We are called Easter People and Eighth Day People. This is because Christ rose from the dead on Easter Sunday…the eighth day. The Easter Liturgy is so central to our faith that each Sunday and each Mass recalls the life death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I recently had a conversation with a priest who lives and works in a place where Sunday Mass is offered every day of the week. The parishioners cannot come to Mass on Sundays because their bosses and very low wages don’t allow that freedom. In fact, to openly tell people that you attend Catholic Mass will put your life at risk.
The Holy priest said that during April, he celebrated Easter Liturgy twenty two times…almost every day of the month. So important was Easter Mass to the people April essentially became a month of Easter Sundays. As he wanted each liturgy to be as like Easter Sunday as possible, the priest prepared a different homily for each congregation so each group would hear a message particular to their place and situation. His name and location are not being revealed to protect the safety of the people involved.
In 2012, over 100 thousand Christians were killed for their faith. Some made headlines, but most if not almost all of these killings went unreported in the major media outlets. So the next time you hear the priest or deacon say, “The Gospel of the Lord,” be sure to say a prayer for those who cannot hear those words every day. And when you respond, “Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ,” say it knowing that those words are special…especially for those who have to say them in hiding.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Nigeria is the 7th most populous country in the world and home to some 21 million Catholics. In recent years, growing corruption and religious violence have distressed this West African nation. In a recent visit to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, and Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Sokoto voiced their concerns of this descent into disorder. With an economy of over $244 billion and recipients of generous international aid, little help reaches the poorest and most in need. Where government has been unable to or unwilling to serve the people, the Catholic Church, whenever possible, has filled the void. Illustrating the vital role of the Church in the life and well-being of the nation is the fact that the area of Sokoto, where the Catholic population is smallest is also the poorest and most violence ridden.
Nevertheless, the Church remains, serves and suffers with the people through the many attacks and problems and offers hope.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
On the afternoon of April 22nd, Syrian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Archbishops of Aleppo, Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazigi were abducted on the road to Aleppo. They had made the dangerous trip seeking the safe release of two brother priests, Fathers Michel Kayyal (Armenian Catholic) and Maher Mahfouz (Greek Orthodox). This past Sunday, you might recall that the Gospel was “The Good Shepherd” (John 10:27-30). Jesus said that He is the Good Shepherd. Following the example of Jesus, the archbishops were willing to place their lives in jeopardy for the sake of the flock placed in their care. There has been no contact from them nor their abductors.
This is happening with terrible frequency in the Middle East. The many who are being held as hostages need our prayers and our dedicated support. Pray for the safety and freedom of Fathers Michel Kayyal and Maher Mahfouz and Archbishops Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yazigi.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Christmas is the feast of the great yearning for our better selves, for the pure and upright child in each of us, for the heaven we seek in vain on earth and for the peace we will only find in heaven.
-Father Werenfried van Straaten, Founder, Aid to the Church in NeedRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Christ demands a faith that will move mountains. And since he never demands the impossible, we can, in the strength of our faith, move aside mountains of misery and ignorance, of misunderstanding, hatred and selfishness. Usually this implies a task of reconciliation, which can be achieved only through prayer, humility and selfless love.
– Father Werenfried van Straaten, (1913-2003), Founder of ACNRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
The Lord is always within hearing. We can inwardly draw away from him. We can live turning our backs on him. But He always waits for us and is always close to us.
Pope Benedict XVIRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
O Lord, I pray for the grace and the strength to remain faithful to your teachings and to the sacramental life of the Church. Help me to persevere in the commitments and promises I have made to you. Give me the fortitude to live up to the vocation I received in my baptism, to the duties derived from my confirmation in the Spirit, and to the graces received in the other sacraments. Help me to place love of God and service to Him before all else and help me to bring selfless love to my brothers and sisters in Christ. AmenRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
The seizure of businesses in Venezuela has led to fears that the country’s radical government may be poised to carry out a mass confiscation of Church property, according to a lay Catholic expert.
Speaking to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), the charity for persecuted and other suffering Christians, a source close to the Bishops’ Conference of Venezuela said a number of policies put in place by President Hugo Chavez are causing widespread anxiety.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
“Neither war nor peace can ever cause the truth of Our Lord’s words to waver. He is and remains the same for all eternity and his words will never pass away. And so our eternal happiness is inseparably bound up with Christ.”
– Father Werenfried van Straaten, (1913-2003), Founder of ACNRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Father in Heaven, Creator of all and source of all goodness and love, please look kindly upon us and receive our heartfelt gratitude in this time of giving thanks. Thank you for all the graces and blessings You have bestowed upon us, spiritual and temporal: our faith and religious heritage, our food and shelter, our health, the loves we have for one another, our family and friends. Dear Father, in Your infinite generosity, please grant us continued graces and blessing throughout the coming year. This we ask in the Name of Jesus, Your Son and our Brother. AmenRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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