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Volume 3, Issue 129

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  • John N. Lupia
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 2, 2003

      Volume 3, Issue 129
      THURSDAY 3 July 2003

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      * * *

      • Meditation on Psalm 145(146)
      • John Paul II Calls for an End to Conflicts in Uganda and Liberia
      • Orthodox Says Dialogue Has Achieved "Bond of Peace and Love"
      • Slovakian Priest Reviving a Parish in Russia
      • Caritas-Jerusalem Encouraged by Peace Plan
      • Archbishop Martino on How to Manage Business's "Most Precious Patrimony"
      • Bishop Wenski Named Coadjutor in Orlando

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      Meditation on Psalm 145(146)

      "We Are Not Abandoned to Ourselves," Says John Paul II

      VATICAN CITY, JULY 2, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of John Paul II's address at today's general audience, which he dedicated to a reflection on Psalm 145(146).

      1. Psalm 145[146], which we just heard, is an "alleluia," the first of five Psalms that close the whole collection of the Psalter. Hebrew liturgical tradition already used this hymn as a song of praise for the morning: It reaches its culmination in the proclamation of the sovereignty of God over human history. In fact, at the end of the Psalm, it is declared that "the Lord shall reign forever" (verse 10).

      A consoling truth is derived from this: We are not abandoned to ourselves, the vicissitudes of our day are not dominated by chaos or fate, the events do not represent a mere succession of acts deprived of any meaning or goal. Starting from this conviction, a true and proper profession of faith in God is developed, celebrated with a kind of litany in which the attributes of love and goodness are proclaimed which are proper to him (see verses 6-9).

      2. God is the creator of heaven and earth, and the faithful custodian of the covenant that binds him to his people. It is he who does justice to the oppressed, gives bread to sustain the hungry, and sets prisoners free. It is he who opens the eyes of the blind, raises the one who falls, loves the righteous, protects the stranger, and upholds the orphan and the widow. It is he who disturbs the way of the wicked and reigns sovereign over all beings and all times.

      These are 12 theological affirmations that, with their perfect number, wish to express the fullness and perfection of divine action. The Lord is not a sovereign who is distant from his creatures, but is involved in their history, like one who defends justice, aligning himself with the last, the victims, the oppressed, the unhappy.

      3. Man finds himself, then, before a radical choice between two contrasting possibilities: On one hand is the temptation to "trust in princes" (see verse 3), adopting their criteria inspired by wickedness, egoism and pride. In reality, this is a slippery and ruinous way, it is "a crooked path and devious way" (see Proverbs 2:15), which has despair as its end.

      In fact, the Psalmist reminds us that man is a fragile and mortal being, as the word "'adam" expresses, which in Hebrew refers to earth, matter, dust. Man, the Bible often repeats, is like a palace that crumbles (see Ecclesiastes 12:1-7), a cobweb that the wind rends (see Job 8:14), a blade of grass that is green at dawn and dry at night (see Psalm 89[90]:5-6; 102[103]:15-16). When death comes upon him, all his plans disintegrate and he returns to dust: "When they breathe their last, they return to the earth; that day all their planning comes to nothing" (Psalm 145[146]:4).

      4. However, man has another possibility before him, exalted by the Psalmist with a beatitude: "Happy those whose help is Jacob's God, whose hope is in the Lord, their God" (verse 5). This is the way of trust in the eternal and faithful God. The amen, which is the Hebrew word of faith, means precisely to be based on the indestructible solidity of the Lord, on his eternity, on his infinite power. But above all it means to share his choices, which the profession of faith and praise, first described by us, has brought to light.

      It is necessary to live in adherence to the divine will, to offer bread to the hungry, to visit prisoners, to support and comfort the sick, to defend and welcome strangers, to be dedicated to the poor and miserable. In reality, it is the same spirit of the beatitudes; to decide in favor of that proposal of love that saves us at the end of this life and will then be the object of our examination in the Last Judgment, which will seal history. Then we will be judged on the choice to serve Christ in the hungry, in the thirsty, in the stranger, in the naked, in the sick, in the imprisoned. "Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me" (Matthew 25:40), the Lord will then say.

      5. Let us conclude our meditation of Psalm 145[146] with an idea for reflection offered to us by the subsequent Christian tradition.

      Origen, the great writer of the third century, when commenting on Verse 7 of the Psalm, which says: "The Lord gives food to the hungry and sets prisoners free," perceived an implicit reference to the Eucharist: "We are hungry for Christ, and he himself will give us the bread of heaven. 'Give us this day our daily bread.' Those who speak this way, are hungry; those who feel the need for bread, are hungry." And this hunger is fully satiated by the sacrament of the Eucharist, in which man is nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ (see Origen -- Jerome, "74 Omelie sul Libro dei Salmi" [74 Homilies on the Book of Psalms], Milan, 1993, pp. 526-527).

