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ASH WEDNESDAY      February 17, 1999      SECTION TWO       vol 10, no. 33

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

On the Way to Calvary

      Today we begin the traditional link of bringing you the Stations of the Cross on a daily basis. For the Lenten Way of the Cross, click on either the graphics Daily Way of the Cross or the text-only Daily Way of the Cross or the Meditative Lessons on the Way to Calvary

Events Today in Church History

      On this date in 1310 Saint Alessio Falconieri passed on to his eternal reward. He was one of the Seven Servite Founders whose feast is normally held on the anniversary of his death, but this year is preseded by Ash Wednesday. For other pertinent events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history today, click on MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES

Historical Events in Church Annals for February 17:

with a Catholic slant

provided by
Catholic World News Service
and Noticias Eclesiales Church News



      VATICAN ( -- Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat will be received by Pope John Paul II in a private audience at the Vatican on Friday, February 19.

      The main topic for discussion during this seventh meeting between the Pope and the Palestinian president will be the preparations for celebrations of the Jubilee Year 2000, especially in the city of Bethlehem. Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, the president of the Central Committee for the Grand Jubilee, will also take part in the discussions.

      Arafat will be in Rome for a conference sponsored by the United Nations on roughly the same topic. The UN, in an effort to increase worldwide support for the rights of the Palestinian people, has organized an initiative known as Bethlehem 2000. The purpose of the project is to usher in the new millennium in Bethlehem as an era dedicated to peace and reconciliation among peoples.

      The last meeting between Arafat and the Holy Father occurred in June 1998. At that meeting the Palestinian leader personally invited Pope John Paul to come to Bethlehem for the millennium celebrations. Prior meetings between the two had occurred in September 1982, December 1988, April 1990, September 1995, and December 1996.


      VATICAN CITY, 16 (NE) A press release was issued yesterday evaluating the meeting of the delegation of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith and the members of the Doctrinal Commissions of the episcopates of North America and Oceania, which finished some days ago in San Francisco. As the communique informed, there was "extended discussion centered on topics such as the authority of the Church's Magisterium, the importance of the Profession of Faith, the ecclesial role of the theologian, and dialogue between bishops and theologians."

      Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith was present at the four-day meeting that took place at the Vallombrosa Center in Menlo Park, San Francisco. The Cardinal gave a conference on Subjectivity, Christology and Church. In referring to the question of diversity of cultures and the unity of the Catholic doctrine he stated that because the Word of God is "prior to human speech, all cultures can receive the truth about the person of Christ. Therefore every human language can become the bearer of God's Word."

      Centered on some doctrinal questions related to the proclamation of the truth of Christ in the diverse cultural conditions, the meeting emphasized how "the doctrinal unity expresses and foments communion in the Church: in the local Churches as well as in the Universal Church. It also contributes to give solid witness of faith in the diverse cultures." Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, highlighted this subject, and stressed that obedience to the truth of Jesus Christ is "not a suppression of the intellect but a progressive harmonization of one's mind and heart with the mind and heart of God."

      The communiqué also presents the interventions of different bishops of North America and Oceania at the meeting, during which other subjects such as the implications of feminism for Catholic thought and the pastoral care with homosexual persons were discussed.


      PIETERSBURG, South Africa ( - A 75-year-old Belgian priest was killed in South Africa on Sunday by two robbers, police in Pietersburg said.

      Father Alphonus Petrus Peleman was shot dead by the thieves who confronted hum at the St. Bernard Mission and demanded money at gunpoint, said a police spokesman. "He was scared and shouted for help but the robbers shot at him twice, hitting him in the stomach and chest," said the spokesman.

      Father Peleman died at the scene and was found by Sister Frieda Platleu, who also lived at the mission and heard his shouts. The murderers then confronted the nun, but she escaped. They then stole a car belonging to the mission's school for the blind.


      HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam ( - On March 18th, the feast of St Joseph, Archbishop John Baptist Pham Ming Man of Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City, will ordain nine new priests in the cathedral dedicated to Our Lady Queen of Peace.

      The men are all members of religious orders: two Dominicans, two Jesuits, two Redemptorists, one Franciscan, one Sulpice Father, and one member of the local Nazareth Institute. They range in age from 32 to 67 years old. Some priests of the area see the Communists' permission for the ordinations as another sign of a small opening toward religion.

      Vietnam's Communist government restricts ordinations to maintain controls over the activities of the Catholic Church. Government officials judge the candidates' qualities, sets the number for each seminary, and can veto the assignment of the seminarians to parishes. In addition, religious orders are not allowed to accept candidates or open novitiates, although several institutes have unofficial formation houses.

      Until recently, ordinations in Vietnam were rare, particularly for religious orders. The latter were regarded with suspicion because they belong to international organizations. Nevertheless, vocations continued to flourish in Vietnam. The mature age of many of the candidates to the priesthood is explained by the government's restrictions on the number of ordinations per year so that many who finish their studies while still young then have to wait years before being allowed to be ordained.

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. Both CWN and NE are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.


      We continue featuring Roman Catholic megasites by choosing to bring you a site affiliated with Ignatius Press, EWTN, and the site which has been selected to coordinate the Knights of Columbus vast network. It is PETERSNET, an excellent source for searching a plethora of excellent databases and providing several other features all brought to you by Trinity Communications.

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February 17, 1999 volume 10, no. 33   DAILY CATHOLIC