Wishing all Dads a Blessed and Happy Father’s Day! – 17 June
Strength of a Mountain Unknown Author
God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle’s flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it … Dad!
Don’t Forget to Say ‘Happy Father’s Day’ to a Priest this Weekend — and Pray for Him!
A Prayer for All our Fathers and our Priests
God our Father,
we give you thanks and praise
for fathers young and old.
We pray for young fathers,
newly embracing their vocation;
may they find the courage and perseverance
to balance work, family and faith in joy and sacrifice.
We pray for our own fathers,
who have supported and challenged us;
may they continue to lead in strong and gentle ways.
We remember fathers around the world,
whose children are lost or suffering;
may they know that the God of compassion,
walks with them in their sorrow.
We pray for men who are not fathers
but still mentor and guide us,
with fatherly love and advice.
Most importantly, all our Priests,
our spiritual Fathers, who guide,
teach us and lead us to You
and who feed and nourish us
with Your Sacraments.
We remember fathers, grandfathers
who are no longer with us
but who live forever in our memory
and nurture us with their love.
And when the days of Pentecost were drawing to a close, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a violent wind coming and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as of fire, which settled upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in foreign tongues, even as the Holy Spirit prompted them to speak... (Acts 2, 1-4).
After Jesus had ascended to heaven, the apostles and disciples returned to the Holy City. They remained together in the Upper Room or Cenacle, the place where Jesus had appeared to them and which may well be called, the first Christian church. About a hundred and twenty persons were assembled there. They chose Matthias as an apostle in place of the unhappy Judas; they prayed and waited for the Paraclete.
Ten days had passed, it was Sunday, the seventh Sunday after the resurrection. At about nine o’clock in the morning, as they were together praying fervently, the Holy Spirit descended upon them. Note how all the great theophanies in Christ’s life occurred during the course of prayer. After His baptism, for instance, when Jesus was praying the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove; likewise, it was during prayer at night, that the transfiguration took place on Tabor. Surely too, it was while Mary was praying, that Gabriel delivered his message and the Holy Spirit overshadowed her. Pentecost followed precedent. The small community of Christians had prepared themselves through prayer for the coming of the Paraclete. The same is true at Mass today, every day; through prayer we ready our souls for the advent of the Spirit.
The descent upon the apostles was internal and invisible in nature although accompanied by certain visible phenomena. There came a mighty roar, like the onrush of a violent wind. It came suddenly, from heaven but unlike storms that strike a structure from without, this one penetrated and filled the room where the disciples were gathered. Therefore it was not a natural wind, it was a miracle peculiar to the occasion. A second visible sign consisted in tongues of fire, that descended upon each one present. These fiery tongues gave visible evidence that the Holy Spirit had descended upon them.
Today at Mass, particularly at holy Communion, the power of the Holy Spirit will come down upon us, fiery tongues will not be seen but invisible tongues of fire will not be absent. There was still another external manifestation of the Holy Spirit, the apostles and disciples were enabled to speak various languages.
After the roar of the wind many of Jerusalem’s pilgrims hurried to the Cenacle. Pentecost was one of the three festivals which obliged all Jews to be present in Jerusalem. Jews from distant lands and Jewish converts from paganism too, attended these feasts. As a result, a colourful crowd, speaking a variety of languages, surrounded the house. Now the apostles, who so shortly before had hid in fear behind locked doors, came forth and courageously walked among the multitude, speaking to each in his native tongue. It was indeed amazing! Galileans, and multilingual?
But the malicious too were present, they had the answer. Nothing marvellous at all! Those Galileans were simply drunk and their drunken babble sounded like a foreign language! Peter showed no hesitation in answering the charge. None of their number, he said, were intoxicated, it was but nine o’clock in the morning and at that hour men usually are sober. What the multitude saw was, in fact, the fulfilment of Joel’s prophecy: In those days (of the Messiah), God will pour forth His Spirit upon men and they will prophesy. . . . Then the apostle pointed his words more directly against the accusers, they had killed Jesus, had nailed Him to the Cros; but God had awakened Him and after His departure to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit.
