Tuesday, December 31, 2013

FREE CATHOLIC MOVIES - MARY OF NAZARETH - WATCH - SHARE

IN HONOR OF THE SOLEMNITY OF MARY MOTHER OF GOD JCE NEWS. This is one of the Best Catholic Films of all time. Here is the 1995 drama of MARY OF NAZARETH in English :
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NEW YEAR'S MASS ONLINE - SOLEMNITY OF MARY MOTHER OF GOD

The Octave Day of the Nativity of the Lord
Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God
Lectionary: 18

Reading 1                    NM 6:22-27

The LORD said to Moses:
“Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them:
This is how you shall bless the Israelites.
Say to them:
The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites,
and I will bless them.”

Responsorial Psalm                 PS 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8

R/ (2a) May God bless us in his mercy.
May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.
R/ May God bless us in his mercy.
May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.
R/ May God bless us in his mercy.
May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
R/ May God bless us in his mercy.

Reading 2                GAL 4:4-7

Brothers and sisters:
When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son,
born of a woman, born under the law,
to ransom those under the law,
so that we might receive adoption as sons.
As proof that you are sons,
God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,
crying out, “Abba, Father!”
So you are no longer a slave but a son,
and if a son then also an heir, through God.

Gospel             LK 2:16-21

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph,
and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this,
they made known the message
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God
for all they had heard and seen,
just as it had been told to them.

When eight days were completed for his circumcision,
he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel
before he was conceived in the womb.

NOVENA TO MARY MOTHER OF GOD - PRAYER - SHARE

SHARE – PRAYER – NOVENA 
MARY MOTHER OF GOD
JANUARY 1 (Say 9 Times)
This Novena honours the nine months during which Our Lady carried Our Blessed Lord in her womb.
"Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve;
to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate,
thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb Jesus.
O clement, O loving,
O sweet Virgin Mary. Amen."
V - Pray for us, most holy mother of God.
R - That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
"Virgin of the Incarnation,
a thousand times we greet thee,
a thousand times we praise thee
for thy joy when God was incarnated in thee.
Because thou art so powerful
a Virgin and Mother of God,
grant what we ask of thee for the love of God."
Here state your first intention.
Repeat all of above and then state your second intention.
Repeat all of above and then state your third intention.
CONCLUSION:
After the above prayers and intentions, say the Memorare.
Remember, O most Gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known
that anyone who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help
or sought thy intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence,
I fly unto thee,
O Virgin of Virgins,
my mother.
To thee do I cry,
before thee I stand,
sinful and sorrowful.
Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
Amen.
Hail Mary...
Blessed and praised be
the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar,
in Heaven, on earth and everywhere.
AMEN.

GAIN A PLENARY INDULGENCE ON NEW YEAR'S DAY

Plenary Indulgences for 1st of January
The Enchiridion Indulgentiarum indicates that we can gain plenary indulgences on the 1st January. (Video Below)
A plenary indulgence is granted to the Christian faithful who, recite or sing the Veni Creator Spiritus.
Under the usual conditions, a plenary indulgence can be gained:
1. Sacramental confession within eight days
2. A prescribed good work (for Jan. 1 the recital of the Veni Creator)
3. Sacramental Holy Communion within eight days.
4. Prayers for the intentions of the Roman Pope (usually 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and 1 Glory Be)
5. Detestation of venial sin 
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Come, Holy Spirit / Veni, Creator Spiritus
 

