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A Chronicle Depicting the Lateness of the Hour

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November 30, 2001


On November 28 the Church in Rwanda celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Kibeho Mother of Sorrows, for the very first time. Kibeho is a Marian shrine in Gikongoro diocese in southern Rwanda. On June 29 this year the local Church confirmed apparitions of Mary of Nazareth in 1981 and 1983 and set the date for the annual feast on November 28, the date of the first apparition.

Mass yesterday was prepared with hymns and prayers in honour of Mary. Bishop Augustin Misago of Gikongoro concelebrated with Bishop Frederic Rubewejanga of Kibungo, and the vicar general of Byumba, Mgr. Didace Ruzindana. There were many priests and religious present and a crowd of faithful from all over Rwanda and from neighbouring countries.

During the apparitions Our Lady, who appeared to the witnesses as Mother of Sorrows, asked for prayers and conversion of heart. Once however she showed the young visionaries a frightening scene of people killing each other. Later this vision was seen in relation to the genocide in Rwanda 1994. Many of the massacres took place in and around Kibeho. "I hope that Kibeho, thanks to Our Lady, will become a place of reconciliation" Bishop Misago said to Fides in June when the apparitions were officially recognised.

MORE: Catholic Apparitions of Jesus and Mary at Kibeho, Rwanda, Africa


Religious and civil rights leaders working to end religious persecution in Sudan have urged President Bush not to trade cooperation in the war on terrorism for ignoring the mistreatment of Christians and others.

The administration's attempt to gain Sudan's help in the war on terrorism signals weakening of the U.S. commitment to protect Sudan's Christian minority, moderate Muslims and those who follow traditional African beliefs, the leaders said. The religious and civil rights leaders said in a Nov. 19 letter to Bush: "In removing Sudan's status as a pariah nation, the United States appears to have done so without calling on the regime to end its campaign of atrocities."

"As such, your administration may have inadvertently signaled that the United States will overlook terrorism within Sudan's borders in exchange for gestures and promises from Khartoum not to export it to our shores."

Among those signing the letter were leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

99. If at every moment you strive to have 'your feet shod with the gospel of peace' (Eph. 6:15), you will always be building up your neighbour's house as well as your own. But if you are indolent, the demons will spit invisibly in you face and, as the Law states, you will be known as ' the man who had his sandal pulled off' (cf. Deut. 25:9-10).

November 29, 2001

(Mat 24:44-47)  So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions.


Last Minute

A minister waited in line to have his car filled with gas just before a long holiday weekend. The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars ahead of him in front of the service station.

Finally, the attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump. "Reverend," said the young man, "sorry about the delay. It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a long trip."

The minister chuckled, "I know what you mean. It's the same in my business."

VIA Sadie Jaramillo: I am pleased to tell you that I have a new personal website at

There is a letter there to my brothers and sisters in the Lord explaining some of the changes that have come about in my life at this "crossroads" of change.

I pray that this website will edify and strengthen those who are struggling everyday to walk "in the footsteps of Jesus and Mary"......especially as times continue to worsen.

I also wanted to explain that my computer crashed again in August after returning from Betania. I lost all of the email list I had. I am asking those who wish to be re-placed on the email list and also new "subscribers" to do so through the new website.

My prayers are with you and all my brothers and sisters of the "remnant"......

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

98. Let the fire of your prayer, ascending upwards as you meditate on the oracles of the Spirit, burn always on the alter of your soul.

November 28, 2001

(2 Th 2:9-12) The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.


Italy's ambassador to Saudi Arabia has converted to Islam, the second time in seven years that an envoy of Rome to the land of Mecca has adopted its religion.

Torquato Cardilli, a career diplomat from overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Italy, revealed his decision to Saudi newspapers Saturday, his 59th birthday. Italian diplomatic sources confirmed the announcement Monday.

His official conversion was made on the eve of the Islamic holy fasting month of Ramadan, which began on November 16 in Saudi Arabia. Cardilli himself could not be reached for comment but an employee at his embassy in Riyadh confirmed the reports.

Cardilli's change of faith follows years of study of Islam. A graduate in oriental culture and languages from the University of Naples, Cardilli has spent much of his 33-year diplomatic career in the Muslim world.

Corriere della Sera newspaper said Cardilli had been recalled to Rome "for consultations." Some 3,000 to 5,000 Italians have converted to Islam from Catholicism in recent years, according to figures from the Union of Islamic Organizations and Communities. A spokesman for the Italy-based group said it welcomed Cardilli's entry into the Muslim community, saying of his conversion: "The ways of the Lord are infinite."


Christians in the Holy Land said Monday that construction of a mosque near a major shrine in Jesus' boyhood home of Nazareth could destroy archaeological treasures. Muslim officials in Nazareth, Israel's largest Arab town, denied the building was doing any harm.

Construction of the mosque began earlier this month, without the necessary permits. Crews have dug a wide hole nearly 50 feet deep in a plot next to the Basilica of the Annunciation, where Christians believe the Angel Gabriel told Mary she would give birth to Jesus.

