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April 2, 1998             SECTION TWO              vol 9, no. 66


Today's prayer is the second of the Seven Last Words of Christ that we will bring in these issues leading up to the Easter Triduum

      "I assure you: this day you will be with Me in Paradise." (Luke 23: 43) Father, help me, that my faith, hope and love may encourage me to reach my true home - Heaven and to help others share that eternal reward.

For more devotions of Lent, click on WAY OF THE CROSS

For the readings, meditations and liturgy of Thursday and Friday in the Fifth Week of Lent and a brief vignette on today's optional feast of Saint Francis of Paola, hermit and religious founder, click on LITURGY OF THE DAY

THURSDAY, April 2, 1998

Saint Francis of Paola

     Born a little over two hundred years after the Franciscans were founded, Saint Francis of Paola followed in his founder's footsteps by becoming a Friar at the age of 13 in the city of his birth - Calabria, Italy. The commitment was largely due to the vow his own parents had made to the holy Saint Francis of Assisi in intercession to save their young son who went through a case of severe sickness as a youth. Two years after joining the Franciscan community, young Francis, at the age of 15, retired to become a hermit. But as much as he sought a life of solitude many followers sought him out and he acquiesced to teach them. When he was twenty he founded the Order of Hermits of St. Francis of Assisi and lived to see it approved by Pope Julius II in 1506, though the name had been changed to Order of Minims which meant "little ones." This order was stricter than most and observed a strict observance of fasting, abstaining from all meat, milk and eggs. The order became so popular in the late fourteen hundreds that Pope Sixtus IV asked him to serve the court of King Louis XI and then gave the humble saint permission to open numerous monasteries throughout France where he died in that country in 1507 on Good Friday at the ripe age of 71. In 1519 he was canonized by Pope Leo X. In 1943 Pope Pius XII declared Francis the patron saint of seafarers.

FRIDAY, April 3, 1998

Medjugorje Monthly Message for March 25th

     Dear children! Also today I call you to fasting and renunciation. Little children, renounce that which hinders you from being closer to Jesus. In a special way I call you: Pray, because only through prayer will you be able to overcome your will and discover the will of God even in the smallest things. By your daily life, little children, you will become an example and witness that you live for Jesus or against Him and His will. Little children, I desire that you become apostles of love. By loving, little children, it will be recognized that you are mine. Thank you for having responded to my call.
For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE


Events today in Church History

      For events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history, click on ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME

Historical Events in Church Annals for April 2:

638 and counting, hoping and praying..

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant



      WASHINGTON, DC (CWNews.com) - During President Bill Clinton's visit to South Africa last weekend he stopped at a Catholic church in mostly black Soweto township where he received Holy Communion and ignited controversy over the action.

      President Clinton and his wife Hillary attended Mass at Regina Mundi Church where Father Mohlomi Makobane allowed the couple, who profess Baptist and Methodist beliefs, respectively, to come forward to receive the Eucharist. Father Makobane said he followed the Directory on Ecumenism in South Africa, which was promulgated by the South African bishops' conference in January, as his guide for allowing the First Family to receive Communion, normally reserved only for practicing Catholics in a state of grace. The priest said he gave a copy of the bishops' document to the organizers of Clinton's visit when discussing the possibility of Clinton wanting to receive Communion.

      Bishop Geraldo M. Angelo, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments at the Vatican, said: "Since this is a person who is not a Catholic, he cannot be admitted to eucharistic Communion. This is a canonical norm .. and therefore no bishops' conference can advance a different rule."

      In the US, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua of Philadelphia told listeners of his weekly radio show that the president's actions were wrong. The cardinal said he believed Clinton had done "something unlawful, but I don't believe he did it intentionally. I don't believe there was malice on anyone's part."


     VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Christian baptism has a meaning far superior to that of Jewish or pagan initiation rites, Pope John Paul II said at his public audience today.

      Speaking at his regular Wednesday audience, on the theme of baptism, the Holy Father explained that unlike the rites of any other faith, Christian baptism has the power to wipe away sin, "because it immerses us in the Paschal mystery of Christ." Some other rituals involve an ablution as a symbol of purification, but baptism actually accomplishes what it signifies-- "the purification of consciences, through the pardon of sins."

      It is impossible, the Pope added, to separate the gift of faith from the sacrament of baptism. Conversion is not merely an "interior attitude" but an "entrance into the Christian community," he observed. Thus baptism involves both the remission of sins and the incorporation into the Mystical Body of Christ.

      Jesus himself was baptized, the Pope said, although he was "perfectly innocent" and thus in no need of forgiveness. Nevertheless Jesus voluntarily was baptized by John the Baptist. This was essentially a "penitential rite," the Pope remarked; it was designed to encourage Jews to seek pardon for their sins. But Jesus, at the start of his public life, was baptized in order to show "the solidarity of the Redeemer with the sinners," he explained. Because of that solidarity, baptism for Christians entails immersion not merely in water but in the Passion of Christ.

      The baptism of Christ contains two important elements, the Pope said: the special effusion of the Holy Spirit, which prefigures the communication of the Spirit to baptized Christians; and the expression of the "ties of love" which unite Christ with his Father, again prefiguring the status of Christians as adopted sons of God.


      MELBOURNE, Australia (CWNews.com) - The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne on Wednesday called for all people to pray for each of the hundreds of frozen, unborn children being destroyed at in vitro fertilization clinics under a state law that went into effect on Monday.

      Father Christopher Prowse, archdiocesan spokesman, called the embryonic children "the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters" and added: "We in the Catholic Church say they should be offered religious and human respect as they die." He also called for prayer to end what is seen as a social decline that has led to establishment of IVF clinics and the destruction of embryos more than five years old.

      Under the Infertility Treatment Act, 1995, the embryos are to be removed from their liquid nitrogen baths and allowed to stand at room temperature for at least 24 hours before being disposed of. Under the legislation, the embryos were to be destroyed starting on January 1, but a three-month extension was granted for prospective parents to come forward.


      VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Two Spanish nurses, who had been kidnapped in Rwanda on March 24, were released last week in Goma, Congo. They are expected to arrive in Spain tomorrow.

      Sister Sagrario Laralde Solana, a nurse, and Sister Rosa Munoz, a doctor, returned to Rwanda after their release, in the company of Spanish ambassador Jose Antonio Bordallo. They then embarked on a plane for Tanzania, for a connection to Madrid.

      The nuns confirmed that they had been treated well during their captivity. But contrary to initial reports-- which had been based on the fact that the nuns were health-care workers, and their kidnappers stole medical supplies from their clinic-- they were not asked to treat the wounds of their captors. They said that their captors were constantly on the move, usually changing their position during the night, in order to avoid government patrols. Finally they crossed the border into Congo to release their hostages.

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For all other standard features, articles and columns, click on Archives

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Apri1 2, 1998 volume 9, no. 66         DAILY CATHOLIC