Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Holy Mass Online - Readings and Video : Wednesday, December 30, 2020 - #Eucharist in Your Virtual Church

The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Lectionary: 203

Reading 1
1 JN 2:12-17
I am writing to you, children,
because your sins have been forgiven for his name’s sake.
I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I am writing to you, young men,
because you have conquered the Evil One.
I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
because you are strong and the word of God remains in you,
and you have conquered the Evil One.
Do not love the world or the things of the world. 
 If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 
For all that is in the world,
sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life,
is not from the Father but is from the world. 
Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. 
But whoever does the will of God remains forever.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 96:7-8A, 8B-9, 10
R. (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Bring gifts, and enter his courts;
worship the LORD in holy attire.
Tremble before him, all the earth.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity. 
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!


R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A holy day has dawned upon us.
Come, you nations, and adore the Lord.
Today a great light has come upon the earth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
LK 2:36-40
There was a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. 
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. 
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. 
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth. 
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.
Prayer to Make a Spiritual Communion-
People who cannot communicate now make spiritual communion

At your feet, O my Jesus I bow down and offer you the repentance of my contrite heart, which abysses itself into its nothingness and Your holy presence. I adore you in the Sacrament of Your love, the ineffable Eucharist. I wish to receive you in the poor home that my heart offers you. In anticipation of the happiness of sacramental communion, I want to possess you in spirit. Come to me, oh my Jesus, that I may come to you. May Your love inflame my whole being, for life and death. I believe in you, I hope in you, I love you. So be it. Amen

Saint December 30 : Bl. Eugenia Ravasco who was Dedicated to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary and Foundress of Sisters of the Sacred Hearts

Bl. Eugenia Ravasco

4 January 1845 in Milan, Italy
30 December 1900 in Genoa, Italy

Eugenia Ravasco was born on 4 January 1845 in Milan, Italy, the third of Francesco Matteo and Carolina Mozzoni Frosconi's six children. When she was three years old her mother died and her father moved to Genoa where his two brothers lived, taking with him his eldest son, Ambrose, and the youngest daughter, Elisa. Eugenia remained in Milan with her Aunt Marietta Anselmi, who became a second mother to her and carefully educated her in the faith.
In 1852, the family was reunited in Genoa and following her father's death in March 1855, Eugenia went to live for some time with her uncle Luigi Ravasco and her aunt Elisa and their 10 children. Luigi Ravasco was careful to give his nephews and nieces a Christian upbringing. He was well aware of the anticlericalism on the rise in Italy at the time and of the efforts of the Freemasons, and was especially worried about Eugenia's brother, Ambrose, who had come under the influence of this spreading problem.
From early adolescence, Eugenia was deeply influenced by her uncle's responsible Christian example and his generosity towards the poor. Unlike her shy younger sister, Elisa, Eugenia was expansive and energetic and loved to serve others. Eucharistic worship, together with devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, became an essential part of her spirituality.
On 21 June 1855, Eugenia made her First Communion and Confirmation in St Ambrose's Church and from that day on, whenever she passed a church she would enter it to pray. God was preparing her for greater things.
In December 1862, her Uncle died, leaving Eugenia with the responsibility of caring for the family. With the help of God and the advice of Canon Salvatore Magnasco, she valiantly faced the problems caused by her brother. Aunt Marietta joined Eugenia to help the family. Both made every effort to rescue Ambrose, but without success.
Although her aunt wanted her to marry, Eugenia prayed that the Lord would show her the path to take, since she felt a growing inner call to religious life. On 31 May 1863 she received an answer as she entered the Church of St Sabina to pray. Fr Giacinto Bianchi, an ardent missionary of the Sacred Heart, was celebrating Mass. When she heard him say to the faithful, "Is there no one out there who feels called to dedicate themselves to doing good for love of the Heart of Jesus?", Eugenia understood that God was speaking to her, calling her to him through the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Eugenia found a spiritual director to help her discern what she was feeling, and shortly thereafter she began to teach catechism in the parish church to the disadvantaged young girls of the city. Her aunt and those close to her were against this, especially because these girls were unmannered and street-wise. But Eugenia persevered, accepting with patience the humiliations that she received from all sides. Little by little, she won the young girls over, organizing day trips and games for them and gaining their trust. She reached out to the most uneducated, neglected girls who, left to themselves, were in danger of going down the same errant path as her brother Ambrose.
As time went on, Eugenia felt that God was calling her to found a religious order that would form "honest citizens in society and saints in Heaven". Other young women had also joined her in this effort. On 6 December 1868, when she was 23 years old, she founded the religious congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Canon (later Archbishop) Magnasco had prepared her carefully and she continued, together with the sisters, to teach catechism and to open schools.
Despite open hostility towards the Church and the activity of the Freemasons, Mother Eugenia opened in 1878 a school for girls to give them Christian instruction and to prepare "Christian teachers" for the future. She proved courageous in the face of the persecution and ridicule she received from the local press. She also gave particular attention to the dying, the imprisoned and those away from the Church.

