Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Saint January 1 : Solemnity of Mary Mother of God - Holy day of Obligation

Saint January 1 : Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God - Holy Day of Obligationa
The Solemnity of Mary Mother of God is celebrated on January 1st and is a Holy Day of Obligation; meaning Catholics must attend Mass. The Solemnity falls exactly one week after Christmas, the end of the octave of Christmas. It is fitting to honor Mary as Mother of Jesus, at this time, following the birth of Christ. When we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God ,we are not only honoring Mary, who was chosen among all women throughout history to bear God incarnate, but we are also honoring our Lord, who is fully God and fully human. Calling Mary "mother of God" is the highest honor we can give Mary. Just as Christmas honors Jesus as the "Prince of Peace," the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God honors Mary as the "Queen of Peace" The Solemnity of Mary Mother of God, falling on New Year's Day, is also designated the World Day of Peace. Text from 365Rosaries

Primate of Ireland Archbishop Eamon Martin says "I pray that we will all have the courage to be bearers of the light, spreading the light and peace and joy of Christ’s..."

Homily of Archbishop Eamon Martin for Christmas Eve 2019 
Midnight Mass 24. DEC, 2019
Homily of Archbishop Eamon Martin for Christmas Eve 2019 Midnight Mass Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh
“Human trafficking and other forms of exploitation remind us that evil continues to profit from the misfortune and misery of our fellow human beings” – Archbishop Martin Four weeks ago a group of Austrian scouts visited Manger Square in Bethlehem – the place where Jesus was born. They lit a candle there and prayed for peace, and then, as they travelled home, they brought the ‘peace light’ with them, passing it on from country to country, from scout troop to scout troop. According to Google maps, it is 3,489 miles from Bethlehem to Armagh but still, on Sunday last, the Armagh scouts were able to receive the Bethlehem ‘peace light’ and carry it here into Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.
Long ago Isaiah the prophet wrote about the coming of the Messiah: ‘The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who lived in the land of deep shadow a light has shone’. You have made their gladness greater, you have made their joy increase’ (Isaiah 9:2).
We gather together here on this Holy Night to celebrate that Jesus Christ our Saviour is born. It may be the darkest time of the year, but He is the Light that darkness cannot overpower; He is Heavenly Peace.
Like the scouts, we can be all be bearers of the light of Christ to others – and there is such a need for the light of Christ to enter into the darkness of our troubled world. Sadly, war and violence rage on in many parts of the world – from Afghanistan to the Yemen, from Mexico to Syria and Somalia. Millions of families, including many of our Christian brothers and sisters, are being displaced because of persecution and oppression. Human trafficking and other forms of exploitation remind us that evil continues to profit from the misfortune and misery of our fellow human beings. In all this darkness – where can the light of Christ be found?
It shines out when kindness and generosity refuse to be mastered by darkness and despair; it inspires good people to continue working for lasting peace and reconciliation here in Ireland; it motivates children and young people to raise awareness of the climate crisis by challenging themselves and others to avoid waste and the ‘throwaway culture’. The light of Christ enkindles a spirit of generosity in families who fill shoeboxes and food hampers for the needy and homeless; it emboldens us to be ‘pro-life’ despite a creeping culture of choosing death; it enlightens whole communities to welcome and find homes for migrants and refugees in their midst; it arouses charity in the form of thousands of gifts of goats and chicks and trees and school lunches for those less fortunate in faraway places.
The light of Christ shines in you every time you visit someone who is sick, or recently bereaved, or when you call on an elderly or lonely neighbour; it radiates when you exchange a hug of friendship, or simply text or phone someone to say: ‘I miss you’, ‘I love you’, ‘Thank you’, ‘I am sorry’, ‘Let’s start over’. The light of Christ draws you away from the madness of the Christmas rush, to a quiet place to pray – perhaps in front of the Christmas crib – and there it moves you in gratitude to God for the gift of life, and love and friendship and food and warmth and health and all the other good things which we so easily take for granted.
I pray this Christmas night that the light of Christ will enlighten your homes and shine out in you and with you in the coming days.
The angel said to the shepherds: ‘Do not be afraid, I bring you news of great joy. Today is born for you in the city of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord’ (Luke 2:10-11).
In the name of Christ – Light in the darkness, and Prince of Peace – I pray that we will all have the courage to be bearers of the light, spreading the light and peace and joy of Christ’s birth from heart to heart, from person to person in our homes, communities and world this Christmas.
The Bethlehem Peace Light Prayer
Light of Bethlehem: burn brightly in our hearts this Christmas;
Light of Peace: heal the bitter wounds in our community; show us the path of forgiveness and love;
Light of Joy: fill our homes with happiness – cast out the darkness of conflict or worry;
Light of Comfort: strengthen the sick, the needy, refugees and prisoners and all those who cannot be at home on Christmas Day;
Light of Hope: guide our way forward as we begin a New Year;
Light of the World: teach us to love you more and more each day;
Light of Bethlehem: shine out in our lives this Christmas and always. Amen.
· Archbishop Eamon Martin is Archbishop of Armagh, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Dromore and Primate of All Ireland
Full Text Source: Bishops' Conference of Ireland

