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February 6-8, 1998                 SECTION ONE                          vol 9, no. 27

Opening Ceremonies!

     This weekend the Winter Olympics from Nagano, Japan open to great hoopla and hype as the world will be watching this international venue played on the scenario with the picture-postcard snow-covered Mt. Fuji towering above the village. This June 12 and 13 the California Franciscan Mission known as the "King of the Missions" - San Luis Rey Mission in Oceanside, California will celebrate its 200th birthday beneath the majestic Palomar Mountain looming in the distance. What makes this also an international event, as well as being a historic occasion, is the announcement that, for the first time ever, the Vatican Choir will sing in the United States as part of the ensemble for opening ceremonies to mark the bicentennial. For a special article by Cecil Scaglione, click on BICENTENNIAL OF SAN LUIS REY


First time ever that the nearly 500 year-old choir to perform in United States.

by Cecil Scaglione

      OCEANSIDE: The 40-member Capella Giulia Vatican choir will present concerts - its first on North American soil - during the Mission San Luis Rey bicentennial celebration during the second weekend of June.

      After months of negotiations, the Vatican agreed to let the choral group make its first visit to North American since it was formed 485 years ago, it was announced Tuesday night by Friar Ben Innes, Franciscan guardian of the mission.

      Details still have to be worked out, but the choraleís schedule calls for the concerts June 12 and 14. The group will also sing during the missionís reconsecration Mass on June 13 to mark the 200th birthday of the King of Missions, which was the 18th founded in Californiaís 21-mission chain.

      Innes said the June 12 and 14 concerts will be presented in the 1,400-seat Serra Center immediately east of the mission.

      "The Vatican must think a lot of this mission to allow its choir to take the time to come and give concerts here," said Randy Mitchell, bicentennial committee spokesman.

      An added twist is that the programs will be conducted by London Philharmonic Maestro Gilbert Levine, the Brooklyn-born conductor who played a major role in the negotiations.

      He is also known as "The Popeís Maestro" after being knighted as a member of the papal Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great.

      The Vatican troupeís visit is among the brightest candles on the missionís birthday cake, officials said. Also planned for the anniversary weekend are a glittering vice-regal ball with political and ecclestical luminaries from around the world, the second annual pow wow by the San Luis Rey band of Mission Indians, and an international buffet.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT: North County Times - January 21, 1998.

The sounds of music have been alive at the Vatican for nearly 500 years!

      The Vatican Choir which will be performing for the first time ever in the U.S. is nearly five-hundred years old, founded by an illustrious Pope who wanted to perpetuate the arts within the hallowed halls of St. Peter's Basilica which Pope Julian was responsible for completing. For the story of the Julian Choir and the significance of the San Luis Rey bicentennial celebration in June, we refer you to today's commentary, entitled "The Mission San Luis Rey bicentennial will be truly historical!" Click on Today's CATHOLIC PewPOINT

The Mission San Luis Rey bicentennial will be truly historical!

     Aside from Assisi, one of the most famous Franciscan shrines has to be Medjugorje where the Franciscans operate St. James Church and neighboring parishes in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Many of these Franciscans are familiar names to those in the Marian movement - Father Jozo Zovko, Father Svetozar Kralijec, Father Slavko Barbaric, and many others. But come this June another Franciscan will become better known and the focus of the world may well shift to another Franciscan site halfway around the world from Medjugorje. For us it's practically a stone's throw, seven miles away. We're talking about the King of California Missions San Luis Rey Mission along Highway 76 in Oceanside, California. The "new" Franciscan on the scene is Father Ben Innes, guardian of the Mission. The reason for the "fuss" will be a first. You see the Mission will be officially celebrating its 200th birthday since founded in 1798 by Blessed Junipero Serra. For the centerpiece of their bicentennial celebration and through the efforts of a Jewish conductor from Brooklyn, they will bring the Vatican Choir to sing in the new 1,400 seat Serra Center on the grounds of the Mission. For more on this, we refer you to the article VATICAN CHOIR TO PERFORM AT KING OF THE MISSIONS first written by Cecil Scaglione back on January 21. We withheld the story until after yesterday's official announcement so as not to "let the cat out of the bag." Now it's out and we have all the details for you.

