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Volume 3, Issue 24

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  • John N. Lupia <jlupia2@yahoo.com>
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 3, 2003
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      Volume 3, Issue 24

      TUESDAY 4 February 2003

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      * * *

      • Pope Encourages Rebirth of Greek-Catholics in Ukraine
      • New Age Seen as Symptom of a Culture in Crisis
      • Cardinal Stafford Criticizes U.S. Plan for Pre-emptive Attack on Iraq
      • A Nation's Legitimate Self-Defense
      • The Backward Direction of Culture
      • Channeling, Wicca, the Law of Karma -- and Much More

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      Pope Encourages Rebirth of Greek-Catholics in Ukraine

      VATICAN CITY, FEB. 3, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II encouraged Eastern-rite Catholics of Ukraine to continue their reconstruction after decades of Communism, and to promote dialogue with other Christian brothers.

      The Pope gave this message when he met today with members of the Permanent Synod of the country's Greek-Catholic Church.

      In responding to the greeting of the archbishop major of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholics, Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, the Pope said: "The Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, reborn following the tragic events of the past century" must continue on "its way of reconstruction with the awareness of its spiritual heritage, of the fruitful testimony of its martyrs, and of the need to maintain at all levels an attitude of dialogue, collaboration, communion."

      The Pope appealed to Greek-Catholics to promote this unity, first of all, with their Ukrainian Catholic brothers of the Latin rite and, in the second place, to commit themselves to "the service of the cause of unity of all Christians." John Paul II visited Ukraine, a country of Orthodox majority, in June 2001.

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      New Age Seen as Symptom of a Culture in Crisis

      Vatican Document Critiques the Spiritual Movement

      VATICAN CITY, FEB. 3, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican published a provisional report on New Age, offering a Christian reflection on a spiritual movement that even seduces Catholics.

      Entitled "Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian Reflection on the 'New Age,'" the 90-page document analyzes the context in which the New Age has arisen, as well as its characteristics, and contrasts it with Christian spirituality. The text ends with a glossary of New Age terms.

      The report was written by a working group on new religious movements, composed of members of Vatican organizations including the Pontifical Council for Culture, and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (the signatories) with the assistance of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

      The foreword explains the report's objective, stating that "the attraction that New Age religiosity has for some Christians may be due in part to the lack of serious attention to their own communities for themes which are actually part of the Catholic synthesis."

      In particular, it mentions "the importance of man's spiritual dimension and its integration with the whole of life, the search for life's meaning, the link between human beings and the rest of creation, the desire for personal and social transformation, and the rejection of a rationalistic and materialistic view of humanity."

      When presenting the document to the press today, Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said that "the New Age phenomenon, along with many other new religious movements, is one of the most urgent challenges for the Christian faith."

      "It is a religious challenge and, at the same time, a cultural challenge," he said. With its doctrines on God, man and the world, which are "incompatible with the Christian faith," the New Age "is at the same time symptom of a culture in profound crisis and a mistaken answer to the present situation of crisis," Cardinal Poupard said.

      According to the cardinal, the Church must respond to this situation by proposing Christian doctrine first of all, with "clarity and discernment" and, at the same time, by welcoming "people seeking meaning." This requires "a pastoral program directed to the specific culture of modern and postmodern societies, which give birth to the New Age phenomenon."

      For his part, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, acknowledged in statements to the press that "there are positive aspects in New Age, but taken all together it is not in accord with true Christian faith."

      "The document seeks to offer keys to understand this somewhat nebulous phenomenon of the New Age and to illustrate how it differs from the Christian faith," he added.

      "It is known that the New Age means the age of Aquarius," the archbishop continued. "It is an astrological concept, according to which the age of Pisces, which was that of Christ, has developed and is now passing to the age of Aquarius, in which everything is gentle, there are no longer the rigors of Christianity, everything is based on harmony with creation, with the cosmos."

      "By its title," Archbishop Fitzgerald added, "our document reminds us that Jesus Christ is the authentic bearer of the living water ... he is the one who slakes man's thirst. ... The true Christian finds the fullness of his spiritual life in Christ, without the need to seek it elsewhere."

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      VATICAN CITY, FEB 3, 2003 (VIS) - The First European Meeting of National Directors of the Pastoral Highway Ministry starts today in the Vatican under the leadership of Archbishops Stephen Fumio Hamao and Agostino Marchetto, respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples. The encounter is an initiative of the pontifical council.

      The two-day meeting in the Palazzo San Calisto, which houses the pontifical council, will bring together four bishops and the national directors and delegates of 11 European countries: Albania, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Ukraine.