      [Translation by ZENIT]

      [At the end of the audience, the Holy Father gave this summary in English:]

      Dear Brothers and Sisters,

      Today's Psalm is the first of the five "alleluias" that close the Book of Psalms. It praises God who reigns sovereign over all creation and is faithful to his covenant. God is ever attentive to the sufferings of his creatures; he acts with justice and shows compassion. We too are called, in the spirit of the Beatitudes, to share with the poor, to defend the oppressed, and to show compassion to those who reflect in their lives the face of the suffering Christ.

      I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present in today's audience, especially those from Sierra Leone, England, Scotland, Canada and the United States. I thank the choirs for their praise of God in song. In a special way, I greet the many student groups present. Upon all of you I cordially invoke joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.

      * * *

      John Paul II Calls for an End to Conflicts in Uganda and Liberia

      1 Million People in Each Country Have Been Affected

      VATICAN CITY, JULY 2, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II appealed for peace in the African countries of Liberia and Uganda, and spoke of his closeness to the beleaguered local Churches.

      "With profound sadness I follow the tragic events in Liberia and in northern Uganda," the Pope said at the end of today's general audience. "I appeal for everyone's commitment, so that these beloved African populations will find peace and security again, and that they will not be denied the future to which they have a right."

      "I express, moreover, my closeness to the local Churches, severely stricken in their persons and works, while I encourage the pastors and faithful to be strong and firm in hope," the Holy Father said. "May our insistent prayer obtain this from the Divine Mercy!"

      Two rebel assaults in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, last month left an estimated 700 people dead, prompting U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to ask that a multinational force be sent to the country.

      For his part, U.S. President George W. Bush has called upon Liberian President Charles Taylor to step down, in a move to end the conflict in the west African state, which was founded 150 years ago by freed North American slaves.

      The rebel Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy have spent three years trying to seize the capital and to oust Taylor, in a war that has displaced more than 1 million people.

      The rebels want Taylor, accused of war crimes in neighboring Sierra Leone, to resign from office. Taylor has said he will leave at the end of his term in January.

      The Liberian president, who studied in the United States, emerged as the dominant leader in a war that caused 200,000 deaths in the 1990s. In 1997 he won the elections.

      In Uganda, the rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) are terrorizing the Teso and Kuman peoples in the north with killings and kidnappings. In recent weeks, they have attacked Catholic schools and missions.

      LRA leader Joseph Kony is trying to bring down the government of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

      "The Pope's words are not just words of consolation, rather, they infuse strength and courage in us to face the present adversities," said Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu, in northern Uganda, when he received the news of the papal appeal.

      "It is the most beautiful news I have received since I became bishop," he told the Misna agency. "I turn to the international community, and, first, to all the Ugandan nation so that they will become aware of this forgotten war," which affects 1 million people.

      "Our people cannot endure any more and are desperate. I am convinced that the president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, has done what he could in these years to guarantee the safety of the civilian population," the archbishop said. "But when your cabin is set on fire and you cannot put the fire out, you have to ask your neighbors for help. The whole village is on fire here!"

      * * *


      VATICAN CITY, JUL 2, 2003 (VIS) - Yesterday in Geneva, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, addressed the United Nations Economic and Social Council on "Promoting an Integrated Approach to Rural Development in Developing Countries for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development."

      The archbishop said the meeting was "a momentous occasion for the international community to discuss and address the eradication of poverty and its correlation with sustainable development in rural areas." He highlighted the need for "the establishment of a strong development alliance" which would "recognize that those blessed with economic resources and the power to use them are called in solidarity to address the
      plight of those who are amongst the most vulnerable." He also stressed that "justice
      must prevail in the economic world."

      The nuncio issued an appeal by the Holy See "for an integrated strategy that would implement a series of generous economic and trade concessions without asking reciprocity, at least in the short term."

      Among the elements to be pursued, Archbishop Migliore added, are: "the limitation of overseas economic practices which grant temporary relief but do not invigorate the economies of rural areas so that their inhabitants become active economic and social actors"; new practices which support sustainable development and expansion of family farms' productivity"; and "debt relief to remove burdens that impede the recovery and growth of the economies of developing States."

      "The world of today is holding on to a fragile peace," said the nuncio. "Too many people are without hope, are confronted with broken promises, and lose their trust in the effectiveness of regional and international summits. It is the search for a healing of the despair of the poor that must fuel the continuing work of the world community. We cannot allow our work to end here."

