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CHRISTMAS-NEW YEAR'S ISSUE
December 24, 1999 - January 2, 2000
SECTION FIVE vol 10, no. 245
As head of the See of Dakar for 37 years Cardinal Hyacinthe Thiandoum has been the glue to hold his beloved country of Senegal together
We continue with this special series introducing you to the Princes of the Church. Our one-hundred-thirty-sixth red-hat we feature, in alphabetical order, is the 78 year-old Senegal-born prelate Cardinal Hyacinthe Thiandoum, Archbishop of Dakar in the far-western country of Senegal, Africa since 1962. He has overseen the steady increase of Catholicism in this heavily populated Muslim country on the Atlantic coast. He was elevated to the cardinalate by Pope Paul VI during the Consistory of May 24, 1976. For more on Cardinal Hyacinthe Thiandoum, click on COLLEGE OF CARDINALS COLLECTION
139. Cardinal Hyacinthe Thiandoum
The Archbishop of Dakar in the Senegal is Cardinal Hyacinthe Thiandoum who was born on February 2, 1921 into a very devout Catholic family in Poponguine, Senegal in the Archdiocese of Dakar in Senegal, Africa. Because of his pious upbringing a vocation was nurtured and as a young teen he entered the minor seminar for the Dakar diocese and became a priest there on April 18, 1949. After ordination he was sent to Rome to continue his studies, obtaining his degree in Philosophy and Sociology from the Gregorian in the eternal city. In 1953 he returned home where his pastor assigned him to pastoral work at the Cathedral in Dakar. Through his work with the people he also became the leader for Catholic Action in Senegal. On February 24, 1962 Pope John XXIII named him Archbishop of Dakar. He was ordained and installed on May 20, 1962. He has remained as head of this see for 37 years in nurturing the faith in this western-most city and area of Africa on the Atlantic coast.
No sooner did he become archbishop than he was on his way back to Rome later that year for the Second Vatican Council, working closely with the committees on liturgical reform. Returning to Senegal he implemented many of the reforms and, because he was in on the ground floor, he was able to instill the right reforms as the Council Fathers directed, keeping the liberal element out of Senegal. It was important for this struggling country where the Faith was first brought in 1460 by Portuguese missionaries and explorers and then further proselytized by Jesuits and Capuchins in the 1700 and 1800's. A vicariate had first been established by Pope Pius VI who placed the Holy Ghost Fathers in charge in 1779. In 1863 the Senegambia vicariate was established and in 1955 Pope Pius XII instituted the hierarchy with the See of Dakar. The Christian population is only 9% in this heavily populated Muslim nation but there are still over 400,000 Catholics in Senegal, increasing incredibly during Cardinal Thiandoum's nearly four decades as shepherd of Dakar.
Archbishop Thiandoum was included in the Consistory of May 24, 1976 by Pope Paul VI. Cardinal Thiandoum received the titular church of Santa Maria del Popolo. He is one of the few remaining from Paul VI's reign. At 78 he is still going strong with active curial membership in the Congregation for the Clergy, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples as well as the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. He resides at the bishop's residence in Dakar at B.P. 1908, Villa Les Badamiers, Dakar-FAnn, Senegal.
Events in Church History
Saturday, December 25th is the 776th anniversary of when Saint Francis of Assisi first displayed a Christmas creche depicting the Christ Child, along with His Blessed Mother Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds and their animals to remind the people of death of Greccio, Italy that Christ is the reason for the season way back in 1223. Since that time nativity scenes have been recreated and fashioned from miniature to life-size and we can all thank St. Francis for this tradition that is so strongly Catholic. For other events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history this period between Christmas Eve and the Epiphany, click on MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES
Historical Events in Church Annals for December 24:
Election of Pope John IV, 72nd successor of Peter. This Dalmatian-born pontiff's papacy would last just a few months shy of two years. During his pontificate he would try to bring the dissentients of Egypt to the way of Truth. He would also have the remains of the martyrs Venantius, Anastasius and Maurus transfered to the Lateran. He would personally ordain 28 priests and consecrate 18 bishops in order to be sure of their faith and allegiance to Rome.
Election of Pope Clement II, 149th successor of Peter. His pontificate would last less than a year in which his great preoccupation would be with the arrogance of the Count-Bishops, the cause of much bitter fighting among their vassals. He would also succeed in overcoming the resistance of Bishop Aribert of Milan. It was Clement who would canonize the Hungarian martyr Saint Viborata.