Father Michel Piccirillo, an archaeologist and director of the Franciscan Institute in Jerusalem, said construction crews have hauled away human bones and what appear to be the remains of an early church or ancient synagogue. "They found at least four columns and some bones," he said.

Muslims in the city say the building site is Muslim-owned and sits on or near the tomb of a Crusades-era Islamic sage. They accuse the Vatican and the White House of meddling in local affairs. Christians are minority among Nazareth's population of 70,000, and tensions over the mosque have erupted into violence in the past.

MORE: Cardinal Kasper: Nazareth mosque near basilica poses problems

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

97. When recalling your sins, do not hesitate to beat your breast. With these blows you will dig into your hardened heart and discover within it the gold-mine of the publican (cf. Luke 18:13); and this hidden wealth will bring you great joy.

November 27, 2001


The Vatican condemned on Monday the cloning of a human embryo by U.S. researchers, saying the scientists had tampered with a human life and not just simple cells.

"Notwithstanding the humanistic intents ... this calls for a calm but resolute appraisal which shows the moral gravity of this project and calls for unequivocal condemnation," the Vatican said in a statement.

According to the Catholic Church, life begins at the time of conception, making such cell research unthinkable. "What we have before us are human embryos and not cells ... life which must preserve its dignity like every other human life," the Vatican said.

The statement said that stem cells from adults, mother's blood or spontaneously aborted fetuses could be used for research instead of the embryo cells. "This is the path which every honest scientist should follow to preserve the greatest respect for man," the Vatican statement said.

"That embryo will be sacrificed to collect stem cells. From an ethical viewpoint, it is the termination of an innocent human life," the influential Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone told Corriere della Sera daily.

Antonio Spagnolo, the director of the biotech institute at the Catholic University in Rome agreed. "In order to achieve a goal, which is in itself good, one has to destroy an embryo. So it is an ethically condemnable method," he told La Stampa newspaper.


The question from our perspective is: will God allow reproductive cloning to happen?  The technological capability is almost there so that without divine intervention reproductive cloning is highly probable.  But will God let it happen?  I am reminded of the following verse:

(Num 23:19) God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

We have at least three Scriptural examples of God's direct intervention in judgment when the corruption of mankind reached an intolerable level.  These include the Tower of Babel, humanity in the time of the Flood and finally, Sodom and Gomorrah.

It is my personal opinion that God will indeed draw the line at human cloning and genetic manipulation. It is for this reason that stories related to this topic are often featured in the Trib Times.  Ironically, just like geneticists use different physical characteristics of fruit flies to predict their underlying genetic makeup, I believe that the "lateness of the hour" can be determined by the progress in research and implementation of human cloning and genetic manipulation.



The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

96. If you always feel the warmth of prayer and divine grace you may apply to yourself the words of Scripture: you have 'put on the armour of light' (Rom. 13:12) and 'your garments are warm' (Job 37:17). But your enemies are 'clothed with shame' (Ps. 109:29) and with the darkness of hell.

November 26, 2001


A U.S. company said on Sunday it had cloned a human embryo for the first time ever in a breakthrough aimed not at creating a human being but at mining the embryo for stem cells used to treat diseases.

Biotechnology company Advanced Cell Technology Inc., based in Worcester, Massachusetts, said it hopes the experiment will lead to tailored treatments for diseases ranging from Parkinson's to juvenile diabetes.

Although animals have been cloned repeatedly since Dolly the sheep made her appearance in 1997, and although there were no real technical barriers to making a cloned human embryo, the research crosses a line that may leave many around the world uneasy and even hostile.

The company also reported a second breakthrough in its paper, published in the online journal E-biomed: Journal of Regenerative Medicine. Researchers took a human egg cell and got it to progress to the embryo stage without any kind of fertilization, either by sperm or outside genetic material. The process is known as parthenogenesis, and occurs in insects and microbes but not naturally in higher animals.

"You hesitate to describe it as a virgin birth, but it is sort of in that vein," John Rennie, editor-in-chief of Scientific American magazine, which publishes an article by ACT scientists in its January issue and whose reporter watched some of ACT's work in progress, said in a phone interview.

MORE: Scientist Plans Cloning Birth

Archbishop Renato Martino, Holy See permanent observer to the U.N.:


Supergerms are dark side of advances in biology
Scientists build microscopic DNA computer

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

95. When there is no wind blowing at sea, there are no waves; and when no demon dwells within us, our soul and body are not troubled by passions.

November 22, 2001


(Eph 5:19-20)  Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

FROM THE MAILBAG VIA Nadine Mansour <[email protected]>:

A Thanksgiving Story
By Andrea Nannette Mejia

It was the day before Thanksgiving – the first one my three children and I would be spending without their father, who had left several months before. Now the two older children were very sick with the flu, and the eldest had just been prescribed bed rest for a week.

It was a cool, gray day outside, and a light rain was falling. I grew wearier as I scurried around, trying to care for each child: thermometers, juice, diapers. And I was fast running out of liquids for the children. But when I checked my purse, all I found was about $2.50 – and this was supposed to last me until the end of the month. That's when I heard the phone ring.