English version:Latin version:
Come, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
Veni, Creator Spiritus,
mentes tuorum visita,
imple superna gratia
quae tu creasti pectora.
O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.
Qui diceris Paraclitus,
altissimi donum Dei,
fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
et spiritalis unctio.
Thou in Thy sevenfold gifts are known;
Thou, finger of God's hand we own;
Thou, promise of the Father,
Thou Who dost the tongue with power imbue.
Tu, septiformis munere,
digitus paternae dexterae,
Tu rite promissum Patris,
sermone ditans guttura.
Kindle our sense from above,
and make our hearts o'erflow with love;
with patience firm and virtue high
the weakness of our flesh supply.
Accende lumen sensibus:
infunde amorem cordibus:
infirma nostri corporis
virtute firmans perpeti.
Far from us drive the foe we dread,
and grant us Thy peace instead;
so shall we not, with Thee for guide,
turn from the path of life aside.
Hostem repellas longius, pacemque dones protinus:
ductore sic te praevio
vitemus omne noxium.
Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
the Father and the Son to know;
and Thee, through endless times confessed, of both the eternal Spirit blest.
Per te sciamus da Patrem,
noscamus atque Filium;
Teque utriusque Spiritum
credamus omni tempore.
Now to the Father and the Son,
Who rose from death, be glory given,
with Thou, O Holy Comforter,
henceforth by all in earth and heaven. Amen.
Deo Patri sit gloria,
et Filio, qui a mortuis surrexit,
ac Paraclito,
in saeculorum saecula. Amen.

Rabanus Maurus (776-856) 

CATHOLICS ATTACKED WHILE GIVING PRESENTS TO ORPHANS IN VIETNAM - ASIA

ASIA NEWS REPORT:
by Joseph Dang
Attack took place in Kontum, where a group of volunteers were blocked by police and forced to turn back. One of the assaulted, tortured by the head of the local Communist Party, ended up in hospital with multiple internal injuries. 


Kontum ( AsiaNews) - The Dr. Seuss story of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" in which a creature that hates Christmas robs children's gifts has become a reality in Kontum, Vietnam.

An unwarranted attack on a group of church volunteers as they tried to bring Christmas gifts to orphans and the poor in remote areas of the province has left many children sad this festive season.

Father Tran Si Tin, C.Ss.R, pastor of the Catholic congregation of Gia Lai, in the diocese and province of Kontum in the Central Highlands, presented a report in which he denounces the serious violation of human and religious rights carried out by the very head of the Ayun municipality against a group of volunteers from the Church who on December 17 were delivering blankets donated by people to the orphans of the town .

They were carrying out a mission on behalf of Father Tin, too old and not physically able to carry out a work in mountainous areas. But halfway to their destination the group was stopped by local police who ordered to turn back. The group's leader, Kpuih Bop Plei Chep was then singled out for punishment and was beaten and tortured by Ayun village Communist Party chief Dat Nguyen Van. Bop has had multiple internal injuries and had to be hospitalized.

"There is no freedom in the town of Ayun ," commented the disappointed Father Tin. "Since this is an isolated area, Catholic activities are often forbidden and therefore anything to do with religion meets this immoral reaction immoral from officials . One cannot talk about religion in this municipality".

Vietnam November 12, 2013, joined the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations . But will it respect and protect human rights or simply play a dirty game with the Human Rights Commission ?

ASIA NEWS REPORT

LIVE YEAR END VESPERS AND TE DEUM WITH POPE FRANCIS

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis presides the traditional year-end Vespers and the singing of the Te Deum hymn on Tuesday in thanksgiving for gifts received over the past year. The solemn celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica began at 5:00 p.m. Rome time.

The Te Deum is a hymn of praise that dates from early Christian times. In Latin, the hymn’s words: “Te Deum laudamus” can be translated "Thee, O God, we praise".

The ceremony will be Pope Francis’ last official event of the year 2013 and his first celebration as Pontiff of Vespers for the Solemnity of the Mother of God, to whom the New Year is dedicated. The event will be webcast live on Vatican Radio.

After the evening Vespers, the Pope will make a brief visit to the life-sized Nativity scene below the obelisk in the center of St. Peter’s Square. This year’s scene, entitled “Francis 1223- Francis 2013” recalls the very first Nativity scene created 790 years ago by St. Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis’ namesake. The scene in St. Peter’s square this year was crafted by artisans from the southern Italian city of Naples, famous for its traditional Christmas displays.

