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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)
Death of Saint Hipparchus, magistrate from Samosata who was crucified along with the marytrs Philotheus, Abibus, James, Lollian, Paregrus and Romanus and became known as the "Seven Martyrs of Samosata" during the terrible reign of Roman Emperor Maximinus who had ordered them to worship the pagan gods. When they refused, they were discovered to be Christians and cruelly tortured before being put to death.
Death of Pope Pius IV, 224th successor of Peter, at the age of sixty-six. This Milan-born pontiff and last of the de' Medici family, who served for five years, reopened the landmark Council of Trent and brought it to a successful conclusion. He intervened in European politics in order that Piedmont might be restored to Emmanuel Filiberto, thus making the House of Savoy a part of Italian history. He also pardoned all sinners in a widesweeping gesture as part of the counter-reformation.
Death of Pope Clement IX, 238th successor of Peter, who was Sovereign Pontiff for two years. He acted as intermediary between France, Spain, England and Holland at the Peace of Aquisgrana, known also as the "Clementine Peace" in his honor. He also oversaw the completion of the Bernini Colonade of St. Peter's Square (284 columns) that were decorated with the statues of 140 saints.
Friend of Pope John Paul II, the Polish countryman Lech Walesa, head of the Solidarity campaign, is elected president in Poland, opening up resurgence of the Church there after decades of suppression by the communist regime.
LITURGY OF THE DAY
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
Wednesday December 9:
Second Wednesday of Advent and
Optional Memorial of Blessed Juan Diego, hermit and visionary of Guadalupe
Violet and White vestments
First Reading: Isaiah 40: 25-31
Psalms: Psalm 103: 1-4, 8, 10
Gospel Reading: Matthew 11: 28-30
December 9: BLESSED JUAN DIEGO, hermit and visionary of Guadalupe
Ten years after Hernando Cortez conquered Mexico for the world, Our Lady began her conquest of Mexico and all of the Americas for her Divine Son's world when she chose a simple peasant to convey one of the greatest miracles in the history of apparitions. On a frosty December morning in 1531 Blessed Juan Diego, a 51-year-old Aztec peasant. Juan and his wife, whose name is not recorded, were recent converts to Catholicism due to the influence of the Spanish evangelization which Cortez brought with him from Spain. Juan, a recent convert to Catholicism from the pagan Aztec traditions and practice that had taken its toll in the human sacrifice of hundreds and hundreds of thousands reaching into the millions. This was one of the main reasons Our Blessed Mother came in 1531, to stop the human sacrifice; both with the pagan Aztec traditions and the senseless slaughter of the Conquistadors who had cut a swath of blood across Mexico on Cortez' march to Mexico City from the Gulf. By exemplifying a gentler, Christ-like nature, not only would the native peoples understand what the missionaries were conveying, but also remind the Spanish soldiers of their roots and prompt them to repent of their warring ways. Into this atmosphere Our Lady chose Juan Diego to impart her message and give to him the on-going miracle of the miraculous tilma worn by Juan on the day of the apparition. In the nature of replacing the ridiculous with the sublime, Blessed Mary asked Juan to have a chapel or church built on the site where there had been an Aztec shrine. This site was the hill of Tepeyac. She asked him to go to the local bishop with this request. One can imagine the bishop's first reaction when he encountered this poor Indian approaching him...and then telling him why he was there. No one should be surprised at the Bishop's response. Bishop Zumarraga demanded a sign that this message Juan brought was truly Heaven-sent. Needless to say, Juan was intimidated and disheartened. He didn't even want to go back to the hill, but through the grace of the Holy Spirit there he was again the next day - December 12th, trembling on Tepeyac Hill both from the winter chill and in trepidation of what he would tell the Blessed Virgin and what, in turn, she would ask him to do. In the custom of the people of his day, Juan was dressed in simple pants and a shirt, sandals, a straw short-visored sombrero and a tilma, which was a scapular-like garment made from a versatile and strong-fibred cactus plant indigenous to this region. Shivering as he waited, he almost did not notice the light and the gentle whisp of wind as Our Lady hovered near the top of the hill. He moved closer and Our Lady sought to allay his fears, bidding him come closer and tell her the Bishop's reaction though she already knew. Juan related his encounter and the need for an outward sign. Our Lady responded with the request that he pick the roses growing out of the rough, semi-frozen tundra of Tepeyac. Juan was aghast to find rich red roses in full bloom and he quickly stooped to pick as many of these rich beauties as he could, gathering them in the full of his front tilma, then pulling it up against his chest to protect them in a pouch-like fashion; then scurrying off to present this "sign" to the Monsignor Zumarraga. Panting and nearly out of breath, he reached the Episcopo alerting the guards outside. His insistance to see the Bishop brought rebuffs from those in the outer circle who thought it odd that an Aztec peasant should be so bold, yet through the grace of God Juan was admitted to the Bishop's chambers and there excitedly exclaimed, "I have the sign, your Excellency!" Impatient, doubting and yet curious, Zumarraga beckoned Juan to approach him. Blessed Diego came near the foot of the Bishop and knelt in reverence as he unrolled his tilma. Juan's eyes were fixed on the fresh petals that tumbled to the floor and did not see the shock and amazement on the Bishop's face as his vision was transfixed on the image he beheld emblazoned on Juan's poor, fragmented tilma. To this day one can see at the Shrine an mega-sized enlargement of Our Lady's eye on the tilma. In the eye, one can see the reflection of the Bishop and his entourage as they stared in disbelief. While transfixed in this incredibility, Juan straightened up and, at once, realized the true miracle Our Lady had endowed. There on his tilma was an image of how she had appeared to him just hours before, in full color. She had appeared to Juan not as Our Lady of Grace, or as a European-kind of visage, but as an Aztec woman standing on the moon, dressed in a finely detailed full-flowing dress or garment that symbolized many of the Aztec traditions. It was an image that would be accepted by the native Indians of this land moreso than the European icons of the Virgin the Spanish had brought with them. As always the Mother of God has a method to her message and the message conveyed stirred the Bishop to a reconversion and a rededication to evangelizing and serving the Indians while preaching the reason for Our Lady's visit. The results, guided by God, spread faster than the December wind blowing across the Mexican terrain. Within a short time, countless native Indians had been brought into Holy Mother Church's fold. To top that, almost instantly the people realized the error of their ways in the ancient Aztec ways of human sacrifice and abandoned the practice. The population flourished and as the Church dwindled in the Old World due to the erosion of the Protestant Reformation, the pendulum of plentitude swung to the New World in graces and conversions. It was the beginning of a reverence and veneration that would be carried through every generation up through today. Many expect Blessed Juan to be canonized, possibly as early as this coming January at the close of the Synod of the Americas in Mexico City.
