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May 31, 2000

(John 15:19-20) If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.


A priest belonging to the underground Catholic church in eastern China has been sentenced to six years in prison for printing Bibles and religious tracts without authorization, court officials said Saturday.

The arrest comes amid a nationwide tightening of controls on unauthorized religious activities that has coincided with the banning of the popular Falun Gong spiritual movement.

Chinese Catholics who accept papal authority as part of an underground church loyal to Rome frequently suffer harassment and arrest. According to the Information Center, at least seven Catholic churches in Cangnan have been closed since February for refusing to confirm their allegiance to the state-run Catholic church.


Scientists Warn of Hantavirus Threat
New York hot spot for Lyme disease faces worrisome summer
Researchers identify virus that killed 106 in Asia
U.S. provides $5 million for West Nile virus watch
Moderate Quake Shakes Central Taiwan
Mount Cameroon Shows Signs of Fresh Activity

(Luke 21:11) There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

97 (cont.). In virtue as in vice, constancy is the mother of habit; once acquired, it rules us like nature. When the intellect is in such a state of equilibrium, it searches out its enemies like a hound searching for a hare in a thicket. But the hound searches in order to get food, the intellect in order to destroy.

May 30, 2000

(Acts 2:17) "'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.


Two red signs on either side of a giant cross at the Espousal Retreat House here shout ``MORE'' and ``DEEPER,'' amplifying what the Rev. Tom DiLorenzo and the adherents who flock to his twice-weekly worship services want most out of their faith.

DiLorenzo is a Catholic priest. Most of his adherents are Catholics who travel from all across New England for what they call a life-changing spiritual experience.

Past midnight at one recent service, after five hours of exuberant prayer, worshipers gathered under a reading light to exclaim over the gold-colored dust they believe God sprinkled on the hands of a few worshipers.

They told of smelling roses when there were no roses, of hearing flutes when there were no flutes. And, DiLorenzo said, he sensed that a worshiper's injured knee had been healed. (He believes his services have also cured broken bones and even cancer.)

``It's not about the gold; it's not even about healing,'' DiLorenzo says. ``God casts out a net. People might come to see the gold, and the Lord touches their heart and changes their whole life.''

Across the country, from 250,000 to 500,000 Catholics call themselves active charismatics, according to Walter Matthews, director of the national service committee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Locust Grove, Va. Thirty years ago, almost no one did.

``I feel that we are at the foothills of revival,'' says DiLorenzo, administrator of Holy Rosary Church in Winthrop, Mass. ``Something's happening that's never happened before. There's greater ease, greater joy, greater healing.''


Dozens of Roman children have broken ranks with protocol to mob Pope John Paul II with hugs and kisses. At the end of Mass in St Peter's Square attended by faithful from Roman parishes, some 40 children performed a choreographed display using colourful streamers.

Then the kisses began. First one child, then another, who threw her arms around the Pope. Too impatient to wait their turn, the rest of the boys and girls rushed up together to the Pope's chair, jostling each other so they could get their chance to hug and kiss him.

At one point, a papal aide, Bishop Piero Marini, looked at his watch to see if the impromptu outpouring of affection was putting the Pope behind schedule, but John Paulappeared patient and pleased.

"Thank you, Rome. Most beloved Rome," the Pope said at the end of the ceremony.

(Mat 19:13-15) Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

97. A certain God-given equilibrium is produced in our intellect through the constant remembrance and invocation of our Lord Jesus Christ, provided that we do not neglect this constant spiritual entreaty or our close watchfulness and diligence. Indeed, our true task is always the same and is always accomplished in the same way: to call upon our Lord Jesus Christ with a burning heart so that His holy name intercedes for us.

May 27, 2000

The Trib Times will resume publication on Tuesday, May 30th. Have a safe weekend!


Scientists are on the brink of deciphering the entire human genetic blueprint. The accomplishment will launch a new era in medicine. The long-term ramifications are profound. In many ways, society is unprepared for the full implications.

It's been prized as the Holy Grail of biology, the Book of Life, the instruction manual for making a person. For a decade the double-stranded thread of genetic code known as the human genome has been the object of the biggest and boldest biological enterprise ever launched, costing about $2 billion and requiring millions of times the computing power used to land a man on the moon.

The goal has been to trace every letter of the genome's biochemical code, decipher its enigmatic molecular message and gain medical mastery at last over the world's most elegantly encrypted creation, the human being. Now, in the next two weeks or so, a Rockville company and a team of publicly funded scientists are expected to make separate and competing announcements that each has largely completed the task.


Biology Cannot Resolve All Life's Questions
Scientists Defend Research Against Prince Charles Tirade

VIA Ia Forrester:

One day, a man went to visit a church. He arrived early, parked his car, and got out. Another car pulled up near him, and the driver told him, "I always park there. You took my place!"

The visitor went inside for Sunday School, found an empty seat, and sat down. A young lady from the church approached him and stated, "That's my seat! You took my place!"

The visitor was somewhat distressed by this rude welcome, but said nothing.

After Sunday School, the visitor went into the church sanctuary and sat down. Another member walked up to him and said, "That's where I always sit. You took my place!"

The visitor was even more troubled by this treatment, but still said nothing.

Later, as the congregation was praying for Christ to dwell among them, the visitor stood, and his appearance began to change. Horrible scars became visible on his hands and on his sandaled feet. Someone from the congregation noticed him and called out, "What happened to you?"

The visitor replied, "I took your place."

(Zec 13:6) If someone asks him, 'What are these wounds on your body ?' he will answer, 'The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.'

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

96. If you want never to be wounded, do not succumb to sleep. There are only two choices: to fall and be destroyed, stripped of all virtue; or, armed with the intellect, to stand firm through everything. For the enemy and his host stand always ready for battle.

May 26, 2000

(Jude 1:4) For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.


