January 20, 1998   vol 9, no. 14    


Busy landmark week

     Probably no week in the year is filled with more international significance then this week. We feature the three major events we will be covering. Because of the importance of these three events we are making these available free this week in the preview issue to all who browse the Daily CATHOLIC. Because of this and these many events, we are suspending our two feature series this week THE HISTORY OF THE MASS AND HOLY MOTHER CHURCH and THE AGE OF MARIAN APPARITIONS. They will return next week with the installments you were expecting this week. The other feature mega-series WHERE IS HOLY MOTHER CHURCH HEADING AS WE NEAR THE MILLENNIUM? will be available Thursday with the second of two parts on Abortion to mark the 25th Anniversary of the infamous Roe vs. Wade decision.

Full coverage of the Pope's four-day visit to Cuba

     Pope John Paul II touches down on Cuban soil tomorrow and EWTN will be there to cover as much as they can with live coverage on the internet. In addition, we will be bringing you stories and up-dates on all the activities in Cuba this week during this historic pilgrimage to this tiny communist island which is heavily Catholic. Click on THE HOLY FATHER IN CUBA

Click on The Pope's Cuban Visit live on the internet via EWTN


      HAVANA (CWN) - Cuba's Communist President Fidel Castro appeared to preempt the Catholic Church's opportunity to claim responsibility for large crowds expected during Pope John Paul's visit this week by publicly calling on all Cubans on Saturday to turn out for the events.

      Castro appealed to all Cubans, believers and non-believers alike, to welcome the Holy Father, a move sure to be interpreted as an order to the Communist Party faithful from their leader. The move means that Cuba's bishops will find it harder to claim that it was the Church's public urgings and the Pope's message that mobilized the populace to turn out. In his address, Castro also made it clear that he would attend the papal Mass in Havana's Revolution Square next Sunday.

      Meanwhile, Cuban human rights groups denied published reports that the papal visit has been preceded by a crackdown on dissidents by Communist authorities. Elizardo Sanchez told The Associated Press that arrests, harassment, and threats overall are greater than in past years, but said the number of confirmed political prisoners in Cuba has fallen sharply over the past year. The Washington-based group Human Rights Watch/Americas said last week that the government was warning some dissidents to avoid papal Masses during the visit. "Pressure is definitely increasing against dissidents," said spokesman Sarah DeCosse.


     MIAMI (CWN) - Miami's archbishop on Sunday called on all south Florida Catholics to pray and fast as thousands of pilgrims depart for Cuba where Pope John Paul will begin an historic papal visit on Wednesday.

      Archbishop John Favalora wrote in a letter read at Masses in the archdiocese over the weekend, "The Holy Father will be in our neighborhood. We have the opportunity to join in prayer with our brothers and sisters of the suffering Church in Cuba just across the Florida straits." The papal visit has caused controversy in south Florida's large Cuban-American population with one side refusing to support the pilgrimage for fear that it would also lend support to Fidel Castro's regime while another side praised the trip because if the hope and prospects for change it engenders.

      The Archdiocese of Miami had initially intended to take a cruise ship to Havana to attend the papal Mass in Revolution Square on Sunday, but canceled the pilgrimage following pressure from exile business and political leaders. Instead Archbishop Favalora will lead a one-day trip to Havana for a smaller group by airplane. The archbishop asked Catholics to fast and abstain and attend Mass daily beginning on Wednesday.

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

Super Bowl Week in the Catholic Zone

     With all the hoopla surrounding the Super Bowl in San Diego this week, we will be bringing you a different twist...the Super Bowl from a Catholic perspective featuring 32 Catholic churches within a ten-mile radius of the stadium for visitors to check out so they do not miss Mass. In addition, if we can secure press credentials we will be bringing you features on some of the Catholic players and coaches on both teams and the role of the team chaplains. Click on SUPER BOWL WEEK: THE CATHOLIC ZONE

Defending the Culture of Life in the face of the culture of death

      Pro-lifers will mass in great numbers this week carrying the banner high in defending life in all its stages as they march in Washington, D.C. to protest the horrendous decision by the U.S. Supreme in 1969. This week we will be bringing you articles and features on pro-life activities through links to Human Life International and Catholic World News service. Click on CELEBRATING LIFE


"Bill, Do You Feel THEIR Pain?"
HLI Unveils 1998 Public Education Campaign

by Father Richard Welch, C.S.s.R., JCL, President, Human Life International
     FRONT ROYAL, VA -- Human Life International announced on January 14th its 1998 public education campaign which calls attention to the travesty of abortion and the consequences of "reproductive freedom."

      The campaign will be unveiled at the 1998 March for Life on 22 January 1998, which marks the 25th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. HLI will distribute thousands of signs and bumper stickers with the slogan:

Bill, Do you Feel THEIR Pain? - - Abortion Hurts Babies, Women & Families --

      In a year when Congress will once again attempt to override Mr. Clinton's veto of the ban on the grisly, horrific procedure of partial birth abortion, it is time to challenge the man who told the American people he would make abortion "safe, legal and rare."

