Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!




Rejoice, heavenly powers! Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!
Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!
Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God’s people!

~ from the Exsultet sung at the Easter Vigil

May the joy of the risen Lord fill your hearts! Happy Easter, everyone!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fr. Barron comments on the Meaning of Easter


Holy Saturday




On Holy Saturday, the Church waits at the Lord's tomb in prayer, meditating on His Passion and Death and on His descent into Hell, awaiting His Resurrection.

"Here we are, Your Church the Body from Your Body and from Your Blood. We are here, we are keeping watch. We are by Your sepulcher."
~ Pope John Paul II

"Holy Saturday is the day of the 'death of God,' the day which expresses the unparalleled experience of our age, anticipating the fact that God is simply absent, that the grave hides him, that he no longer awakes, no longer speaks, so that one no longer needs to gainsay him but can simply overlook him…Christ strode through the gate of our final loneliness; in his Passion he went down into the abyss of our abandonment. Where no voice can reach us any longer, there is he. Hell is thereby overcome, or, to be more accurate, death, which was previously hell, is hell no longer. Neither is the same any longer because there is life in the midst of death, because love dwells in it."
~ Pope Benedict XVI

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pope Francis: Jesus asked us to always be at the service of others




Pope Francis celebrated one of the most important ceremonies of the year surrounded by the sick. His Holy Thursday Mass took place at the St. Mary of Providence Center, for the Don Carlo Gnocchi Foundation.

When he arrived, he greeted the families, workers and patients of this center, which takes care of people with special needs, as well as the elderly and sick.

During his homily, he explained that in Jesus' times, slaves would wash the feet of their masters. He then added that when Jesus did the same for their disciples, he left them this tradition.

POPE FRANCIS
"We've listened to what Jesus said during the Last Supper: this gesture is a farewell. It is like a heritage he leaves us. He is God, and has made Himself servant, our servant. This is His heritage: you also must become servants of each other.”

The Pope then asked everyone to compare this action to the personal attitude we have whens serving others.

POPE FRANCIS
"I will now wash their feet, but we all, in our hearts, let's think about others and about the love Jesus says we must have for others. Let's think also about how we can serve better other people. Because that's what Jesus wanted of us.”

After his words, the Pope washed the feet of 12 disabled and elderly people, just like Jesus did with His apostles. Their ages ranged from 16 to the 86. One of them was Muslim. He's named Hamed and was born in Libya 75 years ago.

Even though he had some trouble getting up, Pope Francis knelt before them, washed and carefully kissed the feet of each of the patients from the Don Carlo Gnocchi Foundation.

This Italian organization has 39 centers all around Italy, and also works in Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Ecuador and Bosnia and Herzegovina, where they  look after children with disabilities and deformations.

Last year, the Pope visited a juvenile detention center in Rome. He then washed the feet of 12 jailed teens. Among them was a Muslim girl.

As cardinal in Buenos Aires, he used to spend the Holy Thursday surrounded by the sick, poor and marginalized. Now, he does the same in Rome: he chooses to stay close to those in the "existential outskirts.”

Holy Thursday


Today is Holy Thursday, or Maundy Thursday, which solemnly celebrates the institution of the Eucharist as the true body and blood of Jesus Christ and the institution of the sacrament of the priesthood.

During the Last Supper, Jesus offers himself as the Passover sacrifice, the sacrificial lamb, and teaches that every ordained priest is to follow the same sacrifice in the exact same way. Christ also bids farewell to his followers and prophesies that one of them will betray him and hand him over to the Roman soldiers.

Around the world, Bishops and priests come together at their local Cathedrals on Holy Thursday morning to celebrate the institution of the priesthood. During the Mass, the bishop blesses the Oil of Chrism that will be used for Baptism, Confirmation, and Anointing of the sick or dying.


At this Mass, the bishop washes the feet of twelve priests to symbolize Christ’s washing of his twelve Apostles, our first bishops and priests.

Later that night, after sundown – because Passover began at sundown- the Holy Thursday Liturgy takes place, marking the end of Lent and the beginning of the sacred "Triduum,” or three, of Holy Week. These days are the three holiest days in the Catholic Church.