On Wednesday January 1st  in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Holy Father will preside a morning liturgy marking the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. Following the mass, at noon, Pope Francis will greet the faithful in St. Peter’s Square and together with them pray the Angelus


Shared from Vatican Radio 

SOUND OF MUSIC RECIPE FOR NEW YEAR'S EVE BY MARIA VON TRAPP - SHARE

Sylvester Punch

NEW YEAR'S EVE PUNCH BY MARIA VON TRAPP 
Sylvester Punch
(In Austria the last day of the year is dedicated to the Holy Pope, St. Sylvester, who baptized Constantine the Great, thereby bringing about the dawning not only of the New Year but of a new era; for this reason, the night before the New Year is called "Sylvesterabend" (Eve of St. Sylvester).
Ingredients:
Red burgundy (count one bottle for six people)
Equal amount of hot tea
12 cloves
rind of 1 lemon
2 tbsp. sugar to each bottle of wine
2 cinnamon sticks to each bottle of wine

Pour the liquid into an enamel pot, add the cloves, the thinly pared rind 
of 1 lemon, the sugar, and the cinnamon. Heat over a low flame but do not 
allow to boil. At the last moment add the tea. Serve hot.

If there are many children and very young people, it is good to know 
different fruit punch combinations. Here is a basic recipe, with 
variations:


1/2 cup lemon juice           grated rind of 1 lemon
1 cup orange juice            1 qt. water
grated rind of 1/2 orange     1 cup sugar

Cook sugar and water for five minutes. Cool. Add juices and the grated 
rind and any of the following combinations:

(1) 1 cup grated pineapple, 1 qt. ginger ale.

(2) 1 qt. strained, sweetened strawberry juice, 1 qt. raspberry juice, 2 
qts. ginger ale.

(3) 1 glass currant jelly dissolved in 1 cup hot water. Cook, chill, and 
add 1/4 cup mint, finely minced.

(4) 1 qt. cider, 1 qt. grape juice, 1 qt. soda water.

It is great fun to try out new variations every year. One starts with 
lemonade or orangeade and soon the children will go on to pineapple-ade, 
raspberry-ade....In our family we have something called "Hedwig-ade" 
because it is Hedwig's own secret.

Source: Maria Augusta Trapp
Music Arranged by Franz Wasner
Illustrations by Rosemary Trapp and Nikolaus E. Wolff
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOG CARD NO. M[55]-1016
Harcourt, Brace & Co., New York.

GAIN A PLENARY INDULGENCE ON NEW YEAR'S EVE

Plenary Indulgences for 31 December 
The Enchiridion Indulgentiarum 26 indicates that we can gain plenary indulgences on the 31 December. (Video Below)
A plenary indulgence is granted to the Christian faithful who, recite or sing the Te Deum
Under the usual conditions, a plenary indulgence can be gained:
1. Sacramental confession within eight days
2. A prescribed good work (for Dec. 31 the recital of the Te Deum)
3. Sacramental Holy Communion within eight days.
4. Prayers for the intentions of the Roman Pope (usually 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and 1 Glory Be)
5. Detestation of venial sin 

TE DEUM PRAYER in Latin and English
Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemur.O God, we praise Thee: we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.
Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur.Everlasting Father, all the earth doth worship Thee.
Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi Caeli et universae Potestates;To Thee all the Angels, the Heavens and all the Powers,
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant:all the Cherubim and Seraphim, unceasingly proclaim:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!
Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae.Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy glory.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus,The glorious choir of the Apostles,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,the wonderful company of Prophets,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.the white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia,Holy Church throughout the world doth acknowledge Thee:
Patrem immensae maiestatis:the Father of infinite Majesty;
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium;Thy adorable, true and only Son;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe.O Christ, Thou art the King of glory!
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum.Thou, having taken it upon Thyself to deliver man, didst not disdain the Virgin's womb.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum.Thou overcame the sting of death and hast opened to believers the Kingdom of Heaven.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris.Thou sitest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
Iudex crederis esse venturus.We believe that Thou shalt come to be our Judge.
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni: quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.We beseech Thee, therefore, to help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints in everlasting glory.
V. Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae.V. Save Thy people, O Lord, and bless Thine inheritance!
R. Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum.R. Govern them, and raise them up forever.
V. Per singulos dies benedicimus te.V. Every day we thank Thee.
R. Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi.R. And we praise Thy Name forever, yea, forever and ever.
V. Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire.V. O Lord, deign to keep us from sin this day.
R. Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri.R. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.
V. Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.V. Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have hoped in Thee.
R. In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum.R. O Lord, in Thee I have hoped; let me never be put to shame.

