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WEDNESDAY      January 20, 1999      SECTION ONE       vol 10, no. 13

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


To serve, not to be served

      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".

"Opposed to all egotism and selfishness is the ideal of usefulness and service. He only is great of heart who floods the world with great affection; he only is great of mind who stirs the world with pure thoughts."


     Today, besides being the Second Wednesday in Ordinary Time, is also the feast of Pope Saint Fabian and Saint Sebastian, Martyrs. Tomorrow is the Feast of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr. For the readings, liturgies, meditations and vignettes on these saints, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.

Wednesday, January 20, 1999

Feast of Pope Saint Fabian and Saint Sebastian, Martyrs

Thursday, January 21, 1999

Feast of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr


     Today's Prayer is taken from the Opening Prayer for the Mass honoring Pope Saint Fabian and Saint Sebastian :

God our Father, glory of Your priests, may the prayers of Your martyr Fabian help us to share his faith and offer You loving service.

Lord, fill us with that spirit of courage which gave Your martyr Sebastian strength to offer his life in faithful witness. Help us to learn from him to cherish Your law and to obey You rather than men.

with a Catholic slant

provided by
Catholic World News Service
and Noticias Eclesiales Church News



      ROME ( - Four priests, six nuns, and a brother were kidnapped by rebel forces in Sierra Leone last week, according to the Rome-based missionary news service MISNA on Monday.

      The agency reported that the group was kidnapped in an eastern district of the capital city Freetown. The priests were kidnapped on Tuesday and the others were abducted on Thursday. Archbishop Joseph Henry Ganda of Freetown was also abducted last week by rebels and is being held along with two Italian missionary priests abducted last year.

      Three of the priests and the brother abducted last week are Italian while the other priest is Spanish and all belong to the Xaverian Brothers order. Four of the nuns are Indian, one is Kenyan, and the other is from Bangladesh. All belong to Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity order.

      Freetown has been devastated by fighting since January 6 when Revolution United Front (RUF) rebels invaded the city and engaged government forces as well as West African peacekeeping troops. A RUF spokesman said he knew nothing of the abduction but would try to secure their release if the claims proved true.


      DENVER, 19 (NE) Diverse activities are being carried out in several North American archdioceses with the intention to remind us of the value of human life from the moment of conception. The numerous activities have been in part an answer to the very unfortunate anniversary of the date in which abortion was legalized in the United States. In St. Louis, where the life of the archdioceses is signed by the activities of preparation for the Holy Father's visit, Archbishop Justin Rigali celebrated on Saturday a Pro-Life Mass in the Cathedral Basilica. In that same way, the topic chosen for this year, "I have called you each by name," reminds us of the children that are killed even before birth.

      Some conferences on the topic have been programmed in the Archdiocese of Denver, as well as a Pro-Life rosary. A Eucharistic celebration has been carried out as well in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The Mass was dedicated to respect for life, and was presided by Archbishop Charles Chaput. On the other hand, Archbishop John Myers of Peoria, exhorted the Catholics of his archdiocese to be missionaries "of the Good News of human dignity" in the middle of a world that rejects life. "Our attitude toward the sanctity of life in these closing years of the American century will speak volumes about our true character as a nation," he said.

      The central celebration will be the "Pro-Life March," which will be carried out in Washington D.C. on the 22 of January. In fact on that same date of 1973 the unfortunately celebrated Roe vs. Wade judicial case was carried out. Due to its results the Supreme Court legalized abortion in the United States. On that occasion, Roe, alias for Norma McCorvey, had became pregnant for third time and appealed to the power of the American judiciary system with the intention of obtaining the right of aborting her son. On that opportunity she lied in order to affirm that her pregnancy was due to rape, a story that was used by a group of lawyers in order to obtain the legalization of abortion in the United States. It is estimated today that from that decision taken by the Supreme Court, around 40 million abortions have been practiced in the United States.

      Years later, Norma McCorvey would convert to Christianism, giving a total turn in her life and collaborating actively with groups in favor of the defense of life. Some years ago, she gave to the representatives of the Supreme Court a video with the story of her life, looking forward make it known "so that mothers going through difficult moments in their pregnancies or those who got pregnant in diverse conditions, may choose life for their children and bless the name of Jesus."


      MEXICO CITY, 19 (NE) In regards to the commercial vortex and all the movement that the Holy Father's next visit has generated in the American continent, Cardinal Norberto Rivera, Archbishop of Mexico City, requested "not to get lost in anecdotes and even less in the criticism to which we have been so accustomed during the last days." The Mexican Archbishop also underlined the importance of everyone openly receiving the Pope, displaying the identity and traditions that characterize Mexicans.

      It is fundamental, the Cardinal remarked, to listen to what he comes to say, because his words will mark the guidelines for the American evangelization in the following years. "Without minor doubt, the most important thing that the Holy Father comes to tell us is written in the Synod document that contributes his proposals for the evangelization for America. It is a document of the Pope for each one of us, for all of us who live in this continent, from Alaska to the point farthest south," he expressed. Cardinal Rivera exhorted Mexicans to open their hearts in order to welcome the message of the Holy Father and respond with the same effort that he has made to be able to come to these lands. Finally he pointed out that, "the Holy Father doesn't come to preach on himself, neither does he come to transmit to us science or human experience, however valuable it may be. He is here to announce us He for whom all things were made, He who can make a new creation in each one of us and in our continent. He who takes away the sins of the world proclaims the gospel that saves. He comes to proclaim Jesus Christ sacrificed and risen from the dead."


      VATICAN ( -- In a regular annual ceremony on Monday, Pope John Paul II blessed two sheep whose wool will be used to make the ceremonial vestment given to archbishops as a sign of their authority.

      The woolen vestment, the pallium, is conferred on each metropolitan archbishop. The sheep whose wool is used for these vestments are traditionally blessed by the Pope on or around the feast of St. Agnes, January 21.

      The pallium is a white woolen band that circles the neck, with pieces hanging down on the front and back, decorated with crosses. It is worn on formal liturgical occasions by all archbishops and patriarchs, including the pope.

      In his message for Lent 1999, made public by the Vatican on January 19, Pope John Paul II asks the faithful to reflect on God's providential care for all men.

      The "experience of the Father's love," the Pope says, should encourage believers to follow "a logic of service and sharing." He emphasized that this logic should prevail especially during Lent, "a particular time of charity."

      "The new poverties and the great questions which anguish many hearts are awaiting concrete and appropriate responses," the Holy Father said. He pointed to those who need the help that Christian charity can afford: "those who are alone, who find themselves on the margins of society, who are hungry, who are victims of violence." He summarized the pattern of need by citing the need to help "those who have no hope" and "those who are excluded every day from the banquet of a consumerist society." All such people, he said, "must be made to feel, through the care of the Church, the tender care of their Father in heaven."

      When people live in continual misery, the Pope continued, "that cannot help but prick the Christian conscience, and call the believe to face his urgent duty, in personal and communal ways." On the question of communal duties, the Pontiff called on international leaders to ensure "a more just distribution of the earth's good."


     Today, in preparation for National Pro-life Week we present a site dedicated to upholding the Sanctity of Life. The site is CATHOLICS UNITED FOR LIFE, a national pro-life organization intent on promoting prayer and legislation to aid the unborn.

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

January 20, 1999 volume 10, no. 13   DAILY CATHOLIC