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Volume 5, Issue 15

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  • John N. Lupia
    ROMAN CATHOLIC NEWS Volume 5, Issue 15 TUESDAY 1 FEBRUARY 2005 Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time * * * WEAR THE BROWN SCAPULAR OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2005
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      Volume 5, Issue 15


      Tuesday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

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      * * *

      . Number of Catholics Rises by 15 Million
      . Letter to Priests on the Eucharist and Pastoral Care of Children

      * * *


      VATICAN CITY, FEB 1, 2005 (VIS) - Made public yesterday evening was John Paul II's message to the third Ordinary General Chapter of the Legion of Christ, which is being held in Rome.

      The Pope sent a special greeting to the organization's founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, and to Fr. Alvaro Corcuera, recently elected as director general of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and of the "Regnum Christi" movement.

      "You find yourselves facing a historic moment in the life of the institute," the Holy Father writes in his message. "A moment in which a new phase is beginning. For 64 years, it was your good fortune to advance under the guidance of your founder, and you grew and developed until reaching maturity. Now you must continue, guided by your new director general, although not without the support, paternal affection and experience of Father Maciel, who has declined a new period of governance. This obliges you faithfully to safeguard, practice and transmit the gifts you received from the Lord through him."

      John Paul tells the Legionaries of Christ that they are faced "with the task of developing the work which finds its inspiration in the founder. Such work seeks to distinguish itself by selfless service to the Church and by educating youth in solid human and Christian principles which, based on personal freedom and responsibility, contribute to their spiritual, social, and cultural maturity, in fidelity to the Magisterium and in full communion with the Pope."

      In closing, the Pope encourages the Legionaries "to continue radiating your spirituality and apostolic dynamism with its rich variety of works and its constant openness to new forms of _expression, in keeping with the most urgent needs of the Church in all times and places. Your contribution to the evangelizing mission of the Church will be truly fruitful if you are faithful to the charism of the institute and remain firmly united to the Rock of Peter."

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      VATICAN CITY, FEB 1, 2005 (VIS) - Made public today was a message from the Holy Father to Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and to participants in that dicastery's plenary assembly, which is currently examining certain questions concerning seminaries, ecclesiastical faculties and Catholic universities.

      John Paul II writes that "in the light of current social and cultural changes, it may sometimes prove useful for educators to avail themselves of the work of competent specialists in order to help seminarians understand the requirements of the priesthood more fully, recognizing celibacy as a gift of love to the Lord and to one's brothers. At the moment that young men are admitted to the seminary, their suitableness for living a celibate life must be carefully verified, so that, prior to ordination, they achieve a moral certainty concerning their emotive and sexual maturity."

      The Pope points out that, since science and technology are developing at great speed, ecclesiastical faculties and Catholic universities are called to "continual renewal," and, after highlighting the usefulness of interdisciplinary dialogue, he affirms how "the encounter with theology and with 'a philosophy of genuinely metaphysical range' is particularly fruitful."

      The Holy Father expresses the heartfelt desire for "the teaching of religion to be universally recognized and to have an adequate role in the educational syllabus of scholastic institutions."

      The Pope's message concludes with a mention of the "effective vocational work carried out by the Pontifical Work for Priestly Vocations," established by Pope Pius XII. On this matter, the Pope writes, "I feel the spiritual initiative undertaken by this organization during the year dedicated to the Eucharist is particularly appropriate: that of creating, by prayer vigils in all continents, a prayer chain linking Christian communities all over the world."

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      VATICAN CITY, FEB 1, 2005 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations, spoke yesterday in New York during an informal meeting of the plenary to discuss an exchange of views on the recommendations contained in the report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change.

      "The recommendations," he said, "clearly involve the streamlining and adaptation of the structure and working methods of this Organization. ... My delegation takes the floor, moved by the expectations that the Holy See in these last years has placed in the primary role of international law in promoting the peaceful coexistence and the well being of the world's peoples, and in the role of the United Nations as their guarantor and driving force."