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : TUES. DEC. 31, 2013

The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas
Lectionary: 204


Reading 1            1 JN 2:18-21

Children, it is the last hour;
and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming,
so now many antichrists have appeared.
Thus we know this is the last hour.
They went out from us, but they were not really of our number;
if they had been, they would have remained with us.
Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number.
But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One,
and you all have knowledge.
I write to you not because you do not know the truth
but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.

Responsorial Psalm                 PS 96:1-2, 11-12, 13

R. (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name;
announce his salvation, day after day.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the LORD.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
The LORD comes,
he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

Gospel                JN 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.

A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.

And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son,
full of grace and truth.

John testified to him and cried out, saying,
“This was he of whom I said,
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’”
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father’s side,
has revealed him.

POPE FRANCIS PRAYER INTENTION FOR JANUARY 2014

 VIS REPORT - The Pope's universal prayer intention for January 2014 is "that all may promote authentic economic development that respects the dignity of all peoples" .
His prayer intention for evangelization is "that Christians of diverse denominations may walk toward the unity desired by Christ".
(Vatican Radio Image Share)

26 KILLED IN TERRORIST ATTACKS IN RUSSIA - EUROPE

Asia News REPORT: This morning (Dec. 30), during rush hour, an explosion destroyed a tram and killed 10 passengers. Yesterday, a female suicide bomber killed 16 people and wounded 35 . The suicide bomber came from the North Caucasus and had been married to two Islamists, both killed in battle. Terrorist attacks spread over the Caucasus and aim to stop the Sochi Olympics.


Moscow (AsiaNews / Agencies ) - At least 26 dead in 24 hours: This is the provisional toll from two explosions, which are considered "acts of terrorism" that occurred within 24 hours in Volgograd, less than six weeks from the Winter Olympics Sochi .

This morning at 8.10, during rush hour traffic, an explosion killed 10 people and wounded 15 , destroying the tram they were travelling on. Yesterday, a suicide bomber killed at least 16 people in an attack at one o'clock in the afternoon in the city's railway station . The explosion took place in front of the metal detector, away from the mass of waiting passengers, but also resulted in 35 injuries.

The attacks occur while Russia prepares to host the Winter Olympics in February, in Sochi, about 700 km from Volgograd. President Vladimir Putin has already decreed a step up in security measures, especially in airports and train stations.

Last October, again in Volgograd, a female suicide bomber killed six people in a bus. According to the Counter-Terrorism Committee, the woman had arrived from Dagestan an hour before the attack.

Initial reports reveal that yesterday's attack at the train station was also carried out by a woman. According to the website lifenews.ru , which published a photo of what is apparently a woman's head, she is Oksana Aslanova , twice married to two Islamist killed in battle against the armed forces in the North Caucasus .

In Dagestan and Chechnya there is a continuous war between Islamic militants and security forces linked to Moscow. The fundamentalists want to establish an Islamist state all over the Caucasus . Their leader, Doku Umarov , has ordered offensives against civilians outside the Caucasus and targeting the Sochi Olympics .

