Friday, December 31, 2010

"And With Your Spirit"

How are dioceses preparing for the new missal?

According to Father Bob Webster, the Diocese of Orlando, Fla., where he heads the Office of Liturgy, is about a third of the way into the implementation. Beginning last summer, Father Webster introduced portions of new changes to priests in convocations, then followed up in November with workshops for priests, deacons, catechists, liturgical leaders and anyone else who wanted to attend. About 600 came.

“It was important to get us all on the same page,” he said, especially noting the emphasis on the liturgical history and theology that went along with the changes or preceded the changes.

Father Webster said they’re looking at the language, structure and sources of the prayers, all with the goal of helping the priests “to pray better and to understand the historical roots and origins of the prayers.”

In Orlando, overall reactions to all steps have been very positive, Father Webster said.

Diocese-wide in-pew catechesis begins in February in four blocks using three methods: pulpit announcements, short homiletic-type video presentations in place of the homily or before or after Mass, and materials posted on the diocesan and parish websites.

Excerpted from

Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous

BBC News - Explosion outside church in Egyptian city of Alexandria

An explosion has been reported outside a church in the north Egyptian city of Alexandria with unconfirmed reports of a number of casualties.

Several people were killed in the blast, an unnamed security official was quoted as saying by AFP news agency.

Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous


VATICAN CITY, 29 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father dedicated his catechesis during today's general audience, held in the Paul VI Hall in the presence of 8,000 people, to St. Catherine of Bologna (1413-1463).

Born to a noble family in the Italian city of Bologna, at the age of ten she moved to Ferrara where she entered the court of Niccolo III d'Este as a maid of honour. There she received a very careful education which would later serve her during her monastic life when "she used the cultural and artistic knowledge acquired over those years to great advantage", the Pope said.

In 1427, at the age of fourteen, she left the court to dedicate herself to religious life in a community of young women. Two years later the leader of this group founded an Augustinian convent, but Catherine and a number of others preferred Franciscan spirituality and transformed the community into Poor Clares.

The saint "made great spiritual progress in this new phase of her life, though she also had to face great trails", the Pope explained. "She experienced the night of the spirit, tormented even by the temptation of disbelief in the Eucharist. After much suffering, the Lord consoled her. In a vision He gave her the clear awareness of the real Eucharistic presence". In another vision God revealed the forgiveness of her sins, giving Catherine a "powerful experience of divine mercy".

In 1431 the saint had yet another vision, this time of the Final Judgement, which led her "to intensify her prayers and penance for the salvation of sinners. Satan continued to assail her as she increasingly entrusted herself to the Lord and the Virgin Mary. In her writings, Catherine left us essential notes on this mysterious struggle, from which, by the grace of God, she emerged victorious".

These notes are contained in her one written work, the "Treatise on the Seven Spiritual Weapons" in which Catherine teaches that to combat evil it is necessary: "(1) to be careful always to do good; (2) to believe that we can never achieve anything truly good by ourselves; (3) to trust in God and, for His love, never to fear the battle against evil, either in the world or in ourselves; (4) to meditate frequently on the events and words of Jesus' life, especially His passion and death; (5) to remember that we must die; (6) to keep the benefits of heaven firmly in our minds, (7) to be familiar with Holy Scripture, keeping it in our hearts to guide all our thoughts and actions".

"In her convent Catherine, though used to the court of Ferrara, ... performed even the most humble tasks with love and ready obedience", said the Holy Father, recalling also that, out of obedience, the saint "accepted the job of mistress of novices, although she felt she was incapable of carrying out the role". In the same spirit she agreed to move to Bologna as abbess of a new monastery though she would have preferred to end her days in Ferrara.

Catherine died on 9 March 1463 and was canonised by Pope Clement XI in 1712. "With her words and life", Benedict XVI concluded, "she strongly invites us always to allow ourselves to be guided by God, to do His will every day even if it does not always correspond to our own plans, and to trust in His Providence which never abandons us. In this perspective, St. Catherine also invites us to rediscover the value of the virtue of obedience".
AG/ VIS 20101229 (600)

Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous

Refreshing News: The Vatican's most treasured pieces of art

As American art historian Roy Doliner claims to have discovered the original model created by Michelangelo for the 'Pieta' statue, we take a look at some of the Vatican's other prized pieces...

