Tuesday, March 4, 2014

WHAT IS LENT AND ASH WEDNESDAY - ANSWERS

    Ash Wednesday a moveable feast that begins the liturgical season of Lent. It does not have a specific date but depends on when Easter is celebrated. On Ash Wednesday Christians begin the period of the fast. Healthy people between the ages of 18 and 59 are required to fast or perform some act of penance. Abstinence from meat is required on Ash Wednesday and Fridays. Fasting requires the consumption of 1 full meal and only 2 smaller meals. Ash Wednesday starts the commemoration of Jesus' 40 days in the desert. Lent is actually 46 days as the Sundays do not count for the fasting period. When people attend Church services on this day they are commonly blessed with ashes in the form of a cross on their foreheads. 
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Where do the ashes come from?
The ashes are usually derived from the burning of the palms used on Palm Sunday. They are to remind people of their sins and call them to repentence. Usually a priest, deacon or lay person marks the person's forehead. The biblical verse is said:
Remember thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return.

Is Ash Wednesday Mass a day of obligation to attend Mass and receive ashes? No, it is not required for the faithful to attend Mass nor receive ashes. It is encouraged and visible sign to pray, do penance, and be humble. 
Genesis 3: 19
OR
Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.
Mark 1 : 15
This marking is called a sacramental. Churches are decorated with purple during the season of Lent. Statues and crosses are covered with purple cloth. Lent ends with the celebration of Easter, when Jesus rose from the dead.The Church encourages the faithful to go to Confession or Reconciliation on this day. Confession involves the telling of one's sins to a priest who then provides forgiveness according to the commission of Christ.
John 20:21-23:
He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

BIBLICAL ROOTS
There are many biblical roots to repentence for sin with ashes, here are a few sources:
Judith 7: 14
But the children of Israel, when they saw the multitude of them, prostrated themselves upon the ground, putting ashes upon their heads, praying with one accord, that the God of Israel would shew his mercy upon his people.
Esther 4:3
And in all provinces, towns, and places, to which the king's cruel edict was come, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting, wailing, and weeping, many using sackcloth and ashes for their bed.
Jeremiah 6:26
Gird thee with sackcloth, O daughter of my people, and sprinkle thee with ashes: make thee mourning as for an only son, a bitter lamentation, because the destroyer shall suddenly come upon us.
 by: Miriam Westen, BA, M.Ed. MA Theology
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TODAY'S SAINT : MARCH 6: ST. COLETTE OF CORBIE

St. Colette of Corbie
FOUNDRESS OF THE COLETTINE POOR CLARES
Feast: February 7


Information:
Feast Day:February 7 or March 6
Born:
13 January 1381, at Corbie in Picardy, France
Died:6 March 1447, Ghent
Canonized:24 May 1807
Founder of Colettine Poor Clares (Clarisses), born 13 January 1381, at Corbie in Picardy, France; died at Ghent, 6 March, 1447. Her father, Robert Boellet, was the carpenter of the famous Benedictine Abbey of Corbie; her mother's name was Marguerite Moyon. Colette joined successively the Bequines, the Benedictines, and the Urbanist Poor Clares. Later she lived for a while as a recluse. Having resolved to reform the Poor Clares, she turned to the antipope, Benedict XIII (Pedro de Luna), then recognized by France as the rightful pope. Benedict allowed her to enter to the order of Poor Clares and empowered her by several Bulls, dated 1406, 1407, 1408, and 1412 to found new convents and complete the reform of the order. With the approval of the Countess of Geneva and the Franciscan Henri de la Beaume, her confessor and spiritual guide, Colette began her work at Beaume, in the Diocese of Geneva. She remained there but a short time and soon opened at Besancon her first convent in an almost abandoned house of Urbanist Poor Clares. Thence her reform spread to Auxonne (1410), to Poligny, to Ghent (1412), to Heidelberg (1444), to Amiens, etc. To the seventeen convents founded during her lifetime must be added another begun by her at Pont-a-Mousson in Lorraine. She also inaugurated a reform among the Franciscan friars (the Coletani), not to be confounded with the Observants. These Coletani remained obedient to the authority of the provincial of the Franciscan convents, and never attained much importance even in France. In 1448 they had only thirteen convents, and together with other small branches of the Franciscan Order were suppressed in 1417 by Leo X. In addition to the strict rules of the Poor Clares, the Colettines follow their special constitutions sanctioned in 1434 by the General of the Franciscans, William of Casale, approved in 1448 by Nicholas V, in 1458 by Pius II, and in 1482 by Sixtus IV.

