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64Volume 1, No. 35

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  • John N. Lupia
    Nov 1, 2001
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      Volume 1, Issue 35

      THURSDAY, 1 NOVEMBER, 2001


      * * *


      • Meditation at Audience Focuses on Isaiah 45
      God "Behind the Scenes" in Everyone´s Life, Pope Says

      • Models of Fashion -- and Dignity -- Meet Pope
      John Paul II Receives Members of Turris Eburnea Association

      • "Health and Power" Conference Planned at Vatican

      • "Spirit of Assisi" Needed More Than Ever, Muslim Theologian
      Insists That Believers Must Get to Know One Another

      • 3 Auxiliaries Appointed in New York; 3 Resign
      New Bishops Include Native of Spain

      * Beijing-Rome Dialogue Is Possible, Regime´s Expert on
      Christianity Says Professor Ren Yan Li Comments on Pope´s Plea for

      * * *

      Meditation at Audience Focuses on Isaiah 45
      God "Behind the Scenes" in Everyone´s Life, Pope Says

      VATICAN CITY, OCT. 31, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation
      of John Paul II's address at today's general audience.

      1. "Truly with you God is hidden" (Isaiah 45:15). This verse,
      which introduces the hymn proposed for lauds on Friday of the
      first week of the Psalter, is taken from a meditation of the
      Deutero-Isaiah on the greatness of God manifested in creation
      and in history: a God who reveals himself, although remaining
      hidden in the impenetrability of his mystery. By definition, he is
      the "Deus absconditus." No thought can encompass him. Man
      can only contemplate his presence, prostrating himself in
      adoration and praise, by discerning his imprint in the universe.

      The historical background from which this meditation stems is
      that of the amazing deliverance that God wrought for his people,
      at the time of the Babylonian exile. Who would ever have thought
      that the exiled from Israel would be able to return to their
      homeland? Considering the power of Babylon, they could only
      have despaired. Yet, the great announcement, the surprise of
      God, then came, which vibrates in the words of the prophet: As at
      the time of the Exodus, God will intervene. And if he then broke
      the resistance of Pharaoh with tremendous punishments, he
      now chooses a king, Cyrus of Persia, to defeat the power of
      Babylon and restore liberty to Israel.

      2. "Truly with you God is hidden, the God of Israel, the savior"
      (Isaiah 45:15). With these words, the prophet invites us to realize
      that God intervenes in history, even if it is not immediately
      apparent. It might be said that he is "behind the scenes." He is
      the mysterious and invisible director who respects the liberty of
      his creatures, but at the same time holds the thread of the
      world's events. The certainty of the providential action of God is a
      source of hope for the believer, who knows he can count on the
      constant presence of him, "maker of the earth who established
      it" (Isaiah 45:18).

      In fact, the creative act is not an episode that is lost in the night of
      time, as if the world, after that beginning, should consider itself
      abandoned to itself. God constantly brings into being the
      creation that came from his hands. To acknowledge it is also to
      confess his uniqueness: "Was it not I, the Lord, besides whom
      there is no other God?" (Isaiah 45:21). By definition, God is the
      only One. Nothing can compare to him. Everything is
      subordinated to him. From here stems the repudiation of
      idolatry, for which the prophet pronounces severe words: "They
      are without knowledge who bear wooden idols and pray to gods
      that cannot save" (Isaiah 45:20). How can one adore a product of

      3. This debate might seem exaggerated to our sensibility today,
      as if aimed at the images themselves, without realizing that a
      symbolic value can be attributed to them, compatible with the
      spiritual adoration of the one God. Certainly, what is involved
      here is the wise divine pedagogy that, through the rigid discipline
      of exclusion of images, historically protected Israel from
      polytheistic contamination. The Church, basing itself on the face
      of God manifested in the incarnation of Christ, recognized in the
      Second Council of Nicaea (year 787) the possibility of using
      sacred images, so long as they are understood in their
      essentially relational values.

      However, the importance of this prophetic warning remains in
      confronting all forms of idolatry, which are often not hidden in the
      improper use of images, but in the attitudes with which men and
      things are considered as absolute values, to the point of
      substituting God himself.