Michelangelo's Last Judgement at the Sistine Chapel

Leonardo da Vinci's St. Jerome in the Wilderness

Raphael's Madonna of Foligno

Nero's bath in the Vatican

Michelangelo's Pieta

Raphal's The School of Athens

The front side of Giotto's Stefaneschi Triptych

Perugino's Madonna and Child with Saints

Raphael's Transfiguration

Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous

Mary, Theotokos - Mother of God, Mother of the Members of Christ

'God is come among men; he who cannot be contained is contained in a womb. The timeless enters time.' Great Compline of the Annunication, Byzantine Catholic Church.

'God is come among men; he who cannot be contained is contained in a womb. The timeless enters time.' Great Compline of the Annunication, Byzantine Catholic Church.

Saturday marks the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God

The Mother of God - what a marvelous yet serious responsibility she carried. Indeed, this was an incredible trust given by God. Only His Sanctifying Grace which kept her from the stain of sin could prepare her for this. And, revealing the mystery of human freedom, her "Yes" participated in His loving plan.

Continue reading here:

Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous

Mary TV Daily Reflection 12/31/2010

December 31, 2010
St. Sylvester I

New Year's Eve

Dear Family of Mary!

"Dear children! Also today I bring you the newborn Jesus in my arms. He who is the King of Heaven and earth, He is your peace. Little children, no one can give you peace as He who is the King of Peace. Therefore, adore Him in your hearts, choose Him and you will have joy in Him. He will bless you with His blessing of peace. Thank you for having responded to my call."   (December 25, 2006)

Tonight we will usher in a new calendar year.  It is really no big deal.  One day follows the next.  But for us humans, who like to measure and keep track of things, it is important.  Another year, another circling of the sun!  The future seems to loom at the turn of the year.  We are made aware of the passage of time and the nearness of the future.  We are also made aware of our own fragility and insignificance.  Sobering!

Many people like to gather and celebrate this night of passage.  They drink and laugh and fight off the sober realities of a new year.  But many choose rather to spend this night in prayer, and in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  In the darkness of this winter night, it is a comfort to stay near the warmth of the Eucharist, shining out with hope for our future.

May we all draw close to Jesus tonight and may we stay near Him all the days ahead.  Our Lady is inviting us to do just that.  She offers Him to us as our light, our hope and our life. 

"Dear children! I call you to work on your personal conversion. You are still far from meeting with God in your heart. Therefore, spend all the more time in prayer and Adoration of Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, for Him to change you and to put into your hearts a living faith and a desire for eternal life. Everything is passing, little children, only God is not passing. I am with you and I encourage you with love. Thank you for having responded to my call."  (March 25, 2008)

Blessed and Happy New Year! 

In Jesus and Mary,

Cathy Nolan

Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous

Spirit & Life - Epiphany

Spirit & LifeHuman Life International e-Column
Volume 05, Number 48 | Friday, December 31, 2010


Christmastide is completed by the feast of the Epiphany, which is the manifestation of the Lord to the whole world. Following an ancient tradition that originated in the Eastern Church, in this feast we celebrate not only the adoration of the child Jesus by the three wise kings, but also the baptism of Christ in the Jordan and the first miracle of Christ, the transformation of water into wine at the wedding of Cana. In this feast we see Christ as the Light of World, the only light that can illuminate the way for those who are walking in darkness and in the shadow of death, as Saint Gregory Nazianzeno reminds us. For the Greek Fathers of the Church, the worse tragedy of man is the ignorance of Christ. This ancient and valuable insight, which is part of the traditional wisdom of the Church, is confirmed by the darkness that we experience in the contemporary world. Sadly, many in the world today do not really know about Christ and His saving power, or have only a sad caricature of who Christ really is.    

At Christmas, the child Jesus was adored by a small group of shepherds, but at the Epiphany he is adored by the three wise kings who represent the whole of humanity. This is why we believe that with this feast we celebrate the manifestation of the saving grace of the Lord to the whole world. The three kings are depicted in Catholic tradition as being Caucasian, African and Asian, so in them we have represented the main ethnic groups of the world. Also, another tradition sees the kinds at varying ages, one being very young, another being a mature man and the third being a man of senior years. So in them the three ages of mankind are reflected.

In the gifts of the wise kings we have a very important insight into the nature of the Divine Child; an insight based on a message they received before they saw Christ, before they started their voyage, when they were guided by God to select their gifts. So before adoring the visible Lord, they started to adore Him in their minds and hearts with the hope of seeing him in person, and their three gifts have great significance for the faithful even today.

