Keep your eyes open!...


January 31, 2004


(Phi 4:6-7) Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


May this email find you and your families safe, and at peace. Even though the personal attacks continue on many members, there have also been reports of miracles within these occurrences of darkness. We are being prepared within, and strengthened every day in our spirits. It really hurts sometimes, and it can be very scary as well. But the Lord Jesus has called our names, and we have answered. By praying for others we have stepped up to claim our place alongside Jesus on the battle Field. Keep it going.

Our numbers this week are:

Prayer Warriors: 13,228
Prayer Groups: 70
Prayer Posts: 11,545
Prayer Requests and Praise Reports: 52,791

The Divine Mercy Chaplet continues for you as you pray for others. And continue to cleanse your families and your homes. Stay safe beneath the wings of the Holy Spirit.

We do our part, the Holy Spirit does the rest.

In His Service, Pegeen Moderator/ Prayer Request Line


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EDITOR'S NOTE:  It has been Trib Times policy for several years not to post messages from visionaries.  The signs of the times are all around for those who watch with a prayerful heart.  Yet I feel compelled to report the uniformity of calls for intense prayer in recent messages that have been brought to my attention.

An example: "I cannot convey adequately the seriousness of these words. I IMPLORE you all, my brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ to pull out ALL the stops and PRAY AS YOU HAVE NOT PRAYED BEFORE. Remember that prayer can LESSEN AND MITIGATE PUNISHMENTS AND SAVE SOULS!"

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

37. As by nature we cannot live without food, so up to the very moment of death we cannot, even for a second, give way to negligence.

January 29/30, 2004

(Matt 11:28) Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.


VIA Carolyn: I volunteer in post-abortion work for our diocese. I coordinate Rachel's Vineyard Retreats (written by Dr. Theresa Burke and Barbara Cullen) and the Rachel Network "Evening of Prayer for Healing after Abortion" (written by Dr. Martha Shuping of Winston-Salem).

Theresa wrote a book that is absolutely incredible. It is Forbidden Grief (Dr. Theresa Burke with Dr. David Reardon) I thought that perhaps you might want to bring this book to the attention of your elist at some time.

The retreats are unique in the field of post abortion healing. People can work through immeasurable amounts of pain, grief and anger to healing in a weekend setting, where they can concentrate on all issues in a safe group setting. With the RV retreat they don't have to open their wounds every week and then go home and deal with every day life as if nothing was troubling them for 8-12 weeks as with weekly programs (although weekly programs absolutely works for many). The Rachel Network (Dr. Martha Shuping: [email protected]) "Evening of Prayer for Healing after Abortion" is unique also in that it reaches to people is an anonymous setting (darkened church, no sign-up, no sign-in, etc.) in an evening. Sometimes it is a stepping stone for the retreats or one on one counseling. For some, it is the opportunity to the sacrament of Confession for the first time since the abortion (we have had people who attended who had not confessed in 20 plus years), and sometimes it is a place to grieve and memorialize a child for grandparents or siblings. We are extremely happy to use this format. Unfortunately it is not used very much because it isn't well known. I know God can do wonders for healing the hurts, once the wounded receives the sacrament of Confession and often the sacrament of Healing.

VIA Doc Degnan: Even more common and unknown to most people is that hormonal contraceptives and IUD's act, in part, by preventing implantation of the pregnancy in the uterus. It is stated on the "package insert" that comes with the medicine (unless removed by the pharmacy) and is available in the "PDR"; the standard reference of drugs for physicians and available in libraries. Although the true percent is unknown (no drug company really wants to know the truth) it clearly means that for those who use hormonal contraception and IUD's; they are actually aborting their unborn children on a regular basis. I am a OB/GYN who stopped practicing because when I researched and realized this, couldn't continue, knowing the truth.

I used to lecture for drug companies on hormonal contraceptives and they will admit this information about the drug but, without any research basis, say it is "rare", "unlikely" and that "that is not how they work". After extensive research however, I conclude that this is a major way in which they "prevent pregnancy". At the very least, even according to the description provided with the drug, this is one of the ways in which it works. Since we are not taught this in medical school or residency most Doctors don't know this. The tragic and sad part is that ALL artificial contraception is a mortal sin according to our Faith; regardless of what some liberal priests will say.

RELATED NEWSTORY: FDA Recommends Pregnancy Prevention Pill be Sold without Prescription


Mexican Church attacks pill use
New Research Shows Dangers of Condoms in HIV Prevention
Bishops, Brazilian government at odds over free condoms

SHOCKING!: Catholic Charity Addresses Birthrate Problems

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article shows that the evil of abortion has infected our brothers in the Russian Orthodox Church as well.  Remember that 55 percent of citizens of the Russian Federation consider themselves Orthodox Christians.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

36. As it is impossible to destroy a wild beast without a weapon, so without humility it is impossible to obtain freedom from anger.

