January 26, 1998   vol 9, no. 18    


Cuban Faithful crushed close to the Pope wherever he went

      The Holy Father completed his successful four and a half day visit to Cuba by winning over practically everyone, though Fidel Castro remained stoic. Did anyone expect otherwise? Upstaged throughout John Paul II'spilgrimage to Cuba, Castro got in his digs but everyone could see through his bearded curtain and Castro has some serious alterations to deal with after the Pope's visit or, to quote an old phrase, "how are you going to keep them down on the farm after they've seen Paree?" The people of Cuba have tasted a morsel of freedom, a morsel of being able to openly express their faith. If Castro goes back to a "suppression mode" there will be a rebellion. For stories over this weekend on the Pope's visit from CWN and EWTN, click on THE HOLY FATHER IN CUBA



         ROME (CWN) - Pope John Paul called on the United States to change its 35-year-old embargo against Cuba even as he traveled to the Communist country on Wednesday for a landmark visit.

          Speaking to the American people regarding the embargo at a reporter's urging, the Holy Father said in English, "To change, to change." He added, "It seems to me that in the United States the papal visit is followed with deep interest. Perhaps ... both Cuba and the United States are looking for a better future -- both." The Pontiff was also asked what he wanted to hear from Cuban President Fidel Castro to which he replied: "I want to hear above all the truth. That he tells me this truth, that belongs to him, as a president, a man and a 'commandante', so to speak, of the revolution."

          Meanwhile, the Miami Herald newspaper reported today that Cuba's intelligence agency has spied on the Catholic Church for decades including enrolling spies in seminaries. The information came to the newspaper from three Cuban defectors including a former army colonel who served as aide to Castro's brother, Raul, and two former officials in the Interior Ministry which is in charge of national security. "The Church was always seen as a danger, because it is the only force inside the country capable of bringing people together and even organizing a subtle form of resistance," one Interior Ministry defector said.

    Latest Medjugorje Message released yesterday

    Medjugorje Monthly Message for January 25th

        Dear children! Today again I call all of you to prayer. Only with prayer, dear children, will your heart change, become better, and be more sensitive to the Word of God. Little children, do not permit satan to pull you apart and to do with you what he wants. I call you to be responsible and determined and to consecrate each day to God in prayer. May Holy Mass, little children, not be a habit for you, but life. By living Holy Mass each day, you will feel the need for holiness and you will grow in holiness. I am close to you and intercede before God for each of you, so that He may give you strength to change your heart. Thank you for having responded to my call!

    For more on Medjugorje, Click on MEDJUGORJE

    The Essence of the Medjugorje Message

    A Call To Peace from the Queen of Peace

    According to the testimony of the visionaries in Medjugorje, Our Lady introduced herself: "I am the Queen of Peace" Mary is calling all of humanity to PEACE, PEACE, PEACE - for it is necessary to save all humanity. We have to begin by first creating peace within our hearts, then in our families and then in this war-threatened world. This can be done in the following manner:






    The Super Bowl hype can finally be put to rest.

          What a game! Best Super Bowl ever and both teams and San Diego did themselves proud. Can't help but think Archbishop Chaput was the secret weapon, sitting in Pat Bowlen's owners box, that helped put the Broncos over the top. With that said, now we can get back to normal with our regular features beginning with Dr. Joseph Bagiackas lay person's guide to Pope John Paul II's Teaching on the Laity with his Papal Exhortation Christifideles Laici. Today we bring you the fourth installment of this expert summary which Cardinal John O'Connor has said are "extraordinarily helpful summations that will draw the reader closer to knowing God and will encourage broader readership of the writings of this remarkable Pope." Click on THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS

    INTRODUCTION: In this "Lay Person's Guide to the Pope's Encyclicals" we catch a synopsis of the Holy Father's wisdom adroitly capsulized by Dr. Joseph Bagiackas, Ph.D. In his Papal Exhortation "Christifideles Laici", the Holy Father exhorts the laity to faithfulness. It is appropriate we follow-up November's pertinent document from the Holy See on Instructions to the Laity and Priests on abuses, by reinforcing the Pope's teachings with this Apostolic Exhortation imparted ten years ago. Now ten years later, after the "ten year period of grace" Our Blessed Mother spoke of to Father Don Stefano Gobbi back in 1988, we revisit this important letter from the supreme pontiff and, through the expert analysis of Dr. Bagiackas his holiness' words will be clearer and more simple to understand and most meaningful in these times when there are so many who, rather than pulling together for God's Will, are pulling apart within the laity. The eminent prelate from New York John Cardinal O'Connor has said of Dr. Bagiackas' work: "These summations will draw the reader closer to knowing God and will encourage broader readership of the writings of this remarkable Pope." BELOW: the fourth installment of Christifideles Laici: Twenty Questions We Laity Ask about the Lay Apostolate - Fourth and Final Five Questions

    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

    fourth installment:

    Twenty Questions We Laity Ask about the Lay Apostlate - Fourth and Final set of Five Questions

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

    Question 16.How do young people fit into the Church's mission? They are such a powerful force in society today, much more than in the past. What about children? And senior citizens? Do their lives no longer have apostolic possibilities?

