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Volume 4, Issue 221

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  • John N. Lupia
    ROMAN CATHOLIC NEWS Volume 4, Issue 221 TUESDAY 7 December 2004 Memorial of Saint Ambrose, bishop and doctor of the Church REMINDER: TOMORROW IS A HOLY DAY OF
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 6, 2004

      Volume 4, Issue 221

      TUESDAY 7 December 2004

      Memorial of Saint Ambrose, bishop and doctor of the Church


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      . Pope Exhorts Lithuanians to Shun a Hedonistic Lifestyle
      . Filipinos Get a Papal Word of Condolence
      . Scholars Turn Their Gaze on Holiness
      . Cardinal Husar Cites Role of Churches in Ukrainian Crisis
      . An Order With Special Ties to the Immaculate Conception
      . U.S. to Celebrate Day for Consecrated Life on Feb. 6
      . Article Points Up Japanese Interest in Church

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      Pope Exhorts Lithuanians to Shun a Hedonistic Lifestyle
      Receives Vilnius' New Ambassador to the Holy See

      VATICAN CITY, DEC. 6, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Fourteen years after proclaiming its independence from the Soviet Union, Lithuania was encouraged by John Paul II not to be content with a secular hedonistic model of life.

      The Pope referred to the current "cultural and social debate" on the country's Christian roots when he received the letters of credence today of Vilnius' new ambassador to the Holy See, Algirdas Saudargas.

      The ambassador, a scientist and mathematics professor, played an important role in Lithuania's independence and democratic transition. Three-quarters of Lithuania's 3.6 million inhabitants are Catholic.

      In his address, the Holy Father expressed the hope that "the representatives of Lithuanian citizens, continuing to draw upon the noble legacy of human and Gospel ideals that mark Lithuania's history, will commit themselves with a sincere spirit to building a free society on solid ethical and moral foundations."

      In particular, John Paul II exhorted Catholics "to collaborate with all persons of good will to see that Lithuanian society avoids being strongly influenced by the secular hedonistic model of life with its fallacious seductions."

      Aware that they cannot be content with combating the consequences of the evil, believers must be prepared to "walk side by side with all those who, through opportune legislation and balanced styles of conduct, promote the defense of the family and of life, from its conception to its natural end," said the Pope.

      He expressed his satisfaction over Lithuania's membership in the European Union since May 1, and added: "May the continent know how to find the ways and means to build peace and prosperity in a climate of fruitful collaboration, respecting cultures and the legitimate rights of everyone and pursuing the objective good of the person and of all of Europe, from the Atlantic to the Urals."

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      Filipinos Get a Papal Word of Condolence

      VATICAN CITY, DEC. 6, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II sent a message of sympathy to the Philippines after learning about the numerous victims left in recent days by deadly typhoons.

      In a telegram sent on the Pope's behalf by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano to Archbishop Fernando Capalla, president of the Philippine bishops' conference, the Holy Father expressed his spiritual closeness to the families of the deceased and to people involved in rescue operations.

      More than 1,400 have died or disappeared in the wake of last week's tropical storm Winnie and typhoon Nanmadol, according to a report issued today by the authorities.

      In statements on Vatican Radio, Archbishop Antonio Franco, apostolic nuncio in the Philippines, said it is still too early to give an accurate assessment of the human and material losses suffered. But he confirmed "that some villages have been totally devastated. People have lost everything."

      In the face of this situation, "international solidarity is beginning to mobilize and there is great participation by the whole country" in aid operations, he said.

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      Scholars Turn Their Gaze on Holiness
      A Day of Study on the "Roman Martyrology"

      VATICAN CITY, DEC. 6, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Holiness is not the privilege of a few, say conferees at a day of study on the latest edition of the "Roman Martyrology," the liturgical book of the saints.

      The day, organized by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, coincided with the 40th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council constitution on sacred liturgy, "Sacrosanctum Concilium."

      The meeting to study the Martyrology, which took place Saturday in the Palazzo della Cancelleria, gathered experts in liturgy, among others.

      The "Roman Martyrology" ("Martyrologium Romanum") includes the names of the 6,538 saints and blessed recognized officially by the Catholic Church. The volume offers a list of saints and blessed remembered on each day of the year. The new edition was presented Oct. 2, 2001.

      Attendees at the events included Cardinals Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, and José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Sainthood Causes, who spoke on the "Church and Holiness in the Light of the Recent Magisterium."

      The congress was given updated information on the saints and blessed proclaimed by John Paul II, totaling 483 saints and 1,345 blessed -- the most of any pontificate.

      To those who say that there are too many, Cardinal Saraiva Martins responds with the same words used by the Pope: "It is the Holy Spirit's fault."

