Friday, December 31, 2010

Light Up The Sky by The Afters

Chinese Catholics Dedicate Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue

The following comes from the Spero News site:

A statue some 10 feet tall representing the Sacred Heart of Jesus, was inaugurated at the Cathedral of the Catholic Diocese of Lan Zhou, Gan Su province in China. The base of the marble statue bears a Gospel verse reading, “Come unto me all you who are weary and burdened” (Mt 11:28), in Chinese and English, as an invitation to respond to call of Jesus.

The back of the base shows the peace prayer of St Francis of Assisi. On the right side of the base is the presentation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and on the left side, the special graces given to devotees of the Sacred Heart. According to diocesan sources, the statue is intended “to remind the faithful always of devotion to the Sacred Heart and the importance of prayer in daily life.” It is also a symbol of the Catholic faith and an invitation to “be promoters of evangelization aimed at all those who look at it”.

The Diocese of Lan Zhou now has over 350,000 faithful, 30 priests, 200 religious sisters from three congregations (Servants of the Holy Spirit, Holy Family, Daughters of Our Lady of China), 80 novices, 40 seminarians, 38 open churches. Bishop Han Zhi Hai has become famous for launching his courageous appeal for the unity of the Chinese Church in an open letter in January 2003. 
The inauguration of the statue, which embodies a centuries-old devotion on the part of Catholics that began in Europe, comes during a time of crisis for Catholics and other Christians in China. So-called 'house' churches among Evangelicals and Pentecostals are growing in number, even while the communist government chastises and imprisons Christian pastors and priests.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fr. Robert Barron comments on the wise words from Pope Benedict XVI

Sweet Surrender by John Denver

Pope Benedict Speaks on St Catherine of Bologna and her 7 Spiritual Weapons


The following comes from the Spero News Site:


Pope Benedict XVI spoke to an audience of some 8000 in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican about the life of 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 honor. 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 March 9, 1463 and was canonized 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". 

Patron Saint Generator

Well the Anchoress and Deacon Greg are both encouraging us to check out the Saint's Name Generator!
I got St. George!  Here is something about him from Catholic Online:


Pictures of St. George usually show him killing a dragon to rescue a beautiful lady. The dragon stands for wickedness. The lady stands for God's holy truth. St. George was a brave martyr who was victorious over the devil.
He was a soldier in the army of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, and he was one of the Emperor's favorite soldiers. Now Diocletian was a pagan and a bitter enemy to the Christians. He put to death every Christianhe could find. George was a brave Christian, a real soldier of Christ. Without fear, he went to the Emperor and sternly scolded him for being so cruel. Then he gave up his position in the Roman army. For this he was tortured in many terrible ways and finally beheaded.
So boldly daring and so cheerful was St. George in declaring his Faith and in dying for it that Christians felt courage when they heard about it. Many songs and poems were written about this martyr. Soldiers, especially, have always been devoted to him.
We all have some "dragon" we have to conquer. It might be pride, or anger, or laziness, or greediness, or something else. Let us make sure we fight against these "dragons", with God's help. Then we can call ourselves real soldiers of Christ.
Check it out and have a blessed New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tim Tebow's Witness


The following come from the Christian Post:

Tim Tebow, the evangelical darling who uses football as a platform for ministry, has found a way around the NFL rule that bans writing on the eye black.

Tebow
(Photo: AP Images / Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15) passes in front of Oakland Raiders defensive end Lamarr Houston (99) in the second quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010.
He was seen Sunday during the game between his Denver Broncos and the Houston Texans with a Bible verse written on his wrist band, usually used to store game plays. The verse appears to be Luke 2: 10-11, which says: “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.’”
Tebow became famous as a quarterback for the University of Florida not only for his stellar football skills but also for the unusual practice of writing a Bible verse on his eye black during every game. As the son of missionaries to the Philippines, Tebow said he views his time on the field as a platform to minister to boys and girls who look up to football players.
“In the national championship game, the verses I wore underneath my eyes, within the next two days, 94 million people had googled that,” said Tebow during a Southeastern Conference press conference in July 2009.
“When I heard that you’re like ‘wow.’ The impact that you have is incredible. And it’s truly a blessing,” he said.
The NFL prohibits players from marking their uniform, which includes the eye black, so Tebow had to figure another way to direct fans’ attention to the Bible upon entering the professional level.
He figured that out Sunday and also had a breathtaking game where he led the Broncos to a 17-0 second half comeback including two fourth quarter touchdowns. The Broncos won the Texans 24-23 in the post-Christmas game.
Tebow’s acclaim includes being the first college sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy and the first college football player to both rush and pass for 20 touchdowns in a season.
Hat tip to the Deacon's Bench!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Never give up: Rudy movie speech!