It was the secretary from our former church, and she told me that they had been thinking about us and had something to give us from the congregation. I told her that I was going out to pick up some more juice and soup for the children, and I would drop by the church on my way to the market.

I arrived at the church just before lunch. The church secretary met me at the door and handed me a special gift envelope. "We think of you and the kids often," she said, "and you are in our hearts and prayers. We love you." When I opened the envelope, I found two grocery certificates inside. Each was worth $20. I was so touched and moved, I broke down and cried.

"Thank you very much," I said, as we hugged each other. "Please give our love and thanks to the church." Then I drove to a store near our home and purchased some much-needed items for the children.

At the check-out counter I had a little over $14.00 worth of groceries, and I handed the cashier one of the gift certificates. She took it, then turned her back for what seemed like a very long time. I thought something might be wrong. Finally I said, "This gift certificate is a real blessing. Our former church gave it to our family, knowing I'm a single patent trying to make ends meet."

The cashier then turned around, with tears in her loving eyes, and replied, "Honey, that's wonderful! Do you have a turkey?"

"No. It's okay because my children are sick anyway."

She then asked, "Do you have anything else for Thanksgiving dinner?"

Again I replied, "No."

After handing me the change from the certificate, she looked at my face and said, "Honey, I can't tell you exactly why right now, but I want you to go back into the store and buy a turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie or anything else you need for a Thanksgiving dinner."

I was shocked, and humbled to tears. "Are you sure?" I asked.

"Yes! Get whatever you want. And get some Gatorade for the kids."

I felt awkward as I went back to do more shopping, but I selected a fresh turkey, a few yams and potatoes, and some juices for the children. Then I wheeled the shopping cart up to the same cashier as before. As I placed my groceries on the counter, she looked at me once more with giant tears in her kind eyes and began to speak.

"Now I can tell you. This morning I prayed that I could help someone today, and you walked through my line." She reached under the counter for her purse and took out a $20 bill. She paid for my groceries and then handed me the change. Once more I was moved to tears.

The sweet cashier then said, "I am a Christian. Here is my phone number if you ever need anything." She then took my head in her hands, kissed my cheek and said, "God bless you, honey."

As I walked to my car, I was overwhelmed by this stranger's love and by the realization that God loves my family too, and shows us his love through this stranger's and my church's kind deeds.

The children were supposed to have spent Thanksgiving with their father that year, but because of the flu they were home with me, for a very special Thanksgiving Day. They were feeling better, and we all ate the goodness of the Lord's bounty – and our community's love. Our hearts were truly filled with thanks.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

94. You should not be surprised when those who are themselves incapable of attaining stillness ridicule the stillness that we have achieved. Apply the words of the Psalter to them- but without any feeling of rancour. Resist them by intensifying your obedience to God, and repeat the words: 'My soul, be obedient to God' (Ps. 62:5); 'In return for my love, they made false accusations against me; but I continued to pray' - for their healing as well as my own (Ps. 109:4).

November 21, 2001

FROM THE MAILBAG VIA Terry Hoare <[email protected]>:

Dear Lord, give us good priests
Shepherds of Thy own Heart,
To adorn the Church with Holiness,
To guide Thy people with Wisdom and Charity,
To offer with great reverence, the sacrifice of the Mass,
To strengthen the faith of believers,
To bring the Truth to those who do not yet believe.
And in all things to imitate Thee.  Amen

VIA Ivan Cox: Would you publish the attached prophecy?  It has been approved as "worthy of belief".  There are many Catholics who are unaware of this.

Our Lady of Akita Messages

    First message, July 6, 1973
"My daughter, my novice, you have obeyed Me well in abandoning all to follow Me. Is the infirmity of your ears painful? Your deafness will be healed, be sure. Be patient. It is the last trial. Does the wound of your hand cause you to suffer? Pray in reparation for the sins of men. Each person in this community is my irreplaceable daughter. Do you say well the prayer of the Handmaids of the Eucharist? Then, let us pray it together:"
"Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, truly present in the Holy Eucharist, I consecrate my body and soul to be entirely one with Your Heart being sacrificed at every instant on all the altars of the world and giving praise to the Father, pleading for the coming of His Kingdom."
"Please receive this humble offering of myself. Use me as You will for the glory of the Father and the salvation of souls."
"Most Holy Mother of God. Never let me be separated from your Divine Son. Please defend and protect me as Your special child. Amen."
" Pray very much for the Pope, the bishops and the priests."
    Second Message on August 3, 1973
"My daughter, my novice, do you love the Lord? If you love the Lord listen to what I have to say to you."
"It is very important. You will convey it to your superior."
"Many men in this world afflict the Lord. I desire souls to console Him to soften the anger of the Heavenly Father. I wish, with my Son, for souls who will repair by their suffering and their poverty for the sinners and ingrates."
"In order that the world might know His anger, the Heavenly Father is preparing to inflict a great chastisement on all mankind. With my Son, I have intervened so many times to appease the wrath of the Father. I have prevented the coming of calamities by offering Him the sufferings of the Son on the Cross, His Precious Blood, and beloved souls who console Him and form a cohort of victim souls. Prayer, penance and courageous sacrifices can soften the Father's anger. I desire this also from your community, that it love poverty, that it sanctify itself and pray in reparation for the ingratitude and outrages of so many men. Recite the prayer of the Handmaids of the Eucharist with awareness of its meaning: put it into practice: offer (whatever God may send) in reparation for sins. Let each one endeavour, according to capacity and position, to offer herself entirely to the Lord."
"Even in a secular institute prayer is necessary. Already souls who wish to pray are on the way to being gathered. Without attaching too much attention to the form, be faithful and fervent in prayer to console the Master."
    Third and the Last message on October 13, 1973:
". . . if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by my Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and the priests."