Incense proclaims the divinity of the child Jesus, as incense is traditionally offered primarily to God. Remember how many Christians in the early Roman persecutions suffered martyrdom because they refused to offer a pinch of incense to the infamous idols that St. Augustine describes so well in The City of God. This is also reminder to us that the increasingly tyrannical world in which we live is ready to persecute us because we refuse to pander to what is politically correct. Myrrh was offered to Him signifying His human nature: it is a prophetic reminder of the mix of herbs that would be prepared to preserve the body of Christ by the women who loved Him. Gold represents the regality of Christ, as it is clearly proclaimed in the liturgy of this feast and has been taught by many Popes. It comes from the tributes that are due to earthly kings or to other civil authorities. Also it makes a reference to the obligation that Christians have to support in a material way the Church and other Christian works of charity in proportion to their economics means and the duties they have towards their families.    

These symbolic gifts lead us to meditate on the gifts that we Christians ought to offer to Christ, as Saint Leo the Great reminds us in his Second Homily on the Epiphany. The Lord wants our serious commitment and our work, because the Kingdom of God is not given to the ones who sleep, but instead to the persons that make a serious and constant effort to practice the Commandments. In our particular case, besides practicing the Commandments, the Lord has given us the particular vocation to proclaim the Gospel of Life, so in this Epiphany our gift to the newly born King is to strengthen our efforts to proclaim the integral truth of the Church, especially those teachings on life and family.

The Lord manifested Himself to the world, but after two thousand years this presence seems to have been muted. The Lord established His Church to carry on His manifestation until the end of the world, so the Church, and ourselves as members of the Church, have to find ways to continue to present Christ's saving message in all possible ways. We have to present this message in such a way that it will create the same admiration and marvel that it caused in its first listeners. At the same time, this message should be accompanied by the liturgical beauty that led the delegates of Kiev to convert after experiencing the Divine Liturgy at Santa Sofia in Constantinople. The grace of the Lord in the same way that converted the hearts of the wise men before they saw the child Jesus, also works in the hearts and minds of many men today. Still, in same way that those wise men were confirmed in their interior faith by seeing the Child, the men of our days need to see our convincing testimony so that the interior movement of the soul might be confirmed.        

On behalf of everyone at HLI, I wish you a happy and prosperous new year. 2011 will be happy and prosperous, we can be sure, if we follow the ways of the Lord. So what I sincerely wish to all you is that you truly accept the Reign of our Lord in your hearts and minds, then all the rest that you need will be granted to you, because no one defeats the generosity of the Lord!

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Monsignor Barreiro Signature

Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carámbula
Interim President, Human Life International

Monsignor Barreiro Head
Monsignor Ignacio
HLI Interim President

S & L Archive

About the Author

Donate Now

Follow HLI


Spirit & Life
Action Items

Human Life International - 4 Family Life Lane - Front Royal, VA  22630  U.S.A.
800-549-LIFE - Fax: 540-622-6247 - E-Mail:
Copyright © 2010 Human Life International, Inc. All rights reserved.


Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous

Thursday, December 30, 2010

End of an era?

Dear Friend in Christ,

The Pope's warning about the sun setting on Western Civilization has a deep implication for the Church.  Please watch this episode of the Vortex and pass it on to as many friends and family as you can.

To read the Pope's speech in full, see this link;

GOD Bless you and your loved ones,

Michael Voris
~senior executive producer,


Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous

Iraqi Christians face an uncertain New Year | Christian News on Christian Today

Fear of being killed or attacked is leaving Iraqi Christians stranded in their own homes
In the last couple of months, Christians in Iraq have been attacked and killed in their churches and homes and Al-Qaeda-linked militants have effectively waged war on them. Christmas was, as expected, a muted celebration for many Christians in Iraq who decided to mark the birth of Jesus in the safety of their homes rather than risk their lives attending church services.
Read this article here:

Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous

New "Motu proprio" Published Today:

"Transparency, honesty and responsibility"

The "Motu proprio" by Benedict XVI for the prevention of and fight against illegal activities in the financial and monetary sector


Today's publication of new laws for Vatican City State, for the dicasteries of the Roman Curia and for the Organisations and Bodies dependent on the Holy See, is an important normative development, but also has far-reaching moral and pastoral significance.

Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous

How to Enjoy New Year's Eve at Home With Your Family - wikiHow

Enjoy New Year's Eve at Home With Your Family

When all your plans for parties, going out, and having a wild time on New Year's Eve have fizzed for whatever reason and you realize you're left with the option of spending New Year's Eve with the family, it might seem a letdown at times. Yet, spending New Year's Eve at home with your family can be a fantastic opportunity to bond, have fun together and to see in the new year with your loved ones rather than with the crowds. And your family will care a lot more about you than fellow party-goers, so chin up, cheer up, and prepare for a great evening in. Here is how to spend quality time with your family on New Year's Eve.
Read more here but one thing they forgot: Family Prayer! It would be great if at midnight we all give thanks to Almighty God for the past, present and future! Another way to celebrate (which we did on 2000 New Years Eve) is to have a special Mass or liturgical function at your parish. That would really please God!
Deacon John

Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous

Mary TV Daily Reflection 12/30/2010

The Divine Mercy painting by Adolf Hyla. The P...

Image via Wikipedia

December 30, 2010 The 6th Day in the Octave of Christmas

Dear Family of Mary!

"Dear children! Today I call you to renew prayer and fasting with even greater enthusiasm until prayer becomes a joy for you. Little children, the one who prays is not afraid of the future and the one who fasts is not afraid of evil. Once again, I repeat to you: only through prayer and fasting also wars can be stopped - wars of your unbelief and fear for the future. I am with you and am teaching you little children: your peace and hope are in God. That is why draw closer to God and put Him in the first place in your life. Thank you for having responded to my call." (January 25, 2001)

We are drawing near to the New Year, 2011.  We are all wondering what it will bring.  There is so much to worry about, so much to fear.  Our world feels out of control.  But I believe that Our Lady is with us precisely because of this chaos.  She has been sent from heaven to help us through these difficult days.  We can face 2011 with confidence and hope because of Our Lady of Medjugorje.

St. Faustina entered the year 1937 with many misgivings and fears.  Her world was

Saint Faustina

Image via Wikipedia

equally chaotic.  Germany was rising in power and menacing Poland.  Her health was very bad.  Her work to spread Divine Mercy was being hindered and misunderstood.  Even her community did not understand her or her illness.  Through all this, it was God who was her strength.  She writes:

"J.M.J. Cracow, Pradnik.  January 1, 1937.  - Jesus I trust in You.

"Today, at midnight, I bid good-bye to the old year 1936 and welcomed the year 1937.  It was with fear and trembling that, in this first hour of the year, I faced this new period of time.  Merciful Jesus, with You I go boldly and courageously into conflicts and battles.  In Your Name, I will accomplish everything and overcome everything.  My God, Infinite Goodness, I beg of You, let Your infinite mercy accompany me always and in all things.

"As I enter this year, fear of life overwhelms me, but Jesus brings me out of this fear and lets me know what great glory this work of mercy will bring Him.

"There are times in life when the soul finds comfort only in profound prayer.  Would that souls knew how to persevere in prayer at such times.  This is very important."  (Diary 859-860)

Jesus brought St. Faustina out of her fear and showed her the wonderful things He was going to do through the work of Divine Mercy.  I believe that Jesus will bring each of us out of our fear also!  He will show us the wonderful things He is going to do through us in 2011!  We only need to listen to St. Faustina and Our Lady.  "There are times in life when the soul finds comfort only in profound prayer.  Would that souls knew how to persevere in prayer at such times."  Yes, there are times when only prayer will help us, only our deep communion with God!  "Little children, the one who prays is not afraid of the future and the one who fasts is not afraid of evil."  Yes, it is only in prayer and fasting that we will find our strength in the battle, and fear will flee from us! 

This year, 2011, may we listen to Our Lady!  "I am with you and am teaching you little children: your peace and hope are in God. That is why draw closer to God and put Him in the first place in your life."

In Jesus and Mary!
Cathy Nolan

Zemanta helped me add links & pictures to this email. It can do it for you too.

Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous

News For Growing Christians - Understanding Medjugorje: A Reply to Donal Anthony Foley by Daniel Klimek. A

A few years ago, in June 2006, British author Donal Anthony Foley shared a press release regarding his book about Medjugorje. The press release explained:

News release for 26th anniversary of first Medjugorje visions – 22 June 2006

Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion? (Theotokos Books), by Donal Anthony Foley, was published just over a year ago but there has yet to be any cogent criticism of it.
This is an excellent and long article by Daniel Klimek. I highly recommend it:

Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous



News Fides Service

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – Once again this year, Fides publishes an annual document of all the pastoral workers who lost their lives in a violent manner over the course of the last 12 months. According to information in our possession, during 2010, 23 pastoral care workers were killed: one Bishop, 15 priests, one male religious, one religious sister, two seminarians and three lay people.

