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March 23, 2002



John Paul II is poised to lead a marathon of Holy Week ceremonies, a clear sign he is recovering from an arthritic knee. During Holy Week, the Pope will preside over Palm Sunday Mass, which will be preceded by a procession through St. Peter´s Square, with pilgrims carrying olive branches.

On Holy Thursday, March 28, the Pontiff will preside over the concelebrated Chrism Mass in the morning, with the participation of all priests present in Rome. It is a sign of communion between the pastor of the universal Church and his brothers in the ministerial priesthood.

The Paschal Triduum begins with the Mass of the Lord´s Supper at 5:30 p.m. in St. Peter´s Basilica. In other years this Mass was celebrated in the Basilica of St. John Lateran. The Holy Father will wash the feet of 12 priests at the Mass, re-enacting Jesus´ gesture at his last supper.

At 5 p.m. on Good Friday, the Pope will preside over the Liturgy of the Word, the Adoration of the Cross, and the Communion Rite. At 9:15 p.m. he will lead the Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum. The evening will end with a papal address.

The Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday will begin in the atrium of St. Peter´s Basilica at 8 p.m. with the blessing of the fire that will light the Easter candle. The Holy Father will preside over the Liturgy of the Word, the Baptismal Liturgy, and the Eucharistic Liturgy, which he will concelebrate with the cardinals present.

As in past years, the Pope will not celebrate the Mass for pilgrims on Easter Sunday, but at midday will impart the blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city of Rome and the world), after delivering his Easter message and greetings in dozens of languages. The most important ceremonies, especially those of the Holy Triduum, will be televised worldwide.

PALM SUNDAY HOMILY: Christ's Passion, headlines, reminds us that sin is real, within, outside of Church by Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. Archbishop of Denver

MULTIMEDIA ONLINE FEATURE: "Bitter Journey: The Way of the Cross" is based on traditions associated with Tenebrae services, the Stations of the Cross, and the Lamentations of Good Friday.


VIA Nadine:

VIA Marianne and Doug Moore: We want to wish you a Very Blessed Lent and Easter! May all of Our Lord's and Our Lady's Peace, hope, joy, healing, strength, grace and forgiveness, descend on you all.

For Easter we have created this Easter page:
For love of Mary we have created this page:

VIA Richard Hubbell: A 16-year old boy from McCook, NE felt prompted by God to initiate a prayer activity on Good Friday for the intention of ending abortion. He writes:

"Imagine what might happen if every Catholic in America would pray a Rosary on the same day! We have an example from October of 1573, when Europe was saved from the invasion of the mighty Turkish fleet. Europe was saved by the praying of the Rosary by all Christians. So on Good Friday, let's all pray a Rosary for the intention of ending abortion. If possible, please pray your Rosary between noon and 3:00 p.m. If you have e-mail, please e-mail this message to every Catholic on your address list, and ask them to pass it along to every Catholic on their lists. If you don't have e-mail, please ask every Catholic you know to join in this effort. Let's unite in praying one of the most powerful prayers-on one of the holiest days-for this increasingly urgent intention. Thank you! May God bless you!"

VIA  Dave Hughes: Here is the latest link that I have inserted on my page: .

I might add that it really was very helpful for me to go over this abbreviated version of DeMontfort's True Devotion to Mary. It did enkindle in me a new fervor to practice the devotion with more attention.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 6- "On remembrance of death"

8. Not every desire for death is good. Some, constantly sinning from force of habit, pray for death with humility. And some, who do not want to repent, invoke death out of despair. And some out of self-esteem consider themselves dispassionate, and for a while have no fear of death. And some (if such can now be found), through the action of the Holy Spirit, ask for their departure.

March 22, 2002

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SISTER LUCIA! - Lucia of Jesus was born March 22, 1907, in Aljustrel, a little village of the Fatima parish in Portugal. Following the Virgin´s apparitions between 1915-1917, she entered a religious community. In March 1948 she joined the Carmel of St. Teresa of Coimbra, where she still lives today.

JOHN PAUL II: "Frequent confession a real help along the path to holiness."

JOHN PAUL II: "At this time too, as priests we are personally and profoundly afflicted by the sins of some of our brothers who have betrayed the grace of Ordination in succumbing even to the most grievous forms of the mysterium iniquitatis at work in the world. Grave scandal is caused, with the result that a dark shadow of suspicion is cast over all the other fine priests who perform their ministry with honesty and integrity and often with heroic self-sacrifice. As the Church shows her concern for the victims and strives to respond in truth and justice to each of these painful situations, all of us – conscious of human weakness, but trusting in the healing power of divine grace – are called to embrace the “mysterium Crucis” and to commit ourselves more fully to the search for holiness. We must beg God in his Providence to prompt a whole-hearted reawakening of those ideals of total self-giving to Christ which are the very foundation of the priestly ministry".



John Paul II expressed his special concern for "the institution of the family, so attacked on different fronts today with multiple and subtle arguments."

"We are witnessing a current, very widespread in some parts, which tends to weaken its true nature," the Pope warned. "At times, Catholic faithful themselves, for different reasons, do not take recourse to the sacrament of marriage to begin their union in love."