This Mass stresses the importance Jesus puts on the humility of service, and the need for cleansing with water, a symbol of baptism. Also emphasized are the critical importance of the Eucharist and the sacrifice of Christ’s Body, which we now find present in the consecrated Host.

On Holy Thursday the ringing of bells ceases, the altar is stripped after vespers, and the night office is celebrated under the name of Tenebræ.

At the conclusion of the Mass, the faithful are invited to continue Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament throughout the night, just as the disciples were invited to stay up with the Lord during His agony in the garden before His betrayal by Judas.

After Holy Thursday, no Mass will be celebrated again in the Church until the Easter Vigil celebrates and proclaims the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Customs
In all the German speaking countries, Slavic nations and in Hungary this day is also known as "Green Thursday." The word is a corruption of the German word grunen (to mourn) to the German word for green (grün). Many people believe they must eat green at today's meal, which is probably derived from from the Jewish Passover meal that included bitter herbs.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ecclessia: A New Formation for A New Evangelization




The Community of St. John has initiated a new summer program, known as Ecclesia. The website describes the program as a place where the Saints of the Third Millenium are formed and the protagonists of a New Evangelization can come to pray, study, and live in the “deep waters” of Catholic Faith.

In response to Pope John Paul II’s call to a New Evangelization, Ecclesia offers the opportunity to earn undergraduate, graduate, or continuing education credits, all while experiencing a summer of prayer, study, evangelization, and fellowship with other young people from across the country. Ecclesia seeks to especially serve those young people who are looking for a deeper and more intense experience of Christ and His Church.

Persons of a variety of backgrounds and interests will join the Brothers and Apostolic Sisters of the Community of Saint John from June 30-August 4. The Ecclesia program kicks off with four days of back-packing in the North Dakota Badlands. Its purpose is to form leaders and new evangelizers: those wanting to be Saints wherever they find themselves in the Church.

Learn more Here.

Find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.

Pope suggests a Holy Week devotion


Living Holy Week


Spy Wednesday Meditation and Prayer




Wednesday of Holy Week is traditionally known as "Spy Wednesday" because on this day Judas made a bargain with the high priest to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. In other words, Judas was spying on Jesus.

Readings for Wednesday of Holy Week


Meditation

We are healed by His bruises! O heavenly Physician, who takes upon Himself the sufferings of those He comes to cure! But not only was He bruised for our sins, He was also slaughtered as a lamb; and this not merely as a Victim submitting to the inflexible will of His Father who hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all, but (as the prophet here assures us) because it was His own will. His love for us, as well as His submission to His Father, led Him to the great Sacrifice. Observe, too, how He refuses to defend Himself before Pilate, who could so easily deliver Him from His enemies: He shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearers, and He shall not open His mouth. Let us love and adore this divine silence, which works our salvation. Let us not pass over an iota of the devotedness which Jesus shows us—a devotedness which never could have existed save in the heart of a God. Oh! how much He has loved us, His children, the purchase of His Blood, His seed, as the prophet here calls us. O holy Church! thou long-lived seed of Jesus, who laid down His life, thou art dear to Him, for He bought thee at a great price. Faithful souls! give Him love for love. Sinners! be converted to this your Savior; His Blood will restore you to life, for if we have all gone astray like sheep, remember what is added: The Lord hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all. There is no sinner, however great may be his crimes, there is no heretic, or infidel, who has not his share in this precious Blood, whose infinite merit is such, that it could redeem a million worlds more guilty even than our own. — The Liturgical Year, Abbot Gueranger O.S.B.


The special prayer either before or after the Wednesday evening meal is a selection from Psalm 21, in which we see through the eyes of David the picture of Christ suffering for us on the Cross.