      4. From the effusion of creation, the hymn takes us to the terrain
      of history, where Israel was able to experience so many times
      the beneficial and merciful power of God, his fidelity and his
      providence. In particular, the love of God for his people was
      manifested again in the deliverance from exile, and this occurred
      in such a revealing and surprising way, that the prophet calls as
      witnesses the "survivors of the nations" themselves. He invites
      them to debate, if they can: "Come and assemble, gather
      together, you fugitives from among the gentiles" (Isaiah 45:20).
      The prophet comes to the conclusion that the intervention of the
      God of Israel is indisputable.

      Then a magnificent universal prospect emerges. God proclaims:
      "Turn to me and be safe, all you ends of the earth, for I am God;
      there is no other" (Isaiah 45:22). So it becomes clear that the
      predilection with which God has chosen Israel as his people is
      not an act of exclusion but, rather, an act of love from which the
      whole of humanity is destined to benefit.

      Thus, that "sacramental" concept of the history of salvation is
      already outlined in the Old Testament, which does not see in the
      special election of the children of Abraham, and later of the
      disciples of Christ in the Church, a privilege that "closes" and
      "excludes," but the sign and instrument of a universal love.

      5. The invitation to adoration and the offer of salvation is directed
      to all peoples: "To me every knee shall bend; by me every tongue
      shall swear" (Isaiah 45:23). To read these words from a
      Christian perspective means to go in thought to the full revelation
      of the New Testament, which points out in Christ "the name
      which is above every name" (Philippians 2:9), so that "at the
      name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and
      on earth under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus
      Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians

      Through this hymn, our morning praise expands to the
      dimensions of the universe, and also gives voice to all those
      who have not had the grace to know Christ. It is a praise that
      becomes "missionary," driving us to go everywhere proclaiming
      that God has manifested himself in Jesus as the Savior of the

      * * *

      Models of Fashion -- and Dignity -- Meet Pope
      John Paul II Receives Members of Turris Eburnea Association

      VATICAN CITY, OCT. 31, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II has had
      millions of photographs taken in his 23-year pontificate -- but
      never surrounded by fashion models.

      He did that this morning, as a way to encourage the dignity of
      women. The young women around him were models of the
      Turris Eburnea association, who live in the world of
      entertainment without giving up their Christian values.

      The group originated in Turin, Italy, and is inspired by Mary under
      the title of "Tower of Ivory." Members offer witness in fashion
      parades and artistic activities.

      At the end of today's general audience, John Paul II
      congratulated the women for the "significant apostolic work
      carried out by their association in support of the formation of

      The Holy Father said their witness is particularly important for
      youth given the latter's "emotional problems and preparation for

      "I hope this witness will bring abundant spiritual fruits in benefit
      of the people of God," the Pope added.

      During Turris Eburnea fashion shows, the models try to project
      the idea that a woman's external beauty is a reflection of her
      internal dignity.

      "This is not just about fashion parades but also ideas," said
      Elena, a dark-haired 17-year-old.

      "To be modern, to be well groomed, is not opposed to our
      search for interior growth," she said. She added that her and her
      comrades don't just portray "hollow mannequins but integral
      women who are enriched by values."

      * * *

      "Health and Power" Conference Planned at Vatican

      VATICAN CITY, OCT. 31, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Hundreds of
      politicians, economists and representatives from the world of
      health will meet in the Vatican from Nov. 15-17 to focus on the
      topic "Health and Power."

      This is the 16th international conference convoked by the
      Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers.

      "Whose power?" asked the secretary of the council, Bishop José
      Redrado, when announcing the initiative on Vatican Radio.
      "There is the power of the economy, the power of people who
      work in health; the power of the doctor; the power of the nurse,
      the power of the structure, etc. This is the reality on which we
      wish to reflect."

