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My People

Vol. 19, Issue 10, October 2006

"If my people, who are called by My name, humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land." — 2 Chronicles 7:14


God's Love Is At Heart Of Gospel Proclamation
Papal Envoy Visits Lebanon
Vatican Issues Statements On Pope's Regensburg Address
In Defense of Life: Two-Prong Attack On Marriage
Human Dignity Is Key To Human Rights
Light to the Nations (A Christian Perspective on World News)
Did You Know That. . .?
Holy Families Are Possible With God
Pray the News


God's Love Is At Heart Of Gospel Proclamation

Catholics throughout the world will celebrate World Mission Sunday on October 22. This is the 80th World Mission Sunday. The theme is "Charity: soul of the mission."

Pope Benedict XVI's message, dated April 29, 2006, for this day follows:

". . .Unless the mission is oriented by charity, that is, unless it springs from a profound act of divine love, it risks being reduced to mere philanthropic and social activity. In fact, God's love for every person constitutes the heart of the experience and proclamation of the Gospel, and those who welcome it in turn become its witnesses.

"God's love, which gives life to the world, is the love that was given to us in Jesus, the Word of salvation, perfect icon of the Heavenly Father's mercy.

"The saving message can be summed up well, therefore, in the words of John the Evangelist: 'In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him' (1 Jn 4:9).

"It was after His Resurrection that Jesus gave the Apostles the mandate to proclaim the news of this love, and the Apostles, inwardly transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, began to bear witness to the Lord Who had died and was risen. Ever since, the Church has continued this same mission, which is an indispensable and ongoing commitment for all believers.

"Every Christian community is therefore called to make known God Who is Love. In my Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, I wanted to pause and reflect on this fundamental mystery of our faith. God imbues the entire creation and human history with His love.

"In the beginning, man came from the Creator's hands as the fruit of an initiative of love. Later, sin obscured the impression of the divine within him.

"Deceived by the Evil One, Adam and Eve, our first parents, failed to live up to the relationship of trust with their Lord, succumbing to the temptation of the Evil One who instilled in them the suspicion that the Lord was a rival and wanted to limit their freedom.

"So it was that they preferred themselves to divine love freely given, convinced that in this way they were asserting their own free will. They consequently ended by losing their original happiness and they tasted the bitter sorrow of sin and death.

"However, God did not abandon them. He promised salvation to them and to their descendents, announcing in advance that He would send His Only-begotten Son, Jesus, Who in the fullness of time was to reveal His love as Father, a love capable of redeeming every human creature from the slavery of evil and death.

"In Christ, therefore, immortal life was communicated to us, the very life of the Trinity. Thanks to Christ, the Good Shepherd Who did not abandon the lost sheep, human beings of all time were granted the possibility of entering into communion with God, the Merciful Father Who was prepared to welcome home the prodigal son.

"An astonishing sign of this love is the Cross. Christ's death on the Cross, I wrote in the Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, is 'the culmination of that turning of God against Himself in which He gives Himself in order to raise man up and save him. . .This is love in its most radical form. . .It is there that this truth can be contemplated. It is from there that our definition of love must begin. In this contemplation the Christian discovers the path along which his life and love must move' (n. 12).

"On the eve of His Passion, Jesus bequeathed as a testament to His disciples, who had gathered in the Upper Room to celebrate the Passover, the 'new commandment of love - mandatum novum:' 'This I command you, to love one another' (Jn 15:17). The brotherly love that the Lord asked of His 'friends' originates in the fatherly love of God.

"The Apostle John noted: 'He who loves is born of God and knows God" (1 Jn 4:7). Therefore, to love according to God it is necessary to live in Him and of Him: God is the first 'home' of human beings, and only by dwelling in God do men and women burn with a flame of divine love that can set the world 'on fire.'

"It is not difficult, then, to understand that authentic missionary concern, the priority commitment of the Ecclesial Community, is linked to faithfulness to divine love, and this is true for every individual Christian, for every local community, for the particular Churches and for the entire People of God.