    ANSWER Young people are not just "objects of pastoral concern," but must be active participants in evangelization and renewal of society. Small children too have a role to play in the sanctification of their parents and the strengthening of their families. Seniors must not let up in efforts at ministry. Old age can be a time of new apostolic endeavors, especially for those who retire and so have more time.

    Question 17: What is the place of women in the mission of the Church? Will the Church ever ordain women priests?

    ANSWER. Women may not be ordained, according to the clear will of Christ. But the Church should work hard to enhance the role of women in ministries in the Church.

    Question 18. Do the sick and suffering have a role to play? John Paul II talks of them so often.

    ANSWER.Yes, the suffering of a Christian is a great witness in itself, and witnessing to the Gospel by those who suffer is given great attention.

    Question 19. What about the three basic vocations in the Church - laity, clergy, and Religious life (life under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience)? How are they different?

    ANSWER.Clergy are ordained, with official powers, while laity are not. Religious take the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, while laity do not. The lay "secular character" refers to the laity remaining in their natural environment in life in following Christ's call, while the clergy and religious leave this environment in following their vocations. Viewed as signs, laity represent the importance of the good things of this world in God's plan. Clergy represent the official guarantee of the presence of Christ in the world. Religious, by giving up the good things of this world, represent the Church's living for Heaven, and not for this life.

    Question 20. How does one go about being trained for the lay apostolate?

    ANSWER. Find a spiritual guide, and look for some group of Catholics who will help out. Ask your parish priest for help. Then begin to follow the guidance that is offered. The rest of the process of formation will fall into place.

    Next week: Introduction: 1. The Laity's Obligation to the Apostolate.

    Finding ways of finding and keeping reverence

          The reverence the Cuban people exhibited this weekend, beamed back to the states via EWTN...since few networks bothered because of the Clinton fiasco...was truly reverent. It was the kind of reverence Father Stephen Valenta, OFM Conv. talks about in today's column as he discusses the solutions to overcoming the obstacles the evil one places in our way to prevent us from attaining reverence. Click on HEARTS TO HEART TALK
    INTRODUCTION: "Hearts-to-heart Talk" is a compendium of talks & writings on "How to Pray with the Heart" by the popular Franciscan from upstate New York - Father Stephen Valenta, O.F.M. Conv. and will be a regular column in each on-line issue. This quiet, sincere priest, with over 45 years in pastoral care and in the radio/television ministry, will touch your heart as he pinpoints the "how to's" of praying with and from the heart. In his eighteenth column, his eleventh in the DAILY CATHOLIC he continues his take on what Reverence is and how we can overcome the obstacles satan throws in our way.

       Fr. Stephen's column along with columns by Sister Mary Lucy Astuto and Father John H. Hampsch, C.M.F. promise simple, but effective and vital insights into our faith and ways of fulfilling God's Will every day in every way. You can reach Fr. Valenta at Hearts to heart Center at P.O. Box 212, Rensselaer, New York, 12144 or you can reach him at (518) 434-1723.

    How to Pray with the Heart

    Part Eighteen: Reverence: Solutions to attaining and keeping it.

         Innocence, good will, and sincerity always invite the loving mercy of the Heavenly Father. No one is lost except it be through one's deliberate choic. Nonetheless, what advice can be given to the people of God in our day to protect themselves against the forces of evil, to be able to maintain themselves in reverence despite the odds of satan's cunning power? The very best advice that can be given is for each person to remain faithful to the Holy Father John Paul II and the Magisterium, that is the bishops joined in obedience to him. It is true that it is not always the easiest thing that the Holy Father with his bishops are setting forth for acceptance and obedience. It is up to each person to make a deliberate effort to see and search for the True Shepherd. It is for each and every person to put forth positive exertion in order to identify for oneself pastors who are united to the Vicar of Christ, and anchored in faith, not to follow those who with sweet talk portray themselves as wiser and/or more practical than the Holy Father.