"The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres (other priests). Churches and altars will be sacked. The Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord."

"The demon will be especially implacable against the souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will be no longer pardon for them."

". . . Pray very much the prayers of the Rosary. I alone am able still to save you from the calamities which approach. Those who place their confidence in me will be saved."


The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

93. Once you have realized that the Amorite within you is 'as stong as an oak', you should pray fervently to the Lord to dry up 'his fruit from above' - that is, your sinful actions, and 'his root from beneath'- that is, your impure thoughts. Ask the Lord in this way to 'destroy the Amorite from before your face' (Amos 2:9).

November 20, 2001


Washington accused Iraq, North Korea and possibly Iran on Monday of violating a ban on biological weapons at a conference designed to toughen up an international treaty outlawing germ warfare.  With the United States still reeling from anthrax attacks that followed the September 11 plane hijackings, U.S.  Under-Secretary for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton said the first step was to make sure existing rules were obeyed.

Bolton said that Iraq had "developed, produced and stockpiled biological warfare agents and weapons" despite having signed the treaty.  "We are also quite concerned about Iran, which the United States believes probably has produced and weaponized BW (biological weapons) agents in violation of the Convention," he added.

There have been 17 confirmed cases of anthrax and four people have died.

FROM THE MAILBAG VIA Dr. Richard Hubbell:

Saint invoked in anthrax scare
Originally published in

Then, as now, the fear of anthrax was in the land.  In the rural Kenner, La., of 1899, with cattle stricken with anthrax dying in the fields, hard-pressed Sicilian farmers turned to a friend from the old country, and begged St.  Rosalie to intercede on their behalf with God until the epidemic abated.

And now with anthrax back -- more distant, but also more sinister -- Kenner Catholics held three days of prayer this week at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, asking the same saint to help protect their country from the same plague that threatened their great-grandparents.

Parishioners and others requested divine protection from those who have sent anthrax through the mail to strike unsuspecting recipients in Washington, Florida and New York.

"We'll be praying for anyone threatened by this disease, for those who've already contracted it, and for an end to this threat to our country," said the Rev.  Randy Roux, who suggested the three-day observance to the Rev. Richard Miles, the pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

For centuries St.  Rosalie -- or Rosalia -- has been the figure to whom Sicilians turned for assistance with their prayers to God.  A 12th-century hermit who lived alone in a cave near Palermo, she is the saint they asked to approach God for them when children fell ill, jobs were lost, crops failed or hearts were broken.

But it was an anthrax outbreak more than a century ago in Kenner that first prompted Sicilian immigrants to turn to her again.  A few days ago, the symmetry of events struck Roux, who knew the Kenner story though he is posted at St.  Patrick's church in New Orleans.

Anthrax then; anthrax now.  Go to St.  Rosalie again, he thought.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

92. If you really wish to renounce the world, you should imitate the prophet Elisha, who in his intense and burning love for God kept nothing back for himself (cf. 1Kgs. 19:21). You should distribute all your possessions to those in need and so take up the Cross of Christ, hastening eagerly and willingly to die to this world; and you will receive in exchange the eternal kingdom.

November 19, 2001


Pope John Paul II, concerned about the continued impact on humanity of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, invited representatives of the world's religions to come to Assisi, Italy on Jan. 24 for a daylong prayer for peace.

In his weekly appearance Sunday at St. Peter's Square, the pontiff invited leaders of all faiths, but particularly Christians and Muslims, to "proclaim before the world that religion should never become a motive for conflict, hatred and violence."

"In these historic moments, humanity needs to see gestures of peace and hear words of hope," the pope said.

Assisi, a pilgrimage hilltown in central Italy, is the birthplace of St. Francis, the founder of the Roman Catholic Franciscan order.  The pope has twice before invited leaders of various faiths to gather in Assisi to pray for peace.  The pope first proclaimed a day of peace on Oct. 27, 1986 and invited representatives of the world's religions to Assisi.  He brought together Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders in Assisi on Jan. 9-10, 1993 to pray for an end to the Bosnian war.

During his appearance, the 81-year-old pontiff also asked Catholics to fast on Dec. 14 and pray to God for justice and an end to the many conflicts in the world.  He noted that the date coincides with the holy month of Ramadan, the monthlong holiday of fasting and purification for Muslims.

In his homily at the Mass, the pontiff recalled the words of Jesus, which he said gave believers faith that their lives, "despite dramatic upheavals, remain connected to the hands of God."

