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February 2, 1999
SECTION TWO vol 10, no. 22
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION ONE
SIMPLY SHEEN: Why we can't see in the dark!
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".
"Darkness is not a positive entity; darkness is the absence of light and is intelligible only in terms of light. Most of the suffering of the world is intelligible in terms of the abuse of something that is so profoundly good that not even God will take it away for all eternity, and that is our freedom."
January 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message
Dear children! I again invite you to prayer. You have no excuse to work more because nature still lies in deep sleep. Open yourselves in prayer. Renew prayer in your families. Put Holy Scripture in a visible place in your families, read it, reflect on it and learn how God loves His people. His love shows itself also in present times because He sends me to call you upon the path of salvation. Thank you for having responded to my call.
For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE AND MORE
Today is the joyful Feast of The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple as well as the traditional occasion of Candlemass when candles are blessed and tomorrow these candles are used to bless throats for the Feast of Saint Blase, Bishop and Martyr. In many Dioceses this rite will be observed on the upcoming weekend. Tomorrow is also the Fourth Wednesday in Ordinary Time and the Feast of Saint Ansgar, Bishop and Religious missionary. For the readings, liturgies, meditations and vignette on these feasts, click on DAILY LITURGY.
Tuesday, February 2, 1999
Tuesday February 2:
FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD
Candlemas - Blessing of candles and procession
Antiphon: Isaiah 40: 10, 35: 5
Canticle of Simeon:Luke 2: 29-32
First Reading: Malachi 3: 1-4
Psalms: Psalm 24: 7-10
Second Reading: Hebrews 2: 14-18
Gospel Reading: Luke 2: 22-40
FEAST OF THE PRESENTATION OF THE LORD
The Presentation of Jesus is also called the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or Candlemas 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.
Wednesday, February 3, 1999
Wednesday February 3:
Fourth Wednesday in Ordinary Time and
Feast of Saint Blase, Bishop and Martyr and
Feast of Saint Ansgar, Bishop and Religious Missionary - "Apostle of the North"
Blessing of the Throats
Green or red or white vestments
First Reading: Hebrews 12: 4-7, 11-15
Psalms: Psalm 103: 1-2, 13-14, 17-18
Gospel Reading: Mark 6: 1-6
Feast of Saint Blase, Bishop and Martyr
The traditional "Blessing of Throats" commemorates the feast of Saint Blase who lived in the fourth century. A philosopher and physcian, St. Blase was turned his back on the worldly pleasures and devoted his life to God as a physician of souls. His virtues and preaching drew people from everywhere. This bothered Agricolaus the Governor of Cappadocia, which is today Turkey and Iraq. The Roman governor seized Blaze and ordered his incarceration. On his way to prison, Blase was stopped by a distraught mother who pleaded for him to help her daughter who was dying of a throat disease. Blase, touched by her sorrow and faith, prayed and through these intercessory prayers the little girl was healed. Other reports say he healed a young boy choking on a fish bone. St. Blase is often depicted with two candles, used by priests on this day to bless throats. There are a plethora of stories of how many have been cured of throat diseases by praying to St. Blase to intercede. He was beheaded by the heathens in 316 and his remains are buried in the church bearing his name in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Unfortunately, the church was damaged by the Serbs in 1993 and is presently being restored.
Feast of Saint Ansgar, Bishop and "Apostle of the North"
Dubbed the "Apostle of the North," Saint Ansgar was born into a noble family in 801 in Amiens in what was then Frankish territory. God called and Ansgar became a Benedictine monk at the Picardy monastery of Old Corbie. He became the master of the monastic school there before King Harold heard of his prowess as a preacher and evangelizer and requested the saint to accompany him back to Denmark under the protection of the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne. His zeal and missionary success in Denmark prompted King Bjorn of Sweden to invite him into the land of the Vikings. While there he was made the first archbishop of Hamburg and later appointed by Pope Gregory IV as the first papal legate to the Scandinavian countries. During his fourteen years in Sweden he converted countless pagans and Holy Mother Church was making great inroads until the heathen Vikings invaded in 845 and destroyed the city of Hamburg and much of Sweden. Ansgar was forced to flee to Bremen in what is today Germany where he was appointed the first archbishop there in 848. Pope Nicholas I did not forget Ansgar or Hamburg, uniting the see of Hamburg with Bremen in 854 when Ansgar again returned to Denmark and Sweden resuming his missionary activities. His coup de gras was converting the King of Jutland, King Erik who was impressed with Ansgar's fluent preaching, great austerity and the holiness he exhibited to all. Though Ansgar had always wanted to be a martyr, he died at the age of 64 of natural causes on February 3, 865 in Bremen. Shortly after that the Vikings again overwhelmed Scandinavia and destroyed almost all remnants of Christianity as the entire lands resorted to paganism since there were no more "Ansgars" to keep the faith burning in the hearts and souls of the peoples. The lack of the Church to maintain her roots in Scandinavia was one reason protestantism took such a firm hold in these countries during the Protestant Revolution of the sixteenth century.