Pope John Paul reaffirmed the Catholic Church's teaching against gay marriages on Thursday, saying that only a life-long commitment between a man and a woman could form the basis of a family.

"Attempts to define the family as something other than a solemnised lifelong union of man and woman which looks to the birth and nurture of children is bound to prove destructive," the Pope said.

"The facts suggest a logic that is clear and certain," the Pope said. "Weak families mean a society unable to sustain its members, especially the young, in the building of the common good," he said.

"Individuals and even social structures are enfeebled by forms of egoism and escapism which leave little room for commitment, self- , and solidarity with the weaker members of society," he said.

Gay Pride Event Stirs Church, Rights Row in Italy
Italy Prime Minister Says Gay Rally "Inopportune"

(Rev 4:5) From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.


A chinkapin oak, believed to be at least 4 centuries old, that once was thought to be the country's largest such tree on record was destroyed when lightning split it in half.

The tree was as big as a six-story building and its crown spread almost as wide as the tree was tall. It was struck Tuesday in storms that also damaged buildings and downed power lines around the state.

"It's a part of the history of the area and has been here forever,'' Mayor Samuel D. Ackley, 60, said Wednesday.

(Zep 2:1-3) Gather together, gather together, O shameful nation, before the appointed time arrives and that day sweeps on like chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD comes upon you, before the day of the Lord's wrath comes upon you. Seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord's anger.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

95.  The unremitting remembrance of death is a powerful trainer of body and soul. Vaulting over all that lies between ourselves and death, we should always visualize it, and even the very bed on which we shall breathe our last, and everything else connected with it.

May 25, 2000

(Mat 25:34-36) "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'


A former prostitute broke down in tears Wednesday when Pope John Paul spoke words of comfort to her at his general audience. Television pictures showed tears streaming down the face of the woman, an African, when the Pope touched her face in a gesture some said recalled Christ's forgiveness of Mary Magdalene.

She was one of 40 former prostitutes, most of them foreigners, who attended the Pope's general audience in St Peter's Square. They live in a rehabilitation center started by a Roman Catholic priest who helps them escape the clutches of African, East European and local crime clans in Italy.

"We're here to say 'thank you' to the Pope for the concern he has shown for these women, who are victims of violence and exploitation," the priest, Father Oreste Benzi, told reporters. The center run by Benzi, located on the Adriatic coast, has helped some 1,100 women, most from Africa and Eastern Europe, get off the streets and find jobs or return home.



Italian Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, seen as a possible successor to Pope John Paul, was on Wednesday named the 2000 winner of Spain's Prince of Asturias Prize for Social Sciences.

Martini, 73, the archbishop of Milan, is a biblical scholar considered one of the Roman Catholic Church's leading intellectuals who has expressed openness to debate sexual morality and the role of women in the church. Despite his liberal views the Italian press often refers to him as a "Pope in waiting."

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

94. Watchfulness and the Jesus Prayer, as I have said, mutually reinforce one another; for close attentiveness goes with constant prayer, while prayer goes with close watchfulness and attentiveness of intellect.

May 24, 2000

(Mat 24:6 -8) You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.


Guerrillas make triumphant return to southern Lebanon
Ethiopian, Eritrean armies in crucial border fight
Indonesian Christian-Muslim fighting intensifies
Sinn Fein warns Britain on N.Irish policy
Venezuela slams Guyana over rocket-launch site
Russia's Parliament speaker plays down possible air strike on Afghanistan
Sri Lanka leader calls for sacrifices as war rages
Curfew in Nigeria's Kaduna city after unrest

(1 Cor 3:12-13) If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.


Golden sparks leapt from a dying bonfire at dusk. A repetitious melody from a drum and lyres rolled on. Off in an incense-filled room, Aghia Eleni's firewalkers were preparing themselves. Some listened to music. Others began dancing on the hardwood floors with icons they will carry with them. Then they quietly walked barefoot onto the glowing carpet of coals Tuesday.

The annual Christian Orthodox rite has never been fully sanctioned by church leaders. But this year it took on a deeper symbolism as some Orthodox faithful have felt the nudge of a nation in transition.

The once untouchable link between the state and Greek Orthodox Church is fraying as Greece is forced to conform with European Union rules and other pressures to modernize. In the latest showdown, some religious zealots have vowed to fight a law stripping church affiliation from national identity cards.

Earlier this year, conservatives burned copies of a book they call blasphemous because it contains passages about the possible sexual longings of Jesus Christ. Court hearings are under way on whether to ban the book.

For Aghia Eleni's firewalkers, the confrontations give reason to cling to the old ways as their nation lurches forward.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

93. 'My spiritual eyes have looked upon my spiritual enemies,' says David the Prophet, 'and my ear shall hear those who in their wickedness rise up against me' (cf. Ps. 92: 11. LXX). And again: 'I have seen God's requital of sinners take place within me' (cf. Ps. 91:8). When there are no fantasies or mental images in the heart, the intellect is established in its true nature, ready to contemplate whatever is full of delight, spiritual and close to God.

May 23, 2000

(Rom 11:13-15) I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I make much of my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?


When enraged Temple leaders shouted "Crucify him! Crucify him!" during a climactic scene at the premiere Sunday of the world's most famous Passion play, dissenters defended Jesus for the first time: "Set him free!"

The revision is among a series of thoughtfully scripted changes introduced for the millennial production of the Oberammergau Passion play, acted roughly every decade since 1634. Many of the story's most ardent critics now declare this version a milestone in decades-long efforts expunge negative images of Jews.

"I can say positively that it is a turning point," said Irving Levine, an interfaith expert for the American Jewish Committee, which has been working with the Anti-Defamation League since the 1960s to remove Jewish stereotypes from the Oberammergau play.

Jesus' Jewishness is emphasized for the first time in this play about the last five days of his life. He is called "rabbi" and gives a Hebrew blessing at the Last Supper, depicted as a Passover seder held around a menorah.

