Sunday, December 30, 2012


St. Sylvester
Feast: December 31

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.



Vatican Radio REPORT This Sunday, as tens of thousands thronged St Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict XVI marked the Feast of the Holy Family with a special prayer for “all the families of the world”: That parents “seriously concern” themselves with their children’s education, that they realise that every child is “an incomparable gift from God”, and that they are neither “friends nor masters” of their children’s lives but “guardians” of this gift.

Below a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Father’s Angelus address this feast of the Holy Family.

"Dear brothers and sisters!

Today is the feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth. In the liturgy the passage from Luke’s Gospel presents the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph who, faithful to tradition, go to Jerusalem for the Passover with the twelve-year-old Jesus. The first time Jesus had entered the Temple of the Lord was forty days after his birth, when his parents had offered "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons" (Luke 2:24) on his behalf, which is the sacrifice of poor. "Luke, whose Gospel is filled with a whole theology of the poor and poverty, makes it clear ... that Jesus' family was counted among the poor of Israel; he helps us to understand that it was there among them where the fulfillment of God’s promise matured" ( The Infancy Narratives, 96). Today Jesus is in the Temple again, but this time he has a different role, which involves him in the first person. He undertakes the pilgrimage to Jerusalem as prescribed by the Law (Ex 23.17, 34.23 ff) together with Mary and Joseph, although he was not yet in his thirteenth year: a sign of the deep religiosity of the Holy Family. But when his parents return to Nazareth, something unexpected happens: he, without saying anything, remains in the City. For three days, Mary and Joseph search for him and find him in the Temple, speaking with the teachers of the Law (Lk 2: 46 ,47), and when they ask him for an explanation, Jesus tells them they have no cause to wonder, because that is his place, that is his home, with the Father, who is God (The Infancy Narratives 143). "He – Origen writes - professes to be in the temple of his Father, the Father who has revealed Himself to us and of which he says he is the Son" (Homilies on the Gospel of Luke, 18, 5).

Mary and Joseph’s concern for Jesus is the same as every parent who educates a child, introduces them to life and to understanding reality. Today, therefore, we should say a special prayer to the Lord for all the families of the world. Imitating the Holy Family of Nazareth, may parents seriously concern themselves about the growth and education of their children, so that they may mature as responsible and honest citizens, without ever forgetting that faith is a precious gift to be nourished in their children through personal example. At the same time we pray that every child is welcomed as a gift from God, is sustained by the love of the father and mother in order to advance as the Lord Jesus "in wisdom and age and favour before God and man " (Lk 2: 52). The love, loyalty and dedication of Mary and Joseph are an example for all Christian couples who are neither the friends nor masters of their children’s lives, but the guardians of this incomparable gift from God.

The silence of Joseph, the just man (cf. Mt 1:19), and the example of Mary who kept all things in her heart (cf. Lk 2:51), causes us to enter into the mystery full of faith and humanity of the Holy family. I wish for all Christian families to live in the presence of God with the same love and the same joy as the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

I welcome all the English-speaking visitors present for this Angelus prayer. Today the Church throughout the world celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family. May Jesus, Mary and Joseph bring greater love, unity and harmony to all Christian families, that they in their turn may be a firm example to the communities in which they live. May God bless you and your dear families!



1 cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
3 Tablespoons of Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 cup Milk (or semi-sweet) Chocolate chips
3 Tablespoons of Butter
2 packages of Cream Cheese (250 grams each) melted
3 Eggs
1. Mix crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of pie plate
2. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until blended. Then add eggs and beat on low until blended. Pour over crust.
3. Mix in Chocolate Chips
4. Bake 35-50 minutes or until centre is almost set.
5. Refrigerate for 3 hours.
6. Top with 1 tin of Fruit Pie Filling - flavor of your choice - ie. Cherry

Blessed New Year's!




