Sunday, December 11, 2016

Saint December 12 : Our Lady of Guadalupe : #Guadelupe Miracle Image

THE STORY OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE On December 9, 1531, in Mexico, Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego, a poor humble Aztec Indian who had recently converted to the Catholic faith. She asked him to go to the Bishop and tell him to build a church where she said “I will show and offer all of my love, my compassion, my help and my protection to my people.” Juan Diego did as she asked, but the Bishop asked for a sign that this message was really from Our Lady. Mary granted his request. On December 12, she showed Juan where the most beautiful Castilian roses were and told him to gather them. It was a miracle that the roses were there and in bloom because there was frost on the ground, and the ground was an infertile place where only cactus and thistles grew. After he gathered them, she helped arrange them in his tilma, or poncho, and told him to show them to the Bishop. When he brought them to the Bishop, the Bishop was amazed at the roses, but was even more amazed at what began to happen to Juan Diego’s tilma. Right before their very eyes, the image of Our Lady began to form on the cloth. The picture of Mary was beautiful and the Bishop fell to his knees. He had the church built at her request. The tilma is still intact after 470 years. The colors have not faded and the cloth has not deteriorated. It has been on display in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe for all this time. The manner in which Our Lady appeared on the tilma was very significant to the Aztec Indians. God had her dressed in a way that they would understand who she was. She was dressed in royal clothes that showed that she was very important, perhaps a queen. She also had the symbol of the cross at her neck which was the same symbol the Spaniards had on their ships and in the churches they built. She had a sash tied around her waist which meant that she was with child, for this was the way the Aztec women dressed when they were pregnant. And on her beautiful dress were all sorts of designs and flowers. But there was one flower on her dress that was very significant. It had only four petals. To the Aztecs, the four petal flower was the symbol for the true God, the God above all gods. This flower was located on her abdomen, right over the place where Jesus was growing inside of her. The Aztecs immediately understood that this was the mother of the true God! This appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe was very important to the history of our continent. You see, the Aztec Indians and the Spaniards were on the brink of war. The Aztec Indians’ culture and religion were very different from the Spaniards. They worshipped gods, to whom they would offer human sacrifices, often killing 50,000 people a year. The Spaniards, who were Catholic, were naturally disgusted by this. But they were cruel to the Aztecs too, treating them like animals and sometimes killing them for no reason. If a war had occurred, it would have been very brutal and the Spaniards and Christianity would have been totally wiped out. Mary’s appearance changed everything, however. It helped the Indians to embrace Christianity and it helped the Spaniards to treat the Indians with respect and as human beings. In the course of seven years, 6,000,000 Indians converted to the Catholic faith. This was the biggest conversion in the history of the Church! This is why Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Patroness of the Americas. Juan Diego, the humble man to whom she appeared, was canonized in the summer of 2002. Mary’s appearance also put an end to the worship of stone gods and the ritual of human sacrifice. We pray for Mary’s help today to bring an end to the human sacrifice of God’s children through abortion and to convert non-believers. Our Lady of Guadalupe is also called the Patroness of the Unborn.
Shared from the Archdiocese of Baltimore 

#Amazing Lights show for #Christmas on #Cathedral in #Sydney Australia - SHARE

St Mary's Cathedral Lights Up for Christmas

Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese, 
The spectacular Lights of Christmas presented by PAYCE was launched  by the Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP on the steps of St Mary's Cathedral.
Families and visitors to Sydney gathered in the Cathedral forecourt for the live entertainment. The sandstone facade of the Cathedral became the backdrop to an amazing animated light show.

The Lights of Christmas presented by PAYCE has become a tradition for thousands across Sydney, bringing a festive, communal and friendly feel to the heart of the city.
The projection will run every night from 8.30pm up to and including Christmas Day.
The Lights of Christmas has become a gathering point for Sydneysiders and visitors to share in the spirit of the season and also to experience the true meaning of Christmas. The Cathedral is open each night to invite those who have come to see the laser light show to experience the beauty and serenity of this iconic shrine from the inside as well. Groups from across the Church in Sydney will be present inside the Cathedral to welcome visitors, play music and create an atmosphere of prayer. Those who enter are invited to "Light a Candle for Christmas".
But the opening night of the Lights is always very special and a great surprise with everyone wondering what amazing animation will be presented on the Cathedral facade for another Christmas. (Edited from the Archdiocese of Ottawa)

#PopeFrancis "Joy is the fruit of this intervention of salvation and of the love of God." FULL TEXT #Angelus + Video

