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TUESDAY             July 28, 1998             SECTION TWO              vol 9, no. 146

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

Rediscovering the full meaning and joy of Sunday will strengthen our faith

     In the eleventh installment of the Holy Father's Apostolic Letter DIES DOMINI, Pope John Paul II begins Chapter Four on the meaning of Sunday as he continues to explain the importance of the Sabbath in our lives as we continue our daily installments of this entire important document. To read the entire document, you can go to Dies Domini. For Chapter Four: DIES HOMINIS Sunday: Day of Joy, Rest and Solidarity part one, click on THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS.

The "full joy" of Christ

55. "Blessed be he who has raised the great day of Sunday above all other days. The heavens and the earth, angels and of men give themselves over to joy".(99) This cry of the Maronite liturgy captures well the intense acclamations of joy which have always characterized Sunday in the liturgy of both East and West. Moreover, historically - even before it was seen as a day of rest, which in any case was not provided for in the civil calendar - Christians celebrated the weekly day of the Risen Lord primarily as a day of joy. "On the first day of the week, you shall all rejoice", urges the Didascalia. (100) This was also emphasized by liturgical practice, through the choice of appropriate gestures. (101) Voicing an awareness widespread in the Church, Saint Augustine describes the joy of the weekly Easter: "Fasting, is set aside and prayers are said standing, as a sign of the Resurrection, which is also why the Alleluia is sung on every Sunday". (102)

56. Beyond particular ritual forms, which can vary in time depending upon Church discipline, there remains the fact that Sunday, as a weekly echo of the first encounter with the Risen Lord, is unfailingly marked by the joy with which the disciples greeted the Master: "The disciples rejoiced to see the Lord" (Jn 20:20). This was the confirmation of the words which Jesus spoke before the Passion and which resound in every Christian generation: "You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy" (Jn 16:20). Had not he himself prayed for this, that the disciples would have "the fullness of His joy" (cf. Jn 17:13)? The festive character of the Sunday Eucharist expresses the joy that Christ communicates to his Church through the gift of the Spirit. Joy is precisely one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit(cf. Rom 14:17; Gal 5:22).

57. Therefore, if we wish to rediscover the full meaning of Sunday, we must rediscover this aspect of the life of faith. Certainly, Christian joy must mark the whole of life, and not just one day of the week. But in virtue of its significance as the day of the Risen Lord, celebrating God's work of creation and "new creation", Sunday is the day of joy in a very special way, indeed the day most suitable for learning how to rejoice and to rediscover the true nature and deep roots of joy. This joy should never be confused with shallow feelings of satisfaction and pleasure, which inebriate the senses and emotions for a brief moment, but then leave the heart unfulfilled and perhaps even embittered. In the Christian view, joy is much more enduring and consoling; as the saints attest, it can hold firm even in the dark night of suffering. (103) It is, in a certain sense, a "virtue" to be nurtured.

58. Yet there is no conflict whatever between Christian joy and true human joys, which in fact are exalted and find their ultimate foundation precisely in the joy of the glorified Christ, the perfect image and revelation of man as God intended. As my revered predecessor Paul VI wrote in his Exhortation on Christian joy: "In essence, Christian joy is a sharing in the unfathomable joy, at once divine and human, found in the heart of the glorified Christ". (104) Pope Paul concluded his Exhortation by asking that, on the Lord's Day, the Church should witness powerfully to the joy experienced by the Apostles when they saw the Lord on the evening of Easter. To this end, he urged pastors to insist "upon the need for the baptized to celebrate the Sunday Eucharist in joy. How could they neglect this encounter, this banquet which Christ prepares for us in his love? May our sharing in it be most worthy and joyful! It is Christ, crucified and glorified, who comes among his disciples, to lead them all together into the newness of his Resurrection. This is the climax, here below, of the covenant of love between God and his people: the sign and source of Christian joy, a stage on the way to the eternal feast". (105) This vision of faith shows the Christian Sunday to be a true "time for celebration", a day given by God to men and women for their full human and spiritual growth.

