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THURSDAY      March 18, 1999      SECTION TWO       vol 10, no. 54

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

The Trial

      In Lesson 8 THE TRIAL OF THE SANHEDRIN our Heavenly Mother further affirms these times and reinforces the importance of the Final Dogma which will signal the beginning of the transformation from our present era to the promised new Era of Peace. None of this could have been possible without Mary's Divine Son willingly humbling Himself and submitting to the Sanhedrin which He knew would condemn Him to death. In the first part of Lesson 8, Our Lady gives the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart a vivid vision of Christ's trial as we continue this special daily series during Lent. For part one of Lesson 8, click on "IT IS CONSUMMATED!"

Meditative Lesson 8:


part one

      Dear Father, Our Heavenly Mother says here that in the moment when, by God’s Mercy, we shall each see ourselves as we are seen by God; that is, when we stand before the Truth, then shall all men known that Mary is the Immaculate Conception, Co-Redemptrix, our Advocate, the New Eve and Mediatrix of all graces, as God willed and allowed it to be through His Only-Begotten Son’s Redemptive Act. This, She tells me, shall happen before the Justice of God strikes, but not until the world has suffered through many chastisements. But we are close to this moment, Father. Our Lady says that by our devotion to Jesus’ passion we will be ready for the illumination of our souls, and all that will then swiftly follow. Having tested the voice, I proceed to write.

"Oh God, the wicked are risen up against me and the assembly of the mighty have sought my soul; and they have not set thee before my eyes."

Psalms 85: 14



      Today is the Fourth Thursday of Lent and the Optional Feast of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church while tomorrow is the festive Feast of Saint Joseph when we put Lent aside for the day in celebrating this glorious feast of the foster-father of Jesus and earthly-spouse and protector of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In most dioceses, the Lenten Fast is excused for this day and eating meat on this Friday is permitted. For the readings, liturgies, meditations and vignettes on these two great saints, click on DAILY LITURGY.

Thursday, March 18, 1999

Feast of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Friday, March 19, 1999



      Today's prayer is taken from the Opening Prayer honoring Saint Cyril of Jerusalem:

Father, through Cyril of Jerusalem You led Your Church to a deeper understanding of the mysteries of salvation. Let his prayers help us to know Your Son better and to have eternal life in all its fullness.

Events that happened this day in Church History

      On this date in 1227 Pope Honorius III died. He is the Roman Pontiff who at first turned down Saint Francis of Assisi in his request to begin his Order of Friars Minor, but in a dream the Pope realized the error of his ways and recalled the humble mystic back to Rome to officially approve the Franciscans. 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 March 18:

with a Catholic slant

provided by
Catholic World News Service
and Noticias Eclesiales Church News



      VATICAN ( – Chinese President Jiang Zemin, who is visiting Italy this week, has been asked by the Italian government to take "a step forward" in his country’s relations with the Holy See, according to an Italian newspaper story.

      The daily La Stampa has reported that the Chinese ambassador to Italy has already received a request from the Italian government, suggesting that Beijing should move closer to diplomatic relations with the Vatican. Jiang Zemin will hear that same request during his 5-day trip to Italy, the paper reports.

      The Italian government’s intervention, La Stampa says, is the result of the February 11 meeting between the country’s new president, Massimo d’Alema, and the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano. During that meeting, the two reportedly discussed the upcoming visit of Jiang Zemin, and the possibility of ties between Beijing and the Vatican. President d’Alema also assured Cardinal Sodano that he would bring up the sensitive topic of human rights in China.

      The Holy See does not currently have any diplomatic relationship with the Beijing government. Theoretically, the papal nuncio stationed in Taiwan is the Pope’s representative to all of China. The Vatican envoy has been stationed in Taiwan since Catholics were expelled from China in 1951. Recently the Vatican has indicated a willingness to move the nuncio to Beijing, if the Communist government accepts such a move.

      Pope John Paul II is understood to prefer "direct conversations" with Beijing, with a view to eventually establishing full diplomatic relations. However, the Pontiff has also indicated that diplomatic relations cannot be established until China recognizes the religious liberty of its people, and particularly of the loyal Roman Catholics there.


      VATICAN ( - A delegation from the Vatican is in Hanoi this week, continuing talks with the government of Vietnam.

      Msgr. Celestino Migliore is the head of the Vatican diplomatic mission, which is seeking to strengthen relations with the Vietnamese government and at the same time expand the freedoms of Vietnamese Catholics. His delegation has met with members of the government commission charged with supervising religious affairs, and with the foreign ministry.

