Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Novena for Christmas : Day 2 : Official with Plenary Indulgence - Powerful #Prayers to Share!

Opening Prayer:

V. O God, come to my assistance.

R. O Lord, make haste to help me.

Glory be to the Father and to
the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now
and ever shall be, world without


Our Father, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Day 2 Prayers

The Visitation.
O most sweet infant Jesus, who by means of your
Virgin Mother, visited St. Elizabeth, and filled your
servant, St. John the Baptist, with the Holy Spirit,
sanctifying him from his mother's womb.
Day 1:
Day 9: 
NOVENA PREPARATORY TO CHRISTMAS In order to the devout preparation of ourselves for the glorious Birthday of our most loving Saviour, Jesus Christ, which the holy Church recalls to our memory every year on the 25th of December, and at the same time to render Him thanks for this great benefit, Pope Pius VII., by a Rescript of the Segretaria of the Memorials, dated August 12th, 1815 (which said Rescript is preserved in the Segretaria of the Vicariate), granted to all faithful Christians who, being contrite in heart, should prepare themselves for that great solemnity by a novena, consisting of pious exercises, prayers, acts of virtue, &c. -
i. An indulgence of 300 days each day of the said novena, and -
ii. A plenary indulgence to be gained on Christmas day, or on some day in its octave, by those who, after Confession and Communion, shall have made the said novena every day, and who shall pray according to the intentions of the Sovereigns Pontiff: and note that the Confession and Communion may be made on  any one of the days of the said novena, provided the novena is correctly kept. This was declared by Pope Pius VIII., of holy memory, by means of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, July 9, 1830. These indulgences were extended by the above-named Pius VII. to one other time in the year, besides the the specified, when any one should make the aforesaid novena in honour of the Child Jesus.

Pope Francis says "Bring the Gospel to the places where you live: in homes, schools, workplaces...and if life is reborn, it's really Christmas." Full Text


Paul VI Hall
Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Catechesis: The nativity scene, domestic Gospel

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

In a week it will be Christmas. In these days, while we are running to make preparations for the party, we can ask ourselves: "How am I preparing for the birth of the Celebration?" A simple but effective way to prepare is to make the crèche. This year too I followed this route: I went to Greccio, where St. Francis made the first nativity scene, with the locals. And I wrote a letter to remember the meaning of this tradition, what does the creche mean at Christmas time.

The nativity in fact "is like a living Gospel" (Apostolic Letter Admirabile signum, 1). Bring the Gospel to the places where you live: in homes, schools, workplaces and meeting places, in hospitals and nursing homes, in prisons and in squares. And where we live reminds us of one essential thing: that God did not remain invisible in heaven, but came to Earth, he became man, a child. Making the nativity is celebrating God's closeness. God has always been close to his people, but when he was incarnate and born, he was very close, very close. Making the crèche is celebrating God's closeness, it is rediscovering that God is real, concrete, alive and palpitating. God is not a distant lord or a detached judge, but he is humble Love, descended to us. The Child in the crèche gives us his tenderness. Some statues depict the "Baby Jesus" with open arms, to tell us that God has come to embrace our humanity. Then it is nice to be in front of the nativity and there to trust in the life of the Lord, talk to him about the people and situations we care about, make the budget for the year that is ending with him, share the expectations and concerns.

Next to Jesus we see the Mary and Saint Joseph. We can imagine the thoughts and feelings they had while the Child was born in poverty: joy, but also dismay. And we can also invite the Holy Family to our home, where there are joys and worries, where every day we wake up, take food and sleep close to our loved ones. The crèche is a domestic Gospel. The word crib literally means "manger", while the city of the crèche, Bethlehem, means "house of bread". Manger and bread house: the crèche we make at home, where we share food and affections, reminds us that Jesus is nourishment, the bread of life (see Jn 6:34). It is He who feeds our love, it is He who gives our families the strength to go on and forgive us.