Notwithstanding her poor health, she travelled around Italy and to France and Switzerland, opening new communities and attracting religious vocations.
In 1882 the Congregation received diocesan approval and in 1884, together with her sisters, Mother Eugenia made her perpetual profession. She guided the foundations and her sisters with love and prudence, giving them as model the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Her apostolic ideal in life was "to burn with the desire to do good to others, especially to youth", and to "live in abbandonment to God and in the hands of Mary Immaculate". Mother Eugenia Ravasco died on 30 December 1900 in Genoa, consumed by illness. And in 1909 the Congregation she founded received Pontifical approval.
Today the Congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (also known as the "Ravasco Institute") are present in Albania, Italy, Switzerland, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Venezuela, Africa and the Philippines. They continue their work in schools, parishes and missions and are especially dedicated to serving youth and the needy and to promoting the dignity of women.

(Taken from Vatican website)

Free Movie : Becket : Drama on St Thomas Becket

In honor of the Feast of St. Thomas Becket here is the film BECKET. 
St. Thomas Becket


Feast: December 29
1118 - 1170 AD
Becket was in conflict with King Henry II of England over the rights and privileges of the Church and was murdered by followers of the king in Canterbury Cathedral.

#BreakingNews Catholic Bishop in Nigeria is Kidnapped by Armed Gunman - Please Pray for the Release of Bishop Moses

A Catholic Bishop was Kidnapped in Imo State, Nigeria.  
Most Rev. Moses Chikwe, the auxiliary bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, Imo State, was kidnapped. The 53 year-old priest was kidnapped along with his chauffeur near his residence on Sunday night, 27 December. The Owerri archbishop, Most Rev. John Victor Obinna, called for prayers “for Chikwe’s safety and quick release.” “According to eyewitnesses, the Auxiliary Bishop was kidnapped in the night of Sunday 27th December 2020. “An anonymous source said that the Bishop and his driver were kidnapped close to his house, while his car and official regalia were abandoned at the premises of the Assumpta Cathedral. 
The Archbishop of Owerri, Victor Obinna confirmed the kidnap in a statement made available to Vatican News, on his behalf by the Archdiocesan Chancellor, Msgr.Alphonsus Oha. “His Grace, Most Rev. Archbishop Anthony J.V. Obinna, the Archbishop of Owerri painfully informs Christ’s faithful and God’s people at large that Most. Rev. Moses Chikwe, Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri was kidnapped late evening of Sunday 27 December 2020. The said incident took place around Site and Services, New Owerri, Imo State,” Msgr. Oha announced. 
Bishop Chikwe “was kidnapped two days ago as he was returning from a visit to his residence in Owerri, a mile or two away from the city of Owerri, where he has his residence. Kidnapping has, of course, been going on in Nigeria, in different parts of Nigeria. That it has happened to my Auxiliary Bishop shows that the security situation in Nigeria is very bad. The protection, the security that the people ought to have is not very effective. We have periodically raised the alarm about the state of insecurity in which we find ourselves …..The Church is not far removed from the people. We are not insulated from the suffering of the people. We take it as part of our testimony that we have to bear,” Archbishop Obinna told Vatican News. Police have teams looking for the Bishop According to Nigerian media, Bishop Chikwe’s car and episcopal vestments were abandoned by the criminals near the Assumpta Cathedral premises of Owerri.
The kidnapping of the Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri comes just a week after the abduction in the State of another Catholic religious priest, Fr Valentine Oluchukwu Ezeagu, abducted on 15 December by armed men while on his way to his father’s funeral. The priest was later released on 16 December. Bishop Chikwe, 53, was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri in October 2019. 
Edited from Vatican News