      Bishop Redrado said the conference would be on the side of

      * * *

      "Spirit of Assisi" Needed More Than Ever, Muslim Theologian
      Says Insists That Believers Must Get to Know One Another

      ROME, OCT. 31, 2001 (Zenit.org).- A Muslim theologian and
      biblical scholar says the "spirit of Assisi" is more necessary than

      Shahrzad Houshmand Zadeh was referring to the interreligious
      prayer meeting convoked by John Paul II. This week, the city of
      San Francisco, California, held several commemorative
      meetings attended by Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Christian

      Theologian Zadeh was among the participants. She told Vatican
      Radio: "Following the meeting convoked by the Pope in Assisi,
      we have seen that interreligious meetings, for reciprocal
      information, have intensified."

      This new era of contacts is known as the "spirit of Assisi," which
      is especially necessary following the Sept. 11 attacks on the
      United States, the Muslim stressed.

      "The 'spirit of Assisi' is more necessary than ever, because we
      are at a special moment of history," Zadeh said. "Often, there is
      talk about the difficulties that religions have among themselves.
      However, I don't think that this is the problem at all. The meaning
      of religions is to bring peace on earth, among men."

      "Jesus says this to Christians, but his word is valid for all
      peoples of the world: 'Love one another, as I have loved you,'"
      added Zadeh, who publishes books on Islam and Christianity in
      Italy. "He himself came to make us understand that we are
      brothers, and that we must love one another.

      "The Koran also says this, when it states: 'In truth, all believers
      are brothers. Therefore, take peace among your brothers.'"

      She cited another Koranic verse: "Peace is always better.
      Believers of religions, even if they are of different religions, must
      have total peace and fraternity between them, to be able to be
      true bearers of the message of peace in the world."

      * * *

      3 Auxiliaries Appointed in New York; 3 Resign
      New Bishops Include Native of Spain

      WASHINGTON, D.C., OCT. 31, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II
      appointed three New York priests, including a native of Spain, to
      be auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of New York while
      accepting the resignations of three other auxiliary bishops.

      Appointed auxiliary bishops were Monsignor Robert Josu
      Iriondo, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in the Bronx and
      archdiocesan vicar for Hispanics; Monsignor Dominick J.
      Lagonegro, pastor, St. Columba Parish, Hopewell Junction; and
      Monsignor Timothy A. McDonnell, pastor of St. John and St. Mary
      Parish, Chappaqua.

      The Holy Father accepted the resignations of Auxiliary Bishops
      Anthony F. Mestice, Francisco Garmendia and William J.

      Bishop Mestice has served as auxiliary bishop since 1973,
      Bishop Garmendia since 1977, and Bishop McCormack since

      Robert Josu Iriondo was born on Dec. 19, 1938, in Legazti,
      Spain. He studied at the Gregorian University, Rome.

      He was ordained Dec. 22, 1962, in San Sebastian, Spain, for the
      Canons Regular of the Lateran. He was incardinated into the
      Archdiocese of New York in 1996. He was appointed director of
      the Hispanic Catholic Center and Charismatic Renewal
      Movement in 1990. He was named vicar for Hispanics of the
      archdiocese in 1997.

      Dominick J. Lagonegro was born in White Plains, New York, on
      March 6, 1943. He studied at Cathedral Preparatory Seminary,
      New York, Cathedral College, Douglaston, and St. Joseph
      Seminary, Yonkers. He was ordained a priest on May 31, 1969.

      He was appointed vicar for the Vicariate of Dutchess County in

      Timothy A. McDonnell was born in New York on Dec. 23, 1937.
      He studied at Cathedral Preparatory Seminary, St. Joseph
      Seminary in Yonkers, and Iona College, New Rochelle, where he
      earned a degree in pastoral counseling. He was ordained June
      1, 1963.

      Among his past duties, he was vice chancellor and chairman of
      the archdiocesan building commission, 1980, and chief
      operating officer of Catholic Charities and deputy president of
      Covenant House, 1990.

      * * *

      Beijing-Rome Dialogue Is Possible, Regime´s Expert on Christianity Says Professor Ren Yan Li Comments on Pope´s Plea for Forgiveness

      MILAN, Italy, OCT. 31, 2001 (ZENIT.org-Avvenire).- The Pope's
      forgiveness-seeking message to the Chinese "is a gesture that I
      had been expecting for a long time," says one of Beijing's
      experts on Christianity.

