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May 1-3, 1998             SECTION ONE              vol 9, no. 85

To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION TWO


A Role Model for the Ages

     It is fitting that his weekend we celebrate both the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker and World Day of Prayer for Vocations for the two are intricately linked as we explain in this weekend's editorial. No vocation ever sprouted from lazy roots and one of the root causes of the lack of vocations today can be traced to the work ethic for it takes hard work in the dedicated service of God. For our commentary, As vocations go, there is no better role-model than the man who molded Jesus, click on this weekend's CATHOLIC PewPOINT

As vocations go, there is no better role-model than the man who molded Jesus

      On this first day of May we celebrate the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker. The significance of this feast, unfortunately, has been lost on the last generation or two since many do not fully comprehend the word "worker" or what truly constitutes work ethics. Ever since the Father banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden with the edict, "In the sweat of your brow..." (Genesis 3: 19) man has worked and toiled to eat and provide for himself and his family. For centuries this work ethic was a proud tribute to the determination and fortitude of countless generations, leaving behind memorials of their labors from the proud cathedrals of Europe to the writings and teachings of the saints and doctors of the Church. Only in the last quarter of this century has the work ethic slagged. This, in turn, eroded our concept of common sense and decency. We've become soft and lazy especially in America where convenience has replaced ingenuity; where welfare and handouts have replaced jobs and an honest day's work; where love and the sanctity of procreation has become lust and "anything-goes"; where man's dogged self-will has replaced God's Divine Will.

      As we near the pivotal third millennium, it is time to return to the values and virtues exemplified by the foster father of Jesus and chaste protector of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Too often, in our daily hustle and bustle coupled with the streamlined liturgy of today, we have lost the concept of the saints and their importance in our daily lives. No saint is more misunderstood yet more effective than St. Joseph. With his feast always falling inside of Lent and lost amidst the fasting of that season, it is fitting that Holy Mother Church has given him another feast day to celebrate his attributes. It's surprising how many don't realize that St. Joseph is the "Patron of the Universal Roman Catholic Church," "Safeguard of Families," "Patron of a Happy Death," "Hope of the Sick," "Consolation of the Poor," "Rescuer of Sinners," "Model of Righteousness," "Solace of the Afflicted," "Patron of Priests and Seminarians," "Model of Single Men and Married Men," "Guardian of Virgins," "Protector of Children," and, of course, "Model of Christian Workers." In the Litany to St. Joseph there are even more titles, but those are the main ones. Many have attested to his intercession in selling their homes by praying to him and burying a statue of this treasured saint upsidedown in their yard. Sellers claim within days, even hours and minutes, they have sold their real estate. Others might consider this superstitious, but when you combine all the miraculous phenomena associated with this holy saint, it makes perfect sense. And the work ethics he instilled in his young foster Son are the same we should emulate today if we truly hope to attain Heavenly retirement. No gold watches, rather a goldmine of graces. But those graces are harder to attain if we succumb to the slothful ways of the 90's where walking to the corner store is a chore and if something doesn't cook in 30 seconds why bother. Service, the watchword of so many companies in the forties and fifties, has become a dinosaur. For young people, getting a job such as a grocery clerk, lawn mower, paper carrier, or fast-food server during the summer or after school used to be a rite of initiation into adulthood. Today these jobs are looked upon begrudgingly. "Why do I have to work?" and "What's in it for me?" have become the watchword. "Gimme, gimme, gimme" is the cry with nary a thought to giving to others. Slackards posing as sloven, wretched homeless, covet busy intersections holding up hand-scribbled signs depicting their plight. Yet, investigators have revealed that so many pass half-a-dozen Help Wanted signs in walking from their out-of-sight parked car without once applying for a job. Why? Because reliable estimates have set their daily take at $100. to $200. a day tax-free for maybe three to four hours of prime-time rush-hour begging. Christ said in Mark 14: 7, "For the poor you have always with you" but the manner in which so many have misrepresented those truly unfortunate and the way they have bilked the government and generous passers-by are truly ridiculous and shameful. Teaching young people to work is a task in itself as those who teach and mold the youth have been supplanted by the more-than ever arrogant movie, rock and sports idols who seldom do anything to contribute positively to society. Yet it is their example and lifestyles that are glorified by the false prophets of today, giving the past few generations a totally wrong impression of values, common sense, decency and priorities.

