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My People

Vol. 18, Issue 1, January 2005

"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


All Christians Must Work For Church Unity
Respect For Life Is Key To Compassionate Care
The Eucharist Is Miraculous
In Defense of Life: What God Desires Her To Be
Just a Few Thoughts
Prayer of Pope John Paul II To St. Augustine
Holy Mass For the Opening Of The Year Of The Eucharist


All Christians Must Work For Church Unity

In January, Christians traditionally pray for Church unity. Because of this, My People is carrying a major portion of Pope John Paul II's homily on November 13, at a vespers liturgy marking the 40th anniversary of Vatican II's decree, Unitatis Redintegratio. The Pope's homily follows:

". . .The implementation of this Conciliar Decree desired by my Predecessor, Bl. Pope John XXIII, and promulgated by Pope Paul VI, has been one of the pastoral priorities of my Pontificate from the outset (cf. Ut Unum Sint, n. 99). Since ecumenical unity is not a secondary attribute of the community of Christ's disciples (cf. ibid., n. 9), and ecumenical activity is not just some sort of appendix added to the Church's traditional activity (cf. ibid., n. 20) but is based on God's saving plan to gather all [Christians] into unity (cf. ibid., n. 5), it corresponds to the desire of our Lord Jesus Christ, who wanted only one Church and on the eve of His death prayed to the Father that they might all be one (cf. Jn 17: 21).

"Basically, to seek unity is to comply with Jesus' prayer. The Second Vatican Council, in making its own this desire of Our Lord, made no innovation. Guided and enlightened by the Spirit of God, it cast new light on the true, deep meaning of the Church's unity and universality. The way of ecumenism is the way of the Church (cf. Ut Unum Sint, n. 7); she is not a reality closed in on herself but permanently open to the missionary and ecumenical dynamic (cf. ibid., n. 5).

"The commitment to re-establishing full and visible communion among all the baptized does not apply merely to a few ecumenical experts; it concerns every Christian, from every Diocese and parish and from every one of the Church's communities. All are called to take on this commitment and no one can refuse to make his own the prayer of Jesus that all may be one; all are called to pray and work for the unity of Christ's disciples.

"Today, faced with a world moving towards unification, this ecumenical process is particularly necessary, and the Church must accept new challenges to her evangelizing mission. The Council noted that the division between Christians 'scandalizes the world and damages that most holy cause, the preaching of the Gospel' (Unitatis Redintegratio, n. 1). Ecumenical and missionary activity are therefore connected. They are the routes that the Church takes in carrying out her mission in the world and are a concrete expression of her catholicity. In our time we are observing the growth of an erroneous, Godless humanism, and we note with deep sorrow the conflicts that are staining the world with blood. The Church is called especially in this situation to be a sign and an instrument of unity and reconciliation between God and humankind (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 1).

"The Decree on Ecumenism was one of the practical ways in which the Church responded to this situation, taking heed of the Spirit of the Lord who teaches people to interpret carefully the signs of the times (cf. Ut Unum Sint, n. 3). Our epoch has a deep yearning for peace. The Church, a credible sign and instrument of Christ's peace,

must always endeavor to overcome the divisions between Christians and thereby become increasingly a witness of the peace that Christ offers to the world. How is it possible in this sad situation not to remember the Apostle's moving words: 'I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace' (Eph 4: 1-3)?

"The many ecumenical meetings at all ecclesial levels, the theological dialogues and the rediscovery of common witnesses to the faith have strengthened, deepened and enriched the communion with other Christians which to a certain extent already exists, even if it is not yet full. We no longer consider other Christians as distant or strangers but see them as brothers and sisters. 'The "universal brotherhood" of Christians has become a firm ecumenical conviction. . . Christians have been converted to a fraternal charity which embraces all Christ's disciples' (Ut Unum Sint, n. 42).