The crèche offers us another lesson in life. In today's frenetic rhythms it is an invitation to contemplation. It reminds us of the importance of stopping. Because only when we know how to gather can we welcome what matters in life. Only if we leave the noise of the world outside of ourselves do we open ourselves to listening to God, who speaks in silence. The crèche is current, it is the topicality of every family. Yesterday they gave me a little picture of a special crèche, little one, which was called: "Let mom rest". There was the sleeping Madonna and Joseph with the Baby there, who made him sleep. How many of you must share the night between husband and wife for the child or child who cries, cries, cries. "Let mother rest" is the tenderness of a family, of a marriage.
The crèche is more relevant than ever, while every day many weapons and so many violent images are made in the world, which enter the eyes and the heart. The crèche is instead a handcrafted image of peace. This is why it is a living Gospel.

Dear brothers and sisters, from the crèche we can finally grasp a teaching on the very meaning of life. We see daily scenes: the shepherds with the sheep, the blacksmiths who beat the iron, the millers who make bread; at times landscapes and situations of our territories are inserted. It is right, because the crèche reminds us that Jesus comes into our concrete life. And, this is important. To make a small crèche at home, always, because it is the memory that God came to us, he was born of us, he accompanies us in life, he is a man like us, he became a man like us. In everyday life we ​​are no longer alone, He lives with us. It does not magically change things but, if we welcome it, everything can change. I wish you then that making the crèche is an opportunity to invite Jesus into life. When we make the crèche at home, it is like opening the door and saying: "Jesus, come in!", It is making this closeness concrete, this invitation to Jesus to come into our lives. Because if He lives our life, life is reborn. And if life is reborn, it's really Christmas. Merry Christmas to all!

