Keep your eyes open!...

A Chronicle Depicting the Lateness of the Hour

Spirit Daily  Saint of the Day  Contemporary Christian Music

October 31, 2002

Philip Lawler, Editor Catholic World Report: When she died, Mother Teresa owned nothing but her rosary beads and her distinctive white-and-blue sari. Yet has anyone done as much to provide for such a large extended family, to serve so many others or to exert such influence on the world community ? She took a vow of poverty, and became fabulously wealthy in the ways that really matter: she abandoned the world, and died surrounded by the world's accolades. Her life is a confirmation of the Gospel promise: The meek inherit the earth."


During the frenzied legal maneuvering and vote-counting that marked the 2000 presidential election, former baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn sent a message to his fellow Catholics urging them to take up their rosaries and pray.

He called it, "This Lepanto Moment," recalling the Oct. 7, 1571 battle off the coast of Greece in which praying the rosary was credited with the miraculous victory of an out-manned Christian navy over the powerful Turks.

Down through history, Catholics have often clung to the string of prayer beads known as the rosary in times of domestic and global trouble, often with amazing results. Now amidst mounting international tensions, Pope John Paul II is urging them to rediscover the ancient devotion and to take it up as a spiritual practice and prayer for peace.

"It’s a contemplative prayer, it’s a prayer of lingering, a prayer of hope, a prayer which has been a lifeline for countless generations of Christians who have just held on either in hard times or through economic, social, or psychological problems," said the Rev. Thomas A. Thompson, director of the Marian Library at the University of Dayton. "It’s appropriate that in these troubled times, especially since Sept. 11, that we try once more this rosary as ... a lifeline holding onto faith in God and the promises of Jesus Christ."

As a way of renewing the devotion, the Pope last week introduced a new set of "mysteries," or events from the life of Christ that are to be used as the focus of meditation while reciting the rosary’s 50-plus prayers. John Paul said he wanted to give the prayer’s traditional format fresh life and kindle renewed interest in its place within Christian spirituality.

The events are referred to as mysteries because human knowledge of them cannot completely capture their essence, said Dr. Mark Miravalle, professor of theology and Mariology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. "For example, we will never fully understand what it means to have a God-man die on our behalf. That’s why it is still a mystery."

Rosary revival relies on new mysticism
Pope's actions spark renewed interest in the rosary
How to recite the Holy Rosary (Revised including Luminous Mysteries)



Pope to Visit Spain in Spring, Says Nuncio
Pursuit of Goodness Is Way to Union with God, Says Pope
Pope Gets Ground Zero Cross

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 17- "On non-possessiveness"

3. The non-possessive ascetic is a son of detachment, and thinks of what he has as if it were nothing. When he becomes a solitary, he regards everything as refuse. But if he worries about something, he has not yet become non-possessive.

October 30, 2002

(2Th 2:7)  For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.


A report being issued in Britain today shows that the number of Anglican worshippers there has fallen by 50 per cent in just 10 years and that children have virtually disappeared from congregations.

This comes at a time when many are also deserting the Roman Catholic religion, an exodus exacerbated by the revelations of child abuse within the church.

So, given the long decline of organised religion, is it fair to say we are moving into a post-Christian age? Hamish Robertson put this to the executive director of the St James Ethics Centre, Simon Longstaff.

SIMON LONGSTAFF: Well, if things go as they currently are, then it's probably "yes". The decline in belief in a personal God is, I think, accelerating and certainly the attendance and participation in the various cultural norms of Christianity is in decline.

HAMISH ROBERTSON: Yet is it still possible to live an ethnical life without believing in a religion, without believing in Christianity?

SIMON LONGSTAFF: Absolutely. You can construct an ethical framework based on the fact that human beings possess reason and that has it's own demands.


The Eleven Commandments, written by two journalists for the Avvenire bishops' daily paper, is dedicated to exposing the "equivocations and lies" contained in the Bible and traditional Christian teaching.

Based on their study of original sacred texts, Elisabetta Broli and Roberto Beretta's book carries a preface by Gianfranco Ravasi, a member of the Vatican's cultural committee, congratulating the writers "who, like hounds, have gone in search of these pseudo-biblical truffles, as malodorous as they are delicious".

Some of the myths exploded in the new book are likely to cause shock for some churchgoers, however.

Among them, it reveals that Jesus Christ was born neither on December 25 nor in a manger with an ox and an ass for warmth. Furthermore, he was short and - according to modern aesthetics - not very nice to look at.

Jesus lived into his forties, around 10 years longer than the Bible suggests, and his father Joseph is more likely to have been an affluent and well-respected architect than a humble carpenter.

The 10 commandments were neither dictated to Moses by God, the book says, nor were they ever engraved on stone tablets. Joshua could not have brought down the walls of Jericho with his light trumpet batallion, since archeologists have shown that the town was already a ruin by the time he was born.

Jonas was never swallowed by a whale, the Israelites never crossed the Red Sea, David did not kill Goliath, Saint Peter was not crucified upside-down, Saint Paul did not fall off his horse on the way to Damascus and, if Eve ate a fruit in the Garden of Eden, it was an orange or a fig, not an apple.

(Jud 1:17-21)  But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they said to you, "In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions." It is these who set up divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 17- "On non-possessiveness"

2. A non-possessive monk is lord of the world. He has entrusted his cares to God, and by faith has obtained all men as his servants. He will not tell his need to man, and he receives what comes to him as from the hand of the Lord.

October 29, 2002


While the capture of the Beltway sniper has made Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose the man of the hour, the media seem to be downplaying the role of truckdriver Ron Lancz, without whose help it never would have happened.

It was Lancz who spotted the 1990 blue Chevy Caprice parked in a Maryland highway rest area around 1:00 a.m. Thursday. He noted that its license plate number matched the one being broadcast by radio newscasters as belonging to a car driven by suspects in the case, and he promptly called 911.