BEN63198 St. Peter Preaching in Jerusalem (detail of 63197) c.1427 (fresco) by Masolino da Panicale, Tommaso (1383-c.1447) Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence, Italy Italian, out of copyright
The pilgrims who had heard Peter give this first Pentecostal sermon “were pierced to the heart and said, Brethren, what shall we do? But Peter said to them, Repent and be baptised and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Three thousand responded.
One final question, why the miracle of tongues? In answer, recall the story regarding the tower of Babel. Puffed up by pride, men attempted to build a tower that would touch the heavens. To punish their sin, God confused their speech. Sin causes confusion and division. Now Christ came to gather all men into His Church and thereby to unite them to Himself. This should result in creating but one family of nations again. To this blessed state the miracle of tongues points.
Yes, even we as individuals have a gift of tongues which all men can understand. It is the gift of love infused into us by the Holy Spirit. Love unites, love is a common language, by means of love we can speak to all nations…Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
Wishing Holy Mother Church and
you all a Blessed, Holy and love-filled Pentecost! Alleluia!
13 May – Wishing all the Mothers a very Blessed and Happy Mother’s Day
I extend my wishes for a Blessed and Happy Mothers’ Day to all mothers who labour unceasingly, that their children gain eternal joy in Heaven and most especially offer thanks and praise to the Holy Trinity for the greatest creature ever conceived, the Great Mother of Our Saviour, Mary Most Holy! Of her we can never say enough, well enough, often enough, for not only is every day Mary’s Mother’s Day, as it should be but because we, her spiritual children, have learned the lesson, from sitting on her lap in the recitation of the Hail Mary, that as she is our true Mother, every day is also our day, her children, the children of God and the siblings of her Divine Son.
To our Holy Mother of us all, we pray:
Mary, on this day, when we honour all mothers, we turn to you. We thank the Lord, whom you serve, for the great gift of motherhood. Never has it been known, that anyone who sought your intercession, was left unaided by grace. Dear Mother, thank you for your “Yes”, to the invitation of the angel which brought heaven to earth and changed human history. You opened yourself,to God’s word and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. Dear mother, intercede for all of our mothers. Ask your Divine Son, to give them the grace of surrendered love so that they could join with you, in giving their own “Fiat.” May they find daily strength to say “yes”, to the call to the sacrificial love- the very heart, of the vocation of motherhood. May their love and witness, be a source of great inspiration for all of us, called to follow your Son. God Bless Mothers on this Mothers day, Mother of the Word Incarnate, pray for us who have recourse to you. In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen
Thought for the Day – 1 April 2018 – Easter Sunday
A Blessed and Holy Easter to you all!
“Be Lifted Up, O Ancient Door”
It seems as the human world has no doors opening toward God. It is locked in upon itself. It is a prison, a house of the dead.
People of the Old Testament and of other early civilizations initially applied the idea of the prison only to the world of the dead – the man who dies will not return. They imagined the underworld as a vast dark prison in which death reigns, a ruthless tyrant. It is a place of no return. Gradually, however, the feeling grew that, if all our paths lead to the prison which has entrances but no exit, then we are all prisoners. In that case, even this present world is a house of the dead, the antechamber leading to a dungeon of horrors! And it is a fact, if death has the last world – the world is a waiting room leading to the void (as manifested in many Eastern religions – my note).
Poets of our century have set down this feeling in terrifying visions. The Jewish poet Franz Kafka has probably gone farthest into this abyss of ANGST. His portrayal of a world of totalitarian control is intended as an interpretation of human life as such. In “The Castle”, life appears to be a futile waiting, a doomed attempt to penetrate the maze of bureaucracy and reach some competent authority and hence freedom. In “The Trial”, life itself is present as a trial ending in execution. The story ends with the parable of a man who waits all his life outside a door and cannot get in, in spite of the fact that it was made especially for him.
If Christ is not risen, there is nothing more to be said about man than this – all else, is merely an endeavour to deaden the pain. The cries of despair we hear and the cruel attempts at liberation we see, are the necessary consequences of a world that will not accept Christ, its hope.
“Be lifted up, O ancient doors!” – these words of the psalm (24:7) are not liturgical symbolism, the gate liturgy of a long-past age. They are the cry of man in a world that is far too narrow, even if he can travel in spaceships to the moon and beyond.
