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Volume 4, Issue 234

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  • John N. Lupia
    ROMAN CATHOLIC NEWS Volume 4, Issue 234 MONDAY 27 December 2004 Feast of Saint John, Apostle and evangelist * * * WEAR THE BROWN SCAPULAR OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 23, 2004

      Volume 4, Issue 234

      MONDAY 27 December 2004

      Feast of Saint John, Apostle and evangelist

      * * *


      * * *

      . Christmas Message of John Paul II
      . Pope's Christmas Eve Homily
      . Fulton Sheen's Eucharistic Attraction
      . "A Future of Peace"
      . Pilgrims Visit Bethlehem on Christmas Eve
      . Editor's Note

      * * *

      Christmas Message of John Paul II
      "Everywhere Peace Is Needed"

      VATICAN CITY, DEC. 25, 2004 (ZENIT.org).- Here is a translation of the Christmas message given by John Paul II at midday in St. Peter's Square before he imparted his traditional blessing to Rome and the world.

      1. "Christus natus est nobis, venite, adoremus!" Christ is born for us: come, let us adore him! On this solemn day we come to you, tender Babe of Bethlehem. By your birth you have hidden your divinity in order to share our frail human nature. In the light of faith, we acknowledge you as true God, made man out of love for us. You alone are the Redeemer of mankind!

      2. Before the crib where you lie helpless, let there be an end to the spread of violence in its many forms, the source of untold suffering; let there be an end to the numerous situations of unrest which risk degenerating into open conflict; let there arise a firm will to seek peaceful solutions, respectful of the legitimate aspirations of individuals and peoples.

      3. Babe of Bethlehem, Prophet of peace, encourage attempts to promote dialogue and reconciliation, sustain the efforts to build peace, which hesitantly, yet not without hope, are being made to bring about a more tranquil present and future for so many of our brothers and sisters in the world. I think of Africa, of the tragedy of Darfur in Sudan, of Côte d'Ivoire and of the Great Lakes Region. With great apprehension I follow the situation in Iraq. And how can I fail to look with anxious concern, but also invincible confidence, towards that Land of which you are a son?

      4. Everywhere peace is needed! You, Prince of true peace, help us to understand that the only way to build peace is to flee in horror from evil, and to pursue goodness with courage and perseverance. Men and women of good will, of every people on the earth, come with trust to the crib of the Savior! "He who bestows the Kingdom of heaven does not take away human kingdoms" (cf. Hymn for Vespers of Epiphany). Hasten to meet him; he comes to teach us the way of truth, peace and love.

      * * *

      Pope's Christmas Eve Homily
      "Living Bread From Heaven, for Our Salvation"

      VATICAN CITY, DEC. 25, 2004 (ZENIT.org).- Here is a translation of the homily John Paul II gave at the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass in St. Peter's Basilica.

      1. "Adoro te devote, latens Deitas." "Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore." On this Night, the opening words of this celebrated Eucharistic hymn echo in my heart. These words accompany me daily in this year dedicated to the Eucharist. In the Son of the Virgin, "wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger" (Luke 2:12), we acknowledge and adore "the Bread which came down from heaven" (John 6:41, 51), the Redeemer who came among us in order to bring life to the world.

      2. Bethlehem! The city where Jesus was born in fulfillment of the Scriptures, in Hebrew means "house of bread." It was there that the Messiah was to be born, the One who would say of himself: "I am the bread of life" (John 6:35,48). In Bethlehem was born the One who, under the sign of broken bread, would leave us the memorial of his Pasch. On this Holy Night, adoration of the Child Jesus becomes Eucharistic adoration.

      3. We adore you, Lord, truly present in the Sacrament of the Altar, the living Bread which gives life to humanity. We acknowledge you as our one God, a little Child lying helpless in the manger! "In the fullness of time, you became a man among men, to unite the end to the beginning, that is, man to God" (cf. St. Irenaeus, "Adversus Haereses," IV, 20, 4). You are born on this Night, our divine Redeemer, and, in our journey along the paths of time, you become for us the food of eternal life.

      Look upon us, eternal Son of God, who took flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary! All humanity, with its burden of trials and troubles, stands in need of you. Stay with us, living Bread which came down from heaven for our salvation! Stay with us forever! Amen!

      * * *

      Fulton Sheen's Eucharistic Attraction
      Interest in His Cause, and His Work, Still Runs High

      NEW YORK, DEC. 25, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Archbishop Fulton Sheen has been gone for a quarter century, but certainly not forgotten.

