January 21, 1998   vol 9, no. 15    


Pope arrives on Cuban soil for first time today!

     Today the Holy Father touches down at Havana airport marking the historic occasion of his first visit ever to Cuba, one of the last bastions of Soviet communism. As is his custom the Pope will kneel and kiss the Cuban soil out of respect for the people and their country. He will be met by Cardinal Jaime Ortega and a bevy of clergy, dignitaries,hundreds of thousands of faithful and, quite possibly, Fidel Castro himself. For more on this and how to keep up with the Holy Father's pilgrimage to Cuba live on the internet through EWTN, Click on THE HOLY FATHER IN CUBA

January 21 - 25, 1998

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


     HAVANA (CWN) - A delegation of Argentina's bishops arrived in Havana on Monday, the last Latin American group of bishops in what the Latin American Bishops' Council (CELAM) said is the largest display of support ever shown to a local Catholic community in the region.

      "Not even the Pope's trip to the Latin American Eucharistic Congress in Lima or his trip to Chile aroused so many expectations at a Latin American level," said Archbishop Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, president of CELAM. "Absolutely all Latin American countries, as well as the Unites States and Canada, are represented by delegations that would have been even larger, if it wasn't because of some restrictions," Archbishop Rodriguez explained.

      He said the largest Latin American delegations are from Mexico and the Venezuela. The Mexican group is headed by Cardinal-designate Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico city who is joined by 11 other Mexican bishops and 650 pilgrims. Cardinal-designate Rivera also confirmed that the delegation is bringing a $50,000 donation from Mexico City's parishes to help Cubans.

      The second largest delegation, from Venezuela, is headed by Archbishop Tulio Manuel Chirivella, President of the Venezuelan Bishops' Conference. The delegation includes 82 year-old Cuban Bishop Eduardo Boza Masvidal, a former auxiliary bishop of Havana who was deported from Cuba by Fidel Castro. Boza, with 120 other exiled Cubans will return to the country for the first time in almost 40 years. Bishop Boza is now auxiliary of the Venezuelan diocese of Los Teques.

      Brazil and Argentina are also sending significant delegations. Seven Brazilian bishops, including Cardinal Lucas Moreira Neves, head of the Brazilian Bishops' Conference, and Rio's Archbishop Eugenio Araujo de Sales, are leading 120 pilgrims. Argentina, with five bishops, including Cardinal Francisco Primatesta and Archbishop Estanislao Karlic, president of the Argentine Bishops' Conference, are heading a group of around 100 Catholics."Nobody will be absent from this feast which is not only Cuban but also American," said Archbishop Rodriguez. "Even countries as poor as Haiti, Paraguay, and Honduras are ensuring a presence."

Today is March for Life Day in the Nation's Capitol

     Pro-lifers mass for the Annual March for Life today on the eve of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the infamous Supreme Court decision that made abortion illegal and sent this country spiraling downward. For the latest in events and information on the March, route and participants, Human Life International provides the answers as well as the latest news from Catholic World News. Click on CELEBRATING LIFE


Respect for Life Forum in San Diego:


     TAMPA, Florida (CWN) - The Lee County, Florida sheriff came under fire this week after he replied to a letter from an abortionist concerned about protesters at his clinic by calling the doctor a baby killer.

      Dr. Ali Azima wrote to both the Charlotte County and Lee County sheriffs with his concerns over prayer vigils being held outside his clinics in those areas. In his letter, Azima said: "If I am called `baby killer,' I would like to know which baby I have killed -- and more importantly to question the neglect of your department that is not prosecuting someone for killing a baby!" Sheriff John McDougall replied on official stationery, saying he would do his duty to protect all citizens from illegal protests, adding "even a baby killer like yourself." He also said he would "do everything within our power to assist the protesters who wish to protect the misguided mothers who come to your clinic of death."

      Azima's attorney, Darol Carr, said the letter raises questions about McDougall's real intention to protect Azima and his abortion clinics. "I'd read it to say the word 'assist' means just that -- he plans to assist these protesters," Carr said. "It certainly would seem like he's extending his powers unequally." A spokesman for the National Organization for Women called McDougall's comments dangerous rhetoric. "In a state that has seen two doctors and one clinic escort murdered in cold blood, it is chilling that a chief law enforcement officer would engage in this kind of dangerous rhetoric," said Kim Gandy.


      LONDON (CWN) - Britain's health secretary on Monday called for changes in the country's abortion law to allow women to have even easier access to abortions, removing the requirement of consent from two doctors.

      Health Secretary Frank Dobson told The Daily Telegraph newspaper that his comments do signal a forthcoming proposal from the ruling Labor Party. Current law requires two doctors to certify that a continuation of the pregnancy would be more damaging to the woman's health than an abortion. Pro-abortion groups criticize that restriction as placing Britain behind other developed nations in allowing unrestricted access in the early months of pregnancy.