Analysing the list for each continent, again this year the place most affected, with an extremely elevated number of deaths is AMERICA, bathed with the blood of 15 pastoral care workers: 10 priests, one male religious, one seminarian and three lay people. Following is ASIA, with one Bishop, four priests and one religious sister killed. The least affected was AFRICA, where one priests and one seminarian violently lost their lives.

Fides Special Feature - full document Microsoft Works:

More information at:


Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Psst! Spread This Around!

Image by Vainsang via Flickr

If you're considering a New Year's Resolution, try this one on for size.  It's an idea you might want to spread around.  This week These Stone Walls presents "My New Year's Resolution About Gossip" at:  

Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous

When in America, DON'T do as the Romans do!

Dear Friend in Christ,

The pope is the head of the Roman Catholic Church, the bishop of Rome, the eternal city. And he has very definite views about the state of things. The head of the Catholic Church in America . . . well, he disagrees with his boss. Watch this video to find out why and how, and please pass it to your friends.

GOD Bless you and your loved ones,

Michael Voris
~senior executive producer,

Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous

Forecasters keep eye on looming 'Solar Max'

PARIS, France (AFP) – The coming year will be an important one for space weather as the Sun pulls out of a trough of low activity and heads into a long-awaited and possibly destructive period of turbulence. Read this startling info here:

Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous

From Mark Mallett: Thy Kingdom Come:

Thy Kingdom Come…



THY Kingdom come…

Lord… these words have taken on a new power, a new thirst.

THY Kingdom come…

And deliver us from evil!

THY Kingdom come…

And end injustice, the unheard cries of the innocent!

THY Kingdom come…

And grant us lasting freedom.

THY Kingdom come…

And take away our suffering… so much suffering…

THY Kingdom come…

And reveal your Holy Face to the world.

THY Kingdom come…

And restore a future of hope for our children.

THY Kingdom come…

And bring us lasting Peace.

THY Kingdom come,

Infant Jesus




First published on Christmas Eve, 2006


Published in: | on December 29th, 2010 | 

Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous

Priest: Catholic Church should try 'exit interviews' - Faith & Reason

The days when Catholics overwhelmingly went to Mass, as they did in movies such as Bing Crosby's 1944 film "Going My Way," are long gone. And surveys show that while the Church has a high retention rate for members, the nation's largest denomination has a sad statistic: One in ten Americans say they used to be Catholic but are no more.

Surely no business would tolerate such a loss rate so what can the church do to stem it?

William Byron, a priest and business professor at St. Joseph's University, near Philadelphia, says the Church needs to do "exit interviews" and listen closely to the answers.
What do you think about this? I personally think that there should be more one to one, priest to parishioner exchanges, so people can voice there thoughts and find answers to their spiritual questions. Unfortunately, with the shortage of clergy these days, finding a priest to spend some time talking to is almost impossible. I know, myself, every time I ask a priest for spiritual direction, they usually say they are too busy or already have too many clients. Anyway, read this article here:

Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous


The issue of naming one's angel continues to evoke comment. It is seen in the mail. Perhaps it is across blogs and "facebook" (if not, test it out).

Can we? Should we? Isn't it just a friendly, pet name that draws us closer? Don't we underutilize angels?

Or is it disrespectful?

That's all for you to decide!

Read this article and decide:

Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous

Mary TV Daily Reflection 12/29/2010

December 29, 2010
St. Thomas a Becket

Dear Family of Mary!

"Dear children! Also today I am with you and call all of you to complete conversion. Decide for God, little children, and you will find in God the peace your heart seeks. Imitate the lives of saints and may they be an example for you; and I will inspire you as long as the Almighty permits me to be with you. Thank you for having responded to my call."  (September 25, 2006)

On New Year's Day it is our custom to pray with each other and then draw a saint from our box of saints to be our particular friend for the New Year!  It seems that the Saints in heaven are excited to "choose" us, and take us on as their work for the year!  The Lord can also communicate a lot to us through the saint we receive, giving us hints as to what virtues to work on and showing us how to pray for that year. 

My saint for 2010 was Saint Elizabeth of Portugal, and I learned that she was a skillful and faithful wife and mother who brought peace to her family on many occasions. I leaned on her often to help bring peace to my heart and to our family in 2010!

Saint Maria Faustina shares in her diary about her experience in picking a saint:

"New Year 1935
"Jesus likes to intervene in the smallest details of our life, and He often fulfills secret wishes of mine that I sometimes hide from Him, although I know that from Him nothing can be hidden.

