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Volume 3, Issue 181

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  • John N. Lupia
    ROMAN CATHOLIC NEWS Volume 3, Issue 181 FRIDAY 26 September 2003 Feast of SS. Cosmas and Damian * * * WEAR THE BROWN SCAPULAR OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL AND
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 25, 2003

      Volume 3, Issue 181
      FRIDAY 26 September 2003

      Feast of SS. Cosmas and Damian

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      * * *

      • John Paul II's Address to Philippine Bishops
      • Pope Back to Normal Schedule in Vatican City
      • Europarliament Rejects Reference to "Judeo-Christian" Roots
      • Redemptorists Keeping Focus on Popular Missions
      • Nigerian Woman Escapes Death Sentence
      • Bible Drive 2003

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      John Paul II's Address to Philippine Bishops

      On the "Church of the Poor"

      CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 25, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Here is the address John Paul II delivered to a group of Philippine bishops from the provinces of Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato, Davao, Lipa, Ozamis and Zamboanga, whom he received in audience today. The audience followed private meetings with them, on the occasion of their five-yearly "ad limina" visit to the Holy See.

      My Dear Brothers in the Episcopacy,

      1. It is with immense joy that I greet you, the Filipino Bishops from the Provinces of Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato, Davao, Lipa, Ozamis and Zamboanga, on the occasion of your visit "ad Limina Apostolorum." You are the first of three groups of Filipino Bishops who, over the course of the next two months, will be coming to Rome to "see Cephas" (cf. Galatians 1:18), to share with him "the joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties" ("Gaudium et Spes," 1) of your local communities. These days are a time of grace for you as you pray at the tombs of the Apostles and seek to be strengthened in preaching "the unsearchable riches of Christ," making known "the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things" (Ephesians 3:8-9).

      My words to you today, and those that I shall address to your fellow Bishops when the next two groups arrive, are meant for all of you in the Philippines whose task it is to "tend the flock of God that is your charge" (1 Peter 5:2).

      2. At the beginning of this new millennium, shortly after the close of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, the Filipino Bishops convoked the National Pastoral Consultation on Church Renewal, taking up once more the theme that, ten years earlier, had been the inspiration for one of the most significant events in the ecclesial life of your local Church: the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines. In fact, the National Consultation focused its attention squarely on the results of the Council, taking a careful and realistic look at the continuing implementation of the decrees arising from it.

      As I share my thoughts with you, I too would like to place my reflections in the context of this Council and the recommendations that came from it. Three key pastoral priorities emerged from the plenary council: the need to be a Church of the poor, the pledge to become a true community of the Lord's disciples, and the commitment to engage in renewed integral evangelization. Since the Filipino Bishops will be making their "ad Limina" visits to Rome in three groups, I shall use each of these points as a broad backdrop for my comments to each group. For you, I shall start with the first priority: the Church of the poor.

      3. In the Vision-Mission Statement for the Church in the Philippines, we read the simple and incisive declaration: "Following the way of our Lord, we opt to be a Church of the poor." The plenary council dealt extensively with what it means to be a Church of the poor (cf. Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines, 122-136). It gave a succinct description of the Church of the poor as a community of faith that "embraces and practices the evangelical spirit of poverty, which combines detachment from possessions with a profound trust in the Lord as the sole source of salvation" (ibid., 125). This echoes the first Beatitude -- "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3).

      We do well to note that this preference for the poor is in no way exclusive but embraces all people regardless of economic class or social standing. It is a Church, however, that gives preferential attention to the poor, seeking to share time and resources in order to alleviate suffering. It is a Church that works with all sectors of society, including the poor themselves, in search of solutions to the problems of poverty, in order to free people from lives of misery and want. It is a Church moreover that makes use of the talents and gifts of the poor, relying on them in the mission of evangelization. The Church of the poor is a Church in which the poor are welcomed, listened to and actively involved.

      4. In a very real way, then, a true Church of the poor contributes much to the needed transformation of society, to social renewal based on the vision and values of the Gospel. This renewal is an undertaking that has the lay faithful as its principal and essential agents: therefore, the laity must be given the necessary tools to carry out this role successfully. This entails a thorough formation in the Church's social doctrine, and constant dialogue with clergy and religious concerning social and cultural issues. As Pastors and spiritual leaders, your careful attention to these tasks will do much to serve the Church's mission "ad gentes": for "by the grace and call of Baptism and Confirmation, all lay people are missionaries; and the arena of their missionary work is the vast and complex worlds of politics, economics, industry, education, the media, science, technology, the arts and sport" ("Ecclesia in Asia," 45).