Shared from Asia News It

Monday, December 30, 2013

TODAY'S SAINT : DEC. 31 : ST. SYLVESTER - POPE

St. Sylvester
POPE
Feast: December 31

Information:
Feast Day:December 31
Died:31 December 335 at Rome, Italy
Patron of:Feroleto Antico, Italy
St Sylvester, whom God appointed to govern his holy church in the first years of her temporal prosperity and triumph over her persecuting enemies, was a native of Rome and son to Rufinus and Justa. According to the general rule with those who are saints from their cradle, he received early and in his infancy the strongest sentiments of Christian piety from the example, instructions, and care of a virtuous mother, who for his education in the sound maxims and practice of religion, and in sacred literature, put him young into the hands of Charitius, or Carinus, a priest of an unexceptionable character and great abilities. Being formed under an excellent master, he entered among the clergy of Rome and was ordained priest by Pope Marcellinus, before the peace of the church was disturbed by Diocletian and his associate in the empire. His behaviour in those turbulent and dangerous times recommended him to the public esteem, and he saw the triumph of the cross by the victory which Constantine gained over Maxentius within sight of the city of Rome, on the 28th of October 312. Pope Melchiades dying in January 314, St. Sylvester was exalted to the pontificate, and the same year commissioned four legates, two priests, and two deacons to represent him at the great council of the Western church, held at Arles in August, in which the schism of the Donatists, which had then subsisted seven years, and the heresy of the Quartodecimans were condemned, and many important points of discipline regulated in twenty-two canons. These decisions were sent by the council before it broke up, with an honourable letter, to Pope Sylvester, and were confirmed by him and published to the whole church. The general council of Nice was assembled against Arianism in 325. Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret say that Pope Sylvester was not able to come to it in person on account of his great age, but that he sent his legates. Gelasius of Cyzicus mentions that in it "Osius held the place of the Bishop of Rome, together with the Roman priests Vito and Vincentius." These three are named the first in subscriptions of the bishops in the editions of the acts of that council and in Socrates, who expressly places them before Alexander, patriarch of Alexandria, and Eustathius, patriarch of Antioch. St. Sylvester greatly advanced religion by a punctual discharge of all the duties of his exalted station during the space of twenty-one years and eleven months; and died on the 31st of December 335. He was buried in the cemetery of Priscilla. Pope Sergius II translated his body and deposited it under the altar in a church dedicated to God in his memory. Mention is made of an altar consecrated to God in his honour at Verona, about the year 500; and his name occurs in the ancient Martyrology called St. Jerome's, published by Florentinius, and in those of Bede, Ado, Usuard, &c. Pope Gregory IX, in 1227, made his festival general in the Latin church; the Greeks keep it on the 10th January.

After a prodigious effusion of Christian blood almost all the world over, during the space of three hundred years, the persecuting kingdoms at length laid down their arms and submitted to the faith and worship of God crucified for us. This ought to be to us a subject of thanksgiving. But do our lives express this faith? Does it triumph in our hearts? It is one of its first precepts that in all our actions we make God our beginning and end, and have only his divine honour and his holy law in view. We ought, therefore, so to live that the days, hours, and moments of the year may form a crown made up of good works, which we may offer to God. Our forgetfulness of him who is our last end, in almost all that we -do, calls for a sacrifice of compunction at the close of the year; but this cannot be perfect or acceptable to God unless we sincerely devote our whole hearts and lives to his holy love for the time to come. Let us therefore examine into the sources of former omissions, failures, and transgressions, and take effectual measures for our amendment and for the perfect regulation of all our affections and actions for the future, or that part of our life which may remain.



SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/S/stsylvester.asp#ixzz1iF2KhU00

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : MON. DEC. 30, 2013

The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Lectionary: 203


Reading 1                  1 JN 2:12-17

I am writing to you, children,
because your sins have been forgiven for his name’s sake.

I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

I am writing to you, young men,
because you have conquered the Evil One.

I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.

I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men,
because you are strong and the word of God remains in you,
and you have conquered the Evil One.

Do not love the world or the things of the world.
If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world,
sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life,
is not from the Father but is from the world.
Yet the world and its enticement are passing away.
But whoever does the will of God remains forever.

Responsorial Psalm                   PS 96:7-8A, 8B-9, 10

R. (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Bring gifts, and enter his courts;
worship the LORD in holy attire.
Tremble before him, all the earth.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

Gospel                    LK 2:36-40

There was a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.

CHURCH SET ON FIRE BEFORE CHRISTMAS IN NEPAL - ASIA

ASIA NEWS REPORT:
by Cristopher Sharma
The attack took place in Dhading district, a few kilometres from Kathmandu, on 23 December. The homes of four converts to Christianity were also set on fire. Radical Hindu groups are thought to be behind the attack, but Nepali officials downplay the incident.


Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - A group of nine people, still unknown to the authorities, set fire to the Protestant church in the village of Kichet, in Dhading District, on 23 December, a few kilometres from Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. Soon after, the homes of four local residents who had converted to Christianity were also torched.
Members of the congregation, who were away for Christmas holiday, reported the incident after they went to Sunday Mass yesterday and found the church had been burnt down.
"We were very surprised to see our church destroyed. Then, we realised what had happened," said Rima Tamang, a local Christian woman. "Some residents said they had tried to stop the attackers, but were beaten. The government must now stop those responsible and punish them."
The torched houses belonged to Ganga Lama Tamang, Lama Bahadur Tamang, Lama Bokta and Bikram Lama, all converts to Christianity.
Some residents believe Hindu fundamentalists set the fire as a warning to those thinking of converting.
"The authorities are reluctant to meet our requests and are ignoring cases when the victims are Christian. Things like this should not happen in a secular nation," said Rev C.B. Gahatraj, a Protestant clergyman, who urged the government to act.
Nepali government spokesman and Information Minister Madhav Poudel downplayed that the incident, dismissing claims that it was caused by an organised group.
Speaking about the incident, he said, "Our investigation is underway and soon we will soon release more information about the incident. We have not given all the information right away because it would interfere with the investigation. We are trying to figure out if the culprits were in contact with organised groups."
After the monarchy was abolished in 2008, the government made Christmas a national holiday in 2011 to revive tourism.
Christians can now exhibit images and sacred ornaments in stores and outside churches and homes.


At present, there are some 10,000 Catholics in the country, 4,000 more than in 2006, the year when the state became secular. Other Christians number about 100,000.
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TODAY'S SAINT : BLESSED EUGENIA RAVASCO

Eugenia Ravasco (1845-1900) 
Bl. Eugenia Ravasco
FOUNDRESS
Feast: December 30
 


Information:
Feast Day:December 30
Born:4 January 1845 in Milan, Italy
Died:30 December 1900 in Genoa, Italy

Eugenia Ravasco was born on 4 January 1845 in Milan, Italy, the third of Francesco Matteo and Carolina Mozzoni Frosconi's six children. When she was three years old her mother died and her father moved to Genoa where his two brothers lived, taking with him his eldest son, Ambrose, and the youngest daughter, Elisa. Eugenia remained in Milan with her Aunt Marietta Anselmi, who became a second mother to her and carefully educated her in the faith.
In 1852, the family was reunited in Genoa and following her father's death in March 1855, Eugenia went to live for some time with her uncle Luigi Ravasco and her aunt Elisa and their 10 children. Luigi Ravasco was careful to give his nephews and nieces a Christian upbringing. He was well aware of the anticlericalism on the rise in Italy at the time and of the efforts of the Freemasons, and was especially worried about Eugenia's brother, Ambrose, who had come under the influence of this spreading problem.
From early adolescence, Eugenia was deeply influenced by her uncle's responsible Christian example and his generosity towards the poor. Unlike her shy younger sister, Elisa, Eugenia was expansive and energetic and loved to serve others. Eucharistic worship, together with devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, became an essential part of her spirituality.
On 21 June 1855, Eugenia made her First Communion and Confirmation in St Ambrose's Church and from that day on, whenever she passed a church she would enter it to pray. God was preparing her for greater things.
In December 1862, her Uncle died, leaving Eugenia with the responsibility of caring for the family. With the help of God and the advice of Canon Salvatore Magnasco, she valiantly faced the problems caused by her brother. Aunt Marietta joined Eugenia to help the family. Both made every effort to rescue Ambrose, but without success.
Although her aunt wanted her to marry, Eugenia prayed that the Lord would show her the path to take, since she felt a growing inner call to religious life. On 31 May 1863 she received an answer as she entered the Church of St Sabina to pray. Fr Giacinto Bianchi, an ardent missionary of the Sacred Heart, was celebrating Mass. When she heard him say to the faithful, "Is there no one out there who feels called to dedicate themselves to doing good for love of the Heart of Jesus?", Eugenia understood that God was speaking to her, calling her to him through the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Eugenia found a spiritual director to help her discern what she was feeling, and shortly thereafter she began to teach catechism in the parish church to the disadvantaged young girls of the city. Her aunt and those close to her were against this, especially because these girls were unmannered and street-wise. But Eugenia persevered, accepting with patience the humiliations that she received from all sides. Little by little, she won the young girls over, organizing day trips and games for them and gaining their trust. She reached out to the most uneducated, neglected girls who, left to themselves, were in danger of going down the same errant path as her brother Ambrose.
As time went on, Eugenia felt that God was calling her to found a religious order that would form "honest citizens in society and saints in Heaven". Other young women had also joined her in this effort. On 6 December 1868, when she was 23 years old, she founded the religious congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Canon (later Archbishop) Magnasco had prepared her carefully and she continued, together with the sisters, to teach catechism and to open schools.
Despite open hostility towards the Church and the activity of the Freemasons, Mother Eugenia opened in 1878 a school for girls to give them Christian instruction and to prepare "Christian teachers" for the future. She proved courageous in the face of the persecution and ridicule she received from the local press. She also gave particular attention to the dying, the imprisoned and those away from the Church.