Christmas is only the first half of the Christian answer to this cry. Christmas tells us that there is not only the tyrant, Death – there is God, who is Life and this God can and will reach us – He has broken a way into us. He has found the door that was big enough for Him, or rather, He has made such a door for Himself.
But this answer is only complete if there is not only an entrance by which God can reach us but also an exit for us. It is only satisfying, if death is no longer a prison from which no-one returns. AND THIS IS THE CONTENT OF THE MESSAGE OF EASTER. Not only is there a door in, there is also, a door out. Death is no longer a house with no exits, a place of no return.
The ancient Church saw in this verse (ps 24:7) an interpretation of the article of faith “descended into hell”, referring particularly to Holy Saturday, not as a word of mourning but as a word of victory. The Church expressed this word in poetic form – the bolts of death’s dungeon, of the world’s dungeon, are wrenched off – the ramparts are thrown down – the gates are torn from their hinges. The one who has done this, Jesus, takes the long-imprisoned Adam and Eve, i.e. humanity, by the hand and leads them to freedom. Life is not a waiting room leading to the void but the beginning of eternity! The world is not the universal concentration camp but the garden of hope! Life is not the futile search for meaning, mirrored in the tangle of bureaucracy. God is not a bureaucrat – He does not live in a distant castle, nor does He hide Himself behind impenetrable anterooms. The door is open – it is called Jesus Christ!
The celebration of Easter is intended to show us the radiant light which streams from this door. It challenges us steadfastly to follow this radiance, which is no will-o’-the-wisp but the brilliance of saving truth….Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) Seek that Which is Above 1985
A Blessed and Holy Easter to you all!
Jesus Christ is risen! He is truly risen!
Shrove is the past tense of the word shrive, which means to hear a confession, assign penance and absolve from sin. In the Middle Ages, especially in Northern Europe and England, it became the custom to confess one’s sins on the day before Lent began in order to enter the penitential season in the right spirit. How I wish the Church would bring this practice back NOW and not concentrate on flipping pancakes – entendre intended! Though we, as the “Church” can re-institute this practice ourselves.
From the earliest days of Christianity, Lent, the penitential period before Easter, has always been a time of fasting and abstinence.
While the Lenten fast today is confined to Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and abstinence from meat is required only on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and the other Fridays of Lent, in previous times (and not so long away either, ask anyone over 60) the fast was quite severe. Christians abstained from all meat and items that came from animals, including butter, eggs, cheese and fat.
That is why Shrove Tuesday became known as Mardi Gras, the French term for Fat Tuesday. Over time, Mardi Gras extended from a single day to the entire period of Shrovetide, the days from the last Sunday before Lent through Shrove Tuesday.
In the countries that speak Romance language (languages derived primarily from Latin), Shrovetide is also known as Carnivale—literally, “farewell to meat.” In the English-speaking countries, Shrove Tuesday became known as Pancake Day, because Christians used up their eggs, butter and milk to make pancakes and other pastries.
Thought for the Day – 12 February – Preparing for Lent – 2 days to go!
Lent is a season of grace. The joy of the Risen Lord Jesus depends on how we live out the holy season of Lent. God’s generosity has no limits but we often fall short in giving God our whole hearts so that He can fill them with His love.
Why not strive to live out this Lent as if it were to be the Last Lent in your lives!
Decide on your Lenten sacrifice. Lent is a season of solemnity and sacrifice commemorating Jesus’ exodus into the desert; our sacrifice is a reminder of the sacrifice of self Jesus made to save us from our sins. Because of this, it is a Lenten tradition to sacrifice something for these 40 days.
Think about all the trivial things in your life that shift your focus away from God. Do you find that you dedicate more time to sending text messages and posting status updates than to prayer and time with God? Do you have a habit of eating junk food excessively? What is something your life could do without?
In addition to sacrificing something, include something special in your Lenten routine. Giving up chocolate or Facebook for 40 days is great but why not do something positive, too, instead of just removing the negative? Resolve to be more mindful of others’ needs, spend more time with your family, pray more and forgive old grudges.
Attend Holy Mass as often as possible. In addition to weekly Sunday service, it’s good to go to Mass and receive the Holy Eucharist frequently, especially during Lent. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday when we remember that we come from dust and to dust we shall return.