This movie was too cool! I really enjoy the janitors speech and the challenge he puts to Rudy. Enjoy!

The Story of the Singing Priests

Pope Benedict: Look Upon Incarnation with Faith


The following comes from Zenit.org:

The birth of Christ is a "mystery of love" that must be looked upon with faith, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope reflected today on the Incarnation in his annual Christmas message, which he delivered from the central balcony of St. Peter's Basilica. His words were heard by some 40,000 people gathered in St. Peter's Square, as well as millions of television viewers worldwide who followed his Christmas greeting in 65 languages and the traditional blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city of Rome and the world).

"God became man," the Pontiff began. "He came to dwell among us. God is not distant: he is 'Emmanuel,' God-with-us. He is no stranger: he has a face, the face of Jesus."

He called the message of Christmas one that is "ever new, ever surprising, for it surpasses even our most daring hope."

But Christmas, the Holy Father continued, "is not merely a proclamation. It is an event, a happening, which credible witnesses saw, heard and touched in the person of Jesus of Nazareth!"
"Before this revelation we once more wonder," Benedict XVI then asked, "how can this be? The Word and the flesh are mutually opposed realities; how can the eternal and almighty Word become a frail and mortal man?"

"There is only one answer: Love," he affirmed. "Those who love desire to share with the beloved, they want to be one with the beloved, and sacred Scripture shows us the great love story of God for his people which culminated in Jesus Christ."

"The light of this truth is revealed to those who receive it in faith, for it is a mystery of love," the Pope stated. "Only those who are open to love are enveloped in the light of Christmas. So it was on that night in Bethlehem, and so it is today.

"The Incarnation of the Son of God is an event which occurred within history, while at the same time transcending history. In the night of the world a new light was kindled, one which lets itself be seen by the simple eyes of faith, by the meek and humble hearts of those who await the Savior. If the truth were a mere mathematical formula, in some sense it would impose itself by its own power. But if Truth is Love, it calls for faith, for the 'yes' of our hearts."

The Pope said that the message of Christmas is also "a light for all peoples, for the collective journey of humanity."

"Emmanuel, God-with-us, has come as King of justice and peace," he said. "We know that his Kingdom is not of this world, and yet it is more important than all the kingdoms of this world. It is like the leaven of humanity: were it lacking, the energy to work for true development would flag: the impulse to work together for the common good, in the disinterested service of our neighbor, in the peaceful struggle for justice.

"Belief in the God who desired to share in our history constantly encourages us in our own commitment to that history, for all its contradictions. It is a source of hope for everyone whose dignity is offended and violated, since the one born in Bethlehem came to set every man and woman free from the source of all enslavement."

Sunday, December 26, 2010

O Little Town of Bethlehem

Candlelight Carol by Aled Jones

Saturday, December 25, 2010

O Holy Night by Jackie Evancho

Peanuts: What is Christmas all about!


Andrew Maul sent me the following info on this scene from A Charlie Brown Christmas:
"A Charlie Brown Christmas" is one of the most popular and loved Christmas specials. It first aired in 1965 and it’s been on television every year since. It has been honored with an Emmy and a Peabody award. One scene almost didn’t make it into the final show. Charlie Brown asks if there's "anyone who knows what Christmas is all about". Linus then recites the Bible on the birth of JESUS Christ. Network executives weren’t sure people would sit through Bible passages. They wanted it removed. Charles Schulz put his foot down. He reportedly said, “If we don’t tell the true meaning of Christmas, who will?” Schulz told them to either include the gospel, or cancel the special. The scene stayed in.

Silent Night by Bing Crosby

Friday, December 24, 2010

Pope Benedict prays for peace at Christmas Eve Mass in Vatican

The following comes from BBC:


Pope Benedict has prayed for peace as he delivered his traditional Christmas Eve homily in Rome.

At a Mass at St Peter's Basilica, the Pope prayed for God to "implant his peace in our hearts" but also to "break the rods of the oppressors".

Security was tight. Last year at the same Mass a woman jumped the barriers and lunged at the Pope.

Meanwhile at a Mass in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, a senior cleric called for peace in the Middle East.

'Garments rolled in blood'
The BBC's David Willey in Rome says plain-clothed security men followed the Pope as he walked in procession up the central nave of the basilica watching for any sign of trouble.

The 83-year-old pontiff stopped twice to bless babies held up to him.

About 10,000 people attended the Mass.

The Vatican had reviewed its security procedures after last year's incident. The same woman had also attempted to throw herself at the Pope at the Mass a year earlier.


