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MONDAY      November 23, 1998      SECTION TWO       vol 9, no. 229

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


LITURGY OF THE DAY

     Today is the Thirty-fourth and final Monday in Ordinary Time as well as the feasts of Pope Saint Clement I, martyred 4th successor of Peter, Saint Columban, Irish abbot and missionary, and Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro, Mexican martyred priest. Tomorrow we commemorate the feast of the Vietnam martyrs, specifically the priest Saint Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions. For the readings, liturgy, meditations and vignettes on these feasts, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.

Monday, November 23, 1998

November 23: SAINT CLEMENT I, Pope and Martyr

The third successor of Saint Peter, and fourth pope Pope Saint Clement I was elected pontiff in 88 AD. He ruled the See of Rome for most of the last decade of the First Century. During that time he restored the Sacrament of Confirmation as St. Peter had instructed. He also is the one who assigned the popular phrase "Amen" which means "so be it" at the end of all prayers. Clement authored many letters, specifically to the Corinthians in which he capsulized the role of the Church in rebuking schism, "They who are great," he wrote, "cannot yet subsist without those that are little, nor the little without the great. In our body, the head without the feet is nothing, neither the feet without the head. And the smallest members of our body are useful and necessary to the whole." Fearing his influence, the Roman Emperor Trajan had Cement exiled to the Crimea. There the Holy Father converted so many that the enraged Emperor had him carted out to sea and there, with an anchor tied around his neck, cast into the depths of the Mediterranean. He has been venerated ever since the end of the 4th Century in the basilica of St. Clement in Rome.

November 23: SAINT COLUMBAN, Abbot and Missionary

Born in West Leinster, Ireland around 540, Saint Columban was a product of the fruits of Saint Patrick's missionary efforts. Though Columban's mother objected to his entering the monastery at Bango, he did, becoming a monk. With 12 other monks he was sent to evangelize France in 585, then still called Gaul. Five years later Columban was given land to contruct a monastery at Annegray and followed that with two more houses in Luxeuil and Fontaines. Soon after he had followers through most of Western Europe who built like monasteries in upper France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. With the number of monks swelling to well over 250, St. Columban penned a Rule for the monks in addition to a guide for confessors called a Penitentiary. Because of his origins, Columban installed Celtic usages in the monastery which he defended as exempt from the bishop's jurisdiction. Angered by this, the bishops expelled him from France in 603 after Columban had written Pope Saint Gregory the Great defending his position against the impositions placed on him by the Gallican bishops. He settled in Burgundy in the south part of France but was soon banished from there along with all his monks because he refused to act as celebrant for King Theodoric II who would not give up his concubines. Returning to Ireland by sea, Columban was shipwrecked and was offered refuge by King Theodebert II of Neustria, where he went to Metz, east of Paris in Northern France evangelizing the Alemanni around the area of Bregenz. All was going well until his old nemesis Theodoric waged war on Theodebert and captured the land. Columban again had to flee, this time going east through Switzerland and south through the Italian Alps where he was welcomed by Milanese King Agilulf who was an Arian Lombard. Soon after Columban founded the monastery of Bobbio in the Lombard mountains south of Milan and just north of Genoa near the Mediterranean. There he wrote the Monastic Rule, and many treatises against the Arian heresy. Bobbio became one of the great monasteries of that time period, a center of culture for learning and spirituality. Columban died on November 23, 615 at the age of 72. In 1969, Pope Paul VI proclaimed his feast be celebrated in the Roman Calendar on November 23rd.

November 23: BLESSED MIGUEL AGUSTIN PRO, Presbyter and Martyr

Venerated throughout Mexico, Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro was a Jesuit priest who was martyred during the Church persecutions early in this century. Born in the shadow of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1891, Miguel entered the Jesuit seminary. Throughout his life Miguel was a victim soul, suffering much in reparation for others. He suffered particularly severe stomach ailments. While in the Mexican novitiate in 1911, revolution broke out and by 1914 the Jesuits feared for their lives. Miguel, along with many of his colleagues, were sent first to Laredo, Texas to continue their studies, then to California. They were then sent by the Provincial to Nicaragua, but were soon called to Spain. In his final year of studies, as a deacon, Miguel was assigned to Belgium where he was ordained in 1925. He was reassigned to his beloved Mexico City but within a month the Mexican regime banned all public worship. In secret Father Pro ministered to the faithful, always staying a step ahead of the government spies. However, in November 1927 a car which had been previously owned by one of Miguel's brothers was seen tossing a bomb toward Mexican President Calles' car along Paseo de la Reforma. Needless to say all the Pro brothers were arrested and a kangaroo court condemned them to a firing squad. The youngest brother, at the eleventh hour, was granted a reprieve and exiled to the U.S. Miguel and his other brother were not so fortunate and they were both marched into the courtyard on November 23, 1927. There, as the government rifles were aimed at the two men, Father Miguel stretched out his arms wide proclaiming in a loud, clear voice: "Viva Cristo Rey!" which in English means "Long live Christ the King!" Shots rang out and within seconds Miguel had joined the long list of martyrs. Three years later a campaign for his beatification was begun. He is still waiting canonization. With his devotion to "Cristo Rey" it is fitting that he is honored the day after the Solemnity of Christ the King.

