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August 5, 1998
SECTION TWO   vol 9, no. 152
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION ONE
LITURGY OF THE DAY
Today is the feast of the Dedication of Saint Mary's Major in Rome, while tomorrow we celebrate the glorious feast of THE TRANSFIGURATION OF THE LORD. For the readings, liturgy , meditations and vignettes of these feasts for both days, click on LITURGY
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.
Thursday, August 6, 1998
First Reading: Daniel 7: 9-10, 13-14
Psalms: Psalm 97: 1-2, 5-6, 9
Second Reading: 2 Peter 1: 16-19
Gospel Reading: Luke 9: 28-36
FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION OF THE LORD
One of the manifestations of Jesus Christ's deity was the glorification of His appearance before His
Resurrection. As the accounts of Matthew 17: 1-8; Mark 9: 1-8; and Luke 9: 28-36 describe while praying with
His chosen Apostles Peter, James and John on the mountain, Jesus' "face shone as the sun, and His garments became white as snow." Then He was transfigured before them, and Moses and Elias or Elijah joined Him. The Apostles intuitively knew there was no need for fear as Peter remarked to his Master, "Lord, it is good for us to be here." It was truly prophetic for Peter showed his personality in this passage as he meandered on about erecting three altars to the three in the Transfiguration. It gives us a glimpse of the thinking behind the one who would be chosen to lead Christ's Church for Peter, along with the other two Apostles who heard the Father confirm Jesus' mission with the words, "This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased; hear Him." After that, as if in a trance, the Evangelists tell only that the three Apostles fell on their faces - so in awe of this vision that the next thing they knew Jesus Himself was touching them, the Transfiguration over, beckoning them to "Arise, and be not afraid." Jesus knew no one else would understand what had just transpired and so counseled the three to tell no one of this event until AFTER the Resurrection when they would clearly understand that "Truly He was the Son of God" (Matthew 27: 54). Jesus also felt it was important for them to witness this event in order that when they later would see Him suffer, it would sustain them in knowing that He was truly God and would rise. As we know it was these same three Apostles who accompanied Jesus to the Garden of Gethsemani where they showed their frailties by falling asleep. Also, it was the impulsive Peter who seemed to forget the Transfiguration vision while he cowered in the courtyard denying Our Lord. The etymology of Transfiguration is derived from the Latin trans which means "change" and figura meaning "figure" which Jesus did indeed do, His countenance changed before the Apostles' very eyes as did His figure which became very agile providing proof that a glorified body can move rapidly from one place to another like the speed of light or sound. This was confirmed in Luke 24: 31, 34, 36 when the Evangelist places Jesus on the road to Emmaus and then "vanished from their sight", then immediately he was inside the upper room "stood in their midst." The doors were locked, yet besides agility, Christ possessed "subtility" which allows a body to go
where it pleases without any resistance to material matter. Thus He was able to pass through walls as light
streams through glass.
PRAYER & DEVOTIONS
Below is the Opening Prayer for today's Mass commemorating the Dedication of Saint Mary's Major in Rome:
Lord, pardon the sins of Your people. May the prayers of Mary, the Mother of Your Son, help to save us, for by ourselves we cannot please You.
WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant
Polish Government washes its hands over cross controversy at Auschwitz, drops ball in Church's court
In the manner of Pontius Pilate, the government of Poland washed its hands of any responsibility for the fifty crosses erected by zealous Catholics to honor the thousands of dead Polish Catholics who also died at the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz during World War II. The government turned the matter over to the Catholic Church in Poland while giving a subliminal "attaboy" by insisting the crosses are right. No word yet as to Israeli reaction from the government's most recent move, but we suspect tension will only increase between Catholics and Jews over this matter. For more, click on Auschwitz controversy
POLISH GOVERNMENT REFUSES INVOLVEMENT IN CROSS CONTROVERSY
WARSAW (CWNews.com) - The Polish government said on Monday
that it will not get involved in a controversy over crosses
being erected at the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz which
has elicited protests from Jewish organizations.
Catholic worker groups have erected dozens of small crosses
in the area surrounding Auschwitz to protest the order to
remove Christian symbols in recent years. Jewish
organizations had said the presence of crosses is
inappropriate at a site where nearly 1 million Jews were
murdered. Catholic groups want to erect crosses in order to
remember the tens of thousands of Polish Catholics,
Russians, and Gypsies also killed in the camps.
Foreign Minister Bronislaw Geremek said the government
would leave the matter to the proper authorities, meaning
the Catholic Church in Poland. "The Polish government hopes
that the cross in Poland will always be a uniting symbol and
will not be used for political manifestations," he said.
Archbishop Damian Zimon of the local archdiocese said
placing more crosses at Auschwitz was "unnecessary
manipulation," but did not ask for the removal of the
crosses already in place. He added that no decision on the
matter will be issued by the Church in the near-term.