The Pope lit a nativity candle from his window
Security concerns had also been heightened by parcel bomb attacks on Thursday at two embassies in the Italian capital which injured two people.

In his Christmas homily, Pope Benedict said: "We are grateful that God gives himself into our hands as a child, begging as it were for our love, implanting his peace in our hearts.

But this joy is also a prayer: Lord, make your promise come fully true. Break the rods of the oppressors. Burn the tramping boots. Let the time of the garments rolled in blood come to an end."

He added: "Help us to live together with you as brothers and sisters, so as to become one family, your family."

Earlier in heavy rain the Pope had lit a candle in his window, which overlooks St Peter's Square, to open officially the Vatican's nativity scene.

One American tourist, Gayle Savino, told Reuters: "It's just a blessing to be here on such a wonderful night on Christ's birthday."

Later on Saturday, the Pope will deliver his Christmas message to the city of Rome and the world.

Then he will host a Christmas lunch in the Vatican's audience hall for 350 homeless people.

'Model for the world'
Thousands of people also converged on the West Bank town of Bethlehem ahead of the midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity - built at the site where Christians believe Jesus was born.


Some 90,000 people are expected to visit Bethlehem for celebrations there
It was addressed by the Catholic Church's top representative in the Middle East - Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal - who made his traditional call for peace.

"During this Christmas season, may the sound of the bells of our churches drown the noise of weapons in our wounded Middle East," he said.

"Our hope for Christmas is that Jerusalem not only becomes the capital of two nations, but also a model for the world, of harmony and coexistence of the three monotheistic religions."

The patriarch also recalled October's bloody attack on Christians in a Baghdad church.

"Such fanatic actions are universally condemned by Christians and Muslims," he said.

More than 50 people were killed when security forces stormed the church to free dozens of hostages.

The number of tourists visiting Bethlehem has been rising in recent years as violence has decreased.

Some 90,000 visitors are expected in the town during the Christmas season - up from about 70,000 last year, according to Israeli government figures.

A Christmas Message from Pope Benedict XVI

The Christmas Story - A Savior is Born

O Magnum Mysterium

The Christmas Story by Kids

Fr. Robert Barron comments on The Genealogy of Jesus

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Matter of Faith: Malcolm Muggeridge with Fr. Patrick Peyton

Rich Mullins: You gotta get up!


Rich Mullins - "You Gotta Get Up" - Unofficial Music Video from Eric Coomer on Vimeo.

Let Us Be Amazed, Exhorts Pope Benedict XVI


The following comes from Zenit.org:

Benedict XVI is calling the faithful to "let ourselves be amazed" by the "Star that inundated the universe with joy."

The Pope made this invitation when he spoke of the Star of Bethlehem today during the general audience, which he dedicated to a reflection on Christmas.

"In the midst of the frenetic activity of our days, may this time give us some calm and joy and enable us to touch with our hand the goodness of our God, who became a Child to save us and to give new encouragement and light on our journey," the Holy Father said.

He proposed that "joyful hope" is the "characteristic of the days that precede Holy Christmas" and the "essential attitude of the Christian who desires to live fruitfully the renewed encounter with him who comes to dwell in our midst: Christ Jesus, the Son of God made man."

The Pontiff reflected on how "the Savior comes to reduce to impotence the work of evil and all that which can still keep us away from God, to restore to us the ancient splendor and primitive paternity. With his coming among us, he indicates to us and also assigns to us a task: precisely that we be like him and that we tend toward true life, to come to the vision of God in the face of Christ."

He said that the Lord's coming "can have no objective other than to teach us to see and love events, the world, and everything that surrounds us with the very eyes of God."

"The Word-become-a-child helps us to understand God's way of acting," the Pope affirmed, "so that we will be capable of allowing ourselves to be transformed increasingly by his goodness and his infinite mercy."

"In the night of the world, we must let ourselves be amazed and illumined by this act of God, which is totally unexpected: God becomes a Child. We must let ourselves be amazed, illumined by the Star that inundated the universe with joy," Benedict XVI said. "May the Child Jesus, in coming to us, not find us unprepared, busy only in making the exterior reality more beautiful and attractive. May the care we give to making our streets and homes more resplendent impel us even more to predispose our soul to encounter him who will come to visit us.

"Let us purify our conscience and our life of what is contrary to this coming: thoughts, words, attitudes and deeds -- impelling us to do good and to contribute to bring about in our world peace and justice for every man and thus walk toward our encounter with the Lord."


Catholicism Series Highlights

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Do Not Waste Time or Opportunities This Christmas!

I came across this here and here.