January 28, 2004

(Eze 23:37-39) For they have committed adultery, and blood is upon their hands; with their idols they have committed adultery; and they have even offered up to them for food the sons whom they had borne to me. Moreover this they have done to me: they have defiled my sanctuary on the same day and profaned my sabbaths. For when they had slaughtered their children in sacrifice to their idols, on the same day they came into my sanctuary to profane it. And lo, this is what they did in my house.

Catholics have abortions:

* Catholic women in the United States are as likely as women in the general population to have an abortion, and 29% more likely than Protestant women.

* Catholic countries, even where abortion is illegal, have high levels of abortions:

* In Brazil, the estimated number of abortions ranges from 1 million to 2 million per year.

* In Argentina, the federal government estimates that 365,000 abortions are performed each year.

* In Colombia, there are 300,000 to 400,000 abortions per year.

* In Peru, 5% of women of childbearing age have abortions each year, compared to 3% in the United States.

SEE ALSO: Facts in brief- Induced Abortion

FROM In the Catholic fold, the top leadership (Pope John Paul II) has been right on target, while middle management (Chancery offices of the Bishops, priests and their staff) has been very divided. In the Catholic fold, many in the pews are hungry for definitive preaching on the sanctity of human life but seldom receive it. The result has been a watering down of a broad spectrum of traditional moral values and, with this, the acceptance of some political candidates who have totally disqualified themselves from holding public office.

On the positive side, we see Father Frank Pavone, head of Priests for Life, who indefatigably is traveling the country speaking to clergy conferences on this issue. We also see a slow and steady replacement of liberal bishops by more orthodox ones since the advent of Pope John Paul II to the papacy. There are, of course, many priests who do realize the primacy of abortion, who do preach on it and on other moral issues. The problem is, they are a small minority. Certainly on the positive side, we see vast numbers of faithful Catholics who, in spite of the lack of nourishment on this from their clergy, still lead very moral lives and use their time and effort in their communities to try to do everything possible to stop the plague of abortion and of the other moral debaucheries so pervasive in our time. Is this author concerned about this situation? Yes. Frustrated? Yes. Hopeful? Yes.

FROM The Catholic Abortion Paradox:  In recent years, the church has begun a concerted effort to reach out to women who have terminated their pregnancies and are experiencing sadness or regret. The program, Project Rachel, is the church’s most active effort to date to speak sympathetically to Catholic women who have faced abortion, and it may also turn out to be the church’s most effective way of deterring future abortions--or at least persuading women that there are real alternatives.

RELATED: The Catholic Understanding of the Fundamental Right to Life

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

35. As one spark has frequently set fire to much wood, so it has been found that one good dead can wipe out a multitude of great sins (cf. James 3:5; 5:20).

January 27, 2004


( - In an interview with following the Vigil for Life Mass in Washington last Wednesday, Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley expressed his great desire for a renewal of faith among Catholics. Asked about the problem of Catholic politicians promoting abortion, the Archbishop noted that the problem "is not only politicians but those (Catholics) who vote for them." He stressed repeatedly the "great need for adult catechesis among our people."

"These politicians should know that if they're not voting correctly on these life issues that they shouldn't dare come to communion," the Archbishop told

Archbishop O'Malley noted that beyond pro-abortion politicians, that reception of Holy Communion by those not in a state of grace is sadly commonplace. "I think it's in the context of a greater problem - Catholics feel that everyone is entitled to go to communion all the time. That has to be addressed. You know if a (pro-abortion) politician asked me I would say you shouldn't go to communion, I wouldn't go to communion. They don't understand why." He explained, "At a funeral sometimes they will announce that communion is for Catholics and people get all offended, so we've lost the notion of the sacredness of communion and the kind of disposition we need to have."

Aside from his stressing the "great need" for adult catechesis, the Boston Archbishop said the solution lies in holiness. Catholics must "be willing to live their faith heroically, the testimony of holiness is the only thing that's going to be able to convince people. Mother Teresa could speak about life issues in a way, because of the ethos of her life, that was much more powerful than the most eloquent preacher or teacher. We have to live our faith very deeply in order to draw people."

COMMENTARY: You Can’t Be Catholic and Pro-Abortion

RELATED: Raymond Burke is installed as Archbishop of  St. Louis

ALSO IN THE NEWS: South Dakota Legislator and Law Center Join Forces to Make Abortion a Crime - Direct Attack on Roe v. Wade

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

34. As fire does not give birth to snow, so those who seek honour here will not enjoy it there (in Heaven).

January 23, 2004


(Rev 6:12-14) When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale; the sky vanished like a scroll that is rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.


The Bible tells of earthquakes splitting open the hills of this holy city with apocalyptic fury, adding to the mayhem of battles and punctuating Jesus' crucifixion.

Now, a geological survey says the heart of biblical narrative - Jerusalem's walled Old City - would be among the worst-hit parts of the city in the event of another earthquake because it rests on layers of debris, not solid rock.

