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August 4, 1999
SECTION TWO vol 10, no. 145
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION ONE
Today is the Feast of that gentle confessor who converted so many souls in France - the beloved Cure d'Ars - Saint John Marie Baptist Vianney. On Thursday we commemorate the Eighteenth Thursday in Ordinary Time and the Feast of the Dedication of St. Mary Major in Rome. For the readings, liturgies, meditations and vignettes for these feasts, click on DAILY LITURGY.
Wednesday, August 4, 1999
First Reading: Numbers 13: 1-2, 25-33; 14: 1,26-29, 34-35
Psalms: Psalm 106: 4, 6-7, 13-14, 21-23
Gospel Reading: Matthew 15: 21-28
SAINT JOHN MARIE BAPTIST VIANNEY, CURE OF ARS
This humble parish priest was born on May 8, 1786 in Dardilly near Lyons, France three years before the French
Revolution. Few realized this young John Baptist Vianney would stage his own revolution within the Church - one which would set the model for the importance of the parish priest and foster numerous vocations to the priesthood at a time when the Church was greatly persecuted and misunderstood. He saw first hand the
slaughter of the clergy and exile of many of the priests who he longed for. Thus at age 20, with a fervent desire
to rebuild the Church in France he began studying for the priesthood under the saintly Abbe Balley at Ecully.
Because he was not a learned man, young John had great difficulty with his studies and struggled greatly,
particularly with the Latin. Because of his grades he was not protected from the military draft and was called to
Napoleon's army in 1808. Less than a year later, realizing the folly of war, he deserted and returned home in
hiding. In 1810, the little French general, realizing how the populace was turning against him, granted amnesty
to all deserters. This freed Vianney to pursue his studies where he was tonsured. Though he continued to
struggle with his studies, the Abbe saw the qualities of holiness in John and interceded for his ordination. Thus
John became a priest in 1815 despite his poor grades. His first assignment was under the Abbe as curate
where he remained until the Abbe's death in 1817. The next year the bishop assigned Fr. Vianney as the Cure
d'Ars where he remained for the rest of his life - 42 years - as a humble, parish priest. His first priority was to
reinstill the reverence for the Blessed Sacrament and then reignite the flame of involvement in a parish that had
become exceedingly indifferent. He waged a constant war on immorality and over-spending, eventually winning
over the entire village though not before impassioned bouts with enemies who wanted to cling to the good life.
But Fr. Vianney won out, opening a school for girls, a shelter for orphans and a shrine to Saint Philomena which drew enormous throngs as a place of pilgrimage. Many believe it was not the shrine they were being attracted to, but rather this simple, holy priest who spent sixteen to eighteen hours a day in the confessional counseling through spiritual direction, and giving absolution. Though he was laughed at by many of his peers and some of the villagers for his ignorance in things of the world, he had the unique gift of reading souls and the confessional became his classroom where he was the master teacher. As befits a holy man, the more one strives for sanctity the more satan assaults. Such was the case with Fr. Vianney who was subjected to demonic attacks for over thirty years. Though he was not an intellectual, the wisdom which he spoke told volumes. One such pearls of wisdom was on "Whom the devil torments most?" in "Beware if you have no temptations". Every time the bishop sought to transfer him, his parishioners stormed the ordinary with protests, causing the bishop to back down. Fr. Vianney himself longed to leave, not for another parish, but rather for the life of a Carthusian monk. Three times he sought the contemplative life but each time his parishioners brought him back and he finally realized his life would always be healing sinners and tending to the desolate. His fame
spread throughout Europe and in 1843 he was awarded the medal of the Legion of Honor. He promptly sold it
for the value it brought and gave the money to the poor. Exhausted from a life-long dedication to his
parishioners and pilgrims, he died peacefully on August 4, 1859 a year after Our Lady, whom he had a deep devotion to, had appeared at Lourdes affirming the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. This holy saint truly believed in the power of prayer, saying "Private prayer is like straw scattered here and there, if you set it on fire it makes a long of little flames. But gather these straws into a bundle and light them, and you get a mighty fire, rising like a column into the sky; public prayer is like that." Such was the power of Mass, the Real Presence of the Blessed Sacrament, and the Holy Rosary and this devotion is still evident today in this tiny village which has become the shrine of St. John Vianney who was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1925 and four years later proclaimed "patron of parish priests."