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      VATICAN CITY, FEB 3, 2003 (VIS) - Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, today is being awarded an "honoris causa" doctorate in theology by the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium.

      According to a communique published by the pontifical council, "the motivation of the doctorate - according to the university rector – refers to several aspects of the theological research and writings by Cardinal Kasper" and praises "a theological development that faces questions of truth on the basis of a genuine opening to the spirit of the times."

      Cardinal Kasper will deliver a homily during a liturgical celebration in St. Peter's Church, which will be presided over by Cardinal Godfried Danneels, archbishop of Malines-Brussels and grand chancellor of the university.

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      VATICAN CITY, FEB 3, 2003 (VIS) - A delegation from the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Serbia starts a six-day visit to the Vatican today. Members include His Eminence Amfilohije, metropolitan of Crna Gora and Primorje, Bishop Irinej of Backa, Bishop Lavrentije of Sabac-Valjevo, Fr. Vladan Perisic, dean of the theology faculty and Archimandrite Andrej Cilerdzic, secretary of the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Belgrade. The delegation is staying at the Vatican's St. Martha Residence, as guests of the Holy See.

      Members will meet with officials of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Secretariat of State, and officials of other dicasteries of the Roman Curia. Also on the agenda are talks with the vice president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, the rectors of the Pontifical Gregorian University and Pontifical Salesian Athenaeum and the director of Vatican Radio. They will be received by Pope John Paul on Thursday, February 6.

      According to the communique published by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity that announced this visit, the delegates will be welcomed by Cardinal Kasper at a dinner on February 4. Also in attendance will be a number of cardinals and other officials of the Holy See, including Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, substitute for General Affairs, and the prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches.

      The visit will start with a prayer in St. Peter's Basilica. Ensuing days will include a meeting with Cardinal Jorge Mejia, librarian of Holy Roman Church, and visits to the Roman basilicas of St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major and St. Clement, the Colosseum, Aventine Hill, and the Abbey of the Three Fountains. Vespers will be celebrated at St. Mary's in Trastevere. The delegation will participate in the liturgical celebration on February 7 that will be presided over by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the
      Congregation for Bishops, at St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the founding of the Sant'Egidio community.

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      VATICAN CITY, FEB 3, 2003 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in audience six prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (Midwestern and Northern Regions II) on their "ad limina" visit:

      - Bishop Roberto Gomes Guimaraes of Campos.

      - Bishop Eugene Lambert Adrian Rixen of Goias.

      - Bishop Pedro Jose Conti of Santissima Conceicao do Araguaia.

      - Bishop Luigi Ferrando of Braganca do Para.

      - Bishop Geraldo Vieira Gusmao of Porto Nacional.

      - Bishop Joao Wilk, O.F.M., of Formosa.

      On Saturday February 1, the Holy Father received in audience four prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (Midwestern and Northern Regions II) on their "ad limina" visit:

      - Bishop Joao Risatti, P.I.M.E., of Macapa.

      - Bishop Agostinho Stefan Januszewicz, O.F.M. Conv., of Luziania.

      - Bishop Jose Foralosso, S.D.B., of Maraba.

      - Bishop Joao Jose Burke, O.F.M., of Miracema do Tocantins.

      * * *

      Cardinal Stafford Criticizes U.S. Plan for Pre-emptive Attack on Iraq

      Calls It "Unworthy" of World's Oldest Democracy

      VATICAN CITY, FEB. 3, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The leading American cardinal in Rome sharply criticized a proposed U.S. pre-emptive attack on Iraq, saying Washington "has not offered conclusive evidence of imminent danger to its national security."

      Cardinal James Francis Stafford, formerly archbishop of Denver, Colorado, and now head of the Vatican's Council for the Laity, is the highest-ranking U.S. cardinal in the Roman Curia. In statements to Inside the Vatican magazine, he said that the "government of the U.S.A. has recently threatened to use nuclear weapons against Iraq. This is unworthy of the oldest representative democracy in the world. Furthermore,
      the government of the United States has compromised its own basic principles by implicitly endorsing the use of torture since Sept. 11, 2001."

      Cardinal Stafford was also sharply critical of Saddam Hussein, noting that the Iraqi leader has never condemned the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

      The cardinal said that what he most fears is a new "barbarism" in which an accelerating spiral of fear and brutality, rather than hope and collaboration, will darken the human prospects for the 21st century. His views are in keeping with many other recent statements made by Vatican officials, and by the Pope himself.