"The generous readiness of disciples of Christ to undertake works of human and spiritual advancement draws vigor literally from the awareness of this common mission. These works, as the beloved John Paul II wrote in the Encyclical Redemptoris Missio, witness to 'the soul of all missionary activity: love, which has been and remains the driving force of mission, and is also "the sole criterion for judging what is to be done or not done, changed or not changed. It is the principle which must direct every action, and the end to which that action must be directed. When we act with a view to charity, or are inspired by charity, nothing is unseemly and everything is good"' (n. 60).

"Consequently, being missionaries means loving God with all one's heart, even to the point, if necessary, of dying for Him. How many priests, men and women Religious and lay people, have borne the supreme witness of love with martyrdom even in our times!

"Being missionaries means stooping down to the needs of all, like the Good Samaritan, especially those of the poorest and most destitute people, because those who love with Christ's Heart do not seek their own interests but the glory of the Father and the good of their neighbor alone.

"Here lies the secret of the apostolic fruitfulness of missionary action that crosses frontiers and cultures, reaches peoples, and spreads to the extreme boundaries of the world.

"Dear brothers and sisters, may the World Missionary Day be a useful opportunity to understand ever better that the witness of love, the soul of the mission, concerns everyone. Indeed, serving the Gospel should not be considered a solitary adventure but a commitment to be shared by every community.

"As well as those who are in the front line on the frontiers of evangelization – and I am thinking here with gratitude of the men and women missionaries – many others, children, young people and adults, with their prayers and cooperation, contribute in various ways to spreading the Kingdom of God on earth. It is to be hoped that this participation will continue to grow, thanks to the contribution of one and all.

"I willingly take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and to the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS), which are dedicated to coordinating the efforts made in every part of the world to support the activity of those on the front lines on the missionary frontiers.

"May the Virgin Mary, who collaborated actively in the beginning of the Church's mission with her presence beneath the Cross and her prayers in the Upper Room, sustain their action and help believers in Christ to be ever more capable of true love, so that they become sources of living water in a spiritually thirsting world. I wish this with all my heart, as I impart my Blessing to you all."


Papal Envoy Visits Lebanon

Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, former head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, went to Lebanon during the first hours of a cease-fire as a special envoy of Pope Benedict XVI. Cardinal Etchegaray celebrated Mass at the shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon at Harissa on August 15, the Feast of the Assumption. In his Angelus message in Vatican City on August 15, Pope Benedict XVI said he sent the special envoy "to bring comfort and concrete solidarity to all the victims of the conflict and to pray for the great intention of peace."

Cardinal Etchegaray issued the following statement about his visit to Lebanon:

"I have come to Beirut just long enough to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of Mary and to pray on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI for peace in Lebanon and in the Middle East.

"My visit coincides with the first hours of the cessation of hostilities, which has cost much time and energy and which it is hoped will be clear-cut and far-reaching. This cessation of hostilities must permit the deployment of all peacekeeping forces.

We must thank those who at various national and international levels have unswervingly striven to forge a path that will be practicable as long as all commit themselves to setting out on it with determination and hand in hand: no one can be left on the fringes.

"This long, steep path is also and above all a spiritual path. No effort will endure unless it is accompanied by peace in minds and hearts. It was for this that we prayed to Our Lady of Harissa, and the Lebanese clearly understood it since such large numbers of the people came, despite the difficulties.

"Only submission to God will enable us to break the logic of evil that entangles human beings who are scarred by blind and suicidal violence.

"Through my contacts with religious and political Authorities, I testify that Christians and Muslims are prepared to do all they can, together, to rebuild their injured country. Peace is not merely the breathlessness of those who have fought one another; it is the pure breath of a family which truly believes that all its members are brothers and sisters, because they are equally loved by God.

"I frequently think of the displaced people in the South of Lebanon, often in tears, who are searching for their homes and their land. I ask all governmental and non-governmental institutions not to slow down but rather to intensify their assistance, which will continue to be necessary for a long time.

"I assure you that the Pope remains very attentive to both the spiritual and material needs and suffering of all the Lebanese.

"Now that weapons have been silenced, Lebanon will be better able to make people feel its heart is still beating for the unity of the Homeland and for peace between peoples."


