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MONDAY      February 1, 1999      SECTION TWO       vol 10, no. 21

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

SIMPLY SHEEN: Hoard not, want not.

   They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the words of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen have been known to launch a thousand images in one's mind, one of the ways this late luminary did so much to evangelize the faith. Because of the urgency of the times and because few there are today who possess the wisdom, simplicity and insight than the late Archbishop who touched millions, we are bringing you daily gems from his writings. The good bishop makes it so simple that we have dubbed this daily series: "SIMPLY SHEEN".

"Misers may fill their wallets, but never their hearts, for they cannot obtain all the wealth they are able to imagine and desire. But the poor in heart are rich in happiness. God gave us love enough to spend in getting back to Him so that we could find Infinity there; He did not give us love enough to hoard."


   We kick off the month of February today with the Fourth Monday in Ordinary Time before celebrating tomorrow's joyful Feast of the Presentation of Jesus. For the readings, liturgies, meditations and vignettes of the feast of the Presentation, click on DAILY LITURGY .

Monday, February 1, 1999

Tuesday, February 2, 1999


   The Presentation of Jesus is also called the Purification, or Candlemass Day, since on this day the Church blesses the candles used in the procession (if there is one) and which will be used to bless throats on the next day - the feast of Saint Blase. The main focus of course is on the Presentation of Jesus which is in accordance with the old Jewish Law given from God to Moses for the Jewish women after childbirth. A mother was still considered unclean and not to appear in public for 40 days after the birth of a son, and 80 days after the birth of a daughter. At the end of this period, the first place she was to go with her husband was to the temple. There, at the door of the tabernacle she was to present a young pigeon or a turtle dove as a sin-offering. The ideal offering was a lamb, the highest immolation one could offer, as documented throughout the Old Testament - specifically with Abraham and Isaac and culminating with the Sacrifice of the Lamb - Jesus Christ on the Cross. However, very few could afford to donate a lamb for the altar. Therefore, they were allowed to substitute a second turtle-dove in lieu of a lamb. Once the high priest sacrificed these gifts to Almighty God, the woman was cleansed of the legal impurity and free to return to a normal life with all its privileges. In accordance with all this, the Blessed Mother, accompanied by her chaste husband Saint Joseph, complied, bringing Jesus with them since there was also a Hebrew code commanding the first-born be brought to the temple and presented to God. Hence, the Presentation. The Gospel Reading in Luke 2: 22-40 relates all that happened in the temple. Though the Virgin Mary was always pure she still was obedient to the law and humble in all she was asked to do by God and by man. There was also present in the mysteries of the Purification and the Presentation, a third "mystery", that of the prophecies of the holy Simeon and the prophetess Anna. Simeon knew immediately that this child was the Messiah. This was foretold by the prophet Malachi in his book of the Old Covenant and selected as the first reading in this feast's celebration of the Mass. He was also charged by God to reveal further the sorrows Mary would undergo by her fiat to God. The second reading in Hebrews 2: 14-18 reveals much of what Our Lady understood, especially verse 18 where Paul writes: "For in that He Himself has suffered and has been tempted, He is able to help those who are tempted." Yes, Jesus walked in our shoes, so to speak, which allows us to follow in His footsteps.


    In the old liturgy February 1 was dedicated to Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr. His feast has been moved to October 17th in the revised Liturgy. Nevertheless, today's prayer is in honor of him, taken from My Daily Prayer, from the Confraternity of the Precious Blood:

Behold our weakness, almighty God; and since the weight of our misdeeds is heavy upon us, grant that the glorious intercession of Blessed Ignatius, Thy Martyr and Bishop, may be our protection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

"Spiritual refuge must be for all who would persevere in the True Faith."

   That is the theme of both the Blessed Virgin Mary's Messages of July 12 and 13 that she imparted to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart in 1993. While she talks about physical refuges, she emphasizes the need to have our spiritual abodes in order before worrying about our physical dwellings or needs. She asks us to trust in her Divine Son Jesus and give Him all reverence in the Blessed Sacrament which satan furiously tries to destroy. Our Lady urges all to pray for her beloved Pope-son John Paul II, God's bearer of truth, life and the way. Many want to silence him in these times when His Justice is so near, but Divine Mercy is still available and we must use this gift now and spread it...before Mercy is no more. For Messages 373 and 374, click on "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..."

Messages Three Hundred-Seventy-three and Three Hundred-Seventy-four

Message Three Hundred-Seventy-three, July 12, 1993

(Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Immaculate Heart of Mary)

Message Three Hundred-Seventy-four, July 13, 1993

(Imparted to the Hidden Flower by the Immaculate Heart)
(Feast of Saint Henry)

Events Today in Church History

    On this date in 772, Pope Hadrian I was elected the 95th successor of Peter. Hadrian was the pontiff who called the Second Council of Nicaea which condemned Iconoclasm. Because of its impact it is considered one of the more important Ecumenical Councils. 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 1:

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World News Service and Noticias Eclesiales Church News



    VATICAN CITY ( - Pope John Paul II on Thursday at the end of his latest trip expressed his "great satisfaction" at the gesture of clemency by the Governor of the State of Missouri with regard to Darrell Mease, a death row inmate condemned who had been condemned to die next month.

    The clemency is the first time that a request for mercy by the Holy Father for a condemned prisoner in the US succeeded. Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano said this gesture "opens new prospects."

