Keep your eyes open!...


October 31, 2003



On All Saints Day, Catholics honor and pray for the intercession of canonized saints and celebrate the communion of saints—all the baptized in heaven, purgatory, and on earth. On All Souls Day, Catholics pray for those souls in purgatory, that they may be hurried along the path to heaven.

Canonized saints are believed to be already in full communion with God. In other words, the church confirms that these souls have made it to heaven. The souls we pray for on All Souls Day are not in heaven yet, but being “purified.” There are varied theological interpretations of heaven, hell, and purgatory. And certainly many Catholics hold personal beliefs about the afterlife that may include only one, two, or all three of these destinations, but official church teaching on the matter does include the existence of purgatory.

The celebration of All Souls Day developed after the idea of purgatory grew in popularity. Because not all the dead were being honored on All Saints Day, another day was set aside on which those souls still in purgatory could benefit from the prayers of the living. All Saints Day is November 1 of every year, and is a holy day of obligation, which means Catholics are required to attend Mass on this day. All Souls Day is November 2 and not a holy day of obligation.

In the first centuries after Christ’s death, the word saint was synonymous with martyr, but eventually the definition expanded to mean people who lived exemplary lives according to God’s will. Early Christians celebrated the anniversary of the death of a local martyr at the martyr’s tomb. Soon, the practice spread beyond the local area, and eventually a commemoration for all saints was established, originally taking place on varied dates including the Friday after Easter and the Sunday after Pentecost. In the ninth century the date of November 1 was set for the Western church. The Eastern church still celebrates All Saints on the Sunday after Pentecost.

Link to remainder of article:

All Saints and All Souls Feast Days
Catholic Herald: Masses for the Dead


During a college semester a student may face various obstacles and encounter hindrances, which could cause stress, anxiety and depression.

While looking for guidance, peace, strength, wisdom, spiritual growth and solutions to problems some Southern University students find consolation in prayer.

"After I pray I feel a great release and I know, I don’t have to stress and I don’t have to worry, which is a sin," said Tiffany Johnson, a junior nursing major from Baton Rouge.

While prayer is a way to talk to God, it is also a way to get questions answered.

"When I pray, I ask for answers to questions. I also ask Him for help, guidance and protection from danger. Some of my prayers are answered immediately and if they aren’t answered or if don’t know they are answered, I know they were heard," Johnson said.

EXCELLENT ARTICLE: Prayer and the Grace of God by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

81. Just as those whose sense of smell is healthy can tell who has hidden perfumes, so the pure soul can recognize in others both the fragrance which he himself has obtained from God and the stench form which he has been freed, though this is imperceptible to others.

October 30, 2003

(Mat 25:37-40)  Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'


Mother Marianne Cope, the Franciscan nun whose name and mission have been linked with Father Damien of Moloka'i, is now a step closer to being declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. She and Damien are the only two people with Hawai'i ties on the road to sainthood.

On Friday, "her cause was unanimously accepted by the Vatican theologians who belong to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, which oversees the beatification and canonization process," Sister William Marie Eleniki, Franciscan regional administrator, said yesterday.

That means she's now on her way to becoming the Venerable Mother Marianne Cope.

First, however, the process goes to a cardinal, then to Pope John Paul II, who is expected to approve her cause next year. Once declared venerable, the next steps are beatification and then sainthood, both of which require documentation of miracles attributed to Mother Marianne.

Mother Marianne arrived in Hawai'i in 1883 after King David Kalakaua had asked for Mainland Catholic help for the children of Hansen's disease (leprosy) patients in what was then being called Hawai'i's "national affliction." The superior of her Franciscan convent in Syracuse, N.Y., Mother Marianne responded to the call and brought six other nuns with her. She never left the Islands, dying here in 1918 at age 80.


The remains of an Edinburgh nun who is the subject of a campaign to turn her into a saint were today due to be blessed in their new resting place in a city church.

Scotland’s new cardinal Keith O’Brien was set to lead the service at which the shrine to "Edinburgh’s Wonder Worker", the Venerable Margaret Sinclair, was to be dedicated.

The young nun - who died in 1925 from tuberculosis after working among Edinburgh’s poor - has been hailed as a miracle worker after people claimed to have been cured by her prayers.

The Venerable Margaret’s remains lay in the city’s Mount Vernon Cemetery for more than 70 years after her death. But, after a campaign began to have her canonised, it was decided that her body should be re-interred in a tomb at St Patrick’s Church, in South Gray’s Close, off the High Street.

The Pope’s British representative, His Excellency Archbishop Pablo Puente, was due to dedicate and bless the shrine in front of hundreds of worshippers at a midday service today.

The return of the nun’s remains to the church where she was first baptised is being seen as a significant step forward for campaigners who hoped one day to see the Venerable Margaret made a saint.

Known as Sister Mary Francis of the Five Wounds, the Venerable Margaret helped the poor and under-privileged through prayer.

Many claim to have been miraculously cured by the prayer of the Venerable Margaret, including a blind woman who recovered her eyesight, a woman who had chronic osteoarthritis and a woman in Liverpool with a tubercular infection in her lungs.

JOB WELL DONE IN OUR DAY: A nun retires, an era passes; Sister Mary Jude Watson closes a 70-year teaching career, the last 36 years at Our Lady Star of the Sea

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

78. The guarding of the thoughts is one thing, and the custody of the mind is another. As far as the East is from the West, so much higher is the latter than the former; and it is more laborious.

October 29, 2003

(Mat 5:11-12)  "Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.


Twelve underground Roman Catholic priests and seminarians have been arrested in China in a crackdown prompted by government fears of a religious revival.

They were detained in a raid on a retreat they were attending in Gaocheng, in the northern province of Hebei, said the Cardinal Kung Foundation, a US-based religious rights group. An unauthorised church was bulldozed in a nearby village this year.

