Friday, December 28, 2007

Holy Innocents


Holy Innocents

Memorial
28 December; sometimes known as Childermas

Profile
The children slaughtered by Herod when he tried to kill the infant Christ.

Patronage
babies; children's choir; choir boys; foundlings



These innocent children were slain for Christ.

They follow the spotless Lamb,

and proclaim for ever :

Glory to you, Lord.


The Weekday Missal Collins (1979)

Sunday Gospel - Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary & Joseph


Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 2,13-15.19-23.

When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him."
Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt.
He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, "Out of Egypt I called my son."
When Herod had died, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt
and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead."
He rose, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel.
But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go back there. And because he had been warned in a dream, he departed for the region of Galilee.
He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, "He shall be called a Nazorean."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Saint for the day - SAINT JOHN Apostle and Evangelist



Also known as
Apostle of Charity; Beloved Apostle; Beloved Disciple; Giovanni Evangelista; John the Divine; John the Evangelist

Memorial
27 December (Roman Catholic); 8 May (Greek Orthodox); 6 May (before the Latin gate)

Profile
Son of Zebedee and Salome. Fisherman. Brother of Saint James the Great, and called one of the Sons of Thunder. Disciple of Saint John the Baptist. Friend of Saint Peter the Apostle. Called by Jesus during the first year of His ministry, and traveled everywhere with Him, becoming so close as to be known as the beloved disciple. Took part in the Last Supper. The only one of the Twelve not to forsake the Savior in the hour of His Passion, standing at the foot of the cross. Made guardian of Our Lady by Jesus, he took her into his home. Upon hearing of the Resurrection, he was the first to reach the tomb; when he met the risen Lord at the lake of Tiberias, he was the first to recognize Him.

During the era of the new Church, he worked in Jerusalem and at Ephesus. During Jesus' ministry, he tried to block a Samaritan from their group, but Jesus explained the open nature of the new Way, and he worked on that principle to found churches in Asia Minor and baptizing converts in Samaria. Imprisoned with Peter for preaching after Pentecost. Wrote the fourth Gospel, three Epistles, and possibly the Book of Revelation. Survived all his fellow apostles.

Traditional stories:
Emperor Dometian had him brought to Rome, beaten, poisoned, and thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil, but he stepped out unharmed and was banished to Patmos instead.


When John was en route to preach in Asia, his ship was wrecked in a storm; all but John were cast ashore. John was assumed dead, but 2 weeks later the waves cast him ashore alive at the feet of his disciple Prochoros.


When John denounced idol worship as demonic, followers of Artemis stoned him; the rocks turned and hit the throwers.


He prayed in a temple of Artemis; fire from heaven killed 200 men who worshipped the idol. When the remaining group begged for mercy, he raised the 200 from the dead; they all converted and were baptized.


Drove out a demon who had lived in a pagan temple for 249 years.


Aboard ship, he purified vessels of sea water for drinking.


Ceonops, a magician, pretended to bring three dead people come to life; the "people" were actually demons who mimicked people so the magician could turn people away from Christ. Through prayer, John caused the magician to drown and the demons to vanish.


Once a year his grave gave off a fragrant dust that cured the sick.

Born
unknown

Died
c.101 at Ephesus (modern Turkey); a church was built over his tomb, which was later converted to a mosque

Name Meaning
God is gracious; gift of God

Patronage
against poison; art dealers; Asia Minor; authors; bookbinders; booksellers; burns; diocese of Cleveland, Ohio; compositors; editors; archdiocese of Eger, Hungary; engravers; friendships; lithographers; diocese of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Morra, Nederlands; painters; papermakers; poisoning; printers; publishers; Sundern, Germany; tanners; Taos, New Mexico; theologians; typesetters; Umbria, Italy; writers; Wroclaw, Poland

Representation
book; cauldron in allusion to his being a martyr in will but not in deed; chalice with a serpent in allusion to the cup of sorrow foretold by Jesus; chalice; eagle in his role as evangelist; serpent

Writings
canonical Gospel According to Saint John

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

St. Stephen the Martyr


Also known as
Stephen the Deacon

Memorial
26 December

Profile
First Christian Martyr. Deacon. Preacher. All we know of him is related in the Acts of the Apostles. While preaching the Gospel in the streets, angry Jews who believed his message to be blasphemy dragged him outside the city, and stoned him to death. In the crowd, on the side of the mob, was a man who would later be known as Saint Paul.