      What makes this so unique is it will be the first time ever that the renowned Julian Choir will perform in the United States. It derives its name from its founder, Pope Julius II, the 216th successor in the line of Peter who completed the construction of the Basilica of Saint Peter, convened the eighteenth Ecumenical Council and was a great connoisseur of the arts. One of his contributions, in fact one of his final legacies before he died on February 21, 1513 was to found the Cappella Giulia ensemble with the specific purpose of providing a vehicle exclusively for Italian men to exhibit their soprano, alto, bass and other range voices in melodius harmony for the honor and glory of God. To this day they remain all-Italian and many are generational, with their ancestors having sung in the choir hundreds of years ago. Pope Julian, born in Savona, Italy, found it necessary, because of his love for the arts and his Italian roots, to foster Italian music in the face of other cultural music that was permeating the Vatican. When he began the choir, America was still a non-entity, rather a land of legend that was just reaching the ears of the Renaissance people in Italy. The Franciscans were going strong but one who would leave his mark on the California coast of this new land - Blessed Junipero Serra was still exactly 200 years from being born.

      Now, 485 years after Julian's proclamation of the new choir they are finally coming to the United States. Though Blessed Serra did not actually found the San Luis Rey Mission in 1798, for he died on August 28, 1784, he had spoken often of it and planted the seeds of establishing a mission in Oceanside through his able assistant Father Fermin Francisco de Lasuen on June 13, 1798 as the eighteenth established mission. It soon became known as the "King of the Missions." Serra established the first California Mission in 1769 at Mission Alcala in San Diego and passed over the site of the future San Luis Rey Mission, but the unrest among the Indians there prevented him from establishing the mission there at the time. He "bookmarked" it and traveled on to San Carlos, the second of 21 missions to be established. Over the next fifteen years he would trek up and down California establishing and revisiting missions he had established with his faithful friar Fr. Lasuen with him.

     Today the mission still resembles the majestic structure Lasuen envisioned and it will be echoing with the Choir's rhythms via a Mozart Mass on June 12 and a Haydn Mass on the actual anniversary the next day. Conductor Levine, no stranger to the Holy See, claims the Vatican Choir "is the musical heart and soul of St. Peter's." He sites that the choir performs there every Sunday once during Holy Mass. Levine's paths have crossed the Holy Father's numerous times, the first in 1987 when he was appointed artistic director and principal conductor for the Polish city of John Paul II's birth - the Krakow Philharmonic. The Holy Father has kept in touch with Levine over the years, most recently sending congratulatory wishes on the occasion of his son's barmitzvah.

      The concept for the Vatican Choir, which Levine had always wanted to bring to the states, evolved from a plane trip he took. There next to him was an ad exec from Orange County who talked about doing something to really promote the Mission's bicentennial. Levine knew just the ticket and the rest, as they say, will be history...bringing history to this historic mission - nearly five hundred years of history. Yes, it truly will be an historic event when this historic choir, in a historic first, belts forth in song the melodious refrains - all for His honor and glory!

Michael Cain, editor

Another view on Mother Angelica's Miraculous Healing

     We revisit the miraculous healing of Mother Angelica one last time with a special perspective from Sister Mary Lucy Astuto who gives us a unique insight as to why God chose to heal Mother and why now. It is a down-to-earth commentary that takes Mother off the "pedastal" so many unfairly place her on and, through Sr. Lucy's viewpoint, gives us her take on why Mother's "humanness" is the ideal example for Jesus to illustrate to all His Love, Mercy and Hope in her column today, entitled "The Miracle was for us, too!" Click on GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER

The Miracle was for us, too!

     Wonderful news spread about the world last week. Mother Angelica of EWTN was totally cured of a physical handicap that she had for forty years.

      An Italian mystic had asked to see Mother and to pray the rosary with her. The mystic asked Mother to remove her crutches and gradually Mother began to feel heat in her ankles and feet and her feet began to strengthen and straighten as she walked.

      Those who heard of the miracle and saw Mother Angelica walk normally were astonished. Most people have not witnessed a miracle such as this in their life.

      I, too, learned of it with amazement and joy and as I pondered the matter, I began to ask God some questions. "Why Mother Angelica? Why at this time? And what is God really saying to us by this miracle?"

      First of all, it is requisite that we conclude that God does not work miracles for people merely on the basis of their virtue or lack of it. Throughout the miracles in the Gospels, no where is it indicated that Jesus cured anyone because "they deserved it" or because they were great saints already. As a matter of fact, it may very well have been possible that conversion of people healed took place AFTER they were healed because there is something about experiencing Godís love and mercy first that makes one want to live for God.

