- Centenarian of Faith: 101-Year Old Deacon Still Serves 8 Masses a Week (Diocesan News and Beyond)
- Luminous Mysteries and The 15 Promises of Mary to Those Who Pray the Holy Rosary (Helpful Hints for Life)
- How to Pray the Holy Rosary (Catholic Websites of the Week under laptop)
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
The Holy Rosary
“Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Impress them upon your children.
Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest.”
Most of you probably know how to pray the Holy Rosary. (If not, please check under the website section.) But maybe you do not know of its great power and its great aid to people and to the world. From the great naval victory at Lepanto in 1571 to the peace of heart and peace in the world, the holy Rosary is a gift beyond imagination.
St. Dominic and the Dominicans are and have been great preachers of the Rosary for around 800 years. Popes have endorsed it with Pope Leo XIII writing 12 Rosary encyclicals and 5 apostolic letters from 1883 to 1898, the most of any pope. The blessed Mother herself telling the children at Fatima, “You must recite the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary to obtain peace for the world…”
The Rosary is the Prayer of the Gospel, and it unites us and our lives to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph the ordinary and extraordinary events of their lives helping us to understand our own. The Rosary gives us and others grace and help at every moment of our lives. It prepares one for heaven, and helps one to truly love. (Be sure to read the promises of Our Lady below.)
The Rosary is not meant to be only vocal prayers recited, but MENTAL PRAYER, an engaging of the mind and heart to the events that save us. On the 10 Hail Marys ask WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and WHY about each Mystery you meditate upon. Then the true gift and benefit of the Holy Rosary will be made known to you and the world.
Now that is Catholic GOOD NEWS!
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. In 2004, Pope John Paul II in the Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (The Rosary of the Virgin Mary) added five more mysteries to the Holy Rosary referring to the life of Jesus and Mary, check them out under Helpful Hints for Life.
P.S.S. This coming Sunday is the Presentation of the Lord. >> Readings
Recording on the Holy Rosary explaining origin, all the mysteries, and more (30 minutes):
Holy Rosary (from Latin rosarium, “rose garden.”)
- a popular prayer, usually prayed on beads, composed of the twenty Joyful, Luminous, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries which reflect on the events in the life of Jesus, and how Mary was called to cooperate in His saving work along with Joseph, the spouse of the Virgin Mary and foster father of Jesus
1. The Baptism of Our Lord by John the Baptist
2. The First Miracle of Jesus at the Wedding of Cana
3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven (and Call to Repentance)
4. The Transfiguration
5. The Institution of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist
The promises of Mary from God to those who pray the Holy Rosary:
1. Whoever shall faithfully serve me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall receive signal graces.
2. I promise my special protection and the greatest graces to all who shall recite the Rosary.
3. The Rosary shall be a powerful armor against hell, it will destroy vice, decrease sin, and defeat heresies.
4. It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities, and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh, that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.
5. The soul which recommends itself to me by the recitation of the Rosary, shall not perish.
6. Whoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice, he shall not perish by an unprovided death; if he be just he shall remain in the grace of God, and become worthy of eternal life.
7. Whoever shall have a true devotion for the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.
8. Those who are faithful in reciting the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces; at the moment of death they shall participate in the merits of the saints in paradise.
9. I shall deliver from purgatory, those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
10. The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in Heaven.
11. You shall obtain all you ask of me by the recitation of the Rosary.
12. All those who propagate the holy Rosary shall be aided by me in their necessities.
13. I have obtained from My Divine Son, that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for intercessors, the entire celestial court during their life and at the hour of death.
14. All who recite the Rosary are my sons, and brothers of My only son Jesus Christ.
15. Devotion to My Rosary is a great sign of pre-destination.
Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (The Rosary of the Virgin Mary)
"All generations will call me blessed": "The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship." The Church rightly honors "the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of 'Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs. . . . This very special devotion . . . differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration." The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an "epitome of the whole Gospel," express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.
-Catechism of the Catholic Church #971
Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple
‘I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; and suddenly there will come to the temple the Lord who you seek’ (Mal 3:1)
"And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." -Luke 2:22-24
This weekend the Church celebrates the feast of the Presentation of the Lord which occurs forty days after the birth of Jesus and is also known as Candlemas, since the blessing and procession of candles is often included in today's liturgy. It is known in the Extraordinary Rite as a "Christmas feast" since it points back to the Solemnity of Christmas. Many Catholics practice the tradition of keeping out the Nativity creche or other Christmas decorations until this feast.
