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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
Wednesday January 20:
Second Wednesday in Ordinary Time and
Feast of Pope Saint Fabian and Saint Sebastian, Martyrs
Green or Red vestments
First Reading: Hebrews 7: 1-3, 15-17
Psalms: Psalm 110: 1-4
Gospel Reading: Mark 3: 1-6
Feast of Pope Saint Fabian and Saint Sebastian, Martyrs
Both saints lived in the 3rd Century and both were martyred for their faith. St. Fabian was the 21st pope in the succession of Peter, reigning fourteen years. Born in Rome, he was elected on January 10th 236 and died a martyr on January 20th, 250. At the moment of his election a dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit was seen alighting on his head. During his pontificate the exodus from Rome to flee the persecution of Decius, and later Diocletian, was such that it gave rise to the hermetical life of the anchorites, including Saint Antony of Egypt whose feast we celebrated on January 17th.
St. Sebastian was born shortly after Pope Fabian's death. He became a Roman army officer and converted to Christianity, rescuing Christians who had been unjustly accused. He discovered that Christian twin brothers MarcusandMarcellinus, who had been imprisoned and tortured, were close to succumbing to the enticing offers of pagan relatives to give up their faith. Sebastian encouraged them to stand by Christ and die for Him if necessary. This was confirmed by a miraculous light shining about him as he spoke. Sebastian cured countless sick through prayer and, by his example, led many pagans to the true faith. He encouraged all to not be afraid to die for the faith for Heaven would be their reward for their loyalty to the Son of God. Sebastian even experienced a visit from one of his disciples who had been martyred. This disciple came back to tell him about Heaven and that his own time to die was at hand. Betrayed by a false disciple, he was condemned to death by the emperor Diocletian and shot with arrows. Left for dead, he miraculously was healed by Divine intervention and proceeded to go right back into the teeth of the enemy, pleading for Diocletian to stop the senseless slaughter of Christians. But the emperor's soul was already satan's and he sentenced Sebastian to be beaten to death by brutal clubbing. This saint holds the honor of a double martyrdom or "Martyr Extraordinaire."
Thursday, January 21, 1999
First Reading: Hebrews 7: 25-28; 8: 1-6
Psalms: Psalm 40: 7-10, 17
Gospel Reading: Mark 3: 7-12
Feast of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr
Martyred for her faith at the early age of twelve, Saint Agnes was one of the
youngest-known named martyrs in the Communion of Saints. She was born into a wealthy Roman aristocratic family and was remarkable for her beauty as a child. But the true beauty was interior and as a youth she vowed to live a life of purity and chastity, consecrating herself as a virgin. Even though she was not yet a teen, Roman suitors courted her trying to seduce her but she refused all advances. Word reached the Roman Emperor Diocletian who was relentless in his persecution of Christians. Rather than killing her right away, Diocletian's men sought to discredit her by making her a prostitute and that would further discredit Christianity and dissuade others from becoming Christians. Naturally Agnes rejected all advances and refused to give in to the sins of the flesh. This further infuriated Diocletian and his cohorts who dragged her before the governor. He ordered
that she be thrown into the fire. God preserved her beauty inside and out by allowing her to emerge unscathed. The governor then ordered that she be beheaded in a public display but even this the executioner botched, stabbing her in the throat where she died professing her undying loyalty to her One, True God in 304. She was buried on the Via Nomentana where a cemetary stands in her name. Over the centuries Agnes, which means "chaste" in Greek, has become the standard for chastity, purity and virginal innocence and she is always depicted with a lamb - the Lamb of God - in Latin: Agnus Dei.
PRAYERS & DEVOTION
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.
NEWS & VIEWS
with a Catholic slant
Nine more religious nabbed by rebels in Sierra Leone
So much for the Cease-fire proposal rebels had asked for. They broke their own pact by kidnapping four Italian missionaries - three priests and one lay brother, one Spanish priest, and four nuns from Mother Teresa's order of the Missionaries of Charity. The nine hostages join Archbishop Joseph Ganda and two more Italian priests in captivity. For more, click on Kidnappings continue.
ELEVEN MISSIONARIES KIDNAPPED IN SIERRA LEONE
ROME (CWNews.com) - 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
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.
Pro-life Bishops speak out in preparation for Pro-life push on anniversary of Roe vs. Wade
The list of bishops making special preparations to inform their flocks of the importance of the Sanctity of Life reads like a whos-who of influential United States bishops including Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap, Archbishop Justin Rigali of St. Louis, and Peoria's prelate Bishop John Myers who are all scheduling special prayers and events, culminating with the Pro-Life March in Washington D.C. on Friday to heighten awareness of the unborns' plight and God's might. For more, click on pro-life.
CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES: CELEBRATING LIFE
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
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's Cardinal cautions faithful to keep a level head and emphasizes the importance of treating the Holy Father with the utmost respect
Two days before the Holy Father touches down on Mexican soil, Cardinal Norberto Rivera, Archbishop of Mexico City has issued a plea to the people to treat his holiness with the most reverent respect possible extending the traditional Mexican hospitality to the Pope who, along with the people of Mexico, will be under the public eye of the world. The Cardinal asked his flocks to take the Pope's words to heart for they will be of great benefit to Mexico. For more, click on Final Papal Visit preparations.
CARDINAL RIVERA EXHORTS TO LISTEN AND WELCOME THE HOLY FATHER'S
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."
Pope wrapping business up at Vatican before winging his way west
The Holy Father is finishing up necessary matters in Rome before heading for Mexico City this week by getting ahead of his work. This was manifested in the fact he blessed the wool palliums at the church of St. Agnes before her feast day Thursday and by releasing his Lenten Message for 1999 ahead of time. For more, click on Wrapping up loose ends in Rome
POPE BLESSES SHEEP; WOOL USED FOR PALLIUM;
RELEASES LENTEN MESSAGE EARLY
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- 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
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."
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
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