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November 23, 1999
SECTION TWO vol 10, no. 222
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION ONE
Today is the Thirty-fourth and final Wednesday in Ordinary Time plus the triple feast of Pope Saint Clement, Martyr; Saint Columban, Abbot and Missionary; and Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro, a 20th century martyred priest of Mexico who was the 67th selection of the TOP 100 CATHOLICS OF THE CENTURY in September. Tomorrow we commemorate the martyrdom of the Vietnamese priest Saint Andrew Dung-Luc and his companion martyrs of Vietnam. For the readings, liturgies, meditations, and profiles on these saints, click on DAILY LITURGY.
Tuesday, November 23, 1999
Tuesday November 23:
Thirty-fourth Tuesday in Ordinary Time and
Feast of Pope Saint Clement I, Martyr and
Feast of Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro, Priest and Martyr and
Feast of Saint Columban, Abbot and Missionary
Green, red or white vestments
First Reading: Daniel 2: 31-45
Psalms: Daniel 3: 57-61
Gospel Reading: Luke 21: 5-11
November 23: SAINT CLEMENT I, Pope and Martyr
The third successor of Saint Peter, and fourth pope Pope Saint Clement I was elected pontiff in 88 AD. He ruled the See of Rome for most of the last decade of the First Century. During that time he restored the Sacrament of Confirmation as St. Peter had instructed. He also is the one who assigned the popular phrase "Amen" which means "so be it" at the end of all prayers. Clement authored many letters, specifically to the Corinthians in which he capsulized the role of the Church in rebuking schism, "They who are great," he wrote, "cannot yet subsist without those that are little, nor the little without the great. In our body, the head without the feet is nothing, neither the feet without the head. And the smallest members of our body are useful and necessary to the whole." Fearing his influence, the Roman Emperor Trajan had Cement exiled to the Crimea. There the Holy Father converted so many that the enraged Emperor had him carted out to sea and there, with an anchor tied around his neck, cast into the depths of the Mediterranean. He has been venerated ever since the end of the 4th Century in the basilica of St. Clement in Rome.
November 23: BLESSED MIGUEL AGUSTIN PRO, Presbyter and Martyr
Venerated throughout Mexico, Blessed Miguel Agustin Pro was a Jesuit priest who was martyred during the Church persecutions early in this century. Born in the shadow of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1891, Miguel entered the Jesuit seminary. Throughout his life Miguel was a victim soul, suffering much in reparation for others. He suffered particularly severe stomach ailments. While in the Mexican novitiate in 1911, revolution broke out and by 1914 the Jesuits feared for their lives. Miguel, along with many of his colleagues, were sent first to Laredo, Texas to continue their studies, then to California. They were then sent by the Provincial to Nicaragua, but were soon called to Spain. In his final year of studies, as a deacon, Miguel was assigned to Belgium where he was ordained in 1925. He was reassigned to his beloved Mexico City but within a month the Mexican regime banned all public worship. In secret Father Pro ministered to the faithful, always staying a step ahead of the government spies. However, in November 1927 a car which had been previously owned by one of Miguel's brothers was seen tossing a bomb toward Mexican President Calles' car along Paseo de la Reforma. Needless to say all the Pro brothers were arrested and a kangaroo court condemned them to a firing squad. The youngest brother, at the eleventh hour, was granted a reprieve and exiled to the U.S. Miguel and his other brother were not so fortunate and they were both marched into the courtyard on November 23, 1927. There, as the government rifles were aimed at the two men, Father Miguel stretched out his arms wide proclaiming in a loud, clear voice: "Viva Cristo Rey!" which in English means "Long live Christ the King!" Shots rang out and within seconds Miguel had joined the long list of martyrs. Three years later a campaign for his beatification was begun. He is still waiting canonization. With his devotion to "Cristo Rey" it is fitting that he is honored right around the Solemnity of Christ the King. For more on Blessed Miguel, see
Blessed Miguel Pro - one of the Top 100 Catholics of the Century
November 23: SAINT COLUMBAN, Abbot and Missionary
Born in West Leinster, Ireland around 540, Saint Columban was a product of the fruits of Saint Patrick's missionary efforts. Though Columban's mother objected to his entering the monastery at Bango, he did, becoming a monk. With 12 other monks he was sent to evangelize France in 585, then still called Gaul. Five years later Columban was given land to contruct a monastery at Annegray and followed that with two more houses in Luxeuil and Fontaines. Soon after he had followers through most of Western Europe who built like monasteries in upper France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. With the number of monks swelling to well over 250, St. Columban penned a Rule for the monks in addition to a guide for confessors called a Penitentiary. Because of his origins, Columban installed Celtic