DAILY CATHOLIC     TUESDAY     July 7, 1998     vol. 9, no. 131

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- On July 4, Pope John Paul II celebrated the 40th anniversary of his original appointment as a bishop. But the main news from the Vatican on Sunday came when it was announced that the Holy Father would not lead the public recitation of the Rosary, as he usually does on the first Sunday of each month.

          The Vatican announcement that Cardinal Virgilio Noe would lead the recitation of the rosary-- a service which always attracts a sizable crowd, and is broadcast across Italy-- provoked some speculation about the Pope's health. Vatican officials explained that the Pope was preparing for his summer vacation, which will begin July 8. Some journalists observed that in recent months the Holy Father appeared to have some difficulty catching his breath during the recitation of the Litany. However, the Pope appeared healthy and energetic at his public appearances during the weekend. At his regular Angelus audience, he reminded listeners that he was preparing for his own vacation, and wished everyone a happy summer vacation of their own.

          At his regular Angelus audience on Sunday, Pope John Paul II himself announced the pending publication of his latest apostolic letter: a plea for observance of the Sabbath.

          The Pope said that on July 7, his new letter Dies Domini will be promulgated. He recommended the document to his audience, saying that they might make "an interesting discovery" in his treatment of the Sabbath.

          The rediscovery of the Sabbath observance, the Holy Father continued, is "among the urgent priorities in the life of the Church today." For many believers, he said, Sunday has become simply the "end" of a "weekend." Rather, he insisted, it should be a day-long celebration of the Resurrection.

          "Sundays should be sanctified, in obedience to the 3rd Commandment," the Pope said. Attendance at Sunday Mass should be the highlight of the celebration, he continued, but the Sabbath observance should mean time set aside for relaxation and for family activities. This day of rest, he said, "is a time that infuses light and hope into all our days."

          The Holy Father urged pastors to take up this issue with their people, encouraging them to act as a "counterculture" by bucking the general trend to make Sunday an "ordinary" day.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

July 7 1998       volume 9, no. 131


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