LIVE Vespers on New Year's Eve with Pope Francis for the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God with Te Deum from Vatican

St. Peter’s Basilica- Vespers and Te Deum From St. Peter’s Basilica, Vespers of the Feast of Saint Mary, Most Holy Mother of God and Te Deum of Thanksgiving at year’s end with Pope Francis presiding.
Full Text Homily


Vatican Basilica
Tuesday, December 31, 2019

"When the fullness of time came, God sent his Son" (Gal 4: 4).

The Son sent by the Father placed his tent in Bethlehem of Efrata, "so small to be among the villages of Judah" (Mi 5,1); he lived in Nazareth, a town never mentioned in Scripture except to say: "can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (Jn 1:46), and died discarded by the great city, by Jerusalem, crucified outside its walls. God's decision is clear: to reveal his love he chooses the small city and the despised city, and when he reaches Jerusalem he joins the people of sinners and the discarded. None of the inhabitants of the city realize that the Son of God made man is walking on his streets, probably not even his disciples, who will fully understand only with the resurrection the Mystery present in Jesus.

The words and signs of salvation that He performs in the city arouse amazement and a momentary enthusiasm, but they are not accepted in their full meaning: shortly they will no longer be remembered, when the Roman governor will ask: "Do you want Jesus or Barabbas free?" . Outside the city, Jesus will be crucified, high on Golgotha, to be condemned by the gaze of all the inhabitants and derided by their sarcastic comments. But from there, from the cross the new tree of life, the power of God will draw everyone to himself. And also the Mother of God, who is the Sorrowful under the cross, is about to extend her motherhood to all men. The Mother of God is the Mother of the Church and her maternal tenderness reaches all men.

In the city God has set up his tent ..., and from there he never left! Its presence in the city, even in our city of Rome, "must not be manufactured, but discovered, revealed" (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 71). It is we who must ask God for the grace of new eyes, capable of "a contemplative gaze, that is, a gaze of faith that discovers God who lives in his houses, in his streets, in his squares" (ibid., 71). The prophets, in Scripture, warn against the temptation to link the presence of God only to the temple (Jer 7,4): He lives among his people, walks with it and lives his life. His loyalty is concrete, it is proximity to the daily existence of his children. Indeed, when God wants to make all things new through his Son, it does not start from the temple, but from the womb of a small and poor woman of his People. This choice of God is extraordinary! History does not change through the powerful men of civil and religious institutions, but starting from the women of the periphery of the empire, like Mary, and from their sterile womb, like that of Elizabeth.

In Psalm 147, which we prayed a little while ago, the psalmist invites Jerusalem to glorify God, because He "sends his Word to earth, his message runs fast" (v. 4). By means of his Spirit, who pronounces his Word in every human heart, God blesses his children and encourages them to work for peace in the city. Tonight I would like our gaze on the city of Rome to take things from the point of view of the gaze of God. The Lord rejoices in seeing how many realities of good are made every day, how many efforts and how much dedication in promoting fraternity and solidarity. Rome is not just a complicated city, with many problems, with inequalities, corruption and social tensions. Rome is a city where God sends his Word, which nestles through the Spirit in the hearts of its inhabitants and pushes them to believe, to hope despite everything, to love by fighting for the good of all.

I think of many courageous people, believers and non-believers, whom I have met in recent years and who represent the "beating heart" of Rome. Truly God has never stopped changing the history and face of our city through the people of the little and poor who live there: He chooses them, inspires them, motivates them to action, makes them supportive, pushes them to activate networks , to create virtuous bonds, to build bridges and not walls. It is precisely through these thousand streams of the living water of the Spirit that the Word of God fecundates the city and makes it sterile as a "joyful mother of children" (Ps 113: 9).
And what does the Lord ask of the Church of Rome? He entrusts us with his Word and urges us to throw ourselves into the fray, to involve us in the meeting and in the relationship with the inhabitants of the city so that "his message will run fast". We are called to meet others and listen to their existence, their cry for help. Listening is already an act of love! Having time for others, dialoguing, recognizing with a contemplative gaze the presence and action of God in their lives, witnessing the new life of the Gospel with deeds rather than words, is truly a service of love that changes the reality. In doing so, in fact, new air is circulating in the city and also in the Church, the desire to get back on the road, to overcome the old logic of opposition and the fences, to collaborate together, building a more just and fraternal city.