Seventh religious shot to death inside a week as Haitian priest gunned down in broad daylight
Sadly another priest was shot to death on Monday, this time in Port-au Prince on the island of Haiti. Why he was shot is still under investigation but great alarm has reached the Holy See after hearing of the seventh religious to be shot which includes the murders of three Missionary of Charity sisters in Yemen, a German Franciscan nun, serving as a grade school principal for Holy Childhood Convent School, in Durban, South Africa, a Jesuit priest in the Belgian Congo, and a nun in Rwanda. For more, click on Alarming rate of murders
PRIEST SHOT DEAD IN HAITI
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (CWNews.com) - A Catholic priest was
gunned down in broad daylight on Monday, said local police
who said the motive is unclear.
Father Jean Pierre Louis, 50, was hit with two bullets as
he left his car in the Port-au-Prince business district,
and died as he was brought to a local hospital. Police said
the shooting was not likely motivated by robbery since the
assailants left the priest's wallet and jewelry.
Police said the killing may be linked to the shooting of a
businessman Jovenel Bruno who was shot twice near the
airport. The gunmen left behind money and jewelry carried
by Bruno as well.
Islamic forces trying to discredit Catholic Church in Sudan with arrrest of three priests
The government of Sudan in Africa is getting bolder in their attempts to discredit the Roman Catholic Church in that country by daring to invade the churches, which previously had been considered sanctuary, in order to arrest three priests and falsely accused them of treason. In what up to this point had been considered harassment against the Church has now turned into full-fledged persecution in this country where civil war has continued for over 15 years between Islamic forces and Christians. For more, click on Sudan.
THREE PRIESTS ARRESTED IN SUDAN FOR EXPLOSIONS
KHARTOUM (CWNews.com) - Three Catholics priests in Sudan
have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in
explosions in June, according to the Vatican news agency
Fathers Lino Sebit, Hillary Boma, and William Nilo were
arrested in police raids over the past few days, the
archdiocese of Khartoum said in a statement issued through
the Vatican. Father Boma's brother, Charles, was also
arrested in connection with the case. The Islamic-ruled
government has been fighting a civil war with rebel groups
based in the mainly Christian and animist south over the
past 15 years.
"This sort of armed harassment directed against Catholic
priests in connection with the explosions appears to be
part of an attempt to discredit the Catholic Church in
Sudan," the archdiocesan statement said. A powerful
explosion went off in Khartoum in June on the eve of the
anniversary of the June 30, 1989 coup which brought
Lieutenant General Omar Hassan Al-Bashir to power.
A French-based Catholic group monitoring Sudan, Vigilance
Soudan, said the government had stepped up its attacks on
Catholics by daring to enter and search the Cathedral of
St. Mattieu in Khartoum where Fathers Boma and Nilo were
arrested. "We have now moved from harassment to
persecution," it said in a statement, adding it "feared the
worst, including torture" for the detained priests.
Don't cry for Argentina: Religion will not be used as a pawn of politicians Argentina Bishops assert
In a political game of chess between politicians and the Church in Argentina, it is now the government's move as the bishops have strongly accused Argentina politicians of conveying the idea that the Holy Father and Church totally support everything the government is doing and that is not true. Upset over government intervention and misinformation, the bishops issued a statement criticizing the Vatican ambassador of playing rook to the president of Argentina Carlos Menem in jockeying for his own position at the expense of the Church. For more, click on Argentina .
ARGENTINE BISHOPS SLAM POLITICAL USE OF RELIGION
BUENOS AIRES (CWNews.com) - In an statement that has
increased tensions between the government and the Catholic
Church in Argentina, the bishops' conference has said that
a recent political move "can be seen as an effort to use
religion for political purposes."
The latest clash between the bishops and President Carlos
Menem started last Thursday when the government announced
that the Secretary for Religious Affairs would report
directly to the president and not to Foreign Ministry, as
it has traditionally. The sudden change provoked the
criticism of the Secretary for Religious Affairs and the
country's bishops. "This looks like revenge and an effort
to take political control over religious affairs," said
Bishop Rafael Rey, president of Caritas, the Catholic
Early last week, the bishops exchanged mutual criticism
with the Argentine Ambassador to the Vatican, Andres
Cacelli. While Cacelli said, "Some bishops exaggerate the
situation, embarrassing Argentina," Bishop Rey said:
"Cacelli is manipulating religion in favor of the
presidency in a way that is scandalous for an ambassador."
Bishop Rey said the Vatican and Pope John Paul II "have a
positive attitude toward Argentina's pro-life stand in the
international arena," but accused the government of trying
to use the Pope's image "as if the Pope is supporting the
current government, and that is not the case."
Menem recently announced that he will not run for a third
term, but several political analysts say he could change
his mind at any moment. The latest clash between the
government and the Church stems from a dispute over
economic policy. While Menem insists that the country's
economy is improving, the bishops say that 20 percent of
the population still lives with a monthly income of US$62.
dollars per month, while the cost of living is similar to
that of the United States.
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.
PROVERB OF THE DAY
"Like snow in summer, or rain in harvest, honor for a fool is out of place."
Proverbs 26: 1
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August 5, 1998 volume 9, no. 152 DAILY CATHOLIC