      Cardinal Arinze explained that the purpose of the congress was to "encourage ever-more mature reflection on holiness both from a spiritual as well as an ecclesial point of view."

      Monsignor Piero Coda, a professor at the Lateran University, told ZENIT: "As John Paul II has said, holiness is not the privilege of a few, but a necessity of all Christians."

      "The saints are the fullness of humanity," the monsignor added. "They constitute the reserve of the intuitions that make attractive today the beauty of the Gospel and its transforming force in society."

      In his address on holiness as a theological state, Monsignor Coda said that the lives of saints are "a privileged path for the contemplation of the mystery of Christ and to illustrate it to the Church and the world."

      Father Robert Godding, a member of the Bollandists, an association of ecclesiastical scholars, gave an address on "The Critical Edition of the 'Roman Martyrology' by the Bollandists and Its History," in which he recalled that the latter have always been involved in a critical revision of the lives of the saints.

      Moreover, Maurizio Barba, an official of the organizing dicastery, spoke of the Martyrology as a "memory of the past and proposal for the future," in addition to saying that "the reading of the Martyrology is an incentive to imitate Christ" and to prepare oneself to "receive grace in the sacraments."

      Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, also described the "Martyrology," in connection with holiness, as "a liturgical book that looks to the past but projects toward the future."

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      Cardinal Husar Cites Role of Churches in Ukrainian Crisis
      Sees "Clashing World Visions" Behind Problems

      ROME, DEC. 6, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Lubomyr Husar emphasized the critical role played by Churches "in maintaining peaceful demonstrations in Ukraine's cities," amid the country's crisis.

      Moreover, the cooperation of the Churches was manifested in the signing of common documents, added the archbishop major of Lviv of the Ukrainians. A case in point was the open letter sent to President Leonid Kuchma to assume his duties.

      After a second round of elections Nov. 21, Ukraine has witnessed large post-electoral protests. Official data proclaimed the pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych the victor, but this was contested by those favoring his opponent, Viktor Yushchenko, who claimed election fraud.

      The Ukrainian prelate -- who is in Rome for a meeting with John Paul II, as well as Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano -- spoke about the Ukrainian situation to the press from the Church of St. Sofia.

      Cardinal Husar emphasized that his country's crisis "is the product of two clashing world visions as well as the selfish protection of personal interest on behalf of those who are currently in government."

      "Nevertheless, at the root of the crisis remains an immoral regime which has deprived Ukrainian people of their legitimate rights and dignity," the cardinal said as quoted on Monday by the Greek-Catholic Church.

      Yet, the crisis is not "without its positive aspects," he said. "In fact, for the first time since the fall of Communism people are affirming their civil rights."

      Various Christian churches and denominations "have been praying together in a way never seen before, notwithstanding religious, cultural, regional and linguistic differences," he observed.

      Cardinal Husar said that the "role of the Church has proved to be critical. The churches have been collaborating in signing common statements and have been the principal instrument involved in maintaining peaceful demonstrations in Ukraine's cities."

      Last Friday, after studying the accusations made by the opposition, Ukraine's Supreme Court annulled the second round of presidential elections because "falsifications were committed that make it impossible to determine the result."

      There will be a rerun of the elections to determine the country's choice between Yanukovych and Yushchenko. The Central Electoral Commission has called for a Dec. 26 runoff election.

      Protesters have stayed in the center of Kiev and other cities despite the snow and below-freezing temperatures. They succeeded in blocking government buildings but did not engage in violence, noted the Vatican's semiofficial newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.

      Most of Ukraine's 47 million inhabitants are Orthodox. About 13% of the people are Catholic, mostly of the Eastern rite.

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      An Order With Special Ties to the Immaculate Conception
      Conventual Franciscans Urged to Keep Spreading the Teaching

      ROME, DEC. 6, 2004 (Zenit.org).- A century and a half after the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, the Friars Minor Conventual are being urged to "spread this truth in men's hearts."

      This is the path indicated by the order's minister general, Father Joachim Giermek, in a letter to his brother Franciscans, dated Dec. 8, the 150th anniversary of the culmination of a process of close to 550 years of theological reflection and contemplation, in which the Friars Minor Conventual participated.

      This is why the dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception is part of the order's "history, tradition and identity," states the letter.

      The "filial love of the Franciscan family for the All Holy is inborn in the hearts of its members," as, when St. Francis of Assisi renounced his blood ties, he "discovered the maternity of Mary, who was given by Jesus on the Cross to John, his beloved disciple, in the name of all the redeemed," the letter said.

      For him, "Mary is first and foremost Mother because she gave us the Lord of majesty as a Brother."

      "And the sons of the Poverello, in those early times and ever since, have tried to emulate this filial love for Mary both in their personal lives and in the life of the fraternity," added Father Giermek. "They have likewise striven to spread that same love everywhere among the faithful and in the Church by the example of their lives, through their preaching and in the realm of theological thought."

