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August 4, 1998
SECTION TWO   vol 9, no. 151
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION ONE
Events Today in Church History
For events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history today, click on TIME CAPSULES: ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME
THIS DAY IN CHURCH HISTORY
Historical Events in Church Annals for August 4:
Birth of Giambattista Castagna who would go on to become the 228th successor of Peter as Pope Urban VII. Unfortunately his papacy lasted only 13 days for he died of malaria at the Vatican.
Death of Saint John Baptist Vianney, priest and confessor. For more on this humble saint, see TODAY'S LITURGY.
Today is the feast of Saint John Baptist Marie Vianney, Cure of Ars, while tomorrow we celebrate the feast of Dedication of the Cathedral of Saint Mary's Major in Rome. For the readings, liturgy and meditations for both days, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.
Tuesday, August 4, 1998
Tuesday August 4:
Feast of Saint John Mary Baptist Vianney, Priest and Confessor: Cure d'Ars
First Reading: Jeremiah 30: 1-2, 12-15, 18-22
Psalms: Psalm 102: 16-23, 29
Gospel Reading: Matthew 14: 22-36
SAINT JOHN MARIE BAPTIST VIANNEY, CURE OF ARS
This humble parish priest was born on May 8, 1786 in Dardilly near Lyons, France three years before the French
Revolution. Few realized this young John Baptist Vianney would stage his own revolution within the Church - one which would set the model for the importance of the parish priest and foster numerous vocations to the priesthood at a time when the Church was greatly persecuted and misunderstood. He saw first hand the
slaughter of the clergy and exile of many of the priests who he longed for. Thus at age 20, with a fervent desire
to rebuild the Church in France he began studying for the priesthood under the saintly Abbe Balley at Ecully.
Because he was not a learned man, young John had great difficulty with his studies and struggled greatly,
particularly with the Latin. Because of his grades he was not protected from the military draft and was called to
Napoleon's army in 1808. Less than a year later, realizing the folly of war, he deserted and returned home in
hiding. In 1810, the little French general, realizing how the populace was turning against him, granted amnesty
to all deserters. This freed Vianney to pursue his studies where he was tonsured. Though he continued to
struggle with his studies, the Abbe saw the qualities of holiness in John and interceded for his ordination. Thus
John became a priest in 1815 despite his poor grades. His first assignment was under the Abbe as curate
where he remained until the Abbe's death in 1817. The next year the bishop assigned Fr. Vianney as the Cure
d'Ars where he remained for the rest of his life - 42 years - as a humble, parish priest. His first priority was to
reinstill the reverence for the Blessed Sacrament and then reignite the flame of involvement in a parish that had
become exceedingly indifferent. He waged a constant war on immorality and over-spending, eventually winning
over the entire village though not before impassioned bouts with enemies who wanted to cling to the good life.
But Fr. Vianney won out, opening a school for girls, a shelter for orphans and a shrine to Saint Philomena which drew enormous throngs as a place of pilgrimage. Many believe it was not the shrine they were being attracted to, but rather this simple, holy priest who spent sixteen to eighteen hours a day in the confessional counseling through spiritual direction, and giving absolution. Though he was laughed at by many of his peers and some of the villagers for his ignorance in things of the world, he had the unique gift of reading souls and the
confessional became his classroom where he was the master teacher. As befits a holy man, the more one
strives for sanctity the more satan assaults. Such was the case with Fr. Vianney who was subjected to demonic
attacks for over thirty years. Though he was not an intellectual, the wisdom which he spoke told volumes. One
such pearls of wisdom was on "Whom the devil torments most?" in "Beware if you have no temptations".
Every time the bishop sought to transfer him, his parishioners stormed the ordinary with protests, causing the
bishop to back down. Fr. Vianney himself longed to leave, not for another parish, but rather for the life of a
Carthusian monk. Three times he sought the contemplative life but each time his parishioners brought him
back and he finally realized his life would always be healing sinners and tending to the desolate. His fame
spread throughout Europe and in 1843 he was awarded the medal of the Legion of Honor. He promptly sold it
for the value it brought and gave the money to the poor. Exhausted from a life-long dedication to his
parishioners and pilgrims, he died peacefully on August 4, 1859 a year after Our Lady, whom he had a deep devotion to, had appeared at Lourdes affirming the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. This holy saint truly believed in the power of prayer, saying "Private prayer is like straw scattered here and there, if you set it on fire it makes a long of little flames. But gather these straws into a bundle and light them, and you get a mighty fire,
rising like a column into the sky; public prayer is like that." Such was the power of Mass, the Real Presence of
the Blessed Sacrament, and the Holy Rosary and this devotion is still evident today in this tiny village which has
become the shrine of St. John Vianney who was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1925 and four years later
proclaimed "patron of parish priests."