Thursday, August 5, 1999
Thursday August 5:
Eighteenth Thursday in Ordinary Time and
Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Mary's Major in Rome
Green or White vestments
First Reading: Numbers 20: 1-13
Psalms: Psalm 95: 1-2, 6-9
Gospel Reading: Matthew 16: 13-23
DEDICATION OF BASILICA OF SAINT MARY MAJOR IN ROME
Many believe that Saint Mary Major Basilica was derived from an apparition in which Our Lady appeared,
designating a place where she desired a basilica in her honor be built in the early centuries. Legend has it that
on the evening of August 5th somewhere around the year 358 in the midst of the hot Roman summer the site
was miraculously outlined in snow the next morning when the citizens awoke. Thus she became known as "Our
Lady of the Snows". There are conflicting reports as to the date. Some annals contend it was August 15th, which
would later become the Feast of the Assumption. Regardless it was August and for it to snow during the most
sizzling month of the year when most Romans abandon their city for the cooler mountains, was truly a miracle.
Pope Saint Liberius realized this immediately and laid the foundations for the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. Pope Saint Sixtus III designated August 5th as the official date for commemorating this feast around the year 435. Above the portals of this Basilica are the words "Plebus Dei" which means "Dedicated to the People of God." From the seventh century on the Basilica was also known as "Blessed Mary at the Crib", because many believed that within this Basilica nestled in the narrow streets of Rome was the true manger from Bethlehem miraculously transported. This has never been proven and many believe it exists there mystically in the Tabernacle where her Divine Son resides Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist. In 1586,
another Sixtus, Pope Sixtus V entered this feast into the Roman Calendar.
PRAYER & DEVOTIONS
l; Today, in honor of Saint John Vianney, we bring you the Opening Prayer for the Mass in his honor:
Father of Mercy, You made St. John Vianney outstanding in his priestly zeal and concern for Your people. By his example and prayers, enable us to win our brothers and sisters to the love of Christ and come with them to eternal glory.
WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS
with a Catholic slant
Holy Father praises spirit of Assisi as restored Basilica reopens after being destroyed by the '87 earthquake
Reminiscing about his own experiences in Assisi, calling it a center for reconciliation and the icon of peace as its most famous son Saint Francis of Assisi was known for, Pope John Paul II extolled the graces of Assisi and called on all peoples to emulate the ideals of this peaceful community in the Umbrian mountains that has never lost the faith nor the resolve to rebuild after utter destruction from the terrible earthquakes two years ago. For more, click on Assisi rebounds.
ASSISI MESSAGE CONTINUES TO FASCINATE AS ASSISI CELEBRATES FORGIVENESS AND RECOVERS TREASURES
John Paul II Speaks on Basilica's Reopening after being Destroyed in '97 Earthquake
ASSISI, AUG 2 (ZENIT).- On the occasion of the reopening of the Basilica
of St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi, heavily damaged in the 1997
earthquakes, John Paul II sent a message to mark the "Celebration of
Forgiveness." In his message for the celebration in the land of St.
Francis, the Holy Father referred to the "forgiveness and
reconciliation" that characterize the "city of peace," which is
experienced today in a very special way.
In his message, the Holy Father also referred to the meeting of world
religious leaders held on October 26, 1986, and invited everyone to live
"in the spirit of Assisi, a spirit of reconciliation, prayer and mutual
The "Celebration of Forgiveness" has been held in Assisi since August 2,
1216, when Pope Honorius III officially confirmed the great forgiveness
or "Porziuncola indulgence" that Francis implored from Christ. It was in
this chapel, constructed by the Assisi saint with his own hands, as John
Paul II wrote in his message, that Francis "welcomed 'our sister, bodily
According to the Pope, the Porziuncola chapel, housed within the
Basilica's walls, "preserves and offers a very special message and
grace, which are present today and are a strong spiritual call to those
who allow themselves to be attracted by their example." The Holy Father
quoted Simone Weil's significant testimony, a "daughter of Israel,
fascinated by Christ": "While alone in the romantic little chapel of St.
Mary of the Angels, an incomparable miracle of purity, where Francis
often prayed, something stronger than myself forced me, for the first
time in my life, to kneel down."
The strength of Assisi, the Holy Father assures us, is "in the gift of
gratuitous forgiveness, which gives us peace with God and with
ourselves, infusing in us renewed hope and joy of living."