      On Dec. 9, family, friends and admirers of the Illinois-born archbishop gathered at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York for a Mass marking the 25th anniversary of his death. Archbishop Sheen is buried in the crypt of the cathedral.

      The archbishop, who died in 1979 at age 84, was a pioneer in using television to educate, inspire and convert. His cause for canonization is under way.

      The vice postulator for Sheen's cause, Father Andrew Apostoli, told ZENIT that the archbishop's message is still as relevant today -- and that includes his reflections on the Christmas season.

      "Firstly, in his beautiful book, 'Life of Christ,' the archbishop starts by setting Jesus apart from all other religious leaders by saying that he was the only person in all of history ever pre-announced ... prepared for and awaited," Father Apostoli said.

      The priest, who was ordained by Sheen, remembered that the archbishop linked Christ's birth directly to the Eucharist.

      "As he said, Mary was the first tabernacle who carried Christ within her and gave birth to the One who would say, 'I am the living bread come down from heaven,'" the vice postulator said.

      "In order to be our food and drink, Jesus had to become flesh and blood, and it was our Blessed Mother who provided this for him," Father Apostoli said. "So he saw the incarnation as the basis of the Lord's Eucharistic presence."

      The priest thinks that Archbishop Sheen would have been delighted over this Year of the Eucharist proclaimed by John Paul II.

      "He truly loved and promoted the Eucharist and used to say that all his inspiration for his preaching and writing sprang directly from what he described as his daily 'hour of power' -- an hour in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament per day, despite his very heavy schedule," Father Apostoli said.

      Known for his ability to keep television and radio audiences captivated by his dynamic presentation, Sheen had been told by his teachers that there was no hope for him as a public speaker.

      "When people used to praise him for his abilities, he would answer that he had absolutely no talent as a speaker," Father Apostoli explained. "He'd say: 'All my insight and power of words come from the Blessed Sacrament.' And it was before the holy Eucharist where he would faithfully prepare his talks."

      There's a great revival of interest in Sheen's books and tapes today, even for those who were not alive when he was broadcasting.

      Father Apostoli said that that is because "Sheen drew his inspiration from Jesus in the Sacrament; and as we know, what comes from Jesus has a perennial power to attract."

      The priest told the story of a U.S. soldier, a Catholic, in Turkey who asked his unit's Protestant chaplain for something inspirational.

      The chaplain responded: "The only thing that the Catholic priest left behind were these set of audiotapes of Fulton Sheen."

      "The young man has since told me that after listening to those tapes, he couldn't get enough of Sheen's works!" Father Apostoli said.

      Drawing inspiration from this story, the president of the Archbishop Sheen Foundation, Alan Napleton, told ZENIT of the group's new project to promote both interest and funds for the cause of canonization.

      "We are currently republishing one of Archbishop Sheen's prayer books written during WWII called 'The Armor of God,' and are aiming, through this new campaign, to send them over to our men and women in the military around the world," Napleton said. "We've already sent over 500 to Iraq alone."


      * * *

      "A Future of Peace"
      by Brother Roger, Taizé Community

      "God has plans for a future of peace for you, not of misfortune; God wants to give you a future and a hope."1

      Today, a great many people are longing for a future of peace, for humanity to be freed from threats of violence.

      If some are gripped by worry about the future and find themselves at a standstill, there are also young people all over the world who are inventive and creative.

      These young people do not let themselves be caught up in a spiral of gloom. They know that God did not create us to be passive. For them, life is not subject to a blind destiny. They are aware that skepticism and discouragement have the power to paralyze human beings.

      And so they are searching, with their whole soul, to prepare a future of peace and not of misfortune. More than they realize, they are already making of their lives a light that shines around them.

      Some are bearers of peace and trust in situations of crisis and conflict. They keep going even when trials or failures weigh heavily on their shoulders.2

      On some summer evenings in Taizé, under a sky laden with stars, we can hear the young people through our open windows. We are constantly astonished that there are so many of them. They search; they pray. And we say to ourselves: Their aspirations to peace and trust are like these stars, points of lights that shine in the night.

      We live at a time when many people are asking: What is faith? Faith is a simple trust in God, an indispensable surge of trusting undertaken countless times over in the course of our life.

      All of us can have doubts. They are nothing to worry about. Our deepest desire is to listen to Christ who whispers in our hearts, "Do you have hesitations? Don't worry; the Holy Spirit remains with you always."3

      Some, to their surprise, have made this discovery: God's love can come to fulfillment even in a heart touched by doubts.4

      One of the first things Christ says in the Gospel is this: "Happy the simple-hearted!"5 Yes, happy those who head towards simplicity, simplicity of heart and simplicity of life.