We must not be afraid or feel inadequate for such an important mission. Let us remember: God does not choose us because of our "skill", but precisely because we are and we feel small. We thank him for his grace that has sustained us in this year and with joy we raise the song of praise to him.
Source: Vatican.va - Click Play on the Video below:

New Archaeological Discovery of Ancient Christian Church in Ethiopia in sub-Saharan Africa - 1,700 year old Basilica in Ethiopia

ChristianPost reports that the remains of a 1,700-year-old Christian basilica have been uncovered in Ethiopia, giving archaeologists new insight into when Christianity arrived in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Roman-style basilica, from the fourth century A.D., was found in Beta Samati, an ancient town that was once part of the Aksumite civilization, according to a paper published in Antiquity. The remains of the 60 feet long, 40 feet wide building dates back to the time when Christianity became the official religion of the Aksumite empire.
Originally developed by the Romans for administrative purposes, the oldest-known Christian church in sub-Saharan Africa was likely adopted by Christians at the time of Constantine for their places of worship.
The Smithsonian reports: An international assemblage of scientists discovered the church 30 miles northeast of Aksum, the capital of the Aksumite kingdom, a trading empire that emerged in the first century A.D. and would go on to dominate much of eastern Africa and western Arabia. Through radiocarbon dating artifacts uncovered at the church, the researchers concluded that the structure was built in the fourth century A.D., about the same time when Roman Emperor Constantine I legalized Christianty in 313 CE and then converted on his deathbed in 337 CE. The team detailed their findings in a paper published today in Antiquity.
The discovery of the church and its contents confirm Ethiopian tradition that Christianity arrived at an early date in an area nearly 3,000 miles from Rome. The find suggests that the new religion spread quickly through long-distance trading networks that linked the Mediterranean via the Red Sea with Africa and South Asia, shedding fresh light on a significant era about which historians know little.
“The find suggests that the new religion spread quickly through long-distance trading networks that linked the Mediterranean via the Red Sea with Africa and South Asia, shedding fresh light on a significant era about which historians know little,” it adds.

Although Christianity had reached Egypt by the third century A.D., it was not until Constantine’s legalization of Christian observance that the church expanded widely across Europe and the Near East, notes the Smithsonian. Thanks to their new discovery, researchers “can now feel more confident in dating the arrival of Christianity to Ethiopia to the same time frame."

Both secular and religious artifacts were discovered in and around the basilica, including a gold ring, cattle figurines, crosses, stamp seals, and tokens that were likely used for trade and administration.
Edited from the Smithsonian and Christian Post - Image Source: Google Images - Ancient-origins

Christmas Message from Archbishop Fisher of Australia “Every human being matters,” God said.

Full Text Message from Archbishop Fisher, OP of Sydney: 
Christmas tells us we are valued, we are wanted, we are loved. Each one of us is precious, irreplaceable, made for greatness.
It might sound overblown, even vain. But that’s what Christmas says.  
You matter so much, that God would become one of us – for your sake!
It’s news Christians never tire of telling. It’s what inspires so much good they do in families, parishes, schools, hospitals, welfare, missions.
It inspires our efforts to support farmers and all affected by drought. It inspires our brave firefighters and our care for those struggling after personal disaster.
The Christmas Babe speaks to every human need because He came for every human person.
So powerful was that message that the angels broke into song, the leaders brought gold, frankincense and myrrh, the workers came with their sheep.
“Every human being matters,” God said. “Every human being matters,” they echoed.
Not everyone agreed.
Herod was so threatened by the message of human dignity and redemption, he sought to kill the Baby Jesus. The ‘slaughter of the innocents’ continues to this day: unborn innocents, more endangered than ever in this state of New South Wales; newborn innocents, the disabled and unwanted; oppressed innocents, including persecuted Christians and detained asylum seekers; elderly innocents, in substandard aged care and threatened with euthanasia.
Christmas presents us with a choice. To join Herod in saying only some people matter. Or to join the angels, shepherds and kings at the crib singing Glory to God and praying for peace on earth.
Every human being matters. You matter. May our Christmas Lord lift up your heart and inspire you to share that Good News in the year ahead. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!
SOURCE: Full Text Archdiocese of Sydney Australia

Don't Drink and Drive! Most Powerful Drunk Driving Ad - SHARE you might Save a Life - VIRAL with 17 Million Views

The holidays are here, it is a time for parties & for some time off work. It is a time for enjoying ourselves, having a drink with family & friends. This five minute retrospective of the road safety campaigns produced by the TAC over the last 20 years have been compiled for this powerful message. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 33,561 people died in traffic crashes in 2012 in the United States, with an estimated 10,322 people who died in drunk driving crashes, accounting for 31% of all traffic deaths that year.
PLEASE WATCH & Share, & maybe, just maybe, you might save a Life....