Born
unknown

Died
stoned to death c.33

Canonized
Pre-Congregation

Name Meaning
crown

Patronage
Acoma Indian Pueblo; casket makers; Cetona, Italy; coffin makers; deacons; headaches; horses; Kessel, Germany; masons; diocese of Owensboro Kentucky; Passau, Germany; Prato, Italy; stone masons

Representation
deacon carrying a pile of rocks; deacon with rocks gathered in his vestments; deacon with rocks on his head; deacon with rocks or a book at hand; stones; palm of martyrdom

Friday, December 21, 2007

4th Sunday of Advent - December 23, 2007


Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 1,18-24.

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means "God is with us."
When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary


Formerly a feast observed 18 December. It originated in Spain, when the feast of the Annunciation (25 March) was transferFed to 18 December because of the regulation forbidding feasts in Lent, and remained on this date after the Annunciation was again celebrated on its original date. It impressed on the faithful the sentiments of the Blessed Virgin as the time of her delivery approached.

Can We Celebrate Christmas? -1



“Don’t celebrate Christmas. It has a pagan background!” Iglesia Ni Cristo, Dating Daan, Jehovas Witnesses and Seventh day Adventists are not ready to celebrate Christmas with the whole world as they believe the birthday of Jesus is not written in the Bible and some practices related to this celebration, has its pagan background! In order to realize the foolishness of their stand we have to analyze some facts (historical and biblical, commonsense and reason) related to the celebration of Christmas on 25th December.

As we all know, the birth of Jesus is written in the Bible; not its day and date. We celebrate Christmas on 25th of December not because that particular ‘date’ is important, but the event that we remember on that date, which divided the history in to two, is very essential for our salvation. The Bible doesn’t say exact date of Christ’s birth as December 25, and even the calendar that we use today was not in existence at that time! Just like any other feasts in the Catholic Church, (Good Friday, Easter Sunday etc…) we commemorate biblical events in deferent days of the liturgical calendar, not because that ‘dates and days’ have something to do with our salvation, but those events that we commemorate, are essential mysteries for our salvation.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Saint for the day - St. John of the Cross


Also known as
Doctor of Mystical Theology

Memorial
14 December; formerly 24 November

Profile
Born in poverty. Cared for the poor in the hospital in Medina. Lay Carmelite brother in 1563 at age 21, though he lived stricter than their Rule. Studied at Salamanca. Carmelite priest, ordained in 1567 at age 25. Persuaded by Saint Teresa of Avila to begin the Discalced or barefoot reform within the Carmelite Order, he took the name John of the Cross. Master of novices. Spiritual director and confessor at Saint Teresa's convent. His reforms did not set well with some of his brothers, and he was ordered to return to Medina. He refused, and was imprisoned at Toledo, Spain, escaping after nine months. Vicar-general of Andalusia. His reforms revitalized the Order. Great contemplative and spiritual writer. Proclaimed Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XI on 24 August 1926.

Born
24 June 1542 at Fontiveros, Spain

Died
14 December 1591 at Ubeda, Andalusia, Spain; relics at Segovia

Name Meaning
God is gracious; gift of God

Beatified
25 January 1675 by Pope Clement X

Canonized
27 December 1726 by Pope Benedict XIII

Patronage
contemplative life; contemplatives; mystical theology; mystics; Spanish poets; Ta' Xbiex, Malta

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 11,2-11.

When John heard in prison of the works of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to him
with this question, "Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?"
Jesus said to them in reply, "Go and tell John what you hear and see:
the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.
And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me."
As they were going off, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, "What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind?
Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces.
Then why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
This is the one about whom it is written: 'Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.'
Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Saint for the day - St. Lucy of Syracuse


Also known as
Lucia of Syracuse; Lucia de Syracuse

Memorial
13 December

Profile
Rich, young Christian of Greek ancestry. Raised in a pious family, she vowed her life to Christ. Her Roman father died when she was young. Her mother, Eutychia, arranged a marriage for her. For three years she managed to keep the marriage on hold. To change the mother's mind about the girl's new faith, Lucy prayed at the tomb of Saint Agatha, and her mother's long haemorrhagic illness was cured. Her mother agreed with Lucy's desire to live for God, and Lucy became known as a patron of those with maladies like her mother's.

Her rejected pagan bridegroom, Paschasius, denounced Lucy as a Christian to the governor of Sicily. The governor sentenced her to forced prostitution, but when guards went to fetch her, they could not move her even when they hitched her to a team of oxen. The governor ordered her killed instead. After torture that included having her eyes torn out, she was surrounded by bundles of wood which were set afire; they went out. She prophesied against her persecutors, and was executed by being stabbed to death with a dagger. Her name is listed in the prayer "Nobis quoque peccatoribus" in the Canon of the Mass.