It is important to note that this reading does not dispute the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Even though Mary was sinless, the Holy Family was still obedient to what the Law of Moses required. This is the reason why Mary offers the second dove as "a sin offering" (see Lev. 12:6), though she herself was immaculate.
This act does not indicate that she was a sinner any more than Jesus' circumcision, baptism, or participation in other sacrificial rites indicates that he was a sinner.
Further Reading: Luke 2:22-40; Ex 13:2, 12; Leviticus 12:6-8
A Sword Shall Pierce Your Heart
“Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be --and you yourself a sword will pierce-- so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” -Luke 2:34-35
Commenting on the Presentation, St Bernard says: The time will come when Jesus will not be offered in the temple nor in the arms of Simeon, but outside the city walls on the arms of a cross. The time will come when he will not be ransomed with money but will himself redeem others with his own blood, for God the Father has sent him as a ransom for his people. The suffering of his Mother, the sword that will pierce her soul, will have as their only cause the agony of her Son, his persecution and death, the uncertainty about when these things will happen, and the resistance to the grace of the Redemption, which will be the ruin of many. Mary’s destiny is bound up with that of Jesus, in its operation, and without any other possible reason."
The joy of the Redemption and the pain of the Cross are inseparable in the lives of Jesus and Mary, as if God, through his most beloved creatures in the world, wished to show us that happiness is to be found close to the Cross of Christ. Further Reading: Luke Chapter 2
Vatican’s Website on the Holy Rosary
Has all 20 mysteries of the holy rosary with meditations and documents referring to the Rosary. Click on the pictures.
How to Pray the Rosary Step by Step
This gives detailed directions on how to pray the holy Rosary.
Printout of How to Pray the Rosary with Images of Mysteries printable on back
Print out of above website combined with images and Sacred Scripture verses of 20 Mysteries
START A HOSPITALITY GROUP FOR YOUR RCIA PROGRAM
[RCIA-Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults is the process by which non-Catholics join the Church, which usually begins in the Fall] Get to know people wanting to get to know the Church before they officially join and witness to them with your kindness and your faith story by being a part of group that brings food and drink to the RCIA class and then shares how you became Catholic or grew up Catholic.
People joining RCIA may not be sure about joining the Church or even know much about the Church, but everyone wants and needs to be received and treated kindly ("love is patient, love is kind" -St. Paul). So being part of a group that brings refreshments or food and drink to RCIA class can touch them by 'breaking bread' with them and affirming that you are glad they are there and want them to be a part of your parish. And if some of your committee, one by one, can share their faith journey, that can confirm the RCIA candidates in theirs, and they get to know members of the Church with whom they will worship and serve one day if they ultimately join the Church.
Consult and ask if it is okay with your Parish Priest and the person in charge of RCIA. Look for another person or group of people who would be willing on occasion to make or purchase food and drink and bring them to the RCIA meeting (perhaps once a month or every two weeks). And then hopefully one of your group, or perhaps the head of different ministries of your parish, can share a brief version of their faith journey as a cradle Catholic or as a convert themselves. The sharing does not have to be spectacular or stunning, it just has to be real and heart-felt. This can go a long way to helping RCIA candidates into the Church, and making them a part of your parish family for years to come.
Centenarian of Faith: 101-Year-Old Deacon Still Serves 8 Masses a Week
Meet a remarkable servant of the Church who offers wit and wisdom.
Patti ArmstrongWoodrow Wilson was president, people drove their Model Ts to see Charlie Chaplin movies, and World War I had just ended when Deacon Lawrence Girard was born on Nov. 21, 1918. Since his birth a century ago, the world has not slowed down, and neither has he — or at least not much for a century-old deacon.
Deacon Girard serves eight Masses a week at St. Sebastian Church in Dearborn Heights, Michigan — one a day and two on Sundays — reading the Gospel and intentions and helping distribute Holy Communion. According to his pastor, Father Walter Ptak, “He’s not only 100, but he is full of life and so active.”
Walking back and forth between the sacristy at the back of church to the altar for a recent Sunday evening Mass, Deacon Girard moved at a brisk pace. When asked about the centenarian’s liveliness after Mass, pastor Father Ptak laughed. “I have to grab onto him and say, ‘Hey, wait up! You are making me look bad!’” he said. “I’m 57 and I can’t keep up with him.”