Lancz then blocked the exit to the rest area with his truck, just in case the sniper and his partner, then sleeping in their car, woke up and tried to make a getaway.

The hero truck driver credits not himself, but divine providence and the power of prayer, with the sniper's capture.

"I'm no hero," Lancz told CNN.

"I just want people to think what I did was what I should have done. I'm no hero at this, no hero whatsoever. I don't even want to be thought of as a hero. I just want everybody to tell me thanks and walk away and forget about it is what I want. ...

Last Thursday we had 50 drivers and one bunch had a prayer meeting up there 20 miles from where this happened and we thought - we knew our prayer was going to be answered. We knew that sometime or the other. That's the way we believe."


In 1633, Galileo Galilei, the father of modern science and a faithful Catholic, faced the possibility of losing his life in a heresy trial. That much, the world knows.

Less known was the Italian scientist's relationship with an unlikely confidante, his illegitimate daughter, a nun who chose as her religious name Sister Maria Celeste to honor her father's work.

On Tuesday, PBS's long-running science series "Nova" tells both stories in "Galileo's Battle for the Heavens," a two-hour docu-drama based on Dava Sobel's 1999 bestseller, "Galileo's Daughter."

British actor Simon Callow portrays the man Albert Einstein called the father of physics and modern science, and Italian actress Laura Nardi is Sister Maria Celeste.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 17- "On non-possessiveness"

1. Non-possessiveness is the resignation of cares, life without anxiety, an unencumbered wayfarer, alienation from sorrow, fidelity to the commandments.

October 18, 2002


(1Ti 3:12-13)  Let deacons be the husband of one wife, and let them manage their children and their households well; for those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

The Permanent Diaconate -- An Under Appreciated Gift (Part 2)
By: Louie Verrecchio, MI

History of the Diaconate

The office of deacon, though widely misunderstood today, has been part of the Church from the earliest days. St Luke records the institution of the diaconate in Acts 6, as seven men who are "of good repute and full of the Spirit of wisdom," are chosen and ordained to serve the poor at the behest of the Bishops. Among these first deacons of the Church was St Stephen, who is venerated by all of Christendom as the Church's first martyr.

The permanent diaconate (as opposed to the transitional diaconate that precedes ordination to the priesthood) has been constantly maintained in the eastern Churches ever since. In the Latin Church, the diaconate, particularly in the now extinct office of archdeacon, evolved into a very powerful ecclesiastical position. So much so, that an effort was undertaken by the Bishops to manage it, and by the seventeenth century, the order of permanent deacon had all but vanished. Even so, as late as 1917, a deacon could canonically be appointed a Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, as was the case with Pope Pius IX's Secretary of State, Giacomo Cardinal Antonelli (1806-1876), who never proceeded beyond the  order of deacon to the priesthood.

The permanent diaconate was formally restored to the Latin Church by the Second Vatican Council in 1967. Since that time, the diaconate has flourished nowhere more than in the United States. Of the approximately 24,000 deacons who serve the Church worldwide, nearly half of them serve in the U.S.

Holy Orders and the Office of Deacon

To better understand the diaconate, it is helpful to know that the Church teaches that the Sacrament of Holy Orders is conferred in three degrees, the fullness of which is realized only by those ordained to the Episcopate. (The office of Bishop.) According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1554 "The divinely instituted ecclesiastical ministry is exercised in different degrees by those who even from ancient times have been called bishops, priests, and deacons."32 Catholic doctrine, expressed in the liturgy, the Magisterium, and the constant practice of the Church,
recognizes that there are two degrees of ministerial participation in the priesthood of Christ: the episcopacy and the presbyterate. The diaconate is intended to help and serve them. For this reason the term sacerdos in current usage denotes bishops and priests but not deacons. Yet Catholic doctrine teaches that the degrees of priestly participation (episcopate and presbyterate) and the degree of service (diaconate) are all three conferred by a sacramental act called "ordination," that is, by the sacrament of Holy Orders...

The Catechism goes on to say that "no one has a right to the sacrament of Holy Orders;" it can only be received as an unmerited gift, and calling from God. Anyone who feels called to ordained ministry "must humbly submit his desire to the authority of the Church." Only after a suitable period of discernment, may a candidate who is received and properly educated by the Church, be ordained by the "laying on of hands" by the Bishop.

Ordination to the diaconate is frequently conferred upon married men, but the ordinand must take a vow not to seek remarriage in the event of his wife's death, and to henceforth remain celibate. Unmarried men who present themselves to the Bishop for ordination take an ordinary vow of celibacy, and cannot marry once ordained a deacon.

Duties of the Deacon

According to the Catechism, deacons are "strengthened by sacramental grace [and] dedicated to the People of God, in conjunction with the bishop and his body of priests, in the service of the liturgy, of the Gospel, and of works of charity." Duties which are proper to the office of deacon include serving the Church by proclaiming the Gospel at Mass, preaching the homily, acting as an ordinary minister of the Eucharist, baptizing, witnessing marriages, acting as minister for the Rite of Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction, among many others. Indeed, none of these sacred functions can rightly be viewed as a usurpation of priestly duties, rather, they should be seen as yet another example of Christ's boundless Mercy in providing for the needs of His people.

Thanks be to God

We should be on our knees daily thanking Jesus for the unfathomable gift of His visible presence in all of His ordained ministers, including the tragically under-appreciated gift of the diaconate. In the words of the Catechism:

Let everyone revere the deacons as Jesus Christ, the bishop as the image of the Father, and the presbyters [priests] as the senate of God and the assembly of the apostles. For without them one cannot speak of the Church. (CCC1554)

Resources on Diaconate, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 16- "On love of money, or avarice"

7. He who has conquered this passon has cut out care; but he who is bound by it never attains to pure prayer.

October 17, 2002

(1Ti 3:8-10)  Deacons likewise must be serious, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for gain; they must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then if they prove themselves blameless let them serve as deacons.