      Only through prayer, hard work, dedication, sacrifice, and fortitude can we reinstate these values of human life to our own life, our family, our society and our world. Maybe we all need to take a lesson from the primitive Amish who are among the happiest group of people in the world. Very few work harder or have fewer conveniences than these Quaker hermits. Their lifestyle parallels the endurance and peace of mind of the friars of Saint Francis of Assisi's time when they worked, prayed and traveled from sunrise to sunset striving to spread the faith and fulfill God's Will. It is a lifestyle similar to what Joseph provided for the Holy Family. In Jesus' time and Francis' era there were no cars, planes, or trains...only rough hewn paths trodded upon by barefeet and sandals; no telephones, computers, modems, e-mail, faxes, cell phones or wall-to-wall 24 hour media...only the quill and parchment; no microwaves, refrigerators, air-conditioning or central heating...only gathered wood and kilns to prepare their meals; no king-size beds or lazy-boy soft chairs...only hard-wooden benches and straw to lay on; no fluorescent lights or portable flash lights...only the dripping hot wax of hand-made candles; no molded Nikes or reversable rain-repellant jackets with a modern gladiator logo from the professional teams of today...only course woolen garments that held little protection from the cold and stifled the body in the summer heat; no Bud Light or Pepsi or iced tea...only a ladle or goatskin pouch of warm, tepid water and fermented wine to quench their thirst. Yet they were happy! The answer lies not in riches and conveniences, but in peace of mind and contentment with all that God grants. If we could but return to this mentality, the Tabernacle of Our Lord would have many, many more frequent visitors and the tabernacle of satan would be properly turned away in a corner collecting cobwebs. This then is the answer to true happiness. But it is an utopia few can fathom or long for after they have experienced the times we currently live in - the era of the Seven Deadly Sins. Only through prayer and a dedication to emulate St. Joseph can we entertain any hope of reversing the trend toward self-destruction and revive the pulse of hard work, common sense and decency.

      Speaking of work ethics, this editor has been fighting the flu-bug that has been going around for the last several days and it has been difficult getting each issue out between runs to the throne-room and the sniffles. But, in the spirit of the old veteran, the show must go on. Because of this temporary malady we will not have a SIGNIFICANT SITE OF THE WEEK this weekend. We missed the Squires Circle Installation last night with myself and one son down with the crud, and the other son wasn't feeling so hot either. Mom continues to ply us with chicken soup and lots of love and medicine as she bravely pulls double-time watching over all of us day and night with nary a care to her own health. That's work ethics of the highest degree and so many moms have it. In ten days we get to honor them. Sad it's only one day a year when they give so much during the 364 other days. So pray that the whole family gets well and we can return to our regular schedule. Pray also that we can all learn from Saint Joseph and pass on the work ethic he fostered, imparting these values in our children and the young today. Only through the proper work ethic and prayer life can we hope to emulate the Holy Family. Maybe, just maybe with a renewed work-ethic and heartfelt prayer vocations will once again flourish. It is no coincidence that this weekend we mark both the feast of St. Joseph the Worker and World Day of Prayer for Vocations for Joseph is the Patron of Priests and Seminarians. As vocations go, there is no better role-model than the man who molded Jesus.

Michael Cain, editor

You can never put suffering and trials in mothballs!

     In her column this weekend Sister Mary Lucy Astuto astutely points out that God has a reason why we must carry our cross and willingly accept whatever trials and suffering He so wills for us. She illustrates this point in her weekly column with a special vignette on "The Moth and the Cocoon" and the fact that even in man's best intentions, if we misinterpret God's Will, it will not bode well. For her column, OUR CROSSES ARE TRULY BLESSINGS, click on GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER

OUR CROSSES ARE TRULY BLESSINGS

      All of us suffer every day. The cross can come to us in various sizes. It takes the form of minor annoyances that move many to "cuss" a bit in traffic. It takes a medium form in daily fatigue and the stress that comes in meeting deadlines and putting up with irritating people. But the cross can come in grandiose-size in the form of a terminal illness, the loss of a loved one, the loss of an important job, etc.

