When this editor was growing up, Sundays were reserved strictly for family and it all centered around Holy Mass on Sunday morning. Once a month there was corporate communion for the Knights of Columbus, Holy Name Society and Christian Mothers on alternating Sundays. Dad was a Knight and a member of the Holy Name Society, while mom was a member of Christian Mothers so three Sundays out of the month we would dress to the hilt and take in the ten o'clock High Mass and then a scrumptious breakfast in the parish hall afterwards. This would usually last until noon. After that we would either go for a ride through the Twin Cities, visit Grandma or other relatives, or plan a picnic or a church softball game. Late afternoons were reserved for a family meal together and then listening to the radio and then "Ed Sullivan" on that new black and white invention called television. All were in bed by 8 or 9 p.m. Contrast that with today and we know who or what the culprit is: TV! This editor is as guilty as the next and we all have been contaminated. No one is immune from the tabernacle of satan - the boob tube! At first it was innocent, the days of "Howdy Doody," "I Love Lucy," "Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows" and all those other wholesome programs that enraptured families as they gathered together around the this contraption with all the tubes in the console. We can pinpoint almost the exact time satan took over and from there - pandemonium reigned within most families. It was the late sixties. JFK's assassination along with the murders of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, as well as the unpopular involvement in Vietnam left America and the rest of the world vulnerable to the wiles of the evil one. Censors, who used to rule the roost, were ridiculed and eventually phased out, allowing networks to air whatever they liked, evident from the fare on the daytime soaps, "All in the Family," "Laugh-in" and, later, "Saturday Night Live." Add to this the relaxation within the Church, promoted by liberals and radical liturgists, of strict rules and observances and you can see how we let down our guard. Today there are few families who own just one television set, fewer yet who gather together to watch wholesome entertainment; mainly because there is no such animal today on any of the networks or cable programming save for Mother Angelica's EWTN. But try to convince your teenagers to watch that! No, it's not easy. The MTV generation has permeated homes like nothing before where even conversation has gone the way of the dinosaur. More often than not it's confrontation rather than conversation for to attempt to gather the family together is paramount to control and "brainwashing." Young people today, while clamoring for traditions, snub those very traditions by making demands.
Well, folks, God has been making demands for several millenniums...all originating with the Ten Commandments. Notice to all: they are not called "suggestions." Webster's Dictionary defines commandment as "power of command." And keeping holy the Lord's day is definitely a command, not a mere recommendation. Now the Holy Father, as Christ's Vicar, is using his powers to reaffirm this command and doing all in his power to swing the pendulum back to where it belongs with his Apostolic Letter. Ever since Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical Humanae Vitae many Catholics have adopted the cafeteria style mentality where they pick and choose what they want to obey. Sorry, it doesn't work that way. It's either all or nothing. Hopefully the Pope can resurrect the reverence for Sundays and bring back the family togetherness absent for so long in today's society. If truth be known the Church has played a role in this decertification of Sundays as the Lord's day by promoting the Saturday evening masses as the Sunday vigil. While it was intended to accommodate those who, through no fault of their own, had to work on Sundays for one reason or another, it has been abused where people begin the evening with Mass, then go out on the town and sleep in the next day with a hangover. Sadly, even more have neglected Mass on Saturday evening or Sunday altogether, either too lazy to get up, or too busy to take the time. We wonder, will the Father be too busy to greet them when they approach the pearly gates?
The whole reason for the third commandment is explained in Exodus 31: 14-15, "Keep you My sabbath: for it is holy unto you: he that shall profane it, shall be put to death: he that shall do any work in it, his soul shall perish out of the midst of his people. Six days shall you do work: in the seventh day is the sabbath, the rest holy to the Lord." Are we willing to comply and rest as God demands? If we don't we could wind up not getting any rest for all eternity! We have six days to complete all we need to, and the seventh MUST be dedicated to God. He has provided us an excellent means whereby we can secure graces, effecting our sanctification. It is called the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and receiving the Holy Eucharist. We must return to the days when the Mass was the focal point of Sundays. The more we do that, the more families will come together again. For we have seen that when Sundays are desecrated by pleasures of the flesh and amusements that leave family members out of the picture, then it results in a further loosening of morals and the dissolution of family ties, and ultimately the final disintegration of society. Satan is waiting to clean up the ashes. Are we going to give him that satisfaction? Following God's command and the Holy Father's new Apostolic Letter our answer is: Never on Sunday!