      Anyone who evaluates Mother Angelica objectively would have to say that she is far from perfect. She has her faults! She can be very bad tempered, devisive, and be condemning of others without making sure of her facts first. These faults are not a secret and can be readily noted by watching her on TV.

      Though some people view these weaknesses with humor and as an excuse for their own ill behavior, the reality is that such dispositions and actions are unlike that of Our Lord. Letís be honest! Jesus Himself said that a just man falls seven times a day. Mother Angelica is not excluded from this category. God Alone is perfect! We can know that God did NOT heal Mother because she is perfect, because she is NOT and she would most likely be the first person to admit that. So we can conclude that God healed Mother Angelica because He is LOVE and MERCY and that He wanted to give the world through her networks clear evidence that He is such.

      So why did God heal her at this time? Perhaps it is because Mother needed some encouragement herself. But I think, also, it is because the faithful who have been "pulling the plow" for sometime now and have been suffering at seeing the world in moral decay and seeing Our Lord so sorely wounded even by His own, needed a "shot in the arm." WE, Godís People, needed to be encouraged. We needed to see that just as God healed Mother of her crippledness, He can heal the Church of its crippledness and He WILL DO SO!

      In other words, I think it is very clear! The miracle was for all of us! It was for our edification , our encouragement, the strengthening of our Faith. It was a clear sign from God that He is truly with us, knows our pain and can and will heal His Church.

      Let us praise, thank and glorify God Who has done this wondrous deed! We, too, will be restored. A new day is dawning for all of us! God IS with us! He has not abandoned us. Herein we have a sign for HOPE and JOY. We are on the winning side! Thank you, dear God! May He bless you,everyone!!

The Vatican II Documents verify the Reverence necessary for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

      This week we begin a series on the Celebration at the Lord's Table by bringing you the pertinent documents of the Second Vatican Council Fathers regarding the Sacred Liturgy. Today we feature the aspects of unity and preventing distractions. Contrary to what many modernists claim unity means everyone does it "their way" such as standing during the Consecration and Holy Communion, no where in these documents does it mention or affirm this, thus putting an end once and for all this liberal bunk being bandied about in parishes. Click on VATICAN II VERIFICATIONS

The Sacred Liturgy: Celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

part one

     There has been quite a bit of consternation and rumblings over the recent instruction released by the Vatican this past November, signed by the heads of all eight Vatican congregations and councils and which we published completely via installments in late November and throughout December. The biggest bone of contention with many is over the "parish council" concept and role of Extraordinary Ministers. In so many parishes the exception became the rule and they are not prone to change something they've become comfortable with. However the Holy See has let it be known that it's not up to the parish level, but something that comes down from the top and there is no room for doing "their own thing." In other words, the universal (Catholic) Church is striving to be "universal" in regards the Sacred Liturgy and the role of the laity in respect to the priests. But it is nothing new as the Vatican II documents point out as we begin today a short series on the Communion of the Faithful and what the Instructions recently released conform and reinforce what was said at the Second Vatican Council. To prove this, we go to the source: the Vatican Council Postconciliar Documents, expertly compiled by the revered Dominican Austin P. Flannery in two volumes.

      The following is taken from VATICAN COUNCIL II, VOLUME II, More Postconciliar Documents; General Editor Austin Flannery, O.P. Costello Publishing Company, Chapter II, pages 113-114 on the SACRED LITURGY, I. and II., THE CELEBRATION OF THE MEMORIAL OF THE LORD, Articles 16 and 17.

16. The Common Unity to Be Shown in the Celebration

     Since through baptism "there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave, nor free-man, male nor female," but all are one in Christ Jesus (cf. Galatians 3:28), the assembly which most fully portrays the nature of the Church and its role in the Eucharist is that which gathers together the faithful, men and women, of every age and walk of life.

     The unity of this community, having its origin in the one bread in which all share (cf. 1 Corinthians 10: 17), is arranged in hierarchical order. For this reason it is necessary that "each person, performing his role as a minister or as one of the faithful, should do all that the nature of the action and the liturgical norms require of him, and only that.(66).

     The outstanding example of this unity may be seen "in the full and active participation of the entire people of God...in the same Eucharist, in a single prayer, around the one altar where the bishop presides, accompanied by his priests and ministers." (67)

17. The Community Should Not Be Disrupted, and the Faithful's Attention Diverted.

      In liturgical celebrations, the community should not be disrupted or be distracted from its common purpose. Care then must be taken not to have two liturgical celebrations at the same time in the same church, since it distracts the people's attention.