      However it comes, we can be certain that the Hand of God is with it. That is, God will not permit us to have a cross without at the same time giving us ALL that we need to bear it and without His being right there.

      I know that most people donít think of their crosses as blessings from God, but they are. A fruit tree bears better and healthier fruit, if at appropriate times it gets pruned. Some of the branches must be cut away. There must be a struggle... in patience... in order for us to be "purified" and made better.

      I heard a story recently that gives clarity to my point. It is as follows.

Think about it and may God bless you!

Saint Joseph kicks off the Month of May

   &bnsp; Talk about a month dedicated to the Holy Family. It begins with the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker and ends with the Visitation coinciding with the Feast of Pentecost on May 31. It is no coincidence this year that the two feasts fall on the same day and that the bookends are the "Patron of the Church" and the "Birthday of the Church" and the Visitation, when the Blessed Virgin Mary traveled to assist her cousin Elizabeth before she was wed to Joseph. But back to the beginning of this month, the Month of Mary as we celebrate on Friday FIRST FRIDAY and on Saturday FIRST SATURDAY along with the feast of Saint Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. Sunday we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Easter, World Day of Prayer for Vocations and the annual May crowning of the Blessed Mother with most parishes providing Rosary processions. For the liturgy, readings, meditations and vignettes on the featured saints this weekend, click on LITURGY FOR THE WEEKEND

Friday, May 1, 1998

SAINT JOSEPH THE WORKER, PATRON OF THE CHURCH

      So much has been said about this very special, holy, pure and quiet saint...and yet, so little is really known about Saint Joseph. No one can pinpoint the exact year he died, but we do know he died a happy, peaceful death richly deserved because of his obedience to the Will of God in being the earthly guardian of God's Own Son and the Immaculate Mother He chose to fulfill the Act of Redemption. Saint Joseph is the saint most often invoked for the grace of a happy death and the assurance that Jesus is spiritually present at that time with every dying soul. While Mary was the heart of the Holy Family, Joseph was the head, yet always submitting to a higher Power in all things...from accepting Mary's virgin birth as truly from God to rallying the family in the cold of the night to flee from Herod's wrath into a land he knew nothing about, only that God would not abandon him nor those he was charged to watch over. Every virtue can be attributed to this saint who bridged the Old Law, born into the royal family of David's lineage, and the New Law and guided to maturity Jesus Christ, our Savior. Because of his role in protecting the Holy Family he has been designated Protector of Holy Mother Church as well. He is the patron saint of workers for he lifted the work ethics to a new level and taught these values to the Son of God.

Saturday, May 2, 1998

SAINT ATHANASIUS, BISHOP AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH

      Born in Egypt early in the fourth century, Saint Athanasius was chosen to defend His Church against the Arian heresy at an early age, being sent to champion the cause of Holy Mother Church at the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. His dedication and writings attracted the attention of all and he quickly was made Patriarch of Alexandria and almost single-handedly fended off the Arian heresy for well over forty years before succumbing peacefully in 373. Though he had been persecuted by the Arians for many, many years, his prayers, writings, preaching and actions won many over to the true teaching through the humility and persistence of this staunch Defender and Doctor of the Church. Despite the sacriligeous acts of the heretic Arius who had forced the emperor to have him reinstated in the Church, God smote the heretic down in the presence of countless witnesses as Arius attempted to enter the church of St. Sophia. Through Athanasius' prayers, the sacrilege was averted and the horrible death Arius met in challenging the authority of God's Church prompted countless Arians to be converted back to Catholicism.

SUNDAY, May 3, 1998


Monday, May 4, 1998


Events this day in Church History

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

Historical Events in Church Annals for May 1:



Historical Events in Church Annals for May 2:


Historical Events in Church Annals for May 3:



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


May 1, 1998 volume 9, no. 85   DAILY CATHOLIC