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May 20, 1998
SECTION ONE   vol 9, no. 98
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION TWO
No feature or editorial today. Editor's caught a virus!
They say you can't keep a good man down, but some sort of virus is suring trying it's hardest. With the editor fighting a fever, we've abbreviated today's and tomorrow's Holy Day issue, bringing you everything but the feature series and the editorials. Since this editor doesn't have a lap-top it's tough to lug the tower and monitor into the bedroom and I'm under doctor's orders to stay in bed, but the show must go on so we're bringing you an abbreviated edition for the next few days. Please be patient and thank you for your understanding. And now, on with the show..
Speaking of sicknesses: What about the terrible Famine in the USA?
In his column today, Father John Hampsch, C.M.F. addresses the terrible famine mentioned above which isn't about food, but about our the growing famine of faith in the Word of God and he expresses great alarm that this is weakening the circulatory system of America as he continues his work on Faith. For his fortieth installment, The Prayer of Faith, click on Keys to Living God's Will
Fortieth Installment: The Prayer of Faith
The media are missing the biggest and saddest story of all time and it's
right under their noses. An intuitive newspaper editor shouldn't hesitate
to print this headline on tomorrow's front page:
"AMERICA SUFFERS TERRIBLE FAMINE"
No, not famine of food and water, but a horrible, shriveling, killing
famine of faith in the Word of God. The prophet Amos wrote the headline
thousands of years ago: "Behold, the days will come, says the Lord God,
when I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst
for water, but of hearing the words of the Lordů" (Amos 8:11). Meant for
Israel, yes, but it is not the only nation that is hard-of-hearing. In
every country, too few are hearing God's words. The Bible could be
subtitled The Book of Faith, but it takes a believer to activate that
faith, to hear and to act.
There was a self-service elevator with a sign on the control panel
pointing to the eighth floor button that read: "The eight floor button is
out of order." Some wag had written beneath it: "Instead, push numbers 3
There is no substitute for certain things. The third and fifth floors do
not substitute for the eighth floor. And there is no substitute for faith.
We are reminded in Hebrews 11:6 that without faith it is impossible to
please God. He who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a
rewarder of those who seek Him. There is no substitute for that. It is
the criterion that determines how we grow in our spiritual life.
We have natural faith. Every time you mail a letter, you believe the
letter is going to reach its destination. There is no proof that it will.
You have a total confidence that when you let go of that letter and it
slips into the mailbox, it will go where you want it to go. There is a
letting go involved, and that's a kind of faith in itself.
Natural faith operates all the time. You put catsup on your food that you
have never had chemically analyzed. Yet, you assume that it is not full of
strychnine and you believe the ones who bottled it did not attempt to
poison the contents. The certitude is so great that it follows through
with action. When you walk across the street on a green light, you cross
in front of powerful cars with idling motors. You believe the motorists
won't run you down. You take an action of trust so great, you actually
place your life in the hands of others.
When you undergo surgery, how do you know the surgeon isn't simply going
to stab you? When you are under anesthesia, you are completely trusting in
the surgeon's skill. The difference between a stab and a surgical incision
is the difference between evil intentions and good ones. You presume he
intends good. That's a real act of faith.
When you enter an elevator, you have faith to believe the inspectors saw
to it that the cables were strong enough to hold you up. If you had a
doubt, you wouldn't' get in. You have enough faith in the architect of the
building you live in, to believe that the roof is strong enough not to cave
in. You act on that belief by putting yourself in a position that shows
you believe by living there.
Every time you get a haircut, how do you know you aren't going to get
scalped? You trust the barber. You trust the airline pilot to take you to
Houston, believing you won't end up in Chicago (or Cuba).
You never saw Abraham Lincoln but you trust historians who say that he
lived, and even celebrate a holiday in his memory. That belief expresses
itself in action. Our whole life functions on the basis of natural faith.
It would be impossible to go one hour without exercising natural faith.
Time to switch long distance companies?
That might be a possibility in the humorous bit in today's mid-week humor page which we resurrect after a few week hiatus and in lieu of our regular mega series THE AGE OF MARIAN APPARITIONS today. For a chuckle or two, click on A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO HEAVEN
The following comes from Gary Stahler and, with all the conversations going on between the Vatican and Jewish interests lately, we thought it was timely and appropriate to bring you today as part of our mid-week humor which, because the editor is sick, we are carrying in place of our regular mega series on THE AGE OF MARIAN APPARITIONS which will return next week in this same time slot.
The Chief Rabbi of Israel and the Pope are in a meeting in Rome. The
Rabbi notices an unusually fancy phone on a side table in the Pope's
"What is that phone for?" he asks the pontiff.
