For text, you can use a tween. Put the textbox inside a movie clip (holder_mc).
var t:Tween = new Tween(holder_mc, "alpha", None.easeNone, 1, 0, 0.5, true);
// this creates a tween on holder_mc, changing it's alpha, easing it neither in
// or out but at a constant rate, from 1 to 0 over 0.5 seconds
// (seconds = true, frames = false)
to "pause the program", I'm not sure exactly what you mean, but you'll probably want to open Flash CS3 Help and search for 'Timer Class'