Religious gatherings are banned in China unless held under the auspices of state-approved religious groups. China broke links with the Vatican in the 1950s and has its own Catholic church, which pledges loyalty to Beijing instead of the Pope.

In the Pope's most recent list of new cardinals, it was widely assumed that one appointed in pectore - without his name being given, for his own protection - was Chinese.

RELATED: Tackle Beijing on Religious Persecution, Group Urges Gov'ts
MORE: Egyptian Police Arrest 22 Christians in New Crackdown

VIA Circle of Prayer Newsletter:

When We Suffer
By Father Charles M. Mangan

A very difficult topic to comprehend is that of human suffering. A familiar question is: Why does a loving God permit His human creatures to suffer?

Throughout the ages, both Saints and sinners have attempted to respond to this pressing inquiry. The Magisterium of the Church has also weighed in.

Pope John Paul II gave us a golden treasure to be explored carefully in his February 11, 1984 Apostolic Letter entitled Salvifici Doloris (“On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering”).

In a nutshell, we reply by asserting that God allows us to suffer for our everlasting benefit. In His infinite wisdom and majesty, He uses human suffering for His glory and our salvation.

Suffering—be it physical, emotion, psychological or spiritual—is a common experience. We suffer in various ways. This cannot be denied.

What is most crucial is how we regard suffering. Do we accept suffering or do we avoid it at all costs?

The Gospel understanding of human suffering is rooted in Jesus’ willingness to suffer. He generously and obediently offered Himself to His Father on Calvary through the power of the Holy Spirit.

If I embrace this Gospel understanding of human suffering, then when I do suffer I seek to imitate Jesus in His Sacrifice on the Cross. My best response to human suffering is to unite my suffering—repugnant as it is, humanly speaking—with that of Jesus. Hence, my suffering in a real sense becomes “salvific,” signifying that it becomes “caught up” into the Sacrifice of Christ. Then, my suffering has lasting value—it is not wasted but really counts for something good. My suffering no longer spurned as repugnant but embraced as valuable and necessary, assists others and me in going to Paradise.

Imagine this: my suffering that happens during the twenty-first century may be attached to Christ’s suffering on Calvary of almost two millennia ago. Jesus the Eternal High Priest is so great and powerful that He gathers to Himself all human suffering yielded to for the sake of His Adorable Name and joins it to His limitless, once-for-all Sacrifice that is perpetuated every time an ordained priest of the Church, wherever he may be, offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

We must pray daily for the certain grace to surrender to God’s will, even when it requires us to suffer. O Mary, Chaste Mother reigning in Heaven who suffered as you watched your Son suffer, protect us now and always! Knock down our fierce resistance to suffer when God invites us to and help us return our suffering to the Risen Lord Jesus so that He may unite it to His victorious suffering carried out during the first Holy Week in His Passion and on Good Friday in His Death on His Precious Blood-stained Cross.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

77. There is a certain feeling, or rather habit, called endurance of hardship. He who possesses it will never be cowardly, nor avoid labour. Upheld by this glorious virtue, the souls of the martyrs easily despised their tortures.

October 28, 2003


An Italian judge's order that the crucifix be removed from a public school drew a rebuke Monday from the Vatican and set off outrage across a country that officially separates church and state but appears unwilling to abandon its Catholic roots.

The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano printed a front-page illustration of Christ juxtaposed with a 1998 comment from Pope John Paul II.

"Many things can be removed from us Christians. But the cross as a sign of salvation we will not let them take," the pope's quote said. "We will not allow it to be excluded from public life."

The controversy erupted after Islamic activist Adel Smith won a court ruling last week to have a crucifix removed from his sons' elementary school in the small town of Ofena, 90 miles northeast of Rome.

Vatican Radio denounced the ruling Monday, with an announcer saying: "It is undeniable that the crucifix and its message of universal love are central to European and Italian history."

A series of guests took to the airwaves to criticize the ruling, including Catholic historian and commentator Giorgio Rumi. "The Christian religious sign represents a guarantee for other religious signs, because tomorrow the secularist could take issue with the Crescent Moon, with the Star of David, and so on," he argued.


Polish bishops said Tuesday they were seriously disturbed at the absence of a reference to God in the preamble of a draft constitution for the European Union, currently under scrutiny by an EU inter-governmental conference.

A plenary session of Roman Catholic bishops said there was a "lack of respect for the opinions of others and discrimination against believers who constitute the majority of the European population."

This lack of respect raised questions about the basic aims of European unity, a statement said.

The bishops also criticised what they considered the lack of a proper social dimension to the constitutional draft, saying it failed to make reference to "social principles of solidarity and assistance."

"It is surprising to find an absence of the idea of brotherhood, the essential expression of natural relations among human beings without which it is difficult to imagine peaceful coexistence between nations," it added.

Poland, a strongly Catholic country, is scheduled to join the European Union in May along with nine other newcomers from eastern and southern Europe.

The Polish government is seeking as part of the inter-governmental conference to have a specific reference to Christian values included in the preamble to the future constitution

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

76. All the attacks which we suffer from the demons come from these three causes: from sensuality, or from pride, or from the envy of the demons. The last are blessed, the middle are very pitiful, but the first are failures till the end.

October 24, 2003


(Mat 24:6-8)  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs.


First light on Sunday signals the beginning of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic lunar calendar when Muslims fast from dawn to sunset in a form of worship to God Almighty and to cleanse their earthly spirits.

The religious event commemorates when the first verses of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, were revealed to the Prophet Mohammed bin Abdullah through the Archangel Gabriel, said Eid Kneifati, Islamic Center of Lafayette president. The book, Muslims believe, was released periodically for 20 years from the Seventh Heaven, where God Almighty keeps all of his knowledge in a sealed record.