PRAYERS & DEVOTION
Today's Prayer is the Responsorial to the Canticle of Simeon in honor of today's feast, taken from Luke 2: 32:
"Christ is the Light of the nations and the glory of Israel His people."
NEWS & VIEWS
with a Catholic slant
Weather puts Pope under the weather as grueling trip to Mexico and St. Louis catch up with him
Whether his Holiness is suffering form a common malady known as "Montezuma's Revenge" or the drastic changes in weather affected his immune system, one thing is for certain, the Holy Father is feeling the effects, so much so that he cut short his Sunday Audience and canceled all activities yesterday. For more, click on Under the weather
COLD FORCES POPE TO CURTAIL SUNDAY AUDIENCE; FEVER
CANCELS MONDAY ACTIVITIES AS WELL
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Pope John Paul II cut short his regular
Angelus audience on Sunday, January 31; the Vatican press office
explained that the Pope has a mild cold.
Speaking in a hoarse voice, the Pope told a group of pilgrims in St.
Peter's Square that he was grateful to God for making it possible for
him to travel to Mexico and the United States during the preceding
Because of unusually cold weather in Rome, attendance at festivities
organized by the Italian group Catholic Action fell short of the
organizers' expectations. Nevertheless, the Holy Father offered his
greetings to Catholic Action, as two young people from the group
were invited up to the balcony of the papal apartment to read a
message honoring the cause of peace.
The Pope, however, did not stay on the balcony through the Catholic
Action ceremony. After praying the Angelus, he sent his blessings to
all the people around the world who suffer from leprosy, thus
acknowledging the worldwide day of awareness for that disease.
Then, after greeting the Catholic Action delegate, he retired into his
On Monday, a "slight fever" further forced Pope John Paul II to cancel
his scheduled appointments.
The Pope evidently came down with the cold during his trip to
Mexico and the United States. Journalists who accompanied him on
that trip noted that the climate had been highly unusual: in St. Louis,
where winter weather can be severe, the temperature was
remarkably mild during the papal visit. But when the papal plane
returned to Italy, the Pope's party was greeted by bitter cold
Among the appointments which the Pope postponed was a scheduled
meeting with the mayor of Rome. It was not immediately clear
whether the Pontiff would be able to celebrate Mass as scheduled in
St. Peter's Basilica on February 2, the feast of the Presentation.
Cardinal of Mexico hits a nerve with PRI politicos over his remarks
Nothing gets a Mexican official more upset than criticizing him, even when the accusations are true. Such is the case in the aftermath of Cardinal Norberto Rivera's remarks before the Holy Father spoke in Mexico City last week. There is a saying that "the truth hurts" and it has gone to the quick of the PRI, long antagonists of the clergy. Now the clergy is fighting back with the truth; the people are listening; and the PRI is shaking - both in their boots and their fingers of threat at Mexico's leading prelate. For more, click on Cardinal touches a nerve.
CARDINAL'S REMARKS RILE MEXICAN RULING PARTY
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Leaders of Mexico's ruling party, the PRI,
have taken offense at statements made by Cardinal Norberto Rivera
during the visit by Pope John Paul II to Mexico last week.
