast of the Church's first martyr, Saint Stephen with Sunday set aside for the Holy Family even though it is traditionally the Feast of Saint John the Evangelist, the beloved Apostle. Monday we commemorate the Holy Innocents. For the liturgies, readings, meditations and vignettes for all the feasts covered for this Christmas issue, click on LITURGY
"I solemnly tell you, children of the world, that I give unto you such signs as I have not given since I walked among you."
Those words from Our Lord were part of His Christmas Message #578 to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart on the Solemnity of His Nativity in 1994. He reiterates over and over that He has given us every sign from His Birth nearly 2000 years ago to modern signs, and yet His children do not respond. His Blessed Mother Mary had prefaced those sentiments in her Christmas Message #131 on the Solemnity of the Incarnation of her Divine Son in 1991. She urged her little ones to take refuge in the stable with Him and cling to His Merciful Heart through prayer and seek the Peace that can only be found in the Son of God. For these special Christmas messages from Our Lady and Our Lord, click on "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..."
Medjugorje Monthly Message for DECEMBER 25th
Dear children! In this Christmas joy I desire to bless you with my blessing. In a special way, little
children, I give you the blessing of little Jesus. May He fill you with His peace. Today, little children, you do not have peace and yet you yearn for it. That is why, with my Son Jesus, on this day I call you to pray, pray, pray, because without prayer you do not have joy or peace or a future. Yearn for peace and seek it, for God is true peace. Thank you for having responded to my call.
For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE AND MORE
- Eleventh Part of the Holy Father's newest encyclical on Faith and Reason - Fides et Ratio in THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS
- Father Stephen Valenta's column HEARTS TO HEART
- Messages 328 and 329 from Our Lady in "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..."
- December 28th in Church History in our Time Capsule section: MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES
- LITURGY OF THE DAY for the Feast of the Holy Innocents and Tuesday, Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas and Optional Feast of Saint Thomas Beckett, bishop and martyr.
- ...and much more in our 249th and next-to-last issue for 1998!
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Holy Father prepares for Christmas by looking back on the fruits of the year
Just a few days removed from his sick-bed after a short bout with the flu, Pope John Paul II took time for his annual Christmas get-together with members of the Curia, showing an amazing resiliency to all in attendance. He reminisced about the past year, citing the accomplishments and listing those things that still need to be done including planned papal trips in 1999 as the Holy Father prepares the world for Jubilee 2000. At the same time the Vatican released figures showing an increase in pilgrims attending his weekly papal audiences, evidence that he remains one of the most popular leaders of the 20th century. For more, click on Pope remembers.
Chaldean Catholics give thanks for possible peace at Christmas
Just a week ago the outlook for a peaceful Christmas for Iraqi Catholics seemed pretty remote, but through the constant, fervent prayers of the people the politically correct mentality of the Clinton administration stopped the senseless bombings after four days of idiotic strikes that ended as it started - suddenly and with no rhyme nor reason for why it was launched in the first place. It seemed pretty ridiculous that they would honor Ramadan but pay little heed to Christmas for the majority of U.S. troops as well as the Chaldean Catholics who now can concentrate on the star of Bethlehem instead of missiles and anti-aircraft artillery. For more, click on Chaldean Catholics
Cardinal O'Connor urges reflection on reconciliation to stop the culture of death
Following in the same vein as fellow Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap., the Archbishop of New York City Cardinal John O'Connor has issued a Pastoral Letter calling for a greater attention to reconciliation in preparation for Jubilee 2000. He calls for a concerted effort to diminish the culture of death by emphasizing the sanctity of life which begins with the birth of the Savior on Christmas morn. He links reconciliation of mankind with the birth of Christ, His life, passion and death; then His Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven. Victory, the Cardinal points out, can be had by following God's Will and heeding His laws. For more, click on Cardinal O'Connor.
"Be at peace and learn to live together and love one another" Jerusalem Patriarch urges in striving for reconciliation among Palestinian Christians and Muslims
Using the occasion of the Christmas message to convey his point, Patriarch Michel Sabbah warned Palestinians that they are mere puppets being pulled by foreign powers who do not have the welfare of Palestine and its people at the top of their list. He included Israel in this accusation because of the Jews' failure to act on the peace accords. Representing the towns of Our Lord - Bethlehem and Nazareth, he urged all Palestinians to unite and put aside their differences in creed to stand as one against influences from outside sources who seek to stir up animosity between Christianity and Islamism. For more, click on Holy Land Patriarch
Fatima to be bigger and better in the new millennium!
In 1917 Our Lady asked the visionaries that a chapel be built on the site where she had appeared. Today there are plans underway to build one of the largest churches in the world at that famous site outside Lisbon, Portugal. Architects and planners are mulling over three different plans, hoping to settle on one edifice that could be built by 2005 and seat more than 10,000 pilgrims. That is massive and who knows, with the imminent Triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart which she promised at Fatima that one of the visionaries Lucia would witness, it should be full constantly with faithful who have come back to the one, true Church. For more, click on New Fatima Basilica
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WORD FOR THE DAY"And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." Luke 2: 7
373 - 372 - 371 - 370 - 369 and counting, hoping and praying...
New ports on the horizon as the DAILY CATHOLIC sails into the final year of the second millennium
In this weekend's editorial we at last can set aside politics and focus on the reason for the season - Christ and what He has left us - His Holy Church. That is the reason for the existence of the DAILY CATHOLIC and we announce some of the plans in the offing for 1999, adding new features that we hope will not only attract more readers, but bring more souls to understand the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith and use these tools for evangelizing others. For our commentary The present will be our most secure present! , click on CATHOLIC PewPOINT.
December Decorations that illuminate our souls through two Christmas poemsPRAYER & DEVOTIONS
For the special Novena Prayer for the days covered in this issue during this time of preparation in Late Advent and for the Christmas Novena, coinciding with the Eighth and Ninth Days of Las Posadas in preparation for the Solemnity of the Nativity of Jesus, click on ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS NOVENA
For our Christmas issue we bring you two special poems focusing on the reason for the season. With apologies to Clement Moore for slight plagiarism, we present a twist on his famous "Twas the night before Christmas" with a different take from a Catholic viewpoint as well as a heart-rending selection by an anonymous writer who has discovered something better than Christmas - Heaven.
For the Food for Thought poems "Christmas in Heaven" and "Twas the night before Christ's Mass", click on DECEMBER DECORATIONS THAT ENHANCE FOOD FOR THOUGHT APPETEASERS
TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
"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.
Events this weekend in Church History
On December 25th in 1223 the beloved Saint Francis of Assisi displayed the first creche scene depicting the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the manger with the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph along with the cadre of shepherds and animals and three kings of the Orient. For other time capsule events that happened in Church history on December 23rd through December 27th, click on MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES
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