      Inside the Vatican said that Cardinal Stafford's sharp criticism comes on the eve of a much-discussed diplomatic offensive led by the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, James Nicholson, who has invited American Catholic theologian Michael Novak to speak at a conference in Rome today in defense of the moral legitimacy of an American "pre-emptive attack" on Iraq.

      * * *

      A Nation's Legitimate Self-Defense

      Address by Cardinal Rubiano of Bogota

      VATICAN CITY, FEB. 3, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address of Cardinal Pedro Rubiano Sáenz, archbishop of Bogota, Colombia, during the videoconference of theologians organized last Wednesday by the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy (http://www.clerus.org). The theme of the videoconference was "Peace Challenged by War, Violence and Terrorism."

      "A Nation's Legitimate Self-Defense"
      By Cardinal Pedro Rubiano Sáenz

      Authority over a nation is legitimately exercised when it promotes and defends the commonwealth of its citizens; when it is concerned with the spiritual and human development of all; when it provides all that ensemble of political, social, cultural and economic conditions that allow the person and the community not only to satisfy their basic needs, but also to exercise all their acknowledged rights and fulfill their corresponding duties toward the member of society and the whole nation.

      The mission of those invested with authority consists in ensuring, to the extent that this is possible, the good of society. Common good demands social order and a guarantee of those conditions that permit society's growth and progress.

      The commonwealth is the foundation for the legitimate defense of individuals and nations. In fact, when the commonwealth, the peace of a nation and the lives of its citizens are threatened by one of the many forms of violence, the authorities that have been legitimately elected have the right and the serious duty of preserving them.

      Heads of states and those who have the responsibility of government are under the obligation of using morally permitted methods, including, when indispensable, the exercise of military strength so as to promote, protect and defend the fundamental rights of all those involved within the respect of human rights and international humanitarian law.

      Military forces at the service of a nation represent a legitimate means for guaranteeing the freedom and security of populations and must always operate with responsibility so that their mission may contribute to safeguarding peace and the common good of the whole nation.

      Peace and the commonwealth are now threatened by terrorist attacks all over the world. The legitimately elected authorities are obliged to take measures and dispositions to avoid attacks against peace and the commonwealth, punishing the protagonists and their accomplices, but always operating within the framework of justice and legality.

      Following Pope John Paul II in his teachings, we state that "war is not the solution"; that the war declared by terrorism returns us to the issue of the exercising of legitimate defense, after a careful analysis of the causes that provoked this so as to make choices to avoid it. Furthermore, "just wars" should remain a heritage of the tragic past, of history; there should be no place for them in the future programs of mankind.

      Pope John Paul II, in his encyclical "Evangelium Vitae" of March 25, 1995, defines legitimate defense within the perspective of a right to live and the obligation to preserve it within the framework of human rights.

      Respect for life and the dignity of the person is fundamental for peace, which in turn demands truth, justice, love and freedom.

      * * *

      The Backward Direction of Culture

      Manila's Auxiliary Bishop Buhain on the Challenges to Peace

      VATICAN CITY, FEB. 3, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address by Auxiliary Bishop Teodoro Buhain of Manila, Philippines, during the videoconference of theologians organized last Wednesday by the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy (http:/www.clerus.org/).

      "The Challenges to Peace of War, Violence and Terrorism"
      By Bishop Teodoro Buhain

      The current human problems are complex and perplexing. The Christian most of the time finds himself challenged to carry out the demands of solidarity and dialogue in an increasing plurality of cultures, variety of religious affiliations, and pluralism of sociopolitical views.

      In Asia for instance, the Church is expected to be a supporter and servant of harmony and peace. This means that the Church in Asia has to be an authentic expression of God's love to all the various cultures of Asia and at the same time an embodiment of the visions and hopes of peoples.

      The thrust of the Church then is to pursue the interior life, harmony, and holistic approaches toward every area of human life. Difficult situations like war and terrorism require us to foster a new expression of being Church. The Church is called to renew its fervor with a new way of evangelization that will lead all men to Christ, the Prince of Peace, who is the goal of humanity, the joy of their hearts, and the fulfillment of all their aspirations (see "Gaudium et Spes," 45).

      Violence, war and terrorism are manifestations of human weaknesses. The Church is challenged to be a community of compassion. We believe that the failure to obey God is always the source of sin and death.

      The Scriptures asks us to listen and believe that we may have eternal life (see John 5:24). The grace of God abounds in the weaknesses of man because God, through his mercy, constantly calls man to share his Kingdom. The Church has to be a sign of God's mercy. It is the mercy of God that abounds all the more in sinful human structures. St. Paul says, where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more (Romans 5:20).