God bless Fr. Corapi:

“Be Thankful For The Bread Of Life Who Was Laid In A Manger”

Another Christmas is here. I don’t know about you, but with each passing season I think more of my mortality, and wonder how many Christmas days or any days are left in my allotted time in this life. One of the greatest sorrows, I believe, is to have missed opportunities, to have wasted time. When we think of the unfathomable gift of God’s only Son given to us as a Gift surpassing all gifts, we have to take a moment or two to be thankful. Some days it’s more difficult to be thankful than others. Every November I speak and/or write about our American holiday of Thanksgiving, reminding myself and others of the need to be thankful. Then a few weeks later along comes Christmas. Jesus, the Bread of Life, is laid in a manger (a place where food is placed by higher creatures for lower creatures). Mary, the Mother of the Eucharist, performs this sacred act. It all takes place in Bethlehem, a word that means “House of Bread.”Eucharist is a word that basically means “thanksgiving” or “to give thanks.” So, every year after Thanksgiving I recall that the ultimate thanks to the Father is Jesus in the Eucharist. This miracle of thanksgiving is foreshadowed in a mysterious way at Christmas when the Mother of Thanksgiving (the Eucharist) lays her only Son (the Bread of Life) in a manger (place where food is set) in the House of Bread (Bethlehem).


For a sad and somewhat mysterious reason an incredible amount of sadness and depression descends upon no small number of people during the holidays. I don’t know if it’s the Devil’s revenge, or just a natural emotional response of millions of people who once knew the warmth of a family and traditional values, but now feel isolated, desolate, lonely, and alienated. More than 50% of marriages end in divorce, and the fragments of broken families are strewn far and wide over the landscape of modern society. We do the best we can, but even I have to admit the holidays are a challenge. Some years I have to consciously and strenuously ignore the secular facet of the holidays and look only at the religious and spiritual. You might say that’s what we expect of a priest. You wouldn’t be wrong, but you have to remember priests are just as human as anyone else.
This year, for the first time in ten years, I will celebrate Christmas without old Sage, my loyal and loving Chesapeake Bay Retriever. There will be one red bow less to put on dogs’ collars, and the empty space in the house and around the house still aches without his presence. Yet, we give thanks for all things great and small, for all creatures great and small, for all blessings and gifts, great and small. Especially we thank God our Father for the greatest gift of all–the gift of His only Son, Jesus in the Eucharist. Emmanuel, God is with us, at Christmas, and forever.
God Bless You,
Father John Corapi, SOLTP.S.

Believe by Josh Groban

Classic Christmas with Bing and Bowie: Little Drummer Boy

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Emmanuel by Michael W. Smith

Emmanuel - By Michael W. Smith from Dale W on Vimeo.

Papal preacher says new evangelization must return to ways of the apostles


The following comes from the CNA:

The methods and means that served the apostles to evangelize the pre-Christian world are valuable to Christians today as they seek to "re-evangelize" secularized parts of the world, the Pope's preacher told CNA.

Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa is a 76-year old Capuchin friar with a big responsibility. He is the official preacher to the Pope, those cardinals that work closely with the pontiff, members of the Roman Curia and religious superiors.

His position, as the official Preacher of the Pontifical Household, has taken him to the heart of the Vatican for the last three decades to give meditations on Fridays during Lent and Advent.

Again this year, he returned to Pope Benedict's Redemptoris Mater chapel to give three meditations which he wrote, drawing inspiration from Jesus' words in the Gospel of John: "Take courage: I have conquered the world."

The theme, he explained to CNA in an e-mail on Dec. 20, was meant to bring a "small contribution of reflection and of encouragement" to mark the creation of the Vatican’s new Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.

The three meditations gave a response of faith, with the help of Blessed John Henry Newman's writings, to three of the "underlying obstacles" that today's culture puts in the way of accepting the Christian message: Atheistic scientism, secularism and rationalism.

In his first meditation, Fr. Cantalamessa discarded the possibility of explaining that God does not exist using science. In the second, he spoke of how Christians can counter the "eclipse" of God and the eternal with faith and evangelization. In the third reflection, the Capuchin noted that the best way to speak to those who make an idol of reason is through concrete Christian witness.

The goal of the meditations was not to be controversial, said Fr. Cantalamessa, but to bring up the themes and put them out on the table.

They were meant to open up the people that heard the talks or read them to the "spirit and core tone ... of dialogue and of serene confidence in the perennial validity of the responses offered by the Gospel," he explained.

For this reason, he chose Jesus' phrase on taking courage as the overriding theme.

It brought the focus home for the idea of the new evangelization. And, as Jesus mandated, the world in every age must be evangelized, said Fr. Cantalamessa.

