Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tebow’s choice for last season’s BCS championship game against Oklahoma, John 3:16, drew a reported 93 million Google hits that day.
Phil Sandlin/The Associated Press archiveFlorida quarterback Tim Tebow was photographed Nov. 21, 2009, before the game against Florida International in Gainesville, Fla. "I was just putting on my eye black and I realized that if I put a Bible verse on it, somebody might actually get something out of it," Tebow said Monday. "It’s just gained more and more momentum and steam, more and more people have recognized it, and now it’s just got a life of its own."
Tebow is undecided on what he will be wearing in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Friday night, although he’s not lacking for advice from fans.
"I really lean toward something that’s going through my heart," he said. "If there’s something going through my heart that week, or whatever it is, I think people understand more and learn more from it."
Here are the verses Tebow has worn over the past two seasons:
Regular season: Philippians 4:13 — "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
BCS championship game: John 3:16 — "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life."
Sept. 5 vs. Charleston Southern: Proverbs 3: 5-6 — "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Sept. 12 vs. Troy: Mark 8:36 — "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
Sept. 19 vs. Tennessee: Romans 8:28 — "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Sept. 26 at Kentucky: Isaiah 40:31 — "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
Oct. 10 at LSU: Thessalonians 5:18 — "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
Oct. 17 vs. Arkansas: Psalms 23:1 — "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."
Oct. 24 at Mississippi State: Ephesians 4:32 — "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you."
Oct. 31 vs. Georgia: Philippians 4:6-7 — "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Nov. 7 vs. Vanderbilt: Colossians 3:23 — "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men."
Nov. 14 at South Carolina: Joshua 1:8-9 — "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LordLORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."
Nov. 21 vs. Florida International: Romans 1:16 — "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
Nov. 28 vs. Florida State: Hebrews 12: 1-2 — "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
SEC championship game, Dec. 5 vs. Alabama: John 16:33 — "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Hat tip to the Catholic Fire on this one.
A warm welcome for Pope Benedict XVI as he prepared to eat a warm meal with Romes neediest.
Viva il Papa
The crowd shouted long live the pope.
But days earlier, he was greeted very differently by a 25-year old unstable woman who attended Christmas Eve Mass at St. Peters Basilica.
Witnesses captured these images, the woman jumping over barricades, pushing the pontiff to the ground.
During the popes visit to St. Egidios soup kitchen, his first trip since the attack, security was tight and guards escorted Benedict XVI inside where he shared a meal with 150 homeless and poor people.
Thank you for this opportunity! I am very happy and I thank everyone with love and expertise have prepared the food - I really felt the power of this kitchen, congratulations!
Benedict XVI told the poor, that he is close to them and loves them, and called on everyone to always remember those in need and help them.
After the meal, the pope handed out gifts to about 30 children at the center.
The popes visit to the soup kitchen is part of a tradition his predecessor John Paul II started in 1998.
Today we remember St. Thomas Becket. The following comes from the American Catholic site:
A strong man who wavered for a moment, but then learned one cannot come to terms with evil and so became a strong churchman, a martyr and a saint—that was Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, murdered in his cathedral on December 29, 1170.
His career had been a stormy one. While archdeacon of Canterbury, he was made chancellor of England at the age of 36 by his friend King Henry II. When Henry felt it advantageous to make his chancellor the archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas gave him fair warning: he might not accept all of Henry’s intrusions into Church affairs. Nevertheless, he was made archbishop (1162), resigned his chancellorship and reformed his whole way of life!
Troubles began. Henry insisted upon usurping Church rights. At one time, supposing some conciliatory action possible, Thomas came close to compromise. He momentarily approved the Constitutions of Clarendon, which would have denied the clergy the right of trial by a Church court and prevented them from making direct appeal to Rome. But Thomas rejected the Constitutions, fled to France for safety and remained in exile for seven years. When he returned to England, he suspected it would mean certain death. Because Thomas refused to remit censures he had placed upon bishops favored by the king, Henry cried out in a rage, “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest!” Four knights, taking his words as his wish, slew Thomas in the Canterbury cathedral.