      Violence, war and terrorism are signs of the defeat of humanity. It shows the backward direction of culture. As the Church enhances its mission of inserting the Gospel in various cultures, the perfecting and healing power of the Gospel has to be intensified.

      Conflicts manifest the imperfection of culture and sinful human structures. Cultures have to be shaped by the power of the Gospel. The creative power of the Spirit works in cultures while man lives and designs his own destiny within the context of culture. Vatican Council II reminds us that, man comes to a true and full humanity only through culture, that is through the cultivation of the goods and values of nature ("Gaudium et Spes," 53).

      The multiplicity of cultures allows us to experience also the multiplicity of different beliefs, sometimes contradicting our own. In the light of the Gospel, the various degrees of values elicited by culture make us aspire to unity amid the diversity of mentalities.

      With gratitude to the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church learns and hopes to be an instrument of dialogue. In the midst of apparent unending conflicts of interests within cultures, the Church learns to be open to new ways of perfecting and expanding cultures through living out the Gospel demands, which today are challenged more than ever before in the history of mankind. Conflicts may arise due to the progress and achievement of contemporary man. Man is fully aware that he becomes an architect of society. He becomes the artisan of his own culture. An inward self-discovery makes him a designer of his own life and destiny. However, this demands an integral moral
      responsibility on the part of man. The Church serves as a Mother and Teacher ("Mater et Magistra") of mankind.

      Violence, war and terrorism can only be eliminated if progress is based on peace, truth and justice. The Church is increasingly challenged by the present global crisis. It has to be a sacrament of peace, the defender of good culture, and the teacher of peoples

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      Channeling, Wicca, the Law of Karma -- and Much More

      Select Glossary of New Age Terms

      VATICAN CITY, FEB. 3, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Vatican's new document on New Age includes a "select glossary" of terms related to the spiritual movement.

      The terms appear in the appendix of the document "Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life: A Christian Reflection on the New Age," signed by the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Pontifical Council for Interrreligious Dialogue. Here are excerpts from the glossary:

      -- Age of Aquarius: each astrological age of about 2146 years is named according to one of the signs of the zodiac, but the "great days" go in reverse order, so the current Age of Pisces is about to end, and the Age of Aquarius will be ushered in. Each Age has its own cosmic energies; the energy in Pisces has made it an era of wars and conflicts. But Aquarius is set to be an era of harmony, justice, peace, unity etc. In this aspect, New Age accepts historical inevitability. Some reckon the age of Aries was the time of the Jewish religion, the age of Pisces that of Christianity, Aquarius the age of a universal religion.

      -- Channeling: psychic mediums claim to act as channels for information from
      other selves, usually disembodied entities living on a higher plane. It links beings as diverse as ascended masters, angels, gods, group entities, nature spirits and the Higher Self.

      -- Christ: in New Age the historical figure of Jesus is but one incarnation of an idea or an energy or set of vibrations. For Alice Bailey, a great day of supplication is needed, when all believers will create such a concentration of spiritual energy that there will be a further incarnation, which will reveal how people can save themselves.... For many people, Jesus is nothing more than a spiritual master who, like Buddha, Moses, and Mohammed, amongst others, has been penetrated by the cosmic Christ. The cosmic Christ is also known as christic energy at the basis of each being and the whole of being. Individuals
      need to be initiated gradually into awareness of this christic characteristic they are all said to have. Christ -- in New Age terms -- represents the highest state of perfection of the self.

      -- Enneagram: (from the Greek ennéa == nine + gramma == sign) the name refers to a diagram composed of a circle with nine points on its circumference, connected within the circle by a triangle and a hexangle. It was originally used for divination, but has become known as the symbol for a system of personality typology consisting of nine standard character types. It became popular after the publication of Helen Palmer's book The Enneagram,97 but she recognizes her indebtedness to the Russian esoteric thinker and
      practitioner G.I. Gurdjieff, the Chilean psychologist Claudio Naranjo, and author Oscar Ichazo, founder of Arica. The origin of the enneagram remains shrouded in mystery, but some maintain that it comes from Sufi mysticism.

      -- Gnosis: in a generic sense, it is a form of knowledge that is not intellectual, but visionary or mystical, thought to be revealed and capable of joining the human being to the divine mystery. In the first centuries of Christianity, the Fathers of the Church struggled against gnosticism, inasmuch as it was at odds with faith. Some see a rebirth of gnostic ideas in much New Age thinking, and some authors connected with New Age actually quote early gnosticism. However, the greater emphasis in New Age on monism and even pantheism or panentheism encourages some to use the term neo-gnosticism
      to distinguish New Age gnosis from ancient gnosticism.