US President Trump Issues Proclamation on 850th Anniversary of St Thomas Becket for Religious Freedom and Mentions Cardinal Zen - FULL Official Text

Proclamation on 850th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket
Issued on: December 28, 2020

Today is the 850th anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket on December 29, 1170. Thomas Becket was a statesman, a scholar, a chancellor, a priest, an archbishop, and a lion of religious liberty.
Before the Magna Carta was drafted, before the right to free exercise of religion was enshrined as America’s first freedom in our glorious Constitution, Thomas gave his life so that, as he said, “the Church will attain liberty and peace.”
The son of a London sheriff and once described as “a low‑born clerk” by the King who had him killed, Thomas Becket rose to become the leader of the church in England. When the crown attempted to encroach upon the affairs of the house of God through the Constitutions of Clarendon, Thomas refused to sign the offending document. When the furious King Henry II threatened to hold him in contempt of royal authority and questioned why this “poor and humble” priest would dare defy him, Archbishop Becket responded “God is the supreme ruler, above Kings” and “we ought to obey God rather than men.”
Because Thomas would not assent to rendering the church subservient to the state, he was forced to forfeit all his property and flee his own country. Years later, after the intervention of the Pope, Becket was allowed to return — and continued to resist the King’s oppressive interferences into the life of the church. Finally, the King had enough of Thomas Becket’s stalwart defense of religious faith and reportedly exclaimed in consternation: “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”
The King’s knights responded and rode to Canterbury Cathedral to deliver Thomas Becket an ultimatum: give in to the King’s demands or die. Thomas’s reply echoes around the world and across the ages. His last words on this earth were these: “For the name of Jesus and the protection of the Church, I am ready to embrace death.” Dressed in holy robes, Thomas was cut down where he stood inside the walls of his own church.
Thomas Becket’s martyrdom changed the course of history. It eventually brought about numerous constitutional limitations on the power of the state over the Church across the West. In England, Becket’s murder led to the Magna Carta’s declaration 45 years later that: “[T]he English church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished and its liberties unimpaired.”
When the Archbishop refused to allow the King to interfere in the affairs of the Church, Thomas Becket stood at the intersection of church and state. That stand, after centuries of state-sponsored religious oppression and religious wars throughout Europe, eventually led to the establishment of religious liberty in the New World. It is because of great men like Thomas Becket that the first American President George Washington could proclaim more than 600 years later that, in the United States, “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship” and that “it is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights.”
Thomas Becket’s death serves as a powerful and timeless reminder to every American that our freedom from religious persecution is not a mere luxury or accident of history, but rather an essential element of our liberty. It is our priceless treasure and inheritance. And it was bought with the blood of martyrs.
As Americans, we were first united by our belief that “rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God” and that defending liberty is more important than life itself. If we are to continue to be the land of the free, no government official, no governor, no bureaucrat, no judge, and no legislator must be allowed to decree what is orthodox in matters of religion or to require religious believers to violate their consciences. No right is more fundamental to a peaceful, prosperous, and virtuous society than the right to follow one’s religious convictions. As I declared in KrasiƄski Square in Warsaw, Poland on July 6, 2017, the people of America and the people of the world still cry out: “We want God.”
On this day, we celebrate and revere Thomas Becket’s courageous stand for religious liberty and we reaffirm our call to end religious persecution worldwide. In my historic address to the United Nations last year, I made clear that America stands with believers in every country who ask only for the freedom to live according to the faith that is within their own hearts. I also stated that global bureaucrats have absolutely no business attacking the sovereignty of nations that wish to protect innocent life, reflecting the belief held by the United States and many other countries that every child — born and unborn — is a sacred gift from God. Earlier this year, I signed an Executive Order to prioritize religious freedom as a core dimension of United States foreign policy. We have directed every Ambassador — and the over 13,000 United States Foreign Service officers and specialists — in more than 195 countries to promote, defend, and support religious freedom as a central pillar of American diplomacy.
We pray for religious believers everywhere who suffer persecution for their faith. We especially pray for their brave and inspiring shepherds — like Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong and Pastor Wang Yi of Chengdu — who are tireless witnesses to hope.
To honor Thomas Becket’s memory, the crimes against people of faith must stop, prisoners of conscience must be released, laws restricting freedom of religion and belief must be repealed, and the vulnerable, the defenseless, and the oppressed must be protected. The tyranny and murder that shocked the conscience of the Middle Ages must never be allowed to happen again. As long as America stands, we will always defend religious liberty.
A society without religion cannot prosper. A nation without faith cannot endure — because justice, goodness, and peace cannot prevail without the grace of God.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim December 29, 2020, as the 850th anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket. I invite the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches and customary places of meeting with appropriate ceremonies in commemoration of the life and legacy of Thomas Becket.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.