Cardinal Benedetto Gaetani becomes Pope Boniface VIII, 193rd successor of Peter. This pope of great stature but questionable measures, would celebrate the first Holy Year in 1300 and decree that every one hundred years it would be repeated. During his bitter fued with King Philip IV of France this former advisor to Popes would issue the famous Papal Bull Unam Sanctam.
Pope John Paul II lights the first Channukah candle ever officially lit at the Vatican in a gesture of peace toward the Jews.
Historical Events in Church Annals for December 25:
Birth of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ of Nazareth in Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem. His arrival would ultimately change the world forever as well as all calendars regarding chronological time differentiating "BC" for "Before Christ" and "AD" for "Anno Domini" - In the year of Our Lord.
Death of Pope Hadrian I, 95th successor of Peter. This Roman-born pontiff had been elected on February 1, 772. During his 13-year papacy he restored the walls of Rome and the ancient aqueducts. The golden statue of the tomb of St. Peter and the silver pavement in front of the altar of the Confession are due to him. He convened the 7th Ecumenical Council in 787 at Nicea in which Iconoclasm was condemned.
Pope Saint Leo III crowns Charlemagne Holy Roman Emperor at St. Peter's on Christmas night.
Pope Clement VI crowns Henry III Holy Roman Emperor. Henry had accompanied this new Saxon Pope to Rome after Popes Sylvester III, Gregory VI and Benedict IX had been deposed.
Saint Francis of Assisi displays the first Nativity creche scene in Greccio, Italy, beginning a lasting and venerable tradition that would remind all of the reason for the season.
Pope Pius VI issues his first encyclical Inscrutabile which outlined the problems of the pontificate.
Pope Pius XII releases his 32nd encyclical Musicae sacrae on sacred music and the use of popular music in the liturgy.
Historical Events in Church Annals for December 26:
Projected date of the death of the first martyr of the Church, Saint Stephen. For more on him, see LITURGY.
Death of Pope Saint Dionysius, 25th successor of Peter. Also known as Pope Saint Denis this Turio-born pontiff's papacy lasted nine years. At the time he was elected on July 22, 259 the Barbarians were storming the gates of the Roman Empire. He was actually elected a year after his successor Pope Saint Sixtus II because of persecutions. He reorganized the parishes of Rome and obtained liberty for the Christians from Gaul, which would eventually become France.
Death of Pope Saint Zosimus, 41st successor of Peter. Of Greek extraction, he was elected on March 18, 417. He had a strong personality and insisted on the rights of the Church against foreign interference. A holy man of very strict morals, he ordained that illegitimate children could not be raised to the priesthood. He sent apostolic vicars to the Franks.
Cardinal Mindszenty is arrested by the Communists in Hungary after they had taken over "Caritas" and all the Catholic schools, universities and religious institutions the same year. The Cardinal was sentenced to life-imprisonmentin 1949. He was released in 1956 during the successful uprising in that country and took refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Budapest. He died in Vienna, Austria in 1975 a free man.
Historical Events in Church Annals for December 27:
Emperor Constantine the Great initiates the process of transforming a pagan temple into the great Saint Sophia's Cathedral in Constantinople.
Pope John Paul II pardons Mehmet Ali Agca the man who shot the Holy Father on May 13, 1981 in St. Peter's Square.
Historical Events in Church Annals for December 28:
Election of Pope Saint Boniface I, 42nd successor of Peter. This Roman-born pontiff's papacy would last four years to September 4, 422. During his pontificate the interference of Charles of Ravena would mark the beginning of secular power interference in the election of Popes. Boniface's consecration as Supreme Pontiff would be delayed several months because of the opposition presented by the antipope Eulalius.
Death of the Spanish antipope Clemens VIII - Cardinal Gilbert Sanchez Munoz during the reign of the legitimate Pope Eugene IV. He had set up a mini-papacy in Pensacola on the Spanish Mediterranean coast in the aftermath of the Great Western Schism.
Pope Leo XIII issues his 2nd encyclical Quod Apostolici muneris on the growing cancer of socialism. This was one of the first decrees that recognized the growing carbuncle of communism.
Historical Events in Church Annals for December 29:
Death of Saint Thomas Beckett, Archbishop of Canterbury is murdered in the cathedral by four of King Henry II's knights. For more, see LITURGY
The Vatican places the works of Charles Maurras, A Catholic French Fascist on the forbidden list of the Index.