Notwithstanding her poor health, she travelled around Italy and to France and Switzerland, opening new communities and attracting religious vocations.
In 1882 the Congregation received diocesan approval and in 1884, together with her sisters, Mother Eugenia made her perpetual profession. She guided the foundations and her sisters with love and prudence, giving them as model the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Her apostolic ideal in life was "to burn with the desire to do good to others, especially to youth", and to "live in abbandonment to God and in the hands of Mary Immaculate". Mother Eugenia Ravasco died on 30 December 1900 in Genoa, consumed by illness. And in 1909 the Congregation she founded received Pontifical approval.
Today the Congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (also known as the "Ravasco Institute") are present in Albania, Italy, Switzerland, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Venezuela, Africa and the Philippines. They continue their work in schools, parishes and missions and are especially dedicated to serving youth and the needy and to promoting the dignity of women.

(Taken from Vatican website)


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Sunday, December 29, 2013

POPE FRANCIS - 3 KEY WORDS TO LIVE IN PEACE AND JOY WITHIN THE FAMILY...

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday turned his attention to the dramatic predicament of migrants and refugees who not always find a welcome, but often become victims of human trafficking and slave labour.

Speaking to the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus, the Pope said that on this first Sunday after Christmas, the liturgy invites us to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. 

He said that the Gospel narrates the Holy Family’s painful exile as it searched for refuge in Egypt and said that Joseph, Mary and Jesus lived the dramatic condition of refugees, “marked by fear, uncertainty and difficulties”.

Unfortunately today – Pope Francis said – millions of families face this same sad reality. Almost every day the television and the newspapers offer news reports about refugees that “flee hunger, war and other grave dangers, and go in search of security and a dignified life for themselves and their families”.

And Pope Francis continued pointing out that in far away lands, even when they find work, “not always do refugees and immigrants find a true welcome, respect, and appreciation for the value that they bring. Their legitimate aspirations clash with complex situations and difficulties that sometimes appear unsurmountable”.

So – the Pope said – as we fix our gaze on the Holy Family of Nazareth in that time when it was forced into exile, “let us think of the drama of those migrants and refugees who are victims of rejection and exploitation, who are victims of human trafficking and slave labour”.

Pope Francis went on to say: “let us also think of those other exiles – I would call them ‘the hidden exiles’ who may be marginalized within their own families – the elderly for example who sometimes are treated like burdens”.

The Pope concluded his address pointing out that Jesus wanted to be part of such a family and be faced with these difficulties so that no one may feel excluded from God’s loving closeness.

The Holy Familiy’s escape to Egypt – he said – shows us that God is there where man is in danger, where man suffers, where he flees, where he is faced with rejection and abandon. But – he continued – God is also there where man has a dream and hopes to return to his homeland and to freedom, where he has a plan for his dignity and for the dignity of his family.

Finally, praying for families across the world, Pope Francis reminded those present that there are three key words to live in peace and joy within the family: “may I?” , “thank you”, and “sorry” – words that help lay the foundations of love, reconciliation, tenderness and mutual help and forgiveness.

After the recitation of the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis turned his attention to the upcoming Concistory and to the next Synod of Bishops which will focus on the theme of the family: He asked the faithful to pray with him for the work of the Bishops and for families throughout the world. 


