Friday, December 27, 2019

Saint December 28 : Holy Innocents - Babies Martyred by Herod in Search of Baby Jesus

Today, December 28, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Innocents—those male babies put to death by a jealous Herod shortly after the birth of Christ, following his visit with the Magi. The fourth day of Christmas commemorates these baby boys, who are considered martyrs -- the very first martyrs. (Saint Stephen, whose Feast we celebrated 2 days ago, was the first martyr of the Church Age). As Herod ordered the death of children two years or less, in or around the small town of Bethlehem, the number of these Holy Innocents was probably no more than 25. Nonetheless, these innocent babies are glorious martyrs who died not only for Christ, but in His place.
 1  Matthew 2: 1-18:
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” 7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” 9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. 13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” 14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18 “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”
Saint Augustine of Hippo wrote of the Holy Innocents:
“Today, dearest brethren, we celebrate the birthday of those children who were slaughtered, as the Gospel tells us, by that exceedingly cruel king, Herod. Let the earth, therefore, rejoice and the Church exult — she, the fruitful mother of so many heavenly champions and of such glorious virtues. Never, in fact, would that impious tyrant have been able to benefit these children by the sweetest kindness as much as he has done by his hatred. For as today's feast reveals, in the measure with which malice in all its fury was poured out upon the holy children, did heaven's blessing stream down upon them.
"Blessed are you, Bethlehem in the land of Judah! You suffered the inhumanity of King Herod in the murder of your babes and thereby have become worthy to offer to the Lord a pure host of infants. In full right do we celebrate the heavenly birthday of these children whom the world caused to be born unto an eternally blessed life rather than that from their mothers' womb, for they attained the grace of everlasting life before the enjoyment of the present.
 The precious death of any martyr deserves high praise because of his heroic confession; the death of these children is precious in the sight of God because of the beatitude they gained so quickly. For already at the beginning of their lives they pass on. The end of the present life is for them the beginning of glory. These then, whom Herod's cruelty tore as sucklings from their mothers' bosom, are justly hailed as "infant martyr flowers"; they were the Church's first blossoms, matured by the frost of persecution during the cold winter of unbelief.”
As we contemplate the martyrdom of the holy innocents, our Christmas joy is tempered by sadness. We are reminded of the sacrifice and suffering that love sometimes requires, and look to this army of “infant martyr flowers” who now sit in the glory and presence of the Lord!
the Holy Innocents offered you praise by the death they suffered for Christ. May our lives bear witness to the faith we profess with our lips. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
IMAGE SOURCE: FACEBOOK/Text 365Rosaries Blog

Free Christmas Movie : "Joseph of Nazareth" - #StJoseph stars Tobias Moretti

Joseph of Nazareth (2000) "Gli amici di Gesù - Giuseppe di Nazareth" (original title) TV Movie - 90 min - Drama - 29 April 2001 (USA) The people of Jerusalem are suffering under the reign of HEROD, and are hoping to be delivered from the Roman occupiers by the Messiah whose arrival, it is rumored, is to take place very soon. The 35-year-old widower is not interested in participating in any fighting against the Romans. Joseph gets a visit from JOACHIM and ANNA, asking him to marry their unprotected 14-year-old daughter MARY. Joseph agrees, but promises to preserve her chastity. Nevertheless, one day Mary tells him, in Anna's presence, that she is pregnant. Believing in this immaculate conception is very difficult for Joseph, as is the message that her son JESUS will end the reign of Herod, which is announced to him in a vision. Their son is born in a Bethlehem cattle shed and heralded as the new Messiah by the Three Magi. King Herod also finds out about the rumor, and decides to kill all of Bethlehem's firstborn. Joseph and Mary escape to Egypt.
Directors: Raffaele Mertes, Elisabetta Marchetti Writers: Gareth Jones, Gianmario Pagano (story) Stars: Tobias Moretti, Stefania Rivi, Massimo Reale |

History of Famous Carol "Silent Night" which is over 200 Years Old - Originally from Austria and written by Priest - #SilentNight

The Christmas Carol, "Silent Night" is  over 200 years old. The famous Christmas carol was sung publicly for the first time in December 1818 in an Austrian Church.
 200 years after it was first performed, many still sing "Stille Nacht," known in English as "Silent Night."