The Permanent Diaconate -- An Under Appreciated Gift (Part 1)
By: Louie Verrecchio, MI

At some point or another we've all heard the shocking statistics, and have most likely encountered the "sky is falling" forecasts that frequently go along with them: According to figures compiled by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in 1998, though the number of Roman Catholics in the U.S. has increased by some 20 million since 1965, the number of priests has decreased by more than  20% in the same time period. As the priest shortage grows, so too, it seems, does the number of media outlets willing to give voice to dissenters who promote female ordination and an end to the discipline of  celibacy, among other things, "before it's too late." With a steady diet  of this kind of hype, even the most devout among us can become pessimistic about the future of Catholicism in the U.S.

A little perspective can be gained by recalling the promises of Christ - He will be with us until the end of the age, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against His Church. With this in mind, we have every reason to expect Our Lord to provide for His people as only He can, especially now as we face a priest shortage. So, where does one look for signs  of encouragement amidst this current struggle? To the same USCCB statistics on ordination:

The total number of ordained ministers of the Church in the U.S. in 1965 was 58,132. In 1998, the number was 59,829. Now, it doesn't take a Catholic school graduate to realize that this is an increase! The difference? The more than 12,000 men called by Christ to Holy Orders in the permanent diaconate.

Make no mistake about it - we need to pray daily for vocations, particularly to the priesthood. Without our priests, the Sacrifice of the Mass would not be possible, nor would we have access to the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. I do not mean to suggest that a priest lost and a deacon gained is a wash - it most certainly is not. I do mean to suggest, however, that Jesus provides for His Church in ways that are often misunderstood and unappreciated, and one of the ways He has done so is through the gift of the permanent diaconate.

Sadly, many Catholics have an uninformed and misconceived notion of the diaconate. Deacons are all-too-frequently viewed as adult altar boys, apprentice priests, or even glorified laymen. Some well-meaning Catholics, with a genuine love for the priesthood, are left feeling resentful by the mistaken perception that deacons are laymen who have taken on duties that otherwise belong to the priest.

Deacons, however, are not members of the laity, they are ordained ministers of the Church. In the words of the Second Vatican Council, they are members of the "permanent rank of the hierarchy." In receiving the sacrament of Holy Orders, deacons bear the indelible mark of ordination by a special grace of the Holy Spirit, and are thereby ontologically configured to Christ the Servant. "Deacon" is not what they do, it is who they are. As such, they do not take on the duties of the priest at all, rather, they take on duties that are proper to their vocation.

TOMMOROW: The Permanent Diaconate -- An Under Appreciated Gift (Part 2)

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 16- "On love of money, or avarice"

4. He who mourns for himself has also renounced his body; and, at the appropriate time, he does not spare it.

October 16, 2002

(Mat 25:21)  His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.'


Pope John Paul will mark his 24th anniversary as pontiff today. He was elected on October 16, 1978 as the first non-Italian pontiff in 455 years and, at 58, was the youngest in 150 years.

Since then he has set record after record despite his frailty, making history time after time. He is the fifth-longest serving Pope in history, and, if he lives five more months, will become the fourth-longest. The most traveled Pope in history has made 240 trips in Italy and abroad since his election.

He has traveled 1,237,584 kilometers (768,600 miles), which, the Vatican statistics office is quick to note, is nearly 40 times the circumference of the Earth and more than three times the distance between the earth and the moon. He has been out of Rome for precisely 946 days, 17 hours and five minutes -- amounting to some 11 percent of his pontificate.

The pope has visited 129 countries on 98 trips abroad. In the last 12 months, more than 2.2 million people saw him in Rome, not to mention the millions who have seen him on his three foreign trips to six countries in the same period.

The Pope has made clear that he intends to run his one-billion member Catholic Church as long as God wants him to and his health has appeared to be more stable in recent months.

The media has put the Pope on his deathbed or at retirement's door often in the past. In 1994, the Sunday magazine of one of the world's major newspapers ran a cover story saying the Pope's end was in sight and named six cardinals who possibly could succeed him.

One has died and three have retired or turned 80, making them ineligible as candidates.

The Pope, meanwhile, has made 35 foreign trips since then.

NOTEWORTHY: Pope to add five new mysteries to rosary, calls for prayer's revival
RELATED: Pope John Paul II Apostolic Letter On The Most Holy Rosary


Local nuns make a habit of begging for food
Jim Cuff puts biblical command, 'love thy neighbor,' into practice
Men heed the calling, continue to join priesthood
Pentecostal pastor now a Catholic
Former Uniontown woman remembered for work as nun

(Mat 25:40)  And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 16- "On love of money, or avarice"

3. The lover of money sneers at the Gospel, and is a willful transgressor. He who has attained to love scatters his money. But he who says that he lives for love and for money has deceived himself.

October 15, 2002

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

POPE JOHN PAUL II: "We must nourish incessantly the passion for unity."


Pope John Paul II proposed Saturday that the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church create a joint institution to try to improve relations and help heal the 1,000-year schism between the churches.

The pontiff made the suggestion in a meeting with the head of Romania's Orthodox Church, Teoctist, who has spent several days at the Vatican with the pope and other officials. The two church leaders issued a statement calling for "concrete" ways to improve dialogue and help "attain the full visible unity of all the disciples of Christ."

The pontiff has made healing the 1,000-year rift with Orthodox Christians a hallmark of his 24-year papacy, and has visited several mostly Orthodox countries, including Romania in 1999.

But the Orthodox Church has continually accused Roman Catholics of poaching converts from among people who traditionally be Orthodox, and the dispute has so far thwarted the pope's long-sought visit to Russia.

John Paul acknowledged the tensions between the two churches, noting that the Roman Catholic Church had also been a victim of proselytism. He cited "new communities or religious movements, which aren't historically rooted and which invade countries and regions where traditional churches are present, and where, for centuries, the Gospel has been announced."