Vatican Issues Statements On Pope's Regensburg Address

The new Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone issued a statement on September 16, concerning Pope Benedict XVI's address at the University of Regensburg (Germany) and the resulting furor over a quotation in the speech given on September 12. The Pope was meeting with representatives of science in an academic setting. The title of his lecture was "Faith, Reason, and the University, Memories and Reflections." Ironically, the Pope was coming against the imposition of religion by force and violence and calling for dialogue, and some radical Muslims reacted with apparent acts of violence and calls for violence, including beheading the Pope.

On September 14, the Vatican Press Office Director, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., in a press release, reported by Vatican Information Service, said that. . . "It should be noted that what the Holy Father has to heart – and which emerges from an attentive reading of the text – is a clear and radical rejection of the religious motivation for violence.

"It was certainly not the intention of the Holy Father to undertake a comprehensive study of the jihad and of Muslim ideas on the subject, still less to offend the sensibilities of Muslim faithful.

"Quite the contrary, what emerges clearly from the Holy Father's discourses is a warning, addressed to Western culture, to avoid 'the contempt for God and the cynicism that considers mockery of the sacred to be an exercise of freedom.' A just consideration of the religious dimension is, in fact, an essential premise for fruitful dialogue with the great cultures and religions of the world. And indeed, in concluding his address in Regensburg, Benedict XVI affirmed how 'the world's profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions. A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures.'

"What is clear then, is the Holy Father's desire to cultivate an attitude of respect and dialogue towards other religions and cultures, including, of course, Islam."

"Cardinal Bertone's statement follows: Given the reaction in Muslim quarters to certain passages of the Holy Father's address at the University of Regensburg, and the clarifications and explanations already presented through the Director of the Holy See Press Office, I would like to add the following:

"The position of the Pope concerning Islam is unequivocally that expressed by the conciliar document Nostra Aetate: 'The Church regards with esteem also the Muslims. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, Who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving, and fasting' (no. 3).

"The Pope's option in favor of inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue is equally unequivocal. In his meeting with representatives of Muslim communities in Cologne, Germany, on August 20, 2005, he said that such dialogue between Christians and Muslims 'cannot be reduced to an optional extra,' adding: 'The lessons of the past must help us to avoid repeating the same mistakes. We must seek paths of reconciliation and learn to live with respect for each other's identity.'

"As for the opinion of the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus, which he quoted during his Regensburg talk, the Holy Father did not mean, nor does he mean, to make that opinion his own in any way. He simply used it as a means to undertake – in an academic context, and as is evident from a complete and attentive reading of the text – certain reflections on the theme of the relationship between religion and violence in general, and to conclude with a clear and radical rejection of the religious motivation for violence, from whatever side it may come. On this point, it is worth recalling what Benedict XVI himself recently affirmed in his commemorative Message for the 20th anniversary of the Inter-religious Meeting of Prayer for Peace, initiated by his predecessor John Paul II at Assisi in October 1986: '. . . demonstrations of violence cannot be attributed to religion as such but to the cultural limitations with which it is lived and develops in time. . . .In fact, attestations of the close bond that exists between the relationship with God and the ethics of love are recorded in all great religious traditions.'

"The Holy Father thus sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful, and should have been interpreted in a manner that in no way corresponds to his intentions. Indeed it was he who, before the religious fervor of Muslim believers, warned secularized Western culture to guard against 'the contempt for God and the cynicism that considers mockery of the sacred to be an exercise of freedom.'

"In reiterating his respect and esteem for those who profess Islam, he hopes they will be helped to understand the correct meaning of his words so that, quickly surmounting this present uneasy moment, witness to the 'Creator of heaven and earth, Who has spoken to men' may be reinforced, and collaboration may intensify 'to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom' (Nostra Aetate no. 3)."



Two-Prong Attack On Marriage

Fred H. Summe
Fred H. Summe, vice president of Northern Kentucky Right to Life
by Fred H. Summe

The secular news media continues its promotion of the so-called "same-sex marriage," trying to convince Americans that those who engage in homosexual activities have some kind of right to be considered married. Homosexual activity is pictured as an alternate way for people to express their "love" for each other.