          The easiest way then to retain reverence in one's heart is to pray with the heart. When one engages in such prayer, the Holy Spirit is invited to be active within one's heart and it is He Who is the Source of discernment. He will quickly alert one of false teaching, of a false pastor. There need be no fear on the part of any one of the remnant who lives protected within the Mantle of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. To remain little is a must! In one's childlike littleness there is faith, there is humility, there is reverence. Reverence opens the door and keeps the door open for obedience. Every act of obedience to the True Shepherd increases and solidifies one's life of reverence.

    In my next installment I will talk about Unity - for in Unity there is strength!

    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.

    A one-stop shop for Catholic Documents

          Today we feature a site which needs to be brought up-to-date. That's the only negative toward this site, for it truly is an instant compendium of most Church documents from the sixteenth century on. The best part is the speed one can find a document and print it out - whether it is an Encyclical or a writing of one of the Doctors of the Church or words from one of the saints. For more on this site, click on Significant Site of the Week


    "If the Church has declared it, you can find it instantly at this unofficial site"

          A site we use often for reference is one we feature today as our Significant Site of the Week. The site is simply called Documents of the Roman Catholic Church found at Though the page is unofficial, what it offers is very official because the provide authentic documents on the Council of Trent, Second Vatican II, Encyclicals and other Papal Documents, US Bishops statements, the new Catechism of the Catholic Church , and a plethora of writings of Church Fathers, Saints, and Doctors of the Church. This site borrows liberally from numerous sources and sites, but it puts it all together to provide "one-stop shopping" for every Encyclical, Apostolic Letter, document, etc. since the sixteenth century with Pope Boniface VIII through Pope John Paul II for the Encyclicals. Each encyclical and papal writing can be acquired instantly since there are so few graphics, with pictures of the respective Popes and their coats of arms, saints, etc. in some instances as the only graphics. There are no graphics on the Encyclical pages. There are nearly 150 encyclicals and writings, some quite lengthy. Pope Pius XII tops the list with forty but Pope John Paul II has already surpassed that since this site lists his latest writing as of January 1996. That is the only set-back to this site. It's not up-to-date. In fact, to our knowledge it hasn't been updated for quite some time. But it does provide the serious student of the Popes, Saints, Doctors of the Church, etc. and their writings with the necessary documents. A good example of this is we checked out Pope Paul VI's encyclical Mysterium Fidei on the Eucharist at both this site and the official Vatican II site. On the stop-watch we were able to download the encyclical at this site in six seconds. Then we tried it at the official Vatican site and it took over four minutes to get to the same Encyclical. That can make a big difference if one is searching numerous documents. Because of the speed and thoroughness, we hereby give the "Golden Chalice Award", to this site, conferring THREE Hail Mary's . It would have been more Ave Maria's if this site had been more up-to-date.

    A dynamite feast - TNT!

         Actually TNT stands for "Timothy and Titus" - the two saints we celebrate today, both bishops and both evangelists who contributed epistles to Divine Revelation. For their story, the liturgy today and tomorrow, click on LITURGY OF THE DAY

    MONDAY, January 26, 1998

         The disciple Saint Timothy was a prized pupil of Saint Paul. Timothy's father had been Greek, his mother Eunice Jewish. Both converted to Christianity and Eunice tutored Timothy in the faith. On Paul's first missionary journey Timothy was converted and baptized, accompanying the Apostle on his second and third journeys. As the Acts of the Apostles affirms, Paul sent Timothy to minister to the Greeks in Macedonia, Thessalonica, and Corinth. From all reports Timothy became a bishop in Ephesus and there he died a natural death.

         The other bishop whose feast we celebrate today - Saint Titus was converted with Timothy, but unlike Timothy, was pagan born and not tutored by his parents in the faith. Titus was invited to join Paul and Saint Barnabas to the Council of Jerusalem with the other Apostles. Paul, as is confirmed in his Second Letter to the Corinthians, had great trust in Titus and appointed him bishop of the Church in Crete. There he died at an old age, also a peaceful death. Both, along with Saint John, were a few of the only ones not martyred for their faith. Titus holds a special place in the hearts of Croatians.

    TUESDAY, January 27, 1998


    Prayer taken from Opening Prayer of Saints Timothy and Titus for today's feast.

    God, our Father, it is truly right and just to praise You, all-powerful and eternal God. Through the mystery of Your grace, which You have bestowed on us in Christ with Infinite Mercy, You have called and led us to the kingdom of freedom and of life. You have revealed to us the inscrutable design of Your wisdom in the gospel of salvation, of which St. Timothy and St. Titus were the preachers and teachers. Today we unite ourselves to Your blessed servants whom we honor today and to the choirs of angels to sing the hymn of Your glory.

    704 and counting...

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

    January 26, 1998 volume 9, no. 18          DAILY CATHOLIC

    January 1998