A natural disaster in the Old City could also bring devastating political aftershocks because it is the fiery heart of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

The three-year study, conducted by the Geological Survey of Israel and released last week, found that the Old City is more at risk than modern neighborhoods because of its ancient construction and the underground layers of shifting debris left behind by ransacking armies, said Amos Bein, the center's director. Most at risk, the report says, is the Old City and the 11-acre elevated plaza housing two major mosques, including the gold-capped Dome of the Rock.

The site is known to Muslims as the Al Aqsa Mosque compound and to Jews as the Temple Mount - once home to the biblical Temples. Jews pray at one of the compound's outer walls, a remnant of the Temple complex - the Western Wall.

Israeli scientists have warned that another major earthquake appears likely to strike the Holy Land in the next 50 years.


Minor earthquake hits southern NH
Earthquake rattles Beijing
Earthquake in Slovenská Lupca
Death toll from Bam quake nears 45,000
Earthquake shakes Yellowstone
Quakes shake up Valley again
Earthquake jolts southeast Iran

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

33. Just as thieves will not attack a place where they see royal weapons stacked, so he who has united his heart to prayer will not lightly be raided by spiritual thieves.

January 22, 2004

(Mat 26:26) Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is my body."


The new chapel is the one perfect room in the newly remodeled community center of St. Joseph Catholic Church/Bread of Life Community. Bishop Donald W. Trautman will bless the former school building and chapel Jan. 25. One month later, on Ash Wednesday, the chapel's true mission will begin.

That mission is to serve as the only site in the 13-county Catholic Diocese of Erie for perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, a consecrated Host will be displayed in a sunburst-style golden holder called a monstrance. At least two people will pray in the chapel with the host at all times.

This has been the dream of the Rev. Larry Richards, 43, throughout his priesthood. Many Bread of Lifers have shared that dream since the community began about 14 years ago.

We're ecstatic," cheered Richards, who is well known for his energy and his hugging. "The most important thing anyone can ever do in a parish is pray, and we're going for it. ... This is the center of it all."

Erie Bishop Trautman, who approved a three-month trial period for the adoration, "is fully supportive of any effort to learn more about the Eucharist and have this grace-filled experience," McSweeney said. "It's important for the life of the church to worship 'the Eucharistic face of Christ,' as the Holy Father calls it. Bishop Trautman is following the Holy Father's own enthusiasm for this."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Do you happen to know of any abandoned catholic colleges, seminaries, schools or such somewhere in the Central, Midwest USA that are available to purchase? Let me know by email and I'll pass the information on to an interested party.


Father Steve Angi doesn't aspire to be a bishop, or a cardinal, or the pope. The Holy Family Church pastor says he just wants to be a simple, ordinary Christian.

He seems to have the "Christian" and the "simple" parts down pat. But it seems certain no one will ever call him "ordinary."

Xavier University has already singled out the East Price Hill pastor for extraordinary praise. The school plans to honor him Wednesday as Cincinnati's outstanding clergyman of 2003.

Angi's dedication to the pastoral care of the dying, abused, mentally ill and troubled youth prompted the honor, as well as his missionary work in China.


Vatican names Mother Marianne venerable
Proposal to beatify convert stirs controversy
Pope to beatify last Austrian emperor

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

32. As mere hearsay does not provoke violent desire to taste what the eye has not seen, so those who are chaste in body get great relief through their ignorance.

January 21, 2004

(Rev 3:15-16)  "'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.


FROM John Kerry believes that women have the right to control their own bodies, their own lives, and their own destinies. He believes that the Constitution protects their right to choose and to make their own decisions in consultation with their doctor, their conscience, and their God. He will defend this right as President. He recently announced he will support only pro-choice judges to the Supreme Court. Kerry also believes that we should promote family planning and health plans should assure women contraceptive coverage.

EXCERPT FROM "Iowa sends a warrior to next battle": While a number of those who caucused for Kerry were members of the Sisters of St. Francis religious order, which is headquartered on this heavily Catholic city's north side, the reality was that support for the Massachusetts senator ran broad and deep in the working class neighborhood.

In that sense, Precinct 13 in this city, 90 miles southwest of Madison, proved to be a microcosm for all of Iowa, where Kerry scored a major victory in Monday night's first-in-the-nation caucus voting.

RELATED: 2004 Presidential Campaign: Will The Real Catholic Please Stand Up!

EXCERPT FROM ST. LOUIS TODAY ARTICLE: The spiritual leader of Kerry and Kennedy, Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston, has individually told Catholic elected officials who are pro-abortion rights that they should not be receiving communion and should refrain "on their own volition."

O'Malley went public with his directions last July after Massachusetts state representative Shirley Gome told the Boston Globe that the archbishop had agreed that her position on abortion was her private "act of conscience." O'Malley issued a statement saying that a Catholic official who holds a pro-abortion rights position should not receive communion. He did not ban priests from giving it to Gome or others.