RELATED: Vatican Defends Church in Russia


In a return visit to the Emerald City early this month George Weigel, the acclaimed author "Witness to Hope", pilloried what he called "Catholic Lite" and the desire of some church reformers to "surrender truths of the Catholic faith to the spirit of the age."

Weigel has bluntly rejected calls, in the wake of headline-making clergy sex-abuse scandals, for re-examination of priestly celibacy and other moral doctrines of the faith. "The answer to this crisis of fidelity can only be deeper fidelity," he told a Human Life luncheon. "We must rediscover the rewards of Catholic fidelity."

"Christian communities that maintain their doctrinal identity and moral boundaries flourish in the modern world; Christian communities that fudge doctrine and morals decay," he writes in "The Courage To Be Catholic."

Weigel is appealing to Catholic bishops to "rediscover the courage to be countercultural," to take on excesses of the sexual revolution and, in his words, "freedom untethered from moral truth." In challenging modernity, he believes, the Catholic Church will rediscover its footing -- and its following. "Cafeteria Catholicism," in which believers pick and choose which teachings to obey, "has just about run its course" in Weigel's view.

SEE ALSO: Barna Survey- Doctrinal confusion abounds

(John 8:31-32)  Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 16- "On love of money, or avarice"

1. After the tyrant just described, many learend teachers next treat of the thousand-headed demon of avarice. We, unlearned as we are, did not wish to change the order of the learned, and we have therefore followed the same convention and rule. So let us first say a little about the disease, and then speak briefly about the remedy.

October 12, 2002


OCTOBER 13, 1917

After each of the three previous apparitions in July, August, and September, the children said that the Lady had promised to perform a miracle on October 13, 1917. As a result, the whole country was waiting eagerly for the anticipated miracle. Despite the torrential rains that were plaguing Fatima, tens of thousands of people were making the pilgrimage to the remote village in Portugal.

Lucia’s mother, who did not believe in the apparitions, ordered her daughter to go to confession, “because if there is no miracle we will all be killed.” Lucia replied, “I will go with you if you wish, but not because I am afraid. The Lady will keep her word.” By the morning of October 13, a vast multitude of believers and unbelievers gathered in the Cova da Iria. Despite the driving winds and pouring rain, the spirits of the pilgrims were undaunted as they waited with excitement for the promised miracle in the swamped and muddy pasture. The crowd, which was so great that little Jacinta began to cry, pressed in on the seers from every direction. Impassioned cries for the children’s intercession followed them every step of the way. When they finally reached the holmoak tree, Lucia and Francisco placed Jacinta between them for her protection.

Lucia began to recite the Rosary and cried out suddenly, “Put down your umbrellas everyone.” She said to Jacinta and Francisco, “Kneel down, Our Lady is coming. I have seen the flash.” Lucia again inquired of the Queen of Heaven, “What do you want of me?” “I am the Lady of the Rosary. I would like a chapel built here in my honor. Continue to pray the Rosary everyday. The war will end soon and the soldiers will return to their homes.” Then Lucia asked, “I have many petitions, will you grant them?” “Some yes, others no. People must amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins.” As Our Lady continued, her face became very grave, “Offend not Our Lord anymore, for He is already much offended.” Lucia asked, “Do you want anything else from me?” Our Lady answered, “I desire nothing more.” As she left the three children, Our Lady opened her hands, which radiated a bright light. Then, as she rose from their sight, she pointed towards the sun and the light beaming from her hands made the sun appear even brighter.

Lucia then cried out, “There she goes, there she goes! Look at the sun!” As Lucia cried out these words the most incredible miracle ever imagined took place.

The sun had taken on a pale appearance, similar to the moon, but in an extraordinary color. “We could look at the sun with ease, it did not bother at all. It seemed to be continually fading and glowing in one fashion, then another. It threw shafts of light one way and another, painting everything in different colors, the people, the trees, the earth, and even the air. But the greatest proof of the miracle was the fact that the sun did not bother the eyes,” testified an eyewitness. “At a certain point, the sun stopped its play of light and then started dancing. It stopped once more and again started dancing until it seemed to loosen itself from the skies and fall upon the people. It was a moment of terrible suspense.” Another eyewitness said, “The sun cast different colors, yellow, blue and white. It trembled constantly. It looked like a revolving ball of fire falling upon the people.” As the sun seemed ready to crash into the earth, the throng of people gathered cried out in terror, “We shall all be killed! We shall all be killed!” Others cried out to Our Lady to save them and made Acts of Contrition. The Miracle had brought them to their knees, begging for God’s forgiveness and mercy.

At last the sun ascended back into the sky and returned to its normal position. After the frightening experience, the crowd was filled with relief. Despite the heavy rains and the muddy conditions, everyone noticed that their clothing, and the entire Cova da Iria, was completely dry.

The children, however, were unaware of all that had taken place. During the spectacular phenomenon of the sun, the three shepherd children had experienced a vision of the Holy Family. They saw St. Joseph holding the Child Jesus, as they were blessing the whole world by making the Sign of the Cross. As this occurred, Our Lady appeared in the blue and white robes of Our Lady of the Rosary. Lucia alone was granted another vision, that of seeing Our Lord as the Divine Redeemer, dressed in red, blessing the world. Our Lady was beside Him, now clothed in the purple robes of Our Lady of Sorrows. Finally, the Blessed Mother appeared again to Lucia wearing the brown robes of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, offering the Brown Scapular for the salvation of the world.

Afterward, the children were besieged by the mass of people who had witnessed the Miracle. Some had persistent questions, while others grabbed at their clothing in hopes of obtaining a relic.