Most importantly, the blood oath that assigned Jews collective guilt for Jesus' death was removed.

"I've been working on it for 23 years. They have made huge progress," said Leonard Swidler, a professor of Catholic theology at Temple University who has worked with the ADL to recommend changes. "Academics can always argue about anything, but I see no substantive difficulties at all."

(Rom 11:25 -27) I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins."


Supreme Court throws out restrictions on sex-oriented channels
Hymn-singing rebels kill six in Burundi
UK police arrest suspect in crucifixion case

(2 Tim 3:1) But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

92. The soul that is being given blessings and sweetness by Jesus repays her Benefactor by offering thanks to Him with a certain exultation and love; joyfully and gratefully she calls upon Him who gives her peace, and with the eyes of the intellect she sees Him within herself destroying the demonic fantasies.

May 22, 2000


Congress has recently burst into action! Please read about and act on the following FIVE important items. Most have pre-written letters prepared for you. It's as simple as clicking, adding your name, clicking again and you've written your representative! Just follow the links provided.

Please also share these action items with your family, friends, church and neighbors. Thank you.

1. Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) to China The vote on PNTR is scheduled in the House of Representatives for next week. The United States should not be trading with a bully who regularly throws religious people in jail, beats them, forces abortions even 10 days before a women's due date, uses slave labor to produce cheap goods for the United States, and has publicly stated that it wants to take over the United States. Economics must not be the only factor in our trade policy.

Religious liberty and human rights are important!

Please contact your representative today, and urge him or her NOT to give PNTR to China:

2. Make Killing Human Embryos Legal?

Several weeks ago, Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) introduced a bill (S. 2015) to give federal funds to embryonic stem cell research. This bill would repeal current law which forbids killing of human embryos. It could be voted on at any time.

Please contact your senators and urge them NOT to allow taxpayer money to kill these tiniest of humans:

3. Pain Relief Promotion Act The Pain Relief Promotion Act (H.R. 2260) could be brought up for a vote in the Senate at any time. This bill would allow doctors to provide better end-of-life care and emphasizes that using federally controlled drugs is NOT a legitimate medical use. In order to have a floor vote on this bill, the Senate must first have a "cloture" vote to end debate and then move to a vote on the bill. A cloture vote requires a two-thirds majority and could be close.

Please contact your senators and urge them to vote for cloture AND then to vote for the bill:

4. Trafficking Victims Protection Act Good news! The House of Representatives passed the "Trafficking Victims Protection Act" (H.R. 3244) last week. This bill addresses the international problem of the trafficking of women and children for sexual slavery. The Senate must now take action.

Please contact your senators and urge them to support H.R. 3244:

5. Social Engineering halted for the Navy Last week, House Armed Services Committee members voted to require congressional approval before submarines can be made co-ed.

Representative Roscoe Bartlett (R-Maryland) championed this effort to keep the Navy's military mission--not social engineering projects--its top priority.

Please contact Rep. Bartlett's office and thank him for his commitment to a strong military. He does not have an e-mail address, but you can use the "Send A Message" link under his picture to write him:

RELATED: Stratfor analysis: Washington Debates Free Trade

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

91. To invoke Jesus continually with a sweet longing is to fill the heart in its great attentiveness with joy and tranquility. But it is Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Himself God, cause and creator of all blessings, who completely purifies the heart; for it is written: 'I am God who makes peace' (cf. Isa 45:7).

May 20, 2000


On May 5, Federal District Judge Jennifer Coffman ordered historical documents hanging on the walls of public buildings in Eastern Kentucky to be immediately taken down. The ruling directly targets courthouses and public schools in Harlan, McCreary and Pulaski counties. In defending her decision, Coffman said the displays have the effect of "conveying a very specific government endorsement of religion."

The offending documents ordered removed included the Declaration of Independence, the preamble to the Constitution of Kentucky, and the national motto, "In God we trust." A page from the congressional record of Wednesday, Feb. 2, 1983, Vol. 129, No. 8, which declares 1983 as the "Year of the Bible" and lists the Ten Commandments, was likewise ordered removed. In addition, a proclamation by President Ronald Reagan marking 1983 the "Year of the Bible," a proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln designating April 30, 1863, a "National Day of Prayer and Humiliation," the Mayflower Compact, and more were ordered removed. Any document having any reference to God was ordered taken down.

Related: 10 Commandments Poster Removed


Catholics are free to believe or not believe the so-called third secret of Fatima because visions aren't the basis for dogma, Pope John Paul II's top guardian of orthodoxy says. "A Christian is free to believe or not, but on these things it's good to avoid every form of sensationalism," Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said in an interview published Friday in Rome daily La Repubblica.

The cardinal heads the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which the pope has asked to study the secret and put it down in writing together with a commentary. He said that the congregation would publish the secret and commentary by mid-June and that there "won't be new surprises."

"One must not expect so much from these private revelations which _ while representing for whoever desires it an aid to prayer for Christian life _ are certainly not essential for a Christian," he said.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

89. Because every thought enters the heart in the form of a mental image of some sensible object, the blessed light of the Divinity will illumine the heart only when the heart is completely empty of everything and so free form all form. Indeed, this light reveals itself to the pure intellect in the measure to which the intellect is purged of all concepts.

May 19, 2000


Complete Text of the Pope's Fatima Homily
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MMP Online Worldwide


VIA Austin Ruse: Our campaign in support of the Holy See is exploding. We announce today that in only four months 2,000 groups have joined our efforts to defend the Holy See against attacks from pro-abortion extremists and fundamentalists. "Catholics for a Free Choice" took more than a year to gather 498 groups to join their crude crusade to kick the Holy See out of the UN.

I urge you to keep our campaign in support of the Holy See going. You are joining an international community that is standing up for truth, for family and life. Don't stop now. Go out and find two or three groups to sign our declaration. Do it now. We have 2,000 groups. Why not go for 5,000?!