In addition to serving Mass, Deacon Girard attends almost every parish event. “He’s always on the go; a real witness, especially to older people,” Father Ptak said. “He has such a positive spirit and keeps going forward, proclaiming the Gospel and living it.”
Others have noticed Deacon Girard’s enthusiasm for service, too. “The deacon is a wonderful, wonderful man,” said parishioner Ken Krach, who helps out in the sacristy after Mass. “He is very prompt — always one of the first ones here — and he always has words of wisdom. He is a very inspirational, prayerful, gentle man, and his memory is very good.”
He initially continued teaching at Catholic schools and then went back to school for a degree in social work from Wayne State University in Detroit and then a master’s degree at the University of Detroit.
For 25 years, Deacon Girard worked as a social worker for Wayne County, where he met his wife, Jean, a public-school teacher, at Holy Redeemer Church in Detroit. They married in 1951 and were together for 60 years, until she died at the age of 93 in 2012. They had five children who today range in age from 58 to 65. Deacon Girard now lives with his daughter Clare. Three of his other children live in southeast Michigan, and one lives in Ottawa.
“I never thought I was called to be a priest, but I thought I could use some of my talents to help the Church,” Deacon Girard said. He used to visit the sick and bring them Communion at Oakwood Hospital — and even made house calls, often visiting as many as 20 people a day in their homes.
“They would tell me their stories about their families and problems,” he said. “I would talk with them about God and pray with them. Sometimes I had to advise them to go to confession. Then I would ask a priest to come, and he could also give them the Last Rites if the person wanted.”
Deacon Girard’s father was only 65 when he died from a heart attack attributed to a damaged heart from rheumatic fever. His mother lived to be 83.
The century-old deacon said he tries to eat healthy, has a little wine every day and rarely needs to go to the doctor. “I think I would have been healthier, though, if I had never smoked,” he admitted. “I smoked for around 40 years. I tried quitting twice, but it only lasted a few weeks. I gave it up when I retired at 62.” What was his secret to quitting? “I finally stopped buying cigarettes,” he said.
At age 100 does Deacon Girard think about meeting God soon? “I don’t spend time worrying about death,” he said. “I am not afraid. I don’t think much about how I am going to die, but I don’t think it will be in an automobile accident, since I stopped driving two years ago. The car broke down, and it’s nice to have kids that drive me here and there.”
While changing out of his vestments after Mass, Deacon Girard explained that after more than 40 years as a deacon, he still looks forward to serving on the altar. “As long as I am going to Mass, I want to serve,” Deacon Girard said. “I’m a little bit slower, but I like to help the priest at Mass. I’m the most happy when I’m able to help.”
In Lincoln, Nebraska, you can tell the seasons by the habits of the School Sisters of Christ the King.
It’s not really summer until you spot a “CK Sister”, as they are affectionately known, walking around in her lighter blue summer habit.
But when a CK sister is donning her dark blue habit, that means the months are turning colder. And when the dark blue habits come out, you can find almost every CK sister in a classroom, teaching in one of the 27 Catholic elementary schools in the diocese.
Religious school sisters are a fairly common sight in the Diocese of Lincoln, which has two diocesan orders of women religious - the Christ the King Sisters as well as the grey-habited Marian sisters, many of whom can also be found teaching in the local Catholic schools.
In much of the rest of the country, however, religious sisters are something of a rare novelty - thought they used to be a much more common sight in the United States.
In 1965, there were nearly 180,000 women religious in the United States, many of them school teachers, according to data from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate out of Georgetown University.
By 2014, there were less than 50,000 religious sisters, the numbers having steadily declined over the past half-century in the post-Vatican II upheaval that was felt in many parts of the Church around the world.
It was in the midst of this upheaval and decline that Bishop Glennon Patrick Flavin, then of Lincoln, decided to found the Christ the King Sisters as a religious order dedicated specifically to teaching children.
“He noticed that there were a good number of sisters in our schools in the 50’s and 60’s, but by the 70’s the sisters were starting to pull out of our classrooms,” Sr. Mary Cecilia, a Christ the King Sister, told CNA.
Bishop Flavin had difficulty finding already-established religious orders that were able to come to the Diocese of Lincoln, and eventually felt called to found a diocesan order dedicated specifically to teaching, Sr. Mary Cecilia said.