usages in the monastery which he defended as exempt from the bishop's jurisdiction. Angered by this, the bishops expelled him from France in 603 after Columban had written Pope Saint Gregory the Great defending his position against the impositions placed on him by the Gallican bishops. He settled in Burgundy in the south part of France but was soon banished from there along with all his monks because he refused to act as celebrant for King Theodoric II who would not give up his concubines. Returning to Ireland by sea, Columban was shipwrecked and was offered refuge by King Theodebert II of Neustria, where he went to Metz, east of Paris in Northern France evangelizing the Alemanni around the area of Bregenz. All was going well until his old nemesis Theodoric waged war on Theodebert and captured the land. Columban again had to flee, this time going east through Switzerland and south through the Italian Alps where he was welcomed by Milanese King Agilulf who was an Arian Lombard. Soon after Columban founded the monastery of Bobbio in the Lombard mountains south of Milan and just north of Genoa near the Mediterranean. There he wrote the Monastic Rule, and many treatises against the Arian heresy. Bobbio became one of the great monasteries of that time period, a center of culture for learning and spirituality. Columban died on November 23, 615 at the age of 72. In 1969, Pope Paul VI proclaimed his feast be celebrated in the Roman Calendar on November 23rd.
Wednesday, November 24, 1999
First Reading: Daniel 5: 1-6, 13-14, 16-17, 23-28
Psalms: Daniel 3: 59, 62-67
Gospel Reading: Luke 21: 12-19
Feast of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac, priest, and his companion martyrs of Vietnam
On June 19, 1988, Pope John Paul II canonized a group of martyrs to the exalted position of saint, as recognized by the Roman Catholic Church. This group of martyrs consisted of 117 people who died for the Roman Catholic Faith in the nineteenth century in Vietnam. Among the group, Saint Andrew Dung-Lac is mentioned my name, most probably because he was a priest and the most visible. The majority of the canonized group remain unnamed. Nonetheless, the fact remains that these people all gave their lives preferring the Eternal Life with Christ to the worldly life that was offered to them. Andrew Dung-Lac was a diocesan priest in Vietnam. He was born around 1839. The information available does not state when, specifically, he died, but the fact of his death - a death by martyrdom - are authenticated by Holy Mother Church. As with all the Saints, we are called to seek the intercession of the person whose feast is celebrated, in some manner taking their life into our own, examining where we can imitate this person best. Not all of us will be called to shed our blood for Christ. All of us are called to die to ourselves and to live in Christ, through total surrender, every day. Let us all, in this final week before Advent, recall in our hearts first and then our minds, the total obedience given by Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions to God. Let us ask his intercession so that, with Godís grace, we, too, may die to self and life in and for Christ alone, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant
Christian churches close en masse for two days to protest mosque proposal
To protest the construction of a mosque immediately next to the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, churches throughout the Holy Land closed their doors as promised Monday for two days. The whole controversy comes over a parcel of land that Christians wanted to convert into a plaza to accommodate the throng of pilgrims expected to flock to this famous landmark during the Jubilee Year. They accuse the Muslims of purposely concocting the construction immediacy to spite the Christians. The dispute also threatens to curtail plans for the Holy Father to include Nazareth on his historic "Jubilee Journey" the latter part of March next year. It would be a shame and only fuel further resentment if he had to bypass this most important leg of the journey. For more, click on Holy Land closings
HOLY LAND CHURCHES CLOSE IN PROTEST
BETHLEHEM (CWNews.com) - Christian leaders locked the doors
of churches throughout the Holy Land on Monday, the start of
a two-day protest against the construction of an Islamic
mosque on disputed land next the Church of the Annunciation
Christians and Muslims had argued, sometimes violently,
over the land in Nazareth with Christians claiming it as
their own and wanting to build a plaza to accommodate
pilgrims and Muslims declaring the land belonged to them
and planning a huge mosque on the site. Israel's government
stepped into the debate earlier this year and gave most of
the site to the Muslims, allowing them to build a smaller
"We were obliged to close our churches to make our voice
heard," said Latin-rite Patriarch Michel Sabbah of
Jerusalem, the head of the Catholic Church in the Holy
Land. Israel called the church closures lamentable and
issued assurances it was committed to protecting Christian
interests. But Patriarch Sabbah told a news conference: "If
the Israeli government had been interested in the good of
(Nazareth) and its people, it would have stopped this
ordeal. It should have intervened two years ago."