New signers may join our campaign by going to our website:


More than 7,000 priests, bishops and cardinals helped Pope John Paul celebrate his 80th birthday Thursday as the Pontiff gave no sign of wanting to step down despite advancing age and declining health. A solemn ceremony in St Peter's Square, bathed in a brilliant sunlight that forced the Pope to squint, was believed to be the largest number of priests to "concelebrate" a single mass together in the Vatican.

Beginning the ninth decade of his momentous life, the Pope said he had been called to be a priest, bishop and pontiff "to be a witness of the love of God for all humanity in these times of ours, which have been so fascinating." He gave no indication that he was considering stepping aside, as some liberal Catholics have asked. Such a move could potentially leave the Church severely divided and the Vatican has often dismissed reports of a possible resignation.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

88. Many of our thoughts come from demonic provocation, and from these derive our evil outward actions. If with the help of Jesus we instantly quell the thought, we will avioid its corresponding outward action. We will enrich ourselves with the sweetness of divine knowledge and so will find God, who is everywhere. Holding the mirror of the intellect firmly towards God, we will be illumined constantly as pure glass is by the sun. Then the intellect, having reached the term of its desires, will in Him cease from all other contemplation.

May 18, 2000

Happy Birthday Pope John Paul II!


Britain could fall dramatially out of line with Europe if it legalised human cloning, it has been claimed. Dr Peter Liese, a German MEP and chairman of the European Parliament's Christian Democrat group on bioethics, severely criticised the drift toward human cloning in Britain, warning of a "horror scenario" without the scientific, economic and medical advantages predicted.

Speaking in the House of Lords in advance of the Government's summer decision on the legalisation of "spare part" or "therapeutic" cloning, he said: "I have been invited to present to you the position of the European Parliament regarding the cloning of human beings. "To make it clear: the European Parliament unambiguously rejects the cloning of human beings. We do not accept the distinction between 'reproductive' and therapeutic cloning which is discussed very often.We do not think that it is acceptable to produce human embryos by cloning and that the problem only begins with the implantation of these cloned embryos in the uterus. In the last few years, these positions have repeatedly been clarified in a very precise manner."

Dr Liese, a medical doctor who worked for the Institute for Human Genetics of Bonn University, warned that any relaxation in laws prohibiting the practice would be like "the bursting of a dam". He said: "There would be immediate attempts to go further. Already researchers think about growing embryos in artificial uteri to produce organs. There are other ideas to suppress the development of the brain, by neurotoxical substances, to raise human beings without brains, but with organs that could be used. You certainly agree that this is a horror scenario." He dismissed wealth creation as among the benefits of cloning, saying that while Germany had the strictest bioethical laws in Europe, biotech firms were still relocating there, even from Britain. "This has nothing to do with the question of how to deal with human embryos, but a lot with the promotion of enterprises and regulations in other areas," he said.

The meeting also produced for the first time in public a letter from Cardinal Thomas Winning, the Archbishop of Glasgow, to Professor Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer, whose committee is soon to report to the Government on the issue of cloning. The Cardinal, chairman of the Catholic Bishops' (of Great Britain and Ireland) Joint Committee on Bioethical Issues, condemned all cloning and attacked "the way commercial interests of biotechnology companies appear to be influencing government deliberations".

He criticised the use of euphemisms such as "therapeutic" and insisted that embryos had the same rights to life as other children. To assert otherwise, he said, was to divide people into "morally offensive" categories of "human" and "sub-human". He said: "It is a gross violation of rights to breed embryos for the sole purpose of taking their cells, thus ending their lives. Far from being morally superior to "reproductive" cloning, where the aim is to bring the clone to birth, spare-part cloning is an even greater aberration. "The clone embryo would be just another stage in the 'customised' production of cells for transplantation to an older human being . . . respect for innocent human life, at every stage, is not negotiable."

The Cardinal added that spare part cloning was unnecessary since viable options already existed. Vital stem cells, which scientist seek to grow into new tissue, could be not only be taken from foetuses, but also from adults, umbilical cords, miscarriages and even from animals. The event was organised by Catholic peer Lord Alton of Liverpool who attacked the "biased and unrepresentative" cloning advisory bodies to the Government. He said: "Cloning is bad science, it's bad ethics and it has been badly served by a phoney consultation process."

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

87. Just as salt seasons our bread and other food and keeps certain meats from spoiling for quite a time, so the spiritual sweetness and marvellous working which result from the guarding of the intellect effect something similar. For in a divine manner they season and sweeten both the inner and the outer self, driving away the stench of evil thoughts and keeping us continually in communion with good thoughts.

May 17, 2000

(2 Th 2:11-13) And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.


Argentina's Roman Catholic bishops on Saturday said Argentines had lost their sense of justice, had little respect for one another and the South American nation was in a state of "deep moral corruption.

After a six-day retreat, about one hundred bishops, appealed to Argentines to consider whether they are "participating, to a greater or lesser extent, in creating a network of immorality that leads to poverty and promotes multiple forms of violence and selfishness."

The bishops said "social inequality" was now worse than ever.

Around 90 percent of Argentina's 36 million people profess to be Catholic but the church says only about six percent go to mass.


Belgium's Cardinal Godfried Danneels has warned that the Catholic Church in Europe is facing extinction.

The cardinal, who was in England to deliver a lecture at St. Philip's University Church, Salford, said that in his own country the shortage of priests was particularly acute.

"We've got lay people who are working with us," he said. "We see that without priests who are permanently there, it's difficult for lay people to play a full role -- they need to work and have families. We've reached a very low level. It's the same level as in Holland, France, Switzerland, and even Germany."