OF INTEREST: The ambassador of Israel to the Holy See reflects on the current state of Vatican-Israel relations

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

91 (cont.). A man escapes this anger by keeping his attention fixed continually within his heart during prayer, and by striving to remain within his inner sanctuary. As it is written, 'Draw wisdom into your innermost self' (Job 28:18); 'all the glory of the king's daughter is within' (Ps. 45:13). Let us, then, continue to struggle until we enter the holy place of God, 'the mountain of Thine inheritance, the dwelling, O Lord, which Thou hast made ready, the sanctuary which Thy hands have prepared' (Exod. 15:17).

November 9, 2001


EDITOR'S COMMENT: It is an interesting coincidence, given the ongoing war on terrorism, that the maximum of this year's Leonid meteor showers coincides with the begining of Ramadan. The Leonid meteor shower occurs each year on November 17-18.  As the name suggests the meteors appear to originate in the constellation Leo (the lion).

(Rev 5:5)  Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals."


The United States can look forward to the most spectacular meteor show since 1966 -- and it might be another 98 years before anything so sensational will be seen again.  The Nov. 18 Leonid meteor shower will be "very impressive, rare and something that you'll want to see," said Peter Jenniskens, a research scientist specializing in the study of meteors at the NASA/Ames Research Center at California's Moffett Field.  "The August Perseids meteor shower, which normally gets the most annual astronomer attention, records a rate of about 80 meteors an hour, but this November's Leonids will record a rate over 2000," Jenniskens said.

A typical Leonid shower yields about 10 to 15 meteors per hour, but this year Jenniskens estimates the meteor shower will have as many as 4,200 an hour at its peak.  Viewers along the East Coast will likely see the meteors fall directly from above, while in the West they will shoot across the sky at an angle.  The perfect viewing time is estimated to be between 4 and 6 a.m.  EST, on Nov.  18.  "It is a naked-eye event.  All one needs is a clear dark sky away from the city lights to enjoy the phenomena," Jenniskens said.


Leonid Meteor Storm!  When, Where and How to Watch
Jaw-dropping Leonids
Leonid Shower Predictions for 30 U.S. Cities
Earth Orbiting Satellites Brace for Leonid Meteor Shower


Aurora as Omen

Excerpted from

 Some events that have been associated with the appearance of an aurora:
44 BC The assassination of Julius Caesar
1st c. AD Pliny the Elder describes earlier aurorae as "presage of woe"
451 The defeat of Attila at Catalaunic Fields
566 The invasion of Italy by Lombards in 568; aurora receives moniker "acies igneae" (battle lines of fire)
566 The birth of Mohammed in 570
1170 The blood of Thomas à Becket rising to heaven
Jan 15,1192 Famine of 1197 in Europe
Nov 14,1574 Earthquake on Feb 26,1575
March 6,1716 The execution of Lord Derwentwater (Jacobite uprising)
Oct 8,1728 Earthquakes in Sicily and England
Jan. 25, 1938 World War II 

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

91. So as not to be deceived and carried away by the vain and empty things that the senses bring before us, we should listen to the words of the prophet Isaiah: 'Come, my people, enter into the inner room'- the shrine of your heart, which is closed to every conception derived from the sensible world, that image-free dwelling-place illumined by dispassion and the overshadowing of God's grace; 'shut your door'- to all things visible; 'hide yourself for a brief moment'- the whole man's life is but a moment; 'until the Lord's anger has passed by' (Isa 26:20); or, as the Psalms put it, 'until iniquity has passed' (Ps. 57:1). This anger of the Lord and this iniquity may be caused by demons, passions and sins; as Isaiah says to God, 'Behold, Thou art angry, for we have sinned' (Isa. 64:5).

November 8, 2001


The bishop who heads all of Tampa Bay's Roman Catholics first set foot in a synagogue only a year ago.  Yet here he was, late last month, speaking to a large gathering of rabbis and other Jews.  It was a historic evening.

Bishop Robert N.  Lynch, who leads close to 400,000 Catholics, was conciliatory but did not evade the differences that long have divided the two religious communities.  The Pinellas County Board of Rabbis arranged his talk, Oct.  24 at Congregation B'nai Israel of St. Petersburg.  "Shalom," he said, employing the traditional Hebrew greeting of peace.

Lynch spoke about the friendship between his family and the five Jewish families who lived in the small West Virginia town where he spent his early years.  The families exchanged presents during Christian and Jewish holidays.  Such ecumenism had its limits, however.  "In my own church on Good Friday, I heard my Jewish friends referred to as "perfidious' in our liturgical rites and prayed for their conversion," he told the audience.

Even when facing contentious issues, Lynch told his audience, Jews and Catholics need to seek common ground.  This can be done, he said, if amicable relationships are developed at the local level.

