Sunday, November 22, 2020

Christ the King

 
Christ the King Sunday celebrates the all-embracing authority of Christ as King and Lord of the cosmos. Officially called the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King, it is celebrated on the final Sunday of Ordinary Time, the Sunday before Advent.

Christ the King Prayers

Scriptural References: Psalm 23; Matthew 25:31-46; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28
Pope Pius XI instituted The Feast of Christ the King in 1925 for the universal church in his encyclical Quas Primas. He connected the increasingly denial of Christ as king to the rise of secularism. At the time of Quas Primas, many Christians (including Catholics) began to doubt Christ's authority and existence, as well as the Church's power to continue Christ's authority. Pius XI, and the rest of the Christian world, witnessed the rise of non-Christian dictatorships in Europe, and saw Catholics being taken in by these earthly leaders. These dictators often attempted to assert authority over the Church. Just as the Feast of Corpus Christi was instituted when devotion to the Eucharist was at a low point, the Feast of Christ the King was instituted during a time when respect for Christ and the Church was waning, when the feast was needed most.
Pius hoped the institution of the feast would have various effects. They were:
1. That nations would see that the Church has the right to freedom, and immunity from the state (Quas Primas, 32).
2. That leaders and nations would see that they are bound to give respect to Christ (Quas Primas, 31).
3. That the faithful would gain strength and courage from the celebration of the feast, as we are reminded that Christ must reign in our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies (Quas Primas, 33).
Today, the same distrust of authority exists, although the problem has gotten worse. Individualism has been embraced to humility and service. Jesus said:
such an extreme, that for many, the only authority is the individual self. The idea of Christ as ruler is rejected in such a strongly individualistic system. Also, many balk at the idea of kings and queens, believing them to be antiquated and possibly oppressive. Some even reject the titles of "lord" and "king" for Christ because they believe that such titles are borrowed from oppressive systems of government. However true these statements might be (some kings have been oppressive), these individuals miss the point: Christ's kingship is one of
You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to become great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:42-45, NAB).
and
Pilate said to Jesus, "Are you the King of the Jews?"... Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here." So Pilate said to him, "Then you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world,to testify to the truth (John 18:33b, 36-37).









Thus, Jesus knew the oppressive nature of secular kings, and in contrast to them, he connected his role as king to humble service, and commanded his followers to be servants as well. In other passages of Scripture, his kingdom is tied to his suffering and death. While Christ is coming to judge the nations, his teachings spell out a kingdom of justice and judgment balanced with radical love, mercy, peace, and forgiveness. When we celebrate Christ as King, we are not celebrating an oppressive ruler, but one willing to die for humanity and whose "loving-kindness endures forever." Christ is the king that gives us true freedom, freedom in Him. Thus we must never forget that Christ radically redefined and transformed the concept of kingship.Christ the King Sunday used to be celebrated on the last Sunday of October, but since the calendar reforms of 1969, the feast falls on the last Sunday of Ordinary Time, which is the Sunday before Advent. It is fitting that the feast celebrating Christ's kingship is observed right before Advent, when we liturgically wait for the promised Messiah (King).

History

The earliest Christians identified Jesus with the predicted Messiah of the Jews. The Jewish word "messiah," and the Greek word "Christ," both mean "anointed one," and came to refer to the expected king who would deliver Israel from the hands of the Romans. Christians believe that Jesus is this expected Messiah. Unlike the messiah most Jews expected, Jesus came to free all people, Jew and Gentile, and he did not come to free them from the Romans, but from sin and death. Thus the king of the Jews, and of the cosmos, does not rule over a kingdom of this world.
Christians have long celebrated Jesus as Christ, and his reign as King is celebrated to some degree in Advent (when Christians wait for his second coming in glory), Christmas (when "born this day is the King of the Jews"), Holy Week (when Christ is the Crucified King), Easter (when Jesus is resurrected in power and glory), and the Ascension (when Jesus returns to the glory he had with the Father before the world was created). However, Pius XI wanted to specifically commemorate Christ as king, and instituted the feast in the Western calendar in 1925.
In the 21st century many Western Christians, Catholic and Protestant, celebrate Christ the King Sunday, including Anglicans and Lutherans. Unfortunately, in some mainline Protestant churches, "king" language is not popular, and the feast is downplayed. However, in a chaotic and unjust world that seems to scorn any kind of authority, many Christians proudly celebrate Christ the King Sunday, where the loving and merciful - and just - king of the universe is praised and glorified.