The village of Fatima was located within the diocese of Leiria, Portugal. The Bishop of Leiria stated that those who witnessed the events of this great day were fortunate. “This phenomenon, which no astronomical observatory registered, was not natural. It was seen by people of all classes, members of the Church, and non-Catholics. It was seen by reporters of the principal newspapers and by people many miles away.” This great supernatural event could not be mistaken for anything other than what it was. The Miracle of the Sun was proof of the Divine origin of the apparitions and reaffirmed the seriousness of God’s message of salvation for the world.


Miracle of the Sun- photo
Fatima, Portugal "Our Lady of Fatima"
The Miracle of the Sun, October 13, 1917


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

46. When the devil wishes to tie two people to each other by a shameful bond, he works on the inclinations of both of them, and then lights the fire of passion.

October 11, 2002

(Eph 6:12)  For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

ONLINE BOOK: I Saw Satan Fall- The Ways of Spiritual Warfare
by Benedict Heron OSB


The Catholic Church in Uganda is experiencing a revival: there are stories everywhere of healings and miraculous conversions. The editor of Good News, the British magazine of the Charismatic Renewal, went to see for herself.

The scene before me is parish life but not as I know it in the West. Under the trees women cook and wash while a mad, violent young man with his hands tied thrashes around in the dust, screaming. Fr Gerard Mwonge has been priest of this parish of Christ the King in Butema, a rural area in northern Uganda, since 1997. He used to be the diocesan archivist and still looks the part: he is hesitant and bespectacled, certainly not the stereotype of a healer and exorcist. But such is his reputation that crowds arrive in his parish every day seeking help. “They often spend weeks here”, he explains. “They sleep in the church at night and look for healing.”

In Africa spirits cannot be explained away as metaphors. Throughout my time in Uganda, I was constantly amazed by the matter-of-fact way people referred to the presence of evil spirits, which are seen simply as part of life. While I was having supper, for example, at another small lay community, a little boy who was sitting at the table suddenly began to scream. He fell to the floor in a fit. He was quietly carried out to be ministered to while the rest of us carried on eating. I asked one of the girls, who was a nurse, whether he was an epileptic. “No”, she said. “He doesn’t show the right symptoms. We are praying to find out what is wrong.” Evil spirits turned out to be the explanation. I watched the healing, which involved getting the spirits to reveal themselves and confess their names. It was all done with firmness and kindness. Over the course of the next couple of days, the boy was prayed for by various members of the community, in between lots of bicycle riding and rest. By the end of the week his bedwetting and convulsions were over, and he was ready to go home.

Anxious to give witness to all that God has been doing among these people, Fr Gerard arranged for those who have been healed or delivered from evil spirits to witness for me after evening Mass. Among them is Sr Apollonia, a serious-looking 50-year-old religious sister from the local congregation of St Teresa. A car accident in 1995 broke her spinal cord in three places and left her bedridden, she explains. She was referred to Germany for treatment but it was too expensive. Then, in 1998, she was taken on a stretcher by friends to a retreat given by Fr Joseph Bill, the Indian priest mentioned earlier, and was entirely healed during the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. In case I had any doubts about the fullness of her recovery, her eyes lit up and she danced before the applauding congregation.

Everywhere I went in Uganda, I saw this extraordinary yet everyday ministry of healing and deliverance being exercised by Catholic priests. “For us this charismatic renewal is something new”, a man in one village told me, “but we understand it has been around in the Church for a long time. Why did no one tell us about it before?” There was joy in his voice, but some indignation, too, because he realised what he had been missing before. For him and other poor people like him, this Gospel proclaimed with signs and wonders and conversions is just like Jesus coming to town.

RELATED: Exorcism Makes a Believer of a Journalist

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

40. He who attempts to stop this war by temperance, and by that alone, is like a man who has the idea of escaping the sea by swimming with one hand. Join humility to temperance, because without the former the latter is useless.

October 10, 2002

(Luke 1:28)  And he came to her and said, "Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!"



Reflection by Father Ted, Catholic Chaplain - San Francisco General Hospital
October 7, 2002

My dearest heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of today.

May I also say, thank You for the gift of each day.

For each day is a gift that You give to me and to each one of us - whether we realize it or not.

Each day You want me, and everyone else, to get to know You and Your Holy Family, that is, Your Son and Your Holy Spirit, better.

As You have told me so many times, You made me to Know You, and to love You and to serve You in this world, and to be with You forever in eternity.

And today, You have given me another opportunity to know You just a little bit better - so that I can love You just a little bit more, and serve You a little bit more perfectly as I minister to Your children according to the gifts, abilities, and responsibilities that You have given to me.

Today You allowed me to twice reflect upon the special gospel that You provided to Your Church in the Mass on this feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

You, first of all, reminded me that You called Mary by a special name - "Full of Grace"- because You, from the first moment of her conception gave to her that gift. She is the one who is "Full of Grace".

Thank You for gifting her in this wonderful way.

And because of this, she was completely open to whatever You wanted of her.

You told her, through the archangel Gabriel that she was to be the "Mother of Your Son".

Because she did not know how this could take place, she asked the archangel. And he simply told her.

Then, she simply responded, "Let it be done to me according to Your will."

What a lesson You offer to me, and to all who are willing to learn.

Simply to say "Yes" to You, no matter what.

Also during her conversation with Your archangel You told her that her Son also had a special name, just as she did.

His name is – "Holy, the Son of God".

Yes, He is "Holy". That is His name.

I also recall that a long time ago You told Moses Your name. You told him that You are "Holy".

Now You tell us that Your Son, Mary’s Son is just like You, His Father. He too is "Holy".

Moreover, You have been telling us every day to become like You and Your Son. For You want us to be "holy" too.

Thank You Father, for this day. Thank You Father, for giving us the opportunity to become more like You this day.

May I say, with Mary - I am the servant of the Lord, let it be done to me according to Your Will.

SEE ALSO: The Mystery of the Rosary by Fr. William P. Saunders

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

39. He who wants to overcome the demon of fornication with gluttony and surfeiting is like a man who puts out a fire with oil.