Local reports indicate that the PRI leaders thought Cardinal Rivera
was criticizing them directly when he said the Mexican people had
been "stricken" and "deceived" by their government. Cardinal Rivera
made those comments during a Mass at a racetrack outside Mexico
City during the papal visit. Since the PRI has exercised near-
monopoly control of the Mexican government for the past 70 years, it
seemed that the cardinal's remarks were an attack on that party's
Mariano Alcocer Palaces, the president of the PRI, has issued a
statement complaining, "It is not the function of religious leaders,
from any denomination, to interfere in political affairs." Carlos
Armando Biebrich, a member of the PRI national committee, agreed,
saying: "Religious leaders have no reason to interfere in political
matters, which concern only the state."
The angry PRI reaction to Cardinal Rivera's remark is noteworthy in
light of the long history of anti-clericalism in the Mexican regime.
PRI leaders may be especially sensitive to criticism today because
their party is, for the first time in recent history, facing real
competition for the nation's political leadership.
Fatalities mount as two more nuns murdered in Sierra Leone
The news out of troubled Sierra Leone just seems to be getting worse. A week after one nun was killed, two more have been added to the obituaries. While three nuns were released unharmed, for some reason three others weren't. They were gunned down with two dying instantly and the third being rushed to the hospital where she is in intensive care. The three dead Sisters have now joined their founder in Heaven Mother Teresa for they were members of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity and have become martyrs for their faith. For more, click on Murdered Nuns.
NUNS MURDERED BY REBELS IN SIERRA LEONE
ROME (CWNews.com) - Two more members of the Missionaries of
Charity religious order were murdered by Sierra Leone rebels
who had held them hostage last week, just a week after a
fellow nun was killed.
The Rome-based missionary news agency MISNA said on Friday
that two nuns were shot and killed, a third was wounded and
under treatment at a hospital, and three other nuns and a
religious brother were freed without harm. The group of
missionaries was kidnapped by rebels in Sierra Leone's
capital, Freetown, on January 14 by rebels fighting
Last Saturday, the rebels killed one nun and wounded a
priest as they fled from advancing troops. Two other
priests and the archbishop of Freetown escaped from their
captors unharmed earlier this month. More than 3,000 people
have been killed since rebels renewed their offensive
against the government of President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah in
Church News, reporting via Noticias Eclesias, reported that after the
liberation of Italian missionary Gugliermo Zambiasi and of three
other religious on the 29 of January, it was known that Sisters
Sueva of Bangladesh, and Carmeline of Kenya, were victims of
another combat with the rebels of the United Revolutionary Front
(URF). Both sisters, as well as the other liberated catholic
missionaries were taken hostage by the URF on the 14th of
January. The group consisted of six Missionaries of Charity,
five priests and Archbishop Joseph Ganda, of Freetown. To that
same group belonged sister Aloyius Mary, also belongings to the
Missionaries of Charity, killed by the rebels on the 22nd of
100,000 French Catholics can't be wrong!
Tens of thousands French men and women from all over France assembled in Paris over the weekend to protest the pending Civil Solidarity Pact, promoted by leftists, that would allow gay and straight couples to live together outside of the marriage bonds and still receive benefits as if married. The Church has solidly and vociferously opposed this and, we suspect, can take much credit for the overwhelming turnout of support to show French officials the true vox populi. For more, click on a French fried law.
THOUSANDS MARCH IN PARIS AGAINST COHABITATION PROPOSAL
PARIS (CWNews.com) - Over 100,000 people took to the
streets of Paris on Sunday to protest a government proposal
to allow unmarried heterosexual or homosexual couples to
register and receive civil and legal benefits previously
reserved only for married couples.
The proposed law would allow cohabitating couples older
than 18-years-old to sign a Civil Solidarity Pact (PACS)
that would allow them to benefit from joint tax filing
status for married couples, as well as inheritance rights
and other benefits. The draft law is supported by the
left-wing Socialist government of Prime Minister Lionel
Jospin and is opposed by pro-family groups, including the
Conservative deputy Christine Boutin, who has opposed the
bill in the National Assembly, told the protesters: "Jospin
said he listens to the French people. Now he can listen and
withdraw the bill." The huge crowd had gathered in central
Paris after having traveled by train and bus from all
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 "Catholic Press Month" we feature today a site which lists Catholic media in the United States and Canada. It is CATHOLIC PRESS ASSOCIATION web site operated by CPA which should give you the names of all Catholic print publications in North America as well as foreign language publications.
Click here to return to SECTION ONE or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.
February 2, 1999 volume 10, no. 22 DAILY CATHOLIC