Thursday, December 10, 1998
First Reading: Isaiah 41: 13-20
Psalms: Psalm 145: 1, 8-13
Gospel Reading: Matthew 11: 11-15
PRAYER & DEVOTIONS
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 9: Second Wednesday of Advent
Heavenly Father, with what Love did you send Your Only Begotten Son to earth. With what Love did You watch over Your beloved daughter, Mary, who carried Jesus in her Immaculate womb. Heavenly Father, as we begin the second week of Advent, we ask You to help us to sweep away the cobwebs of lukewarmness from our minds and our hearts by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us, and upon all the world.
NEWS & VIEWS
with a Catholic slant
United States to have new Apostolic Nuncio as Holy Father selects a veteran from Columbia after encouraging all to seek truth through the proper use of reason
The United States will have a new apostolic nuncio. That was the news from the Vatican Monday when the Pope chose veteran nuncio Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo to replace Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan who is being reassigned duties in Rome. Montalvo is a sixty-two year-old Columbian who has been the rector of the Holy See's diplomatic training corps. Since 1967 he has served as nuncio in Argentina, Bolivia, El Salvador, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Belarus and Yugoslavia. Besides his diplomatic duties, he will ordain bishops and represent the Vatican on social issues such as capital punishment which should be interesting this January in St. Louis. Meanwhile, the day before in Rome the Holy Father emphasized the importance of his most recent encyclical Fides et Ratio by informing all that he would make that the topic of his upcoming Sunday Audiences. He reminded those attending that we must all strive to "recover the love for wisdom" - the root of philosophy and therein, by using reason we will come to the deduction of truth - the truths set down by God. For more, click on Papal Activities.
POPE APPOINTS NEW US APOSTOLIC NUNCIO
AFTER CENTERING HIS SUNDAY AUDIENCE ON FIDES ET RATIO
VATICAN CITY (CWNews.com) - Pope John Paul II appointed a
new apostolic nuncio to the United States on Monday to
replace Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan who will return to
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
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.
Latest twist in Guatamalan bishop's murder investigation: Framed priest hospitalized.
Just a few days after the prosecutor for the Guatamalan government resigned in the murder investigation of slain human rights leader Auxiliary Bishop Juan Gerardi Conendra last April, the scapegoat priest Father Manuel Orantes, who has been unfairly held, came down with pneumonia and was whisked from his jail cell to a hospital to be treated. Besides investigations of a cover-up by the government and military over the Bishop's murder, now come allegations of mistreatment of the prisoner - an innocent priest accused because he lived in the same house as the Bishop. There has been no other evidence, yet he remained in prison for months where he has contracted the lung disease, an ulcer and stress. Unfair imprisonment will do that to you! For more, click on priest sick in sick investigation
PRIEST ACCUSED OF MURDER OF GUATEMALA BISHOP HOSPITALIZED
GUATEMALA CITY (CWNews.com) - 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.
Chile's Cardinal Oviedo dies of heart attack on Monday in Santiago
A heart attack claimed the life of Chile's leading prelate Cardinal Carlos Cavada Oviedo, former head of the Archdiocese of Santiago and the same city where he died after a week's hospitalization. Efforts to revive him failed. The Cardinal was the first professor and director of the theology faculty at the Pontifical Catholic University in Chile. He was named titular Bishop and Auxiliary to the Archbishop of Concepcion by Pope Paul VI in 1964 and presented the red hat by Pope John Paul II at the Consistory on November 26, 1994. He played a key role in Chile's redevelopment after the Pinochet regime ended. For more, click on Cardinal Oviedo
CHILEAN CARDINAL DEAD OF HEART ATTACK
SANTIAGO (CWNews.com) - Cardinal Carlos Oviedo, 71, the
former archbishop of Santiago, died on Monday of a heart
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.
Crucial Medieval Fort defended by Knights deeded to the same Order nine hundred years later
The medieval Fort Sant'Angelo on the island of Malta, guarded and defended by the ancestors of the first crusaders was given to the very Order which defended it when the Maltese prime minister handed over the deed to the Hospitaller Order of the Knights of Malta of St. John of Jerusalem. It was a fitting gift to this great Order which kept the Turks from advancing into Europe. They were celebrating the 900th anniversary of the founding of this noble band of men dedicated to defending the faith and protecting pilgrims to the Holy Land. For more, click on Malta.
ORDER OF KNIGHTS GIVEN MALTA FORT ON ANNIVERSARY
VALLETTA, Malta (CWNews.com) - 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