October 9, 2002


Education and training programs aimed at ending child sexual abuse will help heal the Roman Catholic Church, according to a deacon implementing sexual abuse prevention programs for the scandal-wracked Archdiocese of Boston.

"The church family has been hurt," said Deacon Anthony P. Rizzuto. "When the family is hurt, you don't disperse. When the family is hurt, you come together and work toward healing the hurt."

Under the program, called "Protecting God's Children", volunteers will be trained on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of abuse, how to talk with children about abuse issues, and what the responsibilities are of mandated reporting.

The archdiocese is also starting a three-day training program called "Talking About Touching," which is designed to instruct parents, teachers and child-care providers how to teach children personal safety skills.

RELATED: "Catholics" Urge U.N. to Push Vatican on Sex Scandal


Three conservative Catholic priests from the Diocese of Lexington have received threatening letters warning them to "immediately cease and desist from your persecution and outing of gay priests in the diocese." The Nicholasville Police Department is investigating the matter as a case of "terroristic threatening," and Catholic officials are looking into the matter.

At weekend Masses in Nicholasville, Rev. William Bush read parishioners a portion of the threatening letter he received, and asked for their prayers.  "So many people didn't believe there was a gay culture throughout the priesthood and here it is right here," Bush told worshipers at one Mass. "This is how far we've ... degenerated."

Afterward, he told one parishioner that the threats won't work. "They picked on the wrong three people. None of us is intimidated and none of us backs down."

Rev. John Dane said he has been targeted because he preaches "Gospel values and Gospel principles," including the Roman Catholic Church's position that homosexual activity is "gravely disordered." The priest said he is careful not to condemn gays, because the church doesn't consider sexual orientation to be a sin -- only sexual activity outside of marriage.

As for gay sex, "It's a sin and it's enough to keep someone out of heaven," said Dane. "It's our job to warn people."


Vatican prepares draft directives against admitting gays as priests
Majority of priests oppose ordination of homosexuals
Disgraced priest causes uproar even in death
Pride In A Pulpit
Nun says God’s calling outranks Vatican’s

(Jude 1:17-19)  But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they said to you, "In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions." It is these who set up divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

38. I have seen pride lead to humility. And I remembered him who said: Who hath known the mind of the Lord (Rom 11:34)? The pit and offspring of conceit is a fall; but a fall is often an occasion of humility for those who are willing to use it to their advantage.

October 8, 2002

Jim Winkler of Washington, D.C., a national leader of the United Methodist Church, the denomination to which both Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney belong: "With unprecedented disregard for democratic ideals and with an astonishing lack of evidence justifying such a pre-emptive attack, the president has all but given the order to fire."

Bishop Bruce Ough of the United Methodist Church Ohio West conference: “It is not my intention to say you should not go to war,” he wrote Mr. Bush. “But perhaps this is not the moment to decide. It is premature to insist that the only way is to have a pre-emptive strike.”


A just war is hard to justify. Convincing people to embrace the idea might be even more difficult. The church has long set high the bar to a morally acceptable war. Currently the Vatican, the World Council of Churches and nearly 50 denominations are on record opposing military action in Iraq. Sadly, their opinion might not matter. The church seems to have lost its power to mold public opinion.

As in so many religious issues, the conditions necessary to justify war are open to interpretation. That makes the authority of the interpreter critical. The church has little. Roman Catholics routinely ignore their church's teaching about birth control. Many disagree with its stand against the death penalty. They will not easily accept a "just war" argument from leaders whose direction they nonchalantly disregard on other vital questions. Protestant leaders also try to sway the opinion of their flocks, but they are split asunder. Most oppose a war, but some evangelists, including the ethics commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, strongly support the idea.

Divided and discredited leadership will convince no one -- even when it's right.

FURTHER COMMENTARY VIA DR. RICHARD HUBBELL: A US first strike on Iraq, or any other country, is not about politics. It is not about Bush. It is not about the UN. It is not even about Saddam Hussein. Let us never forget. War is about killing and so it is very serious business. Real war is not a video game - real people really get killed. So the decision to go to war is a profoundly moral decision. The decision to go to war is in exactly the same category as deciding what is the right way to handle the subject of abortion. Abortion is not about politics, it is not about man's laws, it is not about what is "good for the country", it is not about "quality of life issues". No. Abortion is about killing babies. Those that seek to reduce or trivilize either abortion *or* war to be strictly a political matter are not in synch with reality.

Fortunately the Catholic Catechism and the Magisterium (the teaching office of the Church) have laid down the correct principles on the major decision to go to war or not to go to war. Christ did not leave us as orphans. The Church guides us through our Bishops in these matters - or abortion - and of war.

In the case of striking Iraq first - which Bush is planning to do - the US Bishops have written a "warning" letter to the President saying that to do so is a grave error and can not be justified morally.

RELATED: Can Christians back this war?

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

37. The mother of sweetness is earth and dew, and the mother of urity is stillness with obedience. Dispassion of the body attained by stillness has often been shaken on coming into contact with the world; but that obtained by obedience is genuine and invilable everywhere.

October 5, 2002


Leah Broussard when asked about the rapidly approaching Hurricane Lili said she knew how she would respond when the winds arrived. "The first thing we're going to do," said Leah, who is 9, "is say the rosary."

POPE JOHN PAUL II: "In the Rosary, simplicity and depth, and the individual and communitarian dimensions are admirably wedded. The Rosary, in itself, is a contemplative prayer, and it has great intercessory power: whoever recites it, in fact, is united to Mary in meditating the mysteries of Christ, and is led to invoke the grace proper to these mysteries in the multiple situations of life and history."