“He knew that our seminaries were growing and increasing in number, and he thought if the Lord was calling this many young men to serve as priest then he was probably calling young women to serve as sisters also,” she said.
Sr. Mary Cecilia, who now serves as principal of St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Lincoln, said that Bishop Flavin founded the order with the idea that a good religious education would strengthen the faith of much of the laity in the diocese.
“He wanted to extend Christ’s reign in whatever place possible...and he realized what was so important to make that happen was Catholic education. Because if we can reach the young people in the diocese, we not only reach the young people but we also reach their parents and families,” she said.
“He realized that one of the best ways to really nurture their faith in the lives of these children is through the consecrated life, through having sisters present in the schools, the value of the witness of a religious - their life totally dedicated to God, their gift of self-sacrifice, being a spiritual mother to every single student in the school,” she added.
For herself, Sr. Mary Cecilia said she knew from a young age she wanted to teach.
“I have a brother who’s a priest - he often talks about how I used to play school so everything he knows about teaching came from me when he was little,” she joked.
In college in the early 1990s, she studied high school math education and dreamed of teaching calculus and algebra to older students. But that’s also when she met the Christ the King Sisters, who only teach at the elementary level.
“I realized oh they’re joyful, they’re young, vibrant, I like that,” Sr. Mary Cecilia said.
Even though she was drawn to religious life as a CK Sister, she was still hesitant about teaching at the younger level - “that was something that I had to take to the Lord,” she said.
Ultimately, though, the spirit of the CK Sisters, their depth of prayer, their warmth, and their dedication to education were what drew Sr. Mary Cecilia to them.
“We are extending the kingdom of God in Catholic schools, and Catholic schools are so important to me primarily because of my own education in Catholic schools,” she said.
Sr. Mary Agnes belongs to another religious order, the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Wichita, Kansas, that is also primarily dedicated to the education and formation of young people.
A veteran teacher of 10 years, Sr. Mary Agnes said she believes that religious sisters bring something unique to the classroom that other teachers cannot, even though at a basic level, they perform the same functions.
“Our vocation is to be a more radical, vivid sign of the presence of Christ in the world, and then hopefully through that witness draw people to an encounter with Christ,” she told CNA.
“We do really similar things that other people do who are not sisters,” she said. “So (the value of) religious life is not about doing, it’s about witness and the being of the person. Our vocation is to be a more radical, vivid sign of the presence of Christ in the world, and then hopefully through that witness draw people to an encounter with Christ.”
Perhaps some of the most well-recognized teaching sisters in the Catholic Church in the U.S. today are the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia based in Nashville, Tennessee and the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Both orders, primarily dedicated to education, have sisters teaching on Catholic campuses throughout the country.
“We belong to the Dominican Order and our charism is preaching and teaching.
Women religious have been an integral part of the history of Catholic education in the United States,” Sr. John Dominic with the Dominican Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist told CNA.
“As Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, we seek to continue the tradition of educating generations of young people in their faith and most of all, to bring youth into deeper relationship with Christ,” she said.
Despite the general decline in religious life that has been happening over the past few decades, both Dominican orders have seen a boom in young vocations in recent years. The Dominican Sisters of Mary recently opened a new priory in Texas in order to accommodate all of the young women discerning religious life in their order.
When asked what is drawing so many young women to their order, Sr. John Dominic responded: “The young people are responding to God’s invitation to ‘come and follow Him’.”
Sr. John Dominic said the depth of the prayer life of the sisters and the close relationship with the Lord that their way of life allows lets them bring the fruits of their spiritual life to their students.
“Pope Saint John Paul II once described women religious as being a ‘sign of tenderness’ in the world. From my experience in working with Sisters in schools, this is precisely what many of them bring - tenderness and an intuitive heart,” she said.
Sr. Mary Agnes said she is always humbled when parents and students recognize the unique gifts and witness that religious sisters bring to the classroom.
“...that to me is the most striking, when the students come back after they graduate and they’re so excited to express: ‘Thank you what you’ve done for me.’ Many times they don’t recognize it at the time but then they do say thank you I’m glad that you taught me, I’m glad you were there for me, and it’s so humbling,” she said.
Sr. Mary Cecilia said that she would encourage young women considering religious life not to be afraid, and to encounter sisters up-close before believing some of the misconceptions about religious sisters that exist.