VIA Lampholder: Ramadan, the Islamic holy month, begins October 27 through November 25, 2003. To peaceful, devout Muslims, this is a time of prayer and reflection, but to "extremists," Ramadan heralds a call to "jihad."

This Ramadan may heighten the expectations of a major prophetic event that could very well unfold when "two total eclipses" occur during Ramadan 2003. Some Muslims believe this time-period may usher in the appearance of the "Twelfth Imam." A double-eclipse is a major sign that a genuine modern-day Imam (precursor to a prophet) will emerge; but not without a bloody struggle first. The struggle may just begin during Ramadan.

Sadly, it is a well-known fact that some of the worst massacres, persecutions, and assassinations have occurred during what was supposed to be a month of doing good to others. For those involved in "the struggle," the requirement of day-long fasting is waived. In fact, it is not forbidden to make war, commit acts of terrorism, or enter into conflict during Ramadan. Fighting is not forbidden during Ramadan - it all just depends on "who" is doing the fighting. If the Muslims fight against the Infidels, it is permissible, but the Infidels must not fight against the "true" Muslims.


Al-Jazeera broadcasts bin Laden tape
Bin Laden's son rises in al-Qaeda
Islamic nations cite U.S. 'threat'

DEBKA SPECIAL REPORT: Palestinian Terrorists Reorganize for Escalation under Syrian Aegis

ARCHBISHOP MICHAEL FITZGERALD:  "I think the difficulties lie within the communities. If you are thinking of Islamic extremism, this is of great concern also to moderate Muslims. They feel that Islam is being branded as a terrorist religion, and they want to defend themselves, and legitimately so."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

75. In every passion, and also in the virtues, let us critically examine ourselves: Where are we? At the beginning, or in the middle, or at the end?

October 22, 2003


Florida Gov. Jeb Bush ordered a feeding tube reinserted into a brain-damaged woman Tuesday afternoon, shortly after the Legislature passed a bill allowing him to do so.

Florida lawmakers gave Bush the authority in an effort to keep Terri Schiavo alive nearly a week after the tube was removed, effectively overturning a court ruling that she be allowed to die.

The state Senate voted 23-15 on Tuesday to approve a measure allowing Bush to issue the one-time order. The tube was removed after a lengthy court battle between Terri Schiavo's husband, Michael, and her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler.

The bill also allows a judge to appoint an independent guardian for Schiavo, taking away guardianship from Michael Schiavo, who has been fighting to remove the tube.

Tuesday afternoon, a judge in Clearwater refused to issue a temporary restraining order that Michael Schiavo's attorneys had sought.


The Fast Track to Hell---or Hope
What if Terri Schiavo were a dog?
Priest denied permisison to give Schiavo rites


The Senate on Tuesday voted to ban the practice that critics call partial birth abortion, sending President Bush legislation that both supporters and foes said could alter the future of U.S. abortion rights. A court challenge is certain.

Years in the making, the bill imposes the most far-reaching limits on abortion since the Supreme Court in 1973 confirmed a woman's right to end a pregnancy.

"This is an enormous day. It's been a long seven-year fight about the issue of partial birth abortion," said Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan. He was a leader of the drive to end abortions, generally carried out in the second or third trimester, in which a fetus is partially delivered before being killed.

VIA Greg: The American Center For Law And Justice (ACLJ) is asking people to sign their petition to keep the phrase "One Nation Under GOD" in the Pledge of Allegiance. I was wondering if it would be possible to spread this news on your website and possibly create a link to the website.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

74. To the pious it is natural to give to everyone who asks; and to the more pious to give even to him who does not ask. But not to demand a thing back from the person who took it, especially when they have the chance, is characteristic perhaps only of the dispassionate.

October 21, 2003

(1Co 13:13)  So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.


Pope John Paul II welcomed hundreds of nuns of the Missionaries of Charity order to the Vatican on Monday, telling them at a special audience a day after beatifying Mother Teresa that a life of charity was the true life of a Christian.

"The message of Mother Teresa, now more than ever, appears like an invitation to everyone," John Paul said. "Her entire existence reminds us that being Christian means being witness to charity."

In Calcutta, India, her work went on Monday as nuns and volunteers tended to the dying and destitute at "Nirmal Hriday," or "Holy Heart" a center that was opened by Mother Teresa.

"The beatification gives us new vigor and zeal because Mother Teresa has been held up as a model of holiness by the Roman Catholic Church," said Sister Christie of the Missionaries of Charity.

MORE: Text of Pope's Homily at Beatification Mass of Mother Teresa

VIA Nadine: Mother Teresa- Remember the Small Things

Some of my sisters work in Australia. On a reservation, among the Aborigines, there was an elderly man. I can assure you that you have never seen a situation as difficult as that poor old man's. He was completely ignored by everyone. His home was disordered and dirty. I told him, "Please, let me clean your house, wash your clothes, and make your bed." He answered, "I'm okay like this. Let it be."

I said again, "You will be still better if you allow me to do it."

He finally agreed. So I was able to clean his house and wash his clothes. I discovered a beautiful lamp, covered with dust. Only God knows how many years had passed since he last lit it.

I said to him, "Don't you light your lamp? Don't you ever use it?"

He answered, "No. No one comes to see me. I have no need to light it. Who would I light it for?"

I asked, "Would you light it every night if the sisters came?"

He replied, "Of course."

From that day on the sisters committed themselves to visiting him every evening. We cleaned the lamp, and the sisters would light it every evening.

Two years passed. I had completely forgotten that man. He sent this message: "Tell my friend that the light she lit in my life continues to shine still."

I thought it was a very small thing. We often neglect small things.