Thomas Becket remains a hero-saint down to our own times.
God is good and these images are an amazing expression of his glory! The following comes from Spirit Daily:
Christmas joy. Christ Mass joy. The liturgy well-spent brings Christmas to us every day.
At least at this time of the year, we think to praise God -- or should as this day the Holy Innocents praise Him. We should do so every day of the year.
We must also think of the deceased. At this time, we are most able to assist the souls in purgatory.
One day, we will know the joy of reuniting with or meeting all of our ancestors back to Adam.
In the crystallization of Christmas is that special connection to what is beyond this earth, and a joy it is that we will encounter it!
"I just went to Spirit Daily and the Hubble telescope picture and oh, my goodness, it takes my breath away," wrote Linnie Smith of Michigan, one of those who "died" and returned.
"In part of my near-death experience I saw planets and stars -- gee, I can't tell you, but when I see pictures like that I'm home again.
"I heard the turning of the planets. An angel told me it was the harmony of harmonies, the symphony of symphonies. I can still hear them.
"You see: everything exists to praise God. Everything. We just can't hear it.
"One time, after my near-death experience, I was praying and looking out the window at the tree line. As the trees were gently swaying in the wind my eyes were opened to see liquid lines moving with the breeze upward toward God. The scripture came to mind: the trees of the field will clap their hands."
Sunday, December 27, 2009
It was John Paul II wish to turn St. Peters Square into a miniature nativity scene every year for Christmas. Its been 27 years since the first one was set up, but every year since, mystery surrounds what the finished piece will look like since its kept a secret until inauguration day.
Pier Carlo Cuscianna, Director, Technical Services Vatican Governorate
We like to think of it as a surprise, in fact its not unveiled until the 24th, in the evening, Christmas day.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
A new video on the priesthood from CatholicTV.com gives Catholics a detailed look at the priesthood from the perspective of some of the men who live the call in this Year For Priests declared by Pope Benedict XVI. Please say a prayer for the great priests in your parish and around the world.
Please say a prayer for the people of Ireland. The 169 year old Cathedral of Longford has been destroyed by fire. We need to pray for the Church in Ireland and for all the good people of this Diocese as they pull together after the loss of their beautiful Cathedral. The following comes from Vultus Christi:
Saint Mel's Cathedral of the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois burned to the ground last night. Carrick-on-Shannon and Drumshanbo (County Leitrim) where I was blessed to spend time again this past August with Father Dan Leary, are in the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois. Saint Mel's Cathedral was one of Ireland's finest churches.
The blaze began shortly after 5.a.m. Midnight Mass had been celebrated in the Cathedral by His Lordship, the Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, Dr. Colm O'Reilly, who later said the Cathedral was burned out from end to end.
Construction on the Cathedral began in 1840. Hours before the beginning of the blaze, the Cathedral was filled with the faithful attending Midnight Mass. There are no indications as what caused the blaze.
The fire comes on top of severe weather conditions: floods and freezing. It compounds the moral sufferings of the Irish clergy and faithful, already grief-stricked and demoralized in the wake of the Murphy Report on the Archdiocese of Dublin.
Dear readers of Vultus Christi, join me in prayer for the Church in Ireland. She is being tested by fire. May her faith emerge shining like pure gold. Our Lady of Knock, Queen of Ireland, pray for us!
Hat tip to Fr. Z on this one, and Patrick Madrid as well.
By now, nearly every reader of the Mirror of Justice is aware that the Holy Father was knocked down by a mentally unstable woman as he proceeded up the aisle at the beginning of the Mass. The incident took place only about ten yards away from where we were sitting, although none of us were able to see what had occurred other than my daughter, Katie, who could see security gathering around and then a man being carried out of the basilica (who turned out to be Cardinal Roger Etchegaray who suffered a broken hip when knocked to the marble floor with the Pope.) I'm glad that I didn't see the security guards with their hands on their guns moving down the aisle, as that would have made me more apprehensive about what might be unfolding.
