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MONDAY      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:

      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:

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World News Service and Noticias Eclesiales Church News



      VATICAN ( -- 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 Israeli government.

      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 the invitation.


      KHARTOUM ( - 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 Catholic schools.

      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.


      VATICAN ( -- 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.


      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.


     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.

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February 22, 1999 volume 10, no. 36   DAILY CATHOLIC