"It's my direct line to the Lord!"
The Rabbi is skeptical, and the Pope notices. The Holy Father insists
that the Rabbi try it out, and, indeed, he is connected to the Lord.
The Rabbi holds a lengthy discussion with Him. After hanging up the
Rabbi says. "Thank you very much. This is great! But listen, I want
to pay for my phone charges."
The Pope, of course refuses, but the Rabbi is steadfast and finally,
the pontiff gives in. He checks the counter on the phone and says:
"All right! The charges were 100,000 Lira. ($56)"
The Chief Rabbi gladly hands over a packet of bills. A few months
later, the Pope is in Jerusalem on an official visit. In the Chief
Rabbi's chambers he sees a phone identical to his and learns it also
is a direct line to the Lord.
The Pope remembers he has an urgent matter that requires divine
consultation and asks if he can use the Rabbi's phone. The Rabbi
gladly agrees, hands him the phone, and the Pope chats away. After
hanging up, the Pope offers to pay for the phone charges. This time,
the Chief Rabbi refuses to accept payment. After the Pope insists,
the Chief Rabbi relents and looks on the phone counter and says: "1
Shekel 50! ($0.42)"
The Pope looks surprised: "Why so cheap!?"
The Rabbi smiles and says, "It's a local call."
April 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message
Dear children! Today I call you, through prayer, to open yourselves to God as a flower opens itself to the rays of the morning sun. Little children, do not be afraid. I am with you and I intercede before God for each of you so that your heart receives the gift of conversion. Only in this way, little children, will you comprehend the importance of grace in these times and God will become nearer to you. Thank you for having responded to my call.
For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE
WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant
The Quiet Pope could make noise as a Saintly Pope
Despite all the unfair criticism against Pope Pius XII, known as the "Quiet Pope," many believe it will not hinder the progress being made in advancing his canonization. That comes from Father Pierre Blet, the French Jesuit and only living historian from the pontificate of Pius XII and the Second World War. He blames diplomatic and political reasons, as well as negative pressure from Jewish groups, for the delays in accelerating the 260th successor of Peter for beatification and then canonization. Regardless, he is still optimistic that Pius XII will someday be a saint. For more, click on Pope Pius XII
HISTORIAN EXPECTS BEATIFICATION OF POPE PIUS XII
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Father Pierre Blet, SJ, the French
historian who is the leading living expert on the actions of the Church
during World War II, believes that Pope Pius XII will eventually be
beatified. The Jesuit scholar told the Italian monthly 30 Days that he
believes the cause of Pius XII has been delayed for "diplomatic
Father Blet is one of four Jesuit historians who, at the request of Pope
Paul VI, thoroughly examined and summarized the contents of the
secret Vatican archives relating to World War II. The four-man
team-- of which Father Blet is the only survivor-- produced a 12-
volume summary of those documents.
After the recent publication of a new Vatican document on the
Holocaust, and subsequent angry reactions by some Jewish leaders,
Father Blet published an essay defending the actions of Pope Pius
XII, and accusing that pope's critics of calumny.
Glasnost in the Vatican as thaw continues with Red Army seranading Holy Father
Talk about strange bedfellows! Who'd a thunk it a decade ago? But it is a reality. We're talking about the fact the Russian Red Army chorus who will sing the Pater Noster at the Vatican on the Solemnity of the Ascension. It is a good sign in the face of the cold-war between Rome and the Russian Orthodox church which is stalemating efforts to get together. The program, a salute to the development of Christianity, is bringing together countries from Eurasia and the Mideast. For more, click on Red Army.
RED ARMY CHORUS TO SING FOR POPE
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- In a gesture with remarkable historic
and ecumenical implications, the Red Army chorus will sing the
Lord's Prayer, in honor of Pope John Paul II, in a public performance
on Ascension Thursday. The event will be broadcast, live from
Moscow's Red Square, by the Italian television network RAI.
The performance by the Red Army chorus will be part of a larger
program prepared by RAI, in collaboration with the Vatican
committee preparing for the Jubilee. The program will highlight
several cities around the world which have played a historic role in
the development of Christianity, including Moscow along with
Canterbury, Istanbul (Constantinople), and Beirut.
It is remarkable that the Red Army, once devoted to the spread of an
atheist ideology, would participate in a program devoted to
Christianity. It may be equally remarkable that the Russian group
would dedicate their performance to Pope John Paul II, at a time
when ecumenical relations between the Holy Father and the Russian
Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II of Moscow have been notably cool. Since
the cancellation of a planned June 1997 meeting with the Pope, the
Patriarch-- who wields great political influence in Russia-- has
repeatedly insisted that no such meeting can take place as long as
the Catholic Church continues to engage in "proselytism" in
"traditionally Orthodox" regions such as Russia and Ukraine.
