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June 28, 1999
SECTION TWO vol 10, no. 124
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION ONE
Today is the Feast of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr while tomorrow is the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles and the Feast of the Bishop of Rome honoring the Vicar of Christ. For the readings, liturgies, meditations and vignettes for these feasts, click on DAILY LITURGY.
Monday, June 28, 1999
Monday, June 28:
Feast of Saint Irenaeus, Bishop and Martyr and
Vigil of Saints Peter and Paul
First Reading: Genesis 18: 16-33
Psalms: Psalm 103: 1-4, 8-11
Gospel Reading: John 21: 15-19
FEAST OF SAINT IRANEAUS, BISHOP AND MARTYR
Born in Smyrna in 120 AD, Saint Iraneaus was a disciple of St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna who had often listened at the feet of the Apostle St. John the Evangelist. Sent by Polycarp to France - then Gaul, Iraneaus became a priest in Lyons ordained by St. Ponthinus, Bishop of Lyons, during the terrible of persecution of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Upon Ponthinus' death, Iraneaus succeeded him as the Ordinary of Lyons. In this office, besides dodging Roman persecution, he fought the growing heresies of Gnosticism. Because of his training by Polycarp and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Iraneaus wrote a treatise against the Gnostics that has been handed down and contains the essence in systematic presentation of Catholic Doctrine. His preaching and evangelizing effected countless conversions throughout Gaul as he dispatched many missionaries to all parts of the country. In 203 he was captured by the Romans and the Emperor Severus ordered his execution along with hundreds of other Christians there in the city of Lyons where they all received their crowning glory through martyrdom.
Tuesday, June 29, 1999
First Reading: Acts 12: 1-11
Psalms: Psalm 34: 2-9
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 4: 5-8, 17-18
Gospel Reading: Matthew 16: 13-19
FEAST OF SAINT PETER AND SAINT PAUL, APOSTLES
Because of the significance of these two saints, we include it under feasts rather than saints. Known as "The Rock" of the Church, Saint Peter is indeed the one who Christ charged to head His Church as the first Pope after He ascended into Heaven. Christ's words in John 21: 15-19 indicate another way Jesus clearly intended Peter to be the first Vicar of Christ on earth when he said: "Feed My lambs...Feed My
sheep." The Good Shepherd was passing his staff on to Peter the new shepherd. To this day every bishop carries the shepherd's staff, called a crozier, shaped like the shepherd's crook and symbolic of the bishop's role in feeding Christ's sheep as well as the reason for the staff in the first place, to prod the sheep when they become lax or stray. Up until the eleventh century popes also carried the crozier but now carry the cross, indicated by the cross Pope John Paul II carries whenever on official appearance as the successor of Peter. Through the actions of this saint, we realize Peter was "everyman", an accomplished fisherman by trade who Jesus turned into a "Fisher of men." Peter was weak and afraid, evidence by his denial of Christ as Jesus foretold, but was strengthened on Pentecost to become brave and strong, the leader of the fledgling Church. Cowering in fear far from the Our Lord's Crucifixion at the time, he courageously went to his own crucifixion later in Rome as a martyr. Humbled by the previous experienced he expressed that he was not worthy to be crucified in the same manner as Our Lord, and thus was crucified upside down. From a pebble to a strong rock God transformed this great Apostle just as the Almighty can transform all of us if we are open to His Will.