Wednesday, August 5, 1998
Wednesday August 5: Eighteenth Wednesday in Ordinary Time and
Feast of the Dedication of Saint Mary Major Basilica
Green or White vestments
First Reading: Jeremiah 31: 1-7
Psalms: Jeremiah 31: 10-13
Gospel Reading: Matthew 15: 21-28
DEDICATION OF BASILICA OF SAINT MARY MAJOR IN ROME
Many believe that Saint Mary Major Basilica was derived from an apparition in which Our Lady appeared,
designating a place where she desired a basilica in her honor be built in the early centuries. Legend has it that
on the evening of August 5th somewhere around the year 358 in the midst of the hot Roman summer the site
was miraculously outlined in snow the next morning when the citizens awoke. Thus she became known as "Our
Lady of the Snows". There are conflicting reports as to the date. Some annals contend it was August 15th, which
would later become the Feast of the Assumption. Regardless it was August and for it to snow during the most
sizzling month of the year when most Romans abandon their city for the cooler mountains, was truly a miracle.
Pope Saint Liberius realized this immediately and laid the foundations for the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. Pope Saint Sixtus III designated August 5th as the official date for commemorating this feast around the year 435. Above the portals of this Basilica are the words "Plebus Dei" which means "Dedicated to the People of God." From the seventh century on the Basilica was also known as "Blessed Mary at the Crib", because many believed that within this Basilica nestled in the narrow streets of Rome was the true manger from Bethlehem
miraculously transported. This has never been proven and many believe it exists there mystically in the
Tabernacle where her Divine Son resides Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist. In 1586,
another Sixtus, Pope Sixtus V entered this feast into the Roman Calendar.
PRAYER & DEVOTIONS
Below is the Opening Prayer for today's Mass honoring Saint John Baptist Marie Vianney, Cure of Ars:
Father of mercy, You made Saint John Vianney outstanding in his priestly zeal and concern for Your people. By his example and prayers, enable us to win our brothers and sisters to the love of Christ and come with them to eternal glory.
NEWS & VIEWS
with a Catholic slant
Changing of the Guard: Colonel Pius Segmueller handed reigns of Vatican Swiss Guard
With the Pope at his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, the Swiss Guard had a changing of the guard yesterday three months after the terrible shootings in the Vatican. In a low-key ceremony forty-six year-old Colonel Pius Segmueller was handed the reigns of the elite corps of one hundred or so whose principal task is to protect the Holy Father. For more, click on New commander.
NEW SWISS GUARD COMMANDER TAKES UP POST
VATICAN CITY (CWNews.com) - The new commander of the
Vatican's Swiss Guard took up his post on Saturday, three
months after his predecessor was murdered by a junior
guardsman and shocked the world by the violent act.
With little fanfare and ceremony, Col. Pius Segmueller, 46,
took command of the 100-soldier unit from interim commander
Col. Ronald Buchs, who had already returned home to
Switzerland earlier in the week. Segmueller was commander
of the Swiss Army's Hospital Regiment 12 until his
selection for the Vatican post.
Col. Alois Estermann and his wife were killed on May 4 by
Corporal Cedric Tornay, who then killed himself, apparently
after he had been snubbed for an award and been given a
Nun killing continues with Pope's announcement that another was shot to death in Rwanda
During his Angeles audience Sundat at his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, Pope John Paul II revealed that another nun - Sister Valeus Mukanoheli of the Congregation of Benebiki headquartered in Rwanda - was shot to death during a time when tensions between Hutu rebels and the government are at a dangerous level. Her death brings to six the number of religious who have been murdered in the last week. For more, click on Angelus Audience.
POPE MOURNS ANOTHER MISSIONARY KILLED
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CWNews.com) - Pope John Paul II
said on Sunday that the sixth Catholic member of a
religious order in a week was killed on Friday, referring
to Sister Valeus Mukanoheli of the Congregation of
Benebikira in Rwanda.
The nun was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in front of
her mission in northwestern Rwanda. The murder occurred the
same day as an attack by Hutu rebels on a nearby Hutu town
which killed at least 100 people. Government soldiers had
captured one of the rebels and was pursuing others.