The Rev. Christopher Coyne, the Boston Archdiocese spokesman, has no expectation that O'Malley ever would ever direct his priests to refuse communion to pro-abortion rights officials, he said. Unless a person is clearly deranged or saying things against the church at that moment, the archdiocese's policy is that no priest or lay communion minister should ever refuse communion, he said.

MORE: Boston Bishop O'Malley Says "It Is Not Our Policy To Deny Communion"

SEE ALSO: New Orleans Archbishop aims call at Catholic politicians

Catholic Church's Code of Canon Law 915: Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

31. As winds stir the deep, so, more than all other things, bad temper disturbs the mind.

January 20, 2004

(John 17:20-21)  "I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.


Pope John Paul II today called for Christians to overcome the “painful trial” of their divisions as the faithful grappled with such issues as the election of a gay Episcopal bishop and hostility between Catholic and Orthodox faithful in eastern Europe.

Greeting pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square, John Paul noted today was the start of an annual week of prayer dedicated to Christian unity.

“During the next eight days, in every part of the world, Christians of different confessions and traditions will gather to pray intensely the Lord strengthens the common commitment for their full unity,” John Paul said.

This year’s theme – peace – was chosen by churches in the Middle East.

“In promoting his peace, Christ assures his disciples support in their trials. And isn’t the lasting division among Christian perhaps a painful trial?” said the pope, who has made efforts to encourage unity among Christians a goal of his papacy.

He said Christians felt the need to pray for help “to overcome the temptation of discouragement along the difficult path which led to full communion”.

“In a world craving for peace, it is in fact urgent that Christian communities announce the Gospel in a united way,” John Paul said.

RELATED: Vatican turns to music for religious harmony

NEWS RELEASE: The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: A "good news" story for today

OF NOTE: Anglican Traditionalists preparing for Catholic conversion

POPE JOHN PAUL II:  "Together, we express the hope that people will be purified of the hatred and evil that constantly threaten peace, and that they will be able to extend to one another reciprocally hands free of violence but ready to offer help and comfort to those in need."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

30. As the sun makes gold glitter, so virtue makes manifest the man who possesses it (cf. Mat 5:14).

January 17, 2004



We are saddened at the news of Father Groeschel’s accident on Sunday, January 11, 2004. Please continue to pray for a miracle. Word has it that that is what it will take for him to come through. News for Fathers condition is being updated on his website: So let us BELIEVE in miracles and pray!

I was at the conference Father Groeschel spoke at in Paso Robles, California on Saturday and Sunday, January the 11th and 12th . There were about 2,000 people there on Saturday!

To see so many people come together from many places around the country was very edifying and consoling. To hear the speakers confirm one another without, I’m sure, prior consultation proved God’s Spirit, Holy and Powerful was in our midst!

In essence, let me put it in a nutshell; God is getting ready to intervene in the chaos of the church and the world. We are at the point when we will see MILLIONS of people come into the Catholic Church!!

How awesome is that? And what would it take to bring millions into the Catholic Church? Another 9-11? The Warning? Catastrophic events? I believe it will be all of the above. How EXTENSIVE, how severe is dependant on OUR PRAYERS!!!

A point that was made by many of the speakers is that we are not called to prayer by OUR FEELINGS. Many of you say, “I feel so dry.” In the words of Father Corapi, “So what? Pray your rosary!” Remember we are not called to pray by our feelings. WE are called to prayer by FAITH!

VIA MTMelvin:

Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. in his book Life Everlasting, writes of the four (4)last things: Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell. In the book he speaks of the Immensity of the human soul. Regrettably, this immensity is capable of monstrous evil eg Hitler, Stalin, or in our time Saddam Hussein. Conversely this immensity can be used for great good eg Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II. Our call today is "Back to the Future". One Bishop said Pope John Paul is trying to "take us back to the fifties!" To which his fellow Bishop responded: "No, he's taking us back to the thirties; 30 AD, ie to Jesus Himself"

Because our souls are immense (we are made in God's Image and Likeness), we are made to know God Who is Infinite and our wills made to love a Good that has no limits ie God Himself. cf pp11-12 of Fr Lagrange's book. As Jesus told Philip: "Have I been all this time with you, Philip, and you still do not know me? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father...Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?" cf John 14: 9 Clearly, after the atrocities of the 20th century and into our present time Jesus is saying to us all through His Vicar John Paul II: "I have been with you for 2000 years and you still do not know me?!" The Immensity of God Incarnate helps us, through Mother Mary's tiny Baby, Jesus Christ, to understand the Immense Love of God has for us.

The question for us all in this 21st Century is: "Do we pray for the strength to fight the finite demonic evil in the world today through the power of the Infinite God-man, Jesus Christ, Who Alone can satisfy the immensity of our soul or do we cave in to the evil in the world today?"

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

29. As he who wears perfumes makes his presence felt by the fragrance whether he wants to or not, so he who has the Spirit of the Lord is known by his words and his humility.