Standing countercultural are the teachings of the Catholic Church: "Homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to natural law." Catechism of the Catholic Church [2357].

Legal recognition of so-called same-sex "marriages" or unions have found strong opposition from the Catholic Church. The Church has long recognized that a marriage between a man and a woman is God's plan and is not subject to redefinition by civil law or by the culture. Marriage is not a right granted by the government, whether through its legislatures or courts, but is a human covenant instituted by God.

Thus, civil law cannot really define or establish marriage to be anything other than what is intended by God. Those in authority need to acknowledge that marriage is between a man and a woman, and through the law, try to foster and support this relationship.


Many Christian leaders have now publicly expressed the dangerous effect that the legal recognition of so-called "same-sex marriages" would have on marriages, families, and children, but few have been willing to publicly recognize that the more prominent and serious attacks on the family result from the acceptance of divorce and remarriage.

One of those rare Christian voices has been The Wanderer, which concluded that the movement in support of legal recognition of homosexual unions "has been made possible by a culture of divorce and contraception."

As the Church has always taught, the conjugal act has two aspects, the unitive and the procreative. When a couple practices artificial contraception, the conjugal act excludes the procreative aspect. Our society has accepted that, since the conjugal act need not be open to a new human life, the sexual act then becomes an experience for its own sake. Our culture is proof that once the contraception mentality has been accepted, sexual pleasure soon becomes a "good" in itself, regardless of how, and between whom, it is experienced.

Since the conjugal act has a procreative aspect, it is crucial that marriage be between a man and a woman, and that it be in a permanent relationship, in order to best nurture and care for the child.

As pointed out by The Wanderer, the legal recognition of the so-called "same-sex marriage" results in a redefining of marriage, which in turn undermines the very purpose of marriage. "Same-sex marriage" is not the only example of redefining marriage.

Marriage is something that God instituted. It is not a man-made relationship. It is the plan of the Creator that they no longer be two, but one flesh. It is His Will that marriage be and is indissolvable.

Divorce redefines marriage as a contract dissolvable by either of the two parties.

As The Wanderer explains, divorce has also weakened marriage. Heterosexual couples, and not just those engaged in homosexual activities, want to redefine what marriage is. Not only does the so-called "same-sex marriage" undermine the understanding of marriage, but so does divorce and remarriage undermine God's plan of marriage.

As expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "a ratified and consummated marriage cannot be dissolved by any human power or for any reason other than death" [2382]. Even though spouses may separate and seek a civil divorce, they are and will continue to be, in the eyes of God, husband and wife, until death separates them.

"Divorce is immoral also because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society" [2385].

A result of the dissolvability of marriage being accepted in society has been an increase in the social ills which now plague our society. As The Wanderer noted: ". . .family dissolution breeds a host of societal ills for government to solve. Virtually every major social pathology, from violent crime to drug abuse to truancy, is directly attributable to family breakdown and fatherless homes more than any single factor, surpassing race and poverty."


Christians must continue to publicly express the teachings of the Church, thereby encouraging couples to always be faithful to the marriage covenant. Even in difficult times, when tensions and conflicts arise between spouses, a husband and wife need to be committed to the permanency of the marriage. Do not we all need to be reminded that God loves us unconditionally, and that He expects us to do the same. What married couple does not need to be reminded that during the difficult and trying times of a marriage, if they remain committed to each other, the storm will pass.

"It can seem difficult, even impossible, to bind oneself for life to another human being. This makes it all the more important to proclaim the Good News that God loves us with a definitive and irrevocable love, that married couples share in this love, that it supports and sustains them, and that by their own faithfulness they can be witnesses to God's faithful love. Spouses who with God's grace give this witness, often in very difficult conditions, deserve the gratitude and support of the ecclesial community." Catechism of the Catholic Church [1648].

In modern society, men and women struggling with their marriage and families need to especially pray and ask the assistance of the Holy Family.