"Within the old walls of the little church, one can taste the sweetness
of prayer in the company of Mary, Jesus' Mother, and experience her
powerful intercession." Thus, this place became for Francis the "land of
meeting" with God's forgiveness. Because of this, "he wanted everyone to
share in this personal experience of God's mercy and he implored for and
received a plenary indulgence for all those who, having repented and
confessed, come here as pilgrims to this little church to receive the
remission of sins and the superabundance of divine grace," the Holy
The Pope concluded by saying that he wishes all "those who follow in the
footsteps of the 'poverello of Assisi,' in a genuine attitude of penance
and reconciliation, and receive the Porziuncola indulgence with the
required interior dispositions, the joy of meeting God and the
tenderness of his merciful love."
Meanwhile further north, on August 2, Assisi rejoiced over an
unforgettable "Forgiveness Celebration." Once again, the traditional
event of love and reconciliation that characterizes the "city of peace,"
took place in the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, recently restored,
following the September 1997 earthquake. The Basilica houses the
"Porziuncola," the small chapel built by St. Francis with his own hands.
In the words of Fr. Massimo Reschiglian, Provincial Minister of the
Minor Friars, today's celebration "is a sign of hope and a new beginning
for the people of Umbria and Las Marcas who suffered the earthquake."
The structural restoration of the Basilica began in October. The work
entailed three miles of perforations in the walls, columns, and facade
to insert steel cables to "tie" down the building. The vaults were
reinforced with modern, extremely light resin, and the roof has been
totally redone. An existing mathematical model of the Basilica and a
computer have made possible the simulated reaction of the building to
possible telluric movements.
Fr. Giuseppe Bertuzzi, an architect who has closely followed all the
phases of the work with "passionate competence," said that the most
modern techniques have been used to restore life to this treasure of the
spirit and allow pilgrims to visit the Basilica in complete safety.
The restoration has left its imprint on the Basilica's appearance. The
lighting is completely new, giving the impression at times of a "starlit
sky." The tones of the wall coloring also give a new effect. Half of the
204,300 square feet of the Basilica's surface has been whitewashed with
three layers of lime and splashed with natural earth of very light,
almost white tones -- the custom in the 16th century.
The work was financed by the Umbria Region to which Assisi belongs, with
funds donated in view of the Jubilee of 2000. The restoration of other
sites will be completed by October.
"We have not opened a museum, but a holy place where even today the
presence of the divine can be experienced by men," the Franciscan
The last "Celebration of Forgiveness" before the Jubilee was given
genuine expression in this shrine: a place which has "experienced the
eruption of God's grace in the world," Fr. Giancarlo Rosati, the
Basilica's custodian, said.
Friar Rosati added that in the year 2000 "we will bring friars from all
over the world so that they can welcome the greatest number in as many
languages as possible, not only for the possibility of confession, but
also to communicate Francis's experience of God."
ZE99080205 and ZE99080203
Latest findings authenticate Shroud as originating in Holy Land during Christ's time
Providing even further proof that the Shroud of Turin is authentic, a botanist from St. Louis confirmed that pollen fragments can only be traced to Jerusalem where Christ was buried. This latest discovery puts a wet blanket on scientists theory that the Shroud is a fake and came from Europe in the thirteenth century. For more, click on Shroud.
SCIENTISTS SAY SHROUD OF TURIN ORIGINATED IN ISRAEL
ST. LOUIS (CWNews.com) - The Shroud of Turin came from
Jerusalem according to scientists on Monday at a press
conference during the 16th International Botanical Congress
held in St. Louis.
Botany professor Avinoam Danin of The Hebrew University of
Jerusalem concluded that the Shroud of Turin originated in
Jerusalem after an analysis of pollen grains and plant
images on the cloth. He identified these as coming from
species only found in the Jerusalem region.
"We have identified by images and by pollen grains species
on the shroud restricted to the vicinity of Jerusalem,"
said Danin. "This combination of flowers can be found in
only one region of the world. The sayings that the shroud
is from European origin can't hold."
The findings once again discredit the 1988 radiocarbon
tests that concluded that the Shroud came from Europe and
was made between 1260 and 1390. According to the Israeli
scientist, the Shroud was made before the 7th century.
