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TUESDAY      November 24, 1998      SECTION TWO       vol 9, no. 230

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      Today is the Feast of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, a martyred Vietnamese priest and his companion martyrs from that Southeast Asian country. Tomorrow we return to Ordinary Time until Saturday. For the readings, liturgies, meditations and vignettes on today's saint, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.

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 God’s grace, we, too, may die to self and life in and for Christ alone, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Wednesday, November 25, 1998


      Today's prayer is taken from the Opening Prayer for today's Mass honoring the martyred priest Saint Andrew Dung-Lac and his companion martyrs in Vietnam:

O God, source and origin of all fatherhood, You kept the blessed martyrs Andrew and his companions faithful to the cross of Your Son even to the shedding of their blood. Through their intercession enable us to spread Your love among our brothers and sisters, that we may be called and may truly be Your children.

with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World News Service



      VATICAN ( -- With a solemn Mass in St. Peter's basilica, Pope John Paul II opened a special Synod of Bishops for Oceania on Sunday, November 22.

      The synod, which brings together the bishops of Australia and the Pacific islands, will continue its deliberations until December 12. There are 117 bishops participating in the discussions, including all but 3 of the 85 bishops who head dioceses in that region.

      The opening liturgy had a distinctly exotic flavor. The introductory chant was preceded by the sounding of conch shells-- a traditional Pacific signal calling attention to an important event. The Prayers of the Faithful were offered in Fijian, Samoan, Tongan, Maori, and Pidgin, as well as English. The altar of St. Peter's was surrounded by huge vases of flowers native to the Southern Pacific islands.

      In his homily, Pope John Paul II observed that it was fitting, on the feast of Christ the King, for the bishops to come together "in order to give new energy to their pastoral care, which impels them to preach the kingdom of Christ amidst a diversity of cultures and of human, social, and religious traditions, and of an admirable plurality of peoples."

      Cardinal Jan Schotte, the secretary general of the bishops' synod, noted that this would be the first gathering ever to unite the bishops of this broad geographical region. He said that the Pope was expected to attend all of the general sessions.

      The main topics expected to attract the bishops' attention are the question of inculturation (how the teachings and practices of the Church can be incorporated into very different cultures); religious pluralism and the rights of minorities; and the difficulties of pastoral care in a setting where geographical distances and cultural heritage often impose serious obstacles.

      On Monday, November 23, the Synod began its deliberations. In his opening statement Archbishop Barry James Hickey of Perth, Australia, the reporter general for the Synod, laid particular stress on the secularizing trends which the Church must face in Oceania, along with the unsettling interest in Western materialism.

      Archbishop Hickey said that these challenges often divide Catholics. "One group proposes adopting a friendly attitude toward modernity," asking the Church to modify her teachings to adapt to contemporary moral standards, he said. Another group "insists on the fact that the Church must exercise her authority without fear, so that the faithful will not be betrayed by the false promises of modernity." As an example of those false promises, the archbishop cited contraception, which has resulted in a breakdown of family life.


      VATICAN ( -- "The Holy See is very concerned by the reports-- however fragmentary-- that have been received from Jakarta."

      With those words, papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls underlined the worries being expressed at the Vatican after the outbreak of violence against Catholics in Indonesia this weekend.

      Rioting on Sunday resulted in several deaths in Jakarta. Navarro- Valls pointed out that the fighting appeared to be based on religious divisions, and threatened "the traditional principles of tolerance in force in Indonesia, according to the country's constitution."

      A rising tide of unrest in Indonesia prompted Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja of Jakarta to raise his voice last week in an appeal for calm and peace. "Are we incapable of resolving differences among ourselves without resorting to violence?" the prelate asked on November 14, after clashes between police and students outside a Catholic university had resulted in 14 deaths. "We must find a solution to our problems, rather than make things worse."

      Aid agencies in Jakarta reported on Monday that 14 people were killed in riots by Muslim extremists against Christians and ethnic Chinese in Indonesia over the weekend.

      Mobs of Muslim youth set fire to churches, schools, and shops in north Jakarta on Saturday and Sunday. President B.J. Habibie, at the center of student protests over his plans to change Indonesia's political system, blamed unidentified agitators for the violence and urged restraint. "I call on the people not to be easily provoked to take actions to serve the purpose of a certain group that wants to disintegrate the nation," Habibie said.

      Many of the dead were killed when the mobs burned down buildings in which they had taken refuge. Eleven Catholic churches, mainly in Jakarta's Chinatown, were ransacked or burned. The rioters broke stained glass windows, smashed pews and statues, threw Bibles on a bonfire, and wrecked the altar.

      Meanwhile, the former governor of East Timor -- who is now a political advisor to Indonesian President B.J. Habibie -- said on Sunday that 44 people had been killed by military forces in the region.

      Mario Carrascalao told Portugese media that he had confirmed the death toll through his own sources. The International Red Cross said that 150 people fled their homes and took refuge in a church when soldiers moved into the Alas area after rebels attacked a military command post earlier this month.

      Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation in the world, invaded mainly Catholic East Timor in 1975 and annexed it the following year in a move not recognized by the United Nations. Portugal, the former colonial ruler, suspended talks with Jakarta on Friday after the first reports of the massacre of civilians reached Lisbon. The worst previous incident took place in the capital Dili in 1991 when 200 people were killed by soldiers during protests.


      WASHINGTON, DC ( - The new president of The Catholic University of America was sworn in last week, taking the controversial Oath of Fidelity and declaring that the university must be "unambiguously Catholic."

      Father David O'Connell, CM, was inaugurated as the 14th president of the institution by Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, the chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Cardinal James Hickey of Washington, the university chancellor. He is the first president of CUA to publicly recite the Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity since its institution by the Vatican in 1989.

      Father O'Connell said during his inaugural speech that CUA has a "unique responsibility" to be as a Catholic university, because of its foundation by the US bishops' conference. "Now is our time‚ to lead the discussion and model the relationship between Catholic universities and colleges and the Church," he said. While extolling the importance of academic freedom and quoting Pope John Paul II who has advocated "an authentic intellectual inquiry that is free," Father O'Connell cautioned that "academic freedom must evidence academic responsibility, both of which seek truth through fidelity within the Catholic university."


      VATICAN ( -- Pope John Paul II will meet with Congo's President Laurent Kabila in a private audience at the Vatican on Tuesday, November 24.

      The meeting will be a brief one, because the Holy Father is attending all sessions of the special synod of bishops for Oceania. Nevertheless, because the continuing civil war in Congo has been a matter of deep concern at the Holy See, the Pope will make time for the encounter.

      Kabila is in Europe for a series of meetings with world leaders. He will visit Italy's President Luigi Scalafaro tomorrow, and is expected in France later this week for a meeting of African leaders and visits with leading French diplomats. While in Rome, Kabila will also visit the leaders of the St. Egidio community, which has gained an international reputation for mediating conflicts in African countries.

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.


"It is the Lord's blessing that brings wealth, and no effort can substitute for it."

Proverbs 10: 22

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November 24, 1998 volume 9, no. 230   DAILY CATHOLIC