      Dobson did not say what time frame he considers early pregnancy, but did add that he still supports requiring doctor's consent for late-term abortions. Pro-life lawmakers criticized Dobson's comments as proposing abortion on demand for the first time in the 30 years since abortion was legalized.


     BONN (CWN) - The president of the German parliament on Tuesday called on the Catholic Church to drop plans to abandon its role in the country's abortion counseling process.

      Rita Suessmuth said that Germany's women need the help of the Church in this important decision. Church officials and press reports have speculated that Pope John Paul will soon tell Germany's bishops that the Church should no longer participate in the system, because of concerns over the morality of counseling which could result in an abortion. According to German law, a woman who wants an abortion must discuss her decision with a counseling service, after which she can receive a certificate stating she has seen a counselor and still wants an abortion.

      "We're talking here about a situation of conflict for women. Up until now, the church has also taken part in this situation of conflict," Suessmuth said. "If it withdraws, its conflict may be solved but the woman's conflict is not." Supporters of the Church's involvement say that many women have decided not to have an abortion after seeing a Catholic counselor.

Let Las Vegas set the odds, Denver and Green Bay Bishops have a delicious wager of their own for Super Bowl XXXII

     While millions of dollars are bet on the Super Bowl, the two head prelates of Green Bay and Denver have made their own friendly wager over who will win Super Bowl XXXII. For this as well as a listing of Mass and Confession times for XXXII Catholic churches within a ten mile radius of the site of the Super Bowl, click on SUPER BOWL WEEK: THE CATHOLIC ZONE

Let Las Vegas set the odds, Denver and Green Bay Bishops have a delicious wager of their own for Super Bowl XXXII

     The fact that Denver's Archbishop Charles Chaput is presently in Mexico did not prevent him from authorizing a good-natured bet with his counterpart in Green Bay, Bishop Robert J. Banks who accepted the Archbishop's challenge. Acting for the Archbishop, Chancellor Fran Maier offered twelve filet mignon steaks to the Green Bay prelate if the Broncos lose to the Packers this Sunday in Super Bowl XXXII at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium. If the "unthinkable would happen" in Bishop Banks' words, and the Pack drops the big game to Denver, then he will offer the Archbishop twelve pounds of brats "with a lot of cheese thrown in for good measure."

     We asked Bishop Banks if he would be going to the game Sunday and he said, in a way, for he was escaping the cold frozen tundra of Wisconsin for the warmer climes of Havana to join the Holy Father at the final Papal Mass. The Bishop referred to this event as even bigger than the Super Bowl, dubbing it the "Papal Bowl." Bishop Banks had wanted to add a little incentive to his friendly wager with Archbishop Chaput by inducing the latter to wear a cheesehead hat to the Archbishop's next Presbyterial Meeting in Denver should the Broncos fall short, but thought better of it. Bishop Banks, who has been head of the Green Bay Diocese for seven years after serving as an auxiliary bishop to Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston, is confident the Packers will repeat. Last year he feasted on Lobster after winning a similar bet with his former boss.

     Meanwhile, Archbishop Chaput, who has been in Mexico for three weeks undergoing intensive accelerated training in Spanish, is heading back to Denver this week. However he will make a short stop in San Diego this weekend as the personal guest of an influential Catholic in the Denver Archdiocese - namely the owner of the Broncos Pat Bowlen who will host the Archbishop and a priest-friend of his from South Dakota in the owner's private box for the game. No word yet whether San Diego's Bishop Robert Brom will join them.

     This Super Bowl takes on a strong Catholic flavor with the Archbishop in attendance and the Catholic ownership of both teams. While Mr. Bowlen is sole owner of the Broncos, Green Bay is publicly owned with thousands of Wisconsin Catholics holding shares in the team. On the field there is a strong Catholic presence as well. Beginning with star quarterback Brett Favre and a host of others including tight end Mark Chmura. Others are Jeff Dellenbach, Santana Dotson, Mike Prior, Marco Rivera, Jeff Thomason, and Frank Winters to name a few. According to team chaplain Steve Newman, no one lives their faith more sincerely than Notre Dame grad and outstanding punter Craig Hentrich. Some of the Catholic coaches who serve as inspiration to the Catholic Packer players include defensive whiz Fritz Shermer, as well as the quartet of Gill Haskel, Tom Lovat, Mike Sherman, and Bob Valesente. Longtime Catholic team chaplain Father John Blaha will be there with the team in San Diego.