SHARED from Vatican Radio

CHRISTIANS IN INDONESIA CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS OUTSIDE CHURCH DUE TO EXTREMISTS

ASIA NEWS REPORT: Despite two favourable Supreme Court rulings and two years of waiting, Protestant Christians in West Java still cannot use their place of worship after it was sealed off under pressure from fundamentalists. Christmas services are held under the protection of more than 300 police and security agents. Underground religious activities show what "freedom for minorities" means in "modern and democratic" Indonesia, Christian leader says.


Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Members of the Yasmin Church in Bogor, West Java, celebrated Christmas in a temporary shelter, clinging to the hope that one day their church can reopen.
Two years ago, district authorities seized the church used by the Protestant Christian community for weekend services and major holidays.
They took the building for alleged irregularities in its construction permits, following pressures from local Islamic extremists, who are bent on denying equality rights and freedom of worship to the city's small but significant religious minority.
Their pressures have proved stronger than two rulings by the Indonesian Supreme Court in favour of the Yasmin Church, ordering the building's return to the community and its reopening.
In fact, local authorities have refused to enforce the Supreme Court's decision in order to appease the demands of fundamentalist movements.
 "We have been forced to hide for some time now," going "from one place to another," said Dori Susanto, 60. Until "our rightful place of worship" is not returned, "we shall continue to do so," she added.
In 2006, district authorities granted the community all the building permits required by the law, only to cancel them under pressure from the Muslim majority, stirred up by extremist Islamic groups.
For this reason, members of the GKI Yasmin Church celebrated another Christmas at a location far from their church, whose doors remain are still sealed by order of the Bogor Municipality.
The Protestant community held the services in a makeshift shelter, which had a roof but was otherwise open to the weather, surrounded by at least 300 police and security officers. Not far away, Islamists and members of radical Muslim groups stood by watching the scene.
Still, the faithful were not intimidated and tried instead to participate in the various events. "We're doing the right thing," some of them said, "and we are not afraid."
Their leader and spokesperson Bona Sigalingging backed their stance, saying that church members are determined and resolute to continue the celebrations out in the open or at emergency sites, until their place of worship is not returned.
"Underground religious activities are a clear signal to the government," he added. "In an ostensibly democratic country, there is still the discriminatory practice of sealing off their places of worship."
A prominent local Muslim leader named Turmudi, joined in Christmas celebrations at the Yasmin Church, stressing that it is the duty of Muslims to "maintain ties with others ", including religious minorities.
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, has seen a rise in the number of attacks or acts of intolerance against minorities, including Christians, Ahmadi Muslims and others.
Aceh is the only Indonesian province that enforces Sharia (Islamic law), following a peace deal between the central government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM); however, in many other parts of the country, people are subjected to more radical and extreme visions of Islam.
In addition, certain rules such as the notorious building permit (Ijin Mendirikan Bangunan or IBM in Indonesian) are used to prevent construction or seal off places worship, like the Yasmin Church in West Java.
Indonesia's constitution does recognise freedom of religion, but Christians have become the victims of acts of violence and abuse in the recent past.

In December alone, at least five Christian places of worship had to close their doors because of pressure from Islamists, local sources report.
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POPE FRANCIS PRAYER TO THE HOLY FAMILY

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday invited the faithful to join him sprititually in prayer for the upcoming Concistory and for the next Synod of Bishops which will focus on the theme of the Family.


Celebrating the Feast of the Holy Family on this first Sunday after Christmas, the Pope entrusted the work of the bishops to Jesus, Mary and Joseph and recited this prayer:

PRAYER TO THE HOLY FAMILY


Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
in you we contemplate
the splendour of true love,
to you we turn with trust.


Holy Family of Nazareth,
grant that our families too
may be places of communion and prayer,
authentic schools of the Gospel
and small domestic Churches.


Holy Family of Nazareth,
may families never again 
experience violence, rejection and division:
may all who have been hurt or scandalized
find ready comfort and healing.


Holy Family of Nazareth,
may the approaching Synod of Bishops
make us once more mindful 
of the sacredness and inviolability of the family,
and its beauty in God’s plan.


Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
graciously hear our prayer.


Shared from Vatican Radio