Historical Events in Church Annals for December 30:
Death of Pope Saint Felix I, 26th successor of Peter. This Roman-born pontiff was elected on January 3rd, 269. He asserted the divinity and humanity of Jesus and the doctrine of two natures in one Person. He suffered the persecution of Aurelian. It was Felix who began the custom of burying martyrs under church altars and of celebrating Holy Mass on their tombs.
Pope John XXII, 196th successor of Peter and second of the Avignon Popes in exile, issued his pontifical decree Sancta Romania which ordered the Franciscan Spiritualists to obey their superiors and accept the legitimacy of storing provisions even though the latter felt their founder Saint Francis of Assisi had never intended them to own anything. This decree angered their leader Michael of Cesena and prompted the Spiritualists to become bitter enemies of the French pontiff by aligning with his enemy Louis IV.
Death of Pope Innocent IX, 230th successor of Peter who was born in Bologna. He was elected on November 3rd and died less than two months later on this date. During that short span he succeeded in limiting the effects of a terrible plague and fought bandits and various internal factions with a certain degree of success. He undoubtedly would have left a lasting mark on Church history had he not contracted a chill and died of pneumonia.
Historical Events in Church Annals for December 31:
Death of Pope Saint Sylvester I, 33rd successor of Peter. This Roman-born pontiff was the first to wear the Tiarra and called the First Ecumenical Council at Nicea where the "Creed" was formulated. For more, see LITURGY
Death of Saint Melania the Younger, daughter of a Roman Senator who endowed and founded monasteries for men and women in Numidia and the Holy Land. She is widely venerated by Latin Catholics in Constantinople and Jerusalem.
Birth of Alfonso de Borgia in Jativa, Spain. He would go on to become a cardinal priest and the 209th successor of Peter on April 8, 1455 as Pope Callistus III He would be responsible for the growth of Christianity in Scandinavia. It would be this Spanish-born pontiff who would order the ringing of the bells at midday each day, establishing the tradition of the Angeles and it was Callistus III who would institute the Feast of the Transfiguration.
Birth of Henri Guise, French duke and leader of the Catholic League.
Pope Pius XI releases his fourteenth encyclical Rappresentanti in terra on Christian education which would be published several months later with minor alterations to the Latin text Divini illius magistri.
Pope Pius XI publishes his sixteenth encyclical Casti connubii on Christian marriage and the dangers of mixed marriages.
Historical Events in Church Annals for January 1:
Death of Saint Basil, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. For more on him, see LITURGY.
Birth of Rodrigo de Borgia at Jativa, nephew of Cardinal Alfonso de Borgia, bishop of Valencia and the future Pope Callistus III. Rodrigo would follow in his uncle's footsteps, becoming a cardinal and the notorious Pope Alexander VI who would bed and marry Lucretia Borgia and cause scandal universally within the Church during his eleven year pontificate. It was his papacy that triggered the beginning rumblings of the Protestant rebellion.
Death of Jacques Cartier, French explorer who, with the blessings of Pope Paul III, founded the French Empire in America and Canada, bringing the faith to that region where it is still strong because of the Jesuit missionaries who traveled with him up the St. Lawrence River.
Pope John Paul II publicly prays for an end to martial law in his native Poland and supports the solidarity movement that would take form under his friend Lech Walesa. Less than a decade later the iron curtain would topple, largely through the efforts of this great Polish Pope.
Historical Events in Church Annals for January 2:
Birth of Saint Gregory of Nazianzen at Nazianzus, Cappodocia. He would go on to become a bishop and Doctor of the Church. For more on this saint, see DAILY LITURGY.
Election of Pope John II as 56th successor of Peter. This Roman-born pontiff would serve for slightly over two years and would become the first Pope to change his name since Mercurius, his birth name, was the name of a pagan god. Through an edict of Atalaric the Pope would be recognized as the head of the bishops of the whole world.
THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
Actually, the Twelve Days of Christmas were a secret "catechism" sung by Roman Catholics after the Reformation in countries such as England where they were not allowed to practice their faith. Thus, to communicate with fellow Catholics and truly celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ as the Savior in the Catholic tradition without fear of reprisal, they formed this "carol" which represented "religious reality" in symbols. This was also used often during the French Revolution. For the meaning of the Twelve Days of Christmas, click on TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
"On the first day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, a Partridge in a pear tree."