Beloved little children of My sacred Heart, I have ad- dressed now My first two commandments, speaking about those points of the Commands which you have forgotten and therefore are in need of in these critical times. All of My Commandments contain the perfection of My Law, My Gospel, for each has a far deeper meaning beyond its human words.
Now I will speak about My Third Commandment by which you are obligated to keep holy the Lord's Day.
But do you? What does it mean to keep HOLY My Day, which My One True Church declares as Sunday, for it is on this day I arose from the dead, and on this holy day The Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles.
Holy? On Sunday it is My Command that you put aside all the tasks which occupy your time through-out all the other days. Your work today, because of your technology, does not recognize My order of time. By this I mean that for countless of My little ones your work turns day into night and night into day, so that to put aside all unnecessary tasks is foreign to you.
Who has done this to you? You, yourself, in your weakness cooperating with the father of all lies-satan. By advancing technologically you have diminished theologically. Work is supreme, your absolute priority for by it you procure your needs and satisfy your wants by excess. The more you want and are able to procure by means of your work, the greater your want increases and you have become ensnared in satan's great trap.
My Day is Holy and My Command is to keep this day Holy. I Command you, for the salvation of your soul, to come well-prepared to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and there to receive true food and drink-My Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Many, many of My little children do not come. Many who do come, do not know why. Their spirit is restless. They are ill-prepared and cause Me, their Lord and God, great sorrow. I want you to come to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass frequently, but always on My Day as I Command. Think to yourself that I, the King of Kings, have sent forth My summons which calls your soul back to Me. Be conscious therefore, of My True Words which solemnly tell you that even one Holy Mass worthily attended during life is of more value to your soul then ten-thousand Masses said for the repose of your soul. If you ponder on these words and strive to be fully prepared at all times for My Summons, you will eagerly, joyfully come to Holy Mass on Sunday, and be filled with many countless graces and blessings.
By keeping My Day holy you sanctify the entire day. If this is the only Holy Mass you can attend all week, it sanctifies your week, for I remain with you in all that you do. That is how Infinite are the merits of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
But there is so much more for you to also do on this, the Lord's Day.
It is a special time for all. For those in the married state who have children, it is a grace-filled day which should be spent in My Peace, while you speak about Me, read and learn about Me, and a time to come together in prayer.
You are unwilling to hear what I am saying because satan has dissolved the family into individuals who lead separate lives because each is pre-occupied by his/her particular enjoyment which cannot be shared with another family member. Families in these End Times live in isolation, passively entertaining themselves by endless hours before a television or computer, or any means you can use to wile away time.
This is NOT holy. It does NOT please Me. Who Am, and Who has commanded you to honor, worship and reverence Me in a special manner on Sunday.
Woe to those who keep business open on Sunday and thus force their employees to perform unnecessary servile work on this day. Woe to all of My little children who knowing My Command, par- take of these services because it is easier than spending the day with and for Me.
Oh! Little ones. I Am, and My Order in Creation is Perfect. Sacred Scripture tells you that having created all the world, I rested on the seventh day. This I did as an example for all men, so that by obeying My Commands they might swiftly mount to great holiness and enter into My Eternal Embrace.
Therefore, all who do not hold jobs of absolute necessity, such as law- enforcement officers, nurses, doctors and the like, must strictly observe My Command.
Let all parents recognize their duty to come to Holy Mass on Sunday, and do not remain absent because you have children. Bring them! For I solemnly tell you My heart rejoices mightily as I behold My innocent ones, and upon their parents I give even more grace.
