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February 22, 1999
SECTION THREE vol 10, no. 36
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO
Daily Dose of curious contents of the Church: CHAIR OF PETER
The Chair of Peter is actually three chairs; one a ceremonial portable wood chair in St. Peter's Basilica that many believe was first used by the Apostle Saint Peter to declare the Divinity of Jesus after he had arrived in Rome. That chair is located behind the main altar below the great circular window depicting the Holy Spirit. Another is built into the wall in the marble apse which is not usable but symbolic of the apostolic succession, hierarchy and authority of the Church. The third is a bronze replica by the sculptor Bernini of Peter sitting in the chair. This is located jutting out from one of the four great pillars supporting the dome and is to the right of the main altar near the entrance to the crypt below. The feast was first established by Pope Saint Mark who also instituted the Pallium and published the first Roman calendar of religious feastdays. As early as 394 there were two feasts commemorating the Chair of Peter, one celebrated on January 18 which was celebrated in France until the eight century, and the February 22nd feast focused on Peter founding the See of Antioch. In the 11th century it was extended to the universal Church, some say by Pope Saint Leo IX who transferred the feast for the See of Rome to February 22nd and eliminated the Antioch reference because of the Eastern Schism which occurred during his pontificate. For more details on the Chair of Peter, we recommend New Advent Encyclopedia. (sources: Saints of the Roman Calendar, Alba House; 1999 Catholic Almanac, Our Sunday Visitor, Publisher; Catholic Encyclopedia, Thomas Nelson Publishers; Catholic Dictionary, Fr. John Hardon, SJ, Doubleday).
Events Today in Church History
Today is the anniversary of the death of one Sovereign Pontiff - Pope Lucius II in 1145 and the election of two other Vicars of Christ - Blessed Pope Euguene III, who was elected on the same day as Lucian's death, and Pope Pius VI in 1775 the Pope who ruled during the American Independence and Napoleon's vanquishing of Rome and the Pope. 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 22:
Death of the brothers Saint Faustinus and Saint Jovita, Martyred preachers from Brescia who had their heads severed from their bodies during the ruthless reign of the Roman emperor Hadrian. It was the emperor himself who ordered the decapitation when they steadfastly refused to become apostates.
Death of Saints Castulus, Lucius, Magnus and Saturninius, martyrs who were followers of Saint Valentine. They were all put to death for their faith on this date.
Death of Saint Severus of Androcca, a holy parish priest who is said to have brought back a man from death so that he could confer the last rites on him.
Death of three Benedictine monk martyrs - Saints Sunaman, Unaman and Winaman, all nephews of Saint Sigfrid of County Wexlow. These Irish monks received their martyrdom in Sweden when they were decapitated by by pagan tribes. Their heads were tossed into the river and retrieved by their uncle.
Death of Saint Sigfrid of Wexlow, missionary bishop who retrieved the severed heads of his three martyred nephews and used that as incentive to convert and baptize countless pagans in Sweden including King Saint Olaf. He traveled throughout Scandinavia bearing much fruit and is considered the "Apostle of Sweden."
Death of Pope Lucius II, 166th successor of Peter. Born in Bologna, he was elected on March 12, 1144. During his one year papal reign he had to govern during the disorders caused by Arnold of Brescia. With the rise of the communes in Italy began the end of the Middle Ages. While he was trying to prevent an extremely grave riot in the streets he was struck by a stone which caused his death a few days later on this date.
The Cistercian Abbot Bernardo Pignatelli is elected the 167th successor of Peter on the same day his predecessor died. He took the name Eugenius and is known today as Blessed Pope Eugene III. His pontificate would last eight years and he would be forced to flee Rome several times. He would also send the previously declared Crusade on its mission and complete the institution of the Sacred College as well as begin construction of the Papal Palace at the Vatican.
Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Braschi is elected the 250th successor of Peter and chooses the name Pope Pius VI. His pontificate would last 24 years during which he would celebrate the 19th Jubilee, and be forced to break with France for which he would have to pay a large sum of money and donate many works of art. It was during his papacy that Napoleon Bonaparte would conquer Rome and arrest the Pope. Pius VI would also have the great bell of St. Peter's cast, a massive metal casting that measures two meters in diameter.
WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant
Arafat proposes unique compromise concept to settling Jerusalem controversy in meeting with Pope
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat meeting with the Holy Father, and later at a UN meeting, proposed a unique compromise concept in settling the controversy surrounding Jerusalem. Though he mistakenly equated Rome and the Vatican to Jerusalem's status, his suggestion of co-habitation of Jerusalem as the capitol of both Palestine and Israel has merit in much the same manner as Berlin with the Eastern portion of Jerusalem governed by Palestine and the Western side belonging to Israel. For more, click on The Pope and Palestine.
POPE MEETS ARAFAT, TALKS CENTER ON JERUSALEM
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Pope John Paul II met with Palestinian
leader Yasser Arafat on Friday, February 19.
After the private meeting-- which had included discussion of the
status of Jerusalem, Arafat told reporters that the ancient city could
serve as capital both for Israel and for a Palestinian state, "in the
same way that Rome is at the same time the capital of the Vatican
and that of the Italian government." (Technically, Arafat's
comparison with Rome is not accurate, since the Vatican is located on
independent territory within the city.) He proposed that eastern
Jerusalem would be the Palestinian capital, and western Jerusalem
would serve Israel. But he added that the city should function
"without any wall in the middle-- not like in Berlin."