RELATED: Document on Interreligious Dialogue is in the Works


The Northern Lights appeared with rare intensity in skies across the United States, treating onlookers as far south as Georgia and Alabama to a shimmering display of blue, red and green. The ghostly streaks, also known as the aurora borealis, are rarely seen south of Canada and Alaska. A large solar flare on Sunday probably caused the lights to be visible farther south than usual, said Brian Murphy, director of Butler University's Holcomb Observatory in Indianapolis.  The lights could return nightly through about Thursday but should weaken in intensity, he said.  "It's incredible," said Dan Satterfield, WHNT-TV meteorologist in Huntsville, Alabama.  "The last time we saw a display of this kind was 15 or 16 years ago.  It's one of the better ones I've ever seen, especially this far south."

Related Pictures (worth a click!):

FROM THE MAILBAG: "I live in Eagle River, Alaska and this was the best aurora display I have ever seen.  Up here, they were all red and stretched from north to south like a veil.  I told my four boys about the eskimo legend that when you whistle at the lights, they change.  There was much whistling".

(Psa 19:1) The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

90 (cont.). Lovers of slander and gossip shut themselves out from the kingdom of heaven. A chatterbox may meet with success in this world, but he will not do so in the next. There he will trip and fall; 'evil will hunt him down and destroy him' (Ps. 140:11). It has been well said: 'Better to slip on the ground than to slip with your tongue' (Ecclus. 20:18). We should believe James the Apostle when he writes: 'Let every man be swift to hear and slow to speak' (Jas. 1:19).

November 7, 2001


(Gen 14:18-20)  Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand." Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.

(Psa 110:4-5)  The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.

(John 8:56)  Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad."

(Heb 5:6-10)  And he says in another place, "You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek." During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

(Heb 7:1-3)  This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means "king of righteousness"; then also, "king of Salem" means "king of peace." Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.

(Heb 7:6-10)  This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. And without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater. In the one case, the tenth is collected by men who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.

EDITOR'S COMMENT: Melchizedek, king of peace and righteousness, offered the sacrifice of bread and wine while blessing Abraham and his progeny.  We must remember that this progeny includes both Isaac, the seed of the promise, and Ishmael, the father of the Arab nation.  Of Ishmael it was prophesied:

(Gen 16:11-12)  The angel of the LORD also said to her: "You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers."

(Gen 17:20)  And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation.

One would marvel at the accuracy of both predictions if not for the fact that they were made by God Himself.  Indeed the Arab nation has been characterized by a long history of infighting between brother Arab countries, yet has grown to become a vast people.  As God's blessing is ultimately irrevocable we look forwards to the day when this vast nation will join its true half-brother, the Hebrew people, in recognizing the truth of the Gospel.  Just such a conversion has been prophesied by various Canonized Saints to occur sometime in the future.  While enduring the tragic sufferings of our times, we look forwards in hope and pray for the hastening of that day.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: The Meal of Melchizedek by Scott Hahn, Ph. D.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

90. A single good word made the thief pure and holy, despite all his previous crimes, and brought him into paradise (cf. Luke 23:42-43). A single ill-advised word prevented Moses from entering the promised land (cf. Num. 21:12). We should not suppose, then, that garrulity is only a minor disease.

November 6, 2001


"The Taliban, as true Muslims, are looking to become martyrs," said Akhtar Mohammad Usmani, the Taliban commander in southern Afghanistan.  "We want to die for a cause while others want to live."

Another Taliban commander, Mohammed Syed Haqqani, says he does not need outside help, either -- but Pakistani volunteers have been recently outfited with new military jackets and equipment under his command.  "We have not yet taken revenge on Americans," Haqqani said.  "They are just throwing stones from the sky.  When they send the ground troops we will teach them.  Our strength is in our faith, not our weapons."

"We don't really care about weapons," he said.  "We may be having tanks and some other weapons, but we have faith in our cause, and with the same faith we were able to defeat the Soviet Union -- and we hope we can also win against Americans."

RELATED: Russian Muslims lash out at U.S. campaign in Afghanistan


Mazal Amsalem saw the gunman through the window and cried out to the schoolgirls sitting near her on the No. 25 bus to get down.

"It's terrible that high-school girls get wounded, some in the head, some in the back.  It's indescribable," said Amsalem, an adult bus passenger who said she worked in a local school.  She appeared in shock, her right hand clutching a scrunched-up tissue.

"I could see him very clearly outside the door," she said. "I was scared.  The first thing I did throw myself to the floor and I yelled at some girls to get heir heads down," she said.  "They all did, and they began reciting psalms and praying," she said.

The gunman, identified by police as a 24-year-old member of the militant group Islamic Jihad, managed to empty his M-16 of bullets before being killed by a civilian, a border guard and a soldier who opened fire, police said.

MORE: Gunman kills two in attack on Jerusalem bus

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

89. If you wish to be called wise, intelligent and the friend of God, strive to present your soul to the Lord in the same state as you received it from Him: pure, innocent, completely undefiled. Then you will be crowned in heaven and the angels will call you blessed.

November 3, 2001


(Lam 2:13)  To what can I liken or compare you, O daughter Jerusalem? What example can I show you for your comfort, virgin daughter Zion? For great as the sea is your downfall; who can heal you?