"We are grateful to God to see that in recent years many of the faithful across the world have been moved by an ardent desire for the unity of all Christians. I warmly thank those who have made themselves instruments of the Spirit and have worked and prayed for this process of rapprochement and reconciliation.

"However, we have not yet reached the goal of our ecumenical journey: full and visible communion in the same faith, the same sacraments and the same apostolic ministry. Thanks be to God, a certain number of differences and misunderstandings have been overcome, but many stumbling blocks still stand in our way. Sometimes it is not only misunderstandings and prejudices that persist, but also deplorable slowness and closed-heartedness (cf. Novo Millennio Ineunte, n. 48), and above all, differences in faith that focus mainly on such topics as the Church, her nature and her ministries. Unfortunately, we have run up against new problems that hinder our common witness, especially in the area of ethics where further differences are surfacing.

"I know well, as I explained in the Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia (cf. n. 43-46), that our being prevented by all these reasons from immediately taking part in the sacrament of unity, sharing the Eucharistic Bread and drinking from the common Cup at the table of the Lord, causes much suffering and disappointment.

"None of this should lead to resignation; indeed, on the contrary, it must spur us to continue and to persevere in praying and working for unity. Even if in all probability the path that lies ahead is still long and arduous, it will be full of joy and hope. Indeed, every day we discover and experience the action and dynamism of the Spirit of God, whom we rejoice to see at work also in the Churches and Ecclesial Communities that are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church. Let us recognize 'the riches of Christ and virtuous works in the lives of others who are bearing witness to Christ, sometimes even to the shedding of their blood' (Unitatis Redintegratio, n. 4). Rather than complaining about what is not yet possible, we must be grateful for and cheered by what already exists and is possible. Doing what we can do now will cause us to grow in unity and will fire us with enthusiasm to overcome the difficulties. A Christian can never give up hope, lose heart or be drained of enthusiasm. The unity of the one Church that already subsists in the Catholic Church and can never be lost is our guarantee that the full unity of all Christians will also one day be a reality (cf. ibid., n. 4).

"How should we imagine the future of ecumenism? First of all, we must strengthen the foundations of ecumenical activity, that is, our common faith in all that is expressed in baptismal profession, in the Apostolic Creed and in the Nicene-Constantinople Creed. These doctrinal foundations express the faith professed by the Church since the time of the Apostles. Then, on the basis of this faith we must develop the concept and spirituality of communion. 'The communion of saints' and full communion do not mean abstract uniformity but a wealth of legitimate diversities in gifts shared and recognized by all, according to the well-known proverb: 'in necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas.'

"A spirituality of communion also means an ability to think of our Christian brothers or sisters, in the deep unity born from Baptism, 'as "those who are a part of me." This makes us able to share. . .and attend to their needs, to offer them deep and genuine friendship' (Novo Millennio Ineunte, n. 43).

"A spirituality of communion 'implies also the ability to see what is positive in others, to welcome it and prize it as a gift from God: not only as a gift for the brother or sister who has received it directly, but also as a "gift for me." A spirituality of communion means, finally, to know how to "make room" for our brothers and sisters, bearing "each other's burdens" (Gal 6: 2) and resisting the selfish temptations which constantly beset us and provoke competition, careerism, distrust and jealousy. Let us have no illusions: unless we follow this spiritual path, external structures of communion will serve very little purpose. They would become mechanisms without a soul, "masks" of communion rather than its means of expression and growth' (Novo Millennio Ineunte, n. 43).

"To sum up, therefore, a spirituality of communion means traveling together towards unity in the integral profession of faith, in the sacraments and in ecclesiastical ministry (cf. Lumen Gentium, n. 14; Unitatis Redintegratio, n. 2).