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today we celebrate the third Sunday of Advent, marked by St. Paul’s invitation: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near” (Philippians 4:4-5). It is not a superficial or purely emotional joy that the Apostle exhorts us to. It’s also not worldly, or this joy of consumerism. No, no, it’s not that. It’s a joy that is more authentic; we are called to rediscover the taste of this joy, the taste of true joy. It is a joy that reaches the intimacy of our being, as we await Jesus, who has already come to bring salvation to the world, the promised Messiah, born in Bethlehem to the Virgin Mary.
The Liturgy of the Word offers us the proper context to understand and live this joy.
Isaiah speaks of the desert, of the parched land, of the steppe (cf. 35:1); the prophet has before him feeble hands, weak knees, frightened hearts, the blind, the deaf and the mute (cf vs. 3-6). It is the picture of a desolate situation, of the inexorable destination when God is lacking.
But finally, salvation is proclaimed: Be strong, fear not!, says the prophet. Here is your God … he comes to save you (vs 4). And immediately, everything is transformed: The desert blooms, joy and gladness fill hearts (cf vs. 5-6). These signs announced by Isaiah as revelations of a salvation already present, are fulfilled in Jesus.
He himself affirms this responding to the messengers sent by John the Baptist. What does Jesus say to these messengers? “The blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised” (Mt 11:5). They are not words, they are facts that show how the salvation brought by Jesus grips every human being and regenerates him. God has entered into history to liberate us from the slavery of sin; he has placed his dwelling in our midst to share our existence, to heal our scars, to bandage our wounds and give us new life. Joy is the fruit of this intervention of salvation and of the love of God.
We are called to participate in the sentiment of jubilation, this jubilation, this joy. A Christian who is not joyful — something is missing in this Christian, or he is not a Christian. The joy of the heart, the joy within that brings us forward and gives us courage. The Lord comes, he comes to our lives as the liberator, he comes to free us from all interior and exterior slaveries. He is the one who indicates to us the path of fidelity, of patience and of perseverance, because, at his arrival, our joy shall be complete.
Christmas is near. The signs of its coming are evident on our streets and in our homes. Also here in the Square, the nativity scene has been set up, and at its side, the tree. These external signs invite us to welcome the Lord who always comes and knocks at our door; he calls to our heart to come close. He invites us to recognize his steps among those of our brothers and sisters who pass beside us, especially the weakest and most needy.
Today we are invited to be joyful at the imminent arrival of our Redeemer; and we are called to share this joy with others, giving consolation and hope to the poor, to the sick, to those who are lonely or unhappy.
May the Virgin Mary, the “handmaid of the Lord,” help us to hear the voice of God in prayer and to serve him with compassion in our brothers, to arrive to Christmas prepared, preparing our hearts to welcome Jesus.
[Angelus; after the Angelus, the Holy Father added:]
Dear brothers and sisters,
Every day I am close, above all in prayer, to the people of Aleppo. We should not forget that Aleppo is a city. That there are people there: families, children, elderly, sick people … Lamentably, we have already grown accustomed to the war, to the destruction, but we should not forget that Syria is a country full of history, of culture, of faith. We cannot accept that all of this be negated by war, which is a knot of the abuse of power and of falsehood. I make a call to everyone to commit, so that there might be a choice for civilization: no to destruction, yes to peace, yes to the people of Aleppo and of Syria.
And we pray as well for the victims of some brutal terrorist attacks that in the last few hours have struck various countries. There are various places but unfortunately the violence that sows death and destruction is one and the same. And one and the same, too, is the response: faith in God and unity in human and social values.
I would like to express a special closeness to my dear brother Pope Tawadros II and his community; I am praying for the dead and the wounded.
Today in Vientiane, in Laos, will be the beatification of Mario Borzaga, a priest of the Missionary Oblates of Immaculate Mary, Paul Thoj Xyooj, a faithful lay catechist, and 14 companions, killed in hatred of the faith. Their heroic fidelity to Christ can be an encouragement and an example for missionaries, and especially for catechists, who in missionary lands carry out a valuable and irreplaceable apostolic work, for which the whole Church is thankful. Let us think of our catechists — they do a lot of work, good work — to be a catechist is something very beautiful, it is to bring the message of the Lord so that it grows in us. Applause for all catechists, for all of them!
I greet all of you with affection, dear pilgrims from various countries. Today, the first greeting is reserved for the children and youth of Rome, who’ve come for the traditional blessing of the Baby Jesus figurines, organized by parish oratories and Catholic schools. Dear children, when you pray before your creche with your parents, ask the Baby Jesus to help all of us to love God and our neighbor. And a reminder to pray also for me, as I pray for you. Thank you.
I greet the professors of the Catholic University of Sydney, the choir of Mosteiro de Grijo in Portugal, the faithful of Barbianello and Campobasso.
I wish all of you a happy Sunday. And don’t forget to pray for me. And one thing I wanted to say to the children and the youth. We want to hear you sing a song. Have a good lunch and until soon! Sing!
[Translation by ZENIT]