“When I was younger I thought that all sisters instantly became like 70 once they put that habit on, and that’s not true!” she said. “None of our sisters are 70 yet.”
On a more serious note, she added, “I think one of the misconceptions out there is that you have to give up everything that you hold dear, that you have dreams of, in order to do this. And in reality you do but its not the giving up that you focus on,” she said.
“It’s what takes its place - your relationship with the Lord, and being able to be filled with an intense and immense love for him, and therefore an immense love for the people you’re asked to serve.”
“We intentionally seek out kids who can’t afford to go here and who are at risk,” Don Mullikin told EWTN News. He chairs the board of San Miguel School in Northwest Washington, D.C., a middle school catering exclusively to low-income immigrant families.
“When it comes to Pope Francis, his message is simple and clear, and it’s what we do: helping others who are more needy than you.”
The school is sponsored, but not owned, by the De La Salle Brothers. Its mission is in the La Sallian tradition of the “preferential option for the poor.”
That ministry dates back to the 1600s when St. Jean Baptiste de La Salle served the poor in France through Christian education, hoping to break their “cycle of poverty.”
And in the same way, San Miguel exists to break the “cycle of poverty.” The formula is not easy, because the students enter the middle school a year or two behind the sixth grade level. In three years, they must be ready to excel at a private Catholic high school.
In short, the school crams five years of education into three calendar years. Students attend school year-round for nine hours a day.
The enrollment is small – only 65 students – and is only male and middle school-age.
This is an extremely formative and important age, Mullikin explained, providing the best opportunity to prepare kids for high school, something many of their parents never got to accomplish.
With the small enrollment the principal knows every student, so “you cannot slip through the cracks.”
The students are all from immigrant families, half of them Salvadoran and the rest from other parts of Latin America. And every family starts out at or below the poverty line. Admission is made on a financial basis “in reverse.”
Thus, tuition is almost completely free, which separates San Miguel from other parochial schools. “We are reliant upon the good will and contributions of the community to survive,” Mullikin stated. “Most parochial schools don’t want to take our kids who can’t pay.”
Many families just pay the minimum of $50 a month. Those who can afford to pay more may do so. But the school doesn’t just cover education; it also provides counseling, breakfast, lunch, and extracurricular activities. It is almost completely dependent upon donors and foundations for its income.
Yet these low-income students leave with a ticket to a Catholic high school. The acceptance rate at Catholic high schools in the area is 100 percent, and 97 percent of alumni either have a high school diploma or are pursuing one. In comparison, that rate is 50 percent for all Latino males in the D.C. area.
The immigrant parents of students are extremely hard-working but do not know the “foreign” American school system, Mullikin explained. Thus they may not know of options like San Miguel.
“What’s really important is allowing these families to fulfill their dream of making it better for the next generation,” he said.
The parents are “working their fingers to the bone day and night,” he added. They don’t have time to research the U.S. school system. “We have to really reach out to them and teach them about the school.”
Cramming five years of education into three calendar years is an apt metaphor for the school. It seems a daunting task but not only does it work, it succeeds marvelously.
The end product, he said, is “well-educated boys who are young men who are prepared to succeed in high school.”
The school does not stop helping a student once he graduates, either. A counselor has a full-time job of checking in on each alumnus in high school, ensuring that any needs of theirs are met and that they are succeeding in school. This establishes a “safety net” that goes beyond the San Miguel years.
One example Mullikin gave was of a graduate who wasn’t eating lunch at his high school because he didn’t have the money. Once San Miguel discovered this they alerted his high school. The administration quickly took care of the problem and gave him a cafeteria card.
“If that safety net wasn’t there, he wouldn’t be eating,” Mullikin said. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Pope: Confirmation Gives Us The Strength To Defend The Faith
VATICAN CITY, January 29 (CNA/EWTN News) .- In his Wednesday audience, Pope Francis reflected on the sacrament of confirmation, explaining that it is intrinsically linked to our baptism, and that through it our relationship with the Church is fortified.
"It unites us more firmly to Christ," the Pope said in his Jan. 29 general audience, referring to the Sacrament of Confirmation, "it strengthens our relationship with the Church and it gives us a special strength from the Holy Spirit to defend the faith and confess the name of Christ."
