"It Is More Blessed to Give Than to Receive"
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 6, 2003 (Zenit.org)
Here is summary of the message John Paul II has written for Lent 2003 with the
theme "It Is More Blessed to Give Than to Receive." The Vatican Press
Office published the full text today.
"Dear Brothers and Sisters!
Lent is a season of intense prayer, fasting, and concern for those in need.
It offers all Christians an opportunity to prepare for Easter by serious
discernment about their lives, with particular attention to the word of God,
which enlightens the daily journey of all who believe.
This year, as a guide for our Lenten meditation, I would offer a phrase taken
from the Acts of the Apostles: "It is more blessed to give than to
receive" (Acts 20:35). What we have here is not simply a moral exhortation,
or a command, which comes to us from without. The inclination to give is rooted
in the depths of the human heart: every person is conscious of a desire to
interact with others and everyone finds fulfillment in a free gift of self to
It is my fervent hope that believers will find this Lent a favorable time for
bearing witness to the Gospel of charity in every place, since the vocation to
charity is the heart of all true evangelization. To this end I invoke the
intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church and pray that she will accompany us
on our Lenten journey. With these sentiments I affectionately impart to all my
From the Vatican, 7 January 2003
John Paul II Asks Faithful to Pray for the Gift of Peace
JOANNES PAULUS II
Rosary as a "Commitment of Service to Peace"
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 9, 2003 (Zenit.org)
Here is a translation of John Paul II's address today, before praying the
Angelus with several thousand pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
1. Next February 11, on the liturgical memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary of
Lourdes, the World Day of the Sick will be observed. It is a significant
occasion, which helps ecclesial communities to remain always very attentive
toward sick and suffering brothers and sisters, and encourages health workers to
attend to their professional services with constant devotion.
The coincidence of this occasion with the date of the apparition of the
Virgin at Lourdes makes of that place, consecrated by the presence of Mary, a
constant reference point for the Day of the Sick. From the cave of Massabielle,
Mary does not cease to send out to the suffering world a consoling message of
trust and hope.
2. As noted, the main celebrations of the day will take place this year in
the majestic National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.,
capital of the United States of America. I express heartfelt gratitude to those
who have organized the different manifestations of this important ecclesial
I express my appreciation to doctors and nurses, as well as to social
assistants, volunteers, priests, and men and women religious who work in the
vast field of assistance to the sick. May the Day of the Sick renew in each one
the desire to serve those who suffer with devotion, imitating Jesus, Good
Samaritan of humanity.
3. At this time of international concern, we all feel the need to turn to the
Lord to implore the great gift of peace. As I revealed in the apostolic letter Rosarium
Virginis Mariae, "the grave
challenges confronting the world at the start of this new millennium lead us to
think that only an intervention from on high [...] can give reason to hope for a
brighter future" (n. 40). Numerous prayer initiatives are taking place in
these days in various parts of the world. While I encourage them wholeheartedly,
I invite all to take the Rosary in hand to invoke the intercession of the Most
Holy Virgin: "one cannot recite the Rosary without feeling oneself involved
in a specific commitment of service to peace" (Ibid., n. 6).
Pope Misses a Mass for the Sick Because of a Cold
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 12, 2003 (Zenit.org)
The celebration of World Day of the Sick ended in Rome with a spontaneous
procession of thousands of faithful carrying candles, who went to hear the Pope
who was suffering from a slight cold. Although John Paul II was unable to attend
a Mass on Tuesday in St. Peter's Basilica, afterward he nevertheless wished to
greet those present, including some in wheelchairs, from the window of his
study. The Pope read in a hoarse voice a few paragraphs of the address he had
prepared for the occasion.
"In this year, troubled by not a few worries over the future of
humanity, I have asked that the prayer of the rosary have, as its special
intentions, the cause of peace and of the family," he said. "You, dear
sick brothers and sisters, are in the front line to intercede for these two
great intentions," the Holy Father added.
Vatican Press Office sources said the Pope's cold did not have a major effect
on his agenda.
SOLT of the Earth: The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas, FEB. 13, 2003 (Zenit.org)
Q: The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity is a relatively new group
within the Church. Could you explain its history and charism briefly?
Biberstein: The concept of following Jesus Christ after the example of Mary
in relationship with the Trinity moved Father James Flanagan to seek permission
to establish a religious society with ecclesial teams of priests, religious and
On July 16, 1958, Archbishop Edwin Byrne of Santa Fe, New Mexico, established
the society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity as a pious society. The society
received its decree of canonical establishment on Sept. 9, 1994.
Members of SOLT are sent to live the Marian-Trinitarian spirituality in
discipleship of Jesus and Mary in ecclesial teams in graced friendship, living
the evangelical counsels according to their state in life, united in the
Eucharist, prayer, apostolic teachings, and in the solidarity of apostolic
Spirit, serving in areas of deepest apostolic need for the full development of
peoples, leading all to discipleship of Jesus and Mary.
Q: The society took over a college in Texas a few years. What kinds of
apostolates are planned in North America and elsewhere?
Biberstein: Presently, SOLT has approximately 568 members: priests, deacons,
religious brothers and sisters, and laity -- single and married. We will have
nine men ordained to the priesthood this year; five by the Holy Father on May 11
and four by our Bishop Edmund Carmody here in Corpus Christi on June 14.
Our Lady's Society has served in Belize and Mexico since 1967, in Thailand
since 1973, in Guatemala and the Philippines since 1975. We have been serving in
Haiti for 22 years and in Papua New Guinea for 12 years.
We have our missionaries in England, Italy, Russia and Africa. We also have
two priests serving in Macao, China. Today, we serve in over 13 countries and 10
states. In some countries and states, we have several missions. For example, we
serve in orphanages in Colon, Mexico, and we have a team serving the large
parish of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.
In Texas, we serve the Houston, Laredo, Corpus Christi and Robstown areas.
This includes Our Lady of Corpus Christi school and we've just had our newest
addition, our perpetual adoration chapel dedicated on Feb. 1.
In Italy, our international headquarters moved to Rome last year, our
seminarians are studying there and our religious sisters serve in Subiaco. We
have been invited to establish a new parish in Rome entitled "Our Lady of
the Most Holy Trinity." Construction of the parish plant will soon begin
with the building of a seminary for SOLT theological students.
Our Philippine missions are spread throughout the islands. These are just
some examples of missions we are serving. We are always in need of volunteers
for our schools in Belize, North Dakota and in Robstown.