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WEDNESDAY      December 9, 1998      SECTION TWO       vol 9, no. 238

To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION ONE

Events Today in Church History

      On this date in 1565 the last of the de' Medici popes passed away - Pope Pius IV who had reopened the landmark Council of Trent and successfully brought it to conclusion in 1563. For other events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history today, click on MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES

Historical Events in Church Annals for December 9:

(Feast of Blessed Juan Diego)


     Today is the Second Wednesday of Advent as well as being the Feast of Blessed Juan Diego, hermit and visionary of Guadalupe. It may be the last year we celebrate his feast as a beatified one for there are strong signs the Holy Father will canonize him this January during his visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe near Mexico City. Tomorrow is the Second Thursday of Advent. For the readings, liturgies, meditations and story of Juan Diego, click on LITURGY

Wednesday, December 9, 1998

December 9: BLESSED JUAN DIEGO, hermit and visionary of Guadalupe

Thursday, December 10, 1998


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


PRAYER for December 9: Second Wednesday of Advent

with a Catholic slant

provided by
Catholic World News Service



      VATICAN CITY ( - Pope John Paul II appointed a new apostolic nuncio to the United States on Monday to replace Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan who will return to the Vatican.

      Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, 68, is originally from Colombia and is now the rector of the Vatican's diplomatic school. His previous diplomatic posts included time as nuncio in Yugoslavia. In addition to acting as ambassador to the US, the archbishop will also be the Vatican's observer at the Organization of American States.

      The day before during his regular weekly public audience on Sunday, December 6, Pope John Paul II said that the contents of his latest encyclical, Fides et Ratio, "concern everyone." For that reason, he said, he would review the argument of the encyclical in coming Sunday audiences.

      The central focus of the encyclical, the Pope explained, is on "the search for truth," which is "an inevitable and proper need for every human being." In an age when the sheer volume of information threatens to overpower the more pressing need to discern fundamental truths, he continued, it is particularly important to recover the love for wisdom which is the basis for all true philosophy--indeed, the meaning of the very word "philosophy."

      There is no cause for fear in the search for truth, the Pope said. Thus the Church must always encourage the proper use of reason.


      GUATEMALA CITY ( - A priest charged in the beating death of a Guatemalan bishop was hospitalized on Friday, suffering from an ulcer, pneumonia, and stress.

      Father Mario Orantes was being held in jail awaiting trial when he suffered the attack and was taken to a nearby hospital under heavy guard. His lawyer said the priest has an ulcer and bronchial pneumonia. Father Orantes has been charged in the death of Auxiliary Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera in April, with whom he lived, but human rights groups and the Catholic Church believe he is innocent.

      Supporters allege that Bishop Gerardi was murdered by pro-military forces because of a report he released two days earlier that said the military was responsible for most of the deaths in the country's 36-year-long civil war. Father Orantes was previously hospitalized with respiratory problems on July 29, seven days after he was first arrested.


      SANTIAGO ( - Cardinal Carlos Oviedo, 71, the former archbishop of Santiago, died on Monday of a heart attack.

      The cardinal was admitted to the hospital last week because of problems stemming from a neurological order that forced him to resign last February. Cardinal Oviedo was elevated to the archbishopric of Santiago by Pope John Paul II in 1990, at nearly the same time that civilian rule was restored to Chile after the reign of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

      Cardinal Oviedo was a member of the Mercedarian order and had received degrees from the University of Chile and the Gregorian University in Rome.


      VALLETTA, Malta ( - The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, and of Malta celebrated its 900th birthday on Saturday by receiving the gift of a fort where it once fought off the encroachment of the Ottoman armies on Europe.

      The Maltese government announced on Friday that it would return a small fort in Valletta's harbor to the Hospitallers where Grand Master Jean de La Valette turned back a Turkish siege in 1565. The relationship between the small island nation and the Order dates back centuries when the knights took over the island given to them by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, built huge fortresses and grand palaces, and guarded the Mediterranean approaches to Europe.

      The order was founded in the 12th century by Europe's leading families to protect pilgrims travelling to the Holy Land. After Muslims expelled the Crusaders from the Holy Land, the Order moved first to Cyprus and then Rhodes before holding the line at Malta. Today, the Order is based in Rome and now has 11,500 members and 80,000 permanent volunteers from all over the world. The group maintains diplomatic relations with 81 countries and carries out humanitarian work on every continent, such as running hospitals in the Middle East.

      The agreement for the handover of Fort St. Angelo, announced by Maltese Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami on Friday, will allow the order to use the building "for international humanitarian and cultural activities." The fort has remained unused since it was turned over to Malta by the British government in 1979 after having been used as a base for the British navy for two centuries.

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.

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December 9, 1998 volume 9, no. 238   DAILY CATHOLIC