John Paul II said "the extent of the crisis of marriage and the family must not lead to dejection or negligence; on the contrary, it must impel us to proclaim with pastoral firmness, as an authentic service to the family and society, the truth about marriage and the family established by God."

He added that it is not a question "only for Catholics, but for all men and women without distinction, because marriage and the family are an irreplaceable good of society."

"Christian families must be the first to witness to the grandeur of conjugal and family life, founded on mutual love and fidelity."

RELATED: Web site offers point-and-click splits
SEE ALSO: "Family-ocide"- Winning the War through Christ

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 6- "On remembrance of death"

7. He who with undoubting trust daily expects death is virtuous; but he who hourly yields himself to it is a saint.

March 21, 2002

(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?"

JOHN PAUL II: "Without a doubt, it must be said that in no other period of history [was there such] a rupture in the process of the transmission of moral and religious values between generations, which leads to a kind of heterogeneity between the Church and the contemporary world."


Sometime in the next few months, letters proclaiming "In God We Trust" will be affixed to the brick-and-metal walls of City Hall.

That the City Council of church-filled Bakersfield decided to place the national motto on a public building is no surprise. More remarkable has been the public debate that accompanied Councilwoman Jacquie Sullivan's proposal, the letters to the local paper condemning it and the fact that it was not supported by the mayor, a well-known business owner who has lived here most of his 61 years.

The dissension reflects the changing nature of a town that is deeply rooted in oil, agriculture and the Bible Belt--but now also has a Hindu temple and a mosque. It mirrors as well some national uncertainty over how and where to draw the line between church and state.

Sullivan said she was somewhat shaken by criticism that the posting is divisive, but she has been applauded by many. "We are so concerned in not wanting to exclude, we have given up a lot of our heritage and the right to hold firm and stand firm for what the majority believes in," she said.

SEE ALSO: Supreme Court Rejects Appeal on Ten Commandments


Israel's rabbis have agreed to allow several worshippers to be armed in every synagogue during upcoming holidays, making an exception to Jewish laws because of fears of terror attacks, officials said Tuesday.

The Passover holiday begins on Wednesday, March 27 and lasts for a week. The first and last days of the holiday and the Sabbath are days when the strict Orthodox restrictions apply.

In a statement to be circulated to all synagogues in the country, the Religious Affairs ministry instructs congregations to appoint at least four worshippers as armed guards and to place several cellular phones within reach. The phones would be turned off unless they are needed in an emergency.

RELATED: Reform Judaism welcomes Pope's call for peace in Middle East

RABBI ESTHER JUNGREISIn the very desperateness of our situation there is hope, for it clearly indicates that we are now experiencing the birth pangs of Messiah, and all these tragedies befall us so that we may acknowledge that it is only G-d who can help us, that we may turn to Him in tshuva (repentance) and prayer and beseech His mercy.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 6- "On remembrance of death"

6. A true sign of those who are mindful of death in the depth of their being is a voluntary detachment from every creature and complete renunciation of their own will.

March 20, 2002

(Psa 83:2-5) For lo, thy enemies are in tumult; those who hate thee have raised their heads. They lay crafty plans against thy people; they consult together against thy protected ones. They say, "Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!" Yea, they conspire with one accord; against thee they make a covenant--


Arab League Backs Saudi Peace Plan
Arafat May Attend Arab Summit
Israeli Foreign Ministry protests omission of Jerusalem in capital list


VIA Barbara Richmond: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY - Palestinian Christians

In the past two days, I have had the opportunity to speak personally - eye to eye - with three people here intimately involved with Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem and Beit Jala. Their testimonies are appalling.

You may remember that when I was here in October, I told you that two Christians from Bethlehem had told me they wished that Israel would take Bethlehem back since they had a much better life under Israeli rule. Since then I had heard other reports but since they were not first hand, I did not publish them. However, everything I have been told personally in the last two days only strengthens the credibility of the rest of what I've heard.

In Bethlehem and Beit Jala which have been under Palestinian rule for some time, the Palestinian Christians continue to suffer terribly at the hands of Arafat's terrorists. Shops in Bethlehem owned by Christians have been burned to the ground and the owners their OWN Palestinian 'brothers'. Young Christian girls have been taken and gang-raped; entire families terrorized. While many left the area earlier in the Intifada, those still there now have no recourse, it seems. Terrorists in Beit Jala seize their homes to use as firing positions to shoot into Gilo and the families living there have no voice.

You read recently that two 'suspected' collaborators were murdered by Palestinians in Bethlehem without investigation or trial beforehand. You should see the pictures. It's horrific, outrageous....but where is the outcry from the 'human rights' groups? In the newspapers here, the photos of murdered Palestinians being dragged through the streets of Bethlehem by masked terrorists, right into Manger Square which many tourists would recognize, are absolutely revolting. Will ANY international TV news broadcast these photos for the rest of the world to see what the terrorist organizations are doing to their OWN people? Probably not; it's not 'politically correct' ....if you see it on your news, please let me know.