-Pope John Paul II, Message for the 1997 World Day of the Sick, N. 1, Insegnamenti, vol XIX/2, 1996, p. 561:

"The Lady of the message seems to read the signs of the times - the signs of our time - with special insight... The insistent invitation of Mary Most Holy to penance is nothing but the manifestation of her maternal concern for the fate of the human family, in need of conversion and forgiveness"

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

86. If a man does not carry out the will and law of God 'in his inward parts', that is, in his heart, he will not be able to carry them out easily in the outward sphere of the senses either. The careless and unwatchful man will say to God: 'I do not want to know Thy ways' (Job 21:14. LXXX), obviously because he lacks divine illumination. But he who participates in that light will be confident and steadfast in matters that concern God.

May 16, 2000

(2 Pet 3:7) By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.


A complex of historic buildings where scientists assembled the first atomic bomb during World War Two has been consumed by a wildfire that has raged for over a week, the Los Alamos National Laboratory said on Monday.

The complex where scientists worked on the top-secret Manhattan Project to build the bomb was destroyed in the fire except for one building, the laboratory said in a statement.

Laboratory official Ternel Martinez said the destruction of the site was a severe blow to the 12,000 people who work at the U.S. nuclear weapons research facility in northern New Mexico.

"Any time that anything of historical significance is lost it's a great tragedy,'' he told Reuters. "We're very proud of our past and anything that we could have kept to show the world our significant contribution to ending World War Two...whenever you lose that, it's very painful.''


Please join me in praying for those left homeless as a result of the Los Alamos fire!


'The Bishop of Rome's (i.e. Pope's) reference to the third secret, which is now partially revealed, was expressed in these words: Fatima "prophesized the tribulations of these times and the Virgin asked for prayers to shorten these evils."'

(Mat 24:21-22) For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now--and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

85. 'Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep his commandments' (Eccles. 12:13), both where the intellect and where the senses are concerned. If you force yourself to keep the commandments on the plane of the intellect, you will seldom need great effort to keep those that refer to the senses. In the words of David the Prophet, 'I wished to carry out Thy will and Thy law in my inward parts' (cf. Ps. 40:8.LXX).

May 15, 2000

(Mat 19:14) Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

VIA John Spink Sr.:

I'm not sure you know about the man behind the camera in the remarkable picture of little unborn Samuel Armas grabbing the doctor's finger.

The USA today was supposed to be there at the surgery but couldn't make it. So, they contracted it out to a photographer from the Nashville Tennessean. The photographer was, surprisingly, pro-abortion but his views were changed when he snapped that famous photo which can be seen at

How do I know this? I just met Alex Armas, Tony's father, in the hallway while picking something up here. He said that Samuel is doing fine and appreciates our prayers. Due to the nerve damage encountered with spina bifida he may always have weakness in his legs but I'm praying for a miracle for the boy. He's already normal except for the legs.

Please keep this family in your prayers.

VIA Jim Bramlett:

Some people actually object to desiring the return of Jesus because "we still have so much to do." (But I wonder how much they are doing!)

However, whenever He does return, there will still be "much to do."

Until then, we do have much to do, but someday, soon, I believe, He will say the time has come and will come and bring the world's misery to an end.

I am persuaded that Jesus' longs to return more than we want Him. I say that because today I received a prayer request from a respected international prayer ministry for children. It included these facts:

* 35,000 children will die of malnutrition and preventable disease today.

* One million children become prostitutes every year.

* 100 million street children struggle for survival.

Does that rip your heart? If not, please stop now and check your pulse.

Think of the all the implications of those numbers -- each a person.

But this is the condition of the world. And Jesus loves the little children, red and yellow, black and white; they are precious in His sight.

We can pray. We can help a few. But this kind of massive problem cannot be solved in this evil world until the Second Adam returns and restores what was lost by the first Adam.

That's one main reason I deeply desire the return of the Lord Jesus, and the thoughts of it fill my days and nights. How can anyone not hope He comes soon? I do, and I believe it will be soon.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

84. It is said that those who thirst should go to the waters (cf. Isa. 55:1). Those who thirst for God should go in purity of mind But he who through such purity soars aloft should also keep an eye on the earth of his own lowliness and simplicity, for no one is more exalted than he who is humble. Just as when light is absent, all things are dark and gloomy, so when humility is absent, all our efforts to please God are vain and pointless.

May 14, 2000

A Mother's Day Thought: "If you could create your own mother, wouldn't she be perfectly pure?"



VIA [email protected]: Following the beatification ceremonies, the Pope asked Cardinal Angelo Sodano to read a message to the congregation – in Portuguese -- which explained the third part of the Fatima secret.

A first-hand account of the Cardinal's message has been given to us via a phone conversation with Thomas Pereira who is now in Cova-da-Ira (Fatima, Portugal).

Thomas is in Fatima to pray for all Catholics and the friends of St. Michael Center throughout the world. As a student of the Portuguese Salesian priests, Thomas was able to understand the message delivered in Portuguese.

The Fatima children received the secret from Our Lady during her apparitions to them: the third part has, until now, only been known to the Pope, his predecessors and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

The secret details a vision of a “bishop dressed in white” who “falls to the ground, apparently dead, under a burst of gunfire” in a “war waged by atheist systems against the Church and Christians.” Sister Lucia, the only surviving Faitma seer, has confirmed that the “bishop” is the Pope.

Since the attempted assassination of the Pope on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima in 1981, the Pope has always said he believes Our Lady is responsible for his survival.

The vision “describes the immense suffering endured by witnesses to the faith in the last century of the second millenium,” as read by the Cardinal.


This and devotion to the Immaculate Heart are the emphases of the Cardinal's message, Thomas says.

Do not be misled by any secular news sources which do not make mention of the full context and significance of the message revealing the third secret.

We are asked to pray for the Holy Father, for Portugal and all people in the world, and for their protection under the Immaculate Heart.

We will bring you more details as further developments are made.