"To conclude, I would particularly like to refer to spiritual ecumenism which, according to the Decree Unitatis Redintegratio, is the heart and soul of the entire ecumenical movement (cf. n. 8; Ut Unum Sint, nn. 15-17; 21-27). I am grateful to you all for having stressed at the conference the central aspect of ecumenism for the future. There is no true ecumenism without inner conversion and the purification of memory, without holiness of life in conformity with the Gospel, and above all, without intense and assiduous prayer that echoes the prayer of Jesus. In this regard, I am pleased to note the development of joint initiatives for prayer and the formation of study groups to share their reciprocal traditions of spirituality (cf. Ecumenical Directory, n. 114).

"We must act as the Apostles did with Mary, the Mother of God, after the Lord's Ascension; they gathered in the Upper Room and prayed for the outpouring of the Spirit (cf. Acts 1: 12-14). He alone, who is the Spirit of communion and love, can give us the full communion that we so ardently desire.

"'Veni creator Spiritus!'. Amen."


Respect For Life Is Key To Compassionate Care

Pope John Paul II spoke to attendees at the 19th International Conference of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care on November 13. In the United States, January marks the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. As this anniversary approaches, it might be good to consider the Pope's remarks on the need to respect God's gift of life in caring for the sick and suffering. Thus, My People is printing a major portion of the Pope's speech. The Pope stated:

". . .Medicine is always at the service of life. Even when medical treatment is unable to defeat a serious pathology, all its possibilities are directed to the alleviation of suffering. Working enthusiastically to help the patient in every situation means being aware of the inalienable dignity of every human being, even in the extreme conditions of terminal illness. Christians recognize this devotion as a fundamental dimension of their vocation: indeed, in carrying out this task they know that they are caring for Christ Himself (cf. Mt 25: 35-40).

"'It is therefore through Christ, and in Christ, that light is thrown on the riddle of suffering and death which, apart from His Gospel, overwhelms us' the Council recalls (Gaudium et Spes, n. 22).

"Those who open themselves to this light in faith find comfort in their own suffering and acquire the ability to alleviate that of others. Indeed, there is a directly proportional relationship between the ability to suffer and the ability to help those who are suffering. Daily experience teaches that the persons most sensitive to the suffering of others and who are the most dedicated to alleviating the suffering of others are also more disposed to accept, with God's help, their own suffering.

"Love of neighbor, which Jesus vividly portrayed in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (cf. Lk 10: 2ff.), enables us to recognize the dignity of every person, even when illness has become a burden. Suffering, old age, a comatose state or the imminence of death in no way diminish the intrinsic dignity of the person created in God's image.

"Euthanasia is one of those tragedies caused by an ethic that claims to dictate who should live and who should die. Even if it is motivated by sentiments of a misconstrued compassion or of a misunderstood preservation of dignity, euthanasia actually eliminates the person instead of relieving the individual of suffering.

"Unless compassion is combined with the desire to tackle suffering and support those who are afflicted, it leads to the cancellation of life in order to eliminate pain, thereby distorting the ethical status of medical science.

"True compassion, on the contrary, encourages every reasonable effort for the patient's recovery. At the same time, it helps draw the line when it is clear that no further treatment will serve this purpose.

"The refusal of aggressive treatment is neither a rejection of the patient nor of his or her life. Indeed, the object of the decision on whether to begin or to continue a treatment has nothing to do with the value of the patient's life, but rather with whether such medical intervention is beneficial for the patient.

"The possible decision either not to start or to halt a treatment will be deemed ethically correct if the treatment is ineffective or obviously disproportionate to the aims of sustaining life or recovering health. Consequently, the decision to forego aggressive treatment is an expression of the respect that is due to the patient at every moment.

"It is precisely this sense of loving respect that will help support patients to the very end. Every possible act and attention should be brought into play to lessen their suffering in the last part of their earthly existence and to encourage a life as peaceful as possible, which will dispose them to prepare their souls for the encounter with the heavenly Father.

"Particularly in the stages of illness when proportionate and effective treatment is no longer possible, while it is necessary to avoid every kind of persistent or aggressive treatment, methods of 'palliative care' are required. As the Encyclical Evangelium Vitae affirms, they must 'seek to make suffering more bearable in the final stages of illness and to ensure that the patient is supported and accompanied in his or her ordeal' (n. 65).

