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March 23, 1998             SECTION TWO              vol 9, no. 58

As Good as God gets!

      In his second installment on Reconciliation, Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv. talks about the fact that if we do all He says, we will receive in return His graces for that is "As Good as God gets" and couldn't be better, but man has to be honest with himself in this reconciliation process in order to chalk up the rewards, guard and treasure them. For his second column on reconciliation, click on HEARTS TO HEART TALK

How to Pray with the Heart

Column Twenty-Six: Reconciliation

     In giving human beings further assistance, Jesus, as Redeemer, explains to us that it is not possible for anyone of us to be reconciled to God unless we are also reconciled to one another. This makes the fact of reconciliation more difficult. It is one thing to be reconciled with God, but quite another to be reconciled with every human being. On the other hand, it becomes much easier once one is reconciled with God, for once this isaccomplished, there are additional graces given by Him to become reconciled with everyone else. Nonetheless, to live in harmony with every single person requires continued prayer in order to be able to arrive at, and maintain a humble and forgiving heart.

      There can be no true love expressed by anyone of us unless and until our heart is reconciled with God, our neighbor and ourself. The commandments are, first, that we love God with our whole being and, secondly, that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. True love and reconciliation go hand in hand. It all comes down to this: in order to fulfill the law of love, we must be reconciled first with God, secondly, with our neighbor, and thirdly, with ourselves.

      It should be noted, however, that the order need not always and necessarily be as stated. Reconciliation with self may in instances be necessary before one can be reconciled with neighbor, and reconciliation with neighbor may come as a preparation to be reconciled with God. Grace works at times mysteriously through any given individual, so that ultimately reconciliation in whatever order, ends up so that every single person who desires it, may ultimately live in total reconciliation. Reconciliation becomes necessary when one realizes that he/she has caused hurt to some person. This can be the Person of God, the person of neighbor, or the person of self. There is no need to seek reconciliation with non-persons. Likewise, there is no need to see reconciliation until and unless we realize that we have caused hurt. It is spiritually helpful and praiseworthy when one is not conscious of hurting anyone, yet would find it in one’s heart to say, "IF I had hurt anyone without my knowledge, I am sorry and would wish to be reconciled."

      Reconciliation is not possible unless there is a sincere regret within one’s heart that he/she had caused hurt. It is an act of charity to be able to go to someone and say, " You may not realize it, but you have hurt me." This helps both parties, the one who unknowingly has hurt, and the one hurt. If one has been hurt and keeps it hidden and/or suppressed, it does not contribute to one’s peace of soul. If one, not realizing that he or she has caused hurt, finds out, the opportunity to ask for forgiveness is then given and peace can be brought between two people. It is a helpful practice to examine one’s conscience daily in order to become aware of having offended someone. The conscience is God-given so that acting upon it one can better maintain within oneself a state of peace.

In my next installment, I will continue to delve into how reconciliation with self is just as important in the healing process with others.

To review Father Valenta's previous columns in this series, go to Archives beginning with the August 18, 1997 issue of A CALL TO PEACE: volume 8, no. 16.

God's Will Hunting

      Though we commemorate a Lenten weekday today, we also celebrate the optional feast of Saint Toribio Alfonso de Mogrovejo the Lima Bishop who governed over such luminary saints as Saint Rose of Lima, Saint Martin de Porres and other holy men and women. He realized one had to work at doing God's Will, by hunting for it through prayer and good works. For his story, the readings, meditations of today and tomorrow, click on LITURGY OF THE DAY

MONDAY, March 23, 1998


     Born in 1538 at Mayorga, Spain Saint Toribio Alfonso or Turibius taught law at the University of Salamanca where he caught the attention of King Philip II who appointed Toribio as chief judge of the Inquisition at Granada. Though still a layman, he was further appointed to the Archbishopric of Lima, Peru in 1580. Upon the announcement he received the Sacrament of Holy Orders before setting sail for the new world. There he discovered that his diocese stretched from Panama to Argentina and under his jurisdiction whom he counseled and encouraged were such luminary saints as Saint Rose of Lima, Saint Martin de Porres, Saint John Macias, and Saint Francis Solano. His greatest achievement was reforming the way the Indians were treated, fighting for the poor by founding many churches, schools, hospitals and clinics as well as the first seminary in 1591 where, within a few years, it was packed. Archbishop Toribio studied extensively learning the various dialects in order to better reach the people. It was on his way back to Lima from a pastoral visit to one of the Indian villages that he died in Santa, Peru on March 23, 1606. In 1726 Pope Benedict XIII canonized him.

TUESDAY, March 24, 1998


"Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by virtuous living."

Proverbs 16: 31

Medjugorje Monthly Message for February 25th

      Dear children! Also today I am with you and I, again, call all of you to come closer to me through your prayers. In a special way, I call you to renunciation in this time of grace. Little children, meditate on and live, through your little sacrifices, the Passion and Death of Jesus for each of you. Only if you come closer to Jesus will you comprehend the immeasurable love He has for each of you. Through prayer and your renunciation you will become more open to the gift of faith and love towards the Church and the people who are around you. I love and bless you. 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 March 23:

648 and counting, hoping and praying..