"There is a custom among us of drawing by lot, on New Year's Day, special Patrons for ourselves for the whole year.  In the morning during meditation, there arose within me a secret desire that the Eucharistic Jesus be my special Patron for this year also, as in the past.  But, hiding this desire from my Beloved, I spoke to Him about everything else but that.  When we came to refectory for breakfast, we blessed ourselves and began drawing our patrons.  When I approached the holy cards on which the names of the patrons were written, without hesitation I took one, but I didn't read the name immediately as I wanted to mortify myself for a few minutes.  Suddenly, I heard a voice in my soul: I am your patron. Read. I looked at once at the inscription and read, "Patron for the Year 1935 - the Most Blessed Eucharist."  My heart leapt with joy, and I slipped quietly away from the sisters and went for a short visit before the Blessed Sacrament, where I poured out my heart.  But Jesus sweetly admonished me that I should be, at that moment, together with the sisters.  I went immediately in obedience to the rule." (360  Diary)

I love it that Jesus couldn't even wait for her to read the card!  He told her to read it because He was so excited to have been able to accede to her "hidden" request!  The Lord is always listening to our hearts, always!  There is not one sigh or deep longing that He doesn't observe and heed. 

This year we have posted the list of saints on our homepage in case any of you need to print it out.  It is great to gather the family and after blessing each person, drawing a saint out of the box or bag of saints!  It is meaningful for everyone, especially the children! 

Imitate the saints and may they be an example for you!

In Jesus and Mary!

Cathy Nolan

Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous


Holy Father's Missionary Intention for January 2011: “That Christians may achieve full unity, witnessing to all the universal fatherhood of God”. Commentary.
Pope and Patriarch 2.JPG

Image by treviño via Flickr

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - Pope Benedict XVI has repeatedly announced that one of the main aims of his Pontificate is to work for ecumenism, to continue to make progress towards achieving the unity that Christ desires: “May they all be one, as You, Father are in me and I in you, so that they are in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (Jn 17:21). In 1910 the Edinburgh Missionary Conference took place, where “over 1,000 missionaries from diverse branches of Protestantism and Anglicanism, who were joined by one Orthodox guest, met to reflect together on the necessity of achieving unity in order to be credible in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, it is precisely this desire to proclaim Christ to others and to carry his message of reconciliation throughout the world that makes one realize the contradiction posed by division among Christians. Indeed, how can non-believers accept the Gospel proclamation if Christians even if they all call on the same Christ are divided among themselves?... The communion and unity of Christ's disciples is therefore a particularly important condition to enhance the credibility and efficacy of their witness.” (Homily in the Basilica of St Paul, 25 January, 2010).
Unity is a gift we must implore from the Father of Mercy. It is truly sad that the division that has brought shame continues to be present in the Church of Christ. Meaningful dialogue is therefore necessary, along with prayer, in order to move towards unity. The Son of God died on the Cross to destroy the wall of separation, to unite all the scattered sheep of Israel. It is the power of the Cross that can recreate the lost unity, which can repair the lacerations that men have made to the seamless robes of Christ. Christ crucified is the bridge that crosses the abyss that separated us from God, and opens up a new and living path to the Father. Born of woman, crucified for our sins, raised for our justification, the eternal Son gives us the opportunity to be sons and heirs in Him.
In a world marked by religious indifference and even a growing aversion to the Christian faith, we need a new and intensive evangelization, not only among people who have never known the Gospel, but also where Christianity has been spread and is part of the history. For this reason the Holy Father Benedict XVI, during his Homily at Vespers which concluded the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2010 (25 January, Basilica of St Paul), said: “While we journey toward full communion, we are called to offer a common witness in the face of the ever increasingly complex challenges of our time, such as secularization and indifference, relativism and hedonism, the delicate ethical issues concerning the beginning and end of life, the limits of science and technology, the dialogue with other religious traditions. There are also other areas in which we must from now on give a common witness: the safeguard of Creation, the promotion of the common good and of peace, the defence of the centrality of the human person, the commitment to overcome the shortcomings of our time, such as hunger, poverty, illiteracy, and the unequal distribution of goods”.
Just coming together to be one family in Christ, Christians can witness the unique fatherhood of God. At the same time, only where people recognize God as Father can there truly be a sincere fraternity. There can be no family if there is not a common Father. Our prayer therefore, should be persistent and trusting, because it is based on the power of Christ. His Cross breaks down the barriers that we build, because there is only one flock and one shepherd (cf. Jn 10:16) and the world believes. (Agenzia Fides 29/12/2010)


Zemanta helped me add links & pictures to this email. It can do it for you too.

Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous

Infant Jesus of Prague

The Infant Jesus of Prague

by Lourdes Policarpio

The Infant Jesus of Prague Set in the charming and lovely city of Prague in the heart of Europe, the story of the miraculous icon of the Infant Jesus of Prague which resides in Mala Strana (The Little Quarter) is equally enchanting, interwoven as it is with legends and facts.

It is a fact that the little wax statue, 47 cm. high, came from Spain. Legend has it that the statue was modeled after a vision of the Infant Jesus by a monk named Joseph. Fr. Adolf Faroni, SDB, in his book, �The Santo Ni�o of Prague,� writes that upon Joseph�s death, the monks displayed the statue in the church where it bestowed favors.

Spain flourished � it was freed from the Moors and the government was restored to a Catholic king. Monasteries sprung up and one of the great figures of the time was St. Theresa of Avila who had a deep devotion to the Holy Infant. She would bring an identical copy of the statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague to places she would visit, especially newly-built monasteries. According to legend, St. Theresa gave one such copy of the statue to a Spanish noblewoman Do�a Isabella Manrique de Lara.

A Most Esteemed Heirloom of the Manrique de Lara Family

The legend gives way to facts as we see the Santo Ni�o given as a wedding gift by Do�a Isabella to her daughter, Do�a Maria. Fr. Faroni narrates a beautiful story wherein one of the daughters of Do�a Maria had a vision of the Christ Child. The young girl, Polyxena, had been weeping because she had been promised in marriage to a Czech nobleman although she did not like to leave Spain. The Christ Child assured her and said her task would be to spread piety to him, the Infant Jesus.

Fr. Faroni writes that thereafter, the next morning �a splendidly equipped procession set out from Spain� carrying a beautiful bride to the Czech lands� To Prague, the bride carried with her the most precious gift of all� the statue of baby Jesus��

The book, �The Holy Infant of Prague� by Josef Forbelsky, Jan Royt and Mojmir Horyna (which I bought in Prague) then documents the history of the Infant Jesus of Prague in a detailed and factual manner.

In 1628, the Infant Jesus of Prague statue, a precious heirloom of the daughters of Do�a Maria, came to the possession of the Church. Lady Polyxena, the young bride who carried the statue from Spain to Prague, now widowed, presented the little statue to the Order of the Barefooted Carmelites at the Church of the Virgin Mary the Victorious in Mala Strana.

Lady Polyxena had become one of the most prominent ladies of the kingdom of Bohemia (as the place was then regarded). In words which have gone down the ages, Lady Polyxena is believed to have said, �I am giving you what I most esteem of my possessions; keep the sculpture in reverence, and you will be well off.�

From then on, the little statue became part of the history of Prague, sharing its joys and trials. In 1631, the Saxons invaded Prague and plundered the Carmelite church and cloister as well. The little Infant Jesus of Prague was likewise desecrated and got lost.

The Precious Little Hands

How the Infant Jesus of Prague was found is a touching story told by Fr. Faroni.

In 1638, when peace had reigned once more in Prague, the Carmelites returned to their monastery. A certain Fr. Cyril mourned hard the loss of the statue. One day, while he was praying before the ruined altar, he heard the sound of a child crying. Behind the altar, he found the precious statue buried in the rubble � but with hands lost. Fr. Cyril was in shock as the Child told him, �Return my arms to me, and I shall return peace to you! The more you honour me, the more I shall bless you.�

You would think it just a simple matter but at that point in time, the monastery had no money. So, the Infant Jesus of Prague was displayed without arms with which to bless the people.

One day, a veteran soldier happened to kneel before the statue. He had seen the horrors of war and was plagued by images of suffering children. Looking at the disabled Infant Jesus of Prague on the altar, he was so touched he got his leather pouch which contained money, his plunder from the battles. He laid it before the statue.

Upon discovering the money, Fr. Cyril lost no time in looking around for a renowned sculptor. But despite the skill of the sculptor, the following morning the monks found the arms on the floor. This happened several times. Finally, a shy young man came to the monastery offering to repair the Infant Jesus of Prague. No one knew who he was. But observing the way he worked, Fr. Cyril noticed he was so tender and gentle towards the Infant Jesus.

That night, the monks could not sleep. They were in a hurry to check the following morning if the arms had again fallen off. But at last, they found the satisfied face of the Infant Jesus of Prague with both arms intact. When the monks looked for the young sculptor, they could no longer find him. The legend of the mysterious sculptor spread across the city. Many believed he was an angel, and the renown of the Infant Jesus of Prague once again spread.