Legend says her eyesight was restored before her death. This and the meaning of her name led to her connection with eyes, the blind, eye trouble, etc.

Born
c.283 at Syracuse, Sicily

Died
stabbed in the throat c.304 at Syracuse, Sicily; her relics are honoured in churches throughout Europe

Canonized
Pre-Congregation

Name Meaning
light; bringer of light (= Lucy)

Patronage
against hemorraghes; authors; Begijnendijk, Flemish Brabant, Belgium; blind people; blindness; cutlers; dysentery; epidemics; eye disease; eye problems; glaziers; hemorraghes; laborers; martyrs; Mtarfa, Malta; peasants; Perugia, Italy; saddlers; salesmen; sore eyes; sore throats; stained glass workers; Syracuse, Sicily; throat infections; Villa Santa Lucia, Latium, Italy; writers

Representation
cord; eyes; eyes on a dish; lamp; swords; woman hitched to a yoke of oxen; woman in the company of Saint Agatha, Saint Agnes of Rome, Barbara, Catherine of Alexandria, and Saint Thecla; woman kneeling before the tomb of Saint Agatha

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Our Lady of Guadalupe


Also known as
Holy Mary of Guadalupe; Virgin of Guadalupe; Maria de Guadalupe

Memorial
12 December

Profile
Guadalupe is, strictly speaking, the name of a picture, but the name was extended to the church containing the picture and to the town that grew up around the church. It makes the shrine, it occasions the devotion, it illustrates Our Lady. It is taken as representing the Immaculate Conception, being the lone figure of the woman with the sun, moon, and star accompaniments of the great apocalyptic sign with a supporting angel under the crescent. The word is Spanish Arabic, but in Mexico it may represent certain Aztec sounds.

Its tradition is long-standing and constant, and in sources both oral and written, Indian and Spanish, the account is unwavering. The Blessed Virgin appeared on Saturday 9 December 1531 to a 55 year old neophyte named Juan Diego, who was hurrying down Tepeyac hill to hear Mass in Mexico City. She sent him to Bishop Zumárraga to have a temple built where she stood. She was at the same place that evening and Sunday evening to get the bishop's answer. The bishop did not immediately believed the messenger, had him cross-examined and watched, and he finally told him to ask the lady who said she was the mother of the true God for a sign. The neophyte agreed readily to ask for sign desired, and the bishop released him.

Juan was occupied all Monday with Bernardino, an uncle, who was dying of fever. Indian medicine had failed, and Bernardino seemed at death's door. At daybreak on Tuesday 12 December 1531, Juan ran to nearby Saint James's convent for a priest. To avoid the apparition and the untimely message to the bishop, he slipped round where the well chapel now stands. But the Blessed Virgin crossed down to meet him and said, "What road is this thou takest son?" A tender dialogue ensued. She reassured Juan about his uncle, to whom she also briefly appeared and instantly cured. Calling herself Holy Mary of Guadalupe she told Juan to return to the bishop. He asked the sign for the sign he required. Mary told him to go to the rocks and gather roses. Juan knew it was neither the time nor the place for roses, but he went and found them. Gathering many into the lap of his tilma, a long cloak or wrapper used by Mexican Indians, he came back. The Holy Mother rearranged the roses, and told him to keep them untouched and unseen until he reached the bishop. When he met with Zumárraga, Juan offered the sign to the bishop. As he unfolded his cloak the roses, fresh and wet with dew, fell out. Juan was startled to see the bishop and his attendants kneeling before him. The life size figure of the Virgin Mother, just as Juan had described her, was glowing on the tilma. The picture was venerated, guarded in the bishop's chapel, and soon after carried in procession to the preliminary shrine.

The coarsely woven material of the tilme which bears the picture is as thin and open as poor sacking. It is made of vegetable fibre, probably maguey. It consists of two strips, about seventy inches long by eighteen wide, held together by weak stitching. The seam is visible up the middle of the figure, turning aside from the face. Painters have not understood the laying on of the colours. They have deposed that the "canvas" was not only unfit but unprepared, and they have marvelled at apparent oil, water, distemper, etc. colouring in the same figure. They are left in equal admiration by the flower-like tints and the abundant gold. They and other artists find the proportions perfect for a maiden of fifteen. The figure and the attitude are of one advancing. There is flight and rest in the eager supporting angel. The chief colours are deep gold in the rays and stars, blue green in the mantle, and rose in the flowered tunic.