"In fact, palliative care aims, especially in the case of patients with terminal diseases, at alleviating a vast gamut of symptoms of physical, psychological and mental suffering; hence, it requires the intervention of a team of specialists with medical, psychological and religious qualifications who will work together to support the patient in critical stages.

"The Encyclical Evangelium Vitae in particular sums up the traditional teaching on the licit use of pain killers that are sometimes called for, with respect for the freedom of patients who should be able, as far as possible, 'to satisfy their moral and family duties, and above all. . . to prepare in a fully conscious way for their definitive meeting with God' (n. 65).

"Moreover, while patients in need of pain killers should not be made to forego the relief that they can bring, the dose should be effectively proportionate to the intensity of their pain and its treatment. All forms of euthanasia that would result from the administration of massive doses of a sedative for the purpose of causing death must be avoided.

"To provide this help in its different forms, it is necessary to encourage the training of specialists in palliative care at special teaching institutes where psychologists and health-care workers can also be involved.

"Science and technology, however, will never be able to provide a satisfactory response to the essential questions of the human heart; these are questions that faith alone can answer. The Church intends to continue making her own specific contribution, offering human and spiritual support to sick people who want to open themselves to the message of the love of God, Who is ever attentive to the tears of those who turn to Him (cf. Ps 39: 13). Here, emphasis is placed on the importance of health pastoral care in which hospital chaplaincies have a special role and contribute so much to people's spiritual well-being during their hospital stay.

"Then how can we forget the precious contribution of volunteers, who through their service give life to that creativity in charity which imbues hope, even in the unpleasant experience of suffering? Moreover, it is through them that Jesus can continue today to exist among men and women, doing good and healing them (cf. Acts 10: 38).

"Thus, the Church makes her own contribution to this moving mission for the benefit of the suffering. May the Lord deign to enlighten all who are close to the sick and encourage them to persevere in their different roles and various responsibilities.

"May Mary, Mother of Christ, accompany everyone in the difficult moments of pain and illness, so that human suffering may be raised to the saving mystery of the Cross of Christ.

"I accompany these hopes with my Blessing."


The Eucharist Is Miraculous

by Michael Halm

One way to observe this year of the Eucharist, October 2004 to October 2005, might be to remember some of the Eucharistic miracles of other years.

Through the centuries and in many countries the Eucharist has worked wonders. The following are a few collected by Joan Carrol Cruz in Eucharistic Miracles (Tan Books, 1987).

On November 29, 1433 flood waters threatened the chapel of the Gray Penitants, Avignon, France. They had maintained perpetual adoration of the Eucharist since the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, September 14, 1226, over 200 years.

Would-be rescuers found the four-foot-high waters parted from the front door to the altar which held the Eucharist, like the Red Sea. They moved valuable papers, books, cloths and reliquaries under the altar and all remained dry as the water continued to rise for another day.

The chapel was rebuilt after its destruction during the French Revolution and perpetual adoration was resumed for a nearly continuous 550 years.

On December 29, 1230, Fr. Uguccione celebrated Mass for the nuns of San Ambrogio, Florence, Italy. The next day he discovered some "wine" he had left in the chalice had become coagulated Blood and it remains so still.

On February 5, 1867, the Polish Catholics of Dubna (now inside Russia) secretly held Forty Hours devotion of the Eucharist. Soft, glowing rays were seen streaming from the monstrance by all present and then an image of Our Lord appeared in the midst of the Host.

Upon hearing of the miracle from schismatic witnesses, no longer loyal to the Pope, the governor of Schitomir outlawed speaking about it. Nevertheless the news spread slowly and secretly throughout persecuted Poland, keeping the faith alive.