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! 

Christmas Message of Archbishop Martin in Ireland "This year that message about Christ our savior born in a stable in Bethlehem...also a powerful message that God is with us every moment of our lives." Video

Hello everyone and a very happy Christmas to you and your families. I'm here in the cathedral on Christmas eve night and I want to take this opportunity to tell you all that you're very much in our thoughts and in our prayers during this Christmas season. I think the message that is at the heart  of Christmas is so important for all of us to hear. This year that message about Christ our savior born in a stable in Bethlehem, that message of poverty, humility but also a powerful message that God is with us every moment of our lives. 

I think it's particularly important this  year for us to know that God is with us, because these are troubling times and I know that many families in the parish have been struggling over the past nine months or so due to all of the restrictions surrounding covid-19. I also that know that many families have experienced sickness, bereavement. Many livelihoods have been upset and  many people have lost their jobs. It's so important for us to know that God is with us and that god walks with us through all of our struggles and difficulties so I pray tonight that you and your families  will experience some of the joy and the peace  that the Christ child can bring God  bless you and happy Christmas again  and I wish you all a very happy and  brighter new year in 2021. (Text from the Youtube transcript)

Christmas Message of Cardinal Nichols in England "In the birth of Jesus, in his life, in his dying and in his rising again, there before us are the real deep truths..." FULL TEXT


The wonder of Christmas is a wonder that is echoed in so many different ways: in the carols we might sing at home, because we can’t sing them in church; in the decorations we might put up in our homes; to catch the joy that spreads through the world from the birth of Jesus Christ.

It is his coming into the world as the Word of God in our flesh that suddenly opens new horizons for us. It opens a horizon of what it means to be truly human, made in God’s image and likeness. In the birth of Jesus, in his life, in his dying and in his rising again, there before us are the real deep truths of what it is to be a son and a daughter of God.

And what’s asked of us? A bit of humility. In Bethlehem, the door into the Church of the Nativity is remarkably small and low. Tall people have to stoop to enter. I heard once that it was built like that to stop anyone entering the church riding a horse. We have to come down off every high horse that we possess, whether it’s our opinions, our grudges or our pride, in order to meet the infant King. Only the humble of heart are ready to greet him, who alone can carry our burdens and share with us the fullness of life.

This coming into the world of our Saviour is this crucial moment from which flow the joy, the peace, the compassion, the forgiveness that we try to embody. Let us try to make Christmas a family festival of the birth of Jesus, a time when faith finds fresh expression in our homes

I wish you all a very happy Christmas, even in the limiting circumstances in which we’re living. They don’t inhibit the joy of our hearts and the joy we share with one another.

May God bless you this Christmas at home and in your parish, and may God give you the fullness of joy in the birth of our Saviour.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster

Source: https://rcdow.org.uk/cardinal/news/cardinals-christmas-message/

Christmas Message of the Archbishop of Sydney, Australia, Jesus "is happiness and hope for every human heart and His smile is for you." FULL TEXT + Video

It's been a year like no other;  a year of anxieties a year of isolation. We've missed each other's faces, touch, proximity. In dark times celebrating Christmas can seem out of place but it was never easy. At the first
 Christmas a young woman was forced to give birth in a stable and her baby put in a feeding trough. Then the family fled for their lives.  In such dark times Christ's first coming was experienced as light. Amid such danger He was named Jesus or God saves. In isolation they called him Emmanuel, God with us. Many just want to put this year behind them, but we mustn't block out the questions it has posed about what matters most to us or the lessons we've learnt about human vulnerability and interconnectedness.  This Christmas let's take a few moments to reflect upon what we've learnt through the year of Covid. Thanks be to God, for our leaders frontline workers and neighbours. We were kept safe; the cooperation is a tribute to how much we value life and especially the elderly. This Christmas let's give thanks that we were spared the worst of the pandemic and pray for those less fortunate. How will we be different when it's all over,  but we will spend more time with our loved ones treasure our work colleagues school mates and neighbours going forward be there for each other. This Christmas let's commit ourselves to being a force for bringing people together and eliminating all but necessary distancing. Amidst our hardships the babe of Bethlehem reaches out from his crib. He is happiness and hope for every human heart and His smile is for you.
 (Text from the Youtube transcript)