      The Vatican representatives are pressing the government to accept the bishops named by the Holy See—a topic which has produced several conflicts in recent years, and left major sees without a bishop for months when the government has rejected a Vatican nominee. But this week’s discussions will also explore the possibility of establishing diplomatic relations between Hanoi and the Holy See.

      The possibility of diplomatic ties was first mentioned by the Vietnamese foreign minister. While Vatican officials are reacting cautiously, there has been some speculation in Rome that the precarious political position of the Hanoi regime may be forcing the government to take a more open posture toward foreign contacts.

      In a related story out of Geneva, a UN special envoy to Vietnam on religion said in his report on Tuesday that while the Communist government has lifted some restrictions on the practice of religion, they still have much work to do to ensure real religious freedom.

      Abdelfattah Amor said the government's tight control over religion was intended to prevent the emergence of any group that might become a rival to the Communist Party in controlling the population. "Religion appears as an instrument of policy rather than a component of society ... something which is ultimately contrary to freedom of religion or belief as governed by international law," said Amor, who visited the country last October. The report will be presented to the UN Commission on Human Rights when it opens its six-week session on Monday.

      The majority of Vietnamese are Buddhist, but there are also many Catholics -- from the country's days as a French colony -- as well as Protestants, Muslims, and smaller sects. "The current situation of the religious communities, in which circumscribed areas of freedom are emerging within a general framework of controls ... appears to be valid for all religious denominations," Amor said.

      He added that since 1990, the government has made some positive changes, moving away from "an anti-religious policy towards the authorization, within a framework that is well defined ... by authorities, of religious practice and the building of places of worship."


      VIENNA ( - A peace meeting between the several religions represented in the breakaway region of Kosovo this week has been cordial, but little progress was made, according to the sponsor of the talks.

      Rabbi Arthur Schneier of the New York-based Appeal of Conscience Foundation said the ethnic Albanian Islamic and Serbian Orthodox leaders are talking, but have not moved toward reconciliation. The Kosovo region, mainly populated by ethnic Albanians -- the majority of whom are Muslim -- broke away from Serbia last year, and fighting since then has left at least 2,000 people dead and 600,000 people homeless. The meeting also includes the Catholic bishop of Kosovo, Marko Sopi.

      "We have spoken out against massacres, against violence regardless of which side committed them. We have never made a distinction between crimes committed by Albanian terrorists or the Serbian security forces," Serbian Orthodox Bishop Kyr Artemije said outside the meeting. "The conference was convened to overcome hatred and to establish confidence between national communities in Kosovo. But I have a feeling not all of us are competent enough to work for the goal for which this conference was convened," he added.

      Schneier said the goal of the meeting, which ends on Thursday, is to find a way for people of various religions to leave together peacefully in Kosovo, whatever the result of peace talks now going on in Paris. "Whatever happens at the negotiating table in Paris, these religious leaders still have to live under the same skies, in the same space. They have to find a way to coexist," he said.


      ROME, 17 (NE) A Byzantine church belonging to the mid sixth century has been recently discovered by archeologists in Gaza, Israel. Measuring 25 by 13 meters, foundations of the building were laid in 544, being completed by the year 550. This was affirmed by Ya´acov Huster, project archeologist, who began the search of the Christian temple based on testimony and photographs from the 1970s, when bits of mosaics were found during road work.

      Although a large part of mosaics covering the floor and the more than 1.500-year-old foundations of the church have been uncovered, excavations cannot be completed because of an Israeli army emplacement located on top of the remains. "The army can move such a small position", says Huster, who has already asked army officials to move it. But nothing has been done yet.

      According to the archeologist, the most impressive find until now is a mosaic found at the entrance to the church. The mosaic said the church was dedicated to Saint John the Baptist, stating the year construction began and ended. The inscription also praised those who donated money for the mosaic. Huster believes the church served a small village. Evidence suggests that the church was abandoned 80 years after its construction with Arab conquest in 634.


     Today we feature the oldest regular Catholic publication in existence, the official publication of the Vatican since 1861 and weekly newspaper that provides a special internet site tied in with the Vatican web site to L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO. In the past it would take a week or more to get one's copy of L'Osservatore Romano, but today, with the Information Highway one can tap in and read most of the latest issue as you'll see by reading this week's edition released yesterday.

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

March 18, 1999 volume 10, no. 54   DAILY CATHOLIC