      Witnesses of this are, among others, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Bonaventure, Alexander of Hales, William of Ware, Petrus Aureolus, John Duns Scotus, "who was the first to elaborate, in a definitive way, the doctrine of preventive redemption," points out the minister general of the Conventual Franciscans.

      In fact, "Scotus was the first to state that the immaculate conception of Mary is not an exception to the universality of Christ's redemption, but a case of a perfect and more efficacious salvific act of the one and only Mediator," he continued. The contributions of the order up to the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception were constant.

      The feast of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated in the order since 1263, was adopted officially by Rome, with its own Mass and liturgical office, by Pope Sixtus IV, himself a Conventual Franciscan. In 1477 he affirmed "that the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was consistent with the tenets of the Catholic faith."

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      U.S. to Celebrate Day for Consecrated Life on Feb. 6

      WASHINGTON, D.C., DEC. 6, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. celebration of the World Day for Consecrated Life will be held Sunday, Feb. 6, across the nation.

      The Vatican-sponsored event is marked on Feb. 2 in Rome. John Paul II instituted this annual event in 1997.

      Kits to assist parishes and dioceses in commemorating this event are available for purchase from the National Coalition for Church Vocations in Chicago.

      The kit includes a liturgy planning guide, music suggestions, general intercessions, prayer-card master, bulletin announcements and clip art.

      Kits are available in English and Spanish for $14 each, plus shipping and handling. Quantities of kits are available for purchase at discounted prices.

      Kits may not be duplicated for quantity distribution by a diocese, religious congregation, or other organization without the purchase of a bulk distribution permit from the National Coalition for Church Vocations.

      Information is available at www.nccv-vocations.org or via nccv400@....

      * * *

      Article Points Up Japanese Interest in Church

      TOKYO, DEC. 6, 2004 (Zenit.org).- A leading Japanese daily confirmed that Japanese interest in John Paul II and the Church of Rome is high.

      The long article in the prestigious, 6-million-circulation Asahi Shimbun is a sign of how much Japan's elites know and appreciate the universal Catholic Church for its unity and for the Pope's gestures, reported AsiaNews.

      The newspaper sees these gestures in political terms. According to the article, the Japanese see John Paul II's 104 international trips (for which he was nicknamed "the flying pope") as part of a wider diplomatic scheme designed to bring unity to the world's peoples and favor dialogue among religions.

      The Japanese daily points out that Russia and China do not appear on the list of the Pope's completed trips. It stresses that the trip to Russia remains close to the Pope's heart, to the extent that the he desires to achieve reconciliation with the Russian Orthodox Church, but wonders if he can make this visit, given his failing health.

      Only about 516,000 of Japan's 127 million inhabitants are Catholic.

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      1. Lectio Divina (continued)

      According to the ancient method Fr. Pennington presents after a solemn ritual of praying to the Holy Spirit and reading the first verse on our kneees we then sit to finish the reading, but first, "We then listen for a designated amount of time. We listen. We don't just read. The Lord is present, speaking to us." (34).

      Fr. Pennington continues to explain the quintessential nature of authentic prayer as dialogue. He illustrates his point with an illustration he once saw in a cartoon from his trip to Korea. The cartoon showed a very long flight of stairs with a man at the top step standing before a giant ear. Fr. Pennington suggests from his many years of pastoral experience that most people think of prayer as speaking to God as if it were a one way soliloquy rather than a dialogue. "This, I fear, is how many people think of prayer: ascending on high we pour out our troubles and our needs into the ear of God. I don't think anyone, even God, likes a one-way conversation." (34). However, we should be aware that God knows our worries, cares, and needs before we come to prayer. So Fr. Pennington wisely counsels "In lectio we have the wisdom not only to give God a chance to say something to us, but to let him speak first and give direction to our conversation." (ibid.).

      Fr. Pennington then points out that this method of lectio he presents requires from us to fix a set time for it. Rather than deciding to read a page or paragraph we should instead read, pray and listen for a fixed period of time. For if we choose the other way of a set quantity of text we tend to rush it focused on our reading rather than meditatively, recollectedly, and prayerfully reading/listening to God speaking to us through the text.

      Rev. M. Basil Pennington, OCSO, Lectio Divina. Renewing the Ancient
      Practice of Praying the Scriptures. (Crossroad, NY, 1998) ISBN 0-8245-
      1779-2 (hardcover); ISBN 0-8245-1736-9 (paperback).

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      3. Today's Lectionary Readings Text
      <http://www.nccbuscc.org/nab/120704.htm> (English)

      <http://www.alingilalyawmi.org> (Arabic)

      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,
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      * * *


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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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