On March 15, 1345 Ysbrant Dommer of Kalverstreet, Amsterdam, lay on his death bed. After the priest had given him the Eucharist for the last time, however, he became violent ill and expelled his stomach contents. They were collected and throw into the hearth fire, but the next day the Host was found intact among the flaming coals.

The priest was summoned and carried the miraculous Host by pyx to St. Nicholas church, but the Host reappeared back in Ysbrant's house twice.

The house became a chapel called Nieuwe Zijds (Holy Place). In 1452 a great fire destroyed most of Amsterdam, including the chapel, but the Host, the vessel containing the Host and even its silken cover were undamaged.

During the Reformation the Host was put under the care of the Sisters of St. Begga, the Beguines. Since 1845 annual observations have been celebrated at their chapel in the Beginhof, the only one which survived through the Reformation.

On April 16, 1560, after a seven-hour fire which destroyed St. Francis church, Morrovale, Italy, a Host was found on a scorched corporal. The three Franciscan discoverers of the miracle, Padre Girolamo, Padre Battista and Friar Illuminato, fell to their knees and prayed for mercy.

The tabernacle and the sacred vessels had been destroyed by the fire. The pyx that the Host had been held in was recovered and the Host returned to it. Pope Pius IV granted a plenary indulgence to anyone who visits the church on the anniversary of this miracle.

On April 2, 1356 the priest celebrating the Eucharist for the Benedictine nuns of Macerata, Italy, momentarily doubted the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. As he broke the Host blood began dripping from the edges, staining the corporal below.

The Blood-stained cloth was on exposition for 450 years until Napoleon threatened and was finally brought out of safe keeping again in 1932.



What God Desires Her To Be

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

"When I did come back to the faith, there was a scripture passage that became the special rudder of my life," disclosed Johnette S. Benkovic, the guest speaker at the 31st Annual Celebration for Life, sponsored by Northern Kentucky Right to Life. She continued, "I want to share this passage with you as we begin to take a look at who woman is in the eyes of God and who God desires her to be.

"'Praise be to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has bestowed upon us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the Heavens,' Ephesians 1:3. There is not one spiritual blessing in the heavens that He denies us. There is not one spiritual blessing that God retains and would fail to give us in our time of need.

"Why is that so?

"Because as St. John tells us, God is love. As the Holy Father tells us, love is an act of total self-donation.

"If God is love and if love is an act of total self-donation, then God by his very nature must give us every spiritual blessing when we are in the midst of a trial, in the midst of a struggle, when our greatest temptation is staring us full in the face, when it seems like the contradictions of life do not make sense, when we are asked to carry a cross which we are certain will crush us. Remember God is giving us every spiritual blessing in the Heavens to be able to meet that trial, to be able to shoulder that struggle, to carry that cross.

Johnette S. Benkovic is the founder and director of "Living His Life Abundantly." A wife, mother, and articulate spokeswoman for authentic Christian feminism, Mrs. Benkovic is a TV and radio personality on EWTN, and author of numerous books, Full of Grace: Women and the Abundant Life, The New Age Counterfeit, and Women of Grace.

Who Am I?

"The questions I was asking was: Who am I? Why am I? What is my purpose in life?," continued Johnette S. Benkovic. "Ephesians 1:4 tells us the answers to all of those questions.

"We are the chosen people of God. God chose us for Him. There is not one of us sitting here today who is an accident or is a mistake. There is not one of us who is the result of an unwanted pregnancy. Every child which is placed in the womb of its mother is a child with whom God has been in love since before the world began.

"Every human person, who has ever had life, and every person who will ever have life has been chosen by God to have life.

"And for what purpose? So we might be holy and blameless in His sight. So that we might be like He is: full of love. So we might be His love in the world today.

"If in fact that is who we are, why do we live sometimes lives of quite desperation? Why do we find ourselves depressed and neurotic, unhappy and sad? Why do we find the everyday circumstances too much to bear? Where is that grace when we need it? The problem is we have lost sight of who we are. We have lost sight of Who God is.