TOMORROW: Part Twelve of Dies Domini: Chapter Four, DIES HOMINIS Sunday: Day of Joy, Rest and Solidarity part two.

with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World News Service



      WARSAW ( - Members of a Catholic workers' group erected more than 50 crosses at the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz on Saturday, despite opposition from Jewish groups.

      "We want the entire escarpment to teem with crosses," Kazimierz Switon, a group member who had just ended a 42-day protest fast, told PAP news agency. Poland's chief rabbi, Menachem Pinkas Joskowicz, says the presence of a Christian cross makes it impossible for Jews to pray at Auschwitz, 90 percent of whose victims were Jewish. Catholic groups said they also have a right to mourn their dead, including Saint Maximilian Kolbe and Blessed Edith Stein who both died at the camp.

      The new crosses were placed near a 22-foot crucifix, commemorating a 1988 visit by Pope John Paul II, which some Jewish groups see as an attempt to "Christianize the Holocaust -- the Nazis attempt to eradicate Europe's Jews."


      VATICAN ( -- In the first Angelus audience of the year from his summer residence at Castel Gandalfo, Pope John Paul II yesterday emphasized the importance of the Sabbath-- a theme he had explored in his recent apostolic letter Dies Domini.

      Sunday is not the last day of the week, but the first, the Holy Father said. And it is "the day of faith par excellence"-- a day that should be given over the God.

      Observing the Sunday rest has human benefits as well, the Pope said, and the Sabbath can be a defense for contemporary Christians against the influence of "a hedonistic and frenetic approach to life."


      HODEIDA, Yemen ( - Three nuns of the Missionaries of Charity religious order were killed as they left their medical clinic in Hodeida on Monday by gunmen wielding automatic weapons, Yemeni officials said.

      The gunmen fired on the nuns, who were wearing nurse's uniforms, from a passing car. One of the women was Filipino, while the other two were Indian. Security forces have already arrested one man in connection with the attack, and no group has yet claimed responsibility. Yemeni Health Minister Abdullah Abdul-Wali Nasher visited the Hodeida chapter house of the Missionaries of Charity to express the government's concern.

      Sister Nirmala, the successor to the order's founder, Mother Teresa, left Calcutta, India for Yemen where she will meet with the remaining sisters. The order has had a presence in Yemen since 1970 and has four chapter houses in the country with a total of 25 religious workers. The Hodeida clinic serves an estimated 450 physically and mentally disabled people.


      MEXICO CITY ( - The National Pro-Life Committee of Mexico shocked journalists on Sunday during a press conference by transmitting the motions and sounds of a baby in his mother's womb.

      The Pro-Life Committee called the press conference as a response to pressure to legalize abortion by health authorities and organizations such as the Mexican branch of "Catholics for a Free Choice." Before making a statement, presenters introduced a three-month pregnant woman to the audience and connected her to an ultrasound machine. The monitor was connected to video and audio equipment, so both the images and the baby's heartbeat could be easily followed by cameras and microphones.

      "Our goal is to show that, no matter the euphemisms used to hide the truth, abortion kills a living human being," said group said in a statement. "The simple idea of proposing the legalization of abortion shows that terms like 'free choice,' 'product of pregnancy,' and others are taking people away from the clear idea that abortion is murder and that the victim is an innocent, fragile human being."

      The committee, a lay organization, has launched a campaign of collecting signatures in order to force President Ernesto Zedillo to request a constitutional amendment that would change in the Constitution to include the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception. The eventual modification of the Mexican constitution, which at present does not explicitly recognize the right to life of the unborn, would definitively close any further discussion on the possibility of legalizing abortion.

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.


      Today is the Seventeenth Tuesday in Ordinary Time while tomorrow we celebrate the feast of Saint Martha, Disciple of the Lord. For the readings, liturgy and meditations for both days, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.

Tuesday, July 28, 1998

Wednesday, July 29, 1998


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July 28, 1998 volume 9, no. 146   DAILY CATHOLIC