The Feast of the Rosary, October 7, commemorates another striking victory won through the Rosary. In 1571, the Moslem Turks had amassed a seemingly invincible and vast fleet of battleships to defeat the Christians in one of many ongoing territorial battles the Turks raged against Christian Europe. The Christian opposition was commanded by Don Juan of Austria and outfitted by Pope St. Pius V and other leaders of Christendom. But its fleet was far outnumbered. This battle, known as the Battle of Lepanto, was critical because the Turks threatened to invade Europe and destroy Christianity at the time. A Christian victory was against the odds.

But Pope St. Pius V held fast to a thread of hope; the Holy Rosary. He united Christian Europe in a Rosary crusade to pray for victory. The sea soldiers themselves knelt down to pray the Rosary before engaging the opposing Turkish fleet. Victory was won on October 7th, and in gratitude Pope St. Pius V declared October 7th the Feast of the Holy Rosary, which we continue to celebrate today.


The Miracle At Lepanto
My Rosary By Albino Cardinal Luciani (Pope John Paul I 1912-1978)

"Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world,"
— Our Lady of Fatima, 1917.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

36. Purity is the fellowship with and likeness to God, so far as is possible for men.

October 4, 2002


The 82-year-old pontiff heads into his 24th year of papacy this month having named an astonishing 463 saints — so far. On Sunday, he declares yet one more. He has named 1,293 men and women as blesseds.

John Paul II may have changed the course of church history in his record-setting pontificate. Like no pope before him, he has highlighted the diversity of heaven. He has canonized men and women from almost every country, culture and class — not just priests and nuns, but peasants, slaves and duchesses as well. "He invites us to remember we are all called to be saints, that it can be done by anyone, anywhere," Irwin says. "In the era of internationalization, he's gone global."

And there's a pattern to which of John Paul's beatified contenders shoot up to sainthood: 80% have been martyrs who died for their faith. That's a key to the legacy of the Polish pope, who witnessed persecution by Nazis, fascists and Communists, papal biographer George Weigel says. The emphasis on martyrs is "a powerful witness to the vitality and the cost of faith in the modern world."

Determined to showcase contemporary saints, John Paul II has sped up the canonization process: Less time and fewer miracles are now required in some cases. The saint to be named Sunday is Josemaria Escriva founder of Opus Dei, a 20th-century movement of ultra-observant lay Catholics. He zipped through the church's meticulous investigation a mere 27 years after his death in 1975.

SEE ALSO: Mother Teresa Closer to Sainthood


Many of the greatest Roman Catholic saints—Dominic, Francis of Assisi, Ignatius of Loyola—were also founders of great religious orders. To this August list Pope John Paul II will add the name of Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, the Spanish founder of Opus Dei. The canonization this Sunday will draw at least 250,000 spectators to Rome.

FOR OPUS DEI—LATIN for the Work of God—the ceremony represents the Vatican’s highest seal of approval for an international organization that critics regard as a secretive, almost Masonic sect within the Catholic Church. Under John Paul II, Opus Dei has replaced the Jesuits in papal favor. Its members hold offices throughout the Vatican bureaucracy, including the pope’s press spokesman, and its wealth and influence have silenced most opponents in the Roman Curia. At a time when vocations to the priesthood are in decline—and sex-abuse scandals beset the American church—the relentlessly evangelical Opus Dei operatives are adding new members every day. Yet even its admirers know little about the inner workings of this shadowy church within the church.

Unlike the Jesuits and other religious orders, Opus Dei is a lay organization with a society of priests attached. Escriva’s genius was to fashion a movement of worldly ascetics organized in a loose, cell-like structure. Members are encouraged to be entrepreneurial, creating autonomous businesses, foundations and study centers. Though they are financed, run and staffed by Opus Dei members, each can claim to be officially unrelated to the religious organization. Even within the church, Opus Dei enjoys a unique ecclesiastical privilege. Its members are under the authority of the Opus Dei bishop in Rome, Javier Echevarria—unlike other lay Catholics ruled by the bishop of the local diocese.

SEE ALSO: Fast track to sainthood
RELATED: Indiana youths bake their way to Rome
OFFICIAL VATICAN LINK-  Canonization of Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer


At the Holy Sepulcher Cemetery here, people come every day to stand before his gravestone and recite the prayer he wrote. Children, a street, a ferry and a federal law have been named for him. He has worked miracles, some say.

The Rev. Mychal F. Judge, the sandal-shod fire chaplain with friends across New York, died at the World Trade Center 54 weeks ago, and has since become the center of a fervent following.  A book about his life is already out and another is in the works. The French have named him to the Legion of Honor, and Pope John Paul II has accepted the gift of his helmet.

And while five years must pass before Father Judge could be considered a candidate for sainthood, a group of admirers has established a Web site,, to promote the cause of his canonization and collect reports of miracles.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

34. As long as sorrow and despair are present, we do not so easily abandon ourselves to further sin. But when sorrow and despair are quenched, the tyrant speaks to us again of God's mercy.

October 3, 2002

(Mat 2:18)  "A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they were no more."


Zulema Ramirez says she spent 20 years living in fear, clouded with insecurities, after she had an abortion in 1979.

Clarity and peace came to her only three years ago, when she spent a weekend in Clearwater attending a retreat sponsored by Project Rachel, a ministry supported by the Roman Catholic Church for those struggling to deal with the aftermath of abortion.

Now Ramirez, who lives in Spring Hill, is trying to bring that same brand of emotional healing to others. Starting Thursday night, she will lead an eight-week Project Rachel workshop at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church, the third offered at the church in the past two years.

Ramirez said all the women she has met who have undergone abortions have, like her, suffered deep emotional scars from the experience. She said the workshop is intended to help them see that it is okay to grieve and that they can find spiritual forgiveness.

"It's to let them know that they are not alone. That there are others. And that there is hope. And that their children went back to God," Ramirez said.

As part of the workshops, participants are encouraged to name their aborted children, to write letters to them and to hold a memorial service for them.

