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TUESDAY      January 5, 1999      SECTION TWO       vol 10, no. 2

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


      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".

"Give a person a taste for the intellectual, the spiritual and the moral, and you make them happy."


     Today is the feast of Saint John Nepumocene Neumann, American bishop and religious educator. Tomorrow we celebrate the feast of Blessed Andre Bessette, religious brother from Canada. For the readings, liturgies, meditations and vignettes on these men, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.

Tuesday, January 5, 1998

Feast of Saint John Neumann, Bishop and Religious Educator

      The practice of Forty Hours Devotion in the United States can be attributed to a Czechoslovakian in the nineteenth century who came to our shores to become a Redemptorist priest and foster Catholic schools and education throughout the U.S.A. This man was Saint John Neumann, born on March 28, 1811 and ordained in 1936. In 1852 he was appointed bishop of Philadelphia where he worked tirelessy to establish the Catholic school system in America. He labored especially with European immigrants in mind. He spoke twelve languages fluently and wrote numerous books and two catechisms as well as a Bible History for the students. His was a life of firsts, becoming the first Redemptorist to make his profession in America and the first bishop from America to be ordained a saint. He died on January 5, 1860 just as the Civil War was breaking out, but he was not forgotten and his legacy has served many a college student through the years with almost each college campus throughout the country providing a Catholic oasis for the students known as "Neumann clubs." He was ordained in 1977 by Pope Paul VI.

Wednesday, January 6, 1998

Blessed Andre Bessette, Religious

      Credited with countless cures, Canadian-born Blessed Andre Bessette, a Holy Cross Brother was born in 1845 into a family of twelve. At the age of twelve he became an orphan when his parents died and helped care for his brothers and sisters by working in mills and farms in New England before returning to Montreal in 1870. At the age of 25 he joined the Holy Cross Order as a Lay Brother. Never educated and of poor health, Andre did not let that deter him from fulfilling God's Will in the simplest of ways. Though he was first rejected by the Holy Cross Fathers after his novitiate, the Bishop of Montreal intervened and suggested that he become a lay brother with the Order. For the next 67 years he devoted himself to the menial, but spiritually rewarding jobs of porter and gardener. Through the grace of God those who came in contact with this holy man were cured and word quickly spread of his fame. While he was helping build a shrine to Saint Joseph in Montreal - St. Joseph's Oratory, he contined as porter at the College of Notre Dame in that Canadian city. For 40 years he held this responsibility until demand was so great for Brother Andre to be at the shrine that the Holy Cross Order transferred him over there. Millions of pilgrims flooded the shrine with countless cures physically and spiritually occurring regularly when they came in contact with this holy, humble man of God. They flocked to him for spiritual direction. He received over 80,000 letters a year and insisted on corresponding with the people, but could not read or write and so he dictated the letters, many through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to a plethora of secretaries hired to handle the phenomenal responses to Blessed Andre. Through word of mouth and devotion, this shrine has since become the most well-known shrine to the protector of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster father of Jesus in the world. It was already the best known in North America when Brother Andre succumbed of old age at 92 in 1937. Eighteen years later the Oratory was solemnly dedicated and declared a minor basilica. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1982.

Events Today in Church History

     Today marks the 35th anniversary of Pope Paul VI's historic pilgrimage to Israel and Jordan, becoming the first Sovereign Pontiff since Saint Peter to set foot on Holy Land soil during his pontificate. Pope John Paul II hopes to be the third Vicar of Christ to do so when he travels to the Holy Land, God willing, sometime in the Jubilee Year 2000. 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 January 5:


    For Day Twelve of the song that was actually a secret Catechism for persecuted Catholics, click on TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
      Actually, the Twelve Days of Christmas were a secret "catechism" sung by Roman Catholics after the Reformation in countries such as England where they were not allowed to practice their faith. Thus, to communicate with fellow Catholics and truly celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ as the Savior in the Catholic tradition without fear of reprisal, they formed this "carol" which represented "religious reality" in symbols. This was also used often during the French Revolution.

      The "True Love" is God the Father. The Partridge in a pear tree is the Holy Trinity - in particular the Holy Spirit (the Dove) and Jesus Christ Who is known as the "Second Adam". We all know that the fall of man derived around an apple tree. A pear tree ties into this analogy and elevates the redemption.

      In each issue we describe each day of Christmas and the hidden Catholic meaning to the song. Many do not realize that the Twelve Days of Christmas are after Christmas - not before, and cover the time between Christmas Day and the Feast of Epiphany which had traditionally been celebrated on January 6th.

"On the first day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, a Partridge in a pear tree."

"On the second day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, two turtledoves."

"On the third day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, three French hens."

"On the fourth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, four calling birds."

"On the fifth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, five Golden Rings."

"On the sixth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, six geese a-laying."

"On the seventh day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, seven swans a-swimming."

"On the eighth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, eight maids a-milking."

"On the ninth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, nine ladies dancing."

"On the tenth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, ten lords a-leaping."

"On the eleventh day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, eleven pipers piping."

"On the twelfth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me, twelve drummers drumming."

with a Catholic slant

provided by
Catholic World News Service
and Noticias Eclesiales Church News



      VATICAN ( -- On Saturday, January 9, three new saints will be canonized at a ceremony in Rome.