Human Dignity Is Key To Human Rights

Monsignor Silvano Tomasi spoke for the Vatican at the second part of the first session of the U.N. Human Rights Council. He addressed the connection between human dignity and human rights on July 29 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Monsignor Tomasi's talk follows:

1. Human Dignity: the universal "common ground"

". . . Dialogue and cooperation in the implementation of human rights are rightly set as a critical goal for the new Human Rights Council. In this context, the Delegation of the Holy See is deeply persuaded that respect for human dignity is the common ground and the necessary component on which the human family can engage in a successful human rights education, promotion, and protection. In fact, human dignity provides equal value for both individuals (born or conceived) and peoples in their rich original diversity, and its respect calls for effective action and sincere dialogue among States: it is a spiritual and moral imperative for the international community. No doubt, all human rights and fundamental freedoms must be promoted and protected, including the important issues identified in the present debate. In our contemporary world where we witness the complexities of globalization, of persistent conflicts and of wrong perceptions, it seems useful to reflect on two emerging issues: the public role of religions and the massive human mobility.

2. Role of religions

". . . In the present circumstances, religion is often considered as a factor of division and social tensions, or, even worse, as a threat to human rights, peace, and security. However, religion, as history shows, has spread positive values, revealed the dignity of human beings and of creation. It represents an important element of the art and culture of nations and of entire regions of the world. It contributes to human development and can open populations to creative dialogue. It is the manipulation and defamation of religion which threaten human dignity, rights, peace, and security. Within the framework of international law (but, also, according to reason and common sense), the right to freedom of religion or belief must be balanced, but never denied in the name of other fundamental rights and freedoms, including the freedom of expression, which is neither absolute nor includes the right to offend or defame the sensibility, the identity, and deep convictions of other communities and their members. All human rights and fundamental freedoms should be exercised with responsibility and respect of others. The educational task of States and international institutions should then be that of building a universal consciousness of the need of respect for all cultures and religions, and of a responsible use of the media and the Internet.

3. Freedom of religion or belief

". . . Freedom of religion or belief must be counted among the highest expressions of the human spirit. According to the international human rights law, 'Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.' This fundamental right cannot be derogated even in the case of 'public emergency which threatens the life of the nation' (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966, articles 18 and 4). However, even now, the international community faces widespread religious intolerance and violence against individuals and communities of different religious beliefs, whose basic rights and freedoms are violated in more or less sophisticated ways (inter alia, believers imprisoned or killed for their practice or choice of a religion, places of worship confiscated or destructed, cemeteries desecrated, religions ridiculed or stereotyped by media, etc.). In addition, some legal and judicial systems, due to historical and social factors, have not yet developed adequate mechanisms to protect religious minorities and their members. The sad experience of several religious communities has found expression in this forum. This Delegation shares in such feelings of sorrow and frustration and recalls the many Christian communities in a similar situation. A determined political will as well as cooperation among States, in a spirit of mutual respect and reciprocity, are needed to prevent and resolve such situations.

4. The international status of migrants

". . . Dialogue and cooperation are also essential in order to address effectively the massive flows of migrants who criss-cross the world to provide their skills and work in exchange for a decent living. In an increasing number of cases powerful criminal organizations exploit these people and traffic and smuggled them as merchandise. The international community rightly advocates both an orderly movement of people in the respect of national sovereignty and the protection of their human rights. Due to their uprootedness caused by poverty, natural disasters, persecution for political or religious motives, these people on the move have been recognized as a vulnerable group to be protected by specific human rights conventions.

"The Delegation of the Holy See underlines the consistency of these legal developments that uphold the migrants' human dignity, their rights, and fundamental freedoms as for any other person as members of society, (1) look at them not just for their functional role for the economy but also as bearers of cultures and religious traditions, a resource for mutual enrichment, an occasion of 'encounter of civilizations; and an opportunity of dialogue, not a reason of fear of differences.

"It is in fact the recognition of the migrants' human dignity and the migrants' recognition of the values of the host society, that make possible the migrants' healthy integration in the social, economic, and political systems of the countries of adoption. Therefore, a balanced management of migration flows and human mobility in general (as against the tragic phenomena of deportations and forced disappearances), can benefit the human family and even make up for demographic imbalances.