What may not have been fully conveyed by the news media is the remarkable reaction and response of the congregation as this episode unfolded, as well as the beauty and serenity of the rest of the Mass, despite the unsettling beginning. As the young woman vaulted over the rail and lunged at the Pope, those in the immediate area naturally gasped in surprise. But then complete silence fell over the entire basilica. We all remarked afterward how the reaction was so different than one usually experiences when something occurs in a crowd, typically a loud buzzing moving through the crowd as people describe what they had seen and discuss what it means and what may happen next. Instead, other than some whispering, everyone was prayerful and quiet, waiting for what seemed like a considerable time but instead proved to be only a couple of minutes. Cheers then rang out when he resumed his entrance.
When the Pope continued up the aisle, passing by our row, he did not look to be greatly shaken and returned to nodding and smiling at the worshipers gathered. The rest of the service was so beautiful and meaningful that we had nearly forgotten the interruption at the beginning by the time the Mass ended. The Holy Father recessed down the aisle, stopping to greet children in the congregation, before proceeding to the manger scene for the placement of the baby Jesus. While the eight of us will always remember that we happened to be there for the unfortunate incident, the focus of our conversation and attention afterward was on the Mass and the meaning of Christmas.
If there is a silver lining to the small cloud that overshadowed the beginning of the Mass, it may be that the news media has given more attention as well than usual to Pope Benedict's Christmas message, a call to turn away from selfishness and self-absorption and find spiritual fulfillment in God.
There has fallen on earth for a token
A god too great for the sky.
He has burst out of all things and broken
The bounds of eternity:
Into time and the terminal land
He has strayed like a thief or a lover,
For the wine of the world brims over,
Its splendour is split on the sand.
Who is proud when the heavens are humble,
Who mounts if the mountains fall,
If the fixed stars topple and tumble
And a deluge of love drowns all-
Who rears up his head for a crown,
Who holds up his will for a warrant,
Who strives with the starry torrent,
When all that is good goes down?
For in dread of such falling and failing
The fallen angels fell
Inverted in insolence, scaling
The hanging mountain of hell:
But unmeasured of plummet and rod
Too deep for their sight to scan,
Outrushing the fall of man
Is the height of the fall of God.
Glory to God in the Lowest
The spout of the stars in spate-
Where thunderbolt thinks to be slowest
And the lightning fears to be late:
As men dive for sunken gem
Pursuing, we hunt and hound it,
The fallen star has found it
In the cavern of Bethlehem.
The following comes from the CNS:
Pope Benedict today delivered a message of Christmas hope, saying a world beset by conflicts and a “grave financial crisis” needs the light of Christ.
The pope spoke at his Christmas message and blessing “urbi et orbi” — to the city and to the world — from the central loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica. St. Peter’s Square, decorated with a Christmas tree and a Nativity scene, was filled for the occasion.
He expressed a special thought for the “little flock” of Christians who remain in the land of Christ’s birth, and for the Christian community in Iraq, which has been subject to increasing violence and intimidation.
For the full message click here.
The pope then offered Christmas greetings in 65 languages, saying in English: “May the birth of the Prince of Peace remind the world where its true happiness lies; and may your hearts be filled with hope and joy, for the Savior has been born for us.”
Which of the 50 states has the most religious population? Since there are many ways to define "religious," there is no single answer to this question. But to give a sense of how the states stack up, the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life used polling data to rank them on four measures: the importance of religion in people's lives, frequency of attendance at worship services, frequency of prayer and absolute certainty of belief in God. Mississippi stands out on all four, and several other Southern states also rank very high on the measures.
See how the states rank according to each of the four measures in the interactive graphic by clicking here.