Birmingham: Archbishop Longley on Feast of the Holy Family | Birmingham: Archbishop Longley on Feast of the Holy Family

Archbishop Longley, picture by Peter Jennings
The following Pastoral Letter by the Most Reverend Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham, is being read in all churches and chapels throughout the Archdiocese of Birmingham, on the Feast of the Holy Family, Sunday, 30 December 2012 
Teach each other, and advise each other, in all wisdom
This beautiful Christmas feast of the Holy Family offers us a welcome moment to pause. After our celebration of Christmas itself and as we journey towards the Epiphany we are like the wise men following the star. We need to reflect on what we have seen and to search for its deeper meaning in our lives. The birth of our Saviour, the Incarnation of the Word of God, reveals the hidden wisdom of God and his eternal purposes for humanity.
The Christmas story bears a profound message that is meant not only for Christian believers but for all men and women who are open to the truth. It is a message that is presented to us in the simple life of a humble family beginning at Bethlehem and continuing in Nazareth. This Holy Family can help us to understand God’s inner life of love and self-giving and can show us some of the values that underpin the gift of human life itself.
Our faith teaches us, through the insights of Holy Scripture that we have been created in the image and likeness of God. In ourselves we reflect something of the goodness, beauty and creativity of Almighty God. In our relationships with others we mirror something of the inner life of the Blessed Trinity, the eternally loving relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Even though the image of God within us has become distorted and obscured by sin, Jesus our Saviour is restoring that image through the work of redemption first seen at Christmas.  The bonds of love that hold Jesus, Mary and Joseph together as the Holy Family formed the first human relationships that the Word-made-flesh would know. It is God’s will that we should live in loving family relationships in a way that reveals something of the inner life of the Trinity. It is not by chance that Jesus comes to know the love of a human father and mother within his family - it is his heavenly Father's plan.
The complementary love of father and mother is a precious gift that we should wish for every child. We know that many single parents courageously and generously look after their children and often struggle to give them a fine up-bringing. If it had not been for the understanding of St Joseph, our Lady herself might have had to face the difficulties of being a single parent. Even so, the experience of growing up with our father and mother to teach and guide, to console and love us unconditionally is an invaluable blessing in life.
The Government’s intention to legislate for same-sex marriage would undermine this Christian view of the family. Government policy cannot foresee the full consequences, for the children involved or for wider society, of being brought up by two mothers without a father’s influence or by two fathers without a mother's influence. We first learn about diversity and acquire a respect for difference through the complementarity of our parents.
In this Year of Faith it is important that we try to communicate to others, with clarity and confidence, the truths that come to us through Jesus Christ and his Church. The teaching of Christ recognises the union of man and woman in marriage as part of God's plan. lt also echoes his own experience of the life he shared with Mary and Joseph at Nazareth.
Last October the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization reflected on some of the challenges we face in our own society and encouraged us to strengthen our voice in the public forum. In our own country, where the Christian teaching on marriage is accused by a vociferous minority of being behind the times, we must patiently and courteously insist that the wisdom of Christ is good news for every age and for all people.
We are not claiming to be better than others, since we have the same struggle as everyone else to live a good life. But we have received in Christ a light to show us the way and a mission to share that light with others. St Paul urges us to teach each other and advise each other, in all wisdom.
May the lives of our families reflect the values of the Kingdom which we strive to share with others. On the threshold of a New Year may the Holy Family of Nazareth inspire and encourage us to be true to Christ and to be his faithful witnesses in the world and in our own family homes.
I pray that you and your family may be richly blessed this Christmastide and as the coming year unfolds.



The family, the domestic Church
Following the recommendations of the former Ad Hoc Committee on Life and Family of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), the Bishops of Canada at their October 2011 Plenary Assembly adopted a plan to implement a national pastoral initiative for life and family. The initiative includes a number of possible elements that individual Bishops may decide to use in their dioceses as part of their ongoing pastoral planning. 
lifeandfamilyimageIn his December 2011 letter, the CCCB President, the Most Reverend Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton, invited the Bishops to discuss in each of their dioceses how such a pastoral plan could be implemented during 2013, with 2012 to serve as a preparatory year. As proposed, the various elements include: strategies for formation; the promotion of life and family; outreach for life; programs for youth and the elderly; and collaboration with ecclesial movements and new communities. These options can be adapted and implemented by the Bishops in their respective dioceses, according to their evolving pastoral needs, diocesan resources, and local priorities.
In addition to developing its own resource materials “to build a culture of life and a civilization of love,” the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) is assisting the CCCB in developing possible documentation that can be part of the diocesan pastoral plan. The documents and activities proposed by the CCCB for possible use are listed below, for downloading and printing free of charge, or for adapting as needed.
Dioceses and Church organizations are also invited to exchange and share their own life and family materials or activities. The CCCB would be happy to assist by adding these to this webpage. Suggestions can be submitted to