The Swedish Invasion of Prague

In April 1639, the powerful Swedish army began a siege of the city. The frightened citizens hurried off to the Infant Jesus of Prague as services were held day and night at the Church of Our Lady Victorious in the Little Quarter. They learned that the besieging army under General Banner had decided to invade the city. But to the disbelief of the residents, they learned one morning that the army had decided to pull out. It is said that a messenger riding a foaming horse had dashed up to the general�s tent. And the army commander after a short discussion decided to retreat.

No reason was given for the extraordinary pull-out. But grateful residents ascribe this to the miraculous Holy Infant.

An Array of Treasures and Miracles

Through the years, the Gracious Infant Jesus (as it has come to be called) has been showered by gifts fit for a royal King. Emperors, kings, queens, and the nobility have knelt before the statue and bequeathed it with gems, royal vestments, a crown, and even portions of their estate. The rich vestments of the Infant Jesus of Prague number almost 60 pieces, including one given by the famous Empress Maria Theresa of Austria.

With the miracles and favors associated with it, the Prague icon became famous throughout Europe. Its history is well-documented especially with the book by P. Emerich a S. Stephano published in the early 18th century in German and in Czech.

The Infant Jesus of Prague Today

Walking the cobbled pavements of Prague in October 2010, I was wondering if a true devotion to the Infant Jesus of Prague still lives on today among its residents. After all, the country has endured two world wars and especially the onslaught of Communist Russia in the late 20th century. We had only a day to tour this dazzling city, an outstanding cultural treasure with its architecture of varying artistic styles.

I had to skip a few landmarks to be able to spend more time with the Infant Jesus of Prague. The altar of the Prague Infant is on the side and it is housed in a glazed case of immense value. It stands on a pedestal adorned with crystals, Czech garnets and a large ruby. There are twenty little angels around it. On that particular day, it was dressed in royal green vestments.

Much later, reading a magazine published by the Carmelites running the Sanctuary, I was so pleased and happy. At the left side of the cover, the little Prague Infant was there � so little you would miss Him. But in the center I found the countenance of a black African little boy. The Carmelite missions had been reaching out to Central Africa.

It is only fitting for royalty to give royal gifts to the Little King as He is the greatest King of all. But the Little Jesus who grew up with Joseph and Mary in a little house felt human emotions too and how he must grieve for the unfortunate children all over the world beset with hunger, ailments, grievous misfortunes, and � for millions of unborn � the threat of abortion.

Nowadays, when we gaze at the loving face of the Infant Jesus of Prague, it would be good to see not only His loving countenance but also that of the poor little children around the world. The greatest love we can offer the Infant Jesus is to love children, especially the poorest. Then, everyday of the year would be Christmas.

Subscribe to our Free E-Newsletter!

Get the latest articles on the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Catholic Faith, straight to your inbox - Free!

Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Advice from Our Lady for Celebrating New Year’s Eve:

Christian Worldview

Advice from Our Lady for Celebrating New Year’s Eve


December 28, 2010 A.D.

Sunset over Cross Mountain

The sun sets in Medjugorje on the last days of 2010. Our Lady has advice in how to prepare for the New Year, and even what to do on New Year’s Eve.

December 31, 1983

"For you, I only wish that this New Year will really be a holy one. On this day, go then to Confession and purify yourself in this New Year."

December 31, 1985

"When you hear the bells at midnight, you will fall on your knees, bow your head to the ground so that the King of Peace will come. This year I will offer my peace to the world. But afterwards, I will ask you where you were when I offered you my peace."

December 31, 1990

“Dear children, tonight your Mother invites you to go together with me to the church in joy and in prayer. In this very specific joy, pray in church for the intention of peace.”

The Community of Caritas has its own special tradition in making the transition from the year that is passing, to the New Year that is coming. Be looking for the “Behind the Scenes” of New Year’s with the Community of Caritas in the next day or two.

In the Peace of the Season,
Be a Blessing,

A Friend of Medjugorje

Sunset over the Village of Medjugorje


Copyright SJP Lic. Caritas of Birmingham. Used with permission. All information contained on this site including all text, images, sound tracks, logos, including all matter which may not be viewable to the user, and all matter which, may not be, or is downloadable and/or printable, are protected under international copyright and cannot be used without permission from Caritas of Birmingham, other than non-commercial personal use and/or for positive personal promotional purposes of said material.


Posted via email from deaconjohn's posterous