Monday thru Friday at

See why so many consider the
Daily CATHOLIC as the
"USA Today for CATHOLICS!"


THURSDAY      March 25, 1999      SECTION TWO       vol 10, no. 59

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


The Annunciation: celebrating 2000 years today of this announcement for the ages!

      "Do whatever He tells you." Those words by the Blessed Mother are what she asks all of us to do. She was well qualified to say this for her fiat at the Annunciation proved she practiced what she preached. She expects the same of us. We celebrate this wondrous feast during this time in Lent to remind us that we, too, must give our fiat to God and, with Holy Week approaching, it is the perfect time to say "Yes" to God. Today we commemorate the 2000th anniversary of the Solemnity of the ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD while tomorrow we return to Lenten Weekday with the Fifth Friday of Lent. For the readings, liturgies, meditations and vignette on this great feast, click on DAILY LITURGY.

Thursday, March 25, 1999


Friday, March 26, 1999


      Today's prayer is a special prayer in honor of the Annunciation taken from My Daily Prayer book:

O God, Who was pleased that Thy Word should take Flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the message of an Angel, grant to us Thy suppliants that we, who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be aided by her intercession before Thee. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.


Daily Dose of curious contents of the Church:

The Solemnity of the Annunciation

with a Catholic slant

provided by
Catholic World News Service
and Noticias Eclesiales Church News



      VATICAN ( -- Pope John Paul II has again raised a "special prayer" for a peaceful end to the Kosovo crisis.

      Speaking at the end of his regular Wednesday audience in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father made his prayer for "the gift of peace, which Europe and Kosovo in particular need so badly today."

      The Pope's plea for peace was his second reference to Kosovo in less than a week. On Sunday, after praying the Angelus with pilgrims at the Vatican, he expressed his desire for a peaceful solution "respectful of history and of rights."


By Molly Mulqueen

      A new major seminary will open in Denver in the fall of 1999. Amid the cheers of nearly 40 seminarians-- some dressed in cassocks; others in clerics; all in Roman collars-- Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM Cap, announced the new venture at a press conference on March 16. It is the end result of four years of astute planning and measured efforts by Archbishop Chaput and his predecessor in Denver, Cardinal J. Francis Stafford.

      St. John Vianney Theological Seminary of the Archdiocese of Denver will be the only major seminary in the country located between the Mississippi River and the west coast, and one of only 25 in the world to be officially affiliated with the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.

      Four years ago, then-Archbishop Stafford spent $2.6 million to purchase the St. Thomas Seminary in southeast Denver, formerly owned by the Vincentian order, after it closed due to falling enrollment in 1995. Stafford promised to explore the possibility of opening a new seminary there in the future, and when Archbishop Chaput succeeded him in Denver in 1997, the new leader of the Denver archdiocese took up his predecessor's cause.

      The archdiocese embarked on a capital campaign, and raised the necessary funds to renovate the 40-acre campus and renamed it the John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization, in a reference to Pope John Paul II's inspiring visit to Denver in 1993 for World Youth Day. The archdiocesan pastoral center and the archbishop's residence were moved across town to the site, which already housed the Vehr Theological Library (named for a former Denver archbishop) and Christ the King Chapel.

      "Four years ago this spring, my predecessor, Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, began a long, careful process which culminates-- or rather, begins a new phase-- today," Chaput announced. "In purchasing the former St. Thomas Seminary and transferring the Catholic Pastoral Center to the site, he showed prudent stewardship. He also showed real vision, for in rededicating the grounds as the 'John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization,' he looked ahead to a renewal of the missionary zeal among Colorado Catholics. We need that renewal even more urgently today."

      The seminary will be part of a larger educational endeavor in Denver known as "Our Lady of the New Advent Theological Institute," where soon, Archbishop Chaput said, "all archdiocesan priestly, diaconal and lay formation programs, along with the Office for Liturgy. . . will receive their training for their various ministries in the archdiocese."

      The John Paul II Center includes ample space for all of these projects, and has become the hub of Catholic activity in northern Colorado.

      According to Archbishop Chaput, "To evangelize today's world, we need the best possible integration of the various vocations within the Church. Through the institute, we hope to shape new apostles rooted in the heart of the Church who truly understand, respect, and mutually support each other's vocations from the very beginning of their formation."