Wimmie Wong Volunteer, St. Michael Center Journalism student, University of Hawaii-Manoa


The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

83. Light is the property of a star, as simplicity and humility are the property of a holy and God-fearing man. Nothing distinguishes more clearly the disciples of Christ than a humble spirit and a simple way of life. The four Gospels shout this aloud. Whoever has not lived in this humble manner is deprived of his share in Him who 'humbled death, even the death of the cross' (Phil. 2:8), the actual Lawgiver of the divine Gospels.

May 13, 2000

Breaking News!

Fatima Third Secret Partially Revealed!
Commentary of an Eyewitness to the Papal Homily
Brief History of the Fatima Secrets

Pope John Paul on Saturday beatified two of three Portuguese shepherd children whose visions of the Virgin Mary 83 years ago in Fatima have made it one of Roman Catholicism's most hallowed sites.

Before a crowd of several hundred thousand faithful, the Pope pronounced the two -- Francisco and Jacinta Marto -- "blessed," setting them on the road to sainthood.

"From today, the venerable servants of God, Francisco and Jacinta Marto can be called blessed," the Pope said.

Beatification can only be bestowed upon the dead. The third visionary, Sister Lucia dos Santos, a frail, 93-year-old nun, is still alive, while her two younger cousins died shortly after the "apparitions." Sister Lucia was among those at the ceremony.

The Pope set February 20 as the day in the Church's liturgical calendar on which the two children can be commemorated.


Pope John Paul, beatifying two shepherd children who had visions of the Madonna in 1917, said on Saturday that modern society had to return to traditional values if it wanted to avoid self-destruction.

In his sermon at a beatification mass attended by hundreds of thousands of people, the Pope did not disclose the so-called "Secret of Fatima," said to have been told by the Virgin Mary to three child visionaries in 1917 in this central Portuguese town.

It was not clear if the Pope would refer to the secret, which some fear may be a prediction of an apocalyptic event, later in the day before returning to Rome.

While the first two parts of the Madonna's message are well known, the third has never been revealed to anyone but Popes and a few top Vatican officials, sparking speculation the Pontiff could divulge it in Fatima.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

82. Unexpected trials are sent by God to teach us to practise the ascetic life.

May 12, 2000

Newsflash! Pope May Reveal Today Third Secret of Fatima (Article in Spanish)


Pope John Paul II, frail and turning 80 next week, is traveling again, leaving Friday for Portugal's Fatima shrine for a visit with a highly personal side.

During the two-day trip, the pope will beatify two shepherds who as children said they witnessed apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Fatima. He will stop at the tombs of Francisco Marto and his sister Jacinta and meet with a third person who reported a vision as a child, Sister Lucia de Jesus dos Santos, a 92-year-old cloistered nun.

But the stop is also important to the pope for another reason. John Paul credits the Virgin of Fatima with saving his life when he was wounded in a 1981 assassination attempt in St. Peter's Square.

The shooting happened on May 13, the same day the first apparition of the Virgin is said to have taken place in 1917.



The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

81. He who honours the Lord does what the Lord bids. When he sins or is disobedient, he patiently accepts what comes as something he deserves. If you love true knowledge, devote yourself to the ascetic life; for mere theoretical knowledge puffs a man up (cf. 1 Cor. 8:1).

May 11, 2000

Newsflash! Bishop Edward M. Egan to head the New York Diocese


Streams flooded by a series of downpours receded Wednesday in eastern Oklahoma, allowing schools to reopen and residents to clean up.

"We're in good shape until the next rain," said Gus Altebaumer, emergency management director in Craig County. The next chance of rain was forecast for Friday and Saturday.

Farther north, residents of southern Michigan, Ohio and Indiana cleaned up Wednesday after severe thunderstorms, some containing possible tornadoes, that ripped down power lines Tuesday and plunged nearly 300,000 customers into the dark. Thousands were still blacked out Wednesday.


VIA Maureen Braun:

Late Saturday night, it began to rain. It never stopped raining. With a feeling of trepidation, my husband Mike and I went to bed about 12:30 am. Because of the thunder and lightning, I couldn't sleep...during prayers I began to drift off.

Suddenly I felt someone touch me. My husband was happily snoring away beside me with the rushing air sound of his C-Pap machine. Then, to my great alarm I heard a bubbling noise coming from my bathroom. There was water coming up from the toilet. I looked outside our window to find a river rushing by outside the window.

To make this short, we had to be rescued by a boat from our window. My four children were terrified as my husband and I woke them at 1:30 and told them we had to leave....when they saw that the water was up to the windows of the house we expected them to freak out. They didn't. They were very brave and followed our instructions. After 4 calls to 911, we were finally saved.

As we had enthroned Jesus' Sacred Heart as King of our home, I told Him that he could do whatever He wanted with the house as long as He would save our lives. That is what He did. He opted to take everything else...our cars, our clothes, our toys, our RV and our home. We have each other now.

So, if you can, be allow me to ask for the prayers of your subscribers. We are in desperate straits. We didn't have flood insurance. Our Tribulation has already begun.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

80. 'Christ died on account of our sins in accordance with the Scriptures' (1 Cor. 15:3); and to those who serve Him well He gives freedom. 'Well done, good and faithful servant,' He says, 'you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter into the joy of our Lord' (Matt. 25:21). He who relies on theoretical knowledge alone is not yet a faithful servant: a faithful servant is one who expresses his faith in Christ through obedience to His commandments.

May 10, 2000


"John Cardinal O'Connor will be sorely missed. He was a great leader who did much to advance, strengthen and solidify Catholic pro-life activity in the United States during this past century," said Father Richard Welch, CSSR, JCD, President of Human Life International.

"When asked once how he wished to be remembered, Cardinal O'Connor said he wanted to be remembered only as a priest," continued Father Welch. "And that says everything. A priest serves as the 'other Christ' on earth, which means that he carries the cross for all people. Cardinal O'Connor will be remembered for proclaiming the human dignity of the defenseless, especially pre-born children. Thousands of children have been saved because of the help he provided to pregnant women in difficult circumstances."