Prayer for Wednesday of Holy Week:

Psalm 21:23-32

I will proclaim your name to my brethren: in the midst of the assembly I will praise you; "You who fear the Lord, praise him; all you descendants of Jacob, give glory to him; revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not spurned nor disdained the wretched man in his misery Nor did he turn his face away from him, but when he cried out to him, he heard him." So by your gift will I utter praise in the vast assembly; I will fulfill my vows before those who fear him. The lowly shall eat their fill; they who seek the Lord shall praise him: "May your hearts be ever merry!" All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; All the families of the nations shall bow down before him. For dominion is the Lord's and he rules the nations. To him alone shall bow down all who sleep in the earth; Before him shall bend all who go down into the dust. And to him my soul shall live; my descendants shall serve him. Let the coming generation be told of the Lord that they may proclaim to a people yet to be born the justice he has shown.


Prayer Source: Lent and Holy Week in the Home by Emerson and Arlene Hynes, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1977

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pope's Way of the Cross to highlight economic crisis, unemployment and refugees




Happy Birthday, Benedict XVI!




April 16th marks Benedict XVI's 87th birthday. It will be the first time he will celebrate the big day as Pope Emeritus at the Vatican. Since last year, for his birthday he was just a few miles away at Castel Gandolfo.

Even though a public celebration is unlikely this year, Joseph Ratzinger has had a full list of unforgettable birthdays, with music being the one common denominator.

He's seen it all...From Germany's Stuttgart Radio Symphonic Orchestra performing for him at the Vatican.

Then all the way to the White House, where he celebrated his birthday with president George W. Bush and the first lady.

But sometimes there's no better company than family. Whenever possible Benedict XVI has made it a point to celebrate his birthday with his older brother Georg.  Back in 2012, for his 85th birthday the two brothers celebrated the Pope's birthday with traditional folk music from their native Bavaria, complete with costumes and dancing.

This was actually the last birthday celebration Benedict XVI had as the head of the Catholic Church. But birthdays are always a great excuse for a party...Benedict XVI hosted his brother's 90th birthday at the Vatican, with a classical music concert.

All in all, Benedict XVI celebrated a total of seven birthdays as the head of the Catholic Church. Now on his 87th birthday, classical concerts or not, he will continue to make history as the only Pope Emeritus on earth.

Monday, April 14, 2014

12 ways to make Holy Week holy



1. PRAY  Incorporate prayer breaks into your daily schedule. Pray short ejaculations throughout the day.

2. FAST  Eat smaller portions of food for meals or eat food without salt or pepper this week.

3. REPENT  Go to Confession.

4. ADORE  Spend time with the Lord in Eucharistic Adoration this week, even if you only have 15 minutes.

5. PRAY the rosary slowly, contemplatively, meditating on the sorrowful mysteries.

6. ATTEND all of the Triduum liturgies.

7. PRAY the Stations of the Cross.

8. MEDITATE on Christ's Passion daily as you read the various accounts of the Passion in the Gospels.

9. SACRIFICE Offer up any pain or difficulties you are experiencing and unite them with Christ's sufferings.

10. INVITE  family members, friends, neighbors, or co-workers to come to Church with you, especially those who have been away from the faith for some time.

11. GIVE of yourself -- your time, talent, and treasure-- to assist your parish in a special way this Easter.

12. REACH OUT to someone who is hurting or suffering. Pray with them, listen to them, and console them.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

St. Julius, pope



The saint of the   day for April 12 is St. Julius, a Roman who was chosen Pope on February 6, 337. 

Julius succeeded Pope Saint Mark, who had only reigned as pope for nine months. Immediately after taking office, Julius was involved with the Arian controversy. When Arians removed Anthanius of Alexandria from office and exiled him, Julius defended him and gave him refuge in Rome. He called a synod in 340 to clear him of charges brought against him and to affirm the right of bishops to appeal to the pope for redress. Eusebius of Nicomedia was against the return of Anthanasius so he and his followers elected George for the see of Alexandria. However, the Arians in Egypt wanted another man, named Pistus, to be bishop. They pleaded with Julius to bring Pistus into communion with Rome.


In a letter to the Eusebian bishops, Julius declared Athanasius the rightful bishop of Alexandria and reinstated him. Julius, who died on April 12, 352, is credited with the reorganizing of the papal chancery.