Christmas Message from the Canadian Bishops' President "The Liturgies for Christmas speak of a new light and a new hope that has dawned upon the world.." FULL TEXT

Christmas Message 2020
Monday, December 21 2020
Dear Friends,
We approach the celebration of Christmas this year with some important new realities that are very present to us. There is our experience of a world pandemic over the past nine months, an unprecedented period of uncertainty and hardship that we have never experienced before. There is the reality of the cancellation of public liturgies and many months of reduced congregations and a decline in parish and diocesan life. Above all, we are now realizing in a dramatic way how vulnerable we really are in the face of natural disasters and disease.
I recently read a transcript of a radio message from Pope Pius XII, given in Rome on The Solemnity of The Apostles Peter and Paul in 1941. It was a dark period in the middle of World War II when there was great uncertainty about the outcome of the war and often very little hope. The Pope said: “The Heavenly Father continues and will continue to guide our child-like steps with firmness and tenderness, only if we allow ourselves to be led by Him and trust in the power and wisdom of His love for us.” These words of this great Pope during the dark days of war, can apply very well to our lives today as we celebrate Christmas this year under the shadow of COVID-19. The reality of uncertainty, vulnerability and fear that has been part of our lives, is not the whole story because there is another reality that is also present. This reality is the experience of determination to move forward without knowing all the answers. It has been nine months of living our faith in new ways, of reflecting on our family life, our personal lives and relationships with others and a time for building up our Christian families, our domestic church, through prayer and reflection on the Word of God. It has also been a time that has allowed us to gain a greater appreciation for the faith of the many “hidden Christians” we do not often see at church and how an opportunity is opening up for us in rebuilding our Church in new ways with the Father’s unfailing help.
We celebrate the Sunday liturgies accompanied especially by the Gospel of Mark this year and in this too, we can find great solace. Mark’s Gospel has been called the Gospel of “Discipleship”. He shows clearly how the followers of Jesus struggled with uncertainty in recognizing Him as the Son of God as well as with their call to be Evangelizers in a culture very different from the Gospel ways. Mark records the words of the disciples after Jesus calmed the sea when they said: “Who then, is this?” This is at the very heart of Mark’s Gospel and Jesus affirms this when he says to them: “But who do you say that I am?” It is Peter who responds by saying: “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” Mark shares with us that it is not enough to intellectually understand our faith; we are to have a personal encounter and relationship with Jesus, above all.
During these days of the pandemic, all of us have been invited to encounter the Lord through his Word, through quiet times of faith and prayer, through the occasions to reflect on our lives and our priorities and even on the new and amazing opportunities that Jesus is opening up for us. This is a blessed and privileged time in our lives when the Lord can bring change within us, make us better disciples, help us appreciate how valuable the Sacraments truly are for each of us and help us to focus on rebuilding our Christian communities.
The Liturgies for Christmas speak of a new light and a new hope that has dawned upon the world:” For a child has been born for us, a son given to us: authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” This light and this new hope is for all times and places, even during our days, since we often “walk in darkness” as the Scriptures reminds us. The shepherds hurried off to Bethlehem “to see this thing that had taken place” as they were filled with the joy of the heavenly proclamation: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.”
We are very much aware that the glorious proclamation of the birth of the Christ Child did not put an end to the shadows ever present in the world, for even the Holy Family suffered persecution and exile. Yet the Christmas hope that is in the Child at Bethlehem, is a light that guides our steps – steps which can be child-like, yet steps towards renewal of our Christian lives and discipleship.
Wishing to you all and your loved ones and communities of faith a happy and healthy Christmas season and a New Year filled with the Lord’s choicest blessings.
The Most Rev. Richard Gagnon
Archbishop of Winnipeg
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
16 December 2020
Christmas Message 2020 (PDF)
 Source: CCCB