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant


Archbishop Keating dead at 63 in Rome

Beloved Archbishop of Arlington, Virginia succumbs from heart attack after visit with Pope

Archbishop John R. Keating Dies in Rome

      Arlington Bishop John R. Keating died March 22 in Rome shortly after making his "ad limina" visit with Pope John Paul II.

      Bishop Keating, 63, reportedly suffered a massive heart attack at the Oblate Residence where he was staying during his two-week "ad limina" trip. He was accompanied on his visit by Father Robert J. Rippy, diocesan chancellor, and Father Mark Mealey, O.S.F.S., judicial vicar.

      The bishop's body is expected to return to Arlington on Wednesday, March 25. A funeral Mass has tentatively been scheduled for Saturday, March 28, at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington.

      The Church's Code of Canon Law instructs the diocesan board of consultors to elect an administrator within eight days of the death of the bishop. The group was scheduled to meet early this week.

      News of Bishop Keating's death rapidly spread throughout the diocese on Sunday morning. Prayers were being offered for the repose of his soul at all 63 diocesan parishes and eight missions.

      Bishop Keating has led the Arlington Diocese since August 1983. He was the second bishop of Arlington, succeeding Bishop Thomas J. Welsh, who recently retired as bishop of Allentown. Pope Paul VI established the Arlington Diocese on Aug. 13, 1974.

      Bishop Keating issued six pastoral letters as head of the Arlington Diocese: Consultation in the Parish in September 1984; On Reverence for the Eucharist in December 1988; On Catholic Schools in September 1990; On Handing on the Faith in October 1992; On Morality and Conscience in September 1994; and Courage in September 1996.

      During Bishop Keating's tenure in Arlington, he had ordained 84 men to the priesthood, including 13 men in May 1996, the largest ordination class in diocesan history. He established six new parishes and dedicated 17 churches. The diocese also has opened a new elementary school each year for the past eight years. Holy Cross Academy will keep that tradition alive when it opens in the fall of 1998.

      Arlington now has more than 326,000 Catholics spread over 21 counties of Northern Virginia, from the Potomac River to the West Virginia border. There were 188,000 Catholics at the time of Bishop Keating’s installation on Aug. 4, 1983.

      John Richard Keating was born July 20, 1934, in Chicago, Ill. His father, Robert J. Keating, died in 1996. His mother, Gertrude, died five years ago.

      John Keating attended Queen of All Saints School, Quigley Preparatory Seminary - both in Chicago - and St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Ill.

      He studied theology at the Gregorian University in Rome while attending the North American College from 1955-59. He was ordained a priest by Bishop Martin O'Connor, rector of the North American College, on Dec. 20, 1958, in Rome.

      Father Keating received his Licentiate in Sacred Theology in 1959 from the Gregorian University.

      He returned to Chicago in June 1959 to accept an assignment as associate pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Chicago, where he served until October 1960.

      Cardinal Albert Meyer, Archbishop of Chicago, sent Father Keating back to Rome in 1960 to study for an advanced degree in canon law. He received his doctorate in canon law in 1963 from the Gregorian University.

      Father Keating returned to Chicago where he was appointed assistant chancellor by Cardinal Meyer. At the same time, he was appointed associate pastor in August 1963 at Immaculate Conception Church, where he served until January 1968.

      Father Keating continued to serve as assistant chancellor under Cardinal John Cody and served as associate pastor at St. Germaine Church, Oak Lawn, from January 1968 to August 1969.

      He was appointed associate pastor at St. Mary Church, Riverside, from August 1969 to September 1970. He then became associate pastor of St. Clement Church, serving there until November 1975. He then served at St. Louis de Marillac Church, La Grange Park, Ill., until June 1983 when he was named second bishop of Arlington.

      From October 1971 to December 1979 Father Keating served the archdiocese as co-chancellor for priest personnel. He was a member of the clergy personnel board of the archdiocese from October 1971 to October 1982, and was elected chairman during the last five years.

      He was vicar general and chancellor of the archdiocese from December 1979 until his appointment to Arlington.

      Upon the death of Cardinal Cody in April 1982, Father Keating was elected administrator of the archdiocese, a post he filled until August 1982 when Cardinal Joseph Bernardin was named archbishop of Chicago.

      Bishop Keating's training in canon law has been instrumental in his service to the Church in a wide variety of roles. He served as a consultant to the U.S. bishops committee on canonical affairs. In 1979 he was named a trustee of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary and in 1971 he was named secretary of the Archdiocesan Board of Consultors.

      In December 1982 Cardinal Bernardin made Father Keating chairman of a committee to reorganize the archdiocesan structure, a multi-million dollar operation that involves some 60 offices and agencies.

      In the existing operation, Cardinal Bernardin said, too many people had to report directly to him on a day-to-day basis, and not enough authority was delegated.

      Father Keating's reorganization plan was completed in May 1983 and took effect in July. It placed all archdiocesan agencies under five umbrella departments set up according to services - pastoral, community, educational, personnel and executive - with five department directors reporting to Cardinal Bernardin through the curia moderator.