This Christmas carol  briefly silenced guns and  in World War One and other wars.

The lyrics of "Silent Night," were written in German by priest Joseph Mohr in Salzburg when in the parish at Oberndorf (pictured above) and he asked the local  organist Franz Xaver Gruber to compose music for his poem.

It was played for the first time by Joseph  Mohr on December 24, 1818, and sang together with Franz Xaver Gruber, the composer of the melody. It is thought that mice destroyed the organ just a few days before Christmas Eve and that they had to find another instrument; so it was played on guitar.

The Silent Night lyrics have been translated it nearly 300 languages and dialects.
German lyricsTranslation by John Young - English lyrics
Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.
Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Hirten erst kundgemacht
Durch der Engel Halleluja,
Tönt es laut von fern und nah:
Christ, der Retter ist da!
Christ, der Retter ist da!

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Gottes Sohn, o wie lacht
Lieb' aus deinem göttlichen Mund,
Da uns schlägt die rettende Stund'.
Christ, in deiner Geburt!
Christ, in deiner Geburt!
Silent night, holy night,
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night,
Shepherds quake at the sight;
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born!

Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love's pure light;
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

The Austrian UNESCO Commission has listed "Silent Night" as part of the  Cultural Heritage of Austria. 

Pope Francis sends Message for Meeting of Young People in Poland sponsored by the Taizé Community

Pope sends message for Meeting of Young People in Poland
The Taizé Community is sponsoring the 42nd European Meeting of Young People, which is taking place in Wrocław, Poland.
By Vatican News

Thousands of young people are currently converging on the Polish city of Wrocław for the 42nd European Meeting of Young People, sponsored by the Taizé Community, which is taking place from 28 December 2019 through 1 January 2020. It’s the third time that Wrocław has hosted the event, and the fifth time overall that the Meeting has been held in Poland.

The annual European gatherings, according to the Taizé website, “are part of a ‘pilgrimage of trust on earth’ led by Taizé for over forty years”. Participants are given the opportunity to “pray together, to be part of a local church… and to explore themes such as understanding among peoples, peace, questions of faith, and social commitment”.

The specific theme for this year’s gathering is: “Always on the move, never uprooted”.

Accompaniment in prayer
Pope Francis, as he does every year, has addressed a message to participants, signed by the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin. Recalling that the meeting is taking place in Poland, the homeland of Pope St John Paul II, Cardinal Parolin said that “his successor, Pope Francis” is accompanying them in prayer, and encourages them to explore more deeply the theme chosen for the event.

“Poland is a country that has its roots in the Faith”, the Cardinal said; and it is that faith which enabled the Polish people “to stand firm in great trials, when hope was shattered”. These Christians, he said, “dared to believe in another future”.

Rooted in the faith, called to reach out
Cardinal Parolin encouraged the young people to learn from their example, “to discover together to what extent being rooted in the Faith calls you and prepares you to reach out to others, to respond to the new challenges of our societies, especially the perils that weigh on our common home”.

He said that, like Abraham, young people “will discover there is much joy in setting out on a journey, sometimes… without knowing the destination in advance”. “Always be ready for new departures”, he said, “to bear witness to the Gospel, and to be fully present to those around you, especially the poorest and most unfortunate”.

Cardinal Parolin assured the young people that Pope Francis sends his blessing to all of them, to the Taizé community, and to the families and parishes that will host them during the time of the meeting. He concluded the message from Pope Francis with the hope that “the faith of Mary, also left ‘in haste’ [to visit Elizabeth; cf. Lk 1:39), might sustain the impulse of your trust in her Son”.
Full Text Source:

RIP Fr. Joseph Schabel - Priest dies on Christmas Day at age 89 after serving for more than 60 years

An advocate for the poor, Father Joseph Schabel’s Funeral  will be Celebrated Saturday, December 28

DECEMBER 26, 2019
Diocese of Saginaw
Father Joseph Allen Schabel, 89, a senior priest of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, died on Christmas day, December 25, 2019. Father Schabel served as a priest for more than 60 years, during which time he worked tirelessly as an advocate for peace and justice. He will be remembered for his passion to serve the poor, his kind and compassionate heart and his love for all.