This story is taken from "In the Heart of The World" by Mother Teresa

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

73. The Fathers state that the active life consists in two virtues of the most general kind: fasting and obedience. And rightly, for the first destroys sensuality, and the other reinforces this destruction with humility. That is why mourning also has a double power, for it destroys sin and produces humility.

October 17, 2003



Purgatory is the Purification of the Soul

Begin with prayer to the Holy Spirit
Readings: 2 Macc 12:46; Matt 12: 31-32

The Jews and early Christians prayed for the souls of the dead that they would come into the fullness of eternal life. In other words, they hoped that their sins would be forgiven in the world to come, as Our Lord had indicated when speaking about the sin against the Holy Spirit. Both Catholic and Orthodox Christians have always prayed for the dead on their journey of purification. The name Purgatory, which means purification, came to be applied to this stage of our journey toward God in medieval times, although the earliest Christian writers and Church Fathers wrote of this reality and the need to pray for the dead. The Church's teaching on the cleansing of Purgatory has the fullest authority of the Council of Florence (1439) and the Council of Trent (1563). We also have the witness of the saints, who considered it a great act of charity to pray for the dead, that we might bring them "some consolation", as St. John Chrysostom said.

Unfortunately, artists and poets like Dante have dramatized the purifying sufferings of Purgatory and made it sound like another hell, rather than a passage to heaven. The Council of Trent issued a condemnation of such horror stories. The Holy Souls (the proper description of these travelers to heaven) are in a state of perfect love of God. They joyfully accept His will and have achieved a level of peace beyond the greatest saints who would be still alive in this world. Much of the Church's popular teaching on Purgatory comes from the revelation of our foundress of the Oratory, St. Catherine of Genoa. Oratorians should be familiar with her teaching and should encourage others to pray for the dead. They should also prepare for their own journey by purifying their spiritual lives, cooperating as best they can with Christ's saving grace, and doing penance to reduce the punishment for sin. Christ has paid the total price for our salvation, but in the parables and especially in the teaching about bad feelings toward others, He indicates that we must do our own part. (Luke 12: 57-58)

Good reading on Purgatory: Catechism of the Catholic Church 1030 - 1032; Catherine of Genoa, edited by Hughes and Groeschel (Paulist Press); The Dream of Gerontius by Cardinal Newman (Alba House).

FROM THE MAILBAG- (Not associated with above website)

VIA Diane: These people are wonderful. They are praying for all the souls in Purgatory. I had registered my dad's name with them when he died in February now they have obtained all the names of the people who have died in the U.S. that were registered with Social Security and pray for them every day. Log on to their website, the Purgatory Project.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

72. It is impossible for those who have not first lived in obedience to obtain humility; for everyone who has learned an art on his own fancies himself.

October 16, 2003

(2Ti 4:3-4)  For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.


Even people of different faiths, and of none, should watch the results of the London meeting, ending Thursday, of the 38 Anglican primates convened by Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury and titular head of the 75-million-member Anglican Communion worldwide. The meeting is part of a drama rich with lessons about the conservation of institutions, the price of "progressive" cultural aggression and the changing geography of religious belief.

Episcopalians, the American adherents of Anglicanism, were once a formidable cultural force -- the American establishment at prayer. But after years of pursuing communicants with political and cultural trendiness rather than doctrinal clarity, Episcopalianism is a small and dwindling faction of American Christianity -- "a flea on the American religious landscape, and yet we always seem to attract more attention than we deserve," according to one bishop. Membership is down 33 percent, to 2.3 million, since 1965. As the noted Catholic priest Ronald Knox wrote 75 years ago, "Dogmas may fly out at the window but congregations do not come in at the door."

On Aug. 5 the faction's tenuous unity was shattered when one doctrine too many flew out the window. The church's General Convention, meeting in Minneapolis, voted to confirm as New Hampshire's bishop a noncelibate gay priest. Church "progressives," ignoring conservatives' warnings of serious consequences, and having had their way on such matters as prayer book revision and ordination of women, were again calling the conservatives' bluff.

A leader of American conservatives, the Rev. David Anderson, president of the American Anglican Council, says: "It's like when you pull the cadmium rods out of a nuclear core. You take some out and nothing happens. But you reach a point where you reach critical mass and you have an explosion." Of the fallout from Minneapolis, Anderson says, "the presenting symptom is sex, but that is not the issue." The issue is "the loss of Biblical authority."

UPDATE: A Statement by the Primates of the Anglican Communion


Nigerians Protest Gay Priests, Bishops
Gay bishop 'could split church'
Episcopalians Seek Reversal on Gay Stance

MORE APOSTASY: Supreme Court accepts Pledge of Allegiance case

EDITORIAL: Faith Fades Where It Once Burned Strong

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

71. Often Divine providence leaves certain slight passions in spiritual people so that, by unsparingly condemning themselves for those trifling defects, they may obtain that wealth of humility which none can steal.

October 15, 2003

(Rom 11:13-15)  Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?


After twenty five years as pope, John Paul II has left a decisive mark on the world, on Catholicism and, in particular, on the long-troubled relations between Catholics and Jews.

Though a staunch conservative on most Catholic and social issues, John Paul II has made bettering Catholic-Jewish relations a centerpiece of his policy, and has taken revolutionary strides throughout his tenure.

Today, despite some lingering tensions and unresolved issues — including conflicting views of the role of Pope Pius XII during World War II — many Jewish observers say John Paul II will be remembered as the best pope the Jews ever had.

Rabbi David Rosen, the American Jewish Committee’s international director for interreligious affairs, describes John Paul’s contributions to Catholic-Jewish reconciliation as “unique and historic.” The pope, he said, “has had the courage and vision to take the Catholic-Jewish relationship on to a new level of deeper dialogue, in which the relationship with the Jewish people is seen within the Catholic world as being something that is at the root and heart of Christian identity itself.”