      A simple heart attempts to live in the present moment, to welcome each day as God's today.

      Does not the spirit of simplicity shine out in serene joy, and also in cheerfulness?

      A simple heart does not claim to understand everything about faith on its own. It says to itself, "Others understand better what I have trouble grasping and they help me to continue on my way."6

      Simplifying our life enables us to share with the least fortunate, in order to alleviate suffering where there is disease, poverty, famine ...7

      Our personal prayer is also simple. Do we think that many words are needed in order to pray?8 No. A few words, even inept ones, are enough to entrust everything to God, our fears as well as our hopes.

      By surrendering ourselves to the Holy Spirit, we will find the way that leads from worry to confident trust.9 And we tell him:

      "Holy Spirit, enable us
      to turn to you at every moment.
      So often we forget that you dwell within us,
      that you pray in us, that you love in us.
      Your presence in us is trust
      and constant forgiveness."

      Yes, the Holy Spirit kindles a glimmer of light within us. However faint it may be, it awakens in our hearts the desire for God. And the simple desire for God is already prayer. Prayer does not make us less involved in the world. On the contrary, nothing is more responsible than to pray. The more we make our own a prayer which is simple and humble, the more we are led to love and to express it with our life.

      Where can we find the simplicity indispensable for living out the Gospel? Some words of Christ enlighten us. One day he said to his disciples, "Let the little children come to me; the realities of God are for those who are like them."10

      Who can express adequately what some children can communicate by their trusting?11

      And so we would like to say to God: "God, you love us: turn us into people who are humble; give us great simplicity in our prayer, in human relationships, in welcoming others ..."

      Jesus, the Christ, came to earth not to condemn anyone but to open paths of communion for human beings.

      For 2,000 years Christ has been present through the Holy Spirit,12 and his mysterious presence is made tangible in a visible communion13 that brings together women, men and young people who are called to go forward together, without separating from one another.14

      And yet throughout their history Christians have experienced many upheavals: Separations have arisen between those who nonetheless professed faith in the same God of love.

      Re-establishing communion is urgent today; it cannot continually be put off until later, until the end of time.15 Will we do all we can for Christians to wake up to the spirit of communion?16

      There are Christians who, without waiting, are already in communion with one another in the places where they live, quite humbly, quite simply.17

      Through their own life, they would like to make Christ present for many others. They know that the Church does not exist for itself but for the world, to place within it a ferment of peace.

      "Communion" is one of the most beautiful names of the Church. In it, there can be no harsh words exchanged but only transparency, heartfelt kindness, compassion ... and the gates of holiness swing open.

      The Gospel lets us discover this surprising reality: God creates neither fear nor worry. All God can do is love us.

      By the presence of the Holy Spirit, God comes to transfigure our hearts.

      And in a simple prayer, we can sense that we are never alone: The Holy Spirit sustains in us a communion with God, not just for a fleeting moment but right on into the life which never ends.


      1 These words were written 600 years before Christ. See Jeremiah 29:11 and 31:17.

      2 This year when 10 new countries have joined the European Union, many young Europeans are aware that they live on a continent which, after having suffered from divisions and conflicts for many years, is now searching for unity and moving forward on the road of peace. Tensions remain, of course, as well as forms of injustice and even violence, which awaken doubts. The important thing is not to stop ahead of time: The search for peace lies at the very foundation of the building up of Europe. But this would be of no interest if its only purpose were to create a stronger, richer continent, and if Europe succumbed to the temptation to withdraw within its own borders. Europe becomes fully itself when it is open to other continents, in solidarity with poor nations. Its construction has meaning when it is seen as a step forward in the service of peace for the entire human family. That is why, if our meeting at the end of the year is called "a European meeting," we prefer to view it as a "pilgrimage of trust on earth."

      3 See John 14:16-18,27. God exists independently of our faith or our doubts. When there is doubt within us, that does not mean that God has left us.

      4 One day Dostoyevsky wrote in his Notebook: "I am a child of doubt and unbelief. What terrible suffering it has cost me and still costs me, this longing to believe, which is so much the stronger in my soul as more arguments against it rise up within me. ... My 'hosanna' has passed through the crucible of doubt." And yet Dostoyevsky could also write: "There is nothing more beautiful, more profound and more perfect than Christ. Not only is there nothing, but there can be nothing." When that man of God suggests that the nonbeliever co-exists in him with the believer, his passionate love for Christ still remains undiminished.

      5 Matthew 5:3.

      6 Even if our trust remains fragile, we do not rely only on our own faith but on the trust of all those who have gone before us as well as those who are around us.