The Pope began his weekly audience by addressing the thousands of pilgrims present in St. Peter's Square, stating that "dear Brothers and Sisters: In our continuing catechesis on the seven sacraments, we now reflect on confirmation."
Confirmation, he explained "together with baptism and the Eucharist, is one of the sacraments of Christian initiation."
These three Sacraments, he noted, form part "of the unique process of Christian initiation, through which we are gradually inserted in Christ, dead and risen, and we receive a new life, making us members of the Church."
Reflecting on the term confirmation, the Pope highlighted that the word "indicates that this sacrament ratifies baptismal grace."
He then explained that during our confirmation, "through the sacramental sign of anointing with sacred chrism, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in order to be more closely conformed to Christ, God's 'anointed one.'"
"We are also strengthened - 'confirmed' - in the grace of our Baptism and in our mission of bearing daily witness to Christ and his love," the pontiff continued, adding that "Confirmation is God's work," as is every sacrament.
And this particular sacrament, observed the Pope, "ensures that our life be embodied in the image of his son, for us to love like him, infusing his Holy Spirit."
"This Spirit acts with strength within us, within all people and during one's whole life," he emphasized, highlighting that "when we receive him in our hearts, Christ makes himself present and takes shape in our lives."
"It is He who prays, forgives, infuses hope, serves the brothers most in need, creates communion and seeds peace in our lives. It is He who does that!"
Turning to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit which are received when one is confirmed, Pope Francis noted that the direct works of the Holy Spirit are "reflected" in these "spiritual gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord."
Encouraging all present to "thank the Lord for the grace of our confirmation," the Pope urged them to ask "that, filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, we may always mirror Christ's presence in our relations with others, our openness to those in need, and our living witness to the Gospel message of joy and peace."
He concluded his audience by extending personal greetings to pilgrims present from various countries around the world, including those from Spain, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Scotland, Ireland and the United States.
Giving a special greeting to a group of pilgrims who traveled from the diocese of Rapid City, SD accompanied by their bishop, Robert Gruss, the pontiff then invoked "God's blessings of joy and peace!"
-I hate people who use big words just to make themselves look perspicacious.
-Smoking will kill you... Bacon will kill you... But, smoking bacon will cure it.
- With a calendar, your days are numbered. -If good things come in small packages, then more good things can come in large packages. – We are all time travelers moving at the speed of exactly 60 minutes per hour. -Thanks for explaining the word "many" to me, it means a lot. -I ran three miles today. Finally I said, “Lady take your purse.”
- I woke up this morning and forgot which side the sun rises from, then it dawned on me.-
-I recently decided to sell my vacuum cleaner as all it was doing was gathering dust.
-Don't you hate it when someone answers their own questions? I do.
-I don’t like nesting Russian dolls, they’re so full of themselves.
Rare Phone Call
My mother, a master of guilt trips, showed me a photo of herself waiting by a phone that never rings.
"Mom, I call all the time," I said. "If you had voicemail, you’d know." Soon after, my brother installed it for her.
When I called the next time, I got her message: "If you are a salesperson, press one. If you’re a friend, press two. If you’re my daughter who never calls, press 911 because the shock will probably give me a heart attack."
A minister who was very fond of pure, hot horseradish always kept a bottle of it on his dining room table. Once, at dinner, he offered some to a guest, who took a big spoonful. The guest let out a huge gasp. When he was finally able to speak, he choked out, "I've heard many ministers preach hellfire, but you are the first one I've met who passes out a sample of it."
A Sunday school teacher said to her children, 'We have been learning how powerful kings and queens were in Bible times. But, there is a Higher Power. Can anybody tell me what it is?' One child blurted out, 'Aces!'
The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note, and posted on the apple tray:
'Take only ONE . God is watching.'
Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies.
A child had written a note, 'Take all you want. God is watching the apples.'
A Rabbi said to a precocious six-year-old boy, 'So your mother says your prayers for you each night? That's very commendable. What does she say?'
The little boy replied, 'Thank God he's in bed!'
Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
our Life, our Sweetness, and our Hope.
To Thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.
To Thee do we send up our sighs mourning
and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious Advocate,
Thine Eyes of Mercy toward us,
and after this our exile show unto us the
Blessed Fruit of thy Womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
Pray for us O Holy Mother of God
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
Feast of the Presentation of the Lord – February 2nd, 2020
The First Reading- Malachi 3:1-4
Thus says the Lord GOD: Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; And suddenly there will come to the temple the LORD whom you seek, And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire. Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who will endure the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appears? For he is like the refiner’s fire, or like the fuller’s lye. He will sit refining and purifying silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD. Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem will please the LORD, as in the days of old, as in years gone by.