Worshippers pelted with excreta at Christmas Eve service
Ryan Dagur, Jakarta
2012-12-26 12:49:00
Catholic Church News Image of
HKBP Philadelphia members celebrate Christmas outside the presidential palace
About 200 Protestants from the Batak Society Christian Church (HKBP) Philadelphia in West Java were attacked by Muslims as they gathered to attend a Christmas Eve service on Monday.
Church members, who are involved in a dispute with local officials after being denied a permit to build a place of worship in Bekasi district, had gathered for the service on land where they hope to build their church.
“Hundreds of Muslims threw rotten eggs, dung and plastic bags full of urine at us,” Reverend Palti Panjaitan, a leader of the Protestants, told yesterday.
He said the congregation was forced to flee and hold its service in the compound of a police station.
HKBP Philadelphia was denied permission to build a church in the district after submitting an application in 2007.
In December 2009, district authorities also banned the congregation from worshipping at the proposed site, but in July last year the Supreme Court ruled in their favor, saying they were eligible for a permit.
The permit has still to be issued.
Congregation members and activists who tried attending the service later criticized police for not doing anything to prevent the attack.
“They stood by and did nothing,” Panjaitan said.
Maruli Tua Rajagukguk from the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute said he found the situation difficult to understand.
“Police personnel seemed unconcerned that the congregation was attacked so arbitrarily,” he said.
The country’s Religious Affairs Minister, Suryadharma Ali, however criticized HKBP Philadelphia for trying to hold the service, saying the congregation should wait for the building permit to be issued by local authorities.
"The permit hasn’t been issued yet, so wait for it. Don’t create disturbances which can lead to misunderstandings,” he said.
A similar incident also occurred in May when the Protestants tried to celebrate Ascension Day.


Dec 30, 2012 - Feast of Holy Family

sirach 3: 2 - 7, 12 - 14

2For the Lord honored the father above the children, and he confirmed the right of the mother over her sons.
3Whoever honors his father atones for sins,
4and whoever glorifies his mother is like one who lays up treasure.
5Whoever honors his father will be gladdened by his own children, and when he prays he will be heard.
6Whoever glorifies his father will have long life, and whoever obeys the Lord will refresh his mother;
7he will serve his parents as his masters.
12O son, help your father in his old age, and do not grieve him as long as he lives;
13even if he is lacking in understanding, show forbearance; in all your strength do not despise him.
14For kindness to a father will not be forgotten, and against your sins it will be credited to you;
Psalms 128: 1 - 5
1Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways!
2You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.
3Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
4Lo, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD.
5The LORD bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life!
Colossians 3: 12 - 21

12Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience,13forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.18Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.19Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.21Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
Luke 2: 22 - 40

22And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord23(as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord")24and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons."25Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.26And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.27And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law,28he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,29"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word;30for mine eyes have seen thy salvation31which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples,32a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel."33And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him;34and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against35(and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed."36And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phan'u-el, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity,37and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.38And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.39And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.40And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.


CHURCHYEAR REPORT: The Feast of the Holy Family celebrates the family unit and the Holy Family: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The feast usually falls on the Sunday after Christmas. If Christmas is a Sunday, then the feast is celebrated on December 30th. In 2011, the feast falls on December 30th.

Basic Facts

Liturgical Color(s): White
Type of Holiday:Feast Day; Holy Day of Obligation (if on a Sunday)
Time of Year: The Sunday between Christmas and New Year's Day; If both are Sundays, the feast is celebrated on December 30
Duration: One Day
Celebrates/Symbolizes: The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
Alternate Names: Holy Family Sunday
Scriptural References: Matthew 2:13-23; Luke 2:1-24, Psalm 128, Colossians 3:12-21.