The Palestinian Christians are suffering terribly - right along with their Jewish neighbors. But let Israel go in to Bethlehem or Beit Jala with troops and tanks to take control - fully aware and deeply concerned about the suffering of the Christians there - and the world that DOESN'T know about it begins to shout 'Restraint' at Israel. One Jewish lady who has good friends in Bethlehem said to me through her tears, 'They are trapped, completely trapped. I asked them why they don't speak out, why they don't try to defend themselves and they told me it's impossible. If they do, their whole family will be tortured.'

You want to know the Palestinian side? There it is....from personal, eyewitness testimonies.

Palestinians Face Internal Violence
In West Bank Town, a Trail of Grief
Grief and Coffins Unite Israelis, Palestinians at UN

JOHN PAUL II: "Our mission, as men and women of religion, impels us to pray for peace, to proclaim peace and to do everything in our power to help bring an end to the bloodshed. I reiterate the firm determination of the Catholic Church to work for a just peace."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 6- "On remembrance of death"

5. As tin is distinct from silver, although it resembles it in appearance, so for the discerning there is a clear and obvious difference between the natural and contranatural fear of death.

March 19, 2002

(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.


Slain Archbishop Isaias Duarte Cancino, who often criticized leftist rebels, "paid the highest price" for defending human life and opposing violence in this war-torn country, Pope John Paul II said Sunday.

The gray-haired, 63-year-old bespectacled archbishop had just completed a Saturday night group wedding and was heading to his car when he was shot by two gunmen outside the Buen Pastor church in a working-class neighborhood of Cali, witnesses said.

"I urge Colombians once again to follow the way of dialogue, excluding all types of violence, blackmail and kidnapping of people and to firmly commit themselves to what are the true roads of peace," the pope said during a speech at St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.

The pontiff, who also said Duarte was "brave in preaching the gospel," named him archbishop in Cali, 185 miles southwest of Bogota, the capital, in August 1995.

Duarte is not the first outspoken Roman Catholic bishop to die amid the throes of civil war in Latin America.

El Salvador's Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero was assassinated by a sniper in March 1980, a day after delivering a sermon asking the military to halt its repressive tactics in El Salvador's civil war. A truth commission found evidence his killing was ordered by ultra-right elements.

Three army soldiers and a priest were convicted in the 1998 slaying of Guatemalan bishop Juan Jose Gerardi, two days after he presented a report blaming the military for most of the 200,000 deaths in Guatemala's 1960-1996 civil war. Gerardi was bludgeoned to death at his seminary in Guatemala City.

RELATED: Colombia Sad, Afraid After Slaying


Assassinated Archbishop: Church speaking against battle of opposing violence
Shots Killing Archbishop Echo Across Colombia

(Mat 5:9) Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 6- "On remembrance of death"

4. As of all foods, bread is the most essential, so the thought of death is the most necessary of all works. The remembrace of death amongst those in the midst of society gives birth to distress and meditation, and even more, to despondency. But amongst those who are free from noise, it produces the putting aside of cares and constant prayer and guarding of the mind. But these same virtues both produce the remembrance of death, and are also produced by it.

March 16, 2002



A Texas jury spent less than an hour deliberating before sentencing Andrea Yates on Friday to life in prison for the drowning deaths of her children. The same eight women and four men who found the Houston mother guilty of the bathtub drowning of her children took only 40 minutes to decide her fate.

Andrea Yates' husband and mother both pleaded for her life Thursday in the penalty phase of her trial, calling her "a wonderful mother."

The defense called an expert on post-partum depression in an effort to show that Yates poses no danger to society. "Her symptoms were triggered by the birth of her children," said Dr. Lucy Puryea, a forensic psychiatrist. "If she has no more children and stays on her medication, her symptoms will remain under control."

The defense and prosecution have agreed that she is mentally ill. The key issue was whether she knew that what she was doing was wrong. The jury decided she did.

RELATED: Yates Case Would Likely Have Been Handled Very Differently in Colorado


Caribbean Death Penalty Curtailed
Philippines Death Penalty Abolition Campaign has full support of the Church
Georgia Executes British-American
Man Executed in Virginia After DNA 'Cold Hit'

POPE JOHN PAUL II: In any event, the principle set forth in the new Catechism of the Catholic Church remains valid: "If bloodless means are sufficient to defend human lives against an aggressor and to protect public order and the safety of persons, public authority must limit itself to such means, because they better correspond to the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person".

Avery Cardinal Dulles: The pope and the bishops, using their prudential judgment, have concluded that in contemporary society, at least in countries like our own, the death penalty ought not to be invoked, because, on balance, it does more harm than good. I personally support this position.


Rev. David B. Thompson, Bishop of Charleston, S.C.: To enhance a Culture of Life
Capital Punishment: Why the Church Has Changed
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Efforts to End the Death Penalty
Catholics Against Capital Punishment

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 6- "On remembrance of death"

2. The remembrance of death is a daily death; and the rememberance of our departure is an hourly sighing or groaning.

March 15, 2002

(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.