The papal preacher echoed the words of the Pope when he announced the Vatican's newest department in June and charged it with the task of "re-evangelizing" countries that have strayed from their Christian past.

Fr. Cantalamessa noted that some people have gone so far as to define the current time period as "the post-Christian world."

This means that Christians today are in a situation similar to that which the first Christians confronted in the "pre-Christian world."

As such, he said, "we must discover the method and the means with which they evangelized their world because they are the same (tools) that serve us today. Such means were fundamentally the announcement 'in Spirit and power' of the Paschal mystery of Christ dead and risen, united to the testimony of life."

Now is the time to turn back to the words of St. Peter to the early Christians urging them to be ready to "give reason for the hope" that was in them, he said.

In a time when many might laugh at the idea of life being transformed by thoughts about eternity, it is exactly the "condition" of never-ending life that leads Christians to evangelize, he explained.

And, as "the eternal" entered into our time with Christ's incarnation, Christmas is therefore a "privileged occasion" to direct attention back to eternity "with the same tranquil certainty" of John the evangelist.

Reflecting on his own ministry with the Word, Fr. Cantalamessa called his ministry to two Popes across three decades both "a responsibility and a grace."

The humility of two Popes "to listen to the words of a simple priest of the Church" has been edifying, he said. At the same time, Fr. Cantalamessa explained that his position as preacher to the Pope has made him deeply aware of the Church's problems and her occasions for grace.

Fr. Cantalamessa's meditations are available on his website, www.cantalamessa.org

A Great Light

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Comes To Town from the Polar Express

THE POLAR EXPRESS CHRISTMAS COMES TO TOWN from Mike Jones on Vimeo.

Pope looks to St. Joseph's example of faith as Christmas approaches


The following comes from the CNA:

During Sunday's Angelus prayer, Pope Benedict XVI prayed that all people might know how to read the signs of God's work in their lives just as St. Joseph did.

St. Peter's Square, adorned with a towering 110-foot tall Norway spruce tree, was brimmed with people already in festive spirits as Christmas nears. Those gathered were bundled up on the unusually cold morning in Rome, a novelty that added still more to the holiday atmosphere.

Before the prayer, the Pope spoke about the Gospel reading from the fourth and final Sunday of the season of Advent. In the reading, St. Matthew recounts the birth of Jesus from St. Joseph's point of view.

Christ's father on earth, St. Joseph, is described as a "just man." He is faithful to the Lord and willing to do his will, noted the Pope.

In the Bible passage, the ancient prophecy is fulfilled and the Son of God is made man in the womb of a virgin. St. Joseph, upset at finding that Mary is with child, decides to quietly leave her.

But an angel comes to him in a dream and tells him not to fear, to take Mary as his wife and to name the child "Emmanuel," or "God is with us," because he "shall save his people from their sins."

Joseph then abandons the thought of leaving Mary, said the Pope, "because now his eyes see the work of God in her."

St. Joseph is "certain of doing the right thing," obeys the angel's command, and stays with her. In following the directives of God, said the Pope, he joins the ranks of the humble and faithful servants, like the angels, prophets, martyrs and apostles.

Joseph "announces the portents of the Lord, giving testimony to the virginity of Mary, the gratuitous actions of God and protecting the earthly life of the Messiah," he said.

"Thus, we venerate the 'legal father' of Jesus, because in him the new man is outlined, one who looks with trust and courage to the future, who does not seek his own project but entrusts himself totally to the infinite mercy of He who makes the prophecies true and opens up the time of salvation."

Pope Benedict entrusted all of the Church's priests and bishops to St. Joseph, the universal patron of the Church. He exhorted clergy to bring themselves ever closer to the person of Jesus, to "present quietly Christ’s words and actions each day to the faithful and to the whole world."

He then asked for the intercession of Mary so that as Christmas approaches, all people's eyes might be opened to see Jesus and that their heart might rejoice.

The Pope also prayed that all people might receive Jesus "with love and humility, and like St. Joseph that we might know how to read signs of Providence in daily life."

Saying goodbye to the crowd from his studio window, he wished all "a good Sunday and a serene Christmas in the light and the peace of the Lord."

A Gaelic Blessing by John Rutter


Deep Peace (A Gaelic Blessing)
Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the shinning stars to you
Deep peace of the gentle night to you
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you
Deep peace of Christ, of Christ
The light of the world to you
Deep peace of Christ to you

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hallelujah by Alexandra Burke

Alexandra Burke - Hallelujah from colin2k on Vimeo.

A European Christmas

A Decalogue for Priests

I found this on the website of Sr. Briege McKenna and thought it was good food for thought! We have to make sure to remember our priorities!