Tuesday, November 24, 1998

November 24: Memorial of martyrs St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions

      On June 19, 1988, Pope John Paul II canonized a group of martyrs to the exalted position of saint, as recognized by the Roman Catholic Church. This group of martyrs consisted of 117 people who died for the Roman Catholic Faith in the nineteenth century in Vietnam. Among the group, Saint Andrew Dung-Lac is mentioned my name, most probably because he was a priest and the most visible. The majority of the canonized group remain unnamed. Nonetheless, the fact remains that these people all gave their lives preferring the Eternal Life with Christ to the worldly life that was offered to them. Andrew Dung-Lac was a diocesan priest in Vietnam. He was born around 1839. The information available does not state when, specifically, he died, but the fact of his death - a death by martyrdom - are authenticated by Holy Mother Church. As with all the Saints, we are called to seek the intercession of the person whose feast is celebrated, in some manner taking their life into our own, examining where we can imitate this person best. Not all of us will be called to shed our blood for Christ. All of us are called to die to ourselves and to live in Christ, through total surrender, every day. Let us all, in this final week before Advent, recall in our hearts first and then our minds, the total obedience given by Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions to God. Let us ask his intercession so that, with Godís grace, we, too, may die to self and life in and for Christ alone, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

PRAYERS & DEVOTION

      Today's Prayers are taken from the Opening Prayers for the Masses honoring Pope Saint Clement I followed by Saint Columban, and then Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro:

All-powerful and ever-living God, we praise Your power and glory revealed to us in the lives of Your saints. Give us joy on this feast of Saint Clement, the priest and martyr who bore witness with his blood to the love he proclaimed and the gospel he preached.

Lord, You called Saint Columban to live the monastic life and to preach the gospel with zeal. May his prayers and example help us to seek You above all things and to work with all our hearts for the spread of the faith.

God our Father, You gave Your servant Miguel Agustin the grace to seek ardently Your greater glory and the salvation of Your people. Grant that, through his intercession and following his example, we may serve You and glorify Your by performing our daily duties with fidelity and joy and effectively helping our neighbor.


WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World News Service

HEADLINES:

POPE CAUTIONS AUSTRIAN BISHOPS ON DIALOGUE

      VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Pope John Paul II on Friday reminded the bishops of Austria that the process of dialogue requires "a minimum agreement on basics." That reminder comes shortly after the Austrian bishops held an unprecedented conference with Catholic dissident groups.

      Last June, during a visit to Austria, the Pope alluded to the deep controversies and divisions among Catholics in that country when he mentioned the "urgent" need to establish "a true sense of dialogue within the Church." Any constructive dialogue, the Holy Father emphasized, would be a "spiritual experience" based on a mutual desire to pursue salvation.

      Friday, in a meeting with the Austrian bishops, the Pope returned to that same point, saying that "communion" within the faith is indispensable to any dialogue. He urged the bishops to help their faithful develop "an ecclesial soul."

      Bishop Johann Weber of Graz, the president of the Austrian bishops' conference, later told reporters that he considered the Pope's remarks as "positive" in tone. The only clearly negative remark came when the Holy Father reiterated the teaching that women cannot be ordained to the priesthood, Bishop Weber said.

      In their unique "Dialogue for Austria" late in October, the Austrian bishops joined representatives of various Catholic groups and dissent organizations in endorsing a series of statements about the life of the Church. Several of those statements-- on issues such as contraception, homosexuality, divorce, and the ordination of women at least to the deaconate-- appeared to challenge Church teachings on the same issues.

      In his remarks Friday, Pope John Paul said that dialogue among Catholics cannot obscure the fundamental reality that the Church is not merely a human community, but also a transcendent mystery-- "a sort of icon of the Holy Trinity"-- engaged in the divine plan for salvation. He insisted that all dialogue must be based on that understanding.


KEVORKIAN SHOWS TAPE OF "ACTIVE EUTHANASIA"

      DETROIT (CWNews.com) - Assisted suicide activist Jack Kevorkian thumbed his nose at Michigan's new law banning assisted suicides on Friday by releasing a videotape of an assisted suicide to the media.

      The tape, shown last night on the CBS news show 60 Minutes, depicted Kevorkian giving a lethal injection to Thomas Youk, 52, of Waterford Township, Michigan on September 17. Youk suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease, or amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and was unable to pull a string to start the injections himself as Kevorkian's "death machine" had usually worked. Instead, Kevorkian said he inserted the needles and injected Youk himself.

      "We need active euthanasia. There are patients who just can't do this for themselves," Kevorkian told the Oakland Press newspaper. "From now on I'm doing them all that way -- it is faster, cleaner and easier." He also acknowledged helping "well over 130" people kill themselves since 1990. He said he released the videotape to cause a showdown with the government.

      Kevorkian has been acquitted three times of assisted suicide charges, but the state passed a new law this year, specifically defining the law to include Kevorkian's actions. The lawyer who represented Kevorkian in those trials, Geoffrey Fieger, said he is not representing the retired pathologist in his latest campaign, and said Kevorkian "is out there alone ... in uncharted territory."


NEW LEADER PROMISES PROFESSIONAL SWISS GUARD

      VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- The new leader of the Swiss Guard, Colonel Pius Segmueller, has said that one of his principal goals will be to convert the Vatican service into a truly professional armed force.

      Colonel Segmueller said that in pursuit of this objective, he will install a new system of professional formation for the members of the Guard. That training program will be administered in conjunction with the Swiss defense ministry and will use the skills of trained specialists within the Swiss armed forces.

      Colonel Segmueller was designated as the commandant of the Swiss Guard on June 2. At the time he was serving as an officer in the Swiss army.


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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November 23, 1998 volume 9, no. 229   DAILY CATHOLIC