So many have misinterpreted the Twelve Days of Christmas with a secular meaning, but they fail to realize that, in fact, they were a "secret catechism code" sung by persecuted Roman Catholics from the Protestant Reformation through the French Revolution. It was their way of communicating their faith much in the same manner the early Christians did with symbols such as the fish. The first day is a given since Christmas Day is the first day of Christmas and the "Partridge in a pear tree" represents Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ the King.
"On the second day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, two turtledoves."
The two turtledoves represent the Old and New Testaments - the Word of God which over the years has been so watered down by "interpretations and political correctness" that often it loses its true meaning and must be properly discerned through the Church's reliance on the Holy Spirit.
"On the third day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, three French hens."
The three French hens represent the Three theological Virtues of FAITH, HOPE and CHARITY which enabled Catholics to stay in the state of grace by practicing and promulgating these vital virtues when the sacraments were not readily available.
"On the fourth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, four calling birds."
The four calling birds represent the four Gospels where truly the Word of God through Jesus and His life for all of us to emulate was recorded. Since Catholics were not allowed to keep bibles or preach during those times, they reinforced others through the song to read the Gospels in private and live it.
"On the fifth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, five Golden Rings."
The five golden rings represent both the first Five Books of the Old Testament or the Pentatuch which reminded fellow Catholics of the roots and, after the devotion became more widespread and known, the Five Decades of the Rosary and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
"On the sixth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, six geese a-laying."
The six geese a-laying represent the six days God took to create the earth, the universe, and all creatures. It was a way for all Catholics to remind fellow faithful and be reminded that, despite persecution, they were not second-class citizens but rather first-class children of God and rightful heirs to His mansions in the Heavenly regions if they persevered in the One, True Faith. Thus the sixth day represents the sixth day octave of Christmas and Creation.
"On the seventh day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, seven swans a-swimming."
The seven swans a-swimming represent the Seven Sacraments established by Jesus Christ as well as the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. With the Sacraments and Gifts Catholics could sustain themselves through the dark times and encourage others at this holy time of the year with this Christmas song, reminding each other of the wondrous glory of God and His munificence on the seventh day of the octave of Christmas.
"On the eighth day of Christmas my True
Love gave to me, eight maids a-milking."
The eight maids a-milking represent the Eight Beatitudes preached by Jesus Christ on His sermon on the mount and which Catholics, no matter how persecuted, could practice good deeds through the Beatitudes and gain great consolation and courage from these.
"On the ninth day of Christmas my True
Love gave to me, nine ladies dancing."
The nine ladies dancing is not about partying but rather the Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit as described in Galatians 5: 22 - "But the fruit of the Spirit is: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, modedesty and continency." These fruits helped Catholics to practice the virtues and remind fellow Catholics how to stay out of harm's way as far as their souls were concerned.
"On the tenth day of Christmas my True
Love gave to me, ten lords a-leaping."
The ten lords a-leaping symbolize the Law of God - the Ten Commandments. It was not a leap to obey the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai for the Protestants, who were persecuting the Catholics of those times and countries, also believed in the Ten Commandments, but the reference to "lords" was in reference to the rich and powerful for they were the ones who could change the laws that governed persecution and curtailment of the Catholic Faith. Yet it was the "lords" who were lax in obeying God's laws and Catholics wanted to remind their fellow Catholics that no matter how wealthy or spoiled the princes were, faith and perseverance was more important by reminding them of the law of ages.
"On the eleventh day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, eleven pipers piping."
The eleven pipers piping stood for the Eleven Faithful Apostles who stuck with Jesus when seemingly all others
had abandoned Him. They were referred to as "pipers" for
they indeed were sent out to all corners to spread the Gospel
as Our Lord had commanded and, like the "Pied Piper of
Hamlin" they attracted many to the One, True Faith. It was a
way for Catholics to remind their fellow faithful to keep this
in mind during the hard times for all but Saint John were
persecuted and martyred for the faith. If they remained
faithful to their Faith and to Jesus, they too would one day
enjoy the same rewards of Heavenly bliss.
"On the twelfth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, twelve drummers drumming."
The twelve drummers drumming represented the Twelve
Points or Articles of Belief in the APOSTLES' CREED It's interesting
that Catholics chose drummers for their symbolism for to
keep reminding each other of the twelve points of the solid
creed known as the Apostles' Creed for this was their
profession of faith and there was a constant need to keep
hammering home this point or should we say "bang the drum"
so fellow Catholics would get the "beat" and get into a
rhythm of their religion, encouraged by all Jesus promised
and professed in the Creed.
December 24, 1999 - January 2, 2000 volume 10, no. 245 DAILY CATHOLIC