      The ceremony-- an "ordinary consistory," which is a meeting of the cardinals and other bishops present in Rome at the time-- will see the canonization of Marcellin Benoit Champagnat, the French priest who founded the Marist teaching order in 1817; Giovanni Calabria, and Italian priest who founded the Poor Servants of Divine Providence; and Agostina Livia Pietrantoni, the Italian foundress of the Sisters of Charity.

      On the 32nd World Day of Peace, January 1, Pope John Paul II evoked the memory of the victims of this century's two great world wars.

      As he celebrated Mass in St. Peter's Basilica, the Pope told members of the congregation, his thoughts had turned to the millions of deaths that had occurred during those wars. "How can be forget the death camps, the children of Israel who were cruelly exterminated, the marytred saints-- Father Maximillien Kolbe, Sister Edith Stein, and so many others?" the Pope asked in his homily.

      The Holy Father also mentioned the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and repeated his insistence that peace must be based on respect for fundamental rights. As he addressed a crowd of 30,000 people who gathered in St. Peter's Square for his Angelus audience, he said that "the integral observance of human rights is the surest route to creating solid relations among states."

      On the eve of the new year, the Pope had traveled to the parish of St. Ignatius in Rome, which is staffed by the Jesuit order. With the Jesuit leadership and the mayor of Rome among the congregation, the Holy Father led the singing of the Te Deum in thanksgiving for the blessings of the year 1998. He also mentioned the suffering that many families had endured during the year, paying particular attention to "the sick, the aged, and those who live alone, or abandoned; those who feel they have been abandoned by society."


      WASHINGTON, DC ( - The archbishop of the Archdiocese for US Military Services said last week that the US bombing of Iraq is morally questionable and that US military personnel should question their actions if ordered to take an action that is a clear "violation of the moral law."

      Archbishop Edwin O'Brien said in a statement to Catholic chaplains serving the US armed forces around the world that soldiers, airmen, seamen, and Marines "are not exempt from making conscientious decisions" when confronted with immoral orders. "I join the bishops of our country as well as the concerned voices of the Holy See and other hierarchies in calling on our president and his advisers to initiate no further military action in the Middle East," he said, referring to a five-day bombing campaign on Iraq initiated by the US and Britain as punishment for Iraqi non-compliance with UN weapons inspections.

      The archbishop praised the professionalism of US military personnel and noted that they are subject to the policy decisions of US elected leaders. "Once civilian leadership decides a policy requiring military action, it is the sworn obligation of all in our armed forces to execute their mission in complete obedience unless in a specific instance the required action is judged clearly illegal or immoral," he said.

      Archbishop O'Brien stipulated the conditions under which a soldier decides the morality of an order. "In executing orders that might violate just war requirements military personnel face a serious moral challenge .... Any individual who judges an action on his or her part to be in violation of the moral law is bound to avoid that action," he wrote. "When clear moral conclusions that a particular act is unjust cannot be reached because, for example, of lack of sufficient evidence, the individual is justified in following the presumably better informed decision of his or her superiors."


      ROME ( - The Vatican news service Fides reported on Monday that priests serving the underground Catholic Church in China have been arrested, tortured, sexually abused, and blackmailed by the Communist authorities.

      Father Li Qinghua was arrested in November in Hebei province has suffered torture designed to undermine his priestly vocation and training, including the use of special female agents who try to tempt the priests into engaging in sexual relations, the agency said. Fides reported: "Hidden video-cameras are used to film the priest's reactions, to blackmail him into admitting his connection with other underground priests and force him to join" the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, the state-sanctioned church that eschews any contact with foreign religious bodies, including the Vatican, and denies certain Catholic doctrines.

      Father Li, 31, was arrested on November 15 during a secret catechetical session and six lay workers were arrested the following day. The six were later released, but Father Li has since been transferred to a special prison unit in Xushui. Underground priests arrested anywhere in Hebei are brought in Xushui where a special guest-house has been transformed into prison: the corridors along the rooms are barred with iron grills, with no escape, according to priests who have suffered the same abuse.

      According to the report, priests who resist the temptations and brainwashing risk being sent to the brutal "re-education camps," are placed under house arrest, or are sent back to be dealt with by local police.


      LONDON ( - Cardinal Basil Hume of Westminster this weekend rejected calls by a child abuse group to put glass doors on confessionals to protect children from predatory priests.

      Christian Survivors of Sexual Abuse said in pamphlets distributed throughout Britain, "Children should not be alone in a confessional box with a priest." The group added that an alternative to glass doors would be to have the priest and the child sit in the open in the church where they can be seen, but not heard. The pamphlet, entitled "Safe Church, Safe Children," also outlines what constitutes sexual abuse and advises parents on precautions to take.

      Cardinal Hume sent a letter to the group this week, saying he does not want them to distribute that pamphlet in his diocese and calling their suggestions outrageous. "To suggest that children should never be alone in the confessional is outrageous," he said. "I believe this statement only compounds the media image of priests as pedophiles awaiting their prey."

      The group rejected the cardinal's demand and has pledged to distribute the pamphlet anyway. "It was a highly defensive reaction to a sensible suggestion which has already begun in Australia and Ireland," said the group's leader Margaret Kennedy.

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.

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January 5, 1999 volume 10, no. 2   DAILY CATHOLIC