#BreakingNews 160 Killed as Church Collapses in Nigeria - Many Injured - Please PRAY

Reigners Bible Church collapsed on Saturday December 11, 2016 killing 160. The Church which was still under construction was overcrowded. It was located in  Uyo, Nigeria, collapsed on worshippers Saturday. Akwa Ibom Gov. Udom Emmanuel was there when it collapsed and narrowly escaped. He has declared Monday and Tuesday as days of mourning in the state. Efforts are underway to rescue victims trapped beneath the rubble. The precise number of dead and injured is unknown. The hospital has confirmed 160 killed so far.  "People are blaming the construction, but there were also too many people in that church." Emmanuel's press secretary, Ekerete Udoh, said in a statement the church "caved around them" at a ceremony to consecrate the church pastor's becoming a bishop. Udoh said the state government is trying determine the cause of the accident and will pay for the medical treatment of all those injured. Uyo is the capital of Akwa Ibom state, the coastal southern region. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari commented on the disaster in a series of tweets, saying "any tragedy that affects any part of Nigeria affects all of us." 

#BreakingNews Bomb blast near St. Mark's Cathedral in Egypt Kills at least 25 on Sunday - Please PRAY

A bomb blast has killed at least 25; it happened near St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in central Cairo  on Sunday. The explosion in the Egyptian capital has also left 31 others injured. The blast occurred in Cairo's Abbassyia district early Sunday morning.The Coptic Church's official spokesperson Rev. Paul Halim says the explosion took place in the small church of St. Peter and St. Paul attached to the cathedral.  Two days ago two bombs killed six police officers and a civilian in Giza. Copts have often faced persecution. Coptic Christians include 10 percent of Egypt's 80 million residents.
Pope Francis said after reciting the Angelus.
“And we also pray for the victims of some horrible terrorist attacks which have hit various countries in the last few hours,” 

“There are several places, but unfortunately, unique is the violence that sows death and destruction. But the response is also unique: Faith in God and unity in human and civil values,” – Pope Francis said – “I would like to express a special closeness to my dear brother Pope Tawadros II [the head of the Coptic Church] and to his community, and I am praying for the dead and the wounded.”

Sunday Mass Online : Sun. December 11, 2016 - 3rd of #Advent - Readings and Video - Year A

Third Sunday of Advent
Lectionary: 7

Reading 1IS 35:1-6A, 10

The desert and the parched land will exult;
the steppe will rejoice and bloom.
They will bloom with abundant flowers,
and rejoice with joyful song.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to them,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the LORD,
the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the hands that are feeble,
make firm the knees that are weak,
say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
with divine recompense
he comes to save you.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.

Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return
and enter Zion singing,
crowned with everlasting joy;
they will meet with joy and gladness,
sorrow and mourning will flee.

Responsorial PsalmPS 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10

R. (cf. Is 35:4) Lord, come and save us.
R. Alleluia.
The LORD God keeps faith forever,
secures justice for the oppressed,
gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets captives free.
R. Lord, come and save us.
R. Alleluia.
The LORD gives sight to the blind;
the LORD raises up those who were bowed down.
The LORD loves the just;
the LORD protects strangers.
R. Lord, come and save us.
R. Alleluia.
The fatherless and the widow he sustains,
but the way of the wicked he thwarts.
The LORD shall reign forever;
your God, O Zion, through all generations.
R. Lord, come and save us.
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2JAS 5:7-10

Be patient, brothers and sisters,
until the coming of the Lord.
See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth,
being patient with it
until it receives the early and the late rains.
You too must be patient.
Make your hearts firm,
because the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another,
that you may not be judged.
Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates.
Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters,
the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

AlleluiaIS 61:1 (CITED IN LK 4:18)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 11:2-11

When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ,
he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question,
“Are you the one who is to come,
or should we look for another?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Go and tell John what you hear and see:
the blind regain their sight,
the lame walk,
lepers are cleansed,
the deaf hear,
the dead are raised,
and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.
And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”

As they were going off,
Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John,
“What did you go out to the desert to see?
A reed swayed by the wind?
Then what did you go out to see?
Someone dressed in fine clothing?
Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces.
Then why did you go out? To see a prophet?
Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
This is the one about whom it is written:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way before you.

Amen, I say to you,
among those born of women
there has been none greater than John the Baptist;
yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”