Go to Confession, is a wonderful way to turn away from sin and reunite yourself with Christ. If you don’t already, try getting into the habit of going to Confession on a regular basis. The Catholic Church has made it obligatory that all the faithful receive the sacrament of Penance at least once a year and once during the season of Lent, though it’s recommended that you attend Confession at least once a month if possible.
Spend time on prayer and devotions. Though not required, devotions are a great way to put yourself in the right mindset for Lent. The Church highly encourages Adoration of God or the veneration of the Blessed Virgin and the saints. Your local parish probably has regular Eucharistic Adoration, where you can go to sit and engage in deep prayer, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. To practice veneration, you could say a decade of the Rosary daily, or pray to your patron saint.
Any prayer, so long as it means something to you, is a step in the direction God intended. If you have a prayer you’ve grown up with that speaks to you, resolve to spend more time focusing on what it truly means and how you can embody that prayer in your everyday life. Perhaps start the Liturgy of the Hours, there are many sites online offering this devotion.
Take time for self-examination and reflection. Christmas and Easter are times of happiness and joy; while the preceding and succeeding seasons are cheery and bright, the same cannot be said about Lent. It is a time of simplicity and solemnity. It is a time to reflect on your dependence on God’s mercy and your understanding of faith. Take moments during this time to think about how you embody Christ’s love.
Get ready to Fast and Abstain – think about how you will incorporate these practises into your life. All Catholics aged fourteen and older are asked to abstain from meat on Lenten Fridays, though fish is allowed to be eaten. Additionally, Catholics aged 18-59 are obliged to fast on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Lenten Fridays, meaning that only one full meal may be eaten in the day. Of course, do this however you feel is safe and effective. Some people should definitely not fast (the pregnant or the elderly, for example). If fasting isn’t a reasonable option for you, fast from something other than food. Make sure it’s something that’s a challenge — like your phone or email — so you can feel the sacrifice you’re making.
Promote your Parish almsgiving project – perhaps think about volunteering your help. Ensure that you find a way to fulfil this vital Lenten requirement – it could be as simple as saving your spare change for your Parish charity or to have Masses said for the holy souls!
Make a Lenten calendar. Such a calendar will help you to focus on the progression of the Lenten season and is a great reminder to see the days ticking away, leaving Sundays out. It ends the Friday before Easter (the last day being Holy Thursday); count backwards from there.
Hang the calendar in a common area in your home. Every day, tick off a box. As you get closer and closer to Easter, how do you find yourself feeling? Are your sacrifices becoming more or less difficult to maintain?
Announcement of Novenas: ST FRANCIS de SALES – begins 15 January ST PAUL – begins 16 January ST JOHN BOSCO – begins 22 January
to ST FRANCIS de SALES CO OM OFM Cap (1567-1622) Doctor of the Church – begins 15 January. St Francis de Sales is the Patron of Devotion so if there’s a Saint who might know what a Devout Heart is, it’s going to be him. St Alphonsus Liguori said that the most useful practice of a Novena is to make up our minds at the beginning of the Novena to correct some fault we have been accustomed to commit. Let us ask St Francis de Sales to stir our hearts toward greater devotion and love for God.
to ST PAUL – begins 16 January – We pray in honour of the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul on 25 January. St Paul is the MOST NEGLECTED IN PRAYER by Catholics – come on folks let us pray for zeal, for courage, for perseverence, for strength, for LOVE of God and neighbour, in fact we can pray to ST PAUL FOR ALL our needs!
to ST JOHN BOSCO “Don Bosco” (1815-1888) “Father and Teacher of the Youth”– He was a follower of the spirituality and philosophy of Saint Francis de Sales, Bosco was an ardent Marian devotee of the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title Mary Help of Christians. He later dedicated his works to De Sales when he founded the Salesians of Don Bosco – begins 22 January. St John Bosco is the Patron of Christian apprentices, editors, publishers, schoolchildren, young people, magicians, juvenile delinquents. Choose ALL young people or your own children. Or simply Pray the 9 days for your own growth in love of our Mother, the Help of Christians or our own growth in faith and sanctity.
Don’t forget to pray Novenas each day for nine straight days…