      Because of the connection to the 200-year-old Pontifical Lateran University, Our Lady of the New Advent (named for the patroness of the Archdiocese of Denver) will have the authority to grant pontifical degrees to the students who complete their course of study there. At first, only the graduating seminarians will receive STB degrees (baccalaureate degrees in sacred theology). Eventually, Chaput said, "the degree programs will open up to lay persons as well. Moreover, with God's help and our people's generosity, we hope to develop license and doctorate programs in the future."

      The Pontifical Lateran University, which was founded in 1773 by Pope Clement XIV, is still under the Pope's authority-- hence its nickname: "the Pope's university." Officials at the Lateran gave their approval of the Denver seminary curriculum and faculty (25 full- and part-time instructors, more than half of whom have pontifical degrees themselves) before granting the Denver institution the authority to confer pontifical degrees upon its graduates. And in Archbishop Chaput's words, "the faculty members. . .men and women with both local and international credentials-- are outstanding. I believe they are one of the best theological faculties in North America."

      And what a curriculum! Officials of St. John Vianney (named after the patron saint of parish priests) promise a course of studies for these future priests that is unique among American seminaries-- a program that seminary provost Sean Innerst calls a "great-books theology curriculum."

      "One of the exciting things about this is the possibility of doing some experimenting with the curriculum," said Innerst. "At many established seminaries, the curriculum is formed when someone [on the staff] asks for one thing, then someone else asks for another. . .. These things grow over time in an organic fashion. The curriculum gets bigger, more complicated, and in some ways, less unified.

      "We have tried to approach seminary education in a different way, to bring to it an integrity and unity that the documents [of Vatican II] call for," continues Innerst. "Scripture is the bedrock of our curriculum. This is in response to the Vatican statement that 'Scripture is the soul of spirituality.'"

      "Each seminarian will also read primary sources of the history of theological development-- knowing how the Fathers and Doctors thought about that particular Scriptural text," Innerst explained. "They will study the whole of it, and not pull out or pull apart each of the ecclesiastical sciences, in order to get the sense of the unity of the Gospel. This will enable these men to understand and disclose the mystery and the history of the Church."

      The philosophy component at St. John Vianney will be very strong as well-- heavy on Thomistic philosophy, and including the important modern philosophers, too. Fluency in Spanish will also be required of all seminary graduates.

      Like so many dioceses in the United States, the Archdiocese of Denver has experienced a shortage of priests in recent years. The geographic span of the archdiocese is immense, extending over 24 counties that stretch across the full breadth of mountainous northern Colorado. That geographical spread creates challenges for the local Church, demanding special efforts to maintain a common sense of community. And yet the number of men preparing for the priesthood in the archdiocese has ballooned in the last few years. In 1995, Denver had 29 seminarians in various stages of preparation. By 1998 that number more than doubled, with 68 men studying at nine different sites. At least 50 of those seminarians will attend the new St. John Vianney Seminary next fall.

      "Over the next several years, nearly all of our seminarians will begin and complete their major seminary education here within the archdiocese," Archbishop Chaput.

      Keeping these young men in the archdiocese while they work and study towards ordination is a cost-effective plan. But probably more important than the bottom line is what Innerst calls the "esprit de corps" that the seminarians will develop while work and study together-- a spirit that they will carry with them throughout their lives as priests in northern Colorado.

      "There are lots of intangibles during priestly formation: the seminary is a time of rapid spiritual and intellectual growth. The nostalgia for that time in their life will connect them even more deeply to the place they are serving," Innerst said. "That value is incalculable and played pretty heavily in the Archbishop's decision to go ahead with this."

      Walking the grounds at the John Paul II Center in Denver, one quickly gains the impression that it is teeming with life and vitality. Most of the business of the archdiocese is conducted in these offices; the classrooms are occupied by adult education seminars or youth group events, and there is a remarkable amount of traffic in the library, since it has been opened to the public. Outside on the grounds, with the Rocky Mountains framing the distance, there are soccer fields and a softball diamond, and every so often, the seminarians and the staff square off in a game of Frisbee football.