     This is above all true of the celebration of the Eucharist. That is why that disruption of the congregation is to be assidiously avoided, which, when Mass is celebrated with the people on Sundas and feast days, is caused by the simultaneous celebration of Masses in the same church.

     As far as possible it should be avoided on other days as well. The best way of achieving this, is, in accordance with the law, for those priests to concelebrate who want to say Mass at the same time. (68)

Likewise, when Mass is being celebrated for the people, in accordance with the public timetable of the church, baptisms, marriage, exhortations and the common or choral recitation of the Divine Office are to be avoided.

Next installment: we will focus on the ministers of the Word and the Canon of the Mass.

Not everything is "Ordinary" this weekend!

     Though the Church recognizes Masses in Ordinary Time on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, she also celebrates the martyrs Saint Paul Miki and his companions on the FIRST FRIDAY of February and on the FIRST SATURDAY we celebrate for the first time in 1998 the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday. For this feast, the readings and meditations, and others this weekend, Click on LITURGY OF THE DAY to read more.

FRIDAY, February 6, 1998

     Like His Savior Jesus Christ, Japanese-born Saint Paul Miki, a Jesuit catechist, was crucified at the age of 33 with 25 other Catholics near Nagasaki, Japan at the hands of ruthless Samurai warriors. Along with two other catechists, six Franciscan priests from Spain, Mexico and India, and 17 lay Catholics from Japan, St. Paul Miki had sought to convert the people of Japan. Fearing the pagan influence and Samurai power would be harmed, some of the Samurai leaders riled up their fellow tribesman and captured the 26 missionaries on February 5, 1897, stringing them up on crude crosses by ropes and chains. As if this wasn't harsh enough, they were then murdered by the quick slash of the sword or the thrust of a sharp lance. Pope Gregory XVI canonized all 26 in 1862 and their martyrdom is commemorated on February 6th.

SATURDAY, February 7, 1998

Observance of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday

      Honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary is a custom first promoted by the Benedictine Monk Saint Alcuin back in the days of Charlemagne (see archives December 23, no. 25 issue, volume 7). He composed different formulas for Votive Masses for each day of the week, with two set aside to honor Our Lady on Saturday. This practice caught on with great enthusiasm and eventually the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday became the Common of the Blessed Virgin. This Mass was a favorite with retired priests and those whose sight was failing for most had memorized this Mass and were able to say it by heart without having to read the Lectionary or Sacramentary. One reason Saturday was dedicated to Mary was that Saturday held a special meaning in Mariology. First of all, as Genesis accounts for, God rested on the seventh day. In the Old Testament, the Sabbath was Saturday. Jesus, Son of God rested in the womb and then, when He became incarnate, in the loving arms of Mary from birth until she held His lifeless body at the foot of the Cross. Thus the God-head rested in Mary. It was also on Saturday after Good Friday that Jesus gave His Mother a special gift and reward for keeping her faith in His Divinity intact by making an exceptional appearance to her. Thus, because of these reasons, the devotion spread by St. Alcuin and other liturgies that evolved within the Church, Saturday took on a special Marian significance. Saturday took on even more significance in honoring Mary when Our Lady imparted to visionary Lucia in her third apparition at Fatima on July 13, 1917, "Our Lord wishes that devotion to my Immaculate Heart be established in the world. If what I tell you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace; the war will end...I ask the consecration of the world to my Immaculate Heart and Communion of reparation on the First Saturday of each month...If my requests are granted, Russia will be converted and there will be peace...In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph, and an era of peace will be conceded to humanity." As we draw nearer to that wonderful event, it is more important than ever to honor Mary's request on the First Saturday as well as each Saturday that her feast is commemorated in the Church calendar, not to mention responding to her call daily with the Rosary and attending Daily Mass, nourished by her Divine Son present body and blood, soul and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament. It is in the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary where she remains in the background in the liturgy of the Word so that her Divine Son's words and His Presence take the spotlight as He should while Mary remains the chief intercessor before the Holy Trinity as she should and serves as the ideal for all Catholics to strive for, as we should. The Dictionary of Mary states quite succinctly, "Through these liturgical acts, (honoring Mary on Saturday) Christians exalt the person of Mary in the action that renews the sacrifice of Christ and in the action that prolongs His prayer."

SUNDAY, February 8, 1998

MONDAY, February 9, 1998

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

February 6-8, 1998 volume 9, no. 27          DAILY CATHOLIC

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