Romania rubs Catholics the wrong way with hollow call for unity in the face of confiscated properties still not turned over to the Church
Trying to smooth over the severe shortage of Catholic churches in Romania because of confiscation, the Romanian President Emil Constantinescu chose the politically correct and Pontius Pilate method for seeking peace by telling Catholics gathered at the church where he spoke in Blaj, Romania, that they need to settle their differences with the Orthodox Church without making any demands of the Romanian Orthodox Church that they return the rightful property of the Catholic Church to the faithful Catholics of Romania. For more, click on Romanian ruse.
ROMANIA PRESIDENT APPEALS FOR PEACE BETWEEN ORTHODOX, CATHOLICS
BLAJ, Romania (CWNews.com) - Romanian President Emil
Constantinescu on Sunday called for the Romanian Orthodox
Church and Eastern-rite Catholics to settle their
differences to help the country build a future in the
Constantinescu spoke at a Catholic church, one of the few
returned to Catholics after the Communist-era ban on the
faith was lifted in 1990 when the Communist government
fell. Most churches and property belonging to the
300,000-strong minority were turned over to the Romanian
Orthodox Church and attempts to settle property disputes
have resulted in riots and violent confrontations. The
president did not publicly support the Catholic demand for
a mass restitution of churches seized in the 1940s.
"I want to pay tribute to Orthodox and Greek Catholic
clergy who have understood the importance of the unity of
our people," Constantinescu said. "At the end of this
century we are at peace with our neighbours and we have
good understanding with minorities. Romania can serve as an
example of stability in an area with many conflicts." Many
Catholics reacted angrily to the call for end to the
dispute, with many in the crowd chanting "We want our
Fistfights erupted earlier this year in a disputed church
in the Transylvanian church of Cluj when Orthodox
parishioners resisted a court order to return it to
Iraq stumping the Vatican and Europe in hopes of calling off the wolves of embargo
Despite the despot Saddam Hussein, the people are the victims of the stringent embargo placed on Iraq and the Holy See, after meeting with vice premier Tarik Aziz and the strong urging of Patriarch Raphael I, head of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Baghdad, called for an end to the embargo, explaining that the people have suffered for it, especially the poor of Iraq. For more, click on Iraqui embargo.
NEW CALL TO END EMBARGO AS IRAQI MINISTER VISITS
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Pope John Paul II today met with Iraqi
vice-premier Tarek Aziz, who is traveling through Europe seeking
support for his plea to end the international embargo on his country.
After meeting with the Holy Father, Aziz also huddled with the
Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, and the Secretary
for Relations with States, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran.
After the visit by the Iraqi official, the Holy See repeated its call for
an end to the embargo. Papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls
spoke of the "negative consequences" of the embargo, and the toll it
has taken on the poor of Iraq.
During the special Synod of Bishops for Asia, which concluded at the
Vatican last week, Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Raphael I of Baghdad
asked that the final statement of the bishops' synod incorporate an
explicit call for an end to the embargo. That request won approval
from the assembled bishops, and the statement was included.
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.
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
Historical Events in Church Annals for May 20:
Death of Pope John XXI, 187th successor of Peter, the first Portuguese Pope who died when the ceiling of the Viturbo Palace, which had been hastily erected, collapsed on top of the pontiff and some of his entourage. He died a few days later from internal injuries. It was similar to what happened this past fall in Assisi when the frescos fell on two friars.
Death of Saint Bernardine of Siena whose feast we celebrate today. This Franciscan served as vicar general of his order and became a bishop. This missionary was known far and wide for preaching devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus. He was canonized by Pope Nicholas V in 1450.
Death of Christopher Columbus, who, despite all his great accomplishments and acknowledgment from Queen Isabella, died in poverty and neglect at Valladolid, Spain.
A day after dispatching of Anne Boleyn, the irreverant King Henry VIII marries Jane Seymour (not the actress), further raising the ire of Rome and Pope Paul III who would excommunicate the king two years later.
Pope Saint Pius V, the 225th successor of Peter, forms the Holy League in alliance with Venice and Spain which would be the nucleus, along with the Papal States of the navy that would defeat the great Turkish fleet at the landmark battle of Lepanto under Don Juan of Austria later the same year on October 7th.
LITURGY FOR WEDNESDAY IN THE SIXTH WEEK OF EASTER AND PREPARATION FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ASCENSION
Today is the Sixth Wednesday of Easter and the Feast of Saint Bernardine of Siena. For the liturgy, readings, and meditations and story of this Franciscan Bishop and Missionary, as well as tomorrow's Solemnity of the ASCENSION OF OUR LORD INTO HEAVEN, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.