January 16, 2004


Chief Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar leave for Rome early Fiday for a 20-minute meeting with Pope John Paul II later in the morning. It will be the first time that both the Ashkenazi and Sephardi chief rabbis will be meeting with the pope. Following a month of contacts between Rome and Jerusalem, the rabbis accepted Wednesday's formal invitation by the Apostolic Nuncio in Israel, Archbishop Pietro Sambi.

In his invitation, Sambri wrote that he prayed that the meeting would "constitute another important step in the understanding between the 'elder brothers' [the Jews] and the Catholic Church. May it be an encouragement to cooperate evermore in the common desire for peace in the world, freed from terrorism and anti-Semitism." An invitation to Saturday night's Papal Concert of Reconciliation – featuring choirs and orchestras representing the three Abrahamic faiths – was the catalyst for the trip.

After the Friday meeting with the pope, the chief rabbis will be taken on a tour of the Vatican library, where they will be shown rarely seen centuries-old Jewish manuscripts. The issue of returning Jewish property will be raised.

SEE ALSO:  Bishops blast Israeli barrier


As if the bone-chilling temperatures weren't enough, last night Old Man Winter tucked in Central New Jersey residents with a blanket of snow. The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory in anticipation of 3 to 6 inches of the white stuff, which began falling around dinner time last night and tapered off just after sunrise today.

It was to be followed by minimum wind chill values from 15 below zero to as much as 25 below, according to the weather service. For those just looking for a warm place to sleep, area shelters will try to make room rather than turn someone away.

Wesley Moore, program director of Catholic Charities Ozanam Inn Men's Shelter in New Brunswick, said with a maximum capacity of 40 men, the shelter can try to squeeze in two more if a couch is available rather than turn someone away during the bitter cold weather. In addition, Moore said the shelter will open a little earlier than 4 p.m. when the weather is so cold.

Annie Lachs, Catholic Charities director of communications, said the organization is not able to make special housing arrangements for the winter and cold weather because the two shelters run by the organization are already filled. Besides the men's shelter, Catholic Charities also runs the Ozanam Family Shelter in Edison.

She said Catholic Charities tries to guide people to rotating shelters run by New Brunswick churches that have about 15 beds. Joanne Ward, Diocese of Metuchen spokeswoman, said Catholic Charities tries to make sure no one is left out in the cold.

RELATED: Bitter cold weather could mean life or death for LI's homeless

SEE ALSO: Volunteers defy city order to clear 100 homeless from house

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

28. As water in a strait often rises, so the soul that is straitened by dangers ascends to God by repentance and is saved.

January 15, 2004

(Mat 16:18)  And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.


The Catholic Church doesn't need to implement the criteria of modern democracy within itself. The Pope told the members of the Clergy today: "legitimate priests in carrying out their duties must never be considered as simply executors of decisions deriving from the majority opinion in the ecclesiastic assembly". According to the Pope, in fact, "the structure of the Church cannot be based on mere human politics. Its hierarchy rests on Christ's will and, therefore, is part of the 'depositum fidei' which must be preserved and integrally transmitted throughout the centuries".

IN THE NEWS: Cancellation Raises Questions About Pope's Health

SEE ALSO: Belgian Cardinal defies Vatican teaching on Condoms

ANALYSIS: Who will be the next pope?


So that Roman Catholic Masses are celebrated uniformly, the Vatican has issued a document explaining how Mass should be conducted anywhere in the world. Although the new "General Instruction for the Roman Missal" allows for some minor national or diocesan differences, its directives are extremely detailed.

For example, the general instruction, now being implemented in the United States, declares that:

• Altar cloths must be white.

• All candles should be lighted before Mass.

• Lectors, servers, Communion ministers and cantors may wear an alb (a white vestment) and cincture (a belt), but not a large cross.

• Scripture readings should be from one lectern or pulpit.

• Communion should be received standing. Individuals may not dip the Communion wafer into the chalice.

• Only bread, wine and gifts for the poor may be carried in the Communion procession; water is not permitted.

• Parishes in the United States have until Dec. 5 of this year (the second Sunday of Advent) to make their Masses conform with the general instruction.

LINK: General Instruction of the Roman Missal

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

27. As oil tames the sea even against its will, so fasting quenches the involuntary burnings of the body.

January 14, 2004

(Luke 18:7-8)  And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?  I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?"


Archbishop Sean P. O’Malley has decided to send a letter this weekend to Boston area parishioners to encourage them to accept the upcoming closings of several churches in the archdiocese, according to a published report.

O’Malley’s top aide, Bishop Richard G. Lennon, will reportedly follow up with another letter to outline the timeline for the process that should begin this month.

Lennon, the vicar general of the archdiocese, will also head a committee that will oversee the consolidation process because the closings will likely result in several mergers and reconfigurations of parishes.

"We must accept the challenge to make great sacrifices to achieve an even greater good," O’Malley said in the letter. "The future of our church’s ministry in the archdiocese depends on God’s grace and our willingness to make the sacrifices necessary for reconfiguration."