    Less than six hour after his departure for Rome on Thursday, at the end of the Pontiff's 85th foreign journey to Mexico and the United States, the Pope learned of the decision by Gov. Mel Carnahan to commute the death sentence to life imprisonment for Darrell Mease, accused of a 1988 triple homicide and condemned to by the Supreme Court of Missouri. The sentence was originally set to be carried out last Wednesday, the last day of the papal visit to St. Louis, but was pushed back to February 10 in a December decision.

    The Holy Father who, throughout his American stay did not fail to strongly condemn the death penalty, "had personally asked the governor to take into consideration his request for clemency for Mr. Mease," according to a statement of the Holy See. Cardinal Sodano had also had "a private talk" with the Governor of Missouri "in order to present to him, in the name of the Holy Father, a request for clemency for humane reasons."

    Carnahan, commenting on his gesture in a statement, said he continued to support the death penalty but acted out of a "deep respect for the Sovereign Pontiff and all that he represents."

    Other calls by the Holy Father for cases of the death penalty in the United States had not resulted in positive outcomes. The most famous recent cases are those of Joseph O'Dell in Virginia in 1997 and Karla Faye Tucker in Texas in 1998. Cardinal Sodano, interviewed by Italian state television RAI, affirmed Friday that this gesture "opens new prospects ... and will make everyone reflect a little." He recalled the wish of the Holy See to "come to a consensus, an awakening" to find "other forms so that society can defend itself" without having to resort to the death penalty, a "cruel and useless" act, to repeat the same words of the Pope in Saint Louis.


    WASHINGTON, DC ( - More than 1,000 US Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim religious leaders called on President Bill Clinton this week to link foreign aid for Israel and the Palestinian Authority to improvements in their human rights records for Palestinians.

    The petition said federal law prohibits military or economic aid to countries "engaging in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights." The group cited reports from human rights groups that both the Israeli and Palestinian governments have violated the rights of Palestinians living in Gaza and the West Bank.

    They noted Israel's expansion of settlements, use of torture on prisoners, confiscation of land, and destruction of homes, as well as the Palestinian Authority's use of torture, secret trials, and press censorship. "As religious leaders ... we believe Palestinian-Israeli peace is only possible if based on justice, human rights and self-determination for Israeli Jews and Palestinian Christians and Moslems," the petition said.

    The petition also called for any peace accord to include a recognition of the unique religious significance of Jerusalem.


    SYDNEY ( - The world-famous Sydney Opera House announced on Friday that it will not carry out plans for homosexual men dressed as nuns to give tours of the building during next month's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival.

    Last year, the Opera House Trust invited the group calling itself the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to conduct the tours, in order to become more involved in the festival. The group mocks the Catholic Church for declaring the homosexual lifestyle immoral. But trust chief executive Michael Lynch said the tours had been canceled after protests by the Church and he apologized for any offense.

    Archdiocese of Sydney spokesman Father Brian Lucas said the trust's decision was very responsible, adding that the homosexual group thrives on publicity. "We regret that this controversy, of course, gives them the very publicity they seek and they're best ignored," Father Lucas said.

    Organizers of the Mardi Gras Festival called for the tours to be reinstated. "In the spirit of Mardi Gras and in the broader interests of tolerance, Mardi Gras calls on the Opera House to reinstate the Sisters' Opera House tours," president David McLachlan said.


      JAKARTA ( - Pro- and anti-Indonesian groups in East Timor clashed on Thursday, following the floating of a proposal for Timorese independence next year, resulting in at least six deaths and the displacement of thousands from their homes.

      Fighting between the groups flared in Kovalima district on Wednesday. "I've heard reports that 4,000 people sought refuge at the church in Suai to escape the killings," according to Reuters. Suai is the Kovalima district capital. Fighting between the two factions over the last six months has resulted in at least 50 deaths.

      Mainly Muslim Indonesia invaded East Timor -- a Catholic former colony of Portugal -- in 1975 and annexed it the following year in a move not recognized by the United Nations. Decades of military oppression and human rights oppression have ignited international pressure on Jakarta to resolve the situation. Pro-Indonesia Timorese said this week they will fight to protect themselves if Indonesia grants independence. "If East Timor decides to be independent, then we are ready ... we are ready to fight," said Basilio Dias Araujo, a pro-Indonesia activist working in the governor's office. "We just don't want to die."

      Foreign Minister Ali Alatas said on Wednesday the government may ask the nation's top legislative body, the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), to consider letting East Timor go after the June 7 election if Indonesia's offer of special, limited autonomy is rejected.

      Indonesian military and police officials said on Friday that the death toll on Ambon Island -- one of the Spice Islands -- from last week's Christian and Muslim riots had reached 65.

      As more bodies were pulled from destroyed buildings, authorities said damage to the area was estimated at $62.5 million. Local military commander Major-General Amir Sembiring said the city of Ambon, 1,440 miles east of Jakarta, could take up to two decades to rebuild after much of it was destroyed earlier this month in Indonesia's worst religious violence in 15 years, the official Antara news agency reported.

      Indonesia has been hit by waves of religious, ethnic, and political violence over the past year as the world's fourth most populous nation -- as well as the most populous Muslim nation -- has suffered its worst economic and social crisis in three decades.


     Today, in honor of Cardinal Bevilaqua's contributions to the Bishops' Conference we feature NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS official site, which also includes all the Holy Father's speeches from St. Louis last week as well as Ecclesia in America, his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation.

Click here to return to SECTION ONE or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.

February 1, 1999 volume 10, no. 21   DAILY CATHOLIC