January 19, 1998   vol 9, no. 13    


King's dream can only be a reality if the King of kings is foremost in our hearts!

     Today, of course, is a holiday for most, thanks to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the black minister who raised the conscience of America during the volatile sixties. His life was cut short by a bullet in a Memphis motel and the world has mourned this modern martyr since. But the world has lost the true essence of what he was preaching for hopefully he was imparting what Jesus Christ truly wants of all His children. Peace and love of neighbor in the highest spiritual sense. His fight for human dignity has been carried on, taken to a higher degree by Human Life International, the world's largest pro-life and family educational apostolate. Founded by the Holy Father's top pro-life crusader Father Paul Marx, OSB four years after King's death, today HLI serves as the shining beacon for the Culture of Life, promoting the dignity of every race on the face of this earth...truly the answer to Dr. King's dream. Today we feature HLI's website in awarding the Daily CATHOLIC's Golden Chalice Award to this excellent site and service. This week this organization will take the bull by the horns and stand proudly for human life in all its stages in the face of the liberal media pro-abort blitz. But HLI's "March for Life" will feature a cadre of faithful supporters that will show America has not given up the fight begun by men like Dr. King and continued by equally great visionaries like Fr. Paul Marx. Click on SIGNIFICANT SITE OF THE WEEK


"Cyberspace Cultivation of the Culture of Life"

      This week in honor of the March for Life in Washington D.C. on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the infamous Roe vs. Wade decision, we feature the a website sponsored by the one organization that has been heads and tails above all others in the fight against the "culture of death." That site is Human Life International at Founded by that great crusading priest of pro-life from the sixties and seventies, Father Paul Marx, OSB. HLI today is truly international with 87 branch affiliates of HLI on every continent of the this globe, plus 56 chapters in the United States alone. Their influence and clout as the largest pro-life and family educational apostolate in the world for promoting the culture of life are legendary. In fact, it was largely through the assistance of HLI's network that the students at Mother Seton High School in Virginia, calling their organization We Are Catholics in rebuttal to the radical and heretical We Are Church, were able to accrue over 90,000 signatures of support for the Holy Father and Holy Mother Church. It dwarfed similar efforts against the Pope by Sister Maureen Fiedler of We Are Church by nearly 70,000 votes. In addition, with HLI's immense help, We Are Catholics reached their goal in a matter of months, while We Are Church had nearly two years to reach their announced goal of one million signatures and were lucky to get less than 40,000 signatures, many of them suspect.

     Now for their site. It is easy to navigate at this site, with connections in English, Spanish, French and Polish. Categories branch out from the Gateway to the World showing each location around the globe. Then there is the FAMILY LIFE ISSUES section in which they deal with everything from Abortion to United Nations with such subjects of Chastity and Sex Education, Feminism, Homosexuality, Planned Parenthood, to name just a few - inbetween. We noticed there was no category yet for cloning, but we suspect it won't be long before HLI addresses this in depth. There are articles here from Hot Topics and the Newsroom dealing with the recent announcement of Father Richard Welch, CSsR, JCL which we ran last week, as well as stories about the upcoming March for Life in which they will debut the new bumper-sticker slogan "Bill, Do you Feel THEIR Pain?" Abortion Hurts Babies, Women & Families. Another main section is the PROGRAMS & SERVICES which covers a plethora of topics and departments including a special search engine for the site and video and audio clips that can be downloaded if one has the software plugins. Probably one of the best and most unique features of this site is the Congressional Life Links. Here they provide the information for finding any member of Congress, with bios on the major ones and their e-mails, plus their voting record...even their religious affiliation. But an even better feature is that all you have to do is look up the senator or congressman of your choice, state or federal, and click on the topic you want to send to the politician of your choice. HLI composes the letter and all you do is fill in the blanks and send. It makes it quite convenient to storm Washington with letters to the people who make the decisions and remind them of what is right and what is wrong and the value of human life. HLI believes strongly in non-violence and not confrontational tactics, putting much emphasis on peaceful petitioning but even more on prayer. They offer a Prayer-Net page with special prayers, one by Pope Clement that we feature in today's PRAYERS & DEVOTION. Therefore, we proudly present to Human Life International the "Golden Chalice Award", conferring SEVEN Hail Mary's for outstanding service in making the world aware of the wonderful culture of life. After all there is no other alternative.


Prayer composed by Pope Clement XI in the early eighteenth century as a Universal Prayer for All Things Necessary to Salvation that is more pertinent today than ever before. Taken from HLI Prayer-Net page.

Laying it on the Line in Lay terms for the Laity

      The ideals of Dr. King originated with Christ and are carried on today by lay apostolates promoting His Peace and Love! This is explained in Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter Christifideles Laici as we continue with Dr. Joseph Bagiackas' summary of the encyclical for lay people in lay persons' terms. Today the third set of questions set forth about the meaning of the Holy Father's words. Click on THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS

A Lay Person's Guide to Pope John Paul II's Teaching on the Laity

by Dr. Joseph Bagiackas

To read the entire Apostolic Letter click on Christifideles Laici

third installment:

Twenty Questions We Laity Ask about the Lay Apostlate - Third set of Five Questions

      The order in which these questions are asked follows the orders of the topics discussed in Christifideles Laici.