      When he campaigned for President in 1992, Bill Clinton's courtship of the American people included the slogan, 'I feel your pain;' but we ask him to stop and think of the excruciating pain a baby feels when scissors puncture his brain as he kicks his legs and gasps for breath just inches from birth in a partial birth abortion, or the pain a baby feels while being dismembered in the womb or burned by saline solutions in other forms of abortion.

      We remind him of the heartache and pain of the mother who will never forget her child.

      We ask him to consider the pain of countless thousands of women, men and children whose lives have been irrevocably damaged by their participation in abortion and today suffer from what may become the psychosis of the new millennium -- post abortion syndrome.

      In the 25 years since Roe v. Wade an estimated 40 million babies have been slaughtered by surgical abortion in the name of "choice" and "reproductive freedom," and an untold number through chemical abortion in the form of abortifacient contraceptive drugs and devices. According to statistics released by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the research arm of the world's largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, nearly one half of all American women will have had at least one abortion by age 45, and 55 percent of women obtaining abortions are under age 25.

      Those who fail to recognize the evil of partial birth abortion where a baby is literally ripped from the mother's womb will never be able to understand what the pro-life and family movement is talking about when it fights abortion at all stages of a pregnancy. They cannot understand our equally fierce objection to the morning-after pill and other forms of chemical warfare waged against on women's bodies through contraception, which can even render them sterile.

      Those who cannot admit to the intrinsic evil of abortion, also find it easy to deny that contraception and abortion are the cornerstones upon which the culture of death is built. They fail to recognize that these twin evils are the root cause of the anti-life mentality that has pervaded society and which has resulted in so many of the travesties that are commonplace today, including: an epidemic of teen pregnancy, a pandemic of sexually transmitted disease, infertility, skyrocketing divorce rates, AIDS, infanticide, assisted suicide, and euthanasia.

      As the pro-life movement holds the March for Life to mark the 25th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, the abortion industry and the liberal media will celebrate "choice" and 25 years of "reproductive freedom." It is time to clearly demonstrate the consequences and contradictions of "choice," and remind Bill Clinton, his Congressional colleagues and the pro-abort lobby of the unique and unrepeatable life that is ended in every abortion.

For articles and information on March for Life Week, click on Human LIfe International

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

The Triumph can't come soon enough!

      With the culture of death gripping society's throat, many pray constantly for Mary's Immaculate Heart to triumph so that the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart can be ushered in. That is the gist of today's 69th Lesson/Meditation from Our Lady to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart with Hastening the Triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart! Click on THE HIDDEN WAY

Lessons/Meditations from Our Lord and Our Lady to

the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart

Lesson/Meditation #69:


(Imparted on February 1, 1995 to the Hidden Flower by Our Lady)

      Beloved Hidden Flower of my Immaculate Heart, your heart has sought only the Will of God, and He has blessed you this day and strengthens you.

      Now, I say to all the world. For such a long time I have urged you to conversion of heart. I have beseeched you to pray, fast, sacrifice and have faith while being reconciled with God and with your neighbor.

      O! Hear me once again as I, your Heavenly Mother, tell you that time is critically short and you remain unprepared because you do not pray, but question everything out of curiosity.

      You must have tremendous faith, for as the first Christians were persecuted, so shall you be if you are to persevere in your faith. Yes, the enemy, satan, will rule and because of his reign the faithful remnant shall be anathema. But do not fear when all of these things are fulfilled. If you are filled with my Divine Son’s Light, His grace, the fullness of the Holy Spirit, you shall not be deceived, but shall persevere even unto death that my Immaculate Heart may triumph.

      The more, my children, that you become contemplatives in this life, learning to be always in the Presence of God and united to His Will, you cause The Eternal Father to hasten the moment when my Immaculate Heart shall triumph.

      O! Pray for this. Work for this through a holy life, and the time of tribulation and Justice shall be shortened.

      I love and bless you, my children. I give you my Divine Son’s Peace. Thank you for responding to my Call!


Lesson/Meditation #70: FEED THE HUNGRY

Nourishing advice to help us grow spiritually

      Claretian Father John Hampsch brings us food for thought in his column today with Steak and Potatoes Faith - stage two - a more substantial diet of faith. in his column "Faith: Key to the Heart of God." Click on KEYS TO LIVING GOD'S WILL

Twenty-Second Installment: Steak and Potatoes Faith stage two- a more substantial diet of faith

     Let’s move on to something more sublime, more advanced. In Colossians 2:6 Paul says, just as you believed in the Lord to save you, now believe Him also to solve each day’s problems. This moves us to a different level, that of "problematic" faith. Trust Him not just for the big problems like getting cured of cancer or digging out from under financial ruin, but little things too, like finding a parking slot at the shopping mall or being cured of dandruff. Romans 8:26 promises the Holy Spirit will help us with our prayer and our daily problems.

     This problematic faith is second stage faith—tha which goes beyond. It means living by faith us urged by Galatians 3:11. Not just the faith that completes baptism, but everyday living that is filled with faith throughout every facet of life, especially in life’s problems.