Greetings in Various Languages:
Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française, en particulier les jeunes venus de France et les fidèles de Côte d’Ivoire. Chers frères et sœurs, je vous invite vous aussi à suivre cette belle tradition de la crèche. Vous y trouverez le rappel de la présence aimante de Jésus dans vos familles et dans toute votre vie. A tous je souhaite un joyeux Noël et je remercie tous ceux qui ces jours-ci, de nombreuses parties du monde, m’ont envoyé des messages de vœux pour mon 50ème anniversaire d’ordination sacerdotale et pour mon anniversaire. Merci surtout pour le don de la prière.
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, especially the groups from Canada and the United States of America. I wish all of you a very blessed Christmas, and I ask you to pray for the Church, as you are already doing, and for peace this Christmas. Thank you.
Einen herzlichen Gruß richte ich an die Pilger und Besucher deutscher Sprache. Besonders grüße ich die Musikkapellen und Chöre aus Tirol. Mit eurer stimmungsvollen Musik habt ihr uns auf das Christfest eingestimmt. Vergelt‘s Gott. Bereiten wir uns auf das Hochfest der Geburt Jesu Christi vor, indem wir unsere Herzen auch dem Nächsten öffnen, der unserer Liebe bedarf. Euch und euren Familien wünsche ich ein gesegnetes Weihnachtsfest.
[A cordial welcome to German-speaking pilgrims. In particular I greet the musical and choral bands from Tyrol. With your suggestive music you let us enter the spirit of Christmas. Thanks. Let us prepare ourselves for the Solemnity of the Christmas of Jesus Christ, opening our hearts even to our neighbor who needs our love. I wish you and your families a Holy Christmas.]
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, venidos de España y de Latinoamérica. Ante la celebración de la Navidad, los invito a preparar el belén en sus hogares y a detenerse para contemplarlo, para que el nacimiento de Jesús los llene de alegría y les conceda la paz. Les deseo a todos Feliz Navidad. Gracias.
Queridos peregrinos de língua portuguesa, desejo a todos um Natal feliz. Obrigado sobretudo pelas orações oferecidas por mim. A todos desejo também um bom Ano Novo, repleto das bênçãos de Deus Menino!
[Dear Portuguese-speaking pilgrims, I wish you all a Merry Christmas. Thank you above all for the gift of prayer! I also wish everyone a good New Year, full of the blessings of God the Child.]
أرحبُ بالحاضرينَ الناطقينَ باللغة العربية، وخاصةً القادمينَ من الأراضي المقدّسة، ومن الأردن، ومن الشرق الأوسط. إن ربّ المجد قد تخلّى عن سماه كي يحلّ بيننا ويحوّل أرضنا إلى سماء. إن المذود الذي يتوق إليه إنما هو قلبنا، لأنه يريد أن يمنحنا سلامه الذي لا يتزعزع وحياته الأبديّة. هذا هو ما يغيّر العالم. أتمنى لكم جميعًا عيد ميلاد مجيد. وأشكر جميع الذين أرسلوا لي في هذه الأيام، من أنحاء كثيرة من العالم، رسائل تهنئة بمناسبة الذكرى الخمسين لرسامتي الكهنوتية ولعيد ميلادي. شكرًا جزيلاً على صلواتكم. ليبارِكْكُم الربُّ جميعًا ويَحرُسْكُم دائمًا من الشرير!
[I cordially welcome the Arabic-speaking pilgrims, in particular those from the Holy Land, Jordan and the Middle East. The Lord of glory has left his heaven to be with us and transform our earth into heaven. The crèche that he craves is precisely our heart, because he wants to give us his unshakable peace and his eternal life. This is what changes the world. I wish you all Merry Christmas; and I thank those who in these days, from many parts of the world, have sent me greetings messages for the 50th anniversary of the priesthood and for the birthday. Thank you above all for the gift of prayer. May the Lord bless you all and always protect you from the evil one!]
Pozdrawiam serdecznie pielgrzymów polskich. Za kilka dni święta Bożego Narodzenia. Radujmy się obecnością Boga w osobie Dziecięcia, narodzonego w Betlejem z Maryi Dziewicy. Niech On będzie światłem na drogach waszego życia, pokojem i mocą, która wiedzie nas do zwycięstwa dobra nad złem. Życzę wam błogosławionych świąt.
[I cordially greet the Polish pilgrims. In a few days it will be Christmas. Let us rejoice in the presence of God in the Child born in Bethlehem from the Virgin Mary. May he be the light on the ways of your life, peace and strength that leads to the victory of good over evil. I wish you all a Merry Christmas.]
* * *
I warmly welcome the Italian-speaking pilgrims. In particular, I greet the Chinese priests and seminarians of the Pontifical Urban College "De Propaganda Fide", in Rome; and parish groups, especially that of Alvito. I also greet the Teramo Health Authority, with Bishop Monsignor Lorenzo Leuzzi; the National Pastry Bakers Association; and the Damasian Oratory Institute, in Rome. The Oratorians make themselves heard, they know how to make noise. Well done, good!

Finally, I greet the young, the elderly, the sick and newlyweds. Only a few days remain until the Holy Christmas of the Lord Jesus. Following the example of the Holy Family, let us prepare ourselves to welcome him in joy, letting our hearts invade his love for each of us.

To all of you, Merry Christmas.
Full Text + Image Source: - Unofficial Translation

BREAKING Tens of Thousands at March for Life in Costa Rica as Pro-Lifers gather from all Religions and age groups - Video

Evangelical Focus reports the pro-life march in San Jose, the capital, in early December 2019, united Costa Ricans of all ages and religious affiliations against a plan to expand abortions.

Pro-life leaders with the National Front for Life and other groups said politicians are not being clear about the impact of the proposed abortion regulation.

“Costa Rica is a nation of life, a country that believes in life. Suddenly, in a deceptive way, they want to substitute a law that represents the heart of Costa Ricans with an unnecessary law, by which they can make abortion legal,” said Ricardo Salazar, pastor of Abundant Life Church.

“The groups that have promoted this statute are the same ones that ask for abortion without any reason,” said Fabricio Alvarado, leader of the country’s opposition party, who participated in the march. “This shows us that what this statute really proposes is unlimited abortion in Costa Rica.”

During the march, Costa Ricans urged President Carlos Alvarado to refuse to sign the life-destroying regulation, according to the local news.