The distance between Rome and Athens suddenly seems to be narrowing, as it becomes more evident that East-West ecclesial cooperation is needed to bolster Christianity´s contribution to the building of a new Europe.

The European Convention, which will shape the future of the European Union, began Feb. 28. The marginalization of Christians in this process now seems to be helping bring Catholics and Greek Orthodox closer.

John Paul II invited his Greek guests, who were led by Metropolitan Panteleimon of Attikis, to walk together toward the "ecumenism of holiness, which with God´s help will finally lead us to full communion, which does not mean absorption or fusion, but a meeting in truth and love."

The Holy Father proposed a "deepening of our collaboration and working together to make the voice of the Gospel resound forcefully in this Europe of ours, in which peoples´ Christian roots must be revived."

RELATED: Europe´s Indifference to Christianity Worries Pope


VIA Nadine: The Power of the Mass

At the hour of death the Holy Masses you have heard devoutly will be your greatest consolation.

Every Mass will go with you to Judgement and will plead for pardon for you.

By every Mass you can diminish the temporal punishment due to your sins, more or less, according to your fervour.

By devoutly assisting at Holy Mass you render the greatest homage possible to the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord.

Through the Holy Sacrifice, Our Lord Jesus Christ supplies for many of your negligences and omissions.

He forgives you all the venial sins which you are determined to avoid. He forgives you all your unknown sins which you never confessed. The power of Satan over you is diminished.

By piously hearing Holy Mass you afford the Souls in Purgatory the greatest possible relief.

Through Holy Mass you are preserved from many dangers and misfortunes which would otherwise have befallen you. You shorten your Purgatory by every Mass.

Through the Holy Mass you are blessed in your temporal goods and affairs.

When you hear Holy Mass devoutly, offering it to Almighty God in honour of any particular Saint or Angel, thanking God for the favours bestowed on him, etc., you afford that Saint or Angel a new degree of honour, joy and happiness, and draw his special love and protection on yourself.

Every time you assist at Holy Mass, besides other intentions, you should offer it in honor of the Saint of the day.

SEE ALSO: Catholics Ordinarily Will Be Able to Go to Communion Under Both Species

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 6- "On remembrance of death"

1. Every word is preceded by thought. And the remembrance of death and sins precedes weeping and mourning. Therefore, this subject comes in its proper place in this chapter.

March 14, 2002

(2Ti 3:1)  But understand this: there will be terrifying times in the last days.


Billionaire investor Warren Buffett issued a pessimistic outlook on the world, saying the war on terror could never be won -- a potential problem for his insurance interests -- and warning that returns from the stock market over the next few years look meager.

Buffett, known as the 'Oracle of Omaha' for his astute investments, also blasted executives for taking millions of dollars out of businesses even as they fare badly, a practice he said went far beyond Enron Corp. , the collapsed energy trader.

Buffett said that further terror attacks on the United States were possible, and must be accounted for by insurers. "Fear may recede with time, but the danger won't,'' said Buffett. "The war against terrorism can never be won. The best the nation can achieve is a long succession of stalemates.''


Saddam says Iraq is not afraid of any threats
Arabs Unlikely to Back Iraq Attack
Cheney Gets Warning on Iraq
British foreign minister puts Iraq on notice

Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, alleged mastermind of the kidnap-slaying of Daniel Pearl:
"America will be finished soon."

(2Pe 3:11-12) Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire!

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 5- "On painstaking and true repentance"

39. In the case of cowardly and slothful people, the falls that occur after our call are hard to bear; they crush the hope of dispassion and persuade us to regard our having barely risen form the pit of sin as a state of blessedness. Look, look! For certainly we do not return by the way we went astray, but by another shorter route.

March 13, 2002

(2Ch 7:14)  if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.


March 13 has been declared a day of fasting and prayer for Jews all around the world, and will include a central prayer service at the Western Wall.

The Council of Torah Sages has released an "Urgent Call to All Jews," beginning, "Nation of G-d! Awaken, arouse yourselves and call out to G-d! ... Let large numbers of those who fear G-d and cherish His name gather together to pour out their prayers before the Creator of all, in all the synagogues and study halls wherever they live, throughout the world, on Wednesday...

Let us return to G-d with full force, let us better our ways both in matters between man and G-d and those between man and his fellow. Let us distance ourselves from evil speech and gossip, and increase our love for others. Let each of us perceive the positive in others and not their shortcomings. Let us strengthen ourselves in Torah and fear of Heaven and in the fulfillment of commandments... "

Those in Israel and abroad who cannot come to the Western Wall for the special prayer service at 4:15 pm Jerusalem time (9:15 am ET) are asked to gather in their own synagogues for the same purpose, and to recite special Yom Kippur Katan prayers, especially Psalms 83, 130, and 142.