      * * *

      Orthodox Says Dialogue Has Achieved "Bond of Peace and Love"

      Bartholomew I Sends a Letter to John Paul II

      VATICAN CITY, JULY 2, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople says that theological dialogue between Orthodox and Catholics can go forward because of the "bond of peace and love" that is in place.

      In a letter to John Paul II on the occasion of the solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Patriarch Bartholomew I said that "we have achieved the bond of peace and love, which is the necessary foundation for progress of the theological dialogue, which is carried on between our two Churches."

      The letter was sent with the Orthodox delegation which participated in the Mass presided over by the Pope on Sunday, the solemnity of the two apostles.

      The patriarch's letter, published Tuesday by the Vatican press office, notes the "fact that it has not yet become possible to achieve the unity of faith, which is the prerequisite of joint worship." This, it says, "casts a shadow on the joy of the feast and saddens our modesty."

      However, Peter's example "is always timely, and particularly in our times, in which all of us have come to understand that the separate paths of the different Christian confessions lead to an impasse," the text reads.

      Patriarch Bartholomew I -- regarded as "first among equals" in the Orthodox world -- also alluded to St. Peter's Letters, which contain "excellent and very concentrated counsels to the faithful."

      In particular, the apostle's invitation to "purify" the soul by "obedience to the truth through the Spirit" is a teaching that is always timely, especially in this phase of the ecumenical dialogue, the patriarch said.

      The patriarch ended his letter to the Pope expressing his "sincere fraternal affection" and hoping at the same time that "the Lord may grant us, through the intercessions of the" Apostle Peter "to be built as living stones into a spiritual dwelling, a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

      * * *

      Slovakian Priest Reviving a Parish in Russia

      BRIANSK, Russia, JULY 2, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A Slovakian priest is working to restore a Catholic parish in this southern Russia city, even before it has a regular pastor.

      Many "people in Russia, after the decades of materialism ... [have] no idea of the sacred; they do not have the habit of prayer, and make no distinction between going to Mass or to the theater," explained Father Jan Hermanovsky, 68.

      Ordained in Italy 30 years ago, Father Hermanovsky carried out his pastoral activity, until 1995, in Florence, since he was unable to return to his native country.

      Now, the priest will go to Russia to reopen the parish of Briansk, where there are numerous Catholics, especially of Polish origin, the Italian weekly Toscana Oggi reported.

      The parish's former Catholic church, long converted into apartments, would be hard to recover, Father Hermanovsky said.

      "So I have preferred to purchase a private house for purposes of worship. It still does not have external signs characterizing it as a Church, but we will soon place the cross and an image of the Virgin on the facade," he said.

      He added: "We are in Russia to do good, with the certainty that, by doing good, we all grow."

      * * *

      Caritas-Jerusalem Encouraged by Peace Plan

      But Insists That Some Key Points Are Still Unaddressed

      MADRID, Spain, JULY 2, 2003 (Zenit.org).- An official of Caritas-Jerusalem has high hopes for the "road map" plan for peace in the Holy Land.

      "This process is a first glimmer of hope which we cling to, because it is what can lead us to a normal life, to forgiveness and tolerance," said Claudette Habesch, secretary-general of Caritas-Jerusalem. "But before speaking of tolerance, we must acknowledge the other, accept him with his differences."

      Habesch is in Spain, where she is taking part in the 5th Hispanic-Latin American and Caribbean Congress on the Theology of Charity, being held in El Escorial, until Thursday.

      "As a Palestinian, I must show myself optimistic because the road map includes important aspects for the Palestinian people," she said. The peace plan represents a step forward as it "recognizes that there is a Palestinian people and a conflict, and that it is necessary to give an answer to them."

      Habesch also noted that the "road map has the backing of the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia, which guarantees that there is a balance in this process."

      However, she lamented that some points have not been included in the plan, such as the situation in Jerusalem, the border questions, the issue of Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory, and the right of Palestinians to return.

      The truce signed by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al-Aqsa "is an important step, although the condition is that Israel should also take a step toward the peace process," she noted.

      Now that there is access to the Gaza Strip, the priority for Caritas is to activate the medical center donated by the Latin Patriarchate.

      Habesch reported that there is also a project in one of the Palestinian refugee camps in Gaza for the development of women because, "to achieve peace and reconciliation it is necessary to work and sensitize those who are directly involved in the process."

      In this connection, Caritas' secretary-general in Jerusalem expressed her conviction about "the decisive role of the Palestinian woman, not only because she represents 50% of the community, but because she is responsible for the education of the children. The idea is to give women the necessary tools so that they can participate in society and be an important part of its development."

