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FRI-SAT-SUN      January 22-24, 1999      SECTION THREE       vol 10, no. 15

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


      Friday is both the Second Friday in Ordinary Time and the Feast of Saint Vincent, deacon and martyr; Saturday we observe the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday. Sunday is the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time which is a misnomer for the following week is anything but ordinary with four consecutive feasts beginning Monday with the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul. For the readings, liturgy, meditations and vignettes on these feasts, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.

Friday, January 22, 1999

Feast of Saint Vincent, Deacon and Martyr

Saturday, January 23, 1999

Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

SUNDAY, January 24, 1999

Today's feast of Saint Francis de Sales is superseded by the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. Nevertheless, January 24th is the traditional feast of this Bishop, Religious Founder and Doctor of the Church.

Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop, Religious Founder and Doctor of the Church

      Born in Savoy, France on August 21, 1567, nearly 50 years after the Protestant Reformation, Saint Francis de Sales would go on to play a major role in beginning the swing of the pendulum back to Holy Mother Church. Spurning the luxury of a barrister, this learned graduate of the University of Padua opted to become a priest where, guided by the Holy Spirit, his words and actions helped convert over 70,000 Calvinists back to the One, True Faith. He was so successful Pope Clement VIII elevated him to the See of the Bishopric of Geneva in 1602 at the age of 35. Accused by some of being too gentle, he offered the rationalization, "I would rather account to God for too great gentleness than for too great severity." This gentleness helped convince the widow of the Baron of Chantal, none other than Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, to whom Francis was Spiritual Director, to help him found the Order of Visitation Nuns (the Visitandines) in 1610. The fruits of their labors in this holy endeavor soon spread throughout Europe and eventually the world. Vowed to poverty, Francis refused all provisions and honors, including politely declining the See of Paris to remain head of the Geneva Diocese. He devoted much to writing including his two brilliant works Introduction to the Devout Life which he penned in 1609 as a guide for the nuns to-be, and seven years later wrote Treatise on the Love of God which simply points out that sanctity is achievable in everyone's life. Both books have gone on to become spiritual must-reading for religious and laity alike. Francis fell ill in the winter of 1622 in Lyons, France and passed on to his Heavenly reward three days after Christmas on December 28, 1622 at the age of 55. Later the next year he was the first person to be beatified in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. He was canonized 43 years later by Pope Alexander VII and declared a "Doctor of the Church" by Pope Pius IX in 1877. St. Francis de Sales holds a special place in the hearts of all editors, journalists, writers and authors as their patron saint which was made official on January 24, 1923 when Pope Pius XI proclaimed him the designated patron saint of the Catholic press.

Monday, January 25, 1999

Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World News Service and Noticias Eclesiales Church News



      VATICAN ( -- As he received a group of Church jurists in a private audience on Thursday, Pope John Paul II spoke out in opposition to the legalization of homosexual "marriage."

      "It is an incongruous claim to attribute the conjugal reality to a union between persons of the same sex," the Holy Father said. He was speaking January 21 to the judges who serve on the Roman Rota, the body whose primary duty is to weigh annulment petitions.

      "Some insistent public campaigns seek to confer the dignity of conjugal relations" on same-sex unions, the Pope observed. But since such unions are "deviations from natural law," he continued, they cannot be justified on the grounds of human freedom. Rather, the Pontiff argued, the invocation of freedom is a "pretext," because the reality of homosexual unions is "an obstacle to human dignity." In fact, he said, real freedom entails "adapting one's personal choices and will to God, and thus becoming ever more like one's Creator."

      Remarking on the "objective impossibility" of making homosexual activities fruitful in transmitting human life, the Pope added that such unions also lack the "interpersonal complementarity" that is present in unions between a man and woman-- unions which are based on psychological as well as biological realities.

      The Pope recognized a general "deterioration of the natural and religious sense of marriage," but cautioned that this trend should not lead to discouragement or resignation. Instead, he called on Catholics and "all those people dedicated to true human progress" to promote energetically the understanding of "the authentic concept of conjugal love between two persons who are equal in dignity but distinct and complementary in their sexuality." Such love, he said, includes a sincere desire for the other's welfare, and a "concrete commitment to bring it about," which is manifest in acts of the will. Marital love, he said, cannot be seen as a "vague sentiment" or even "a strong psychological or physical attraction." Such feelings, he said, are subject to "the instability of the human soul," and therefore "subject to ready, if not fatal, weakness."

      Noting that marriage is sometimes "identified or at least confused" with "the formal rite and exterior that accompanies it," the Pope emphasized that marriage consists "essentially, necessarily, and uniquely in the mutual consent expressed by those who marry each other." That consent assumes that the couple will make their commitment in a juridical act, and express their loving commitment in a mutual gift of self, he said. In order to prepare couples of that marital commitment, the Pope said that the Church has a "grave responsibility" to help young couples understand their obligations, and to ensure that the partners have "the necessary psychological maturity" to make an intelligent commitment.


      WORCESTER, Massachusetts ( - The bishop of Worcester, Massachusetts, issued the report on Wednesday of a commission he had asked to investigate claims of supernatural activity related to a severely impaired teenage girl.

      Bishop Daniel P. Reilly, in introducing the report, said that the commission had found nothing that would negatively impact the Catholic faithful, but cautioned that further investigations must be performed. "The most striking evidence of the presence of God in the Santo home is seen in the dedication of the family to Audrey," he said. "Their constant respect for her dignity as a child of God is a poignant reminder that God touches our lives through the love and devotion of others."