According to the letter, the archdiocese has not yet designated any parishes for closure and the number of churches that will close has not been determined.


Bystanders watch razing of FC church (Pittsburgh)
Protests greet new bishop (Flagstaff)
Archdiocese drops plan to raze church (Chicago)
Catholic Diocese filling priest vacancies with deacons (Richmond)
Vandals ransack Burlington Catholic church (Colorado Springs)
Man destroys statues inside  cathedral (San Antonio)

VIA Doc Degnan: With so many RC Churches closing, recently one which my Confessors was at, there is ALOT of GREAT Religious items that remain. I was interested in a "kneeler", the single individual type, there is an official name for this that I can't recall. After many calls, the obvious, perhaps: the Department of Real Property, of the Diocese (Albany, NY in my case) was in charge. I called, a very pleasant group of people looked into it, when I went to the diocese building they had a room filled with wonderful Religious items...all with no home. At this time, I only requested and obtained the kneeler for use at home. I am considering inquiring about other items and possibly building a small dedicated place for prayer, a chapel? in my basement, if I am able to obtain a few items. Statues, large Cross, ect. Best of all...they are at no cost, although I intend to give a donation.

So, if you want any of these items or know of any interested group or people, it would be likely your diocese would have a similiar situation. Thought I would send this along for your consideration. It is very sad to see these wonderful items, sitting, unused, in a dark basement. I think it far better to have them utilized in prayer. I doubt, with so many Church's closing, that they would find a home otherwise.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

26. As steel is attracted to the magnet even against its will, for it is drawn by an inexplicable force of nature, so he who has contracted sinful habits is tyrannized by them.

January 13, 2004

(Mat 5:19)  Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.


Pope John Paul II today called on international diplomacy to help the Iraqi people take control of their country in a democratic system, and to encourage Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate peace.

"Peace is still under threat and has been made to suffer in recent months by events in the Middle East," the pope said in his traditional New Year greeting to diplomats accredited to the Vatican.

"The important thing now is for the international community to help them regain the control of their country and to democratically establish a political and economic system enabling them to realise their aspirations and Iraq to become a credible partner of the international community," he said.

The pope also underlined the part that international diplomacy could play in bringing Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table.

"The non-resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains a factor for permanent instability throughout the region, to say nothing of the unspeakable suffering it thrusts upon the Israeli and Palestinian peoples," he said.


Catholic Church Letter irks United Democratic Front (Malawi)
Haitians stage protest as church condemns president
Boston Catholic Archbishop Blasts Gay Marriage


The passage of a federal law that bans some late-term abortions is just one of many reasons the anti-abortion movement is making progress toward its goal of overturning the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Roe vs. Wade decision, activists said yesterday.

Even in Massachusetts, known as a liberal state, a "Right to Know" law that would make it mandatory for the state Public Health Department to provide women considering an abortion information about the procedure is making its way through the Statehouse, said House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran, the rally's keynote speaker.

The legislation "might give people pause before they pursue this gruesome remedy to what some people see as a problem," Finneran, D-Boston, said at Massachusetts Citizens for Life's 31st annual Assembly for Life, held at historic Faneuil Hall.

The crowd of about 300 was energized by the unscheduled arrival of Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley, leader of more than 2 million Catholics in the Boston Archdiocese, who called their task "daunting."

"I'm delighted to be with you," he said. "I thank all of you for the work you are doing on behalf of the unborn."

SEE ALSO: Wisconsin Bishop: No Communion for Abortion Backers

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

25. When poor men see the royal treasury, they are still more conscious of their poverty; and so too when the soul reads about the virtues of the Fathers, it at least comes to a more humble frame of mind.

January 9, 2004


VIA Jim J. McCrea: The Three Ways of the Spiritual life

We are all born with the impurity and effects of original sin and many of us have fouled our souls with considerable personal sin as well.  However, to be fit for heaven, we must be absolutely pure.  Nothing tainted shall enter paradise (see Rev 22:3).  For those to be saved, this life is a purification process to prepare us for heaven.  If the job is not completed in this life, that is what purgatory is for.  This is in contrast to the doctrine of classical Protestantism which views Christ's justification of the believer by his faith as snow covering a manure pile.  According to that, if we believe we are as corrupt as ever underneath, but the Father sees only Christ's purity covering us, so considers us pure.  With the Catholic view, on the other hand, we must really be made pure, through and through.  With classical Protestantism, Christ's justification is a fiction that God creates on our behalf.  We are considered pure, while in reality we are not.  With the Catholic understanding, that we must really be made pure, God deals in realities.  God sees us pure in the end because we actually are pure.  It makes more sense that God works with realities rather than with fictions, because God is Infinite Reality Itself.  God is Truth Itself, and cannot declare that something is, when in fact it is not.