Arab militant groups vowed at a rally in Damascus on Friday to pursue a holy struggle against Israel, two days after visiting British Prime Minister Tony Blair urged Syria to restrain extremists.

"We insist on the path of jihad (holy struggle) and resistance," Khaled Meshal, head of the politbureau of the Palestinian Hamas group, told a rally to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the assassination of Islamic Jihad leader Fathi al-Shukaki. "Yes, we distinguish between the legitimate resistance in Palestine and Lebanon and terrorism," Meshal said to chants of "America is the enemy of God" by the 1,000-strong crowd.

"Israeli security must be Jerusalem and across all occupied Palestine," said Sheikh Naim Qassem, deputy chief of Lebanon's Hizbollah. "Then victory, God willing and with patience, will be ours...Surrender is rejected, resistance is the solution,".

Appeal for Jerusalem from the Synod of Bishops: “Finally, we turn to you, Jerusalem, City where God is revealed in history: We pray for your well-being!  May all the children of Abraham meet once again in you with genuine respect for one another’s rights.  May you remain, for all the peoples of the earth, an everlasting symbol of hope and peace.”

Appeal from Pope John Paul II: ""Nor can we forget all those who continue to spread violence and death in the Holy Land, in particular in the holy places that are so dear to the Christian faith.  May Mary, Queen of Peace, help everyone to lay down their arms and to undertake finally with resolve the path towards a just and lasting peace."

Archbishop Renato Martino, the Vatican´s permanent observer at the United Nations,: "In light of the numerous incidents of violence and the rigors of imposed closures, the Holy See renews its consistent call for internationally guaranteed provisions to ensure the freedom of religion and of conscience of its inhabitants, as well as permanent, free and unhindered access to the holy places by the faithful of all religions and nationalities."

(Psa 122:6)  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May those who love you be secure.

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

88. The Lord desires one man to be saved through another, and in the same way Satan strives to destroy one man through another. So do not spend your time with somebody who is sloppy, a mischief-maker, not guarding his tongue, lest you be sent with him into punishment. It is hard enough for one who associates with a good man to attain salvation. If you do not watch yourself, but consort with people of evil character, you will be infected with their leprosy and destroyed. How can anyone expect pity if he recklessly approaches a poisonous snake? You should avoid those who cannot control their tongue, who are quarrelsome and full of agitation inwardly or outwardly.

November 2, 2001

By Trib Times Contributor


The US cannot win any "war" against the Taliban by simply using airpower because it is not cost effective and there are too few military targets for aircraft.  Having to fly attack aircraft from aircraft carriers shows how non-existent any real support for the US has been in this region.  We got hit in Pakistan when trying to land helicopters at one of their "protected airfields" - lesson learned.  Pakistan is facing internal strife and Ramadan could be the trigger.  Flying fighters from carriers to attack rocks is the most expensive (and largely useless after four to six weeks against a Third World country) solution to fighting terrorism in Afghanistan without directly confronting the issue of having to put "many troops on the ground to control the country" to attack the widely dispersed tribal forces.  All we are doing is making a "political statement" while building up troops for the coming ground war.  If President Bush does not realize this yet, he will because the Pentagon advisors are out of viable options and we are losing momentum. Winter is here and we must wait for Spring offensive while getting some intel.

Probable Solution for Department of Defense

Employ US airpower in conjunction with Russian troops but let the US taxpayer fund the whole massive operation.  The so-called US "international coalition" has already collapsed and it is now the US, Russia and Britain against a lot of Islamic State sponsored terrorism, troops and tribal people who will switch sides often.  Using massive Russian troops solves major US logistical and "political problems" of activating 1,000,000 men (that's right - one million troops needed according to DEBKA) when a huge number Russian troops are already be available and Russia's economy needs a major shot in the arm.  The Russians will come in force in April 2002 when snow ends and warming trend begins and the tanks can roll.  We also need a five month logistical tail build-up to sustain a major ground war.  There are many Russians looking for a "military payback" to the Taliban.  If it remains only Taliban forces and tribal people to fight the US airpower/Russian ground forces, the Taliban are going to cease to exist at some point and nothing will be left of the former Afghanistan.  Why hit a "Red Cross" food warehouse by accident three times?  It is because bin Laden uses them to feed his army and uses the UN refugee centers for medical help claiming the troops are innocent civilians hit in a bombing raid.

Powder Keg II

The issue is will hundreds of thousands or possibly millions of Moslems in Pakistan, India, China and USSR Central Asian States decide to join with the Taliban? This is very close to happening and lots of Russian troops invading could be a flashpoint. Russia wants the Taliban destroyed on all fronts because the Taliban is also waging an extended guerilla war that is a growing menace in the Central Asian States.  This is not just about Afghanistan- it is about Moslem independence of the infidels and Chinese made AK-47s can be had for "thirty pieces of silver" ($30).  China gets a win-win.  It gets rid of "Moslem problems" in its Southern provinces, sells arms out the back door to everybody while paying lip service to US and Russia.  Meantime China's oil and commercial industries are ready to roll when war is over and Europe and Saudi oil refineries are bombed-out or destroyed by terrorists and US is in a major recession or worse to pay for WW III.