John Paul II was elected to the papacy only 13 years after the Vatican’s historic Nostra Aetate declaration opened the way toward Jewish-Catholic dialogue. That declaration, issued in 1965 by the Second Vatican Council, convened by Pope John XXIII, condemned anti-Semitism and for the first time officially repudiated the age-old assertion that the “perfidious Jews” were collectively responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus.

John Paul’s papacy expanded on the Nostra Aetate, and in Jewish terms it has been marked by dramatic “firsts” — starting with the pontiff’s own personal history. Perhaps most importantly, he was an eyewitness both to the Holocaust and to the oppressive and often anti-Semitic policies of totalitarian communism.

The most dramatic of his many meetings with Jews took place in April 1986, when he left the Vatican and crossed the Tiber River to visit the Great Synagogue in Rome, becoming the first pope to visit a Jewish house of worship since the apostle Peter.

At the synagogue, the pope spoke of the “irrevocable covenant” between God and the Jews. With Judaism, he said, “we have a relationship that we do not have with any other religion. You are our dearly beloved brothers and in a certain way it may be said that you are our elder brothers.”

RELATED: A Pope after the Jews' own heart

SEE ALSO: Bishop delivers sermon at temple

FROM THE CATHOLIC HERALD: Convert Traces Parallels Between Jewish, Catholic Faiths

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

69. When confronted by evils, we should choose the least. For instance, it often happens that we are standing at prayer, and brothers come to us, and we have to do one of two things; either to stop praying, or to grieve the brother by leaving him without an answer. Love is greater than prayer, because prayer is a particular virtue but love embraces all the virtues.

October 14, 2003

(1Co 9:24)  Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.


Troubled by television pictures of a stooped and frail Pope John Paul II, Poles celebrated the 25th anniversary of their native son's papacy Sunday with prayers for his health and memories of his inspiration for their overthrow of communism.

Throughout this overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country, church leaders, former school chums and well-wishers cheered the former Karol Wojtyla, the cardinal from the southern city of Krakow whose Oct. 16, 1978, election as pope strengthened an oppressed nation.

Churches and central squares were festooned with yellow papal banners as Poles expressed their affection for John Paul in Masses, concerts and national television specials.

The pope briefly addressed his countrymen in a live television feed from the Vatican. The smiling 83-year-old pontiff, his hands trembling as he sat in an armchair, expressed gratitude for his long tenure.

"God allowed me to see the 25th year of the pontificate," he said in Polish. "Thanks to God, thanks to the people."

RELATED: Pope Gives Thanks for 25-Year Pontificate

EDITORIAL: John Paul - - a saint for all people


Hardly failing
Dying by example
For ailing pope, much is unfinished

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

68. Above nature are chastity, freedom from anger, humility, prayer, vigil, fasting, constant compunction. Some of them men teach us, others angels, and of others the Teacher and Giver is God the Word Himself.

October 10, 2003


LINK: Why the Catholic Church is true

LINK: Catholic Testimonies: Bringing the World to Jesus

EDITOR'S NOTE: Don't miss the latest testimony posted by Dr. Stephen Rinehart!  Click on the following link and see the Light!

VIA The Cukierski Family:

How to Overcome Discouragement!
By the late Father Kilian McGowan, C.P. Used with permission, from the Passionist Priests, to help spiritually guide the layman.

Most of us at one time or another are tempted to discouragement. The spiritual combat gets too tough and we’d like to call it quits. It seems so hard to keep on trying-especially when we don’t seem to be going anywhere. Or when just about everything seems to be going against us.

It may help to know that the saints had the same struggle. At times they had to grind out their acts of faith, hope and charity through clenched teeth. Don’t think they were swept along without effort. They waged an uphill battle against discouragement, failure and despair. They became saint not by never failing, but by refusing to give in to their falls.

At times the saints even experienced a repugnance for the things of God. They didn’t deny this condition, but rather faced up to it. Our Lord never said to deny that a cross exists, or even to say that it didn’t hurt. He told us to “take it up.” And to do it daily.

Maybe you feel spiritually “beat.” Everything seems just too hard. You don’t feel like praying. You feel the need for God, but He seems beyond hope and charity-and just about everything else! This can be a greater mortification than some of the bodily austerities of the saints.

Be assured-you may be much closer to God than you think. It’s not thinking of God that is the most important. Nor the feeling that He is near. Or even wanting to pray. It’s just trying to pray. And wanting Him-even when you think you’ve lost God. God permits this rough going, because we hang onto Him more fiercely at a time like this.

Don’t say to yourself: “It’s no use. I just don’t have what it takes.” OF course, you haven’t! But none of us have. God is a merciful supplier who will supply just what is needed when you need His help. Don’t sit back and hang your head in discouragement. Lift up your heart and approach Him exposing your need like a begging child.

I think that the trouble often is not so much lack of courage as lack of correct vision. We haven’t lost our backbone-but we’re just looking in the wrong way. We are looking too much at ourselves and not enough at God. He told us that “to those that love God ALL things work unto good.” Not “some” things or “most” things. He excluded absolutely nothing!

Really, what is there to be discouraged about? Past mistakes, no matter how serious, are erased by the merciful forgiveness of God. Possible future troubles haven’t even arrived. Spiritual success, at least, is available. Happiness can be yours for the asking-if you are willing to set your heart on the right things.

Discouragement can be the sign that we have trusted too much in our own abilities and not enough in God’s. Or that we are taking ourselves too seriously. Or perhaps overemphasizing our importance in the scheme of things. Or it could be that we want things that aren’t good for us and God simply refuses to let us have them. If He shakes us up it’s only because He wants us to find Him more perfectly.

