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April 2, 1998
SECTION TWO   vol 9, no. 66
PRAYERS & DEVOTION
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
Thursday, April 2: Weekday in the Fifth Week of Lent and
Optional Feast of Saint Francis de Paola, Hermit and Religious Founder
First Reading: Genesis 17: 3-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 105: 4-9
Gospel Reading: John 8: 51-59
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
First Reading: Jeremiah 20: 10-13
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 18: 2-7
Gospel Reading: John 10: 31-42
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
ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME
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:
Birth of the emperor Charlemagne - the great Holy Roman Emperor.
Pope Sylvester II elected as the 139th successor of Peter. Like Pope John Paul II, Sylvester was also a non-Italian and this French prepared for the millennium - the second millennium just as our Polish Pope is doing.
The Seventh Crusade, led by Saint Louis, King of France, is forced to surrender to the Muslimsm because of broken promises to the crusaders by Pope Innocent IV and Frederick II Hohenstaufen and his son Manfred.
Death of King Ferdinand I, monarch of Aragon which would be annexed as an intricate part of Spain.
Death of Prince Arthur, Prince of Wales and oldest brother of England's King Henry VIII.
Death of Saint Francis of Paola, Franciscan and religous founder whose optional feast we celebrate today.
The Marriage of Philip II King of Spain to Queen Isabella of France, solidifying the Catholic bloc in those two nations and ensuring Catholicism would prosper despite the reformation.
WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant
Vatican responds strongly to Clintons' feeble excuse for receiving Holy Communion
The Vatican stated in no uncertain terms that no bishops' conference can permit a different rule than what is in Canon Law. This arose from the fact the Clintons received Holy Communion at Regina Mundi Church in South Africa Sunday and placed the blame on the pastor who allowed it. As we stated emphatically in our editorial yesterday, the Clintons knew better and this is one more attempt at passing the buck and a blatant disregard for the Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. Though Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua ablsolved the first couple of not doing it intentional, the circumstances and prior knowledge dictate otherwise. For more on this story, click on controversy to read more.
CLINTON AT MASS CAUSES CONTROVERSY OVER RECEIVING EUCHARIST
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
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
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."
Pope elevates Sacrament of Baptism as the ultimate compared to all other rites
Though his words rang true, it is possible Pope John Paul II might have sparked a possible rebuttal by the liberal Jewish contingent who are already upset with him for not laying the blame of silence during the Holocaust on Pope Pius XII. The reason for this anticipated retort is that the Holy Father affirmed, during his Wednesday public audience at Pope Paul VI Hall, that the meaning of the Sacrament of Baptism far surpasses all other rites of initiation, including the Jewish rituals. For the rest of the story, click on Baptism to read more.
CHRISTIAN BAPTISM SUPERIOR TO OTHER RITES
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 Archdioces laments orchestrated deaths of unborn embryos
Stating uncategorically that the destruction of innocent, frozen unborn embryos is sinister and wrong, the Archbishop of Melbourne, Australia spoke out strongly against the action ordered by a 1995 law that mandates the frozen children be eliminated. The Archdiocese likened it to the crowning blow in society's decline as a caring, loving people whose hearts have been hardened. For the rest of this story, click on unborn to read more.
AUSTRALIAN BISHOPS ASK PRAYERS FOR DYING UNBORN CHILDREN
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.
Rwandan rebels release last of kidnapped nuns
In a follow-up to a story last week, the news is good. After a week in captivity, it was announced that the two remaining Spanish nuns retained to tend to the kidnappers wounds, have finally been set free. They join the six others who were released earlier after eight were kidnapped on March 24th from a Rwanda medical center. The last two sisters were released in the Congo where the kidnappers had moved them and many feel they were released to allow the rebels to move faster and more freely in trying to evade government patrols. For the rest of this story, click on Rwanda to read more.
SPANISH NUNS RELEASED BY RWANDAN KIDNAPPERS
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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Apri1 2, 1998 volume 9, no. 66   DAILY CATHOLIC