Founded in 1981, Human Life International (, 1-800-549-LIFE) is the world's largest pro-life, pro-faith, pro-family educational apostolate, with chapters in the United States and a network of international branches and affiliates around the world.



VIA Society for the Protection of Unborn Children Email List:

Advertisements for abortion providers could soon be appearing on British television. The Independent Television Commission has proposed abolishing or liberalising most of its controls on advertisers including the ban on suppliers of pregnancy testing services which also offer abortions or advice on abortions. The Commission feels that such a ban is no longer appropriate now that abortion is legal. The proposals will be subject to a consultation process and the final announcement will be made in October. [Daily Mail, 9th May]

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

79. Wishing to show that to fulfil every commandment is a duty, whereas sonship is a gift given to men through His own Blood, the Lord said, 'When you  have done all that is commanded you, say: "We are useless servants: we have only done what was our duty" '(Luke 17:10).Thus the kingdom of heaven is not a reward for works, but a gift of grace prepared by the Master for His faithful servants. A slave does not demand his freedom as a reward: but he gives thanks as one who is in debt, and he receives freedom as a gift.

May 9, 2000

(Rev 6:9-11) When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.


Choosing as his backdrop the Colosseum, the ancient arena associated with Christianity's first martyrs, Pope John Paul II paid tribute to those who suffered for the faith in some of the 20th century's cruelest places, among them Soviet gulags, Nazi extermination camps and Chinese forced labor factories.

As Christianity begins its third millennium, John Paul is worried that faith might be weakening, and he wanted Sunday night's ceremony at the Roman monument to give Christians fresh examples of courageous faithful from modern times.

"In the 20th century, and maybe even more than in the first period of Christianity, there has been a vast number of men and women who bore witness to the faith through sufferings that were often heroic," John Paul said.



A Roman Catholic priest in Ohio has refused to identify a man who stabbed him during confession Friday because it would violate church law, authorities said Sunday.

The Rev. Charles Mentrup, 41, was hearing confession at his Middletown home Friday evening when he was stabbed, said Dan Andriacco, a spokesman for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

"As far as we know, Father Mentrup is unable to help police in identifying his attacker because the sacred seal of the confessional binds him to keep such information confidential," said Andriacco.

(Luke 6:40) A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

78. Just as someone who wounds the heart of a plant withers it completely, so too sin, when it wounds a man's heart, withers it completely. We must watch for such moments, because brigands are always at work.

May 4, 2000

(Psa 19:1-2) The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.


Please see to visit the Question and Answer section of "Ask the Astronomer" relating to the May 5th Grand Conjunction.

An online poster can be found at:

A Christian astronomer's perspective at:

A relevant article in a prophecy newsletter:

VIA Jim Bramlett: "The alignment is also unique in that the event was understood to be built into the original design of the Jewish menorah. The seven-lamped candlestick was to be fashioned after the pattern given by God to Moses".

RELATED: Scientists: No doomsday in store when planets align Friday

Editor's Note:

Just as a Sacrament is a visible sign of an invisible Grace, so this conjunction may indeed be a visible "sign in the heavens" from the Lord. And in similar fashion, it's meaning and effect may not be immediately visibly apparent.  I can't resist speculating, given Jim's information above, the Pope's recent pilgrimmage to the Holy Land and the upcoming arrival of Pentecost, whether this might be a sign of the imminent spread of the Gospel among the Jewish people.  May it be so!!!

(Rom 11:25-27) I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins."



(Gen 1:14-15) Then God said: "Let there be lights in the dome of the sky, to separate day from night. Let them mark the fixed times, the days and the years, and serve as luminaries in the dome of the sky, to shed light upon the earth." And so it happened:

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

77. Just as in the world of the senses we are harmed when we see something harmful, so in the world of the intellect the same is true.

May 3, 2000

(Mat 19:14) Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."


E.Europe's population tumbles due to low fertility
Sterilization main U.S. contraception means


VIA [email protected]:


Tuesday, I was present with three of my nine children in front of the Supreme Court as they argued whether or not executing a small child in the process of being born is a woman's constitutional right.

Present were some notable pro-life leaders: Joe Scheidler of Pro Life Action League in Chicago, Rev. Joseph Foreman, one of the founders of Operation Rescue; Troy Newman of Operation Rescue West in California; Rev.

Flip Benham of Operation Save America; Rev. Frank Pavone of Priests For Life; Rev. Pat Mahoney of Christian Defense Coalition, based in D.C.

It was raining a steady downpour all morning. Some of the pro-lifers had been there day and night praying and fasting since Sunday. In the large area in front of the steps to the Supreme Court, large signs had been erected.

One was an actual photo of a baby killed by partial-birth abortion, another was of a late-term baby that had been beheaded in the procedure. Yet another was a five-frame depiction of the entire partial birth abortion procedure.

Rev. Pat Mahoney of Christian Defense Coalition and Troy Newman of Operation Rescue West had negotiated with the Court for months concerning the signs and the setting up of a sound system and microphone. The Court had agreed to allow the signs. They knew the exact size and dimension of each sign, and the content of the signs. THEY AGREED TO ALLOW THE SIGNS. PERMITS WERE ISSUED FOR THE SIGNS.

Shortly after the Justices would have entered the building, a written order from the US Marshals Service, located inside the Supreme Court, ordered that the signs be removed! Quoting a regulation concerning signs in Lafayette Park -- across the street -- they claimed the signs were too big and had to be removed. It should be noted that the US Marshal's Service does not have jurisdiction in front of the Court, but the Supreme Court Police, who had been on duty all along without any objection to the signs, which were legally erected.