Peter's counterpart, Saint Paul took a different route to sanctity. Starting out as Saul of Tarsus, the Pharisee who was a voracious persecutor of Christians, he was struck from his horse enroute to Damascus as God confronted him directly "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?" To impress that this was truly the One, True God, He struck Saul blind, instructing this Jewish persecutor to go into the city of Damascus and wait. After three days God, through His angel, sent a Christian named Ananias to Paul who was still blind. Ananias had been assured by God that "this man is a chosen vessel to Me, to carry My Name among nations and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for My Name" (Acts 9: 15-16). Trusting in God, Ananias approached Saul saying, "Brother Saul, the Lord has sent me
- Jesus, Who appeared to thee on thy journey - that thou mayest recover thy sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." As Acts 9: 17-19 relates, "there fell from his eyes something like scales and he recovered his sight, and arose and was baptized." It was then that Saul realized the folly of his ways and turned his fervor to persecute as Saul into a fire of evangelism as Paul in converting countless Jews and Gentiles to the One, True Faith. It was not an easy path for upon his conversion he did as the Lord instructed, first going to Arabia in
preparation for the mission God had for him. Paul underwent numerous hardships including shipwreck, rejection, imprisonment and internal bickering but, by trusting in Christ and the Holy Spirit, this fiery saint persevered writing and proclaiming the majority of the epistles of the New Testament. His journeys ultimately brought him to Rome where he received his crown of martyrdom by beheading in 67 AD, shortly after Peter was crucified by the Romans.
WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS
with a Catholic slant
On again, off again papal trip to Armenia permanently off
As much as Pope John Paul II wanted to visit his dying friend the Armenian Patriarch Karekin I Catholicos, it just won't happen because of scheduling conflicts that affords no time for the Holy Father to make the trip. In his stead the Pope is dispatching his special envoy Australian Cardinal Edward Isdris Cassidy, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity to meet with the Armenian religious leader and express the Pope's regrets and convey his heartfelt prayers to Karekin, who has incurable throat cancer, and the people of Armenia. For more, click on Armenia trip canceled .
POPE'S TRIP TO ARMENIA CANCELED
Cardinal Cassidy Will Carry Papal Message to Sick Patriarch
VATICAN CITY, JUN 25 (ZENIT).- John Paul II's trip to Armenia has been
definitely canceled. The Pope looked forward to this trip with great
enthusiasm, since the Catholic Church has reached an historic
theological agreement with the Armenian Church, which has put an end to
1500 years of religious controversy. Patriarch Karekin I's health has
continued to deteriorate, however, and everything points to the fact
that the two religious leaders will be unable to meet.
Consequently, the Pope has asked Australian Cardinal Edward I. Cassidy,
president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, to
travel to Yerevan, Armenia, to visit the dying Catholicos of All
Armenians on the Pope's behalf.
In a statement today by Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Holy
See's Press Office, it was announced that the date of the meeting will
be July 2. The Australian Cardinal will give the Armenian Patriarch a
personal message from the Pope.
As reported earlier, during John Paul II's visit to Poland a
representative of the Catholicos requested a meeting with the Holy
Father in Warsaw to tell him about the difficulties of the papal trip
given the worsening health condition of Karekin I. The Pontiff had then
changed his plans in hopes of visiting the Patriarch in his private
quarters at the end of his pastoral marathon in Poland. Because of the
fever the Pope himself suffered, the visit was postponed, and has now
Special festivities planned for feast commemorating and honoring the Bishop of Rome: Pope John Paul II
Tuesday's feast of the Solemnity of the Apostles Saints Peter and Paul is also significant as the day the Bishop of Rome, the Vicar of Christ is honored. This year, in the final year before the Jubilee, the Jubilee Steering committee will stage a special presentation for the Holy Father at Paul VI Hall to be televised via satellite around the world. In addition to debuting the official Jubilee hymn, special acknowledgment will come from around the world - from Nelson Mandela in South Africa to Kofi Annan at UN Headquarters in New York to retired astronaut Neil Armstrong at NASA Headquarters in Houston commemorating the thirtieth anniversary of his landing on the moon. The celebration in Rome will be capped by a spectacular fireworks display from Castel San'Angelo reviving a long-standing tradition. For more, click on .
NELSON MANDELA AND KOFI ANNAN PARTICIPATE IN PAPAL CELEBRATION
Television Program for Pope's Feast
VATICAN CITY, JUN 25 (ZENIT).- June 29, the feast of Saints Peter and
Paul is the feast of the Bishop of Rome, given that Peter was Rome's
first Bishop. In celebration of this feast, the Jubilee Steering
Committee and Italian Radio and Television (RAI) will present a
television program of Jubilee preparation, to be transmitted live by
Eurovision from the Paul VI Audience Hall in the Vatican. Among the
participants will be the Pope himself.