Sworn evidence was given at various commissions of inquiry corroborating the traditional account of the miraculous origin and influence of the picture. Some wills connected with Juan Diego and his contemporaries were accepted as documentary evidence. Vouchers were given for the existence of Bishop Zumárraga's letter to his Franciscan brethren in Spain concerning the apparitions. His successor, Montufar, instituted a canonical inquiry, in 1556, on a sermon in which the pastors and people were abused for crowding to the new shrine. In 1568 the renowned historian Bernal Díaz, a companion of Cortez, refers incidentally to Guadalupe and its daily miracles. The lay viceroy, Enríquez, while not opposing the devotion, wrote in 1575 to Philip II asking him to prevent the third archbishop from erecting a parish and monastery at the shrine. Inaugural pilgrimages were usually made to it by viceroys and other chief magistrates. Processes, national and ecclesiastical, were laboriously formulated and attested for presentation at Rome in 1663, 1666, 1723, 1750.

The clergy, secular and regular, has been remarkably faithful to the devotion towards Our Lady of Guadalupe, the bishops especially fostering it, even to the extent of making a protestation of faith in the miracle a matter of occasional obligation. Pope Benedict XIV decreed that Our Lady of Guadalupe should be the national patron, and made 12 December a holiday of obligation with an octave, and ordered a special Mass and Office. Pope Leo XIII approved a complete historical second Nocturne, ordered the picture to be crowned in his name, and composed a poetical inscription for it. Pope Pius X permitted Mexican priests to say the Mass of Holy Mary of Guadalupe on the twelfth day of every month, and granted indulgences which may be gained in any part of the world for prayer before a copy of the picture.

The place, called Guadalupe Hidalgo since 1822, is three miles northeast of Mexico City. Pilgrimages have been made to this shrine almost without interruption since 1531-1532. A shrine at the foot of Tepeyac Hill served for ninety years, and still forms part of the parochial sacristy. In 1622 a rich shrine was erected, and in 1709 a newer one even richer one. There are also a parish church, a convent and church for Capuchin nuns, a well chapel, and a hill chapel all constructed in the 18th century. About 1750 the shrine got the title of collegiate, a canonry and choir service being established. It was aggregated to Saint John Lateran in 1754. In 1904 it was created a basilica, with the presiding ecclesiastic being called abbot. The shrine has been renovated in Byzantine style which presents an illustration of Guadalupan history.


- taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia article by G Lee, copyright 1911, Nihil Obstat, 1 February 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor; Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York; edited and rewritten

Patronage
Americas; Central America; diocese of Colorado Springs, Colorado; diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas; diocese of Dodge City, Kansas; Estremadura, Spain; diocese of Gallup, New Mexico; Hondarribia, Spain; Mexico; diocese of Nashville, Tennessee; New Mexico; New World; diocese of Orange, California; diocese of Phoenix, Arizona; Pojoaque Indian Pueblo; diocese of Ponce, Puerto Rico; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; diocese of Sacramento, California; diocese of San Bernardino, California; diocese of Sioux City, Iowa; Spain; Victoria, Aragua, Venezuela

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Saint for the day - St. Nicholas of Myra


Also known as
Klaus; Mikulas; Nicholas of Bari; Nicolaas; Nicolas; Niklas; Santa Claus
Memorial
6 December
Profile
Priest. Abbot. Bishop of Myra, Lycia (modern Turkey). Generous to the poor, and special protector of the innocent and wronged. Many stories grew up around him prior to his becoming Santa Claus. Some examples:


Upon hearing that a local man had fallen on such hard times that he was planning to sell his daughters into prostitution, Nicholas went by night to the house and threw three bags of gold in through the window, saving the girls from an evil life. These three bags, gold generously given in time of trouble, became the three golden balls that indicate a pawn broker's shop.


He raised to life three young boys who had been murdered and pickled in a barrel of brine to hide the crime. These stories led to his patronage of children in general, and of barrel-makers besides.


Induced some thieves to return their plunder. This explains his protection against theft and robbery, and his patronage of them - he's not helping them steal, but to repent and change. In the past, thieves have been known as Saint Nicholas' clerks or Knights of Saint Nicholas.