Question 11.What is the place of the parish? So many people find renewal outside the parish these days.

ANSWER The parish still is the primary place in the Church where we come together and live out our lives as Catholics. Though movements which are not centered around parishes are a great blessing for the Church, the parish remains the spiritual home of most laity.

Question 12: What about the different movements and groups that have sprung up since the Council? Don't they take energy away from parish renewal?

ANSWER. Freely formed associations of the laity have the Church's blessing and encouragement. They may take some away from parish renewal, but overall, they are a powerful force for Church renewal.

Question 13.Are people free to start such groups? Don't we Catholics have to submit everything we do to the priests and bishops?

ANSWER. Canon Law 215 gives laity the freedom to freely form groups for religious purposes. We laity have a great deal of freedom of action, even in religious and spiritual matters, as long as we are faithful to Catholic doctrine and maintain cooperation with our Pastors. Bishops and priests are our leaders, but we do not obey them in the manner a monk or sister must obey a superior because of a vow of obedience. Nor are we children who must blindly do what we are told. We laity do have the duty to submit to our pastors, so as to maintain communion with the Church, but this is done as mature adults in dialogue with one another.

The Pope gives five criteria of discernment that bishops should use when evaluating freely formed lay associations.

[If I may add a personal note here, in thirty years of working in Catholic renewal groups, I have encountered no greater hindrance to renewal than laity being too fearful of "disobeying the bishop" or the local parish priest, and so not following through on some effort at renewal.

I remember at a national charismatic conference, a priest stood up and said to the bishops present, "We all pledge to stop our prayer meetings right now if you tell us." (The priest was a member of a religious order which emphasizes obedience.) This perhaps would have been appropriate if the conference had been made up of monks, but it was not the right thing to say at that conference, which was made up of tens of thousands of laity who had freely formed prayer groups. If charismatics had waited for approval from authorities, there would have been no renewal. And the same is true of every other effort by laity at Church renewal.

Another telling tale. I have a close friend who was strongly devoted Eucharistic adoration. He asked the local bishop's permission to set up a perpetual adoration group in his parish. The bishop tried to discourage him, telling him that such a thing was not in the spirit of Vatican II. The man persisted, and the bishop reluctantly gave permission. Within five years, the perpetual adoration group had become very large, and those who participated sparked a general renewal of the entire parish.

Of course, I know stories on the other side, where laity sought no guidance from Church authorities and went off track badly. Also, I know of many instances of mature cooperation between laity and clergy that bore much good fruit. There must be a happy medium, where laity feel free to act as the Spirit leads them, while at the same time maintaining communion with the Church by cooperating with Church authorities. Pastors also must feel free to give direction in a spirit of community with lay leaders.]

Lay renewal must have freedom of action, the kind of freedom that Church law gives. If there is a problem, let the lay persons involved work with Church authorities, based on the Pope's five criteria for discernment, listed above. A group which meets these criteria will always be encouraged by authorities. One which does not should change its direction.

Question 14.Does the Church call on us to preach like the fundamentalists? Can't we just be good examples and leave talk about God to clergy and Religious, as in the past?

ANSWER. There must indeed be more verbal witness in the lives of the laity than in the past. First, we must re-evangelize ourselves and our fellow Catholics. Then, we will be in a better position to witness to the rest of the world by word and by example.

Question 15. What are some specific areas that we can try to influence in the world today?

ANSWER.The specific fields of lay involvement are wherever human dignity and human life are threatened, the family, charitable work, politics, economics, culture, and the media.

Next week: Questions 16 through 20 in the Fourth Set of Questions.

The reverence Dr. King sought can only be found by following God's Will

      In his column today, Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv. points out how satan will do all in his power to downplay reverence in order to dissuade us and keep us from acquiring all the graces God wants to give. Click on HEARTS TO HEART TALK

How to Pray with the Heart

Part Seventeen: Reverence: Revered by God, rejected by satan

     Reverence is definitely a quality of goodness; its source is the heart. The object of the heart (will) is goodness; the object of the mind is truth. The mind could give respect to some awesome truth, but it is incapable of giving anything reverence. We may now have an inkling of why there is a noticeable lack of reverence in our world. Our world, considering it as the culture in which we live, tilts towards the mind, towards knowledge. We are a mentally-oriented people. The author does not believe that this orientation is accidental or coincidental. It is evident that what satan did to our first parents, tricking them out of the heart into the head, is happening to each one of us under his continued diabolic influence. He has an advantage over a civilization drawn out of its heart into its head.

      Satan surely does not reverence Jesus; satan does not reverence Jesus' Mystical Body, the Church. It is precisely this that he works feverishly to attain, to draw reverence for Jesus out of Christ's followers, to draw reverence out of every single person for God, for anyone who is holy, for any thing that represents or reflects holiness. Satan cannot stand reverence and he realizes that without reverence there can be no true love, no true worship, no truly serving God!