TO VIEW ONLINE: Western Wall LiveCam-


Firefight in Gaza Signals Deadly New Phase of Conflict
Bethlehem a terrified ghost city, Christian university forced to close again
Eyewitness report from Bethlehem
After Attacks, Israeli Anxiety Grows
Arabs Say Saudi Plan Is Israel's 'Last Chance'

Essay by Prof. Louis Rene Beres, professor of International Law at Purdue University:
Atrocities, Retaliations and the Laws of War

(Lam 3:31-3)  For the Lord will not cast off for ever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 5- "On painstaking and true repentance"

38. Nothing equals or excels God's mercies. Therefore, he who despairs is committing suicide. A sign of true repentance is the acknowledgment that we deserve all the afflictions, visible and invisible, that come upon us, and even greater ones. Moses, after seeing God in the bush, returned again to Egypt, that is, to darkness and to the brick-making of Pharaoh, who was symbolical of the spiritual Pharaoh. But he went back again to the bush, and not only to the bush, but also up the mountain. Whoever has known divine vision will never despair of himself. Job became a beggar, but he became twice as rich again.

March 12, 2002

(1Ti 4:1) Now the Spirit manifestly saith that in the last times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error and doctrines of devils...

Barna Research Online: Episcopalian Gerald McDermott commented on the gloomy finding that only 33 percent of the Catholics, Lutherans and Methodists, and only 28 percent of the Episcopalians, agreed with the statement that Christ was without sin. He said that these numbers indicate "an epochal change in popular theology. This would suggest a loss of faith in the Divinity of Christ." He added, "Christ would then be no more than the Dalai Lama, an admirable kind of a guy."

The Barna finding that a mere 17 percent of the Catholics, 18 percent Methodists, 20 percent Episcopalians, 21 percent Lutherans, and 22 percent of the Presbyterians told Barna that they thought Satan was real, was particularly puzzling to theologian Dr. Paul Hinlicky. "It tells us that even the Lutherans are utterly out of step with Luther, to whom the Devil was very much a reality."


Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

Such startling propositions — the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years — have gained wide acceptance among non- Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity — until now.

The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine document.


Catholics attending a conference examining issues of faith and homosexuality celebrated Mass on Saturday over the objections of the Vatican.

At least 550 people attended the Mass during the New Ways Ministry's fifth national symposium, "Out of Silence God Has Called Us: Lesbian/Gay Issues and the Vatican II Church." The group discusses issues like accepting homosexuals in the church, what the Bible says about sexuality, and same-sex marriages.

Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, a representative of the Vatican, wrote a letter to Archbishop Thomas Kelly of Louisville asking that the archbishop forbid the celebrating of the Eucharist by participants in the symposium.

Retired Bishop Leroy Matthiesen led the liturgy.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 5- "On painstaking and true repentance"

37. We must carefully consider whether our conscience has ceased to accuse us, not as a result of purity, but because it is immersed in evil. A sign of deliverance from our falls is the continual reckoning of ourselves as debtors.

March 9, 2002


(Psa 19:1-4) The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world....


Assembled from the thousands of images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope during the past decade, these five collections of Image Galleries represent some of the best. Enjoy a look back in time and marvel at the wonders of our universe.

OF INTEREST: Comets, Asteroids and Other Invaders From Outer Space


VIA Steven S. White: Thought you would find the following quote from Zenit of interest!!

"Vatican sources told ZENIT that, during the visit of the first group of Argentine bishops on Feb. 12, one of the bishops mentioned a cardinal´s name as a "worthy" successor to the Pope. A smiling John Paul II responded: "My successor is not yet a cardinal."
VIA SPIRITDAILY: Hear Padre Pio give a blessing-

VIA Rev. Bill Malloy: Please add me to your subscription service.  Thank you.
I work as a parole agent for the state of California and need your prayers, as well as my caseload things can be dangerous and your prayers give us all God's blessings.

VIA Javier López: More online articles by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the Pontifical Household-

Healing the Wounds of the Body of Christ
Remember those early days...
"I Want To Be A Prophet For God!"

VIA [email protected]: You can obtain the following from e-Sword free of charge by downloading from the Internet:
- Douay-Rheims Version
- Revised Standard Version, and
- Strong's dictionary.
Advance to the following URL and follow the instructions:

VIA READER: Could you recommend the best History of the Catholic Church that you have found?
REPLY FROM DESMOND BIRCH: The best general history of the Church - which is also readable by the general Catholic reader - is Dr. Warren Carrol's series on the History of the Church.

The first in the series is, "The Founding of Christendom"
Second, "The Building of Christendom.
Third, "The Glory of Christendom".
Fourth, "The Cleaving of Christendom"

You can get them at most good Catholic Bookstores, or you can order them directly from Christendom Press, 134 Christendom Drive, Front Royal, VA. Christendom College is one of the best Liberal Arts Catholic Colleges in North America. You can call them direct at 800-698-6649.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 5- "On painstaking and true repentance"

35. Those living in the world, and they only, are strangers to these two assurances, and especially the first. But through almsgiving, some so run the race that they know at their departure what their gain has been.

March 8, 2002

(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.


Some religious leaders believe the national trauma fueled a deeper sense of spirituality, even though church attendance — which surged after Sept. 11 — is back to pre-attack levels.