      5. Of course, we must not lose sight of the fact that the immediate and perhaps most important arena of lay witness to Christian faith is marriage and the family. When family life is healthy and flourishing, there is likewise a strong sense of community and solidarity -- two essential elements for the Church of the poor. Not only is the family an object of the Church's pastoral care but it is also one of the most effective agents of evangelization. In fact, "Christian families are today called to witness to the Gospel in difficult times and circumstances, when the family itself is threatened by an array of forces" (ibid., 46). You and your priests, therefore, should be ever ready to help couples to relate their family life in concrete ways to the life and mission of the Church (cf. "Familiaris Consortio," 49), nourishing the spiritual life of parents and children through prayer, the word of God, the sacraments, examples of holiness of life and charity.

      The witness borne by being a Church of the poor will also be of inestimable value to the family in its Christian and social vocation. Indeed, without ignoring the deleterious effects of secularism or of legislation that corrupts the meaning of family, marriage and even human life itself, we may note that poverty is certainly among the major factors exposing Filipino families to the risk of instability and fragmentation. How many children have been left to live without mother or father because one or both parents have had to seek work abroad? Moreover, the many different types of exploitation that can undermine family life -- child labor, pornography, prostitution -- are often linked to dire economic conditions. A Church of the poor can do much to strengthen the family and to combat human exploitation.

      Before moving on from the topic of the family, I must add a word of praise for the Filipino Bishops and all who worked with you to make the Fourth World Meeting of Families, held in Manila at the beginning of this year, such a success.

      6. Dear Brothers, the sharing of my thoughts with you today would be incomplete if I failed to mention the unsettling presence of terrorist activity in the Philippines and the abhorrent episodes of violence erupting there. These are indeed a cause of grave concern, and I wish you to know that I share your preoccupations and am close to you and your people in these painful and distressing circumstances. With you, I cannot condemn such acts strongly enough. I call on the parties involved to lay down the weapons of death and destruction, rejecting the despair and hatred which these entail, and to take up the arms of mutual understanding, commitment and hope. These are the sure foundations for building a future of authentic peace and justice for all.

      In the campaign against terrorism and violence, religious leaders have a vital role to play. "The various Christian confessions, as well as the world's great religions, need to work together to eliminate the social and cultural causes of terrorism. They can do this by teaching the greatness and dignity of the human person, and by spreading a clearer sense of the oneness of the human family" (Message for the 2002 World Day of Peace, 12). This, my Brothers, is an explicit call for ecumenical and interreligious dialogue and cooperation, which are themselves further components of a true Church of the poor. I encourage your efforts in this regard and urge you to increase the opportunities for yourselves and your communities to engage in fruitful exchanges with other believers in Christ and with your Muslim brothers and sisters.

      In a special way I recommend that the Bishops-Ulama Forum emphasize at the local level the joint "Commitment to Peace" presented at the Day of Prayer for Peace held in Assisi on January 24, 2002. Two hundred religious leaders joined me at that time in condemning terrorism, and together we committed ourselves "to proclaiming our firm conviction that violence and terrorism are incompatible with the authentic spirit of religion, and ... to doing everything possible to eliminate the root causes of terrorism" (Commitment 1). This, my Brothers, must be the clear pledge of the religious leaders in Mindanao and throughout the Philippines.

      7. These then are some of the reflections that I wish to share with you. With full support for your ongoing special commitment to the poor, I commend you and your priests, religious and lay faithful to Mary, the humble and obedient handmaid of the Lord. As a pledge of grace and strength in her Son, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.

      * * *

      Pope Back to Normal Schedule in Vatican City

      CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 25, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II returned to his ordinary activities after suffering from an intestinal ailment that kept him from attending Wednesday's general audience.

      The Pope met today with a group of Philippine bishops during their five-yearly "ad limina" visit to Rome, and later received the mayor and authorities of Castel Gandolfo.

      The Pope returned to the Vatican this afternoon from the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, where he has been based since early July.

      John Paul II bid farewell to the priests and several religious communities of Castel Gandolfo, as well as the police who attended to his security over the past weeks.

      "I ask you to pray for me and for my daily service to the Church. Pray for the now imminent pilgrimage to Pompeii, so that it will be for the Church a stage of spiritual renewal and more intense Marian devotion," the Pope told the police. He is planning to go to a Marian shrine on Oct. 7 at Pompeii, near Naples.

      On Wednesday afternoon the Pope received in audience Saverio Petrillo, director general of the papal villas of Castel Gandolfo, and the staff of the villas as well as their relatives.