"St. Paul said something very interesting to Timothy: 'There will be terrible times in the last day. People will be self-centered and lovers of money, proud, haughty, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious, inhuman, licentious, brutal, hating what is good, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather then lovers of God, as they make a pretense of religion, but negate His power. Stay clear of them.'

"Then St. Paul says, 'It is such as these who worm their way into homes and make captives of silly women, burden with sins, and driven by desires of many kinds, always learning, but never able to reach a knowledge of the truth.'

"When sin entered the world, and man disobeyed God, peace was replaced by conflict. Then that conflict spilled over into man's relationship with the other.

"We have been led to believe that there is such a thing as a private sin, that it is our right to privacy if we choose to have an abortion.

"There is no such thing as a private sin. Every sin carries a consequence, and that consequence is experienced in the here and now as well as being experienced in eternal life.

A Calling To Women

"At the close of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI expressed the hour is coming, in fact has come, and women occur in the world and influence, and effect a power never before achieved. That is why at this moment when the human race is undergoing a deep transformation, women, pregnant with the spirit of the Gospels, can do so much to aid humanity.

"In 1968, Humanae Vitae prophesied what would come with the use of artificial birth control. Pope Paul VI said the door would be opened to further assaults against women. Today, the media portrays the woman as being nothing but a sexual object. How often do we find ourselves following those footsteps, by the clothes that we wear, by the thoughts that we have, by the arguments we put forth. Eight years later, we had the beginning of the fulfillment of his prophecy, Roe V. Wade, and today we have lost approximately 44 million children.

"Although, contraception was supposed to protect women from abortion, now we see that this is just another gullible life we chose to believe.

"Embryos are now being used as a product for embryonic stem cell research and for other types of experimentations.

"And so many have believed the lie, and so many are now experiencing the effects. Post-abortion syndrome, a reality which cannot even be treated by our medical community, because special interest groups refuse to admit that it even exists, in spite of the fact that women have been traumatized by choices they were told were licit.

"Disobeying God will always lead to sadness, depression, oppression, unhappiness, lack of peace, lack of tranquility.

"The council fathers told women that we can do so much to aid humanity in not falling. This is the time for women to make a difference in the times in which we live.

"Ladies, if we get our act together, then men will get their act together. That is the way God made us; that is the way it is.

Get Right With God

"So what is the very first thing we must do? We must first get ourselves right with God. We have to break with every habit, with every sin that is leading us on the road to destruction, instead of on the road to holiness.

"That means, my sisters, if any of you are using contraceptive, I beg you to please stop.

If we have contraceptive mentality, we will have a contraceptive spiritual mentality. We will prevent ourselves from receiving the grace God wishes to give us so that we can be those women of grace in this our day in time.

"Our faith must be dramatically different because it must be a faith lived by truth and love so that we can become a magnet, and so that people will be drawn because the truth is attractive. The love of God is attractive.

"We must use every moment to proclaim the truth that every person is made in the image and likeness of God.

"Women, I believe it is time for us to begin to be those women who are willing to be signs of contradiction in our day and age, who will not only stand for life, but will defend life at every opportunity."


Just A Few Thoughts

Ray Grothaus
Ray Grothaus
by Ray Grothaus

Have you ever heard the expression NIMBY? It stands for Not In My Back Yard. It's when you want something such as more housing for senior citizens but you don't necessarily want it any where near your house. You think a health clinic for the poor folks is a good idea; you just don't want it built in your backyard.

Everyone wants to see improvements. We all want more money, happiness and time. But nothing in this life is free. When you get something, you must trade it with something else. If you want more money, you need to exchange time. Want more happiness? Give up some of your selfish desires. Do you want to lose weight? Then you must give up some food. Every benefit has a trade clause.