"We've moved from safety to fear, from immortality to knowing very much that we're going to die," said Stephen Bouman, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for the New York City area.

Dismay over the attacks prompted 150 parishioners at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Westville, Illinois, to sign up for a perpetual prayer circle — volunteering for at least one hour a week to ensure that someone is praying in the church round the clock.

"It was something we need in light of everything that happened," said Elmer Nicklas, 62, who prays at 1 a.m. on Wednesdays. "There's nothing wrong with everyone giving another hour to our Lord."

RELATED: 14% of all Americans Profess no Religion


VIA Barbara Richmond: Israel Radio has reported that the Rabbis of Israel have called for next Wednesday, March 13, to be a national day of fasting and prayer for the protection of the nation of Israel and for Jews worldwide.

VIA Jim McCrea: What St. Thomas Aquinas said about Islam

"On the other hand, those who founded sects committed to erroneous doctrines proceeded in a way that is opposite to this. The point is clear in the case of Mohammed. He seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasure to which the concupiscence of the flesh goads us. His teaching also contained precepts that were in conformity with his promises, and he gave free rein to carnal pleasure. In all this, as is not unexpected, he was obeyed by carnal men. As for proofs of the truth of his doctrine, he brought forward only such as could be grasped by the natural ability of anyone with a very modest wisdom. Indeed, the truths that he taught he mingled with many fables and with doctrines of the greatest falsity. He did not bring forth any signs produced in a supernatural way, which alone fittingly gives witness to divine inspiration; for a visible action that can be only divine reveals an invisibly inspired teacher of truth. On the contrary, Mohammed said that he was sent in the power of his arms - which are signs not lacking even to robbers and tyrants. What is more, no wise men, men trained in things divine and human, believed in him from the beginning. Those who believed in him were brutal men and desert wanderers, utterly ignorant of all divine teaching, through whose numbers Mohammed forced others to become his followers by the violence of his arms. Nor do divine pronouncements on the part of preceding prophets offer him any witness. On the contrary, he perverts almost all the testimonies of the Old and New Testaments by making them into fabrications of his own, as can be seen by anyone who examines his law. It was, therefore, a shrewd decision on his part to forbid his followers to read the Old and New Testaments, lest these books convict him of falsity. It is clear that anyone who places any faith in his words believe foolishly."

St. Thomas Aquinas - Summa Contra Gentiles - From book 1 Chapter 6

RELATED: Understanding Islam- online resourse from CBN

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 5- "On painstaking and true repentance"

34. Let no one who laments expect assurance at his departure. For the unknown is not sure. Spare me, through assurance, that I be refreshed before I go hence unassured (of salvation). Where the Spirit of the Lord is, the bond is loosed. Where there is profound humility, the bond is loosed. But let those who are without these two assurances make no mistake: they are bound.

March 7, 2002

(Mat 25:39-40) And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'


When he was 17 years old, Roscoe Barnes III volunteered for prison ministry work at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman. A recently reformed troublemaker, he was driven by a newfound faith in God.

Now 41, Barnes has returned to prison ministry as the first full-time chaplain at the Baltimore County Detention Center in Towson. He says that now, "even more, I have a desire to give something, to make a difference."

Barnes, whose position is funded by the nonprofit Good News Jail and Prison Ministry of Richmond, Va., plans to draw on his experience to offer spiritual guidance and counseling to inmates and staff members. He will lead religious services and Bible study and coordinate the activities of volunteers from many faiths.

"The message is no good if it only works behind stained-glass windows," says Barnes, "I want to help local institutions of faith to see that 'Yes, you have something that can make a difference, here's how.'"

RELATED:  A change of heart for mob turncoat

FROM THE MAILBAG VIA [email protected]:

A Christian Prison by Max Lucado

Near the city of Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil, is a remarkable facility. Twenty years ago the Brazilian government turned a prison over to two Christians. The institution was renamed Humaita, and the plan was to run it on Christian principles. With the exception of two full-time staff, all the work is done by inmates. Families outside the prison adopt an inmate to work with during and after his term. Chuck Colson visited the prison and made this report:

'When I visited Humaita I found the inmates smiling- particularly the murderer who held the keys, opened the gates and let me in. Wherever I walked I saw men at peace. I saw clean living areas, people working industriously. The walls were decorated with Biblical sayings from Psalms and Proverbs...My guide escorted me to the notorious prison cell once used for torture.

Today, he told me, that block houses only a single inmate. As we reached the end of a long concrete corridor and he put the key in the lock, he paused and asked, "Are you sure you want to go in?"

"Of course," I replied impatiently, "I've been in isolation cells all over the world." Slowly he swung open the massive door, and I saw the prisoner in that punishment cell: a crucifix beautifully carved by the Humaita inmates-the prisoner Jesus, hanging on a cross.

"He's doing time for the rest of us," my guide said softly.'"

(Phi 2:8-11) And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 5- "On painstaking and true repentance"

33. He who really keeps account of his actions considers as lost every day in which he does not mourn, whatever good he may have done in it.