     It is no secret that within the last twenty-eight years, there has transpired within the Church, amongst the people of God, a visible lessening of the quality of reverence for Jesus, for the Eucharist, for the priesthood, for all that is holy. In our present day there is an alarming lack of true reverence for the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ. I say, "true reverence" because, there those who have a respect for Pope John Paul II as a man of God, as a charming person, but do not look to him as the visible head of Christ's Church, sets forth. Unfortunately, amongst this group are some priests and bishops who present themselves as pastors of the people, but who lead them according to their own private beliefs, turning them away from the path of reverence for, and obedience to, the true teachings and values set forth by Jesus Christ.

     It is something most regrettable that flocks of people all over the world are being led astray by wolves in sheeps' clothing, unaware that they are being betrayed by the very ones in whom they put their trust. What is even more regrettable is the fact that these very pastors do not have the slightest suspicion that they are being duped by none other than satan himself.

In my next installment I will continue this same trend of thought, speaking of solutions to overcoming these attempts to diminish reverence.

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.

Ordinary Time will give way to a week of saints beginning tomorrow

      After celebrating Ordinary Time today we will celebrate a week of martyrs for three straight days, a fitting tribute. Click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY

MONDAY, January 19, 1998

TUESDAY, January 20, 1998

Saint Fabian, Pope and Martyr

      Both Pope Saint Fabian and Saint Sebastian lived in the 3rd Century and both were martyred for their faith. We will first cover St. Fabian who was the 20th pope in the succession of Saint Peter, reigning from 236 to 253. He lived during the same time as Saint Antony of Egypt. Legend has it that Fabian was selected as pontiff because a dove, representative of the Holy Spirit was seen resting above his head during the conclave to elect a successor to Pope Saint Anterus. None of his fellow electors had even considered Fabian until this phenomenon. Fabian was born in Rome and elected Pope on January 10, 236. Though the times were wrought with persecutions under the Emperior Maximinus at Fabian's election and later at his death under the ruthless reign of Roman Emperor Decius the time between was an unprecedented time of peace, prosperity and growth for Holy Mother Church in the early years. Under Maximinus' successor Emperor Gordian III and his predecessor Emperor Philip the Arab Roman persecution of the Christians was disallowed. This enabled Fabian and other Christians to recover the slain bodies of previous popes to give them proper respect and burials, as well as reorganizing the local clergy in Rome by diving the city into seven ecclesiastical districts with a deacon, subdeacon and six junior assistants in charge of each district or deaneries which allowed for the Church to become more closely knit as Holy Mother Church experienced great growth. Fabian openly appointed bishops throughout Rome and was ready to expand when Decius succeeded Philip. Seeing the growth of Christianity and fearing his power would be diminished, he reinstituted persecution of the Christians with a vengeance. His decree forced many out of Rome and led to the rise of hermetical life in Egypt and elsewhere with the emergence of the anchorites, led by the founder St. Anthony of Egypt. On January 20, 250 Fabian was arrested and and became the first to die as an example to all Christians. How he died is not known but he was brutally beaten in prison and it is presumed he died there. He was later buried in the papal crypt in the cemetary of Callistus. Today his remains lie in the church of San Sebastiano in Rome, whose feast he shares with Saint Sebastian.

Saint Sebastian, Martyr

     Born shortly after Pope Fabian's death, Saint Sebastian became a Roman army officer and converted to Christianity, rescuing Christians who had been unjustly accused. He discovered that Christian twin brothers Marcus and Marcellinus, who had been imprisoned and tortured, were close to succumbing to the enticing offers of pagan relatives to give up their faith. Sebastian encouraged them to stand by Christ and die for Him if necessary. This was confirmed by a miraculous light shining about him as he spoke. Sebastian cured countless sick through prayer and, by his example, led many pagans to the true faith. He encouraged all to not be afraid to die for the faith for Heaven would be their reward for their loyalty to the Son of God. Sebastian even experienced a visit from one of his disciples who had been martyred. This disciple came back to tell him about Heaven and that his own time to die was at hand. Betrayed by a false disciple, he was condemned to death by the Emperor Diocletian and shot with arrows. Left for dead, he miraculously was healed by Divine intervention and proceeded to go right back into the teeth of the enemy, pleading for Diocletian to stop the senseless slaughter of Christians. But the emperor's soul was already satan's and he sentenced Sebastian to be beaten to death by brutal clubbing. This saint holds the honor of a double martyrdom. He is the patron saint of archers and athletes.

Medjugorje Monthly Message for December 25th

    Dear children! Also today I rejoice with you and I call you to the good. I desire that each of you reflect and carry peace in your heart and say: I want God in the first place in my life. In this way, little children, each of you will become holy. Little children, tell everyone, I want the good for you and he will respond with the good and, little children, good will come to dwell in the heart of each man. Little children, tonight I bring to you the good of my Son Who gave His life to save you. That is why, little children, rejoice and extend your hands to Jesus Who is only good. Thank you for having responded to my call! For more on Medjugorje, Click on MEDJUGORJE

711 days and counting...

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January 19, 1998 volume 9, no. 13          DAILY CATHOLIC

January 1998