Are you Traveling? Prayer to St. Christopher for Safe Travels and Motorists - #Driving Prayers to Share!

Saint Christopher Prayer"Motorist's Prayer:" Grant me, O Lord, a steady hand and watchful eye, that no one shall be hurt as I pass by. Thou gavest life, I pray no act of mine may take away or mar that gift of Thine. Shelter those, dear Lord, who bear my company from the evils of fire and all calamity.Teach me to use my car for others need; Nor miss through love of undue speed. The beauty of the world; that thus I may with joy and courtesy go on my way. St. Christopher, holy patron of travelers, protect me, and lead me safely to my destiny.
Saint Christopher's Protection Prayer
 Dear Saint Christopher, protect me today in all my travels along the road's way. Give your warning sign if danger is near so that I may stop while the path is clear. Be at my window and direct me through when the vision blurs From out of the blue. Carry me safely to my destined place, like you carried Christ in your close embrace. Amen.


 St. Christopher's Prayer
O Glorious St. Christopher you have inherited a beautiful name, Christbearer, as a result of the wonderful legend that while carrying people across a raging stream you also carried the Child Jesus. Teach us to be true Christbearers to those who do not know Him. Protect all of us that travel both near and far and petition Jesus to be with us always. Amen.

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Tuesday December 31, 2019 -#Eucharist in Christmastide

The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas
Lectionary: 204
 Reading 11 JN 2:18-21
Children, it is the last hour;
and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming,
so now many antichrists have appeared.
Thus we know this is the last hour.
They went out from us, but they were not really of our number;
if they had been, they would have remained with us.
Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number.
But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One,
and you all have knowledge.
I write to you not because you do not know the truth
but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.

Responsorial PsalmPS 96:1-2, 11-12, 13

R. (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name;
announce his salvation, day after day.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the LORD.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
The LORD comes,
he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

AlleluiaJN 1:14A, 12A

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us.
To those who accepted him
he gave power to become the children of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelJN 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.

A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man's decision
but of God.

And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father's only-begotten Son,
full of grace and truth.

John testified to him and cried out, saying,
"This was he of whom I said,
'The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.'"
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father's side,
has revealed him.

Free New Year's #Recipe by Maria Von Trapp of the Sound of Music

Sylvester Punch

Sylvester Punch
(In Austria the last day of the year is dedicated to the Holy Pope, St. Sylvester, who baptized Constantine the Great, thereby bringing about the dawning not only of the New Year but of a new era; for this reason, the night before the New Year is called "Sylvesterabend" (Eve of St. Sylvester).
Red burgundy (or red wine) (count one bottle for six people)
Equal amount of hot tea
12 cloves
rind of 1 lemon
2 tbsp. sugar to each bottle of wine
2 cinnamon sticks to each bottle of wine

Pour the liquid into an enamel pot, add the cloves, the thinly pared rind 
of 1 lemon, the sugar, and the cinnamon. Heat over a low flame but do not 
allow to boil. At the last moment add the tea. Serve hot.

If there are many children and very young people, it is good to know 
different fruit punch combinations. Here is a basic recipe, with 

1/2 cup lemon juice           grated rind of 1 lemon
1 cup orange juice            1 qt. water
grated rind of 1/2 orange     1 cup sugar

Cook sugar and water for five minutes. Cool. Add juices and the grated 
rind and any of the following combinations:

(1) 1 cup grated pineapple, 1 qt. ginger ale.

(2) 1 qt. strained, sweetened strawberry juice, 1 qt. raspberry juice, 2 
qts. ginger ale.

(3) 1 glass currant jelly dissolved in 1 cup hot water. Cook, chill, and 
add 1/4 cup mint, finely minced.

(4) 1 qt. cider, 1 qt. grape juice, 1 qt. soda water.

It is great fun to try out new variations every year. One starts with 
lemonade or orangeade and soon the children will go on to pineapple-ade, 
raspberry-ade....In our family we have something called "Hedwig-ade" 
because it is Hedwig's own secret.

Source: Maria Augusta Trapp
Music Arranged by Franz Wasner
Illustrations by Rosemary Trapp and Nikolaus E. Wolff
Harcourt, Brace & Co., New York.