March 6, 2002


EDITOR'S NOTE: Please consider adding the following three prayer petitions to your daily prayers today:

1) Protection for the victims of the Middle East crisis, particularly Palestinian Christians.
2) A favorable outcome to today's Irish referendum on abortion.
3) The health, safety and special intentions of the Pope.

Palestinian rockets, gunmen and a suicide bomber drew Israeli blood Tuesday in a dizzying array of attacks that triggered a day of revenge strikes with no end in sight to violence spiraling rapidly out of control. Israeli retaliation included a helicopter missile attack on a car near the West Bank city of Ramallah that targeted Palestinian militants.

Palestinians in Gaza fired three home-made Qassam rockets at the southern Israeli town of Sderot. One hit an apartment building, wounding three people, police said. It was the first time such weapons have hit a town in Israel. In response, Israeli helicopters and an F-16 warplane fired missiles at two Palestinian security compounds in Gaza, wounding a policeman and a civilian, security officials said.

Two Kassam rockets hit Sderot, wounding baby
Three dead, 31 wounded in Tel Aviv terror attack
Hizbullah gunners target northern border
Israeli Air Force blasts Gaza, Bethlehem, Tulkarm
Mideast Peace Plan Causes Arab Rift
Syria Makes Clear Misgivings on Saudi Peace Plan

SEE ALSO: Churches provide 'voice for the voiceless' in Middle East


HAMAS SPOKESMAN: "The great Allah says that when people die in the name of God, do not call them dead, because they remain alive, though you cannot feel them."

VIA [email protected]: Darkness fills the skies and the hearts of men are ever darker like India ink -- violence reigns and hatred red with the blood up to the horse's bridles is coming -- hatred is prolific like a cancer and festering wound in the soul -- all in the Name of the God who showed us the Essence of Love and Mercy -- and H'armegeddon hastens, because the violence cries out to God -- it not from the Lord himself but from the violence that breeds and breeds and breeds in hearts of darkness wounded with sin and self-will, these rebellious hearts, clouds without water -- parched earth, twice dead -- and the armies march froward and wars and rumors of war -- God weeps -- as Jesus wept -- and the H'armegeddon is not from our Lord of Mercy -- but straight from the hearts of self-willed men, as inspired by the evil one, our Adversary the Devil.

How long will man's violence reign while Mercy calls out to the hills and valleys -- the nations rage on and the Arafats and others of like mind believe they work the work of God in the name of another god who breeds more violence?

May this heart and all who know Jesus -- may this heart which was in Christ Jesus replace that darkened heart we so readily possess and are possesed with.
May we be obedient to the commands of ... Phil 2.

(Phi 2:1-2) So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any incentive of love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 5- "On painstaking and true repentance"

32. After your fall, do not believe him who says to you of small shortcomings: 'If only you had not done that great fault! But this is nothing in comparison'. Often small gifts appease the great anger of the Judge.

March 5, 2002


Last week, in the Vatican's "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel, in the presence of the Pope, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa O.F.M. Cap., preacher of the Pontifical Household, gave the first sermon of Lent. The topic of the meditations is "Starting Afresh from Christ". The other three sermons will take place on March 8, 15 and 22.


Baptism in the Holy Spirit
The Glory and Power of the Gospel
That My Joy May Be Yours
Scripture Reflections on the Holy Spirit




READER: Can you verify the rumor that Mother Angelica has once again been miraculously healed, this time directly by the Archangel Gabriel?

RESPONSE VIA EWTN DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS: There is no truth to the rumor circulating around the web that Mother Angelica has received a miracle cure of the physical damage she incurred due to the stroke she suffered on Christmas Eve. Mother was hospitalized for more than a month. She has been "home" at her monastery, under the care of her sisters and various physical therapists, for the past month. She has regained the use of her right arm and no longer requires an eye patch. She is still undergoing speech therapy, which is helping her regain her speech, very slowly. Thousand of persons around the world have offered prayers for Mother's recovery in the form of a spiritual bouquet, available on EWTN's web site,

While we are thrilled at the progress Mother has made, she has a long way to go. In her lifetime, Mother has received two cures. The first, when she was young, was a stomach ailment. The second, a few years ago, was when she no longer needed her braces and crutches to walk. She has had visions from time to time of angels and Our Lord, but in this case, Gabriel did not give Mother a miracle cure. Please do what you can to squelch this unfounded rumor. If Mother did receive a full and immediate cure, we would be the first to Shout It To The Mountaintops, as we did on TV when Mother was cured from the use of the braces and crutches. If you recall, Mother "danced" with Jeff Cavins on "Life on the Rock" the next night and told her story to the world then.

Latest Update on Mother Angelica:

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 5- "On painstaking and true repentance"

31. Before our fall, the demons say that God is a friend of man; but after the fall, that He is inexorable.

March 2, 2002


(Prov 6:16-19) There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.


Two weeks ago, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman reported that Saudi Arabia's de facto leader, Crown Prince Abdullah, had authorized him to make public an unprecedented offer: full normalization of relations with the Arab world if Israel withdraws to its 1967 borders. Israel occupied the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights in the war of June 1967, and Abdullah is advocating that the latter be handed back to Syria and the two Palestinian enclaves become a Palestinian state.