Most people would say that we have too much government. If you believe that statement, then you would agree that something has to be traded to achieve less government involvement. Here in Delhi, there was a proposal on Election Day to increase taxes to help pay the expenses of the Fire Department. The increase would have added approximately $700 worth of tax to a $200,000 home. The levy was soundly defeated. The defeat left the township with less money to pay salaries so several dozen part time firefighters were laid off and two fire houses were closed.

Since the cuts were announced, a bunch of residents are up in arms because people have lost their jobs. No doubt that if I had lost my job, I'd be pretty upset too. But in this case, we have to apply our fair trade rule. When you get something, you have to trade in something else. If there isn't enough money to pay salaries, someone must be laid off. Sadly, one firefighter was quoted as saying that, "Someone is going to die over this. I hope it's not one of us or our families." No fear tactic in his game and it's nice to know he's concerned about the township.

Most of the tax paying citizens said they don't want to pay more taxes for more fire protection. Now whether we agree with that or not, we can't have lower taxes and the same amount of firefighters. The township trustees have no choice in the matter; the people have spoken. They must be fiscally responsible or we will end up like our City, County, State, and Federal Governments; deep in debt. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

The City of Cincinnati had the same decision to make. They were millions of dollars over budget for 2004-05 and chose to leave some fire house understaffed at certain times of the day. They cut the overtime for many firefighters to accomplish these necessary staffing levels. The Union cried foul and have been using threats of possible injury or death should a fire break out in one of the "brownout" areas. The Union doesn't understand the fair trade rule. Give and get. If you want to get a balanced budget, something has to give. Everyone wants to spend less than they earn, just not when it affects their lifestyle. NIMBY.

Two years ago the City of Cincinnati cut out overtime, tuition reimbursement and merit raises for supervisors as a cost cutting measure because they were sorely over budget. Those decisions did not sit well with the employees. But the truth be told, if the City is to operate within the constraints of their tax base, they have very little choice but to cut services and/or salaries. It hurts when your paycheck is part of a solution but if we look at the other side, what was traded for it (a balanced budget); it's usually easier to take.

I applaud the Delhi trustees for making such a painful decision to keep our small township in the black. They are getting lots of grief from many sources because peoples' livelihoods are at stake. But if we all look at the long term benefit of a financially stable city, the short term loss of employees is much easier to bear. Not in my back yard either, unless it benefits everyone. Just a few thoughts.

Just a few thoughts.


Prayer of Pope John Paul II To St. Augustine

(Editor's note: Pope John Paul II prayed the following prayer to St. Augustine on November 11, when he received the relics of the saint, who lived from 354-430. For the first time in history, the relics were brought to Rome and the Pope received the relics in a ceremony marking the 1650th anniversary of St. Augustine's birth.)

"O great Augustine, our father and teacher,
who knows the shining paths of God
and also the crooked paths of men,
we admire the marvels that divine Grace
has worked in you,
making you a passionate witness
to truth and goodness
at the service of your neighbor.

"At the start of a new millennium marked
by the Cross of Christ,
teach us to read history
in the light of divine Providence,
which guides events to the
final encounter with the Father.
Guide us towards goals of peace,
kindling in our hearts
your own desire for the values
upon which we,
with the strength that comes from God,
can build the 'city of Man.'

"May the profound teaching that you drew,
with loving and patient study,
from the ever-living sources of Scripture
enlighten all who are tempted today
by alienating mirages.
"May you obtain for them the courage
to set out on the way
towards that 'inner man' in whom the One,
who alone can restore peace
to our restless hearts, awaits.

"So many of our contemporaries seem to have
lost the hope of reaching,
amidst the many conflicting ideologies,
the truth that they continue to yearn for
in depths of their hearts.

"Teach them never to give up their quest
in the certainty that,
in the end, their efforts will be rewarded
by the fulfilling encounter
with that supreme Truth, Who is the Source
of every created truth.

"Lastly, O St Augustine,
communicate to us too a spark
of that burning love for the Church,
the Catholic mother of the Saints,
which sustained and gave life
to the efforts of your own long ministry.