States with sample sizes that are too small to analyze are combined. As a result, the lowest ranking is 46 rather than 50,
Friday, December 25, 2009
This is pretty amazing! What do you think? Could the Blessed Virgin being appearing in Egypt? Have a look and let me know what you think:
A Coptic Christian friend in Dallas tells me that this news is huge in Egypt right now. From an L.A. Times Middle East blog:
Hundreds, if not thousands, have been lining up for hours every night at the Virgin Mary Orthodox Church in a Cairo neighborhood just off the Nile. Many of them claim that a mysterious light hovering above the church's domes is an apparition of the Virgin Mary who will bring Christian Copts prosperity and relief in a time of national and religious struggle.
The crowds began appearing Thursday evening when a number of residents spotted a flickering light. No one was sure where the illumination was coming from, and word quickly spread that the light took the shape of the Virgin Mary wearing a blue gown and standing in the sky between the church's two high crosses.
Since then, many Copts, and more than a few Muslims, have spent their evenings camping outside the church to either be blessed by a glimpse of the "miraculous" scene or to figure out just what's happening in the night sky. It has turned into a pilgrimage for the curious and the devout at a time when Egypt is beset by poverty, high unemployment and a bruised sense of identity, especially after the national soccer team's recent loss to Algeria knocked it out of contention for the World Cup.
"The scene on Saturday was huge when we saw the lightning and white pigeons flying around us. White pigeons always accompany apparitions like these," one Copt told The Times.
Skeptics say it's St. Elmo's Fire. Take a look at the video below, shot by a cellphone camera from the crowd, and see what you think. There's another video of the current alleged apparitions here. The local Coptic bishop has issued a statement saying that the apparitions are real, for what that's worth. And here's a short video clip from a year 2000 claimed apparition of Mary above a Coptic church in Assiut. The most famous of these latter-day apparitions atop Coptic churches was the nightly visits lasting from 1968 to 1970 over St. Mary's Coptic Orthodox Church in Zeitoun, Egypt. The parish church has plenty of amazing photographs of that event on its website. Tens of thousands of Christians and Muslims saw it happen.
And now Copts believe it is happening again. Here's that clip from the church in Warraq. Interestingly, in all these claimed apparitions of the Virgin in Egypt, she is accompanied by luminescent white birds. 'Tis all a mystery.
With this lovingly designed nativity scene in the church Bendern in Liechtenstein, I wish you all a blessed and gracious Christmas.
Un Natale Benedetto!
Swentego Bożego Narodzenia!
אשרי חג המולד!
Áldott karácsonyi ünnepeket!
Um Natal abençoado!
المبارك عيد الميلاد!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Proclamation of the Birth of Christ from the Christmas Martyrology:
The twenty-fifth day of December.
In the five thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth year of the creation of the world from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth;
the two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seventh year after the flood;
the two thousand and fifteenth year from the birth of Abraham;
the one thousand five hundred and tenth year from Moses
and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;
the one thousand and thirty-second year from David's being anointed king;
in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;
in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome;
the forty second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;
the whole world being at peace,
in the sixth age of the world,
Jesus Christ the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,
desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming,
being conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and nine months having passed since his conception,
was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary,
being made flesh.
The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.
You can learn more about All Angels here!
|Don Bosco beats Saint Peter's to win Non-Public Group 4 NJ HS football final|
My Don Bosco Prep Ironmen are National Champs! Here is the story from the Yahoo/High School Rivals site:
The question needs to be asked: If New Jersey only had one team in the RivalsHigh Top 100 rankings for most of the season, how could a team from the state - Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep - ascend to the top of the rankings and win the 2009 national championship?
The answer actually is easy.
In a season filled with upsets and parity in all of the traditional football power states, Don Bosco Prep stood out:
“This is a special experience for the kids,” Don Bosco athletic director and assistant coach Nunzio Campanile said. “We thought this was a special season but you never know how the polls will play out.”
For Bosco, seeing how the polls would turn out was actually its most stressful ‘game’ of the season.
The school jumped to No. 2 nationally when the calendar turned to November and remained there after capturing its fourth straight New Jersey state title on Dec. 5.
Then it had to sit and wait and see how the season played out in Florida, California and Texas.
First, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas – the undisputed top team going for its second straight national title – was stunned in the Florida 5A semifinals by Manatee on Dec. 11.
The next day, the No. 3 team - powerful Huntington Beach (Calif.) Edison – lost in the California state playoffs to Servite.
All that was left was Texas.
Austin (Texas) Lake Travis rose to No. 2 and went on to capture its third straight Texas 4A, Division 1 title last Saturday but it did not do enough to pass Don Bosco.
“Everything we’ve done just paid off,” senior lineman James Kittredge told NorthJersey.com. “All those grueling days, getting after each other in the heat.
“It turned out just the way the coaches promised. They said it could happen. They weren’t lying.”
Campanile credits tough scheduling for the team’s success.
“We try to challenge our kids,” he said. “We try to find out what they are all about. Those games against De La Salle and Prattville keep our kids motivated to work hard.”
Those games helped Don Bosco get the nod as national champions as well.
New Jersey had such a dramatically ‘down’ year this fall that it wasn’t worthy of inclusion in RivalsHigh’s 12-state tournament to determine where the best football is played.
But Bosco showed two teams what Jersey football is about.
On Sept. 12, Don Bosco dominated Concord (Calif.) De La Salle, 30-6, holding the eventual CIF Open Bowl champion to under 100 yards of offense. De La Salle finished the year ranked No. 39.
Two weekends later, on Sept. 25, Don Bosco had its defining moment against Prattville (Ala.) High.
Bosco roared to a 25-0 lead before Prattville came back to get within one at 25-24. Bosco responded with the next ten points to close out the game.
“The Prattville game was big for us,” Campanile said. “Traveling 1,000 miles and having our backs against the wall and a hostile crowd, told us a lot about this team.”
Prattville eventually advanced to the final of the Alabama Class 6A and finished the year ranked No. 96.
Two out-of-state wins aside, Bosco also beat the best in their state, rolling over Montvale (N.J.) St. Joseph’s, Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic, Jersey City (N.J) St. Peter’s Prep and West Orange (N.J.) Seton Hall Prep were all needed to push the Ironmen to the title.
Those schools, which have challenged – and beaten – Don Bosco in the past, were no match this season.
As it turns out, no school was.
One of the most mysterious works of art by sculptor and painter Michelangelo is the Madonna and Child. Its considered a sketch, but its still unclear what piece he did it for or if he left it unfinished.
Now, this stunning drawing sketched in pencil can be seen until January 10th in one of Romes most popular museums. The work made its way from Florence to Rome for Christmas.
Director, Foundation Casa Buonarroti,
It represents a very special and profound moment of Michelangelos religious vision, his reflection on the relationship between mother and child, which is not a calm relationship; its an uneasy and dramatic relationship.
Secretary General, Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic
One should pay close attention to the Virgins expression, because its not one of neglect that is lost in space, rather her look expresses her inner thoughts. She knows there will be suffering which will shape her sons life and her own.
According to experts, Michelangelo made the sketch in the year 1525. It was recently restored, and during the process there was proof the artist had doubts about the works composition. At first he sketched the Madonna looking down at the Child, much how Rafael depicted her. But finally, Michelangelo decided to draw the Madonna turning away from the Child.
Restorers also discovered that in the XIX century, the drawings margin was cut, perhaps for framing purposes. Its believed the alteration removed the Madonnas veil.
A small masterpiece from the Renaissance that has become one of the most admired Nativities.
The above photo is of a World War I memorial that I had never paid much attention to until today. It is located off Fifth Avenue in Central Park. I was walking toward the Metropolitan Museum of Art and stopped for the photo. It is a fantastic memorial to our brave soldiers from the Great War.
The bottom two pictures come from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The exhibit of the crèche is made possible by gifts to The Christmas Tree Fund and the Loretta Hines Howard Fund.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The following comes from the CNA:
Friday afternoon at sunset, Pope Benedict XVI will flip a switch to turn on the Christmas lights adorning the 27 meter tall tree standing next to the nativity scene in the center of St. Peter's Square. The Pope met earlier in the day with those responsible for bringing the Christmas tree to the Vatican from the Belgian region of Wallonia.