". . . In conclusion, the Human Rights Council represents a new opportunity for States and international institutions to review their human rights policy and jointly engage in their implementation together with civil society, non-governmental organizations, human rights defenders, and other stakeholders. Aware of the challenges facing the Human Rights Council, this Delegation is convinced that the Council can indeed become the desired third pillar of the U.N. System. In this way it will contribute to the peaceful coexistence of the human family on the solid foundation of human dignity and rights, freedom and justice, solidarity, and development. The expectations of millions of victims of daily discrimination and violation of the most elementary human rights will not be disappointed. . ."

(1) As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) states: 'Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation... of the economic, social, and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality' (article 22).


Light to the Nations (A Christian Perspective on World News)

World Day of Peace Focuses on Human Person

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican has annouced the theme of the 40th World Day of Peace which will be celebrated on January 1, 2007. It will focus on "The human person: the heart of peace."

In an article in the August 9/16 edition, L'Osservatore Romano's weekly edition in English said Pope Benedict XVI's choice of this theme "expresses the conviction that respect for the dignity of the human person is an essential condition for the peace of the human family."

The Vatican newspaper further stated that "human dignity is the seal that God impresses upon man, created in His image and likeness (cf. Gn 1:26-27); it is the sign of the common destiny of humanity and foundation of love for God and neighbor."

In conclusion, the article stated: "Every offense to the person is a threat to peace, every threat to peace is an offense to the truth of the person and of God: 'The human person is the heart of peace!'"

(Source: L'Osservotore Romano weekly edition in English)


Cease-Fire is First Step to Peace in Lebanon

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – On August 11, Monsignor Silvano Tomasi represented the Vatican at a special United Nation session of the Human Rights Council on the situation in Lebanon, and stressed the need to break the cycle of violence, and for an immediate cease-fire which was later achieved.

His address follows: "Once again the violation of human rights led to insecurity and conflict in Lebanon and in the Middle East Region in a vicious cycle that continues to disrupt peaceful coexistence. The Holy See is convinced that this vicious cycle can be broken if reason, good will, trust in others, implementation of commitments, and cooperation between responsible partners are allowed to prevail.

"An immediate first step of such an ethical approach, in line with international law standards, requires an immediate cease-fire, first of all to help and protect the civilian population and their basic human rights.

"The violence of these weeks is destroying a promising model of national conviviality, built over centuries, where a plurality of communities, even of very different religious convictions, learned that the only way to live in peace and security and to use their human resources and diversity in a creative way, is dialogue and close cooperation. The whole region could benefit by implementing this model in a successful way and thus open up a future of hope.

"The Holy Father Benedict XVI, while reaffirming that peace is a gift from God, has repeatedly called for an immediate cease-fire, for the opening of humanitarian corridors to bring help to the suffering populations whose human right to life, food, health, water, housing, is now a priority, and for a prompt start of reasonable and responsible negotiations to finally end objective situations of injustice existing in the region.

"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights reminds us that peace is the basic condition for the respect and enjoyment of all human rights. In this context, the Lebanese people have a right to the integrity and sovereignty of their country; the Israeli people have a right to live in peace in their own State; and the Palestinian people have a right to have a free and sovereign homeland.

"Before the current drama in the Middle East, the international community cannot be indifferent or neutral. Solutions, however, cannot be improvised at the whim of conquest by either side. And may law never reach the point of sanctioning result obtained by force alone. That would be the ruin of civilization, the defeat of international law, and a fatal example for other areas in the region and, in fact, for the world.

". . .The Holy See is deeply convinced that no just and durable solution can be reached by recourse to terrorism or armed conflict and only dialogue is the way to peace and to the safeguard of human rights."

(Source: www.Vatican.VA.)


Did You Know That. . .?

One of My People's editors shared the following information about the one dollar bill:

Take out a one dollar bill. The one dollar bill you're looking at first came off the presses in 1957 in its present design.

This so-called paper money is in fact a cotton and linen blend, with red and blue minute silk fibers running through it. It is actually material. We've all washed it without it falling apart. A special blend of ink is used, the contents we will never know. It is overprinted with symbols and then it is starched to make it water resistant and pressed to give it that nice crisp look.

If you look on the front of the bill, you will see the United States Treasury Seal. On the top you will see the scales for a balanced budget. In the center you have a carpenter's square, a tool used for an even cut. Underneath is the Key to the United States Treasury.