A Decalogue for Priests by Bishop Klaus Hemmerle

1. How I live as a priest is more important than what I do as a priest.

2. What Christ does through me is more important than what I do by myself.

3. It is more important that I live the unity of the priesthood than plunge myself headlong and alone into ministry.

4. The ministry of prayer and word is more important than serving at tables.

5. It is more important to nurture the spiritual welfare of those who build up the parish community than to undertake alone as many activities as possible.

6. It is more important to be present in a few key points radiating life than to be half-present everywhere and in a hurry.

7. It is more important to work in unity with others than alone, no matter how capable I may feel. In other words, communion is more important than action.

8. It is more important to value the Cross which yields true life, than to value the apparent success of human talents and efforts.

9. It is more important to have an open soul - open to the community, the diocese, the universal Church - than a soul fixed on particular interests, no matter how important they may seem.

10. It is more important to witness to my faith than to be caught up in every demand that is made upon me.

For All Nations

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Be Still for the Presence of the Lord

Street Cleaner's Nativity has become a Christmas staple for the Vatican

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pope Benedict: Jesus is God's Definitive Word

The following comes from Zenit.org:

Jesus is God's definitive Word to mankind, because by giving himself in person he has shown the true face of the Father, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this Tuesday in a homily he gave at the Mater Ecclesia Monastery on the feast day of St. John of the Cross (1567-1622), reports L'Osservatore Romano.

The Mater Ecclesiae monastery, located inside the Vatican walls, was established by Pope John Paul II in 1994. Every five years, a different community of contemplative women religious occupies the monastery, and during their stay they support the activity of the Pontiff and of the members of the Roman Curia.

The Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, founded by Sts. Francis de Sales and Jane Frances of Chantal, currently occupies the convent. This year marks the 400th anniversary of the foundation of the Order of the Visitation.

In Benedict XVI's homily, he commented on some topics of the thought of St. John of the Cross, described as the saint of the Paschal Mystery. Living the cross, the Pope said, the saint understood that it is love and that the mystery of love is realized in it.

The Holy Father stressed how in the Old Testament God manifested himself in many ways and came close to the people, among these, visions and prophetic words. Instead, in the New Testament, it is in Jesus, in Christ, where he makes his Word heard.

In the same way, the Pope continued, St. John of the Cross explains that God gave and said everything in his Son. Through Christ, humanity can recognize the face of the Triune God. Mankind's vocation, the Pontiff added, is to enter into this totality, to be touched and penetrated interiorly by the richness of the gift which is God himself.

At the end of the Mass, Sister Maria Begona Sancho, superior of the monastery, gave a silver cross -- like the one worn by the nuns -- to Benedict XVI in the name of all the nuns of the order worldwide. The cross, which came from Annecy, has relics of St. Francis de Sales, St. Jane Frances of Chantal and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, who was also a member of this congregation.

The superior also gave the Pope religous objects to be given to poor churches, including 400 albs, 600 purifiers, 900 rosaries, 400 copies in French of Francis de Sales' Introduction to the Devout Life, and 2,800 scapulars of the Sacred Heart.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Home by Celtic Thunder

Priests to be beatified were joyful as they awaited execution by Nazis

The following comes from the CNS via the Boston Pilot:

As the Nazi executioner beheaded three Catholic priests and a Lutheran pastor, one after another in a matter of minutes, their blood flowed together, creating a powerful symbol for ecumenism in northern Germany.

On June 25, the three Catholic martyrs of Lubeck -- Fathers Johannes Prassek, Eduard Muller and Hermann Lange -- will be beatified in the historic city's Sacred Heart Church, a stone's throw away from the Lubeck Cathedral, the ministerial home of the Rev. Karl Friedrich Stellbrink, their Lutheran counterpart. Rev. Stellbrink will be honored in a special way that day as well.

The four were executed in Hamburg Nov. 10, 1943. All had been found guilty of disseminating anti-Nazi material -- such as the homilies of Cardinal Clemens von Galen of Munster -- and other "treasonous" activities.

Although they were just four of more than 1,600 victims of Nazi political executions that year, their case drew the particular attention of Adolf Hitler and propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels. Hitler reportedly intervened personally in the case of the four clerics, formulating the charges and instructing prosecutors on their strategy.

After the four were sentenced to death June 23, 1943, in a trial widely considered a farce, Goebbels wrote in his diary: "I urge that the death sentences will in fact be carried out." An appeal for clemency by Catholic Bishop Hermann Berning of Osnabruck was rejected.

Father Franz Mecklenfeld of Sacred Heart Church told Catholic News Service that news of the beatification was received with "immense joy" by his parishioners.