The Holy Family is the name given to the family unit of Jesus: The Divine Son of God Jesus, his mother Mary, and his foster-father Joseph. We know very little about the life of the Holy Family through the Canonical Scriptures. They speak of the early years of the Holy Family, including the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, the flight into Egypt, and the finding of Jesus in the temple. Various non-canonical works, including the
Infancy Gospel of Thomas, try to fill in the blanks. However, even though these apocryphal works may contain some truth from oral tradition, they have been deemed unworthy of canonical status because of the way they present Jesus. While the exact details of the day-to-day life of the Holy Family may be unknown, we can still learn a lot from the stories we do have.
Devotion to the Holy Family is a recent development, but one that naturally grows out of a love for Jesus and his family. The cult of the Holy Family grew in popularity in the 17th century, and several religious congregations have been founded under this title. The Holy Family also became portrayed in popular art of the period. On October 26, 1921 the Congregation of Rites (under Pope Benedict XV) inserted the Feast of the Holy Family into the Latin Rite general calendar. Until then it had been celebrated regionally (see History below). Popes before and including Benedict XV (especially Leo XIII) promoted the feast as a way to counter the breakdown of the family unit. Today the Church celebrates the Feast on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year's Day (Known as the Feast of Mary Mother of God in the Catholic Church). If both Christmas and New Year's Day fall on Sundays, no Sunday exists between the two dates, so the Church celebrates the Holy Family Feast on December 30th. If the feast falls on the 30th, attendance is not obligatory. Up until 1969, the Holy Family feast was kept on the first Sunday after the Epiphany. It was transferred to its current date in 1969.

The Feast of the Holy Family is not just about the Holy Family, but about our own families too. The main purpose of the Feast is to present the Holy Family as the model for all Christian families, and for domestic life in general. Our family life becomes sanctified when we live the life of the Church within our homes. This is called the "domestic church" or the "church in miniature." St. John Chrysostom urged all Christians to make each home a "family church," and in doing so, we sanctify the family unit. Just how does one live out the Church in the family? The best way is by making Christ the center of family and individual life. Ways to do this include: reading scripture regularly, praying daily, attending Mass at least on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, imitating the actions of the Holy Family, going to confession frequently, and so forth, all done together as a family unit. In addition to cultivating positive actions, the Church understands that various actions and behaviors are contrary to God's Divine plan for the family, and these should be avoided. These include abortion, contraception, same-sex marriage, polygamy, embryonic stem-cell research, divorce, spousal abuse, child abuse, and co-habitation. Catholic Teaching is that a marriage must be open to children. Anything artificial that prevents this is contrary to divine law, although spacing births for a just reason is permitted (and may be licitly accomplished through "natural family planning"). Also, poverty, lack of health care, rights violations, government intrusion in the life of communities and families, and other justice concerns must be addressed by faithful Christians because of the negative effect these conditions have on the family unit. St. Paul gives us some advice on family life in Colossians 3:12-21:
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged (RSV).
The Holy Family feast is a good time to remember the family unit and pray for our human and spiritual families. We also may take this feast to reflect on the value and sanctity of the family unit, and to evaluate our own family life. What ways may it be improved? What would Jesus, Mary, and Joseph do? Finally, we can use this feast to ask ourselves what are we doing to promote the family within our own cultures, neighborhoods, and communities.


In 1643 Louis and Barbe d'Ailleboust came to Canada in order to devote their lives to the welfare of the natives there. After her husband had passed away, Barbe, with the assistance of the Jesuit Father Chaumonot, founded the Confraternity of the Holy Family. The confraternity and devotion to the Holy Family spread all over Canada and had the effect of promoting good morals. Monsignor François de Laval invited her to Quebec, and gave her the general management if the confraternity, which still exists today. In 1675, the now Bishop de Laval had a little book printed in Paris instructing the members of the confraternity as to virtuous practices. Bishop de Laval also established the feast of the Holy Family, and had a mass and office drawn up which are proper to the Diocese of Québec. The feast was later added in 1921 to the General calendar of the Western Rite as a way to counteract the breakdown of the family.