So, don’t be discouraged over your failures-or anything else. Whatever the cause of discouragement, lift up your eyes and your heart. Your eyes to make you see that there’s never an excuse for self pity, for one who is loved by a God of love.

Your heart to make you realize that you shouldn’t feel sorry for yourself as long as you are an object of His tender concern. Our need is the perfect invitation for God to take over in our lives. Let us not be afraid to ask Him to do so!

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

66. I know also a fifth kind of spiritual dispassion which comes from great simplicity and praiseworthy innocence. For on such people, help is justly bestowed by God who saves the upright of heart and imperceptibly rids them of all vice; just as infants, when undressed, are quite unaware of it.

October 9, 2003

(Heb 12:1)  Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,


Relics from Mother Teresa, including her blood and hair and some items of clothing, have been sent to the Vatican to include in elaborate ceremonies for her beatification on October 19, her order said on Wednesday.

The relics will be blessed at the special ceremony at the Vatican and some will later be distributed to the public both in Italy and in India, Sister Savita, superior general of the Missionaries of Charity in New Delhi, told reporters.

Three classes of relics will be included in the ritual: blood and hair; possessions such as clothes and bedsheets; and cloth items that have touched Mother Teresa's tomb in the eastern Indian city of Calcutta, where she tended to the sick and dying for about five decades.

Mother Teresa's beatification - the fastest such elevation in history and the last step before sainthood - means she can be declared a saint if another "miracle" can be attributed to her.

RELATED: In Pittsburgh, Saints Preserved

VIA Hermit Catherine Rose, OCDH: I have a new and updated web-site at

This will explain the life of a Consecrated Hermit, and how I live it. Also you will find much information on the Carmelite Order, of which I am a Third Order Member.. I have been blessed, on August 15th of this year I celebrated my twelfth anniversary vowed as a hermit in my diocese. Also I will be making final promises with the Discalced Carmelites, September of 2004.. God willing. I pray this web-site will be both informative and inspirational, while fostering vocations to the Eremitical, Religious,and Secular Carmelite Order. I pray it will enhance your prayer life. All of this done for the Glory of God. Also there are links to other Catholic sites, that you may enjoy visiting and praying with.

Lastly, I thank God, and our dear Lady of Mount Carmel, my mother, for the grace of perseverance in my vocation. I humbly prayer for many more years in the service of God and His people.

Lastly, but not least, I thank all of you for your love, support and prayers,of which I could not do without. Be assured of my continued prayers for each and every one of you.

On the web- site you will find a place to e-mail your comments and most importantly Prayer Requests. They will be viewed only by me and not the public. So feel free to do so. May our dear Lord bless you and keep you and may Our Lady of Mount Carmel, our mother, shroud you with her love and protection all the days of your lives.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

65. I know another way in which those beasts slink off; they depart after the soul has thoroughly acquired the habits of vice and is its own betrayer and enemy. Infants are an example of what has been said; for, when weaned from their mother's breasts, from longstanding habit they suck their fingers.

October 8, 2003

POPE JOHN PAUL II: "Today, like in the times of ancient Pompeii, it is necessary to announce Christ to a society that is drifting away from Christian values."


Brushing aside concerns about his failing health, Pope John Paul II flew to the southern Italian town of Pompei Tuesday to keep a longstanding promise to pray for world peace at a shrine to the Virgin Mary.

The ailing pope waved to the crowd on the short drive to the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary after making the 250-kilometer journey from Vatican to Pompei aboard an Italian military helicopter.

The crowd of around 30,000 pilgrims and local people, many wearing baseball caps in the yellow colors of the Vatican, cheered enthusiastically after the pope opened the ceremony with a greeting from his wheelchair.

The possibility that his 143rd visit in Italy may well be his last outside the Vatican gave the ceremony extra poignancy. Italy's RAI Uno television, which carried the event live, periodically showed footage of a vibrant young John Paul II in the earlier years of his pontificate, emphasising the sense of closure.

Some in the Pompei crowd -- a broad cross-section of government ministers, businessmen in suits, the elderly, and many young people -- periodically shouted "Evviva il Papa" (Long live the Pope) during prayerful lulls in the ceremony. Others held up their state-of-the-art mobile phones to take a picture of the pope.

Representatives from the five continents -- including Mexicans, Indians and Senegalese -- opened the ceremony, each lighting a candle before the pope before he recites each of the five sets of prayers. Throughout, the pope's white vestments billowed in the blustery weather as a series of speakers led the faithful in the rosary prayer.

The pope chose Pompei to close the "year of the rosary", which he had proclaimed in a bid to revive what had become a waning practice among Catholics.


“Today more than ever, the world is in need of prayer and meditation,” said, the Rev. Gilbert Rodriguez, pastor of the Catholic parishes of South Odessa. “It is in need of prayer because people have forgotten God, and it is in need of meditation because if the great Christian truths are forgotten, souls become void,” he said.

In the not-too-distant past, families prayed the rosary together, “but the rhythm of today’s world has broken family unity,” Rodriguez said. “Little time is spent together, and even when the family is together, its members don’t speak because the television speaks.”

SEE ALSO: End of Year of Rosary will be marked by rally

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

64. Demons leave us of their own accord so as to lead us to carelessness, and then suddenly carry off our wretched soul.

October 7, 2003

(Mat 28:19)  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,


When the world's Roman Catholic cardinals chose Karol J. Wojtyla to be the 263rd successor to the throne of St. Peter, he was the archbishop of Krakow, little known beyond the Iron Curtain, a philosopher-poet, an advocate of religious freedom and speaker of seven languages. Today, Pope John Paul II is recognized across the globe as a spiritual and ecumenical leader, a champion of peace and critic of policies that oppress the poor.