      The report, which followed a year-long study, said that the mysterious manifestations of oils and other substances in the home are in and of themselves not evidence of the legitimacy of claims that Audrey is a miraculous intercessor with God. And the investigators cautioned against the faithful praying "to" Audrey rather than praying "for" her. "Our faith teaches us to pray to God and to pray for the intercession of the saints," the report said. "Therefore, the distribution of a 'Prayer to Audrey' should cease immediately."

      The commission said additional study of the matter is needed, including study of the composition of the oils, as well as determining Audrey's ability to recognize and respond to stimuli. "In the case of Audrey herself, more study is needed from medical and other professionals regarding her level of awareness and her ability to communicate with the people around her," Bishop Reilly said. "This is critical to the basis of the claim of her ability to intercede with God."

      Audrey has been bed-ridden and unable to speak or care for herself since nearly drowning when she was 5-years-old eleven years ago. Miraculous occurrences in her home, including religious statues and icons weeping oil and consecrated hosts bleeding, prompted people to begin asking her to pray for them in order to effect miraculous cures and other events.


      ST. LOUIS ( - A federal judge on Wednesday made a temporary restraining order permanent and prohibited an online pornographer from setting up a web site that provides news coverage of next week's papal visit to St. Louis along with pornographic material.

      US District Judge Stephen Limbaugh ruled that Internet Entertainment Group had violated the trademark held by the Archdiocese of St. Louis when it registered a domain name for the site that included a reference to Pope John Paul II's January 26-27 visit. The sites, as originally posted earlier this month before being removed at a court order, included links to papal speeches, a biography, and an event list as well as a history of alleged sexual scandals and dirty jokes.

      The archdiocese had maintained that the sites violated their trademark on references to the visit and could have been confusing to the public. Limbaugh ruled today the archdiocese owns the trademarks to the pope's visit and barred Internet Entertainment Group from using any variation of "Papal Visit 1999," "Pastoral Visit," "1999 Papal Visit Commemorative Official Commemorative Items" or "Papal Visit 1999, St. Louis." He also ordered the company's papal web site domain names canceled.


      ROME, 21 (NE) In the upcoming visit of Pope John Paul II to the city of Saint Louis, Missouri, he will probably announce the canonization of the blessed Catherine Drexel, founder of the Sisters of the Holy Sacrament. Mother Drexel founded the Sacramentines toward the end of the XIX century, having evangelization, education and human promotion of afro-american and native North Americans as its charisma. Mother Drexel would be the second American canonized Saint born in the United States, a nation that counts more than sixty million Catholics.

      The Holy See's recognition of a miracle attributed to Mother Drexel has leveled the road to the her canonization. In 1974 a 14 year old teenager named Robert Gutherman had lost his hearing in the right ear due to a strange and serious infection that caused bone degenerating of his auditory system. Even the most powerful antibiotics were powerless against the illness. The doctors were not able to sooth Robert's pain either. Some sacramentine nuns, friends of the Gutherman family, encouraged Robert's parents to pray to Mother Drexel for her to intercede before God for the sick boy. On that night, in spite of his pain, the youngster joined his family in prayer. On the next morning the pain had disappeared and Robert had recovered his hearing. The doctor that assisted him examined Roberts ear with incredulity. "I cannot believe what I am seeing. The body is curing itself. Is this possible?," wrote the doctor later.

      The cause of Mother Caterina was introduced in 1964, nine years after her death. Pope John Paul II beatified her in 1988. But a new miracle was required for canonization. After a long process, in which the medical staff of the Vatican Congregation examined the case, Robert's recuperation was declared to be a miracle.

      Probably the most notable miracle was Catherine Drexel's life. She was born in 1858, in the heart of one of the richest and most notable families of Philadelphia. Catherine ever since she was little girl helped the poor, especially blacks recently liberated from slavery. Her testimony was a constant and uncomfortable testimony for the people of the frivolous society of Philadelphia. The premature death of her parents had left her with an immense fortune, that added up to what would be about 250 million dollars at the present time. Catherine soon understood that charity should always be accompanied by a Christian formation and human promotion.

      Her opportunity to contribute in a more concrete task came when two missionaries among the Indians of Dakota requested the financing of schools for the natives. Catherine lent her help and committed herself to going to Rome in search for missionaries. In an interview with Pope Leo XIII the young Drexel requested for the Holy Father's help. The wise Pontiff, that had perceived Catherine's spiritual longing, answered: "Well, my daughter, why don't you become a missionary?"

      Pope Leo XIII's words were engraved in Catherine's heart. In 1889, with 30 years of age, Catherine Drexel decided to enter into the religious life. Her decision constituted a "scandal" among the high society of the main cities of the eastern coast, attached to their vertiginous material growth, but indifferent to the wide sectors of needy people that were formed on the periphery of the cities. When she made her profession, Catherine added a private vote: "being mother and handmaid of colored people and Indians."

      In 1891 she founded a new congregation, the nuns of the Sacred Sacrament, in order to serve her "poorer children." A skillful employment of the money of her inheritance allowed the building of eleven schools for Indians in rural regions. But her greatest commitment was her work with Americans of African origin. She inaugurated 100 schools in the country and ghettos of the southern cities. Mother Drexel founded Xavier University in New Orleans, the first catholic university for colored people in the United States.

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 22-24, 1999 volume 10, no. 15   DAILY CATHOLIC