Fabricio Alvarado told the president to represent the will of the people, who want unborn babies to be protected.

“Mr. President, by intending to sign this statute, you are going against the people. You are taking action against a population who is pro-life, against people who do not agree with it, and know that this statute is not necessary, people who are very familiar with this issue,” Fabricio Alvarado said.

Health Ministry leaders claim the new regulation is just a clarification of the country’s current abortion laws, which prohibit abortions unless the mother’s health or life is in danger. Alejandra Acuña, deputy minister of the Health Ministry, said it is only a “guide for medical professionals” about doing abortions legally, according to The Times.

However, abortion activists have a reputation for using vague language in laws and regulations that allows for more wide-spread abortions than what they claim. The term “health of the mother,” for example, can be interpreted so widely as to allow any abortion for any reason at any time of pregnancy. In many abortion activists’ minds, an abortion is health care.

Costa Rica protects unborn babies and mothers from abortion. But many countries across the world are under intense international pressure to legalize the killing of the unborn. The pro-life march in Costa Rica demonstrates that its citizens want every baby’s life to be protected, born and unborn.
Edited from LifeNews and

Wow US Church creates Notre Dame Gingerbread Cathedral replica with over 400 Edible pieces of Gingerbread!

A Church in Missouri decided to honor Notre Dame Cathedral with gingerbread replica.
The historic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France burnt down last year.

Several members of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Weston, Missouri created a large replica of the cathedral out of gingerbread, and it's almost all edible.

Lisa Stiffler said, "It all started about three years ago when Father Steven Rogers asked us to recreate our church in gingerbread."

The following year, Stiffler said Rogers asked her to create the Vatican out of gingerbread.

So this year, it only seemed right to honor Notre Dame.

Stiffler, her husband, and another church member began the process in September. They started by using a one-foot, 3D puzzle to get an idea of the cathedral's design.

Stiffler multiplied those dimensions by eight and created the structure out of cardboard first then baked 400 to 450 pieces of gingerbread to match the pieces.

In total, the creation took about 450 pounds of ingredients and 50 batches of gingerbread.

Stiffler said it took a lot of work over the last month but seeing the final product makes it all worth it.

“It’s just a feel-good project,” Stiffler said. “I think so many people are going to get joy out of it, and honestly while we were making it we got such a sense of accomplishment.”

From the doorknobs to the flying buttresses, there's no shortage of detail. The design utilizes pretzels for railings, chocolate for gargoyles, chocolate crispies for landscaping, and it has more than 100 "stained glass" windows made from melted jolly ranchers. It also has more than 500 LED lights.

The final product will be on display for the church’s European dinner
Edited from Source: Click2houston - Image Source:

U.S. Bishops Approve $4.2 Million in Grants to Support the Church in Latin America, Including Indigenous Ministries