As he approaches the silver anniversary of his papacy, the 83-year-old pontiff is at once preparing for his successor and ensuring that his influence will be felt long after he is gone. Last week, Pope John Paul announced his intention to appoint 31 new cardinals, increasing the number eligible to choose his successor. The decision came earlier than expected and amid reports of the pope's failing health. The nominations continued his practice of diversifying the church's leadership and its outreach. And many of the new cardinals predictably hold the pope's theologically orthodox views.

But as the first non-Italian pope in 400 years, John Paul serves as a model for a religious leader in the 21st century.

Whoever next dons the white wool stole of the patriarch of the world's estimated 1 billion Catholics will find his role defined by the style and ethic of this dynamic son of a factory worker who has been prolific in his writings, wildly popular with youths and a traditionalist on priestly celibacy, the ordination of women and right-to-life issues.

Whoever assumes the mantle of the bishop of Rome can no longer remain comfortably ensconced at the Vatican. Pope John Paul II has traveled widely and often, frequently in the cause of justice. His 1979 trip to communist Poland so encouraged the trade unionists there that the pope is credited with helping to liberate Eastern Europe. His historic trip to Jerusalem in 2000, following a Vatican letter of remorse for Christian behavior during the Holocaust, underscored his commitment to reach a reconciliation with world Jewry.

Who's to say how long this pope will reign or how he will be remembered? But there can be no disputing that Pope John Paul's intellectual prowess, courageous spirit, abiding love and power to inspire have helped to shape this past quarter-century.


Pope Tells Anglican Homosexual Clergy Blocks Unity
Pope delights faithful in St Peter's Square
Calgary Catholics send prayers to Pope
Pope names 3 new saints
Pope to visit Pompeii shrine

COMMENTARY: 'More continuity than change' in the next papal reign

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

63. The material of the passions is destroyed when consumed by Divine fire. And while this material is being uprooted and the soul purified, the passions all retire; that is, if the man himself does not attract them again by worldly habits and indolence.

October 4, 2003


(1Th 5:17)  Pray without ceasing.

LINK: 11th Annual International Week of Prayer and Fasting

VIA THE AGE OF TERRORISM- This is the time that the world says we live in but the Holy Father Pope John Paul II has entrusted this world of ours to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Join us this on Saturday October 4 in praying the Rosary. Join us in this worldwide Rosary crusade to change the world!



The First Saturday Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was first mentioned by Our Lady of Fatima on July 13, 1917. After showing the three children a vision of hell she said, "You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace... I shall come to ask for... the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays..."

Eight years later, on December 10, 1925, Mary and the Child Jesus appeared to Lucia, the sole surviving Fatima visionary, at a convent in Pontevedra, Spain. Our Lady rested her hand on Lucia's shoulder, revealing a heart encircled by thorns.

The Child Jesus said: "Have compassion on the heart of your most holy Mother, covered with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of reparation..."

Our Lady spoke next, saying: "Look, my daughter, at my heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You at least try to console me and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me."

Why Five Saturdays?
Christians have always honored the Blessed Virgin on Saturday because of her constant faith in Jesus on that first Holy Saturday before the Resurrection.

Five first Saturdays of reparation were requested to atone for the five ways in which people offend the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

1. attacks upon Mary's Immaculate Conception
2. attacks against her Perpetual Virginity
3. attacks upon her Divine Maternity and the refusal to accept her as the Mother of all mankind
4. for those who try to publicly implant in children's hearts indifference, comtempt and even hatred of this Immaculate Mother
5. for those who insult her directly in her sacred images.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

62. Some of the faithful, and even of the unfaithful, have been deserted by all the passions except one; and that one has been left as a paramount evil which fully takes the place of all the others, for it is so harmful, it can even cast down from Heaven.

October 3, 2003

(Act 2:17-18)  'And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

Father Cantalamessa, Papal Household preacher on the Charismatic Renewal:

"Baptism in the Spirit is not a human invention; it is a divine invention. It is a renewal of baptism and of the whole of Christian life, of all the sacraments.

For me, it was also a renewal of my religious profession, of my confirmation, and of my priestly ordination. The whole spiritual organism is revived as when wind blows on a flame. Why has the Lord decided to act at this time in such a strong way? We don't know. It is the grace of a new Pentecost.

It is not about Charismatic Renewal inventing baptism in the Spirit. In fact, many have received baptism in the Spirit without knowing anything about Charismatic Renewal. It is a grace; it depends on the Holy Spirit. It is a coming of the Holy Spirit which is manifested in repentance of sins, in seeing life in a new way, which reveals Jesus as the living Lord -- not as a personage of the past -- and the Bible becomes a living word. The fact is, this cannot be explained.

There is a revelation with baptism, because the Lord says that whoever believes will be baptized and saved. We received baptism as children and the Church pronounced our act of faith, but the time comes when we must ratify what happened at baptism. This is an occasion to do so, not as a personal effort, but under the action of the Holy Spirit.

One cannot say that hundreds of millions of people are in error. In his book on the Holy Spirit, Yves Congar, that great theologian who did not belong to Charismatic Renewal, said that, in fact, this experience has changed profoundly the lives of many Christians. And it is a fact. It has changed them and initiated paths of holiness."

VIA Sadie Jaramillo: I encourage your list to go to the website for future postings and updates. also, please do not hesitate to email me at [email protected] for prayer requests. I am here for all of you. I am deeply indebted for all your love, prayers and support for this little ministry.

You can also reach me by calling 805 928-3994 or regular mail
2423 North Acacia St.
Santa Maria, CA 93458

It is a time of sorrows and they will only increase. TRUST! TRUST! TRUST! in the promises of Jesus and Mary.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

61. No one, I think, would doubt that the demons and passions leave the soul either for a time or entirely; but few know the reasons why they go away from us.