      In addition to the local archdiocesan seminarians, two groups of young men in priestly formation have moved to Denver in recent years, with groups adding their particular charisms and enthusiasms to the program. Some members of the Neocatechumenate Way, an international Catholic spiritual movement of small faith groups, will serve at parishes in northern Colorado after ordination; others will be sent all over the world as missionaries at the discretion of Denver's ordinary. Members of Cor Jesu (Latin for "Heart of Jesus"), a new American religious order of men who will specialize in catechetics, will be ordained for the Denver archdiocese until their order receives its own canonical status, a process that can take many years to complete.

      Father Samuel J. Aquila will serve as rector of the new seminary and the theological institute. Costs are expected to average about $15,000 per seminarian per academic year. The archdiocese is working to increase the $2.9 million endowment it holds for priestly formation as the numbers of seminarians increases.

      The Church in Denver seems to be gathering steam for a long run into the next millennium. As Archbishop Chaput explained in his announcement of the new seminary:

      "What do we man by a 'new evangelization?' It's a simple idea-- and it's the key to understanding our vocation as Christians of the Great Jubilee. It means preaching Jesus Christ to a rapidly changing world with a new zeal, new tools and new spirit suited to the needs of our age. That's a huge task. We have many great priests, religious, deacons, and lay persons doing God's work in northern Colorado. But we need more. And, in the decades ahead, we'll need them working even more closely together, supporting and complimenting each other in the spirit which Vatican II intended."


      NAZARETH ( - A Mass celebrating the Feast of the Annunciation on Thursday will be broadcast live from the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth on the Internet for the first time.

      The principal celebrants of the Mass will be Latin-Rite Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem and Cardinal Roger Etchegaray of Pontifical Committee for the Jubilee 2000. The broadcast will be available live at the Al-Bushra web site ( between 10 am and 11:30 am Holy Land time (3 am Eastern).

      The Al-Bushra site will also broadcast live events from Jerusalem during Holy Week.


      VATICAN ( -- Pope John Paul II will receive young people from the city of Rome at a special audience on Thursday, March 25-- the feast of the Annunciation.

      The papal audience will be devoted to theme: "The Father loves you." That same theme has been chosen for the 14th World Youth Day, which will be observed on Palm Sunday in dioceses all over the world.

      More than 22,000 free tickets have been distributed in Rome for the special audience, at which the Holy Father will speak on the theme of forgiveness, and answer questions from the young people. The meeting will also provide the occasion for the first performance of the anthem commissioned for the next World Youth Day meeting, scheduled to take place in Rome in August 2000.

      Noticias Eclesiales also reports in Church News Wire Service that the Holy Father said, "Dear young people, hold fast to the love that God gives you. Remain anchored to this certainty, the only certainty capable of giving a meaning, strength and happiness to your lives. Remember he has written your names on the palm of his hand." With these words Pope John Paul II addressed the millions of youths that will celebrate the XIV World Youth Day this weekend.

      The event will be held on March 28th at a diocesan level, and will be a special moment of preparation for the great Jubilee for Youth that will be carried out in Rome from the 15th to the 20th of August next year. In the document, the Holy Father urges youth to be "witnesses of the love of the Father, in the Church as well as in the diverse environments in which their daily existence develops."

      Later on, reminding that "unfortunately, the more man loses the sense of sin, the less he appeals for forgiveness to God," he said that "although it is not always conscious and clear, in the heart of man exists a deep longing for God. On the other hand, He always reaches out in the search for an encounter offering us reconciliation."

      The preparatory Message for the Youth Day concludes with a request that the Virgin Mary may guide youth "toward Jesus, so that, following Him, they may learn how to cultivate their relationship with the Heavenly Father. As in the wedding at Cana, she invites all to do whatever the Son tells them, knowing that this is the path in order to arrive to the house of the 'merciful Father'."

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.


     Today, in honor of the joyful Solemnity of the Annunciation, we present a dynamic site dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and about Our Lady. It is the IMMACULATE HEART and MARY ONLINE website maintained by Michael Shea. They have a unique "Liquid Motion Accelerator" you can download at this site and there are a vast array of religious photos in the art gallery.

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

March 25, 1999 volume 10, no. 59   DAILY CATHOLIC