      Bishop Keating instituted a similar structure in Arlington, with four departments - pastoral, financial, judicial and administrative. Each department head reports to the moderator of the curia, in this case Father Robert J. Rippy, diocesan chancellor.

      Bishop Keating gained national notoriety in November 1994 when he became one of only two U.S. prelates to maintain the diocesan policy of allowing only male altar servers, except under extreme circumstances. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Neb., was the other.

      Despite the resultant controversy that this policy generated, Bishop Keating's most lasting legacy in Arlington will be his tremendous success in attracting young men to the priesthood.

      One of his first official acts in Arlington was the appointment of Father James R. Gould as diocesan vocations director. Together they have developed a vocations program that is unique among U.S. dioceses and has changed the face of Arlington clergy well into the next century.

      Arlington's success gained local and national attention. A lengthy article appeared in Catholic World Report, a monthly Catholic magazine published by Ignatius Press. A recent local article appeared in The Washington Times.

      Arlington's 1996 ordination class was tied with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as the largest in the nation. Los Angeles is the largest archdiocese in the U.S. with more than 3 million Catholics.

      The program that produced 35 priests in four years arose from a combination of prayer, strong Catholic education and family programs, plus the enthusiasm of Bishop Keating and other diocesan priests.

      The 13 men ordained in May 1996 represented a 10 percent increase in the total number of diocesan priests. There are 130 active diocesan priests, including 10 outside the diocese.

      Since his installation as the second bishop of Arlington in August 1983, Bishop Keating has ordained 84 men to the priesthood. That represents 62 percent of all active diocesan clergy.

      The diocesan priesthood continues to get younger. Fifty-eight men have been ordained since 1990 (38 percent of all diocesan priests) and 26 in the past three years.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT: The above article was taken from the Arlington Diocese web site, written by Arlington HERALD editor Michael F. Flach .

Pope calls for Catholics and clergy to "evangelize the media"


      VATICAN (CWN) -- Pope John Paul II today encouraged the word of evangelization through the media. He added that Christians have a duty not only to use the media as instruments of evangelization, but also to evangelize those people who work in the media.

      The Pope's message was addressed to the plenary meeting of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, which is meeting in Rome this week. The Pope's message also saluted the past president of the Council, Cardinal Andrzej Maria Deskur, as well as its acting head, Archbishop John P. Foley.

      Modern instruments of communications give the Church opportunities to spread the Gospel message with "a new method, a new expression, and a new zeal," the Holy Father said. But he cautioned that the media are not isolated sector from society; they reflect the overall culture, and so they too must be the objects as well as the instruments of evangelization.

      In order to use the media effectively in evangelization, then, the Pope said that the Church must evangelize the media. He emphasized "the priority of people over things," and of "ethics over technology," saying that spiritual efforts would always prove superior to material means of effecting conversions.

China trip proves fruitful according to optimistic Archbishop on his return

     After a full week tour of mainland China where Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, head of the Newark, New Jersey see, was a member of three-man investigative group of clergy touring the country, he exudes that China will come around "because the people want Catholicism." He also indicated the Holy Father, who he was visiting in Rome, expressed a desire to go to China when the time is right. For more, click on China to read more.


      VATICAN (CWN) -- Archbishop Theodore McCarrick of Newark, New Jersey, one of three US religious leaders who recently visited China to assess the state of religious liberty there, has reported that he believes progress has been made toward religious freedom, although he added that the Chinese government still strictly limits religious expressions.

      Archbishop McCarrick traveled to China, along with Protestant and Jewish leaders, at the suggestion of Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, who issued the invitation during his visit with President Clinton last October. After a three-week stay, and the formal release of their report at a press conference in New York earlier this week, the archbishop discussed the state of Chinese Catholicism with the Italian newspaper Avvenire.

      "The whole world already knows that religious liberty is limited in China, that there are official churches registered by the government and independent underground churches, and that many of them have been subject to persecution," Archbishop McCarrick said. However, he said that "religious freedom will come, because the Chinese people want it."

      Although his mission was dedicated to fact-finding, the archbishop said that he and his colleagues were able to establish a dialogue with Chinese government leaders on questions of religious freedom, and they sought to make the Communist leadership understand that Western opinion made religious freedom a high priority. The American delegates demanded the release of a list of prisoners of conscience, and an end to the practice of forcing religious bodies to enroll with the state. The Chinese government has not responded to those demands.

      After his trip to China, Archbishop McCarrick visited Rome to discuss the visit with Pope John Paul II. He reported that the Pope had expressed his own desire to visit China at some future date, and his belief that the faith would enjoy a great revival in Asia during the coming millennium.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT:To subscribe to Catholic World News Service, available daily by e-mail, click here .


Today's prayer is taken from the Opening Prayer of the Mass for Saint Toribio Alfonso de Mogrevejo, Bishop of Lima, Peru in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

      Lord, through the apostolic work of St. Toribio and his unwavering love of truth, You helped Your Church to grow. May Your chosen people continue to grow in faith and holiness.

For more devotions of Lent, click on

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

Click here to return to SECTION ONE or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.

March 23, 1998 volume 9, no. 58         DAILY CATHOLIC