Mystical Theologians, such as St.  John of the Cross, have described the climb up the spiritual ladder, for those working for perfection.  In the climb, not one but three conversions have been enumerated.  The first conversion is from sin to God, and the other two are successively more radical turnings to God.

The first conversion may be either in one's baptism, or in the case of falling into a life of sin after baptism, a turning from that life of sin to God.  The soul in mortal sin is alienated from God.  Such a soul is dead because it does not have God dwelling in it as its life-giving principle.  When it converts, it comes to life because it has God's supernatural grace and charity dwelling within it.  It is now a heir to heaven as opposed to when it was in mortal sin, in which case if the person died in that state, his or her soul would have gone to hell for eternity.

However, with this conversion, the process of purification has just begun.  Even though in a state of grace, the soul has many vicious and sinful habits and tendencies contrary to the goodness and purity of God.  This soul is in the stage of *beginners.* To enter heaven, these habits and tendencies must eventually be gotten rid of.  For a soul serious in pleasing God and making progress, God then begins to go to work on the soul.  He first sends spiritual consolations and delights to the soul to attract it to Him and away from the delights of sin.  Since the soul experiences such joy in the things of God, it may be deceived into thinking that it has reached a high level of holiness.  In fact, the work of holiness in the soul has hardly begun.  The problem is, the soul may be loving God for the delights he sends, not for His own sake.  True sanctity is loving God above all things for His own sake, and the will of God in all things, no matter how pleasant or unpleasant.  This requires such a supreme degree of purity, that many sincerely pious people with years of practicing devotion have not yet achieved it.

Some time after the first conversion, God plunges the soul into the dark night of the senses, where spiritual delights are taken away and replaced with suffering.  God is thus training the soul to love Him for His own sake and not for the sake of the pleasure that God brings to the soul.  If the soul accepts this and clings to God in spite of hardship, it has undergone a second conversion.  Its love has been proved to be much more pure and disinterested.  It has made a significant advance in holiness.  Then it exits the dark night and enters the stage of *illumination.* Joy has then returned.  The delights in God are much more subtle and it practices virtue with much more facility.  In the stage of beginners the spiritual delights have a relatively gross nature, and are very much akin to natural positive emotions.  Those who are "all fired up in the spirit" and emotional at Pentecostal rallies, are actually at a very low stage of prayer.  In illumination the soul is much more steady in its practice of virtue and its trust in God in spite of various ups and downs in life.  Its joy is at a much deeper and more spiritual level.  It is much more likely to be experienced as deep peace before the Blessed Sacrament or when saying the Rosary than in emotional outbursts.  Here, it is much more firmly anchored to the Rock.

But in the stage of illumination, the soul is still far from being perfected.  The very bottom of the soul is still impure.  It is practicing great virtue, but often there is a very subtle and deep egotism operating as well.  It may see itself as better than the common run of humanity for its own virtues and spiritual progress.  It has a pride that it is generally not conscious of.  The soul may be deluded into believing that it has reached the peak of perfection.  As a result, to correct this, God sends a much more painful night than that of the senses.  The soul then enters the dark night of the spirit.  As the night of the senses purifies the sensitive levels of the soul, the night of the spirit purifies the deepest spiritual levels of it.  In the dark night of the senses, it was the imperfect that was taken away.  In this night, it seems as though what is perfect is being removed.  God devastates the intellect and the will, and deprives the soul of active virtue.  This night is very painful because God is contradicting that hard core of egoism and independence from God which exists at the center of the soul.  As a result, the soul could be strongly tempted to blaspheme at this stage.  This dark night is sometimes referred to as "mystical death."

Once this hard core of egoism is broken, God's supernatural light and power can be diffused throughout the entire soul.  When this has happened, the soul has undergone a third conversion and has entered the stage of *union.* God is so united to the soul in this stage, he animates its faculties directly.  Before this, it was a matter of an imperfect organism attempting to do God's will as it saw it, through mainly its own power.  The soul at that time applied reason with will power, exercising the infused virtues of prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude, along with the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity.  Now, in the stage of union, God moves the faculties Himself, through the gifts of the Holy Spirit of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, council, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord.  The soul now is mainly passive, while God is mainly active.  But the soul's powers are greater than ever here.  The faculties are divine rather than human now - the faculties of intellect, will, memory, and spiritual affectivity.  One in the stage of union has far greater efficacy in advancing God's kingdom and retarding Satan's, than in the previous stages.  Here, the joy is so subtle and pure, that it is a feeling beyond feeling.  St.  John of the Cross says that in this stage, a single work done by the soul has more value than all the works done before combined.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

24. As the man under sentence who is going to execution will not talk about theatres, so he who truly weeps for himself will never gratify his stomach.

January 8, 2004 (Feast of Our Lady of Prompt Succor)

ST. PHILIP NERI- Humility is the safeguard of chastity. In the matter of purity, there is no greater danger than not fearing danger.