Saturday, November 21, 2020

Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary



On November twenty-first the Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This feast finds its origins as early as the second century according to apocryphal source, the Protoevangelium or the book of James. This feast was already commemorated in the East by the sixth century. Pope Gregory XI heard of this feast being kept in Greece in 1372 and introduced it at Avigon. In 1585 Pope Sixtus extended to the universal Church. This feast refers to Our Lady's presentation at the temple in Jerusalem as a small child. When she was only three years old, the Blessed Virgin Mary was taken to the Temple in Jerusalem by her parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne. There she was taught, lived with other little girls and was cared for by pious women. The Blessed Virgin was happy to begin serving God in the Temple. Even as a little Child Mary's life was centered on God. She studied the Sacred Scriptures and awaited and hope for the coming of the Messiah. On this feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary let us ask Our Lady to help us to consecrate ourselves entirely to God.
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Hail, holy throne of God, divine sanctuary, house of glory, jewel most fair, chosen treasure house, and mercy seat for the whole world, heaven showing forth the glory of God. Purest Virgin, worthy of all praise, sanctuary dedicated to God and raised above all human condition, virgin soil, unplowed field, flourishing vine, fountain pouring out waters, virgin bearing a Child, mother without knowing man, hidden treasure of innocence, ornament of sanctity, by your most acceptable prayers, strong with the authority of motherhood, to our Lord and God, Creator of all, your Son who was born of you without a father, steer the ship of the Church and bring it to a quiet harbor." --St. Germanus, homily on the Presentation of the Mother of God

 

Monday, November 2, 2020

All Souls Day

 All Souls' Day around the world in 2020


  Dates of All Souls' Day around the world
 2022 Various Nov 2
 2021 Various Nov 2
 2020 Various Nov 2
 2019 Various Nov 1, Nov 2, Nov 4
 2018 Various Nov 2
  Summary
Dedicated to the remembrance of the departed. All Souls' Day follows All Saints' Day.
  Which countries observe All Souls' Day in 2020?
Related holidays

When is All Souls' Day?

This day is celebrated on November 2nd.

All Souls' Day follows All Saints' Day and is also called the Feast of All Souls, Defuncts' Day (in Hungary, France, Italy, and Ecuador), Day of the Dead (Mexico) or Commemoration of the Faithful Departed.

What is All Souls' Day?

It is a day when Roman Catholics and Anglo-Catholic churches commemorate the 'faithful departed'.

The aim is to remember and pray for the souls of those who are in Purgatory - a place in which those who have died to atone for minor sins before being granted the vision of God in Heaven.

Those in purgatory are deemed still to be members of the church and must suffer to cleanse any outstanding sins. The prayers and the offering of Requiem Mass assist in easing their suffering.

Within the Christian tradition, All Souls' Day was popularised by French monks who designated a specific day for remembering and praying for those in purgatory in 998AD. This started as a local feast but gradually spread throughout the Catholic Church during the following century.

The Eastern Orthodox Church observes several All Souls' Days during the year.

Festivals of the Dead at this time of year can be shown to have a Pagan origin, with festivals appearing in cultures as diverse as Peru, the Pacific Islands, ancient Egypt, Japan and northern Europe. Indeed Halloween can be said to derive from this tradition. The timing of the festivals is likely to have a relationship with the Autumnal Equinox. To this day in Japan, elements of the Autumnal Equinox holiday involve paying respects to the dead.

The Pagan belief was that the souls of the dead would return for a final meal with the family and placing candles in the window of houses would guide the souls back home, and another place was set at the table.

All Souls' Day around the world

In Belgium and Luxembourg, this holiday is observed but is not a public holiday.

Germany

In Germany, Catholics mark All Soul's Week from October 30th to November 8th. During this time a tradition is to ensure all knives are hidden away, so any spirits visiting for All Soul's do not injure themselves.

Austria

Some Austrians may honour their dead relatives by leaving a light on during the night and leaving out bread and water for the spirits.

Hungary

In Hungary, there are some All Souls' traditions that developed to avoid disturbing the dead. Washing clothes was forbidden in case the spirit would stand in the water and turn the clothes yellow. Sewing was also forbidden as every stitch could be inadvertently stabbing the spirits.

Italy

On All Souls’ Day (Italian: la commemorazione dei defunti) in Italy a traditional treat is 'fave dei morti'. In Ancient Roman times, it was thought that black broad beans symbolised the souls of the dead. The beans were a part of funeral rights and were thrown over the shoulders of mourners to honor the dead. In Perugia, this gave rise to the custom of baking cookies called 'fave dei morti'.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