Wednesday, May 20, 1998
Wednesday, May 20:
Wednesday in the Sixth Week of Easter and
Feast of Saint Bernardine of Siena, Priest, Religious and Missionary
First Reading: Acts 17: 15, 22-34; 18: 1
Psalms: Psalm 148: 1-2, 11-14 and Isaiah 6: 3
Gospel Reading: John 16: 12-15
SAINT BERNARDINE OF SIENA, PRIEST, RELIGIOUS AND MISSIONARY
Saint Bernardine was born of noble parentage in Siena, Italy near the end of the 14th Century. While a youth he practiced the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, even to personally taking care of an old woman who was very holy. From her he learned a true respect for God and devotion to the Church. Upon her death following a long illness, Bernardine entered the Franciscan Order. There he dedicated his life to God and vowed to be a great preacher of the Holy Name of God. One day in 1408, while the great preacher Saint Vincent Ferrer was preaching to a group of young Franciscans, he stopped in the middle of his sermon to prophesize that there was among this group one who would go on to become a greater preacher than himself and would bring great honor to Holy Mother Church. Bernardine never dreamed it was him Ferrer was talking about for he had a speech impediment that hindered him from speaking eloquently to the people. Yet, true to St. Vincent's prediction,
Bernardine went on to become just that as God cured him through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For 38 years Bernardin spread devotion to the Holy Name through his inspiring words and example. The fruits of his labors produced countless conversions and reformed most of Italy but, as is true of anyone who willingly takes up the cross, he suffered great persecution by detractors, even being proclaimed a heretic by some in the Church. Yet through all his trials he persevered, trusting in the truth and God's providence. He was finally proclaimed innocent and absolved of any wrongdoing. The Feast of the Holy Name commemorates the path of salvation for all of us following the example of Christ: suffering in order to attain triumphant glory. This was the path Bernardin traveled throughout his life, succumbing on Ascension Eve in 144 while his fellow Franciscans were chanting the antiphon, "Father, I have manifested Thy Name to men."
THURSDAY, May 21, 1998
First Reading: Acts 1: 1-11
Psalms: Psalm 47: 2-3, 6-9
Second Reading: Ephesians 1: 17-23
Gospel Reading: Luke 24: 46-53
SOLEMNITY OF THE ASCENSION OF OUR LORD INTO HEAVEN
This mystery, honored 40 days after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, celebrates the Triumph of Jesus Ascension into Heaven. It gave new hope not only to all the Apostles and disciples, but for every person to follow for all generations, for all have ingrained in their hearts and minds Jesus' Own words, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world" (Matthew 28: 19-20). At His beckoning, we are invited, rather commanded, to follow Jesus through the authority He placed here on earth - Holy Mother Church. The Church, through the dogmas, doctrines and teachings, combined with tradition, Sacraments, and Sacred Scripture carries on this edict Christ set down just before elevating into the Heavenly clouds and returning to the Father. Just like her Founder, the Church realizes that for all those faithful to Christ's One, True, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church the only way to be reunited with Him in Heavenly bliss is through the Cross. Jesus has shown us that the way of humiliation and suffering is the only true freeway to Heaven. This feast was not officially recognized by the Church until the Fourth Century. Up to that time, the Ascension had traditionally been part of the paschal mystery tied in with the Resurrection. Because of the denial by Celsus in the second century as a pagan myth, the Church finally decided to emphasize this feast, acknowledging that all souls who were saved but denied Heaven before Christ's Death and Resurrection, were brought into the Heavenly Glory with Jesus. His Ascension is the example for all of us that, by doing God's Will, we, too, can look forward to being assumed into Heaven by the grace of God.
For some strange reason, in the dioceses and Archdioceses in the West (Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Nevada and Hawaii) the Solemnity of the Ascension is not celebrated on this day but transfered to the Seventh Sunday of Easter. In its place they celebrate Thursday in the Sixth Week of Easter or the Feast of Saint Eugene De Mazenod, Bishop and Founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
PRAYERS & DEVOTION
Today's prayer commemorates Saint Bernardine of Siena as reflected in the Opening Prayer of the Mass:
Father, You gave Saint Bernardine a special love for the Holy Name of Jesus. By the help of his prayers, may we always be alive with the spirit of Your love.
PROVERB OF THE DAY
"There is no wisdom, no understanding, no counsel, against the Lord."
Proverbs 21: 30
To review past articles in textonly format, click on Archives.
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May 20, 1998 volume 9, no. 98 DAILY CATHOLIC