The signs had been placed there on Sunday, and the permit allowed them to remain up until Tuesday afternoon. This was the third day they had been up, but suddenly they were illegal! The Supreme Court allowed the US Marshal's service to carry out the enforcement, thus proving that they don't have any integrity, either.

Rev. Pat Mahoney announced the action to the crowd. In a passionate talk, he proclaimed that the Free Speech Rights of Christians would not be suppressed in front of the very center of American Justice. He said that he and Troy Newman of Operation Rescue West had been threatened with arrest if they did not remove the signs. He announced that they would NOT remove the signs, that it was obvious that these signs which portrayed the truth of what was being argued were having an effect. He asked pro-lifers to sit in front of the signs and continue to pray, realizing that they might face arrest if they did not move when ordered to.

Rev. Mahoney, Rev. Foreman, Troy Newman and 20 others Christians were arrested by Supreme Court Police and taken to jail for refusing to remove signs that they had negotiated the placement of for months; and for which they had lawful permits!

But let's face it, if they'll be complicit in the gruesome murder of 40 million children, they'll do ANYTHING.

A servant of Christ,

Rev. Bruce Evan Murch

PS. Please forward, so Christians will know the truth of what really transpired at the Supreme Court.


US Supreme Court Hears Late-Term Abortion Arguments
The Rescuing Hug- A MUST SEE!!
Priests For Life

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

76. David's watchman prefigures the circumcision of the heart; for the guarding of the intellect is a commanding a view over our whole spiritual life (cf. 2 Sam. 18:24).

May 2, 2000

(Eph 6:12) For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.


The number of exorcisms worldwide is rising as a direct result of New Age philosophies and religious ignorance, an English exorcist claimed today.

Father Jeremy Davies, an exorcist in Westminster Archdiocese, said the increase was due to the spread of false religions and "irreligion."

"The incidence of the demonic on the whole is rising," Father Davies, 65, told The Catholic Herald. "At the center of this is man's ever growing pride and attempted self-reliance, man trying to build a better world without God -- another Tower of Babel."


"He came to us like Moses, drifting in the waters," the Catholic priest said in Spanish Sunday at Mass in my parents' working-class enclave near Little Havana. "There is special meaning that he was taken after the anniversary of Christ's crucifixion on Good Friday. We must trust in God, have faith in his mercy. For the suffering of this world, Elian's suffering, is not for us to understand."

The boy whose mother risked all to leave a communist country soon became the special child who would save Cuba.

Castro was the first to understand Elian's special status. Word in Miami spread with each Cuban-American who returned from visiting family on the island since December: Talk in Cuba was that Castro wanted Elian back with a vengeance because the boy represented Elegua, the mischievous boy-god in the religion, an Afro-Cuban version of black magic. Without Elegua, the santeros had told Castro, he was doomed.

You laugh. But many of us who know Castro's history didn't. The exile community, even those who abhor , understood that Castro would not be stopped. The dictator who for more than three decades closed all Christian churches and Jewish synagogues had always allowed the open practice of .

It was a struggle of good over evil. Each side had its own set of villains.

Related: Castro takes to the streets of Havana for May Day and Elian

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

75. Humility and ascetic hardship free a man from all sin, for the one cuts out the passions of the soul, the other those of the body. It is for this reason that the Lord says: 'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God' (Matt. 5:8). They shall see God and the riches that are in Him when they have purified themselves through love and self-control; and the greater their purity, the more they will see.

May 1, 2000

(Micah 7:18) Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.


The pope welcomed throngs of hymn-singing fellow Poles to a festive, flower-filled St. Peter's Square on Sunday for the canonization of one of their own, proclaiming a 20th-century Krakow nun the first new saint of the Holy Year.

Pope John Paul II, who himself prayed at the tomb of Helena Kowalska as a clandestine seminary student in Nazi-controlled Poland, called her a "daughter of Poland ... tightly connected to the history of the 20th century."

"It gives me great joy today to present to the Church the life and testimony of Sister Faustina Kowalska as a gift of God for our age," the Pope said.

"Through Divine Providence, the life of this humble Polish daughter has been completely tied to the history of the 20th century, the century we have just left behind us.

"In fact, it was between the first and second world wars that Christ trusted her with his message of mercy.

"Those who remember and witnessed and participated in the events of those years and the horrible suffering which they brought to millions of people well know how necessary the message of mercy was."

Kowalska, Sister Faustina of the Krakow order of God's Mercy, died of tuberculosis in 1938 on the verge of World War II at age 33, leaving behind a diary in which she recorded visions of Jesus Christ entreating his followers to mercy.

Pope John Paul II announced that, in her honor, throughout the world, "the second Sunday after Easter will be designated Divine Mercy Sunday, a perennial invitation to the Christian world to face, with confidence in divine goodness, the difficulties and trials that await humankind in the coming years."

Related: Miracle Cure: Priest's recovery brings sainthood to Polish nun


Millions of Russians lit candles and held glittering icons as they celebrated Orthodox Easter Sunday and President-elect Vladimir Putin said the influence of the Orthodox Church would grow.

Putin, a former KGB spy who attended a lavish ceremony in Russia's former imperial capital of St Petersburg, hailed Easter as a time for "spiritual revival" and praised the Church's contribution to the country's post-Soviet spiritual rebirth.

"Year by year, Easter celebrations are increasingly becoming part of the life of our society, filling the hearts of millions of Russians with love and joy, with the kind feelings of charity and compassion," Putin said in a statement to all Russians.

"The widespread celebration of Easter is visible proof of the rebirth of the spiritual foundations of our society... I believe that together (with the Church) we will achieve the spiritual revival of a strong, prospering Russia in the 21st century."

The Philokalia excerpt: St. Hesychios "On Watchfulness and Holiness"

74. We grow proud when the passions cease to be active in us, and this whether they are inactive because their causes have been eradicated or because the demons have deliberately withdrawn in order to deceive us.

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