Armageddon Not Afghanistan

If a million or more of Chinese, Indonesian and Pakistani "Muslim" troops counterattack the Russian forces in Afghanistan, the escalation of warfare worldwide could be dramatic.  The US, Russia and Britain could well be fighting a world war extending across 20 million square miles (Iraq to Central Asia) in the face of massive worldwide political turmoil and instability.  It could spread to the Mideast as well as to Europe through the Balkans (where the US set-up KLA (Taliban) terrorists against many Serbian and Orthodox Christians in the Kosovo Conflict).  The world is coming to a "bifurcation point".  This is a mathematical point where a dynamic system loses equilibrium (not enough damping or loss of integrity) and quickly grows unstable- as when a building collapses due to extreme internal heat melting steel girders.  When such an event occurs in world history, the outcome has been ugly- massive wars and worldwide depressions of long duration.  All this could start in the Spring and Summer of 2002 and continue for many years if there are not enough prayers in the world to stop it......and all Rome will be in flames because nobody stopped to light a candle.


Muslims Call for Fighting Cease-Fire
Muslims from different lands head to Afghanistan to fight with Taliban
Muslim leader likens Afghanistan strikes to Sept. 11 attacks
Statement in name of bin Laden calls on Pakistanis to `make Islam victorious'
U.S. to Fight Through Ramadan

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

87. There was once a king of Israel who subdued cave-dwellers and other barbarian tribes by using the psalms and music of David. You, too, have barbarian cave-dwellers living within you: the demons who have gained admittance to your senses and limbs, who torment and inflame your flesh. Because of them lust is in your eyes when you look at things; as you listen or use your sense of smell, passion dominates you; you indulge in dirty talk; you are full of turmoil inwardly and outwardly, like the city of Babylon. With great faith, then, and with 'psalms and hymns and spiritual songs' (Eph. 5:19), you too must destroy the cave-dwellers who work evil within you.

November 1, 2001


On October 27th the Trib Times posted an alert excerpted from Inside the Vatican which referred to the possibility of a new letter from Sister Lucia to the Pope.  This was the second rumor related to Sister Lucia which has emerged over the past month, the first referring to a request for increased prayer from the faithful.

Since publishing the alert, several readers have submitted a news item,, in which the Bishop of Fatima denies that Sister Lucia warned the Pope.  It is important to point out to readers that the entirety of this denial was included in the original Inside the Vatican report.  No new information is revealed nor is any new source quoted.

Let us suppose that in fact Sister Lucia did write a new letter to the Pope expressing that it was her belief that the events spoken of in the "Third Secret" of Fatima had not yet occurred.  Would it be appropriate for the Vatican to confirm the existence of such a letter?  I believe that it would not be.

The Vatican must be careful to not elevate private revelation, or the bearers of private revelation, to the level of Sacred Scripture and Tradition. A belief in Fatima or any approved apparition is not required of Catholics. Sister Lucia is a living saint but she is only a living saint. Despite her holiness she is susceptible to the same temptations and demonic deceptions as are all humans. History has shown, most recently in events surrounding the last days of Mother Teresa, that even the most pious individuals are subject to severe demonic trials.  The Vatican must be extraordinarily careful to not become a party to a deception engineered by the evil one, no matter how unlikely it may seem to be.  To give direct or indirect approval to the pronouncements of a seer while that seer lives risks confusion and error.  And such a risk is entirely unnecessary given that believers have all the revelation necessary for salvation in Scripture and Tradition.

Why then should the Trib Times publish such a rumor?  Shouldn't we be praying for the Pope on a daily basis anyway, as some have pointed out?

Deciding what to publish and what material not to publish is a great responsibility.  This is why I depend on subscribers to pray for this page and ask them to do so when they subscribe.  In this particular situation, the quality of the source, the fact that official verification is unlikely (as discussed above) and the potential consequences of ignoring the prayer request, pushed me to post the report.

Of course we should be praying for the Pope daily.  But does one pray the same way for a relative who is well as for one who is in intensive care?  Is not true prayer dynamic rather than rote? Since September 11th, have not events changed the way that we pray?  I can honestly say that before two weeks ago, I had never prayed for an Afghan family.

So how should we respond?  I believe that we are being called to "kick it up a notch" in our prayer lives.  To fast.  To avoid distractions. To deny ourselves, offering our "sufferings" to the Lord.  In addition we need to take advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation with frequency and to wisely utilize the living fellowship of the Communion of Saints as we walk in faith daily.

The Book of Revelation will end in exactly the same way whether or not you and I offer up our prayers to God.  But what a tremendous gift from the Lord that He allows us to participate in the redemption of His creation!  That we can each join Mary and Jesus in surrendering our will to God! That we, like Simon and Veronica, can comfort the suffering Messiah and His Church on the way to Calvary!

(Mat 25:21)  "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

The Philokalia excerpt: St. John of Karpathos "One Hundred Texts"

86. The monk should wage a truceless war above all on these three things: gluttony, futile self-esteem, and avarice- which is a form of idolatry (cf. Col. 3:5).

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