It also is being followed "with great interest in the city of Lubeck," traditionally a Lutheran stronghold. In September, the daily Lubecker Nachrichten published a series of articles on the lives of the four martyrs.

"The martyrs have a great significance for the city," Father Mecklenfeld said. "They have become 'shining towers' in the city of Lubeck," where the skyline is famous for its seven Gothic church spires.

The notion of beatifying the three Catholics when their Lutheran companion cannot be honored in the same way has given rise to some controversy. The Rev. Heinz Russmann, a Lutheran pastor in Lubeck, wrote that the beatification would represent a painful division that would be harmful to ecumenism.

Either all four should be beatified, or none, he wrote.

His view is shared by the conservative local politician Hans-Lothar Fauth, a Catholic, who has said that all four have long been publicly acclaimed as saints, regardless of denomination, and therefore require no official recognition.

Father Mecklenfeld said his parish always has been sensitive about maintaining the ties among all four martyrs.

Ecumenical relations in Lubeck are marked by the shared martyrdom. Pope Benedict XVI, a German, has recognized the significance of that friendship.

In an address to the German ambassador to the Vatican Sept. 13, he said the friendship among the clerics while in jail "represents an impressive witness to ecumenical prayer and suffering which in many places flowered among Christians of different denominations during the dark days of national socialism. We may regard these witnesses as shining lights on our common ecumenical path."

Father Lange's writings bear out the pope's sentiment. In a July 1943 letter, he wrote: "The suffering borne in common over the last years has brought the two Christian churches closer to one another. The shared imprisonment of the Catholic and the evangelical (Lutheran) clergy is a symbol of this community of suffering, but also of reconciliation."

Emmanuel: by Loreena McKennitt

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Carrickfergus by Celtic Woman

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

THE DIGITAL STORY OF THE NATIVITY


A very 21st Century look at the Nativity!

Pope Benedict invites Catholics to bring light to the world

The following comes from the CNA:

The "silent light of the truth, of the goodness of God" leads to true change in the world, said the Pope at Mass on Dec. 12.

Benedict XVI traveled outside Vatican walls for Mass at St. Maximilian Kolbe parish in an outer suburb of Rome.

In his homily the Pope recalled John the Baptist's expectation that the Son of God would bring about dramatic change in the world. The baptist sent disciples to ask Christ if he is the one who came to bring about radical change or if they should continue to wait for another.

Benedict XVI said Christ gives a response to John the Baptist's question by saying, "Look at what I have done. I have not made a bloody revolution, I have not changed the world with force, but I have lit many lights that make ... a great path of light in the millennia."

"So many" false prophets, ideologues and dictators have said that it was they themselves and not Christ who have brought change to the world, the Pope explained.

He admitted that they have succeeded in changing the world through empires, dictatorships and totalitarian rule. But, he added, "today we know that all that has remained of these great promises is great emptiness and great destruction.”

St. Kolbe, the parish's patron saint, showed this "light" in his life, said the Pope. He offered his life to guards in the place of a father of a family who was to be killed in the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz.

In doing so, he "encouraged others to give themselves, to be close to the suffering, to the oppressed," said Pope Benedict XVI.

St. Kolbe was declared a martyr of charity when he was recognized as a saint in 1982 by Pope John Paul II.

Pope Benedict added that other Christians such as St. Damian of Molokai who worked with lepers and Mother Teresa of Calcutta who assisted the poor lived in a similar way.

In looking to these figures, it continues to be seen that it is not "violent revolutions or "great promises" that change the world, rather it is "the silent light of the truth, of the goodness of God" that does so,” he continued.

The Pope then invited everyone to bring light to the world, to pray to become a light for others. He asked that Christians live Advent daily in all aspects of life by being ever more open to God in order to "have light amidst so many shadows, so many daily fatigues."

The Pope closed by urging fidelity in marriage, communion in parishes between families of all backgrounds, and greater involvement of young people in the life of parishes.

Our Lady of Good Help

Monday, December 13, 2010

Prayer need: Retired Archbishop Hannan of New Orleans failing



The following comes from NOLA.com:
Retired Archbishop Philip Hannan, 97 and stricken with a bronchial infection, "seems to be failing" at his home in Covington, Archbishop Gregory Aymond said Monday.
new_orleans_saints_Archbishop_ Philip_Hannan.JPGRetired Archbishop Philip Hannan in 2009.
At mid-morning Aymond emailed the priests of the Archdiocese of New Orleans with the news and asked for their prayers.