U.S. Bishops Approve $4.2 Million in Grants to Support the Church in Latin America, Including Indigenous Ministries and Youth Outreach Programs
December 17, 2019
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America (CLA) awarded a $17,000 grant to support the formation of more than 400 indigenous lay leaders in Colombia. Because of remote locations, poor infrastructure, and a shortage of priests, indigenous communities in the region seek the integral formation of lay leaders. Under the guidance of local pastors, this grant will help train and support leaders from 90 indigenous communities to expand ministries such as catechesis, Liturgy of the Word, and distribution of Holy Communion in the region.
The grant to expand indigenous ministries in Colombia is one of hundreds of projects approved for funding recently by the Subcommittee. At its meeting on November 9 in Baltimore, MD, the Subcommittee reviewed 194 grant requests totaling $6.2 million to support the pastoral work of the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean and approved $4.2 million in funding for all 194 requests. Grants were awarded from proceeds of the annual Collection for the Church in Latin America and the special emergency fund set up after the 2017 earthquakes in Mexico.
“The Church in Latin America is vibrant and full of people longing to grow closer to Christ. Thanks to the Collection for the Church in Latin America, we can support communities in need in the region and share our faith,” said Bishop Octavio Cisneros, auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn, and chairman of the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America.
Projects that received funding for pastoral activities include the following:
●  A Caritas-led youth formation project for more than 150 pastoral leaders from all the dioceses of Argentina.
●  Formation of approximately 100 women religious members of the indigenous congregation of the Little Sisters of Sainte Therese in Haiti.
●  Financial support for repairs of a church that was damaged by an earthquake in 2017, located in an impoverished indigenous area of Oaxaca, Mexico.
“Collectively, the support of these projects by US Catholics through the CLA collection gives the faithful an opportunity to put their faith into action,” said Bishop Cisneros. “The US bishops are committed to aiding our brothers and sisters in Latin America.”
Other areas of funding include catechesis, seminarian and religious formation, and youth and family ministries. The annual collection that funds Subcommittee grants is taken up in many dioceses across the US on the fourth Sunday in January.
The Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America oversees the collection and an annual grant program as part of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. It allocates revenue received from the Collection for the Church in Latin America as grants across Latin America and the Caribbean. It also makes grants to dioceses and parishes to rebuild from natural disasters out of the Caribbean Church share of several USCCB emergency collections. More information about the annual CLA Collection, and the many grants it funds may be found at Videos on the Collection may also be viewed in English and Spanish.
--- Source: USCCB

Archbishop of Niamey says "Let us pray and fast for peace in Niger" after 70 soldiers Killed near border with Mali

AFRICA/NIGER - "Let us pray and fast for peace in Niger" urges the Archbishop of Niamey after the massacre of 70 soldiers  
Niamey (Agenzia Fides) - "After the massacre of over 70 Nigerian soldiers in Inatés on 10 December, near the border with Mali, the government ordered three days of national mourning. On Friday 13 December, the day of prayer for Muslims, there was a special memory in the Country's mosques. The other religious confessions were also invited to join the prayer", writes from Niamey to Agenzia Fides Fr. Mauro Armanino, of the Society of African Missions (SMA). And it is in this light that we should read the text of the prayer proposed by the Archbishop of Niamey, Mgr. Laurent Lompo, son of this land".
"The attack on 10 December in Inatés, which caused the death of more than 70 Nigerian militants, shows us the situation in which we live", said Mgr. Lompo in his message, sent to Fides. "I invite the Christian community to pray at this moment, to ask God for peace with prayer and fasting for Niger, because without Him every effort is in vain".
Fr. Armanino adds, referring to his confrere Fr. Pierluigi Maccalli, kidnapped on 17 September 2018 (see Fides, 18/9/2018): "Let us remember that in a few days it will be a special Christmas for some communities of the diocese of Niamey that, without their pastors, one of whom taken hostage, will celebrate the feast with particular gravity. Furthermore, in neighboring Burkina Faso various Christian communities have been severely affected by terrorism".
"The invitation of the Bishop therefore resonates particularly eloquently in a context in which the fear in the Christian communities of the Christmas holidays is perceptible. Our churches and temples will be "protected" by the military, also proven by what happened recently. The head of the Makalondi parish said that their Christmas vigil, instead of being at midnight, will be at noon, for security reasons", the missionary concludes. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 16/12/2019

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - #Eucharist in Advent with Cardinal Collins

Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent
Lectionary: 194 
  Reading 1 JER 23:5-8

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD,
when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David;
As king he shall reign and govern wisely,
he shall do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah shall be saved,
Israel shall dwell in security.
This is the name they give him:
"The LORD our justice."

Therefore, the days will come, says the LORD,
when they shall no longer say, "As the LORD lives,
who brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt";
but rather, "As the LORD lives,
who brought the descendants of the house of Israel
up from the land of the north"–
and from all the lands to which I banished them;
they shall again live on their own land.

Responsorial PsalmPS 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19

R.(see 7) Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king's son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous deeds.
And blessed forever be his glorious name;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 1:18-25

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
"Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins."
All this took place to fulfill
what the Lord had said through the prophet:

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means "God is with us."
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.
He had no relations with her until she bore a son,
and he named him Jesus.