Our First Reading for this Feast Day is mysterious and intriguing. Malachi begins by saying, on behalf of God, “I will send my messenger to prepare the way before me.” The word “messenger” can also mean “angel,” so we could understand this as “I will send my angel before me ….” This idea of a preparatory angel recalls the experience of Israel in the Wilderness, where the Angel of the LORD lead them (Exod 14:19), or the conquest of the land, concerning which God promised his angel to precede the armies of Israel (Ex 23:20,23; 32:34). The return of the Presence of the LORD will be like those great events of salvation history, a kind of “invasion” by the LORD. In the context of the Gospel, this preparatory “angel” is John the Baptist, who has been dominating our thoughts during Advent, the Feast of the Baptism, and last week’s liturgy (2nd Week of Ordinary Time). John was the “angel” who prepared for Jesus’ “invasion” of the Holy Land.
Adults – John is also referred to as the “voice crying out in the wilderness.” We are also called to spread the Good News in the “wilderness” of the world. How do you do this? In what ways do you find it challenging?
Teens -How can you be a messenger in the Lord in your everyday life?
Kids - How do you spread God’s love in your daily life?
Responsorial- Psalm 24: 7, 8, 9,10
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle.
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Lift up, O gates, your lintels;
reach up, you ancient portals,
that the king of glory may come in!
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
Who is this king of glory?
The LORD of hosts; he is the king of glory.
R. Who is this king of glory? It is the Lord!
-Psalm 24 reflects an ancient procession ritual practiced in the Jerusalem Temple, the rubrics of which were never recorded. Possibly, very early in Israel’s history, the Ark of the Covenant was periodically removed from the Holy of Holies by the Levites and re-processed into the Holy City in a ceremony celebrating God’s kingship. Regardless, in the context of the Feast of the Presentation, we have both the New Ark (Mary) and the LORD Himself (Jesus) entering the Temple.
The next time you process up to receive our Lord in communion, take special care to meditate on whom you are receiving.
The Second Reading- Hebrews 2:14-18
Since the children share in blood and flesh, Jesus likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the Devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. Surely he did not help angels but rather the descendants of Abraham; therefore, he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.
Amazingly, many of the themes from the First Reading and the Psalm continue into this reflection on Christ’s priesthood in the Epistle to the Hebrews. The concept of Christ-as-Warrior is present here when Paul speaks of Jesus “destroying the one who has the power of death” and freeing those he has enslaved. We also see Jesus “becoming like his brothers and sisters in every way,” as he, like any other male child born into an Israelite family, undergoes the ceremonial rituals that Moses prescribed for a sinful people—rituals from which he and his mother were should have been exempt, yet they humble themselves to submit to them. Yet the humility of Jesus’ life of obedience under the Law of Moses—a Law given to a people who were hard of heart—prepared him to be a fitting High Priest for the New Covenant people. He who submitted to animal sacrifices for his purification, would one day make his own body the ultimate sacrifice, purifying stains of sin no animal blood could expunge.
-Lent is fast approaching, and if it’s been awhile since you have been to Confession, start preparing now to receive this beautiful Sacrament of forgiveness during the Lenten season.
The Holy Gospel according to Luke 2:22-40
When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted --and you yourself a sword will pierce-- so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
Reflection - Luke is at pains to emphasize that the Holy Family was obedient to the law in humility, although they could have claimed special exemption from its demands. This sets an example for us. None of us, are ever “above the law” of God. Jesus also demonstrates here that he is a man of order and authority, not a rebel anarchist trying to destabilize the social or ecclesiastical order. Although Jesus’ teaching can and does destabilize illegitimate systems of authority, it is not for the sake of anarchy but for the establishment of the order of Christ’s kingdom, governed by the Apostles and those who have received the succession of the priesthood from them.
Adults – Why is it important to adhere to the rules and regulations that Christ has handed down through his Church?
Teens – What resources do you have in properly interpreting the Law of God?
Kids – What do you think Jesus was like as a baby?
LIVING THE WORD OF GOD THIS WEEK! - God is the light in our darkness, let us light the world with His!