St. Colette was beatified 23 January, 1740, and canonized 24 May, 1807. She was not only a woman of sincere piety, but also intelligent and energetic, and exercised a remarkable moral power over all her associates. She was very austere and mortified in her life, for which God rewarded her by supernatural favours and the gift of miracles. For the convents reformed by her she prescribed extreme poverty, to go barefooted, and the observance of perpetual fast and abstinence. The Colettine Sisters are found today, outside of France, in Belgium, Germany, Spain, England, and the United States.


source: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/C/stcoletteofcorbie.asp#ixzz1oKKaVjSv

FREE RESOURCES FOR LENT FROM BISHOPS IN USA

Usccb report: Give Up, Take Up, Lift Up!

In his Lenten message for 2014, Pope Francis takes inspiration from the words of St. Paul (Cor 8:9), and asks us to contemplate Paul's invitation to live "a life of evangelical poverty."  

LENT RESOURCES

We can begin to embrace this call by fasting from or "giving up" material things, including foods, that are superfluous to our basic needs; "taking up" charitable habits that are directed to helping and caring for others; and "lifting up" our brothers and sisters who are in need through giving alms, praying and participating in devotional practices.
"In the poor and outcast we see Christ's face; by loving and helping the poor, we love and serve Christ." —Pope Francis, Message for Lent 2014. . .
By taking an active approach to the three traditional pillars of Lenten observance,prayerfasting and almsgiving, we recognize that to be evangelists, we must first be evangelized ourselves. Spiritual suggestions, along with inspirational words from Pope Francis and some of the saints who are remembered during the season on our downloadable Lenten calendar provide a daily reminder of your evangelical call.
This Lent, we also have urgent reason to focus prayer and attention on peace in the Holy Land, as our leaders work to resolve the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Church asks us to surrender ourselves to prayer and to the reading of Scripture, to fasting and to giving alms. The fasting that all do together on Fridays is but a sign of the daily Lenten discipline of individuals and households: fasting for certain periods of time, fasting from certain foods, but also fasting from other things and activities. Likewise, the giving of alms is some effort to share this world equally—not only through the distribution of money, but through the sharing of our time and talents. Contemplate the meaning and origins of the Lenten fasting tradition in this reflection.
In Lent, the baptized are called to renew their baptismal commitment as others prepare to be baptized through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, a period of learning and discernment for individuals who have declared their desire to become Catholics.
The key to fruitful observance of these practices is to recognize their link to baptismal renewal. We are called not just to abstain from sin during Lent, but to true conversion of our hearts and minds as followers of Christ. We recall those waters in which we were baptized into Christ's death, died to sin and evil, and began new life in Christ.
On these pages, you will find a variety of suggestions and resources to help you to "give up," "take up," and "lift up" during this Lent and embrace your baptismal commitment.
Catholics are also encouraged to make going to confession a significant part of their spiritual lives during Lent.  The U.S. Bishops' statement, "God's Gift of Forgiveness: The Pastoral Exhortation on the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation" can be distributed and shared in parishes.  Dioceses are encouraged to make the sacrament available often during Lent and to use these resources to promote participation.  We also have resources to help individuals who have not been to confession in a while "rediscover" the sacrament.
SHARED FROM USCCB

POPE FRANCIS "...The Cross is always present on the road of a Christian!”

(Vatican Radio) The persecution of Christians in contemporary society was the focus of Pope Francis’ homily at his Mass on Tuesday morning in the Santa Marta residence. He warned that
the Cross is always on the road of a Christian, saying there are more Christian martyrs today than during the early days of the Church. 

In his homily, the Pope took as his cue the biblical account of where Peter asked Jesus what the disciples would receive in return for following him. He said Peter probably thought that following Jesus would be a great commercial activity because Jesus is generous but, as Christ warned, whatever they would gain would always be accompanied by persecutions. 

“It’s as if Jesus said, ”Yes, you have left everything and you will receive here on earth many things: but with persecutions!” Like a salad with the oil of persecution: always! This is what the Christian gains and this is the road for the person who wants to follow Jesus, because it’s the road that He himself trod.: He was persecuted! It’s the road of humbling yourself. That’s what Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians. ‘Jesus emptied himself and being in every way like a human being, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross’. This is the reality of Christian life.”

Pope Francis went on to warn that the Cross is always present on the road of a Christian!” We will have many brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers in the Church, in the Christian community, but we also will have persecutions. 