The program includes international satellite links and performances by
several artists. Among the personalities of international prestige
participating in the event are Nelson Mandela from South Africa and Kofi
Annan, U.N. Secretary General from New York. Neil Armstrong is slated to
greet the Holy Father from Houston, on the thirtieth anniversary of
man's arrival on the moon.
On the occasion of this television event, the official Jubilee hymn,
"Christ Today," will be heard for the first time. The celebration will
end with the "Antica Girandola" from Castel Sant'Angelo, a spectacle of
fireworks, which Popes have historically offered to pilgrims during
Jubilee years, precisely on June 29. This event has not been celebrated
since the time of the unification of Italy.
It's official: Beatification process for Mother Teresa will begin the end of July in Calcutta
The Vatican's response from Calcutta's Archbishop Henry D'Sousa, facilitator for her cause, has been positive with the Holy See giving approval for the beatification process of the saint of the gutter - Mother Teresa to proceed on schedule, officially beginning full swing on July 28th. This process usually takes years, but is being expedited because of the overwhelming evidence presented for her cause. For more, click on Green light for Mother Teresa's cause.
PROCESS OF BEATIFICATION OF MOTHER TERESA TO BEGIN IN JULY
VATICAN CITY, 26 (NE) The process of beatification of Mother Teresa will officially begin next July 28 in the city of Calcutta, where the founder of the Missionaries of Charity began an abnegate work of service to the "most poor among the poor".
The Archbishop of Calcutta, Henry D'Souza, informed of the date in which the diocesan phase of the process will begin, during which different testimonies on the life and work of the nun of Albanian origin will be listened to. In the last days, sisters of the Missionaries of Charity made the official delivery to the prelate of biographical material necessary to begin the cause.
Also, it was made known that witness on the life of the Mother Teresa will also be listened to in Rome and New York. The process will then pass on to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. During the process, a medical commission will verify if scientific explanations exist or not for some of the healings attributed to the intercession of Mother Teresa.
Archbishop Tauran and a contingent of European bishops and religious leaders offer Ecumenical Marshall Plan to maintain peace in the Balkans.
While the Vatican's Secretary of Relations with States expressed hope that a special "Marshall Plan" for the Balkans would work if all respect the human dignity of all parties, a group of European bishops and religious leaders from different faiths were meeting in the ancient city of Dubrovnik on the Adriatic Coast to formulate an ecumenical agenda for carrying out this plan, placing special emphasis on the Orthodox' cooperation and a unity among all parties despite their diversities. For more, click on Balkans agenda
"THE GREAT CHALLENGE IS THE TRIUMPH OF PEACE"
Catholic Church's "Marshall Plan" for Balkans
MILAN, JUN 25 (ZENIT).- In an interview published in the Italian
magazine "Il Regno," Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Vatican Secretary of
Relations with States, said that the future of the Balkans, in the wake
of the agreement between NATO and Russia is especially complex, warning
of the remaining ambiguities and problems.
One of the principal questions, according to Archbishop Tauran, is the
"future of the refugees. They must be convinced to return, with the
guarantee of an international military presence and with credible forces
of peace, which will encourage mutual trust between the people of Kosovo
and the Serbs. After the atrocities committed, the desire for revenge or
the dream of many refugees of a great Albania, which will protect them
from Serbia, cannot be underestimated."
In regard to the Vatican's position about those implicated in the
conflict, Archbishop Tauran said that "the Holy See has not condemned
the NATO action as such, as it was aware that such an initiative could
be interpreted as an intervention for humanitarian ends, with the
objective of putting an end to the unbearable violations of the most
elemental human rights in Kosovo."
Such an initiative should only have been taken, he added, "once all the
diplomatic possibilities had been exhausted."