      * * *

      Archbishop Martino on How to Manage Business's "Most Precious Patrimony"

      Human Resources Need Participation, Formation and Flexibility, He Says

      ROME, JULY 2, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A Vatican official warned about the need to safeguard the moral condition of what he described as "an authentic human ecology in the world of work."

      Archbishop Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, made that observation when closing the 21st Congress of the European Association of Personnel Directors, held here.

      During the meeting, convoked under the motto "To Develop Individuals in the Era of Technologies and the Internet," Archbishop Martino underlined that one of the most salient effects of the new technologies is to give work a central place and to give maximum value to human resources in terms of creativity, imagination and organizational capacity.

      In line with John Paul II's encyclical "Centesimus Annus," the archbishop said that these resources constitute the "most precious patrimony of business." Because of this, those responsible for personnel must be concerned with the spirituality of work as an integral element of individuals.

      Otherwise, there is a risk of "falling into a neo-functionalist concept of work, which brings with it, especially in terms of individualist logic, the quest for personal advantage and the weakening of collective ties of solidarity," Archbishop Martino said.

      As an antidote he suggested the concept of participation, interpreted as an offer to exchange experiences for the benefit of both the workers and the business. In this respect, formation is also of importance in the era of technology; directors must not ignore their obligation to match new personal qualifications, with the corresponding opportunities in the workplace, he said.

      The archbishop also referred to the flexibility of work. This element, perhaps, has the greatest impact in the spirituality of work, he said. It should be managed in such a way as to avoid harmful consequences for the worker and his family.

      It is a question of "preserving those conditions of humanity, those resources of sensibility and ability which constitute the alphabet of all spirituality," he concluded.

      * * *


      In Chapter 3, Fr. Casey spends eight pages on “Finding the Literal Sense”. The primary focus is on the proper preparatory study necessary to grasp the literal sense.

      It is important to do some reading on the cultural background of the Scripture chosen for lectio divina. Coming across obscure terms and antiquated cultural terms in the text makes the literal sense unattainable if no effort is made to prepare yourself. Coming across the terms “denarius”, “Zealot”, Pharisee” etc., and not knowing what they mean in their historical context detracts from your ability to grasp the author’s intended message.

      Not all the words, phrases and passages in the Bible translate well into English. Having sources that can help with Hebrew or Greek can supply great aid in lectio divina. The Jerome Biblical Commentary (JBC) and the New Jerome Biblical Commentary (NJBC), or the Anchor Bible Commentary (ABC) series, the Navarre Bible series has at least one volume published for every book in the Bible. These biblical commentaries address the original language and give explanations.

      In addition there are many Hebrew and Greek lexicons available to help the reader in lectio divina. The Botterweck, Ringgren & Fabry, eds., Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament (Eerdmans) is a multi-volume lexicon covering all the Hebrew of the Old Testament. Kittel, ed., Theological Lexicon of the New Testament is a 10 volume lexicon on the Greek words of the New Testament.

      For many a “study Bible” may be a quick and convenient source to aid their lectio divina. The HarperCollins Study Bible is an example of a useful single volume reference that can be useful to you in ascertaining the literal sense.

      It is also important to be aware that the Scriptures were written in literary genres far removed from our contemporary sense of writing composition. The JBC, NJBC, ABC, HarperCollins Study Bible or the Navarre Bible can be very helpful shedding light on this important aspect of the text.

      Michael Casey, Sacred Reading. The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina. (Liguori, MO : Liguori/Triumph, 1996). 151 p.; ISBN : 0-89243-891-6. Michael Casey is a Cistercian monk and prior of Tarrawarra Abbey, Victoria, Australia.

      * * *

      Bishop Wenski Named Coadjutor in Orlando

      WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 2, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II has appointed Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Wenski of Miami as coadjutor in Orlando, Florida.

      A coadjutor bishop enjoys the right of succession when the incumbent leaves office. The current head of the Orlando Diocese is Bishop Norbert Dorsey.

      Thomas Wenski was born Oct. 18, 1950, in West Palm Beach. He attended St. Vincent de Paul's Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida, and was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Miami in May 1976. He earned a master's in sociology at Fordham University.

      He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Miami in June 1997. He chairs the U.S. bishops' Migration Committee.

      * * *


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      3. Today's Lectionary Readings Text

      Biblica Online

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      Monks of Adoration:

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      5. Polish Rosary Hour by the Conventual Franciscans

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      Our Father Movie

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      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:

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      Kearny, New Jersey 07032
      Phone (973) 412-1170
      Fax (973) 412-7011

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      10. Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ. English Trans. Online

      Thomas a Kempis, De Imitatione Christi. Latin Text Online

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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."

      * * *


      "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 clinging to her robes while walking down a dusty and busy crowded street and you'll always be safe."

      * * *

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