Emma Boe, director of Project Rachel for the Diocese of St. Petersburg, said those steps are emotionally painful.

"But that also gives them closure," Boe said. "It kind of answers those questions: that your baby is in heaven with God, that your baby doesn't have any more pain, and that your baby longs for you to be in heaven."

Project Rachel was founded in 1984 in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. It has spread to more than 110 dioceses nationwide, including the Diocese of St. Petersburg, where Project Rachel has efforts going on in Pinellas, Pasco, Hillsborough, Hernando and Citrus counties.

The name refers to the biblical figure Rachel who, in the book of Jeremiah, is said to weep for her children, "refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."

Boe said women struggling with their abortion experience face a variety of problems, including depression and anger.

Aside from the support groups led by people like Ramirez, Project Rachel involves clergy and clinical counselors when needed. Though it is open to people of all faiths, Boe said the Catholic sacrament of reconciliation -- where someone seeks forgiveness from God for their sins -- is one of the avenues many participants take.

"I love it because I get to see miracles," Boe said. "I become very greedy for the visible grace of God at work."

RELATED: National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing- Testimonies of Hope


Marjie Lundstrom: A courageous few crusade to keep newborn 'safe haven' efforts alive
Nurse ‘absolutely’ certain on life’s moral absolutes
Abortion exhibit stirs up debate

LINK TO PASTORAL LETTER by Cardinal Adam Maida, Archbishop of Detroit

MOTHER TERESA: "It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

26. Offer to the Lord the weakness of your nature, fully acknowledging your own powerlessness, and imperceptibly you will receive the gift of chastity.

October 2, 2002

(Mat 18:10)  See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you, that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.


Let us admire God's goodness, and thank him for the grace he has given us in assigning an angel to take care of us, protect us, and serve us. God was not satisfied to give us his only Son to rescue us from sin, and send us his Holy Spirit to fill us with his holy grace, but to omit nothing of all his care that could advance our interests and keep us in piety and in his holy love, he also sends the holy Angels to be with us on earth. He sends these blessed spirits, who rejoice before him in heaven, to be near us always, to help us, and to serve us in every kind of situation. He orders them to watch over us on his behalf, to guide us, and to enlighten us in all our ways, so that we may be able to go straight to heaven in safety without wandering astray.

This is truly a marvellous effect of his goodness, says Saint Bernard, and one of the greatest proofs of his love. Let us then show our gratitude for this by carrying out exactly what they inspire us to do.

REVIEW ARTICLE: Our Guardian Angels- A belief supported by Scripture, reason and the traditional and unanimous teaching of the Fathers.

A Prayer to the Holy Guardian Angels

Dear Angel at my side, my good and loyal friend, you have been with me since the moment I was born. You are my own personal guardian, given me by God as my guide and protector, and you will stay with me till I die. He who created you and me gave me to you as your particular charge. You assisted in great joy at my baptism, when I became part of the Mystical Body of Christ, and was made a member of the household of God and an heir of heaven. You saw the dangers that beset my path, and, if I sinned, it was in spite of you. You envied me when Christ came to me in Holy Communion. Even though you probably were there among the angels that adored Him the night that He was born, you have not been able to receive Him as I can. O, help me to appreciate these gifts! Help me to realize, as you do, with every fiber of my being, that to serve Christ is to be a King! Help me steadfastly to avoid evil and do good and always guard my soul from sin. Protect me as well from physical evils as I go about my daily work. You will be with me all my life, and at the hour of my death. Help me to face death bravely, patiently, with great love of God, knowing that it is only through death that I can come to Him in heaven! Then, come with me to my Judge, and when the hour of my salvation comes, take me home to my Father, God. Amen.

Angel of God, my guardian dear,
To whom His love commits me here;
Ever this day (or night) be at my side,
To light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

25. He who has resolved to contend with his flesh and conquer it himself struggles in vain. For unless the Lord destroys the house of the flesh and builds the house of the soul, the person who wants to destroy it watches and fasts in vain.

October 1, 2002


Pope John Paul II on Sunday called for prayer in the name of world peace, specifically in the Middle East.

The pontiff said the world is facing an international situation that is "heavy with tensions, at times burning hot."

"In some points of the world, where the clash is stronger I am thinking in particular of the martyred land of Christ you can count on one hand the few political attempts (at peace)," he said.

Also on Sunday, the pontiff announced that he was preparing a document on prayer. Addressing several hundred pilgrims in the courtyard of his summer palace outside Rome, in the hill town of Castel Gandolfo, John Paul urged the faithful to continue the practice of reciting the Rosary.

"To give a boost to this invitation, I am also preparing a document, that will help to rediscover the beauty and depth of this prayer," the pontiff said. He did not say when the document would be released.

RELATED: Children 'bear brunt' of Mid-East conflict


National Christian leaders oppose pre-emptive strike in Iraq
France, Russia Rebuke U.S. on Iraq as Arms Experts Meet
Iraq policy inspires "just war" debate
1st Strike Against Iraq Would Be Hard to Justify, Says Cardinal McCarrick
Thousands march on Cheney's house to protest a war with Iraq

SEE ALSO: 'This war is wrong and we won't stand for it'

COMMENTARY: A just war?

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops ACTION ALERT: Urge the President (202-456-1414) and your Members of Congress (Capitol switchboard – 202-224-3121) to step back from the brink of war and to work with other nations and the UN to pursue actively effective alternatives to war to address Iraq's threats.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

24. Do not expect to overthrow the demon of fornication with refutations and pleadings. For with nature on his side, he has the best of the argument.

Links  E-mail Dr. Zambrano  Home

Jubilee 2000: Bringing the World to Jesus

The Tribulation Times Archives:

1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
June-July January July January July January July January July  January July
August February August February August February August February August February August
September March September March September March/April September March/April September March September
October April October April October May October May October April
November May November May November June November June November May
December June December June December December December June