      The archbishop remarked on the possible structural changes within the United Nations involving the Security Council and General Assembly, "the enhancement of the Secretariat as the principal interlocutor and the reform of ECOSOC through a slightly new lens, that of the linkage of development and security. My delegation finds the treatment of this last theme particularly interesting, because it applies not only to the relationship between conflict and poverty, but also to the causes of terrorism, the promotion of social rights and the struggle against poverty and unemployment as preventative measures."

      Archbishop Migliore said that the Holy See "welcomes the much needed efforts to find adequate criteria for Security Council membership and the updating of the U.N. electoral system."

      In closing, the nuncio spoke of Article 51 of the U.N. Charter on the right to self defense: "In this connection, my delegation would like to restate that legitimate defense must place particular focus on people and their safety. Every state has a responsibility to protect its own people but, when it is unable or unwilling to do so, that responsibility should be taken up by the wider international community. Many times, during recent conflicts, the Holy See has had occasion to repeat this conviction, when 'humanitarian intervention' was talked of as a kind of legitimate defense, and such an intervention was presented as an obligation on the international community in order to guarantee the survival of individuals and communities in the face of the action or inaction of a state or group of states."

      * * *


      VATICAN CITY, FEB 1, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father's general prayer intention for February is: "That the sick, and especially the poorest of them, may receive the care and medical treatment worthy of human beings."

      His mission intention is: "That all missionaries, both men and women, may grow in their recognition that it is only through a fervent love for Christ that the Gospel can be transmitted in an effective and convincing way."

      * * *


      VATICAN CITY, FEB 1, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the following declaration: "As expected, the flu-like symptoms affecting the Holy Father persist. As a consequence, his appointments for the coming days have been postponed. In particular, the general audience scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday February 2, will not take place."

      * * *

      Number of Catholics Rises by 15 Million
      Diocesan Priests Increase; Religious Decrease

      VATICAN CITY, JAN. 31, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The 2005 Pontifical Yearbook reveals that there are 1.086 billion Catholics in the world, 15 million more than last year.

      Half of all Catholics live in the Americas. The data of the volume -- presented today by the members of the Central Office of Church Statistics to John Paul II, despite his bout of flu -- give a statistical picture of Catholicism.

      "The number of baptized faithful has increased, from 1.071 billion in 2002 to 1.086 billion in the year 2003," explained a statement issued by the Vatican.

      "In Africa, an increase of 4.5% of the faithful has been recorded, in Europe there has been, practically speaking, a situation of stability. Note must be taken of significant increases in Asia (up 2.2%), Oceania (up 1.3%) and America (up 1.2%)," the Vatican note explained.

      "A reading of the data on the distribution of Catholics in the diverse geographical areas reveals that America embraces 49.8% of Catholics worldwide, while Europe has 25.8%. Lower percentages are found in Africa (13.2%), Asia (10.4%) and Oceania (0.8%)," it added.

      In 2003, the statement said, priests totaled "405,450, of whom 268,041 were members of the diocesan clergy and 137,409 of the religious clergy; in 2002 they numbered 405,058 divided in 267,334 diocesan priests and 137,724 religious priests.

      "The total number of priests in 2003 in relation to 2002 increased, therefore by 392 units, an increase of 707 in the diocesan clergy and a decrease of 315 in the religious."

      "Priestly ordinations were 9,317 in 2003 while in the previous year they were 9,247; in particular, dioceses went from 6,534 in 2002 to 6,582 in 2003, and religious [ordinations] from 2,713 to 2,735," it explained.

      The number of men who pursue vocations is decreasing, according to the study. "Seminarians registered in philosophy and theology seminars decreased from 112,643 in 2002 to 112,373 in 2003."

      The largest number of seminarians is found in the Americas: 37,191. Asia follows with 27,931, Europe with 24,387, Africa with 21,909 and Oceania with 955.

      In 2003, the Pope "established 10 new episcopal sees and one apostolic vicariate. Six metropolitan sees were constituted. He named 171 bishops in total."

      The Pontifical Yearbook, a volume of more than 2,100 pages, lists the names and essential information on all the bishops and dioceses of the Catholic Church. It also lists persons who work in organizations of the Holy See, religious congregations, and educational and ecclesiastical institutions.