Pollen identified as "Gundelia tournefortii" was also found
in the Sudarium of Oviedo, a cloth that has several blood
stains and is believed to be the burial face cloth of
Jesus. A 1983 study showed that both the Shroud and the
face cloth -- the latter of which is documented from the
1st century and has been kept in the Cathedral of Oviedo in
Spain since the 8th century -- were stained with type AB
Over the years, several tests have been performed to verify
or discredit the Shroud's authenticity. Last year, a group
of experts from three different countries gathered to
analyze, from their different specialties, the cloth with
the latest scientific equipment. These scientists concluded
that there was a 2 million to 1 probability that the Shroud
Latin American Conference with Church Leaders and Political Leaders convenes in Buenos Aires
Church and secular officials should not be crying, "Don't cry for me, Argentina" for the capital city Buenos Aires is hosting a significant Latin American Conference for Politicians and Legislators to discuss family values, structure and the inherent problems facing the southern hemisphere in these times. The three-day conference was organized by the Vatican and Colombian Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, head of the Pontificat Council for the Family which is sponsoring the meetings which will be attended by Argentina's President Carlos Menem and many other political leaders. For more, click on Latin American Conference
VATICAN CALLS MEETING OF LATIN AMERICAN POLITICIANS
Invites 250 Leaders of all Political Currents to Meet in Buenos Aires
BUENOS AIRES, AUG 2 (ZENIT).- The 3rd Meeting of Politicians and
Legislators, organized by the Vatican Pontifical Council for the Family,
presided by Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, will be held in Buenos
Aires from August 3-5.
The importance the Church attaches to this meeting, which will focus on
"Family and Life 50 Years after the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights," is reflected in the fact that 6 Cardinals and 37 Bishops from
Latin American will be attending.
In calling this meeting, Colombian Cardinal Trujillo said that the
"Church starts from the idea that the defense of the family, matrimony
and life is indispensable in any coherent society."
The President of the Pontifical Council for the Family hopes that the
participants in the symposium will express their opposition to abortion
and the cloning of human beings.
Argentine President Carlos Menem, who in United Nations forums has
supported the defense of human life proposed by the Holy See, will
attend the inaugural session, which will bring together some 200
legislators and political leaders from the whole of Latin America.
During the meeting, there will be talks on "Ethics and Globalization,"
by the two leading Argentine presidential candidates: Fernando De la Rua
of the opposition Alliance, and Eduardo Duhalde, of the governing
Justicialist party (the party of the Perons).
Among the 250 politicians attending are former Colombian President
Belisario Betancourt; former Uruguayan Chancellor Hector Gross Espiell;
the Second Vice-President of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies, Severino
Cavalcante Ferreira; and Manuel Aguilera Gomez, deputy of the Mexican
Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
In explaining the purpose of the meeting, Cardinal Lopez Trujillo said
that "John Paul II always calls on politicians to respond positively to
new problems and challenges connected with the family and life in
general. The new globalization cannot be divorced from ethics; here, we
think the work of politicians in general and of legislators in
particular, is fundamental."
Special attention will be given to bioethics as related to the
scientific challenge, economic development and demography, the family
and society, globalization and Christian values, the juridical statute
of the human embryo, and the dignity of life and death.
This is the third meeting of Latin American legislators and political
leaders called by the Vatican to discuss issues related to defense of
the family and matrimony. The first meeting was held in Rio de Janeiro
in 1993 and the second in Mexico City in 1997.
300 Forgotten modern martyrs victims of Serb ethnic-cleansing atrocities in Kosovo
What price peace? In the aftermath of the ethnic cleansing and the supposed-peace keepers scouring Kosovo for atrocities, they missed the fact that 300 Catholics were slaughtered by the Serbs and 70,000 Catholics forced to flee their homes with churches and monasteries pillaged and plundered. The report was filed by an eye-witness to it all - Father Ambroz Ukai, O.F.M., head friar of a Franciscan monastery in Djakovica, Kosovo. For more, click on Forgotten modern martyrs.
CATHOLIC VICTIMS OF KOSOVO ETHNIC CLEANSING
PRISTINA, AUG 2 (ZENIT).- Franciscan Fr. Ambroz Ukai revealed that
during the weeks of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, around 300 Catholics
were killed, especially in the villages of Djakovica, Pec and Meje,
where, until then, they had lived together with the Moslems. According
to Fr. Ukai, Superior of the Djakovica monastery and eye-witness of the
war, of the 70,000 Kosovo Catholics who sought refuge in Albania,
Montenegro, Macedonia and other European countries, almost 15% have
returned to their homes. Of the 40 priests who work in Kosovo, only two
had to leave during the weeks of armed conflict, but the majority of
Church buildings have suffered severe damage, especially during
temporary occupation by Serbian militia.
For more headlines and articles, we suggest you go to the Catholic World News site at the
CWN home page and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and the features, dossiers and Daily Dispatches at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.
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August 4, 1999 volume 10, no. 145 DAILY CATHOLIC