That's all pretty easy to figure out, but what is on the back of that dollar bill is something we should all know. If you turn the bill over, you will see two circles. Both circles, together, comprise the Great Seal of the United States. The First Continental Congress requested that Benjamin Franklin and a group of men come up with a Seal. It took them four years to accomplish this task and another two years to get it approved.

If you look at the left-hand circle, you will see a Pyramid. Notice the face is lighted, and the western side is dark. This country was just beginning. We had not begun to explore the West or decided what we could do for Western Civilization. The Pyramid is uncapped, again signifying that we were not even close to being finished. Inside the capstone you have the all-seeing eye, an ancient symbol for divinity.

It was Franklin's belief that one man couldn't do it alone, but a group of men, with the help of God, could do anything. "IN GOD WE TRUST" is on this currency. The Latin above the pyramid, ANNUIT COEPTIS, means, "God has favored our undertaking." The Latin below the pyramid, NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM, means, "a new order has begun." At the base of the pyramid is the Roman numeral for 1776.

If you look at the right-hand circle, and check it carefully, you will learn that it is on every National Cemetery in the United States. It is also on the Parade of Flags Walkway at the Bushnell, Florida, National Cemetery, and is the centerpiece of most heroes' monuments. Slightly modified, it is the seal of the President of the United States, and it is always visible whenever he speaks, yet very few people know what the symbols mean.

The Bald Eagle was selected as a symbol for victory for two reasons: First, he is not afraid of a storm; he is strong, and he is smart enough to soar above it. Secondly, he wears no material crown. We had just broken from the King of England. Also, notice the shield is unsupported. This country can now stand on its own. At the top of that shield you have a white bar signifying congress, a unifying factor. We were coming together as one nation. In the Eagle's beak you will read, "E PLURIBUS UNUM," meaning, "one nation from many people." Above the Eagle, you have thirteen stars, representing the thirteen original colonies, and any clouds of misunderstanding rolling away. Again, we were coming together as one.

Notice what the Eagle holds in his talons. He holds an olive branch and arrows. This country wants peace, but we will never be afraid to fight to preserve peace. The Eagle always wants to face the olive branch, but in time of war, his gaze turns toward the arrows.

They say that the number 13 is an unlucky number. This is almost a worldwide belief. You will usually never see a room numbered 13, or any hotels or motels with a 13th floor. But think about this: 13 original colonies; 13 signers of the Declaration of Independence; 13 stripes on our flag; 13 steps on the Pyramid; 13 letters in the Latin above; 13 letters in "E Pluribus Unum"; 13 stars above the Eagle; 13 bars on that shield; 13 leaves on the olive branch; 13 fruits, and if you look closely, 13 arrows. And, for minorities: the 13th Amendment.

I always ask people, "Why don't you know this?" Your children don't know this, and their history teachers don't know this. Too many veterans have given up too much to ever let the meaning fade. Many veterans remember coming home to an America that didn't care. Too many veterans never came home at all. Share this page with someone, so they can learn what is on the back of the UNITED STATES ONE DOLLAR BILL, and what it stands for. . .


Holy Families Are Possible With God

by Michael Joseph Halm

Every marriage between a baptized Christian man and woman is meant to be holy, set apart as representing the union of Christ and His Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1661). Some marriages have been especially holy, being between canonized and/or beatified saints.

In Married Saints and Blesseds Through the Centuries Ferdinand Holbock notes several canonized or beatified couples. Mary and Joseph of the Holy Family are, of course, the model par excellence for all other holy families.

Hildulf (died 707) and Aya (died 708), after many years together in a childless marriage, retired in their old age to the monastery and convent. Holy Roman Emperor Henry II (973-1024) and Cunegund (died 1033) may have had a Josephite marriage without exercise of marital rights. Elzear (died 1323) and Blessed Delphina (died 1360), both Franciscan tertiaries, certainly did.