      Professor Ren Yan Li, director of the Department of Christianity
      of China's Academy of Social Sciences, talked about last week's
      papal message, in which John Paul II asked forgiveness for past
      faults of the Church's children in the Asian country.

      Yan Li is currently in Italy. He was one of the speakers at the
      Congress on the "Catholic Church and Contemporary China:
      Legacy of the Past and Current Issues," organized this week by
      the Catholic University of Milan.

      --Q: Following the Pope's message for pardon, will you write an
      article to request the Chinese government to do the same?

      --Yan Li: What the Chinese government does is the
      government's problem, but I am sure it will respond

      --Q: Do you think your government's position is changing in
      relation to the Vatican?

      --Yan Li: I think so. There will be discussions within the
      government. A conclusion will result from the debate, which later
      will be manifested publicly.

      --Q: You are not a Christian, but since the '60s you have been
      concerned with Christianity. How did you become interested in

      --Yan Li: I am the son of revolutionaries; this means that I had a
      very privileged position in China. I was destined to a diplomatic
      career and because of this I also learned Italian.

      However, the Cultural Revolution then changed everything; my
      condition became a problem. I was expelled from Beijing and
      sent to the country to teach in a middle school. Then, with Deng
      Xiaoping's arrival, I returned to Beijing, but the Cultural
      Revolution really changed the perspective of many people.

      --Q: In what sense?

      --Yan Li: Youth had been educated in Marxism, but what
      happened during the Cultural Revolution caused a crisis of
      confidence in those values. Many youths began to look beyond;
      they wanted to hear what others were thinking.

      I had Catholic colleagues and I was impressed because they
      behaved very well. They were different from the rest; above all,
      they were always optimistic in life, despite the fact that their
      conditions were harder than mine.

      Then I began to think: Perhaps religious faith offers something
      more. So I began to study.

      --Q: Has Christianity remained a mere academic interest over all
      these years?

      --Yan Li: Yes. However, now everyone needs me: the
      government and also Christians. You must understand that in
      China there are very few people who have studied the truth of

      When members of the government need to understand
      something about Christians, they have to ask me, because I
      have thoroughly studied Vatican Council II, and in China there
      are not many things that explain the council. So I have offered
      many courses in seminaries and churches to explain it.

      --Q: Doesn't the government say anything?

      --Yan Li: My objective is not make propaganda for the religion,
      but to make it understood, to eliminate prejudices that cause
      misunderstanding. This is why the government also appreciates
      my work. Today there is a climate of openness that allows it.

      --Q: Yet, Christians are still persecuted in China.

      --Yan Li: It's not like that. It is true: There are priests under arrest
      -- however, not for religious but for political reasons.

      If the government wished to arrest Christians as such, there
      would be millions of people in prison. Instead, they are not; only
      a few are arrested because, according to the government's
      judgment, these believers have had mistaken contacts or used
      illegal channels.

      As is true for every government, the object is social control, and
      the Chinese way of ensuring it is to arrest those who escape
      from this control.

      --Q: However, there are recent Party directives that encourage
      support for the [state-controlled] patriotic church, harshly
      suppressing the clandestine Church.

      --Yan Li: This confirms what I said. Religion is allowed. Only
      those who want to avoid social control are persecuted, and the
      clandestine Church is beyond control -- it is a political question.

      * * *

      Call or write today regarding favors granted through the
      intercession of Dolores Immaculate "Mama" Gili or for more
      information about the cause of her investigation for canonization

      Rev. Dante DiGirolamo
      (973) 412-1170

      Rev. Dante DiGirolamo
      P.O. Box 455
      Kearny, New Jersey 07032

      Volume 1, Issue 14 C
      Cause of Mama Gili as Servant of God (Part 1)

      Volume 1, No. 16
      Cause of Mama Gili as Servant of God (Part 2)

      Volume 1, No. 29
      Need a Miracle?

      * * *


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      "during this important time, as the eve of the new millennium
      approaches . . . unity among all Christians of the various
      confessions will increase until they reach full communion." John
      Paul II, Tertio Millennio Adveniente, 16

      "Keep close to the Mother of God as if you were the child Jesus
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