As expected, New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey (D-NJ) signed a bill that pro-life groups are saying is the worst legislation ever concerning stem cell research. The bill allows human embryos to be cloned and implanted into a woman's uterus and the unborn child can be killed at any time from that point until the end of the pregnancy.

"Today we celebrate the possible in our state," McGreevey said during the bill signing ceremony. "It is our obligation as a people and as a state to move the frontiers of science forward."

Meanwhile, the state's leading pro-life organization condemned the bill and McGreevey's signing it into law.

"This is truly a dark day for New Jersey," said Marie Tasy of New Jersey Right to Life.

"It is extremely perverse and objectionable that [McGreevey's] goal of making ‘New Jersey the nation's leader for medical research’ includes the unethical practice of human cloning and the harvesting and use of body parts of cloned humans in the embryonic and fetal stages of development which is authorized under this law," Tasy added

COMMENTARY: Monsignor Paul Knauer, of Our Lady of the Lake R.C. church in Sparta, believes it’s a shame that the bill was passed so quickly at a time when everyone was preoccupied with the holidays. “We know people have been saved by modern miracles of medicine, but this demeans the value of human life,” he said.

The bill allows embryos to be created just for experimentation, Knauer said. “Scientists are creating life to destroy it. They are creating these embryos and then taking them out and operating and experimenting with them. Even embryos in a petri dish, we feel, have a potential for human life. “No person has the right to destroy human life, certainly not in experimentation.We don’t create human life to examine it. It’s a little more valuable than that.

“The state says its a modern breakthrough, but it’s really creating life so it can be destroyed and the sad thing is there is no cures for that. There has been no demonstration that this will be successful. There has been evidence that adult stem cell research has been successful, but this is all theory right now.”

MORE: Americans to Ban Cloning (ABC) coalition

LIFENEWS.COM: Stem Cell Story With Erroneous Info

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

23. Just as clouds hide the sun, so evil thoughts darken and ruin the mind.

January 7, 2004

(John 15:12-13)  "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.


The death of Archbishop Michael Courtney at assassins' hands in Burundi is a tragedy for the Vatican, but also for efforts for peace in the strife-torn country in central Africa.

Courtney was the papal nuncio, or ambassador, in a country where as many as 200,000 people are believed to have died in a decade of fratricidal strife.  It is not clear who is responsible for his killing, mourned by both the government and spokesmen for rebel factions.

Both sides apparently considered him a valuable mediator in trying to work out the country's problems.  That is high praise, and it is a cause for great regret that his efforts not only have claimed his life but have not been crowned with greater success.

The Vatican's diplomatic corps remains a force for good in the world.  Its nuncios can operate, as the archbishop did in Burundi, from a position of neutrality among feuding parties.  But if they are effective as mediators, they certainly do have a stand: for peace and reconciliation, for justice and protection of minority rights.

This loss to the cause of humanity should be sincerely mourned beyond the borders of the country Courtney tried to help.

RELATED: Martyrology of 2003: 29 Catholic Missionaries Killed This Year

HOMILY BY BISHOP LOVERDE: Bring Christ and His Peace into the New Year


A Catholic Italian priest serving in Kampala has said Uganda must resist pressure from Europe and the US to legalise abortion.

"Adopt children, don't kill them. Hope Uganda does not legalise abortion," Rev. Fr. Felix Sciqnnqmeo (right), said.

Sciqnnqmeo was leading prayers to mark the World Peace Day at Kamwokya Holy Trinity Church. The day is celebrated every January 1.

The celebrations started with a peace march led by Uganda's St. Egidio Community members who were joined by other Christians. The day run under the theme "Peace in all lands."

The St. Egidio Community is an Italy-based organisation which advocates for peace and dialogue worldwide.

Sciqnnqmeo also called for respect for human rights to promote peace in the world.

MORE: Link to Community of Sant'Egidio

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

22. As galloping horses race one another, so a good community excites mutual fervour.

January 6, 2004


Pope John Paul II on Tuesday again urged leaders in the Middle East to work more closely for regional peace, recalling the words spoken by his predecessor Pope Paul VI on his historic 1964 visit to the Holy Land.

"From the place where the Prince of Peace was born, he called on the leaders of nations to show close and constant cooperation to bring about peace in truth, justice, freedom and brotherly love," John Paul said in prayers on the Feast of the Ephiphany.

In Christian teaching, January 6 marks the day when the three Wise Men came to venerate the newborn Jesus Christ at a stable in Bethlehem.

The ailing pontiff repeated the words pronounced by Paul VI on his visit to Bethlehem on January 6 four decades ago, the first time a pontiff ever traveled by airplane.

MORE FROM POPE JOHN PAUL II: Pope calls for a new world order


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OF INTEREST: Who Were the Magi?

SEE ALSO: Star of Bethlehem: NOT an astronomical phenomenon

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

21. As hens' eggs that are warmed in dung hatch out, so thoughts that are not confessed hatch out and proceed to action.

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