      -- Holism: a key concept in the "new paradigm", claiming to provide a theoretical frame integrating the entire worldview of modern man. In contrast with an experience of increasing fragmentation in science and everyday life, "wholeness" is put forward as a central methodological and ontological concept. Humanity fits into the universe as part of a single living organism, a harmonious network of dynamic relationships. The classic distinction between subject and object, for which Descartes and Newton are typically blamed, is challenged by various scientists who offer a bridge between science and
      religion. Humanity is part of a universal network (eco-system, family) of nature and world, and must seek harmony with every element of this quasi-transcendent authority. When one understands one's place in nature, in the cosmos which is also divine, one also understands that "wholeness" and "holiness" are one and the same thing. The clearest articulation of the concept of holism is in the "Gaia" hypothesis.

      -- Karma: (from the Sanskrit root Kri == action, deed) a key notion in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, but one whose meaning has not always been the same. In the ancient Vedic period it referred to the ritual action, especially sacrifice, by means of which a person gained access to the happiness or blessedness of the afterlife. When Jainism and Buddhism appeared (about 6 centuries before Christ), Karma lost its salvific meaning: the way to liberation was knowledge of the Atman or "self". In the doctrine of samsara, it was understood as the incessant cycle of human birth and death (Hinduism) or of rebirth (Buddhism). In New Age contexts, the "law of karma" is often seen as the moral equivalent of cosmic evolution. It is no longer to do with evil or suffering -- illusions to be experienced as part of a "cosmic game" -- but is the universal law of cause and effect, part of the tendency of the interconnected universe towards moral balance.

      -- New Age Music: this is a booming industry. The music concerned is very often packaged as a means of achieving harmony with oneself or the world, and some of it is "Celtic" or druidic. Some New Age composers claim their music is meant to build bridges between the conscious and the unconscious, but this is probably more so when, besides melodies, there is meditative and rhythmic repetition of key phrases. As with many elements of the New Age phenomenon, some music is meant to bring people further into the New Age Movement, but most is simply commercial or artistic.

      -- Reincarnation: in a New Age context, reincarnation is linked to the concept of ascendant evolution towards becoming divine. As opposed to Indian religions or those derived from them, New Age views reincarnation as progression of the individual soul towards a more perfect state. What is reincarnated is essentially something immaterial or spiritual; more precisely, it is consciousness, that spark of energy in the person that shares in cosmic or "christic" energy. Death is nothing but the passage of the soul from one body to another.

      -- Rosicrucians: these are Western occult groups involved in alchemy, astrology, Theosophy and kabbalistic interpretations of scripture. The Rosicrucian Fellowship contributed to the revival of astrology in the 20th century, and the Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rosae Crucis (AMORC) linked success with a presumed ability to materialize mental images of health, riches and happiness.

      -- Wicca: an old English term for witches that has been given to a neo-pagan revival of some elements of ritual magic. It was invented in England in 1939 by Gerald Gardner, who based it on some scholarly texts, according to which medieval European witchcraft was an ancient nature religion persecuted by Christians. Called "the Craft", it grew rapidly in the 1960s in the United States, where it encountered "women's spirituality."

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      * * *

      3. Today's Lectionary Readings Text

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      Monks of Adoration:

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      5. Polish Rosary Hour by the Conventual Franciscans

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      Then once inside click on

      Cause of Mama Gili as Servant of God (Part 1)

      Cause of Mama Gili as Servant of God (Part 2)

      Need a Miracle?

      Dolores Immacolata "Mama" Gili (1892-1985)


      The Mama Gili Guild was established several years ago to gather, collect, and publish information on Dolores Immacolata Gili (1892-1985) for an investigation into her cause as a Servant of God, as well as to promote her cause and to perpetuate her cult by directing prayer groups assembled in her honor. It has continuously enjoyed the ecclesiastical approval of Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, and the Most Reverend John Joseph Myers, Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey.

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

      Rev. Dante DiGirolamo, Director
      Mama Gili Guild
      P. O. Box 455
      Kearny, New Jersey 07032
      Phone (973) 412-1170
      Fax (973) 412-7011

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      When the Eucharistic host is elevated at Mass say:

      "Eternal Father, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you the crucified Body of Your dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in reparation for all the sins committed against you and for the conversion and salvation of the whole world."

      When the Eucharistic chalice is elevated at Mass say:

      "Eternal Father, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you the precious Blood of Your dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in reparation for all the sins committed against you and for the conversion and salvation of the whole world."
      © Copyright 2003 John N. Lupia for Roman Catholic News
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