Be above all filled with holy prudence. If illness strikes down the body, and the degree is such that to come to Mass would worsen your health and place others at great risk, you are pardoned of your obligation, provided you come quickly to Holy Mass the moment your health is restored.
Let those who are obliged by their vocations to care for the sick-especially parents, under- stand that I bless obedience to the responsibilities of vocation. Thus, a mother whose child is ill and the child is of a tender age where the mother's presence is necessary, let her remain at her child's side to be blessed, but let the father and all others of the family keep My Command.
My Day must be transformed back to the original intent of My Command. The Lord's Day is that-Mine! It is the gift I give to all, who because of duty are unable to come to Mass during the week, many be richly blessed and sanctified in their vocation and daily duty.
Spend time in prayer, meditation and contemplation of Me! Spiritual reading is of vital importance. Partake of food in a holy way, gathered together at least on this one day, where I bless the family bond. Keep custody of your eyes, your ears, all of your senses, so that from this one single day you may gradually grow in holiness to live virtuously every day.
Heed My words well, My dear children. I Who Am give unto you everything. In return I Command that you give to Me the fullness of your attention ONE DAY.
Will you not do that for Me, Who Am? Will you not come and grow in love and holiness all the days of your life?
How I love you! How I cherish you! Come to Me and learn from Me, for I solemnly tell you: I Come!
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.
Several hundred Protestants remained camped outside the Drumcree Anglican church near Portadown after police used barbed wire to block the marchers from Garvaghy Road. The parade is an annual event which marks a 300-year-old victory by Protestants over a Catholic king. The march has been marked by riots over the past three years after police blocked the march and then relented to end violence.
"I sincerely hope that everybody in Northern Ireland will see that the Parades Commission is anxious to take a balanced approach," said Alastair Graham, the chairman of the government commission set up last year to regulate the controversial parades, after allowing the Orange Order to march on July 13 through a Catholic neighborhood in the Lower Ormeau section of Belfast. The summer parades are seen as the first major test of the recently ratified Good Friday peace accords signed by the warring factions earlier this year.
The court decided 6-3 to eliminate buffer zones around five clinics and modified four others to allow up to two pro-life counselors to approach women within the zones. They also eliminated a buffer zone around the home of an abortionist, but allowed buffers around four others to remain intact without change. "We conclude that portions of the injunction infringe upon (protesters') freedom of expression," Justice Nathan Hecht wrote for the majority. "This is a free speech case, not an abortion picketing one."
The case stemmed from the 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston where pro-life groups announced plans to demonstrate at clinics and the homes of abortionists. Planned Parenthood joined the clinics and five abortionists in obtaining a temporary court order, which later became permanent, banning demonstrations within 100 feet of the clinics.
The six women -- members of the Congregation of the Reparation of the Sacred Heart -- were traveling from Piura, 700 miles north of Lima, to Tumbes, a city located 70 miles from Piura and 5 miles from the border with Ecuador.
A police spokesman said the crash occurred when the driver slammed into a bus traveling in the opposite direction as he tried to avoid the numerous potholes caused by recent torrential rains and floods. Sisters Berta Morillo, Angelica Olaya, Elsa Paucar, Augusta Gonzales, and Simona Guerrero died immediately, while Sister Paulina Quinde, provincial of the congregation, was severely injured. She was evacuated by plane to Lima where she remained in a coma. The sisters' driver survived the accident and no injuries were reported among the bus passengers.
Archbishop Oscar Cantuarias of Piura and Tumbes mourned the death of the sisters and described it as "the greatest and most painful loss in Piura's recent history." He described the women as "holy, deeply dedicated sisters that gave a great service to the evangelization of the region." He added, "In this instance it is particularly hard to understand God's will, but we accept it and pray that, closer to God, they will help even more in bringing Christ to the minds and hearts of our youth."
The accident has shaken the region since the women were all born in the area. Early on Monday, more than 3,000 people, including students and alumni, gathered in Saint Gabriel's school in Piura for the funeral service.