"Enable us, as we walk together under
the guidance of our legitimate Pastors,
to reach the glory of the heavenly Homeland
where, with all the Blesseds,
we can join in singing
the new and eternal Alleluia.



Holy Mass For the Opening Of The Year Of The Eucharist

Pope John Paul II addressed the Altar of the Confessio of the Vatican Basilica, Sunday, October 17, 2004, who were in Guadalajara to take part in the conclusion of the International Eucharistic Congress, for the adoration of the Eucharistic Mystery. The Pope stated the following:

". . .The meeting point is Jesus Himself, truly present in the Most Holy Eucharist with the mystery of his death and Resurrection in which heaven and earth are united and peoples and different cultures meet. Christ is 'our peace, Who has made us both one people' (Eph 2: 14).

"'The Eucharist, Light and Life of the New Millennium.' The theme of the Congress invites us to consider the Eucharistic Mystery not only in itself, but also in relation to the problems of our time.

"Mystery of light! The human heart, burdened with sin, often bewildered, weary and tried by suffering of all kinds, has need of light. The world needs light in the difficult quest for a peace that seems remote, at the beginning of a millennium overwhelmed and humiliated by violence, terrorism and war.

"The Eucharist is light! In the Word of God constantly proclaimed, in the bread and wine that have become the Body and Blood of Christ, it is precisely He, the risen Lord, Who opens minds and hearts and makes us recognize Him, as He made the two disciples at Emmaus recognize Him, in the 'breaking of the bread' (cf. Lk 24: 35). In this convivial gesture we relive the sacrifice of the Cross, we experience God's infinite love, we feel called to spread Christ's light among the men and women of our time.

"Mystery of life! What greater aspiration is there in life? Yet threatening shadows are hanging over this universal human hope: the shadow of a culture that denies respect for life in all its stages; the shadow of an indifference that relegates countless people to a destiny of hunger and underdevelopment; the shadow of scientific research that is sometimes used to serve the selfishness of the strongest.

"Dear brothers and sisters, the needs of our many brothers and sisters call us into question. We cannot close our hearts to their pleas for help. Nor can we forget that 'one does not live by bread alone' (cf. Mt 4: 4). We are in need of the "living bread which came down from heaven" (Jn 6: 51). Jesus is this bread. Nourishing ourselves on Him means welcoming God's life itself (cf. Jn 10: 10) and opening ourselves to the logic of love and sharing.

"I desired this Year to be dedicated especially to the Eucharist. In fact, every day, particularly Sunday, the day of Christ's Resurrection, the Church lives this mystery. But, in this Year of the Eucharist, the Christian community is invited to become more aware of it through a more deeply felt celebration, prolonged and fervent adoration and a greater commitment to brotherhood and the service of the least. The Eucharist is the source and manifestation of communion. It is the principle and plan of mission (cf. Mane Nobiscum Domine, chapters III and IV).

"Therefore, in the footsteps of Mary, 'woman of the Eucharist' (Ecclesia de Eucharistia, chapter VI), the Christian community lives this mystery! Strengthened by the 'bread of eternal life,' it becomes a presence of light and life, a leaven of evangelization and solidarity.

"Mane nobiscum, Domine! Like the two disciples in the Gospel, we implore you, Lord Jesus, stay with us!

Divine Wayfarer, expert in our ways and reader of our hearts, do not leave us prisoners to the evening shadows.

"Sustain us in our weariness, forgive our sins and direct our steps on the path of goodness.

"Bless the children, the young people, the elderly, families and the sick in particular. Bless the priests and consecrated persons. Bless all humanity.

"In the Eucharist, You made Yourself the 'medicine of immortality': give us the taste for a full life that will help us journey on as trusting and joyful pilgrims on this earth, our gaze fixed on the goal of life without end.

"Stay with us, Lord! Stay with us! Amen."


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