All of which is familiar territory to old Middle-East hands — in essence, the new proposal simply restates the principles of U.N. Resolution 242, which in turn form the basis of the Oslo peace process of U.S. policy on the conflict — "withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the (1967) conflict" and "termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force."

The proposal itself might be old news, but the Saudis have never before taken an active role in pushing for peace with Israel. And Abdullah is weighing taking his proposal before the Arab league, to win support for an unprecedented pan-Arab peace offer.

MORE: Crown Prince Abdullah's Peace Plan Called a Vision


Saudi Lashes Out at Israel in UN Speech
Surge of Violence Threatens Mideast Peace Idea
Hizbollah Rejects Saudi Peace Plan, Backs Uprising
Mubarak scoffs at Saudi Middle East peace plan
PLO Rejects Saudi Plan, Wants All Of Israel

SENIOR IRANIAN CLERIC AYATOLLAH AHMAD JANNATI:  "O God, on this auspicious occasion and through the blessings of Eid al-Ghadir, please bring happiness to our grief-stricken heart. If it is possible to do so by granting death to Sharon or Bush or any other means, please do so in any way that you deem appropriate."

NY TIMES EDITORIAL BY DORE GOLD: "Israel will not experiment with the lives of its citizens by agreeing to concessions that strip away tangible components of its national security, create vulnerabilities that its adversaries will exploit and ultimately undermine the stability of the entire Middle East."

NATIONAL UNITY COALITION FOR ISRAEL: "The international media seems to refuse to understand that the Arab Moslem theology prevents them from making any kind of lasting peace with Israel. Only a cease fire for the purpose of building strength is acceptable in their faith. Arafat has called the ceasefire "The Peace of Saladin" who broke his peace treaty with the Crusaders as soon as he was able to strike from strength. This is the same Yasser Arafat who, in 1975 & 1976, signed 72 ceasefire agreements with the Christian majority government of Lebanon. He broke EVERY one of them.

In Jan. 1995, the mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdel Aziz Bin-Baz, ruled that Islamic law does not rule out peace with Israel - "on condition that it is a temporary peace, until the Moslems build up the [military] strength needed to expel the Jews."


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 5- "On painstaking and true repentance"

30. Do not be surprised that you fall every day; do not give up, but stand your ground courageously. And assuredly, the angel who guards you will honour your patience. While a wound is still fresh and warm, it is easy to heal; but old, neglected and festering ones are hard to cure, and require for their care much treatment, cutting, plastering and cauterization. Many from long neglect become incurable, but with God all things are possible.

March 1, 2002

(Psa 122:6-8) Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels." For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, "Peace be within you."


The special Israeli Cabinet committee led by Housing Minister Natan Sharansky investigating the controversial proposed mosque adjacent to the landmark Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth has completed its work and will soon recommend that the mosque not be built.

The Basilica is the largest church in the entire Middle East and the most universally recognized symbol of Nazareth, and marks the place where tradition says Mary was told she would give birth to the promised Messiah. The Basilica also stands over an authentic Bible site, identified as the boyhood home of Jesus. Among the incredible remains discovered there are a first century synagogue where Jesus likely preached, and the home of the village baker.

The committee is likely to recommend halting construction, turning the spot into a plaza, approving renovations of the grave at the site, which is holy to Muslims, and allowing Muslims to visit the site without its becoming a mosque.

The recommendations are likely to be announced Sunday, and will probably cause tension with the Islamic Movement. Sources said the police and border police may increase their presence at the site over the weekend, fearing disturbances.

RELATED: Mosque supporters vow to remain at site


The Vatican urged Roman Catholics to use the Internet to spread the faith while warning them about pitfalls such as online pornography in two documents released Thursday. The Holy See touted the Internet's potential and pointed out its problems, including "hate sites, the dissemination of rumor and character assassination under the guise of news."

Overall and despite its dark side the Vatican portrayed the Internet as an opportunity not to be missed as it seeks to strengthen and widen its following around the globe in Christianity's third millennium. The Internet "is an opportunity and a challenge and not a threat," said Archbishop John P. Foley, who leads the Vatican's communications network.

Pope John Paul II, a best-selling author who has embraced TV, CDs and other modern technology to convey his message, recently used a laptop to send pastoral instructions to bishops in faraway Pacific Ocean countries.

Ethics in Internet
The Church and Internet

(Mat 28:19-20) Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 5- "On painstaking and true repentance"

29 (cont.). Previous habit often tyrannizes even over him that mourns. And no wonder! The account of the judgments of God and our falls is shrouded in darkness, and it is impossible to know which are the falls that come from carelessness, and which from providential abandonment, and which from God's turning away from us. But someone told me that, in the case of falls which come to us by Divine providence, we acquire a swift revulsion from them, because He who delivers us does not allow us to be held for long. And let us who fall wrestle above all with the demon of grief. For he stands by us at the time of our prayer, and by reminding us of our former boldness before God, he tries to devastate our prayer.

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