The Pope thanked the delegation present at the audience, including the Economy Minister of Wallonia, the Belgian ambassador to the Holy See, Bishop Aloys Jousten of Liege and all others involved in the promotion of the project and the "delicate" transportation of the six-ton tree to its present location.
The tree that was brought to us from the "dark and shadowy" forest is now in the light and covered in decorations like "many marvelous fruits," Benedict remarked.
"Leaving behind its somber robe for a sparkling radiance. It has been transformed."
"It becomes the carrier of a light that is no longer its own but bears witness to the true Light that comes to the world," said the Pontiff, likening the tree to the shepherds at the birth of Christ.
Pope Benedict added that the tree's presence could be compared to our existence in the world, "we are also called to bear good fruits to show that the world has truly been visited and redeemed by the Lord."
In its own way, said the Holy Father, this tree "proclaims the coming of the Son of God" to all who see it, "he who has come to make all things new and to call all creatures, from the humblest to the highest, to enter into the mystery of the Redemption and to be include in it."
The lights covering the enormous tree will be turned on at sunset on Friday evening by the Pope himself. He will flip a switch that has been installed in the Apostolic Palace overlooking the Vatican Square. The tree has been in place since Dec. 4, but due to the monumental task of constructing the nativity scene and decorating the tree, they weren't made public until now.
On 12 December, during a solemn liturgy celebrated in Sofia Cathedral , Bishop Christo Proykov, Exarch and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Bulgaria, appointed the Salesian Fr Petr Němec archimandrite.
Taking part in the ceremony were the Nuncio Apostolic in Bulgaria, Archbishop Janusz Bolonek, the Salesian Provincial in Prague Fr František Blaha and 12 priests from the diocese.
In his homily, Bishop Proykov ha described the vocation journey of Fr Němec and the witness given by his family. His brother and sister-in-law, Salesians-Cooperators, already parents of 5 children adopted 6 youngsters. The Exarch emphasised that for a priest the most precious and greatest good is and has to be God.
At the end of the ceremony bull of appointment was read. After saying a prayer Bishop Proykov gave Fr Němec a pectoral cross and the ”epigonàtion”, a liturgical ornament in the Byzantine rite worn by Bishops, Archimandrites and other dignitaries, a symbol of the Word of God.
Bishop Proykov had wanted to bestow this honour on Fr Němec, on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday, which occurred the previous day as a mark of recognition for the work of the Salesians in Bulgaria.
The Salesians, present in the country since 1994 with one community work in two centres. For the last two years they have also been working in the Gypsy area of Stara Zagora where they are building up a new project. They organise summer camps for children and young people from all the diocese, train leaders for the youth groups, and are responsible in the diocese for a number of activities such as Caritas, the formation of priests, catechesis, vocation promotion and the ecumenical movement. The Rector of the Salesian community Fr Petr Cvrkal has been elected President of the Conference of Religious in Bulgaria.
In Bulgaria 83% of the population is Orthodox, 13% Muslim, 0,6% Catholic and 0,5% Protestant. There are three Catholic dioceses: two of the Latin rite, at Sofia-Plovdiv and Ruse, and one of the Eastern rite a Sofia.
In the Eastern Catholic Churches the title “Archimandrite” is almost exclusively an honorary one. In exceptional circumstances it is conferred on priests of the Latin rite who are very close to the Eastern rite because of their studies, liturgy or charitable work. The term “Archimandrìtis”, which in Greek literally means “chief of a sheepfold,” recalls the image of the Good Shepherd and is also used in reference to a monastic community. In Eastern Christian Churches the archimandrite can be the Superior of a monastery or of a Congregation.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
The remains of the first dwelling in Nazareth that has been dated back to the time of Jesus have been unveiled - just days before Christmas.
The find that could shed new light on what the hamlet was like during the period the New Testament says Jesus lived there as a boy, Israeli archaeologists said.