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had asked Christian
leaders not to include churches in areas under Palestinian
control under the ban because of its expected impact on
tourism. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah
called Arafat on Monday and offered to pay to build the
mosque on a different site "in order to enhance
Islamic-Christian brotherhood," the Palestinian news agency
WAFA reported. It said Arafat welcomed the move.
Holy Father continues stern, fatherly tone with third wave of German Bishops during ad limina visits to Rome
Pope John Paul II laid down the law in a no-holds-barred address to the German bishops in bringing the German Church into line with Rome regardless of the dissidence fomenting that country which has permeated into the bishops' sees. He also reiterated the necessity to look for alternatives to the German Counseling Centers so that the Sanctity of Life can be upheld and mothers-to-be will be provided for. He left no room for compromise. For more, click on Pope lays down the law
POPE TELLS GERMAN BISHOPS CHURCH IS NOT A BUSINESS
Requests Reorganization of Assistance to Pregnant Women in Difficulty
VATICAN CITY, NOV 21 (ZENIT).- Yesterday, the third group of German bishops
who are in Rome for their 5-year "ad limina" visit to the Pope and the Holy
See, concluded their meeting with a concelebrated Mass with the Holy
Father. John Paul II addressed a number of doctrinal issues, including:
obedience to the Church, unanimous and unequivocal defense of human life,
observance of substantial difference between clergy and laity, and
impossibility of priestly ordination of women.
Church is a Mystery, Not a "Business"
Above all, the Holy Father addressed in depth the fundamental aspects of
the Church's identity. A "partial or selective reading of the Council and a
unilateral presentation of the Church as a purely institutional structure,
deprived of her mystery, have caused grave deficiencies, especially in
certain lay associations that consider the Church critically as a mere
institution. As a result, many claim the right to construct the Church as
though it was some kind of 'business,' governed by more or less intelligent
men." When one believes in the mystery of the Church, founded by Christ,
one realizes that it is not "ours" but "his," the Holy Father clarified.
The Pontiff admitted the difficulty of being a bishop in Germany today
because of the action of some groups who, by concerted and insistent
pressure, try to implement changes in the Church that are not in keeping
with her identity. Because of this, John Paul II exhorted the bishops "not
to allow any human authority to weaken the indissoluble ties that exist
between them and Peter's successor."
Reorganization of Help to Pregnant Women
The Pope also referred to the case of the Church's consultation centers for
pregnant women who want an abortion according to German law. Above all, the
Pope stressed the need for unanimous and unequivocal episcopal witness in
defense of life. The Holy Father said that the important activity carried
out by the Church in Germany, of giving advice and help to pregnant women
in difficulty, must be reorganized once and for all according to directives
given in his letters to the German episcopate.
"I am convinced that an ecclesial consultation that is known for its
quality, is an eloquent sign to society and constitutes an effective means
to encourage women in difficulty not to reject the new life they carry in
After emphasizing the fundamental difference that exists between the royal
priesthood of believers and the ministerial priesthood, the Holy Father
said that one must reject, as being against Christ's will, any attempt to
clericalize the laity or vice versa. And he added: "the Church has no power
whatsoever to confer the priestly consecration on women, and all the
faithful of the Church are obliged to observe this decision without any
discussion," which decision has the "character of infallibility associated
with the ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Church."
"Nevertheless, we must support those who do not understand or accept the
Church's teaching, so that they will be able to open their heart and mind
to the challenge imposed by faith," the Holy Father concluded.
Bishop being assaulted by "an avalanche of lies in a desert of facts" in Rwanda genocide trial, while many slaughtered at church in Sri Lanka
A concentrated campaign to denigrate and implicate the Church in the genocide in Rwanda has thrown a new twist into the whole mess in Rwanda and brings into question the motives of those who have accused Bishop Augustin Misago of genocide in what is clearly to all but the Rwandan government, a frame job. Rome has protested vehemently over the treatment and false accusations and wants the bishop released immediately. For more, click on Rwanda cover-up campaign .
CAMPAIGN TO IMPLICATE CHURCH IN RWANDA GENOCIDE?
