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WEDNESDAY      June 2, 1999      SECTION TWO       vol 10, no. 106

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

Events Today in Church History

      On this date in 1835, a young Italian named Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto was born to a village postman and a seamstress in Upper Venetia, Italy. He would go on to become the holy Pope Saint Pius X, 257th successor of Peter and the Pope who made Holy Communion available to all, especially children from seven years of age up. For other pertinent events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history today, click on MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES

Historical Events in Church Annals for June 2:


      Today is the Feast of the martyrs Saint Marcellinus, priest, and Saint Peter, exorcist with the Ninth Wednesday in Ordinary Time and Thursday's Feast of more martyrs - Saint Charles Lwanga, Catechist and his companions. For the readings, liturgies, meditations and vignettes on the above saints, click on DAILY LITURGY.

Wednesday, June 2, 1999


Thursday, June 3, 1998


with a Catholic slant

provided by
Catholic World News Service
and Noticias Eclesiales Church News and ZENIT International News Agency



Envoys will celebrate Corpus Christi in Belgrade, Macedonia and Albania

      VATICAN CITY, JUN 1 (ZENIT).- John Paul II hopes that June 3, the feast of Corpus Christi, will become a real "chorus of prayers" for peace in Yugoslavia.

      According to Holy See spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the Holy Father has requested that on that day the president, secretary and under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace travel to Belgrade, Macedonia and Albania, respectively, to offer the Catholic communities, the refugees, and the people affected by the conflict "the Pope's message of fraternal reconciliation and just peace and his heartfelt feeling of paternal closeness."

      According to the Vatican spokesman, "meetings have been scheduled with leaders of other Christian and religious communities and with government and aid organisms."

      However, Navarro-Valls stressed that it was a "journey of prayer," adding, "Given the desolating scene of so much violence, prayer for peace in Rome, Belgrade, Macedonia and Albania on the feast of Corpus Christi will give a dimension of unity and reconciliation in the Gospel sign of justice and peace." ZE99060105


Funds from Charity Concert Donated to Refugee Children

      ROME, JUN 1 (ZENIT).- The inhabitants of the city of Foligno, Italy, still recovering from the earthquake that shook the region of Umbria, have expressed their solidarity with the Kosovo refugees by donating to them the proceeds from a charity concert.

      When Foligno was stricken by the earthquake, the Roman orchestra and choir of Saint Cecilia, and its principal director, Myung Whun Chung, decided to offer the city the proceeds of a concert held in Saint Dominic's auditorium.

      The unique event ended two days ago with a most generous donation. The people of Foligno decided to forget about their own problems and to think about those who are worse off than they are. They announced that the proceeds of the concert would go instead to the displaced people of Kosovo, especially to the children of that suffering region in the Balkans. ZE99060101


Bears feelings of his people in interview with FIDES

      A Catholic prelate has charged that American and British air strikes are killing Iraqi civilians every day.

      In an interview with the FIDES news service, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Babylon has lamented that-- because of the warfare in the Balkans-- the focus of world public opinion has shifted away from the suffering people of Iraq. The Patriarch also said that his Church-- and the political leaders of Iraq-- are anxiously looking forward to the prospect of a visit by Pope John Paul II to their country.

      Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid is the spiritual leader of about 600,000 Catholics of the Chaldean rite, most of them living in Iraq. There are also about 200,000 Latin-rite Catholics in Iraq, along with 200,000 non-Catholic Christians.

      The complete text of the interview with Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid follows, through the courtesy of FIDES:

Q: What is the situation in Iraq?

A: The people, despite everything, are resisting. The tragedy is that the US and Great Britain bomb every day, hitting not only military targets. In Kosovo they call them "mistakes," but here they are normal daily routine. But I think that when someone is killed it is always a mistake, these are crimes against a civilian population, and they kill about twenty people every day.

Q: You mentioned the war in Kosovo. Have the two conflicts anything in common?