     The third stage of faith development goes beyond knowing that God can and will solve problems. The third stage I call "yielding" faith, belief in and consequent surrender to God’s love for you—not in an abstract way, but in a very personal way. The child that attends religion class and recites "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so" is simply making a theological statement of a truth, but that is worlds away from experiencing such love. The Pope told us in Rome at the charismatic conference in 1975 that charismatics have something that can never be learned by any kind of religious instruction, catechism class or preaching. We have, in fact, something that no Christian education could ever give us. What is it? A release of the Holy Spirit where the rosebud of His presence from baptism becomes the rose bloom of His presence by power (Acts 1:8). The primary effect of the Baptism in the Spirit, said the Pope, is the experience of the divine hug. Paul defines it in Ephesians 3:18 and 19: "May you experience for yourself how deep, how wide, how high His love really is." This stage of spirituality is characterized by faith "so real" that you experience God’s loving presence and are frequently aware of His "love whispers."

     It manifests in a series of minor miracles, extraordinary "coincidences" and it happens 10,20,30,40 times a day. You sense that God must really love you for it seems He is starting to respond more attentively to your needs. It’s as if He is saying, "See? I do love you and these are ways in which I whisper my love for you." Finding just the right doctor with just the right medication for your problem, green lights synchronized in your favor, receving a tax rebate just in time to buy a sale item, an encouraging phone call received at precisely the needed moment—little things that start to happen again and again and again with amazing frequency and consistency.

     The experience of this love becomes very, very meaningful, especially in a contemplative kind of prayer. In Colossians 2:2 Paul wishes for us to experience Christ, to know Him rather than to know about Him. This implies a clear understanding, not just wondering how Jesus looked, how He acted, what He would say in this case—it[‘s none of that. It is the Living Christ coming right into your life and experiencing His love, as He reveals Himself to you (John 14:21-23). Your surrender to this loving presence is the yielding faith.

     Now, how do you believe in this love? Listen to St. John in his first epistle, chapter four, verse 16: "We know how much God loved us because we have felt his love and because we believe him when he tells us he loves us dearly."

     Belief in God’s love, the third level of faith. And that’s the real test of maturity. Tie that in with what Paul says in Romans 5:5 after saying that we should rejoice in problems that lead to patience and more trust in God, our hope and faith becoming strong and steady. When that happens "…we can hold our head high no matter what happens and know that all is well for we know how dearly God loves us and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us his Holy Spirit of love to fill our hearts with his love." Not with love, with His love. Jesus didn’t say "Abide in love," He said "abide in my love" (John 15:9 and 10). Doing this, our prayers will be answered (v.7). Hence the apparent "phenomenon of coincidence" mentioned above.

     This faith can become so intense it gives us an experience of the envelopment of that divine hug. Immediately you can perceive that this is a spiritual, not theological, response. It gives a depth to your prayer life and a kind of power over the heart of God.

     Notice that all three levels of faith—the salvific, the problematic and yielding—have a common denominator, namely that they are person-oriented. They express belief in the Revealer and only incidentally in the revealed. If you believe in the revealed truth that God loves you, that’s one thing. If you believe in a Lover who reveals His love, that’s another, Faith relates us to the tremendous lover that is Jesus.

Next Week: Steak and Potatoes Faith stage three - graduating to higher spiritual cuisine.

Commemorating the Martyrs

      With the Pro-life march this week remembering the millions of slain babies through abortion and the Holy Father's visit to Cuba where many have died for the faith, it is fitting that we begin three days of memorials of martyrs. Today's feast is that of two martyrs - Pope Saint Fabian and Saint Sebastian. Tomorrow we remember Saint Agnes. For their stories and the readings for both days, Click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY

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.

WEDNESDAY, January 21, 1998

Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr

     Martyred for her faith at the early age of twelve, Saint Agnes was one of the youngest-known named martyrs in the Communion of Saints. She was born into a wealthy Roman aristocratic family and was remarkable for her beauty as a child. But the true beauty was interior and as a youth she vowed to live a life of purity and chastity, consecrating herself as a virgin. Even though she was not yet a teen, Roman suitors courted her trying to seduce her but she refused all advances. Word reached the Roman Emperor Diocletian who was relentless in his persecution of Christians. Rather than killing her right away, Diocletian's men sought to discredit her by making her a prostitute and that would further discredit Christianity and dissuade others from becoming Christians. Naturally Agnes rejected all advances and refused to give in to the sins of the flesh. This further infuriated Diocletian and his cohorts who dragged her before the governor. He ordered that she be thrown into the fire. God preserved her beauty inside and out by allowing her to emerge unscathed. The governor then ordered that she be beheaded in a public display but even this the executioner botched, stabbing her in the throat where she died professing her undying loyalty to her One, True God in 304. She was buried on the Via Nomentana where a cemetary stands in her name. Over the centuries Agnes, which means "chaste" in Greek, has become the standard for chastity, purity and virginal innocence and she is always depicted with a lamb - the Lamb of God - Agnus Dei.

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January 20, 1998 volume 9, no. 14          DAILY CATHOLIC

January 1998