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Online Edition - February 2005
Vol. X No. 10
News & Views
Pope Grants Plenary Indulgence for the Year of the Eucharist -- Holy See Approves National Directory for Catechesis -- Folk-religions and Peace Focus of Vatican Forum -- New Roman Martyrology Lists 7,000 Saints and Blesseds -- Attention Teachers, Parents, Students... -- Catholic Aid for Tsunami Disaster Victims
Pope John Paul II will grant indulgences to Catholics who observe the call for special devotion to the Holy Eucharist this year, according to a Vatican Information Service report January 14.
A Decree from the Apostolic Penitentiary, dated December 25, 2004, and published January 14, states that during an audience granted on December 17, 2004 to Cardinal James Francis Stafford and Father John Francis Girotti, OFM.Conv., respectively penitentiary major and regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, "the Holy Father wished to enrich with indulgences several determined acts of worship and devotion to the Most Holy Sacrament, which are indicated below.... The Decree will be in force during the Eucharistic Year, starting with the day of its publication in L'Osservatore Romano. Notwithstanding any disposition to the contrary". Following are excerpts:
"A Plenary Indulgence is granted to all faithful and to each individual faithful under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer in keeping with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff, with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin), each and every time they participate attentively and piously in a sacred function or a devotional exercise undertaken in honor of the Blessed Sacrament, solemnly exposed and conserved in the tabernacle.
"A Plenary Indulgence is also granted, under the aforesaid conditions, to the clergy, to members of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and to other faithful who are by law obliged to recite the Liturgy of the Hours, as well as to those who customarily recite the Divine Office out of pure devotion, each and every time they recite -- at the end of the day, in company or in private -- Vespers and Night Prayers before the Lord present in the tabernacle.
"The faithful who, through illness or other just cause, are unable to visit the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist in a church or oratory, may obtain a Plenary Indulgence in their own homes, or wherever they may be because of their ailment, if ... with the intention of observing the three usual conditions as soon as possible, they make the visit spiritually and with the heart's desire ... and recite the Our Father and the Creed, adding a pious invocation to Jesus in the Sacrament.
"If they are unable to do even this, they will receive a Plenary Indulgence if they unite themselves with interior desire to those who practice the normal conditions laid down for Indulgences, and offer the merciful God the illnesses and discomforts of their lives".
The Decree asks that priests, especially pastors, inform the faithful "in the most convenient manner" of these dispositions, prepare, "with generous and ready spirit", to hear confessions and to lead the faithful "in solemn public recitation of prayers to Jesus in the Sacrament". The faithful are likewise exhorted "to give open witness of faith and veneration for the Blessed Sacrament" as proposed in such acts as Eucharistic procession and adoration, and Eucharistic and spiritual communion.
Source: Vatican Information Service
The Vatican approved the National Directory for Catechesis for the United States in December, according to a January 13 press release from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Bishop William Skylstad, President of the USCCB, announced the approval on January 7 in a memo to the US bishops.
The directory, which had been approved by the US bishops in June 2003, was awarded its recognitio (approval) by the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy (the Roman dicastery responsible for catechetical matters) December 16, 2004.
The Directory has three basic purposes that are aimed at the orientation and general planning of catechetical activity in this country:
1. To provide fundamental theological and pastoral principles drawn from the Church's Magisterium and apply them to the pastoral activity of catechesis.
2. To offer guidelines for the application of fundamental theological and pastoral principles in order to continue a renewal of catechesis in this country.
3. To set forth the nature, purpose, object, tasks, basic content, and various methodologies of catechesis.
Publication of the National Directory for Catechesis in English is projected for May 1. The USCCB Committee on Catechesis sponsored a Symposium on the Directory for bishops and members of their diocesan school and religious education staffs January 10. More than 200 participants representing 96 dioceses attended.
Source: USCCB Press Release***
The Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue organized a forum in mid-January on the contributions that folk religions make to the cause of peace, according to a Catholic World News report January 13.
"We know that peace is the everyone's responsibility", said Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, the president of the dicastery. He said that the forum is the first of its kind, since it brings together the "traditional" religions - meaning those that are based on ethnic or tribal cultural traditions. He distinguished between "traditional" religions, which are specific to a particular culture, and the "world religions" such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, or Buddhism, which can spread across cultural boundaries.
The purpose of this week's forum is twofold, he said. First, it will establish lines of communication with the traditional religions; second, it will have a special meaning for those members of traditional cultures who have become Christians.
Source: Catholic World News
The second edition of the Roman Martyrology was presented in Rome in December. The new Martyrology is an updated list not, as the name might suggest, of martyrs, but of all the saints and blesseds venerated by the Church.
The latest edition of the Martyrology was presented during an event promoted by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments to commemorate the conciliar constitution on liturgical reform, Sacrosanctum Concilium, promulgated on December 4, 1963.
The new edition contains certain differences with respect to the earlier edition, which was published in 2001 and was the first since Vatican Council II. A number of typographical errors have been corrected and the 117 people canonized or beatified between 2001 and 2004 have been added. Moreover, many saints, mostly Italian-Greek monks, whose names have not thus far been listed in the Martyrology but who are effectively much venerated, especially in southern Italy, have also been included.
The updated Martyrology contains 7,000 saints and blesseds currently venerated by the Church, and whose cult is officially recognized and proposed to the faithful as models worthy of imitation.
Source: Vatican Information Service
Women for Faith & Family announces the Voices Young Writers Award, to be given to the best essay written by any Catholic student ages 12-21.
The paper, to be submitted by the instructor, school official, or student's parent, is to be between 1,000 and 2,500 words in length, typewritten (or word-processed), and may be on any aspect of Catholic faith and morals. The essay must be faithful to Catholic teachings.
Each entry should include a brief biography of the student, including the name, address, age, and photograph. If applicable, this statement should also include a description of the school or home-school the student attends and the class for which it was written.
The essays will be judged by members of the Voices editorial board. Winning entries will be published in Voices and on the Women for Faith & Family web site. The author of the winning essay will receive an award of $100.
Mail entries to:
Voices Young Writers Award
PO Box 300411
Saint Louis, MO 63130 - USA
or e-mail to the editor.
2005 Publication schedule:
Articles received after the deadline will be considered for the following issue.
April 1, 2005 for the Pentecost issue (special Marian-themed edition)
August 1, 2005 for the Michaelmas issue
October 1, 2005 for the Advent/Christmas issue
Following is a list of Catholic agencies that accept donations for victims of the December 26 earthquake and tidal waves that devastated Indian Ocean countries.
These aid agencies are part of the Caritas Internationalis network, and are working with partner agencies in affected countries. Donations should be marked for "tsunami relief" or "tidal wave disaster", unless otherwise noted.
Catholic Relief Services - phone: (877)435-7277; online: www.catholicrelief.org; or mail to: CRS, 209 W. Fayette St., Baltimore, MD 21201-3443.
Catholic Near East Welfare Association - phone: (800)442-6392; online: www.cnewa.org; or mail to: CNEWA, 1011 First Ave., New York, NY 10022-4195.
The National Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul 58 Progress Parkway, St. Louis, MO 63043-3706, or donations be made online at: www.svdpusa.org, by clicking on "contribute now" and "special tribute program".
The Knights of Columbus Donations should be marked "Asian Disaster Relief" and in the United States should be sent to: Knights of Columbus Charities Inc., P.O. Box 9028, Pittsfield, MA 01202-9028. Donations in Canada should be sent to: Knights of Columbus Canada Charities Inc., P.O. Box 7252 Station A, Toronto, Ontario M5W 1X9.
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