Father Schabel was born on February 20, 1930 in Munger, Michigan, to the late Frank and Ann (Lynch) Schabel. He received his elementary education at Powell School and also St. Norbert Catholic School. He received his secondary education at St. Joseph High School in Grand Rapids. Father Schabel continued priestly formation at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit where he graduated with a degree in philosophy and at St. John’s Provincial Seminary where he graduated with a degree in theology. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 2, 1956 by Bishop Stephen Woznicki at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw.

Father Schabel served as assistant pastor at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Saginaw; Our Lady of Lake Huron, Harbor Beach; and Our Lady of the Visitation, Bay City. He served as co-pastor at Sacred Heart, Saginaw, and St. Rita, Saginaw. He served as pastor at St. Felix, Pinnebog; Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Saginaw; St. Michael, Maple Grove; St. Roch, Caseville; St. Philip Neri, Coleman and St. Anne, Edenville; and St. Casimir, Saginaw. He became a senior priest of the Diocese of Saginaw in July 1995.

Father Schabel’s civic involvement includes helping to found the Saginaw Child Development Center, the Perfect Place Women’s Shelter, the Children’s Christmas Store, the Mexican American Council and the Benito Juarez Academy.

His Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 28 at St. Joseph Parish, 910 N. 6th Ave., in Saginaw. Bishop Robert Gruss will preside and Father Harry Sikorski will be the homilist.

Visitation will take place on Friday, December 27, from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. at St. Joseph Parish. A Vigil for the Deceased, led by Father George Serour, will take place at 7 p.m. that evening, Visitation also will take place on Saturday, December 28, for an hour prior to the Funeral Mass.

Interment will be in the priest section at St. Patrick Cemetery in Bay City at 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 28.
Source: Full Text Release from the Diocese of Saginaw, Michigan, USA

Plane Crashes in Kazakhstan leaving 15 People Dead and 66 in Hospital - Pope Francis offers prayers and condolences

Plane crashes after take-off near Almaty, killing at least 15 people
The aircraft, a Fokker 100, carried 95 passengers and five crew members. About 66 people have been hospitalised, 22 in serious conditions. For now, the authorities have not suggested any cause of the accident. All the planes of low-cost Bek Air have been grounded.

Almaty (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A plane with 95 passengers and five crew members on board crashed this morning just after take-off, killing at least 15 people.

The Bek Air plane, which was heading from Almaty, the country’s largest city, to the capital, Nur-Sultan, lost altitude before hitting a two-storey building near the village of Almarek, just beyond the end of the runway.

In addition to those killed, 66 people were hospitalised, 22 in serious condition. Emergency services worked at the wreckage of the plane, which is split in two, to get survivors out.

For now, the authorities have not suggested what might have caused the accident. Some witnesses say that on take-off there was a thick fog in the area.

The medium-sized, twin-turbofan Fokker 100 jet airliner was built in 1996 and its most recent flight certificate is dated May 2019. The Dutch company that built the plane went out of business in 1996.

Bek Air is considered Kazakhstan's first low-cost airline company. All Bek Air flights have been suspended and all Fokker 100 have been grounded.

Kazakhstan's President Qasym-Jomart Toqayev expressed "deep condolences" to the victims' relatives. He also said that "all those responsible will be severely punished in accordance with the law".

In the late morning, Pope Francis sent a telegram of condolence to the civil and religious authorities of Kazakhstan, signed by Secretary of State Card Pietro Parolin.

In it, the pontiff says that “he prays especially for the eternal repose of the deceased and for the healing of those injured. Upon all, especially those involved in the rescue and recovery efforts, His Holiness invokes the strength and peace of Almighty God.”
Full Text Source: AsiaNewsIT

Wow the Christmas Story Touchingly told by Children with Down Syndrome by #ProLife group - goes Viral!