He said Hannan is under care at his Covington home because he has asked to remain there.In an interview, Aymond indicated Hannan's condition is serious, although he noted he has rallied from earlier respiratory infections.
Aymond said a doctor examined the retired archbishop last night and looked in again this morning.  He said Hannan has been anointed with the sacrament of the sick, although that does not necessarily indicate that death is imminent.
In recent months Hannan has become increasingly enfeebled by a series of small strokes.

Heartland by Celtic Thunder


Out of the mists of Time it comes
Older than the oldest rhyme it comes
Coursing through our veins it comes
Pulsing in our brains it comes
Crashing like a thunder roll
Echoing in our very soul
Listen for it as it comes
The pure and primal sound of drums
(Spoken end)

Hear our hymn from the heartland
Hear our prayer
Steer us through stormy waters
Lead us there...

When the storm is raging
And thunder rolls
Deliver us from the ocean
Save our souls

(Gaelic chorus)
A Thiarna, déan trócaire (Lord have mercy)
A Chríost, déan trócaire (Christ have mercy)
A Thiarna, déan trócaire (Lord have mercy)
A Chríost, déan trócaire (Christ have mercy)

When the winds are howling
Vigil keep
Shelter us and save us
From the deep

(Gaelic chorus)
A Thiarna, déan trócaire (Lord have mercy)
A Chríost, déan trócaire (Christ have mercy)
A Thiarna, déan trócaire (Lord have mercy)
A Chríost, déan trócaire (Christ have mercy)

Thank you, Lord, you have brought us
Safe to shore
Be our strength and protection
Ever more

(Gaelic chorus)
A Thiarna, déan trócaire (Lord have mercy)
A Chríost, déan trócaire (Christ have mercy)
A Thiarna, déan trócaire (Lord have mercy)
A Chríost, déan trócaire (Christ have mercy)

(Gaelic bridge)
Déan trócaire (Have mercy)
Déan trócaire (Have mercy)
A Thiarna (Lord)


A Thiarna, déan trócaire (Lord have mercy)
A Chríost, déan trócaire (Christ have mercy)
A Thiarna, déan trócaire (Lord have mercy)
A Chríost, déan trócaire (Christ have mercy)

A Thiarna, déan trócaire (Lord have mercy)
A Chríost, déan trócaire (Christ have mercy)
A Thiarna, déan trócaire (Lord have mercy)

Vatican's Nativity Scene

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Virgen de Guadalupe - Mañanitas a la Virgen

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fr. Robert Barron comments on Leaving The Church

Saint of the Day: Pope Damasus I


The following comes from the Patron Saints Index:

Raised in a pious family; his father was a priest in Rome, and Damasus served for a time as deacon in his father's church, Saint Laurence. Priest. Assistant to Pope Liberius. Chosen 37th pope in a disputed election in which a minority chose the anti-pope Ursinus. The two reigned simultaneously in Rome which eventually led to violence between their supporters and Damasus's false accusation of a crime.

His pontificate suffered from the rise of Arianism, and from several schisms including break-away groups in Antioch, Constantinople, Sardinia, and Rome. However, it was during Damasus's reign that Christianity was declared the religion of the Roman state. He enforced the 370 edict of Emperor Valentinian controlling gifts to prelates, and opposed Arianism and Apollinarianism. He supported the 374 council of Rome which decreed the valid books of the Bible, and the Grand Council of Constantinople in 381 which condemned Arianism.

Patron of his secretary, Saint Jerome, commissioning him to make the translation of scripture now known as the Vulgate. Damasus restored catacombs, shrines, and the tombs of martyrs, and wrote poetry and metrical inscriptions about and dedicated to martyrs. They state that he would like to be buried in the catacombs with the early martyrs, but that the presence of one of his lowly status would profane such an august place. Ten of his letters, personal and pontifical, have survived.

Friday, December 10, 2010

When You Believe by Celtic Woman


CELTIC WOMAN SONGS FROM THE HEART WHEN YOU BELIEVE from Mike Jones on Vimeo.

Our Lady of Loreto

The following comes from the Patron Saints Index:
The title Our Lady of Loreto refers to the Holy House of Loreto, the house in which Mary was born, and where the Annunciation occurred, and to an ancient statue of Our Lady which is found there. Tradition says that a band of angels scooped up the little house from the Holy Land, and transported it first to Tersato, Dalmatia in 1291, then Recanati, Italy in 1294, and finally to Loreto, Italy where it has been for centuries. It was this flight that led to her patronage of people involved in aviation, and the long life of the house that has led to the patronage of builders, construction workers, etc. It is the first shrine of international renown dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, and has been known as a Marian center for centuries. Popes have always held the Shrine of Loreto in special esteem, and it is under their direct authority and protection.