Officials did not know if the attacks were related.
Thousands of people have been killed since 1996 when former
Hutu soldiers returned from exile after the 1994
Hutu-organized genocide of more than 500,000 Tutsis and
The Holy Father announced the slaying to a congregation
gathered at his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo on
Sunday. "I have to mention that to those members of the
holy orders killed in the past few days, we must add the
name of Sister Valeus Mukanoheli ... tragically killed in
Rwanda last Friday," he said. "While we pray for the soul
of our sister, we continue to faithfully implore the Lord
for peace in Africa and in the whole world."
Three nuns of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity were
killed in Yemen last Monday, a Jesuit missionary was
murdered in the Congo the same day, and a Franciscan nun
was killed in South Africa the previous Saturday or Sunday.
Italian Cardinal lashes out at local civic leaders who are soft on morals
Throughout much of Europe city councils and governments are being faced with the issue of accepting same-sex partnerships as common place in the same manner as heterosexual marital status. But the Cardinal of Florence, Italy has had enough. Cardinal Silvano Piovanelli, upon learning that the city council caved to demands of homosexuals, has issued a scathing condemnation of such action via the weekly Vatican organ - L'Osservatore Romano this week, illustrating how such decisions lead to a direct antithesis of all the Church teaches. For more, click on Florence Cardinal.
FLORENCE CARDINAL BLASTS SAME-SEX MARRIAGE LAW
FLORENCE, Italy (CWNews.com) - Cardinal Silvano Piovanelli
of Florence on Friday criticized a decision by Florence's
city council to allow homosexuals and lesbians to register
their relationships as common law marriages.
Cardinal Piovanelli wrote in the Vatican newspaper
L'Osservatore Romano that the new rule "is against the
teachings of the Church," and don't "correspond to our
society's or to traditional Christianity's concept of
family." Pisa was the first Italian city to make the
allowance on July 9 and was followed by Voghera.
While the marriage is only symbolic and offers no legal
recognition, opponents and supporters see the changes as
one step on a slippery slope. "The registry -- to my way of
seeing -- doesn't alleviate the suffering and the possible
marginalization of those who might be, and often are, the
victims of homosexuality," the cardinal wrote.
Jews and Catholics at an impasse as Israel formally demands removal of crosses at Auschwitz
Israel is playing hard-ball with Polish Catholics and Polish civic authorities governing the land on which the Nazi death camp Auschwitz was located. The Israeli government has demanded the removal of fifty crosses placed there by zealous Catholics who themselves have protested the lack of any kind of Christian memorial where many Catholics were also put to death, including Saint Maximilian Kolbe and Blessed Edith Stein. The Jews countered that an international agreement had been reached nothing would be erected on the grounds. For more, click on Auschwitz
ISRAEL DEMANDS REMOVAL OF CROSSES FROM AUSCHWITZ
JERUSALEM (CWNews.com) - Officials of Israel's national
memorial to the victims of the Holocaust sent a demand on
Monday to the Polish government to remove crosses placed at
the Auschwitz concentration camp by Catholic groups who
object to the removal of Christian symbols from the site.
The Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial issued a statement
demanding the removal of 50 crosses placed at the site,
calling it a "provocative act." The crosses were erected
last week by a Catholic workers' group. The memorial said
the crosses violate an international agreement that no
religious, ideological, or political symbols would be
erected at the former Nazi death camps where 1.5 million
people were murdered, most of them Jews, but also including
Polish Catholics, Russians, and Gypsies.
"It was agreed that a tombstone would not be erected on the
site and that only a museum for educational purposes would
be allowed to remain there," the statement said. "The
placing of the crosses, after special efforts have been
made to reduce tensions, may aggravate the situation and
prevent further dialogue between the sides about the future
of the site."
For more headlines and articles, we suggest you go to the Catholic World News site. CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.
July 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message
Dear children! Today, little children, I invite you, through prayer, to be with
Jesus, so that through a personal experience of prayer you may be able to discover the beauty of God's
creatures. You cannot speak or witness about prayer, if you do not pray. That is why, little children, in the
silence of the heart, remain with Jesus, so that He may change and transform you with His love. This,
little children, is a time of grace for you. Make good use of it for your personal conversion, because
when you have God, you have everything. Thank you for having responded to my call.
For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE
PROVERB OF THE DAY
"The nether world and the abyss are never satisfied; so too the eyes of men. "
Proverbs 27: 20
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August 4, 1998 volume 9, no. 151 DAILY CATHOLIC