During a voyage to the Holy Lands, a fierce storm blew up, threatening the ship. He prayed over it, and the storm calmed - hence the patronage of sailors and those like dockworkers who work on the sea.
Died
c.346 at Myra; relics believed to be at Bari, Italy
Canonized
Pre-Congregation
Patronage
against imprisonment; against robberies; against robbers; apothecaries; Apulia, Italy; bakers; Bari, Italy; barrel makers; boatmen; boot blacks; boys; brewers; brides; captives; Cas Concos, Spain; children; coopers; dock workers; druggists; Duronia, Italy; fishermen; Fossalto, Italy; Greece; Greek Catholic Church in America; Greek Catholic Unionl grooms; judges; lawsuits lost unjustly; Lecco, Italy; Limerick, Ireland; Liptovský Mikulás, Slovakia; longshoremen; Lorraine; maidens; mariners; Mazzano Romano, Italy; Mentana, Italy; merchants; Miklavž na Dravskem polju, Slovenia; murderers; Naples, Italy; newlyweds; old maids; parish clerks; paupers; pawnbrokers; perfumeries; perfumers; pharmacists; pilgrims; poor people; Portsmouth, England; prisoners; Russia; sailors; Sassari, Italy; scholars; schoolchildren; shoe shiners; Sicily; Is-Siggiewi, Malta; spinsters; students; thieves; travellers; University of Paris; unmarried girls; watermen
Representation
anchor; bishop calming a storm; bishop holding three bags of gold; bishop holding three balls; bishop with three children; bishop with three children in a tub at his feet; purse; ship; three bags of gold; three balls; three golden balls on a book

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Church and the Bible - 8


In what language was the Bible written?

It will not be out of place to say here that the Bible wasn’t written originally in English as so many seem to believe, judging from their arguments. Some believe that the Scriptures were written first in English and then set forth in the barbarous languages of Latin, Greek or Hebrew for the sake of inquisitive scholars and critics. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and the New Testament was written in Greek. The Hebrew text of the Old Testament was translated into Greek, before the time of Christ by 70 translators.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Saint for the day - St. Francis Xavier


Also known as
Apostle to the Far East

Memorial
3 December

Profile
Nobleman from the Basque reqion. Studied and taught philosophy at the University of Paris, and planned a career as a professor. Friend of Saint Ignatius of Loyola who convinced him to use his talents to spread the Gospel. One of the founding Jesuits, and the first Jesuit missionary. Priest.

In Goa, while waiting to take ship, India, he preached in the street, worked with the sick, and taught children their catechism. He would walk through the streets ringing a bell to call the children to their studies. Said to have converted the entire city.

He scolded his patron, King John of Portugal, over the slave trade: "You have no right to spread the Catholic faith while you take away all the country's riches. It upsets me to know that at the hour of your death you may be ordered out of paradise."

Tremendously successful missionary for ten years in India, the East Indies, and Japan, baptizing more than 40,000. His epic finds him dining with head hunters, washing sores of lepers in Venice, teaching catechism to Indian children, baptizing 10,000 in a single month. He tolerated the most appalling conditions on long sea voyages, enduring extremes of heat and cold. Wherever he went he would seek out and help the poor and forgotten. He traveled thousands of miles, most on his bare feet, and he saw the greater part of the Far East. Had the gift of tongues. Miracle worker. Raised people from the dead. Calmed storms. Prophet. Healer.

Born
1506 at Javier, Spanish Navarre

Died
2 December 1552 at Sancian, China of a fever contracted on a mission journey

Beatified
25 October 1619 by Pope Paul V

Canonized
12 March 1622 by Pope Gregory XV

Patronage
African missions; diocese of Agartala, India; diocese of Ahmedabad, India; diocese of Alexandria, Louisiana; Apostleship of Prayer; Australia; black missions; archdiocese of Bombay, India; Borneo; archdiocese of Cape Town, South Africa; China; diocese of Dinajpur, Bangladesh; East Indies; Fathers of the Precious Blood; foreign missions; Freising, Germany; Goa India; diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin; India; archdiocese of Indianapolis, Indiana; Japan; diocese of Joiliet, Illinois; diocese of Kabankalan, Philippines; diocese of Malindi, Kenya; missionaries; Missioners of the Precious Blood; missions, black; missions, foreign; missions, parish; Navarre, Spain; navigators; New Zealand; parish missions; plague epidemics; Propagation of the Faith

Representation
crucifix; preacher carrying a flaming heart; bell; globe; vessel; young bearded Jesuit in the company of Saint Ignatius Loyola; young bearded Jesuit with a torch, flame, cross and lily