According to Archbishop Tauran, the Holy See "has been perplexed by the
means chosen to put an end to the violations perpetrated in Kosovo
against human rights. Like many observers, I asked myself: is it
possible to protect a population suffering these threats, from 16,000
feet in the air? Does the protection of the legitimate aspiration of the
Kosovo inhabitants imply the destruction of the whole of Serbia? Can the
U.N. be kept on the sidelines?"
The Vatican diplomat said that the Kosovo Army of Liberation (UCK),
"will be weighty in the pacification of the region. What must be avoided
is a destabilizing withdrawal by the Serbs as well as an anarchic return
by the refugees."
Another thorny question is the American idea of having financial aid for
the reconstruction of Serbia depend on Slobodan Milosevic's demise from
the political scene. "These are some of the many questions that arise
and that reflect the complexity of the management of peace. The great
challenge at present is the triumph of peace. And, as the Holy Father
has stressed, such a victory must be based on respect for history and
for law by and for everyone," the Archbishop said.
Secretaries of Episcopal Conferences Stimulate Ecumenical Dialogue
This week the secretaries general
of the 34 European Episcopal Conferences met in Dubrovnik, one of the
symbolic cities of the Balkans war, to analyze the social and spiritual
situation of the Continent at the end of the Kosovo conflict and to
study the Christian response.
According to Fr. Aldo Giordano, secretary of the Council of European
Episcopal Conferences, during the meeting in Dubrovnik "we saw the
difficulty of beginning to implement the process of unification that
respects differences. What happened in the Balkans confirms that we
still cannot imagine a civil society that is able to combine unity with
individual identity. And the same thing happens with ecumenism and with
... religions and cultures."
Unity in Diversity
The secretaries of the European Episcopal Conferences arrived at this
conclusion after debating the challenge of globalization ("a new fact
that requires new pastoral answers"), the information society,
migrations ("a way to promote understanding among peoples, the communion
of the Church and the inter-religious dialogue"), and the safeguarding
of creation, peace and justice.
A new culture is emerging in Europe. At Dubrovnik, the representatives
of the Bishops of the East and West confirmed that "Europe's new culture
will continue to be unintelligible without a serious rethinking of
Christian values," as "the indispensable premise for a more intense
coexistence among nations and persons," beginning with the Balkans.
After hearing the testimony of Kosovo Bishop Hil Kabshi, the Bishops'
representatives said that "the real tragedy of the war is not just the
great material misery, but the deep wounds among peoples, which run the
risk of festering for many generations."
Consequently, the participants appealed "to those who are politically
and militarily responsible not to condemn the whole Serbian nation
because of the cruelties of their political leaders, but to include
Serbia in programs of assistance."
The Catholic Church's "Marshal Plan" for the Balkans, which is already
underway not only in Kosovo but also in Serbia through various national
Caritas, does not consist, primarily, in humanitarian aid. Its main
contribution is to intensify the dialogue with the Orthodox Churches,
"to be able to overcome the errors of recent history and insure a
lasting peace for the future."
The representatives of the Catholic Bishops of Europe believe that the
support the Orthodox Serbian Church is even more important, now that its
leaders have denounced Milosevic's misdeeds to the point of requesting
his resignation. The suffering of the war has united Christians,
Orthodox, and Catholics. Fr. Giordano confirmed: "There are real signs
of hope on the ecumenical road, including with the Orthodox Churches,
although we must admit that the path to a full communion is still a long
The plan will be formulated in an ecumenical letter that will establish
the rules of dialogue among Christians. It is a decisive initiative for
serenity and cultural fecundity in the old Continent, which will be
concluded in 2001.
Document on Relations with Buddhism
Nor have relations with believers in other religions been forgotten,
particularly adherents of Islam, who already number 12 million in
Europe, and Buddhism, which in some European circles continues to be
It was announced at the Dubrovnik meeting that a document will soon be
published on the relation of the Church in the West with Buddhism. The
text includes the conclusions of a meeting held recently in Rome
convoked by the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue and the
Council of European Episcopal Conferences.
ZE99062501 and ZE99062507
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June 28, 1999 volume 10, no. 124 DAILY CATHOLIC