Pope Leo XIII releases his 54th encyclical Litteras a vobis intended for the bishops of Brazil on the clergy of Brazil.
Death of Saint Bernardine Realino, Italian Jesuit priest who, just before his death, had blood extracted from an open wound on his leg. After his death the blood did not clot or dry up, but has stayed in liquid form to this day. Pope Pius XII canonized him in 1947.
Death of Saint Odo of Canterbury, a monk who supported Saint Dunstan's monastic reforms at Clastonbury, England. Also known as Odo the Good, he is reputed to have performed several miracles.
Death of Saint Ulric , bishop of Augsburg. Canonized by Pope John XV in 993, his elevation to sainthood is considered the first official canonization by a pontiff.
The Kings of France and England - Philip II and Richard I - the Lionheart set out from Marseilles, France on the Third Crusade.
Death of Saint Elizabeth of Portugal, queen of Portugal and daughter of King Peter III of Aragon. She was named after her great-aunt Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. After her husband King Denis' death in 1325, she became a Franciscan Tertiary.
Death of Saint Godelina, who was strangled to death by her husband during childbirth. The child was born blind, but through Godelina's Heavenly intercession was healed.
Saint Thomas More becomes a martyr for Holy Mother Church as he is executed at the order of King Henry VIII.
Death of Saint Maria Goretti, Italian virgin who was stabbed 14 times in defense of her purity by a young man named Alexander whom she forgave as she lay dying in a Nettuno, Italy hospital. Her murderer, in his 8th year of incarceration in 1910 converted to Catholicism in a dream in which Maria presented him with a bouquet of flowers. Released in 1928, Alexander sought out Maria's mother to ask forgiveness and received Holy Communion with her at Christmas Eve Mass that year. He was also present at Maria's canonization by Pope Pius XII in 1950. For more, see LITURGY
Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem, who just returned from Amman, the capital of Jordan, where he was elected president of the Pax Christi International Movement, told Vatican Radio that "we Catholics, but really all Christians, await this pilgrimage of the Holy Father, and we say to him now with all our heart: 'Welcome! This land is your land, as Peter's successor. This is Peter's land, Jesus' and the Holy Father's.' He himself admits he must return every now and then, because it is the land of the roots."
The Patriarch disclosed that the Christians wait with anticipation for the publication of the dates of the papal trip. The Israeli Minister of Tourism mentioned the month of March, but this has not been confirmed by the Holy See.
Sabbah insists that, as the papal letter states, John Paul II "is coming only to pray." He added: "We will pray for him and for the whole Church."
The Patriarch's great wish us that "it will be a pilgrimage of hope, prayer and peace, as well as reconciliation among all the peoples of the region."
Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine and apostolic nuncio in Israel, described the letter as "a profound meditation, both emotional and personal, on the places linked to our redemption. I was impressed by the passage in which he quotes phrases from his diary written in 1965, when he visited the Holy Land. The Pope clearly expresses what these places evoke and mean to him. But he also points out to the faithful the spirit of faith with which they also must visit the holy places."
Archbishop Sambi emphasized the ecumenical dimension of the letter. "The Pope has a profound desire for the unity of the Christian Churches; he expresses it in few but very intense words. He is also interested in the dialogue among the three monotheist religions."
John Paul II's representative in Israel disclosed that those in charge of the sacred places have started to work on a plan to welcome and give spiritual encouragement to the pilgrims who will come to the Holy Land, on the occasion of the year 2000. Last week, the experiment made with participants in the 4th World Meeting of Priests was very successful. They were in direct contact with the parishes and communities of these places.
Archbishop Sambi commented, "This is a contact that must be fostered. But it is important to keep in mind that it must be planned before the pilgrim group leaves its own country. The exchange between the priests of communities of the Holy Land and pilgrim groups must be especially encouraged." ZE99070106
"I arrived in Pec to meet the Catholic community. During my trip, I was able to embrace the new Bishop of Montenegro and Bishop Marko Sopi of Kosovo, director of Caritas-Yugoslavia. I was also able to greet the leaders of the Orthodox Church in Pec," the papal representative in Yugoslavia said.
Archbishop Santos Abril expressed his special closeness and concern for the Orthodox religious authorities and asked them for news on the situation of the Kosovo Serbs, who are now, themselves, victims of ethnic cleansing.
Because of this, the papal representative contacted leaders of KFOR to request "that NATO's presence be a source of security for these people who are now in difficulty. I also asked them to protect the sacred places of worship."
In statements to the Italian newspaper "Avvenire," Archbishop Santos Abril disclosed that he had very useful meetings with the priests of the Orthodox Church, geared toward improving relations with that Church, as well as providing it aid. "We told them that we are here to help. I did the same when I met the Moslem leaders. We, the Catholic Church, want to be a link, a point of meeting, a bridge of brotherhood for all, in order to really help these people. We want to tell them that reciprocal collaboration will guarantee security for all."
The Catholic Church is able to have this role in Yugoslavia, and in post-war Kosovo, because during the most difficult moments the Church maintained a position of respect and solidarity with all: Orthodox, and Moslems, with no ethnic or religious distinctions.
After being on the streets of Kosovo over the last few days, the nuncio concluded that the most important element for the reconstruction of the country is to "demolish the wall of hatred and resentment." ZE99070102
"To no small extent, your efforts will help determine the way future generations live on this Earth: their health, the range of their choices, the stability of their societies," said Annan at a luncheon for participants in a three-day conference on population issues. The meeting follows on the UN population conference in Cairo five years ago, deciding on news ways to implement its conclusions.
"Since Cairo, the world does understand ... that we have to stabilize the population of this planet," Annan said in his opening speech to the General Assembly. But increasing numbers of developing countries, mainly Catholic and Muslim nations and the Vatican, see the UN focus on population control as an attempt by the Western industrialized nations to remake the developing world in their image.
US Assistant Secretary of State Julia Taft said the controversial preparatory meetings -- which saw the harassment of several pro-life, Catholic, and Muslim non-governmental organizations by pro-abortion officials -- had shown that population issues, especially women's reproductive issues, and development are linked. But several delegates said the key to development is not decreasing the number of people to accommodate the limited wealth, but to increase the opportunities for wealth and progress.
Archbishop Duarte said that he has accused the ELN before the court located in San Jose, Costa Rica, "for the systematic violation of international human rights." He said that he has also addressed a letter to the embassies of "some European countries" demanding the international isolation of the rebels, who still hold 45 hostages, allegedly demanding ransom for their release. "Only the international isolation of the ELN will force them to comply with human rights and to engage in concrete peace talks," the archbishop said.
Meanwhile, the relatives of the 45 hostages still held by the ELN issued a public statement supporting the charges of Archbishop Duarte and announcing that no family will pay ransom for the release of their relatives held hostage by the ELN.
"All of us, including the relatives of the three foreigners, a North American, a Frenchman, and a Spaniard, have agreed to force the ELN to release our loved ones without any ransom," said Felipe Iragorri, spokesman for the relatives.
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