The dwelling and older discoveries of nearby tombs in burial caves suggest that Nazareth was an out-of-the-way hamlet of around 50 houses on a patch of about four acres.
It was evidently populated by Jews of modest means who kept camouflaged grottos to hide from Roman invaders, said archaeologist Yardena Alexandre, excavations director at the Israel Antiquities Authority.
The place was so small Jesus would almost certainly have known all the houses - and might even have prayed there.
Based on clay and chalk shards found at the site, the dwelling appeared to house a 'simple Jewish family,' Alexandre added, as workers at the site carefully chipped away at mud with small pickaxes to reveal stone walls.
Nazareth holds a cherished place in Christianity. It is the town where Christian tradition says Jesus grew up and where an angel told Mary she would bear the child of God.
'This may well have been a place that Jesus and his contemporaries were familiar with,' Alexandre said. A young Jesus may have played around the house with his cousins and friends, she said. 'It's a logical suggestion.'
The discovery so close to Christmas has pleased local Christians.
They say if the people do not speak, the stones will speak,' said a smiling Rev. Jack Karam of the nearby Basilica of the Annunciation, the site where Christian tradition says Mary received the angel's word.
Alexandre's team found remains of a wall, a hideout, a courtyard and a water system that appeared to collect water from the roof and supply it to the home. The discovery was made when builders dug up the courtyard of a former convent to make room for a new Christian center, just yards (meters) away from the Basilica.
It is not clear how big the dwelling is - Alexandre's team have uncovered about 900 square feet (85 square meters) of the house, but it may have been for an extended family and could be much larger, she said.
Alexandre said her team also found a camouflaged entry way into a grotto, which she believes was used by Jews at the time to hide from Roman soldiers who were battling Jewish rebels at the time for control of the area.
The grotto would have hid around six people for a few hours, she said.
However, Roman soldiers did not end up battling Nazareth's Jews because the hamlet had little strategic value at the time. The Roman army was more interested in larger towns and strategic hilltop communities, she said.
Alexandre said similar camouflaged grottos were found in other ancient Jewish communities of the lower Galilee such as the nearby Biblical village of Cana, which did witness battle between Jews and Romans.
At the site, Alexandre told reporters that archaeologists also found clay and chalk vessels which were likely used by Galilean Jews of the time. The scientists concluded a Jewish family lived there because of the chalk, which was used by Jews at the time to ensure the purity of the food and water kept inside the vessels.
The shards also date back to the time of Jesus, which includes the late Hellenic, early Roman period that ranges from around 100 B.C. to 100 A.D., Alexandre said.
“Do not be afraid, Listen I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a saviour has been born to you, he is Christ the Lord.” Fr Chávez invites the members of the Salesian Family to “go to the manger” as the shepherds did to contemplate the mystery of the Incarnation and to tell everyone, especially the young, “what they had been told about the Child” and to praise the Lord for the great gift given to us in Jesus.
You can hear the Rector Major's greeting in English by clicking here.
Chanted by Benedictine Catholic Monks in Spain (San Domingo de Silos Monastery)
And the Light shineth in darkness: and the darkness did not comprehend it...
et lux in tenebris lucet et tenebrae eam non conprehenderunt... erat lux vera quae inluminat omnem hominem venientem in mundum...
That was the True Light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world.
Hat tip to the Anchoress on this one!
Monday, December 21, 2009
In Rome this morning, the Holy Father, Benedict XVI held a private audience with Mgr. Angelo Amato, SDB, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. During the audience, the Holy Father authorized the Congregation to issue a decree concerning a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Brother André, CSC, founder of Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal. Born on August 9, 1845 at Saint-Grégoire d'Iberville in the diocese of Saint-Hyacinthe, just south of Montréal, Brother André died on January 6, 1937 in Montréal. He was declared Venerable on June 12, 1978 by Pope Paul VI and was beatified on May 23, 1982 by Pope John Paul II in Rome.