A: If we compare our situation with that in Kosovo we find many similarities, and in fact the Iraqi people, although mostly Muslims, feel they are in the same trench as the people of the Yugoslav Republic. What has been happening there for two months now, has been happening here for nine years: and the same people are dropping the bombs. It seems to me that in both cases the US and Great Britain show they know nothing about the people they are attacking. They undervalue the tenacity of the Iraqi people who has resisted for nine years, and the same appears to be true of the Yugoslav people. They think that with bombs they can weaken the power of the leaders, whereas, in fact, they only increase the suffering of the people. The people prefer to support their leaders rather than end up under the slavery of America.

Q: At what point are preparations for a papal visit to Iraq?

A: It is known that Pope John Paul II has often voiced a desire to make a pilgrimage in the footsteps of Abraham, the common father of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. For the Pope, Abraham is a figure who helps the unity of believers to overcome political divisions. On May 14th I was received by the Pope, together with a delegation composed of the Shi'ite imam of Khadum mosque and the Sunni president of the council of administration of the Iraqi Islamic Bank. There was also a representative of the Iraqi ministry of religion. I renewed our invitation to the Pope, because his visit would be for us a grace from heaven. It would confirm the faith of Christians and prove the Pope's love for the whole of humanity in a country which is mainly Muslim.

      At the end of the audience the Pope bowed to the Muslim holy book, the Qu'ran, presented to him by the delegation, and he kissed it as a sign of respect. The photo of that gesture has been shown repeatedly on Iraqi television and it demonstrates that the Pope is not only aware of the suffering of the Iraqi people, he has also great respect for Islam.

      A papal visit would be welcomed by both the people and by the authorities. After the audience I immediately sent a recommendation to the Iraqi government to make the official step of inviting the Pope to Iraq.

Q: Will the bombing raids on Iraq ever end?

A: I hope they will, but in the mean time, with the delegation received by the Pope, I will go to America in July. We accepted an invitation from Billy Graham. We will visit the lion's den and try to explain the situation of our people. We will meet a number of NGOs and religious and civil authorities. We are going not to ask for help, but to explain how the people suffer because of the bombing. If they stop the bombing we will not need any help. Iraq has everything it needs, except peace.


      VATICAN ( -- The Holy See has issued an expression of "astonishment" at the May 30 incident in which Colombian rebels took dozens of hostages at a Catholic church.

      The guerrillas burst into a parish church in Cali on Sunday, and took more than 100 prisoners, including the priest who had been celebrating Mass. The Vatican referred to the incident as "an absurd violation of human rights," and "a violation of the human person in the most noble act, which is the worship of God."

      In Bogota, the Colombian government on Monday broke off further peace contacts with a rebel group that abducted more than 120 people from a Catholic church on Sunday.

      About 30 members of the National Liberation Army (ELN) stormed a church in a wealthy sector of the city of Cali and abducted more than 120 people, including the pastor. Eighty four of the people were later released as government soldiers chased the rebels into the surrounding mountains.

      Army chief Gen. Jorge Enrique Mora said at least 40 men and 20 women remain in rebel hands on Monday, in addition to 25 people abducted from an Avianca Airlines flight in April still being held. While rebel groups in Colombia often kidnap wealthy individuals and hold them for ransom to support their operations, authorities speculated that the latest attack was an attempt to persuade President Andres Pastrana to take ELN more seriously.

      Pastrana had prioritized peace with the far larger Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), even setting aside a Switzerland-sized portion of the country as a safe haven for the group.

      El Tiempo newspaper editor Francisco Santos called the attack on the church a huge blunder by ELN. "They are messing with the Catholic Church," he said "That's a tough bull to fight." On Monday, Archbishop Alberto Giraldo, president of the Colombian bishops' conference, raised the possibility of excommunication of those who "profane the Eucharist."

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 and the features, dossiers and Daily Dispatches at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.


   Today we present another site tied in with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate just as we brought you last week. Today's is extremely helpful for the Weekly Liturgy. For meditative inspiration, click on Year A. The site is called the WORD OF GOD and maintained by Father John Mole, OMI out of Ottawa, Canada.

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

June 2, 1999 volume 10, no. 106   DAILY CATHOLIC