      * * *

      Letter to Priests on the Eucharist and Pastoral Care of Children
      From Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, of Congregation for Clergy

      VATICAN CITY, JAN. 31, 2005 (Zenit.org).- In this letter addressed to priests, Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, reminds them of their duty to "care above all for children as the first beneficiaries" of the Eucharist. Here is the full text of the cardinal's letter.

      Vatican City State, 8 January 2005

      Dear brother priests,

      By means of this e-mail, I wish to address those of you who are connected with our website, www.clerus.org, which offers information for permanent/ongoing formation, thanks primarily to the international theological videoconferences organized by the Congregation for the Clergy, which have taken place for more than three years on specific themes of interest.

      During this time immediately following Christmas, I wish to express my gratitude to you parish priests, who in this special year of the Most Holy Eucharist are dedicated more and more to living and testifying to the Eucharistic mystery in your parishes.

      "Do this in memory of me," Jesus asks us. By the exercise of our ministry, we make His Body and His Blood sacramentally present each day on the altar. Therefore, we can proclaim: "the Word has been made flesh, and has dwelt among us" (John 1:14). The Christmas season is a time dedicated in a particular way to children. In fact, the incarnate God, Emmanuel, appears to us with the face of a baby. And, Jesus, as an adult, tells us that the way to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven is through the heart of a child: "if you do not become like little children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven" (Matthew 18:3).

      The Holy Father stressed the importance of children to the Church in his Angelus Address of January 6th, the Solemnity of the Epiphany: "Children are the present and future of the Church. They play an active role in the evangelization of the world and, with their prayers, help to save and improve it."

      In this year of the Eucharist, how can we not think in a special way about the first recipients of the catechetical message in our parishes: the children. We receive them first at the baptismal font accompanied by their family, and then we see them present in our parish, more frequently than before, as they participate in the course of catechism in preparation for First Holy Communion!

      Pope Saint Pius X, a great Pope canonized by the Church, dedicated no small attention and pastoral effort to children. On August 8, 1910, he issued the Decree "Quam Singulari," in which he established that children could receive First Holy Communion at the age of seven.

      Important to the pastoral care of children is allowing them to approach the eucharistic Communion, after they have received the necessary preparation in their parishes to learn the primary and fundamental elements of the Christian faith, without their having to wait unduly long. The age of discretion comes individually, around seven years, when common bread can be distinguished from the eucharistic bread, the true Body of Christ.

      Few are unconvinced, together with Pope Saint Pius X, that the praxis of allowing children First Holy Communion at the age of seven has brought great graces to the Church. The rest must not fail to remember that in the early Church, the Sacrament of the Eucharist was administered to babies immediately after baptism, under the species of a few drops of wine.

      To allow children to receive the Eucharistic Jesus as soon as possible has been for many centuries one of the strong points of the pastoral outreach to the smallest members of the Church. The custom re-established by Pope Saint Pius X in his time has been praised by his Successors, including our own Holy Father John Paul II. Canon 914 completely sets forth the Papal thought: "It is primarily the duty of parents and of those who take their place, as it is the duty of the parish priest, to ensure that children who have reached the use of reason are properly prepared and, having made their sacramental confession, are nourished by this divine food as soon as possible."

      The Holy Father has recently recalled the decision of Pope Saint Pius X in his recent book "Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way": "My predecessor Saint Pius X gave a touching testimony to his pastoral love for children by the changes he introduced regarding the reception of First Holy Communion. Not only did he lower the age for approaching the Eucharistic Table (I was able to take advantage of this in May, 1929), but he also introduced the possibility of receiving Communion before the age of seven, if the child demonstrates sufficient understanding. This pastoral decision to bring forward the reception of Holy Communion is most commendable. It as yielded rich fruits if holiness in children and in the apostolate among the young, in addition to a flowering of priestly vocations" (John Paul II, "Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way," Rome 2004, p. 103).

      We priests, called by God to the custody of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in union with our Bishops, can and must see children above all as the first recipients of the immense gift of the Eucharist, which God has placed in our fragile jars of clay, our consecrated hands.