      7 The U.N. World Food Program recently published a map of world hunger. Despite the progress accomplished in the last few years, 840 million people suffer from hunger, including 180 million children under the age of 5.

      8 See Matthew 6:7-8

      9 This road of surrender can be sustained by simple songs, sung over and over again, such as this one: "My soul finds rest and peace in God alone." While we work or when we rest, these songs keep echoing within our hearts.

      10 Matthew 19:14

      11 A 9-year-old boy who came to pray with us for a week said to me one day, "My father left us. I never see him, but I still love him and at night I pray for him."

      12 See 1 Peter 3:18; Romans 1:4; 1 Timothy 3:16.

      13 That communion is called the Church. In the heart of God, the Church is one; it cannot be divided.

      14 The closer we come to the Gospel, the closer we come to one another. And the separations that tear us apart draw to an end.

      15 Christ calls us to be reconciled without delay. We cannot forget his words in the Gospel according to St. Matthew: "When you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, first go and be reconciled" (5:23-24). "First go" not "Put it off till later."

      16 In Damascus, in the Middle East beset by trials, there lives the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Antioch, Ignatius IV. He has written these striking words: "The ecumenical movement is going backwards. What remains of the prophetic event of the early days incarnated in figures like Pope John XXIII and Patriarch Athenagoras? Our divisions make Christ unrecognizable; they are contrary to his will to see us be one 'so that the world may believe.' We have an urgent need for prophetic initiatives in order to bring ecumenism out of the twists and turns in which I fear it is getting stuck. We have an urgent need for prophets and saints to help our Churches to be converted by mutual forgiveness."

      17 During his visit to Taizé on Oct. 5, 1986, Pope John Paul II suggested a path to communion by saying to our community: "By desiring to be yourselves a 'parable of community,' you will help all whom you meet to be faithful to their denominational ties, the fruit of their education and their choice in conscience, but also to enter more and more deeply into the mystery of communion that the Church is in God's plan."

      * * *

      Pilgrims Visit Bethlehem on Christmas Eve

      BETHLEHEM, West Bank, DEC. 25, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Several thousand pilgrims flocked to the traditional birthplace of Jesus on Christmas Eve -- crowds that were bigger than in the past few years.

      Christian worshippers made their way to Manger Square, next to the Church of the Nativity, on Friday. Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem celebrated Midnight Mass in the adjacent St. Catherine's Church. Hundreds of people packed the church, the Associated Press reported.

      With interim Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and other dignitaries in attendance, Patriarch Sabbah called on Israelis and Palestinians to put the violence of the past behind them, AP said.

      * * *

      Editor's Note

      I hope that all experienced the joy of Jesus' birth with their family and friends this past Christmas day. I hope each and everyone of you a Happy and Successful New Year. Roman Catholic News will resume publication on Friday, 7 January on my return from Costa del Sol, Spain.

      * * *



      4. Contemplatio

      Fr. Pennington explains the meaning of contemplation from natural examples. He illustrates this point drawn from memory when he was four years old. He tells us that as an adult reflecting back on one summer's evening while sitting on the top step on his grandparent's farm he learned the meaning of contemplation. After supper his granparents sat on the porch swing "And we would just sit there in silence. I felt so wonderful! It was only years later that I realized what was happening. This man and woman, who had been together for so many decades, had no need to say anything. It had all been said. They just sat together in love. And that love embraced the little grandson on the top step." (65)

      He then explains the essential meaning of contemplation as "to abide with God within his temple." The etymology of the Latin word contemplatio literally means "to abide within the temple". Ancient Roman priests used to observe the flight of birds flying through the temple to discern the will of the gods. In the New Covenant we are the temple of God. In lectio we listen to the Word of God, in meditatio we allow that Word to reverberate within us, in oratio the soul is brought to a response to that Word, and we rest with the Word of God in contemplatio.

      "But", Fr. Pennington tells us, "any particular meeting with the Lord in lectio might not be so abundantly blessed, and we will, after listening, have to choose a word to take with us, allowing this word to be present as we go on about our daily responsibilities (meditatio).This word will, by God's presence and grace, again and again in the course of the day, illumine what we are encountering and call forth a response to the Divine Presence (oratio). And there will also be times when we will let everything else go and just sit quietly in Centering Prayer (contemplatio). Thus the process is spread out over the course of the day." (66).

      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/122704.htm> (English)

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

      Biblica Online

      * * *




      Monks of Adoration:

      * * *

      5. Polish Rosary Hour by the Conventual Franciscans

      * * *



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

      Thomas a Kempis, De Imitatione Christi. Latin Text Online

      * * *


      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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