Sources for the Holy See and the Palestinian Authority reported that
the talks between Arafat and the Holy Father were "cordial." They
confirmed that Jerusalem was a primary concern, but added that the
talks had also included mention of the general situation in the Middle
East and the status of negotiations between the Palestinians and the
Arafat also renewed his invitation for the Pope to visit Bethlehem
during the year 2000. That invitation was strongly endorsed by the
city's Mayor Hanna Nasser. The Pope replied that he hoped to accept
Sudanese Catholics know what Jews felt during their exodus as refugees are exiled to the desert outside Khartoum
With civil war raging in the Sudan, hundreds of thousands of Catholic refugees have been displaced from their makeshift shanty homeland outside Khartoum, driven out into the scorching, arid desert to fend for themselves with all privileges and government amenities denied them as the Muslims continue to try to eradicate Christianity from this area. For more, click on simmering in the Sudan.
THOUSANDS OF SUDANESE CATHOLICS FORCED INTO DESERT THOUSANDS OF SUDANESE CATHOLICS FORCED INTO DESERT
KHARTOUM (CWNews.com/Fides) - Tens of thousands of
Catholics who had built a village on the outskirts of
Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan, have been forced back
into the desert by the Muslim government, according to a
report this week.
At least 150,000 to 200,000 people, mainly Christians, had
taken refuge in the Hajj Youssef district just outside the
city, as they fled the civil war in southern Sudan. The
government had done nothing to provide these refugees with
some sort of shelter or assistance, sources said.
Hajj Youssef village was built entirely by the refugees
themselves, first with shacks built of mud and straw and
then, when it was possible, the huts were replaced with
brick homes. They had also set up a private, rudimentary
bus service so the men could ride into the city and find
work. Wells had been dug and some earned a little money
delivering water to the shacks and huts. The Catholic
Church had opened a center which fed some of the children,
orphans in particular, and there were catechism classes and
celebrations of Mass, since most were Catholic. At least
10,000 children attended the Archdiocese of Khartoum's
But the municipal authorities intervened with their town
planning system, labeling the village a non-stable
settlement of refugees. The people of Hajj Youssef were
forced to evacuate their huts, and were "pushed out into
the desert," sources said. The government said the area had
been marked for some new industries. The refugees were made
to move back ten kilometers beyond a strip of total desert.
The only service provided by the municipality was free
transport for the people and their few belongings.
Orthodox leader warns Pope not to get his hopes too high in resolving differences between Rome and Orthodox Church
All bets are off concerning results of Papal visit to Romania this May. That's the summation the Romanian Orthodox Archpriest Victor Petlyuchenko, representing the Patriarch, expressed last week when asked about what could come of the Holy Father's first visit ever to a predominantly Orthodox country. He expressed hope that differences could be resolved but for the Pope to realize the centuries of prejudice and resentment that both Churches have grown accustomed to and that change is highly unlikely. He also didn't think the Russian Orthodox Church would be too open to the Pope visiting Moscow as Pope John Paul II has openly expressed a desire to do. For more, click on Romanian roulette.
PAPAL VISIT TO ROMANIA SEEN AS COURAGEOUS, RISKY
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- A leading representative of the
Romanian Orthodox Church has said that the plans for a May visit to
Romania by Pope John Paul II are "courageous but risky."
Archpriest Victor Petlyuchenko, who is representing the Romanian
Orthodox patriarchate at a conference in Rome this week, said that
the Pope's trip could "open a new era, after a long period of
misunderstanding and offenses between Catholics and Orthodox" in
Romania. That outcome would be undoubtedly positive, he said.
However, the Orthodox spokesman cautioned against thinking that
the historic trip would lead to a dramatic breakthrough in
ecumenical relations. Specifically, he warned that the trip to
Romania-- the first trip by the Pope to a predominantly Orthodox
European country-- would improve chances for a papal visit to
Moscow. Pope John Paul II has frequently voiced his desire to visit
Russia, but Orthodox leaders there have been cool toward the idea.
A direct personal meeting between Pope John Paul and the Russian
Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II "should be joyfully anticipated, as a
meeting between two brothers," Archpriest Petlyuchenko said.
Nevertheless he pointed out that the Russian Orthodox still express
regular concerns about Catholic "proselytism" in their country. Such
concerns apparently led the Russian Orthodox synod to scuttle plans
for a meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch in 1997.
"Nowhere is Christ is a stranger" Pope asserts in encouraging Roman clergy to promote evangelization in the workplace
Addressing the Roman clergy for Lent, the Holy Father urged them to encourage evangelization by the laity everywhere - at home, at work and at play for "Nowhere is Christ a stranger." Therefore, he asserted, don't be afraid to be missionaries of the Word even where it is a challenge such as the workplace. For more, click on Be missionaries of the Word
POPE ASKS TO EVANGELIZE IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES AND SITUATIONS
VATICAN CITY, 19 (NE) "You are and must always be
missionaries and evangelizers everywhere." With this words Pope
John Paul II addressed the priests gathered late last week in
occasion of his traditional Lenten encounter with the Roman
clergy. The Holy Father recalled in his words the final stage of
the Citizen's Mission promoted by the Church in Rome, this time
directed to the world of work and society.
Concerning the Citizen's Mission, the Pontiff explained that
he had widened the area of mission so "that the Gospel of Christ
be proclaimed and witnessed to in all circumstances and
situations of life."
"The workplace in some cases is where secularization seems to
be more advanced," reflected the Holy Father, "and speaking of
God and Jesus Christ can be difficult and almost out of place.
However in reality God is never a stranger. Christ is never a
stranger", he stated.
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.
SITE OF THE DAY
In honor of this glorious feast day dedicated to the authority of the Church, we present the official site for this authority - the VATICAN WEB SITE. Many of the documents are available here in English but all are included only in Italian. Yet it is an excellent reference site maintained by the Holy See with no frills. Their Jubilee site will be expanded with a new URL that we will reveal shortly.
Click here to return to SECTION ONE or SECTION TWO or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.
February 22, 1999 volume 10, no. 36 DAILY CATHOLIC