October 2, 2003- Memorial of the Guardian Angels

(Mat 18:10)  "See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.


Many saints, mystics and catholic martyrs have had the unique opportunity to know and communicate openly with angels.  Among them are St.  Francis of Assisi (a mystic and regarded as the most beloved saint of all), Padre Pio of Pietralcina (the Italian priest known to have had Christ’s stigmata for 50 years), and Don Bosco (a mystic who later founded the Salesian order).

St.  Francis of Assisi was said to have been devoted to St.  Michael the Archangel.  He would fast for 40 days and persevere in prayer.  He would do this in devotion to the angels, beginning on the day of the Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.  Because of this devotion, St.  Francis was known to have lived in unity with angels who wrap him in their unconditional love.

Meanwhile, Padre Pio, also an angel devotee, has always been awed by how obedient angels were despite their closeness with God.  Throughout his life battles, he is said to have an angel beside him, sustaining him and giving him strength.  Because of his stigmatizations, Padre Pio, was constantly criticized by the Church.  There were those who believed him, those who doubted him, and even those who wanted him out of the Church hierarchy.

On the other hand, John Bosco, or Don Bosco when he was ordained, was a visionary.  He dreamt of becoming a priest at a very early age and was even said to have had a constant angel companion—Grigio.  Grigio, on the outside, was a dog who accompanied Don Bosco, saved him from many life threats and became known as his “bodyguard.”

According to St.  Francis de Sales, guardian angels are tasked to “assist us with their inspirations, defend us in danger, correct our defects, encourage us in the acquisition of virtue, bring our prayers to the throne of divine goodness, and to bring them, granted, back to us.”

They stay with us throughout our lives and are said to be the ones who will lead us to Heaven.

IN THE NEWS: Miracle Recovery: Five angels told me to wake up


John Paul II freed from the devil a girl who flew into a rage in san Peter's square, where the Pope was holding a general audience. This was revealed by Gabriele Amorth, the renowned exorcist of Rome, in an interview to a catholic magazine.

Father Amorth recalled that already in the springtime of 1982 the Pope freed a woman, Francesca, from Satan. The woman was brought to him by Spoleto's former Archbishop, Mons. Alberti. "Two years ago, in San Peter's square - the famous exorcist said - we saw a girl walking with a stoop. They were in the first row with the sick people. As the Pope arrived, this girl started screaming like a madwoman." The Vatican guards tried to pushed her back, but Wojtyla stopped them saying: "I want to bless her." "After the audience - Amorth went on - the Pope prayed in front of the girl at the presence of Mons. Giovanni Danzi and her parents for half an hour." According to Amorth, in that case "it is not possible to talk about a complete liberation", however he said to be convinced Pope's exorcism helped the girl to make "a big step towards liberation."

Amorth also quoted a third exorcism made by John Paul II at the beginning of his Pontificate, however he gave no specific details.

St. Michael the Archangel. Defend us in the Battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do Thou, oh prince of the heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits, who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

60. All who ask and do not obtain their requests from God, are denied for one of the following reasons: because they ask at the wrong time, or because they ask unworthily and vaingloriously, or because if they received they would become conceited, or finally because they would become negligent after obtaining their request.

October 1, 2003


October promises to be one of the busiest periods of any pontificate, a marathon of meetings, liturgies and celebrations -- including festivities for the 25th anniversary of his election.

One Vatican official described the papal schedule as "massacrante," or "grueling," a word Italians use when they're afraid it could wear someone out.

The pope starts off October with a general audience, a two-hour event that brings him into weekly contact with pilgrims from all over the world. Over the years, he's presided over more than 1,100 of these audiences, attended by an estimated 16.8 million people.

The same day, he begins a 12-day series of "ad limina" visits with bishops from the Philippines, one-on-one encounters followed by a group meeting.

On Oct. 2, the pope meets with the president of Lithuania and the Australian foreign minister, and the next day holds a private audience with the Lebanese foreign minister.

On Oct. 4, the pope hosts the Anglican primate, Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, at the Vatican for the first time.

He presides over a canonization Mass in St. Peter's Square Oct. 5 to honor three new missionary saints, and the next day meets with thousands of pilgrims who will be in Rome for the event.

Then on Oct. 7, he'll helicopter down to a Marian sanctuary in Pompeii to say Mass and close out the Year of the Rosary. It will be the 144th Italian visit of his pontificate.

The month continues at the same hectic pace, but on Oct. 15 things get even more intense. That's the day the College of Cardinals descends on Rome to help the pope celebrate his 25th anniversary. After signing a post-synodal document on the role of the bishop in the church the morning of Oct. 16, the pope will say Mass in the evening for what is expected to be a huge crowd.

There's a concert in the pope's honor the next day. On Oct. 18 the pope will hold a retrospective gathering with the cardinals and heads of bishops' conferences, then host them for lunch.

On Oct. 19 the pope presides over the beatification of Mother Teresa, a three-hour liturgy in St. Peter's Square that's expected to draw more than 100,000 people. The pope will meet with many of the pilgrims the following day.

Then -- just for good measure -- he'll meet Oct. 21 with members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Vatican, to accept their 25th-anniversary congratulations.

The month just keeps rolling along, with more liturgies, audiences with world leaders and "ad limina" meetings with English and Welsh bishops. At the finish line Oct. 31, the pope addresses a large group of European foreign ministers at the Vatican.

RELATED: Top cardinal urges prayers for ailing Pope

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "On discernment of thoughts, passions, and virtues"

59. We should not be distressed if, in asking the Lord for something, we remain for a time unheard. It would have pleased the Lord if all men in a single moment had become dispassionate; however, His foreknowledge told Him that this would not be for their good.

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