“This is because the world does not tolerate the divinity of Christ. It doesn’t tolerate the preaching of the Gospel. It does not tolerate the Beatitudes. And so we have persecutions: with words, with insults, the things that they said about Christians in the early centuries, the condemnations, imprisonment…. But we easily forget. We think of the many Christians, 60 years ago, in the labour camps, in the camps of the Nazis, of the communists: So many of them! For being Christians! And even today…. But (people say) ‘today we are better educated and these things no longer exist’. Yes they do! And I tell you that today there are more martyrs than during the early times of the Church.”

Pope Francis pointed out that there are many brothers and sister nowadays who bear witness to Jesus and are persecuted. Some cannot even carry around a Bible. 

“They are condemned for having a Bible. They can’t wear a crucifix. And this is the road of Jesus. But it is a joyful road because our Lord never tests us beyond what we can bear. Christian life is not a commercial advantage, it’s not making a career: It’s simply following Jesus! But when we follow Jesus this happens. Let’s think about if we have within us the desire to be courageous in bearing witness to Jesus. And let’s spare a thought -- it will do us good – for the many brothers and sisters who today – today! – cannot pray together because they are persecuted: they cannot have the book of the Gospel or a Bible because they are persecuted.” 

Let’s think, the Pope continued, about those brothers who cannot go to Mass because it is forbidden and let’s ask ourselves if we are prepared to carry the Cross and suffer persecutions like Jesus did? It’s good for all of us to think about this, concluded the Pope. 


Text from Vatican Radio website 

FREE APP FOR LENT FROM ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY AUSTRALIA

ARCHDIOCESE OF SYDNEY RELEASE:
Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
28 Feb 2014

Lent Calendar on iPad and Web
The Archdiocese of Sydney's social network xt3.com will launch its 2014 Lent Calendar and Smartphone App, in partnership with The University of Notre Dame Australia on Ash Wednesday next week.

For each day of Lent, Xt3 will provide daily inspiration through videos, podcasts and reflections, as well as beautiful original artworks of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ, created by Xt3.com
The 2014 Xt3 Lent Calendar is also available as a FREE App for your iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
The calendar can be downloaded for Android devices by searching for "Xt3 Lent" in the Google Play store, or by clicking here.
It is also available for download on the iPad and iPhone, just search for "Xt3 Lent" in the App store, or click here.

Lent Calendar on iPhone and Android
The content for each day is hidden until that particular day of Lent has arrived. The first feature will be available on Ash Wednesday, 5 March 2014.
The first video reflection on Ash Wednesday will be His Eminence Cardinal George Pell on the history and meaning of Lent.
Other original videos include a story on the Easter Mystery with Fr Tony Percy, Rector of the Good Shepherd Seminary; a week in the life of a priest with Fr Michael de Stoop, testimonies from a number of students from The University of Notre Dame Australia; dating for Catholics plus podcasts on aetheism, confession, human trafficking, immigration, and reflections from priests and Bishops from around Australia.
Another feature is a narration of the Stations of the Cross by the Missionaries of God's Love sisters plus content from Fr Robert Barron in the US and George Weigel.
The app will run for one week after Easter up to Divine Mercy Sunday and the canonisation of John Paul II and John XXIII.

PLEASE PRAY FOR THE UKRAINE - APPEAL BY PATRIARCHS

ASIA NEWS IT REPORT:
by Nina Achmatova
The pro tem leader of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (tied to Russia) appeals to Kirill to do everything possible to avoid war. His plea comes after the Kremlin gets the green light to use military force. Russian Orthodox patriarch speaks to President Turchynov by phone.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - Metropolitan Onufry, head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate, has appealed to Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, to make every effort to avoid bloodshed in Ukraine. This comes after the Russian Senate gave the Kremlin the green light to send Russian troops into the Ukraine.
Sources close to the Moscow Patriarchate told AsiaNews that Onufry's initiative was something "new" and "very significant" because it illustrates a different position between Russian and Ukrainian Churches and that the Ukrainian "episcopate is not pro-Russian," as one might have thought in the past.
Speaking on 2 March about the possible deployment of Russia troops in the former Soviet republic, Metropolitan Onufry of Chernovtsy and Bukovina warned against "catastrophic consequences for both countries".
He also described the current situation in Ukraine as "the most difficult in its recent history."
The Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Church just elected Onufry as locum tenens of the Metropolitanate of Kiev in lieu of Metropolitan Vladimir, who has been very ill for some time.
Onufry's plea was followed by a telephone conversation between Kirill and Ukrainian interim president Oleksandr Turchynov, to whom the Orthodox patriarch expressed «deep concern about the latest developments in Ukraine".
Patriarch Kirill said "everything possible should be done to put an end to the suffering of the people, and to stop the violence and all manifestations of ethnic and religious discrimination".
This is the same argument Moscow has used to justify its intervention to defend ethnic Russians in Ukraine.
So far though, no cases of actual attacks or intimidation have been reported against the country's Russian-speaking population.
Whilst the patriarchs prayed for peace in the Ukraine and the country's integrity, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Synodal Department for Cooperation between Church and Society of the Moscow Patriarchate, described the deployment of troops in the Crimea as a "peace mission" whose aim is to "defend the freedom and identity" of the Russian population.
Chaplin said he hoped that soldiers are not faced "a ruthless resistance that could lead to large-scale fighting."