With joy filled hearts, the administration and the personnel of Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal has learned that his Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI has just acknowledged as scientifically inexplicable, a healing due to the intercession of Blessed Brother André. Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte, Archbishop of Montréal, was elated by the news. “Brother André takes pride of place among the builders of our diocesan Church.”
The vice postulator for the cause of the canonization of Brother André, Father Mario Lachapelle, CSC, indicated, “The road to the canonization of Brother André is now open! The moment finally seems to have come. Today, one of the most significant pages in our collective history has been written.”
Read the whole story here.
Today we remember St. Peter Canisius. The following come from the Catholic Online site:
In 1565, the Vatican was looking for a secret agent. It was shortly after the Council of Trent and the pope wanted to get the decrees of the Council to all the European bishops. What would be a simple errand in our day, was a dangerous assignment in the sixteenth century. The first envoy who tried to carry the decrees through territory of hostile Protestants and vicious thieves was robbed of the precious documents. Rome needed someone courageous but also someone above suspicion. They chose Peter Canisius. At 43 he was a well-known Jesuit who had founded colleges that even Protestants respected. They gave him a cover as official "visitor" of Jesuit foundations. But Peter couldn't hide the decrees like our modern fictional spies with their microfilmed messages in collar buttons or cans of shaving cream. Peter traveled fromRome and crisscrossed Germany successfully loaded down with the Tridentine tomes -- 250 pages each -- not to mention the three sacks of books he took along for his own university!
Why did the Vatican choose Peter Canisius for this delicate task?
Born in Holland in 1521, Peter had edited and written several volumes on Church history and theology, been a delegate to the Council of Trent, and reformed the Germanuniversities from heresy. Called to Vienna to reform their university, he couldn't win the people with preaching or fancy words spoken in his German accent. He won their hearts by ministering to the sick and dying during a plague. The people, the king, and the pope all wanted to make Peter bishop of Vienna, but Peter declined vigorously and administered the diocese for a year.
For many years during the Reformation, Peter saw the students in his universities swayed by the flashy speeches and the well-written arguments of the Protestants. Peter was not alone in wishing for a Catholic catechism that would present true Catholic beliefs undistorted by fanatics. Finally King Ferdinand himself ordered Peter and his companions to write a catechism. This hot potato got tossed from person to person until Peter and his friend Lejay were assigned to write it. Lejay was obviously the logical choice, being a better writer than Peter. So Peter relaxed and sat back to offer any help he could. When Father Lejay died, King Ferdinand would wait no longer. Peter said of writing: "I have never learned to be elegant as a writer, but I cannot remain dumb on that account." The first issue of the Catechism appeared in 1555 and was an immediate success. Peter approachedChristian doctrine in two parts: wisdom -- including faith, hope, and charity -- and justice-- avoiding evil and doing good, linked by a section on sacraments.
Because of the success and the need, Peter quickly produced two more versions: a Shorter Catechism for middle school students which concentrated on helping this age group choose good over evil by concentrating on a different virtue each day of the week; and a Shortest Catechism for young children which included prayers for morning and evening, for mealtimes, and so forth to get them used to praying.
As intent as Peter was on keeping people true to the Catholic faith, he followed the Jesuit policy that harsh words should not be used, that those listening would see an example of charity in the way Catholics acted and preached. However, his companions were not always as willing. He showed great patience and insight with one man, Father Couvillon. Couvillon was so sharp and hostile that he was alienating his companions and students. Anyone who confronted him became the subject of abuse. It became obvious that Couvillon suffered from emotional illness. But Peter did not let that knowledge blind him to the fact that Couvillon was still a brilliant and talented man. Instead of asking Couvillon to resign he begged him to stay on as a teacher and then appointed him as his secretary. Peter thought that Couvillon needed to worry less about himself and pray more and work harder. He didn't coddle him but gave Couvillon blunt advice about his pride. Coming from Peter this seemed to help Couvillon. Peter consulted Couvillon often on business of the Province and asked him to translate Jesuit letters from India. Thanks to Peter , even though Couvillon continued to suffer depression for years, he also accomplished much good.