      * * *

      Europarliament Rejects Reference to "Judeo-Christian" Roots

      British Conservatives Join Opposition to Proposal

      STRASBOURG, France, SEPT. 25, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The European Parliament's plenary assembly rejected any reference to the continent's "Judeo-Christian" roots in the draft text of the European Constitution.

      The proposal was rejected Wednesday by a vote of 283 to 211. The vote sought to clarify Parliament's position in view of next week's intergovernmental conference in Rome that will approve the draft of the Constitution.

      The proposal in Parliament was presented by the European Popular Party (EPP), which called for a "particular reference" in the text to the "Judeo-Christian" roots of Europe, without proposing a specific formulation of the request.

      Another amendment presented by the European Union of Nations (EUN), which called for the "express recognition of the legacy of Christianity inscribed in the history and cultural identity of Europe," met with the same result.

      Although the EPP has a majority in the European Parliament, it did not obtain the consensus of the majority. It had the support of the EUN, but even within the EPP, members such as the British Conservatives and others, did not support it.

      Those voting against the proposal included the European Socialist Party and other minority groups, as well as 30 independent deputies.

      "We knew that these were the numbers, but we could not exempt ourselves from the responsibility to present forcefully the position in which we firmly believe," EPP spokeswoman Katrin Ruhrmann said.

      EPP President Hans-Gert Pöttering lamented the rejection of the amendment, but explained that the preamble of the draft Constitution presented by the European Convention makes reference to the continent's religious patrimony. And Article 51 of the draft recognizes the status of churches and communities which share a common faith, he said.

      Ruhrmann said that the last word now rests with the governments of the European Union. "If they wish, they have the possibility to modify the draft Constitution in the sense we desire," she said.

      * * *

      Redemptorists Keeping Focus on Popular Missions

      Priest Says People Need Help to Face the Deep Questions About Life

      ROME, SEPT. 25, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Redemptorists are holding their 23rd general chapter, and for the first time members of the laity are participating in the event, which is focused on the mission and moral formation.

      The general chapter opened on Sept. 15 with the motto "To Give One's Life for Abundant Redemption." Father Pedro López, provincial vicar in Spain, told ZENIT that the mission continues to be a priority for the Redemptorists.

      "The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer was founded St. Alphonsus Liguori in 1732 to proclaim the Gospel to the most abandoned of the kingdom of Naples," he said. "And the founder was very clear from the beginning that the best means to reach them was the popular missions."

      Father López is aware that "new methods and new movements have arisen, but the Redemptorists continue to be known for the popular missions renewed both in Europe as well as in the other continents."

      "Men and women of today have a need to feel loved for what they are and not for what they have; a need to experience quality relations with other persons; to find answers to the fundamental questions that are in their minds and hearts, such as the meaning of life," he added.

      This need for salvation is not obvious, the priest said. "What happens is that the society in which we live does not allow these questions to surface because it drives us at a mad pace and offers us substitutes which seem to answer, in a superficial but immediate way what we most long for."

      "What can we do then?" Father López asked. "I think our first mission, as Christians, consists in being close to the men and women of our time, because it is these men and women whom God loves today."

      "From such friendship, we can try to offer, with out testimony, a style of life that challenges those around us because it humanizes us and helps us to humanize others, because it helps us to transform the surroundings, because it transmits happiness," he said. "And when questions arise in others, then we must be prepared to give an account of ourselves and of our way of life: Jesus Christ. And all as an offer, not as an imposition."

      The Redemptorists number 5,701 religious and novices, including 4,185 priests.

      See http://www.cssr.com

      * * *

      Nigerian Woman Escapes Death Sentence

      Lagos Archbishop Hails Court's Decision Against Stoning

      LAGOS, Nigeria, SEPT. 25, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A Catholic archbishop expressed satisfaction after an Islamic appeals court overturned the conviction of a Nigerian woman sentenced to death by stoning for committing adultery.

      The appeals court in Katsina had examined Amina Lawal's appeal, and considered the verdict of the Upper Shariah Court "very wrong." Judge Ibrahim Maiangwa acquitted the woman.

      "We are all very pleased that Amina Lawal has been acquitted," Anthony Olubunmi Okogie of Lagos said in statements to the Missionary Service News Agency. "Life is a gift from God, and that blood is life. Consequently, whoever sheds the blood of one of God's creatures offends God."

      Archbishop Olubunmi Okogie said that this teaching is found not only in Christianity but also in the Koran.

      Lawal, 32, a mother of four, was sentenced to death by stoning under the Shariah, or Islamic law, after giving birth to a daughter 10 months after being divorced.

      Agence France-Presse, meanwhile, reported that a 20-year-old Nigerian was condemned to death on Tuesday for having had paid for sexual relations with three boys in the state of Bauchi. Bala Ahmed, spokesman of the Bauchi State Tribunal, said the three boys received 50 lashes for their involvement.

