available in full graphics and/or textonly
The Catholic Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Sean Brady of Armagh, Northern Ireland, said Easter was a time of victory over death, and he called for prayers that remaining difficulties would be overcome. The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Basil Hume of Westminster, said a great deal of thanks was owed to the British and Irish prime ministers -- Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern, respectively -- talks chairman former US Senator George Mitchell, and the leaders of all the political parties in Northern Ireland. Cardinal Hume said, "We can only hope and pray that goodwill will prevail on all sides and that the people of Northern Ireland will be able to look forward to a future when violence will be outlawed and peace will always prevail."
The Church of Ireland (Anglican) Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Walton Empey, said the people of Northern Ireland had had enough Good Fridays of a non-sacred kind, but today was more like Easter Sunday, with all the confusion that accompanied the Resurrection. The Convenor of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, George McCullagh, said the deal should be given a fair chance and that apparently bad decisions would ultimately be for the good of all the people of the island of Ireland.
Pope John Paul II offered a prayer of thanksgiving for the peace agreement in Northern Ireland.
After leading the faithful in the Regina Coeli at his summer residence at Castel Gandalfo-- where he is spending a few days of rest after the heavy schedule of Holy Week and Easter-- the Pope said: "I want to invite you to give thanks for God for the positive results that have been reached these past few days in Northern Ireland."
Although many details remain to be settled, the signing of the peace agreement marks a historic step in a conflict that has continued for nearly 30 years, and cost at least 3,000 deaths. The Holy Father commented that the agreement "allows us to look to the future with great confidence" for the people of a region "which has been suffering for a long time."
The Pope concluded his remarks with by saying, "Let us pray to the Lord that each of us, listening to his own conscience, will have the courage to make responsible and concrete gestures that will allow all of us to walk together on the path of peace, putting aside all that might reintroduce hatred and violence."
Vatican sources indicated that the Pope's references to fratricidal wars were intended to apply to Bosnia and Kosovo-- where tensions are running high and violence is never far from the surface-- as well as to the Great Lakes region of Africa, where massacres continue to occur in Rwanda and Burundi.
The Pope addressed his Easter message in part to "all those who are living through a Calvary that is apparently without end." For them, too, he recalled the message of the risen Christ, and noted that how many people over the centuries-- and in this century-- have borne witness to Christ's message of peace. "Some have been witnesses even to the shedding of their blood," he pointed out, and their witness has inspired the Church to endure the harshest persecutions.
Hoping that the horrors of this century will not recur "for the humanity which is entering the third millennium," the Holy Father urged the faithful to take courage in the Easter message, and to work to build a world of peace.
Pope John Paul concluded his Easter address to the world by saying, "Happy Easter, in the joy and peace of the risen Christ"-- a message he repeated in 57 different languages.
Father Patrick Sullivan, 52, a Capuchin monk from New York, said he had been ordered by the government to leave his parishes in the city of Santa Clara and was told he could live in Havana until his residence visa ran out in February 1999. Father Sullivan said he had decided to leave immediately. "I understand that if I stay any longer, it will bring some reprisals from the government against the Catholic Church," he said. "This is speculation, but my own opinion is simply that the Pope's visit (in January) was so successful and humiliating for the hard-core Communists that they have to do something to show they are in charge," he added.
Father Sullivan speculated that he was targeted because he is the only resident American priest working in Cuba, and because of his contact with foreign media in which he criticized the country's political system. He added that he also distributed and taught the UN Declaration of Human Rights in his parishes. The priest worked for two decades in the Central American nations of Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador before coming to Cuba in June 1994. He is one of the many foreigners who make up nearly half of the approximately 250 Catholic priests working on the Caribbean island.
However, the Communist government of Cuba denied on Monday forcing an American priest to leave two parishes he was serving, and said it was internal Catholic Church matter.
A government spokesman said the decision to remove the priest from Santa Clara was made by his religious superiors in Cuba and did not originate with the government. But, the head of the Capuchin order in Cuba, Spanish priest Father Felipe Tejerina, said he was personally informed of the government's decision to remove Father Sullivan from Santa Clara. This incident comes as Cuba's Catholics have begun to experience a thaw in relations with the Communist government based on Pope John Paul's historic visit to the Caribbean nation in January.
Police spokesmen said up to 27 bottles of poisoned wine, tainted with cyanide, ammonia, and methanol or wood alcohol, were distributed to churches throughout southeastern Colombia from Wednesday to Friday. Father Jesus David Saenz and a nun, whose name has not been disclosed, died in the San Luis de Monfort Church, hours after they received the present. Meanwhile, in a church at the town of Sibate, a sacristan and another woman were poisoned and remain in a hospital near the capital city, Bogota.
The Colombian bishops' conference expressed outrage and concern over the murders. "Tough days are getting closer to the Catholic Church. I refused to believe that things in our country were so terrible, but now we cannot deny any kind of accusation, including those that point to a satanic sect," the conference president said in a statement. The tainted wine was delivered to Father Saenz's church in an Easter gift basket also containing chocolates and cookies, and it was reported on Sunday that at least 10 other baskets containing poisoned wine were delivered to priests in the provinces of Meta and Cundinamarca.
For the sixth day of the Novena and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, click onDIVINE MERCY NOVENA
Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon meek souls, upon humble souls, and upon little children who are enfolded in the abode which is the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls bear the closest resemblance to Your Son. Their fragrance rises from the earth and reaches Your very throne. Father of Mercy and of all goodness, I beg You by the love You bear these souls and by the delight You take in them: Bless the whole world, that all souls together may sing out the praises of Your Mercy for endless ages. Amen.
Following is the formula for the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, prayed on the regular beads of the Rosary. It is most appropriate to pray it at 3 o'clock in the afternoon which is the "Hour of Great Mercy" as Jesus said to Blessed Faustina: At three o'clock, implore My Mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the Hour of Great Mercy...In this hour I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion. (1320).
On each decade of the small beads, pray the following:
For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
At the end of the Chaplet recite three times the following prayer:
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Then conclude with the following prayer said three times also:
O Blood and Water which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as Font of Mercy for us, I trust in You!
It is recommended to offer each decade to the wounds of Christ, such as the first decade in reparation for the wound in HIs Right Hand; the second decade in reparation for the wound in His Left Hand, the third decade in reparation for the wounds in His Sacred Feet; the fourth decade in reparation for the wounds in His Head in which the Crown of Thorns crushed His Sacred Skull; and the fifth decade in reparation for the wound in His side in which Blood and Water gushed forth as a Font of Mercy for all generations.
The Novena to Divine Mercy, which Jesus asked Blessed Faustina to begin on Good Friday, 1937 is for nine days from Good Friday to Divine Mercy Sunday (the Sunday after Easter) which is the Feast of Divine Mercy. Jesus told her, By this Novena [of Chaplets and particular intention each day] I will grant every possible grace to souls. (796).