"No one wants bloodshed," said Chaplin, "nor to widen the gap between the Orthodox faithful in the space of historic Rus," a term that refers to the territories of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
SHARED FROM ASIA NEWS IT

WHAT IS MARDI GRAS OR PANCAKE TUESDAY ANSWERS AND A RECIPE FOR YOU


"Mardi Gras" is french for fat tuesday. This refers to the day before Ash Wednesday when the 40 days of Lent officially begins. "Mardi Gras", "Carnival" and "Shrove Tuesday" all involve celebrations of eating, drinking, dancing, etc. before the fasting of Lent.  Some celebrate the "Carnival" by joining in parades with elaborate costumes, festive music, dancing, and other activities. March 4, 2014 is Shrove Tues.
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Princess Kate Middleton: on Shrove Tuesday (Image source: Google)
The english word 'Shrove' refers to confessing of sins for Lent. In parts of Europe the "Shrove Tuesday" is celebrated by flipping pancakes. (image source: http://www.ucfjourno.org/taxonomy/term/3)
"Carnival" means farewell to meat.
There are many cities world-wide that have historic and magnificent celebrations on this day. The most famous include cities famous for Mardi Gras celebrations Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Trinidad and Tobago, New Orleans (Louisiana), Quebec City (Canada).
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Historical roots in Jewish Tradition
The Jews also celebrate the re-dedication of the Temple with Hanukkah. When the re-dedication occurred there was a lighting of the lamps with pure oil that lasted for 8 days. To commemorate this the Jews eat latkes (potato pancakes), made with lots of oil.
IRISH SHROVE TUESDAY PANCAKE RECIPE
Ingredients:
8oz all purpose/plain flour
Pinch salt
2 eggs
2½ cups milk
2 tsp melted butter plus melted butter for cooking
Method:
Makes 12 pancakes
Sieve the flour into a large baking bowl, add the salt. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs and beat well until smooth and lump free.
Add half the milk and the 2 tsp of butter, beat well. Add the remaining milk and stir.
Leave the batter to rest for 15 minutes.
Lightly grease a pancake pan or frying pan with a little melted butter, heat until very hot and add a ladle of batter to evenly and thinly coat the base of the pan. Cook until set and lightly golden. Flip over (if you are really brave try tossing the pancake in the air, great fun) and cook on the other side for approx 30 seconds.
Remove the pancake from the pan, place on a sheet of kitchen paper and keep warm. Continue as above until all the batter is used up.
(RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.irishcentral.com/roots/Celebrate-Fat-Tuesday-or-Shrove-Tuesday-with-this-delicious-Irish-pancake-recipe-139804393.html#ixzz1n4N5C1tP)
Some traditions over the centuries have led to excessive indulgences during this day. Let us keep sober and remember the roots of the Lenten fast when Jesus spent 40 days in the desert. In the Gospels we find the story which is the reason for the fast; when Jesus "was in the desert forty days and forty nights, and was tempted by Satan; and he was with beasts, and the angels ministered to him." (Mark 1:13)

TODAY'S MASS ONLINE : TUESDAY MARCH 4, 2014

Tuesday of the Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 348


Reading 1        1 PT 1:10-16

Beloved:
Concerning the salvation of your souls
the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours
searched and investigated it
investigating the time and circumstances
that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated
when it testified in advance
to the sufferings destined for Christ
and the glories to follow them.
It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you
with regard to the things that have now been announced to you
by those who preached the Good News to you
through the Holy Spirit sent from heaven,
things into which angels longed to look.

Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly,
and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Like obedient children,
do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance
but, as he who called you is holy,
be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct,
for it is written, Be holy because I am holy.

Responsorial Psalm                PS 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4

R. (2a) The Lord has made known his salvation.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has made known his salvation.

Gospel          MK 10:28-31

Peter began to say to Jesus,
“We have given up everything and followed you.”
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.
But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.”