      "In Nigeria, many people, including many Muslims, are unhappy about these death sentences, which Muslims themselves consider illegal. As regards the Bauchi sentence, I have heard that the man intends" to appeal it, the archbishop of Lagos said.

      The introduction of Islamic law in a dozen northern states has exacerbated ethnic conflicts in this country of more than 120 million people.

      * * *

      Bible Drive 2003

      What is Bible Drive? Bible drive mission is to spread The Good News by collecting new and used Bibles, Catechisms, Rosaries, Prayer books, Music and anything else
      that teaches the Good News of Jesus Christ according to the Magesterium of the
      Catholic Church.

      Everything that is collected through the Bible drive will be distributed to the less fortunate, our military personnel, and Catholic missions. If you or someone you know has extra materials that can be given to people who thirst for the truth please tell them about this ministry.

      U.S.A.- East :
      Sacred Heart Radio
      8012 Edgewood Rd
      Mentor, Ohio

      U.S.A.- West:
      Rise Christian Music Ministry
      PO Box 728
      Montrose, CA
      We are also excepting cash donations to help with postage and to purchase materials. You can send your donations to either address above (Make checks payable to Catholic Proud) or by clicking the donation button at our website. All donations are tax deductible as we are a Non Profit Organization (501c3)

      To support Bible Drive 2003 go to their website at:

      For additional information please write to Michelle Gersin -- email: michelle@...

      * * *


      Chapter One (Continued)

      Leclerq has given us the foundation of our understanding of “lectio” as an active reading in which the whole person participates both physically, mentally and spiritually. “In this way reading is very close to meditatio.” (20).

      The concept of meditation derived from the Latin word “meditari,” which, according to the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae, is rich in meaning having secular and sacred connotations and applications.

      “In secular usage, meditari means, in a general way, to think, to reflect, as does “cogitare or “considerare”; but more than these, it often implies an affinity with the practical or even moral order. It implies thinking of things with the intent to do it; in other words, to prepare oneself for it, to prefigure it in the mind, to desire it, in a way, to do it in advance, briefly, to practice it. The word is also applied to physical exercises and sports, to those of military life, of the school world, to rhetoric, poetry, music, and finally, to moral practices. To practice a thing by thinking of it, is to fix it in memory, to learn it.” (20).

      “Meditation” in Christian use, referring to lectio divina,” retains all these shades of meaning since the word entered into Western monasticism through St. Jerome’s Vulgate edition of the Bible. According to von Severus, et alia, the word meditation has taken on its Christian use through its use in the ancient texts of Sacred Scripture. (cf. Emmanuel von Severus, OSB, (1908-1998), “Das Wort “Meditari” im Sprachgebrauch der Heiligen Schrift,” Geist und Leben (1935): 365; Medard Kehl, SJ, “Zur Theologie des Meditationsgesprächs,” In: H. Schlier, E. von Severus, J. Sudbrack, A. Peireira (Hg.) Strukturen der christlichen Existenz, Festschrift für Friedrich Wulf SJ, (Würzburg 1968; Italian trans., Nuovi metodi meditazione, Roma, 1970 ): 205 –213; Emmanuel von Severus, “Wort Gottes – Menschenwort : Das biblische Element monastischer Spiritualität.” Analecta Cartusiana, (1983) 35/2).

      “There, it is used generally to translate the Hebrew hahgah, and like the latter, means, fundamentally, to learn the Torah and the words of the Sages, while pronouncing them usually in a low tone, in reciting them to oneself, in murmuring them with their mouth. This is what we call “learning by heart,” what ought rather to be called, according to the ancients, “learning by mouth” since the mouth “meditates wisdom;” Os justi meditabitur sapientiam. (Psalm 37: 30-31 “The mouth of the virtuous man murmurs wisdom”). (21).

      Jean Leclerq, O.S.B., The Love of Learning and the Desire For God. A Study of Monastic Culture. (NY: Fordham University Press, 1961, 1974) ISBN 0-8232-0406-5

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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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      Color Photograph of Mama Gili, Biography and Prayers

      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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      The Benedictine monks of Abbaye Saint-Joseph de Clairval mail a free monthly newsletter to anyone who requests it. Also free of charge are: the tract about the divinity of Jesus Christ; tract about the Truths of the Catholic Religion; scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, with explanatory notice; the promises of the Sacred Heart; the mysteries of the Rosary.

      Sample Newsletter

      Abbey of Saint-Joseph de Clairval


      Phone.: 03 80 96 22 31
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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."

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

      * * *

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