This Christmas Story was told by Children with Down Syndrome is so touching it will break your heart...
SHARE with everyone! 

#BreakingNews IS Kills 11 Christians by Beheading in Nigeria near Christmas - Please Pray!

BBC reports that the Islamist group IS has a new faction of Boko Haram which now fights under the name of "Islamic State West Africa Province"
The Islamic State group released a video claiming to show the killing of 11 Christians in Nigeria.

IS said it was part of its recently declared campaign to "avenge" the October deaths of its leader and spokesman in Syria.

No details were given about the victims, who were all male, but IS says they were "captured in the past weeks" in Nigeria's north-eastern Borno State.

The 56-second video was produced by IS's "news agency" Amaq.

It was released on 26 December and analysts say it was clearly timed to coincide with Christmas celebrations.

The footage was filmed in an unidentified outdoor area.

One captive in the middle is shot dead while the other 10 are pushed to the ground and beheaded.

IS's late leader and spokesman Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Abul-Hasan Al-Muhajir were killed in Syria in late October. Nearly two months later, on 22 December, IS declared a new militant campaign to "avenge" their deaths and has since claimed a flurry of attacks in various countries under the banner of that campaign.

Source: Edited from BBC News

Novena to Saint John the Apostle - Prayers to Share! - Patron of Authors, Theologians, Publishers, Friendships, and Painters

Novena Prayer to Saint John the Apostle:
I. My most loving Saint, St. John the Apostle, behold me kneeling at thy feet, beseeching thee with all the affection of my heart to grant me thy special protection, particularly when in danger of offending God. O my dear and holy advocate, remember me before the throne of the most holy Trinity, and obtain for me from the infinite goodness of God, the virtues of humility, purity, obedience, and the grace to fulfill exactly the duties of my state.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory

II. O my dear Saint, St. John the Apostle, I renew to the Lord, through thee, the holy resolutions which I have frequently made of intending to love and serve Him faithfully. I am resolved to detach myself from every earthly thing, and I desire ardently to unite myself to Him, as my first beginning, last end, and sovereign good. My dear Saint, I beseech thee to offer to the most holy Trinity the sacrifice of my whole being, particularly of my judgment and will, in order to conform fully to God most holy, because I desire nothing else besides His grace and His holy love.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory

III. My sweet and holy Protector, St. John the Apostle, behold me again full of love for thee and full of confidence, beseeching thee to cast thyself on thy knees before the throne of the most holy Trinity, and entreat most ardently that God, through His infinite goodness, may grant me the grace to fly sin, and the gift of final perseverance. Thou knowest, O my dear St. John the Apostle, how great are the temptations to which man is subject, and how continual are the perils I run of being lost; do thou assist me with thy efficacious prayers.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory
Say these prayers for 9 Days

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Friday December 27, 2019 - #Eucharist in Christmas Tide

Feast of Saint John, Apostle and evangelist
Lectionary: 697

Reading 11 JN 1:1-4

What was from the beginning,
what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we looked upon
and touched with our hands
concerns the Word of life —
for the life was made visible;
we have seen it and testify to it
and proclaim to you the eternal life
that was with the Father and was made visible to us—
what we have seen and heard
we proclaim now to you,
so that you too may have fellowship with us;
for our fellowship is with the Father
and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.

Responsorial PsalmPS 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12

R. (12) Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The LORD is king; let the earth rejoice;
let the many isles be glad.
Clouds and darkness are around him,
justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the LORD of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his justice,
and all peoples see his glory.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!
Light dawns for the just;
and gladness, for the upright of heart.
Be glad in the LORD, you just,
and give thanks to his holy name.
R. Rejoice in the Lord, you just!

Alleluia See Te Deum

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We praise you, O God,
we acclaim you as Lord;
the glorious company of Apostles praise you.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 20:1A AND 2-8

On the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene ran and went to Simon Peter
and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb,
and we do not know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter
and arrived at the tomb first;
he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him,
he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there,
and the cloth that had covered his head,
not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in,
the one who had arrived at the tomb first,
and he saw and believed.