     With the Denver Broncos a few of the known Catholics on the team carry a lot of weight including center Tom Nalen and defensive stalwarts Mike Lodish, Steve Russ and all-pro Harry Swayne from Rutgers.

     The Packers may claim more Catholics on the team as well as being heirs to the Lombardi legend for Vince Lombardi was a staunch Catholic. This editor attended St. Thomas College in St. Paul, Minnesota with Vince's son Vince Jr. and we knew first-hand that Vince never wore his faith on his sleeve but lived it fully. For his successes he had a trophy named after him; the same trophy these two teams will be battling for. While the NFL has Lombardi's trophy, we suspect Lombardi has his trophy in Heaven. As for the outcome of Sunday's affair in San Diego, don't underestimate the prayer-power of the Archbishop of Denver, who would seem to have an "in" with the Holy Father after his brilliant and inspirational speech to his fellow bishops at the American Synod calling for a return to striving for personal holiness. If Denver does pull off what many say "would be a miracle," the Archbishop has indicated he will not celebrate or rub it in. Rather he will stay around after the game to minister to heart-broken Green Bay fans, consoling and counseling the cheeseheads.

      Yet Bishop Banks is confident the Archbishop will have to make a hasty exit. And don't forget the odds that Archbishop Chaput's compadre-in-para-mutuel will be in Havana with his holiness at the same time the big game is going on. So who has the better "in" with the Pope is up for conjecture since we were unable to reach the Holy Father for a comment, but we strongly suspect he will remain neutral. After all, he has more pressing matters at hand. Guess, we'll have to leave it up to the great Coach above. No, not Vince Lombardi, but rather the Almighty One. They don't come better than that! Deo Gratias!

Super Bowl of Ad faux-pais Overseas is Lost in the Translation!

      Tying in with the plethora of televised ads during the Super Bowl we bring you some real dillies that didn't turn out quite as the ad agencies had intended when they were translated into another language for targeting that foreign market. As part of our mid-week humor we bring you Combustible Commercials causing comic commotion Click on A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven
      The Super Bowl is just around the corner and that means the big game, but of interest to many more than the game are the new commercials that debut during these three hours, spots costing millions of dollars. This mega-event is not just for the United States but broadcast to at least 187 countries around the globe. With these broadcasts advertisers have to be careful of their translation or else they could truly be in for major faux pais problems such as the ones below which we bring you today for a chuckle or too, maybe even a guffaw over the faux pais.

Combustible commercials causing comic commotion

Commemorating the Martyrs- Day Two

      With the Pro-life march today remembering the millions of slain babies through abortion and also, beginning today, the Holy Father's visit to Cuba where many have died for the faith, it is fitting that continue our trilogy days of martyrology. Today's feast is that of one of the Church's earliest virgins and martyrs Saint Agnes Tomorrow we remember the ancient Church's deacon and martyr Saint Vincent. For their stories and the readings for both days, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY

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.

THURSDAY, January 22, 1998

Saint Vincent, Deacon and Martyr

     Like the saints whose feasts preceded him in January, Saint Vincent, not to be confused with St. Vincent de Paul, was born in Spain in the 3rd Century. and became archdeacon in Saragoza where Our Lady first appeared in 40 AD. He was a great orator and did more than his share of preaching since his bishop, Valerian had a speech impediment. The Romans caught wind of his evangelizing and reported to Diocletian who ordered Dacian the president of that region to silence the saint. Dacian chose the horrendous torture tactic of the rack, stretching Vincent's body asunder. Yet no form of torture could steal Vincent's joy at suffering for Christ. When the rack failed, Dacian tore his flesh with hooks then bound him to a seat of burning iron. When that failed, lard and salt were rubbed into his open wounds. Yet through it all he kept his eyes focused joyfully toward Heaven. Finally, in desperation, Dacian had him thrown into a dungeon locking his feet in a tight stock. But again God intervened, sending His angels to unloose the shackle and inform this brave saint that his reward would be great. Dacian never had the satisfaction of torturing Vincent again for this persevering saint died peacefully before being sentenced again. His bravery and the wonders of his stamina effected many conversions after his death. Upon his death, faithful carried away pieces of his cloths soaked with his blood. His relics are preserved today in an Augustinian monastery in Lisbon. It's a reminder to us all that no matter the opposition, if we keep our eyes and heart focused on the same goal Vincent strove for, nothing can harm our soul. It is also important to realize the importance of relics which, sadly has been relegated to minor importance today. We should remember that they can intercede for us in Heaven for they are linked to us through the Communion of Saints.


"Rich and poor have a common bond: the Lord is the maker of them all."

Proverbs 22: 2

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

709 days and counting...

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January 21, 1998 volume 9, no. 15          DAILY CATHOLIC

January 1998