      I believe that one of the greatest joys of a parish priest is to hear the First Confession of children and, afterwards, to give them First Holy Communion. It come spontaneously to my mind that the younger such children are, then greater is the likelihood of their more heartfelt and worthy welcoming of Christ in the Sacrament. In fact, the mind of the child, reaching the age in which it begins to reason -- and today this age is reached early -- is open and available to the acceptance of the divine light, that penetrates as far as possible the mystery of the love of God for man. Faith can raise us over reason, and this faith -- as we have often experienced it in our parishes -- is very much alive in the children that are able to express with prayer their closeness to the Lord sometimes better than ourselves.

      Therefore, we hope that the holy custom, of which we are reminded by all of the recent Popes, by which the Most Holy Eucharist is given to small children after they have made their First Confession, is more appreciated and assiduously implemented, particularly in this Year of the Eucharist. Let us unite ourselves in prayer so that "pastoral charity" will be the motivating force behind Parish Priests who are devoted to parish work, in union with their Bishops, and with families and educators of children, so that love for the Blessed Eucharist will be passed on to children of even the most tender years and that the desire to receive the Body of Christ will become the surest way to assure a future of peace and holiness, not only for individual members of the faithful but for the whole Christian community.

      United in prayer and in pastoral zeal, I remain most devotedly in Christ,

      Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos
      Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy

      * * *


      CHAPTER NINE: SOME DAYS . . .(91-101)

      Fr. Pennington has divided this chapter into four small vignettes, each containing a short narrative colored with illustrations to clarify and express an insight into the various experiences of lectio.

      The first vignette, unlike the other three, has no title of its own, but rather, is a perfect expression of the title of the chapter itself. As the title suggests "Some days . . . " are those we wish turned out better. Here Fr. Pennington addresses "those days" when we experience aridity in our lectio. During our daily lectio we find the reading is either dull or dry, or else it is we who are dull or dry. On "those days" we act like little children expecting a warm cuddely hug from mommy, but it seems, mommy does not show up. This is a classic sign and symptom of a very immature soul in the spiritual life who has not really advanced or progressed beyond the first baby steps of a beginner. God is eternally present everywhere simultaneously. It is not He who is absent, but rather, it is something within us that has caused our minds and hearts to not recognize or dull our awareness of His glorious presence. We forget we are made of flesh, fallen, broken flesh in a fallen, broken world. We expect every happy day to be uninterrupted. This can never be in this life. Here we are subject to the material elements and their physical forces. We too are changeable in many ways because we have not yet taken on the true characteristics of a solid rock, like Christ, unshakeable and unchanging.

      Now Fr. Pennington takes these notions and expresses them differently in his text by drawing an illustration from a memory in his childhood. He recalls a nearby brook that contained beautiful smooth stones that had been polished by the running water through a vast expanse of time. He recalls how he admired those stones and like a child is apt to do he lay in the cold water acting like one of those stones he so admired hoping to become smooth, clean and polished like them in order to bring out his inner color and beauty. That's quite an interesting thought for a child. But we are never unamazed at the thoughts of children.

      Fr. Pennington says that on his arid days he thinks back to his childhood wading and laying in the cool water of that brook and pictures himself like a stone being cleansed and smoothed by the water of the Word. This is an interesting mantra-like idea. A Mantra is a formula like this example Fr. Pennington gives us here, or a mantra is also a word with spiritual significance, like that teaching he gave us on Centering Prayer. Fr. Pennington draws from Eastern non-Christian forms of meditation and spirituality to enrich the Catholic tradition by incorporating valid thought that can enhance what has been passed onto us and allow contemporary people to appreciate the inner meaning of authentic Catholic teaching. Perhaps you can find your own mantra on arid days of lectio. Or, perhaps you may choose to accept the fact that God is present as he always is and use this opportunity to learn how changeable and vulnerable we are to such trivial matters that test our faith and endurance like the ship at sea blown and tossed about by the tempest and like the faithless and dull witted apostles kick and wake the sleeping Christ to save us like frightened little children.

      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
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      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)

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      Dolores Immacolata "Mama" Gili (1892-1985)


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      * * *


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