What little information there is on Ann and Joachim, Jesus' grandparents, Holbock notes, comes from apocryphal texts, like the Protoevangelium of James. There can be no doubt that Mary's parents, whatever their names, must have been holy to have such a holy daughter. According to their legend Ann was barren for twenty years before their prayers were answered after Joachim withdrew for a while into the desert. She was told and indeed did conceive the day he returned. Holbock quotes John Damascene's exhortation beginning, "Ann and Joachim, how blessed a couple! All creation is indebted to you. For at your hands the Creator was offered a gift excelling all other gifts: a chaste mother, who alone was worthy of Him."

Elizabeth and Zechariah, the parents of John the Baptist, also prayed long for a child and so are also a good example for other childless couples. Elizabeth recognized the mother of her Savior and Zechariah repented of his doubt. Their feast day is November 5.

Basil (died before 349) was a lawyer and professor of rhetoric and a grandson of St. Macrina the Elder. Together he and his wife Emmelia (died 372) ministered to the poor while raising ten children, including four saints, Basil the Great (died 379), Gregory of Nyssa (died about 395), Macrina the Younger (330-379), and Peter of Sabaste (died 391), two doctors of the Church, an abbess, and a bishop. Gregory was married to Theosebeia (died about 385), described as "genuinely holy and a true wife of a priest." The other six died young. It is therefore no wonder the monks of Calabria celebrate the feast of the Relatives of Gregory the Great on May 30.

Nonna (died 374) converted her Zeus-worshipping husband Gregory Nazianzen (died 374) and with him raised three children. Gregory the Younger (died 390) reluctantly accepted the call to be a bishop and a saint. Caesarius (died 369) was a medical doctor, baptized only after surviving an earthquake. Gorgonia (died 370) was such an exemplary wife and mother of three that she too was canonized.

Senator Hilarius (died 420) and Quieta (died 467) lived in Burgundy and were the parents of three children, including St. John of Réomé. So close were they in life that Hilarius is said by St. Gregory of Tours to have reached over and pulled Quieta to himself when she was entombed with him.

Vincent Madelgarius (died 677) and Waldetrudis (died 688) were from Belgium and had four children, Adeltrudis, Landerics, Dentelinus, and Madelberta, all who were also canonized saints, as was Waldetrudis's sister, Aldegundis. After their children were grown, by mutual consent, he entered the monastery and she entered the convent. The two girls succeeded their aunt as abbess and Ladericus served in the military and then succeeded his father as abbot. Dentelinus died at seven, but all in this holy family had many miracles attributed to them.

Isidore the Farmer (died about 1130) and Blessed Marie de la Cabeza (died 1135) were Spanish peasants and had only one son. Isidore and Marie both attended Mass daily and gave generously to the poor and patiently endured false accusations against them for it.

Blessed Erkenbert (died 1132) and Blessed Richlinde (1150) had two sons. After recovering from a serious illness Erkenbert's already strong faith turned to full-time ministry to the poor. He died with the odor of sanctity.

St. Stephan of Hungary (died 1038) and Blessed Gisela (died 1060) were the parents of St. Emeric. Stephan, who had been born Vaik, was baptized with his father prince Géza. He married Gisela of Bavaria, sister of future emperor St. Henry II. Prince Emeric married a Greek princess but was killed by a wild boar in 1031. After Stephan died, Gisela was imprisoned and disinherited as a foreigner, but was finally freed and returned home by her nephew, Henry III.


Pray the News

Because we are sons and daughters of God, saved by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we do not merely read the news but make the news. We direct the course of world events by faith expressed in action and intercession. Please pray for the stories covered in this paper. Clip out this intercessory list and make it part of your daily prayer.

  • We pray for World Mission Sunday to be a time of great spiritual growth for Catholics throughout the world.
  • We pray that we will grow in our love of God and neighbor and share our faith with others.
  • We pray for an end to abortion, euthanasia, war, and violence.
  • We pray for forgiveness and reconciliation with those we have offended or who have offended us.
  • We pray for peace in Lebanon and in the Middle East.
  • We pray for reconciliation with Muslims.
  • We pray for the sick and the suffering, especially the dying.
  • We pray for all missionaries and for all they serve.
  • We pray that we will grow in respect for other human beings.


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Phone: (513) 662-5378

Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 662-5378,



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