In Sri Lanka artillery attack hits church, kills dozens
ROME (CWNews.com/Fides) Ė New charges of complicity with
genocide by a Catholic priest in Rwanda were lodged in
media reports on Sunday as the trial of Catholic bishop on
genocide charges began again in Kigali on Tuesday and
reports of a possible campaign to implicate the Church came
Father Athanase Seromba, 36, now working in Italy with the
permission of his bishop, has been accused of assisting in
the 1994 genocide that left hundreds of thousands of ethnic
Tutsis and moderate Hutus dead at the hands of extremist
Hutus. The London Sunday Times quoted the director of the
London-based African Rights organization, Rakya Omaur, as
saying that "in the light of testimonies, it is surely
impossible for the Church in Italy and in Rwanda, the
judicial authorities in Italy, or the International
Criminal Court for Rwanda, to allow Father Seromba simply
to leave his past behind."
However doubt was cast on the charges as a report sent by
Hakizabera Christophe to the United Nations' commission on
the UN's actions during the genocide came to light.
Hakizabera was one of the first members of the Rwandan
Patriot Front, a movement which regained power in Kigali
after the genocide, but he fled the country in 1995,
fearing for his life. He said that in 1991, long before
their actual offensive, FPR leaders decided to attack the
Hutu regime then in power in Kigali "on all fronts:
military, political, media."
Hakizabera said that FPR leaders decided then to "make
false accusations against the Church because it preaches
equality of all men and helps to educate the people; to
eliminate Hutu priests, and then replace them with Tutsi
priests; to terrorize missionaries and force them leave the
country, because they are uncomfortable witnesses and hinder
the FPRís plans; to kill the older missionaries who know the
history of Rwanda, because they are responsible for what
happened in 1959, when the Tutsi lost power to the Hutu
elite, educated by missionaries in the minor seminaries."
Meanwhile, the trial of Bishop Augustin Misago of Gikongoro
on genocide charges prepared to begin again on Tuesday, even
as defense lawyers contended they were being prevented from
bringing their full plate of witnesses. When he had set the
date for resumption for November 23, Judge Jaliel Rutamemara
said: "This will be the last day for witnesses or we will
never come to the end."
During the last hearing on November 16, the defense began
to question the prosecutorís witnesses, and one
international observer present described the witnesses as
an "avalanche of lies in a desert of facts." Bishop
Misagoís lawyer has repeatedly pointed out the incoherence
of the prosecution, first accusing him of planning the
genocide and then reproving him for not helping its victims.
In a related story out of Colombo, Sri Lanka, the country's military and rebels both
denied responsibility on Sunday for an artillery attack on a
church in Madhu that left at least 38 refugees dead and
nearly 60 wounded.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), fighting for a
sovereign homeland in the north of the Indian Ocean island,
said the civilians, among 3,500 sheltering at the church
after being displaced by fighting, were killed because of
the actions of Sri Lankan soldiers. "A commando unit of the
Sri Lankan army stormed into the defenseless church premises
last night holding thousands of refugees as a human shield,"
the LTTE said.
Defense officials said the LTTE fired the shells, hoping to
kill the soldiers among the refugees, after the government
retook the town from the rebels. The rebels said the
military used the defenseless of the church to fire
artillery shells indiscriminately.
A 5-kilometer radius around the Our Lady of Madhu Church, a
popular pilgrimage site, had been designated a no-fire zone
by both sides in the conflict over the past 15 years.
Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Mannar and Bishop Malcolm Ranjith,
secretary of Sri Lanka's Catholic Bishops' Conference,
decried the presence of 300 soldiers in the church compound
at the time of the attack and called for both sides to
immediately clear the area. They said both sides should
"strictly refrain from using Madhu for any strategic or
Could there be a thaw in the cool relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and Rome?
News that Vatican representatives will travel to Moscow this week to meet with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church revives hopes that possibly some day the Patriarch will invite the Holy Father to visit Moscow. Heading the Holy See delegation is Cardinal Edward Isdris Cassidy For more, click on Will there be a thaw.
VATICAN DELEGATION TO MEET MOSCOW PATRIARCH
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- A delegation from the Vatican will meet with the
Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow this week, during an international
conference of Christians that is taking place in Moscow.
Cardinal Edward Cassidy, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian
Unity, has traveled to Moscow with Bishop Walter Kasper and Msgr. Jozef
Maj-- the secretary and under-secretary of the Council, respectively. They
were invited to participate in a conference arranged by the ecumenical arm
of the Moscow Patriarchate, headed by Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk.
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November 23, 1999 volume 10, no. 222 DAILY CATHOLIC