All Saints' Day


All Saints' Day is a solemn holy day of the Catholic Church celebrated annually on November 1. The day is dedicated to the saints of the Church, that is, all those who have attained heaven. It should not be confused with All Souls' Day, which is observed on November 2, and is dedicated to those who have died and not yet reached heaven.
Although millions, or even billions of people may already be saints, All Saints' Day observances tend to focus on known saints --that is those recognized in the canon of the saints by the Catholic Church.
All Saints' Day is also commemorated by members of the Eastern Orthodox Church as well as some protestant churches, such as Anglican, Lutheran and Anglican churches.
Generally, All Saints' Day is a Catholic Holy Day of Obligation, meaning all Catholics are required to attend Mass on that day, unless they have an excellent excuse, such as serious illness.
Other countries have different rules according to their national bishop's conferences. The bishops of each conference have the authority to amend the rules surrounding the obligation of the day.
All Saints' Day was formally started by Pope Boniface IV, who consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to the Virgin Mary and all the Martyrs on May 13 in 609 AD. Boniface IV also established All Souls' Day, which follows All Saints.
The choice of the day may have been intended to co-opt the pagan holiday "Feast of the Lamures," a day which pagans used to placate the restless spirits of the dead.
The holy day was eventually established on November 1 by Pope Gregory III in the mid-eighth century as a day dedicated to the saints and their relics. The May 13 celebration was subsequently abandoned.
In Ireland, the Church celebrated All Saints' Day on April 20, to avoid associating the day with the traditional harvest festivals and pagan feasts associated with Samhain, celebrated at the same time.
Following the establishment of the Frankish Empire, and following the reign of Charlemagne, the holy day, which was already celebrated on November 1, became a holy day of obligation by decree of Pope Gregory IV and Louis the Pious, who was king over a portion of Charlemagne's former empire.
Following the Protestant Reformation, many Protestants retained the holy day, although they dismissed the need to pray for the dead. Instead, the day has been used to commemorate those who have recently died, usually in the past year, and to remember the examples of those who lived holy lives.
The Catholic practice however, celebrates all those who have entered heaven, including saints who are recognized by the Church and those who are not.
Holy day customs vary around the world. In the United States, the day before is Halloween and is usually celebrated by dressing in costumes with themes of death commonly associated. Children go door-to-door in costume, trick-or-treating, that is soliciting candy from their neighbors. The holiday has lost much of its connection to its religious origins.
Although nearly everyone celebrates Halloween for the fun of the secular holiday, the following religious solemnity, is not widely practiced or acknowledged by most Americans unless they are Catholic.
In other countries, such as Portugal, Spain and Mexico, traditional practices include performance of the play, "Don Juan Tenorio" and offerings made to the dead. All Saints' Say occurs on the same day as the Mexican "Dide los Innocentes" a day dedicated to deceased children.
Across much of Europe, the day is commemorated with offerings of flowers left on the graves of the dead. In Eastern Europe, candles are lit on graves instead of offerings of flowers.
In some places, such as the Philippines, graves can be painted and repaired by family members. Many of these practices blur the distinction between All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day.
These celebrations often blur the distinction between All Saints' Day, which is properly dedicated to those who are in heaven, and All Souls' Day, on which prayers are offered for all those who have died, but have not yet reached heaven.
In Mexico, the Day of the Dead holy days extend from October 31 through November 2.
It is important to remember these basic facts:
Halloween is a secular holiday that comes the night before All Saints' Day.
All Saints' Day is on November 1, and it is a Holy Day of Obligation.
All Souls' Day in on November 2, and it is NOT a Holy Day of Obligation.
The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that has spread in popularity into parts of the United States and across Latin America. It is celebrated from October 31 through November 2, to coincide with both the American tradition and the Catholic holy days. Those three days are dedicated to all of the dead.to all of the dead.

More about All Saints' Day from Wikipedia

All Saints' Day (in the Roman Catholic Church officially the Solemnity of All Saints and also called All Hallows or Hallowmas[1]), often shortened to All Saints, is a solemnity celebrated on 1 November by parts of Western Christianity, and on the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern Christianity, in honor of all the saints, known and unknown.
In Western Christian theology, the day commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven. It is a national holiday in many historically Catholic countries. In the Roman Catholic Church, the next day, All Souls' Day, specifically commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven. Catholics celebrate All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual communion between those in the state of grace who have died and are either being purified in purgatory or are in heaven (the 'church penitent' and the 'church triumphant', respectively), and the 'church militant' who are the living. Other Christian traditions define, remember and respond to the saints in different ways.

In the East

Eastern Orthodox icon of All Saints. Christ is enthroned in heaven surrounded by the ranks of angels and saints. At the bottom is Paradise with the bosom of Abraham (left), and the Good Thief (right).
Eastern Christians of the Byzantine Tradition follow the earlier tradition of commemorating all saints collectively on the first Sunday after Pentecost, All Saints' Sunday.
The feast of All Saints achieved great prominence in the ninth century, in the reign of the Byzantine Emperor, Leo VI "the Wise" (886.911). His wife, Empress Theophano.commemorated on December 16.lived a devout life. After her death in 893,[2] her husband built a church, intending to dedicate it to her. When he was forbidden to do so, he decided to dedicate it to "All Saints," so that if his wife were in fact one of the righteous, she would also be honored whenever the feast was celebrated.[3] According to tradition, it was Leo who expanded the feast from a commemoration of All Martyrs to a general commemoration of All Saints, whether martyrs or not.
This Sunday marks the close of the Paschal season. To the normal Sunday services are added special scriptural readings and hymns to all the saints (known and unknown) from the Pentecostarion.
The Sunday following All Saints' Sunday.the second Sunday after Pentecost.is set aside as a commemoration of all locally venerated saints, such as "All Saints of America", "All Saints of Mount Athos", etc. The third Sunday after Pentecost may be observed for even more localized saints, such as "All Saints of St. Petersburg", or for saints of a particular type, such as "New Martyrs of the Turkish Yoke."
In addition to the Sundays mentioned above, Saturdays throughout the year are days for general commemoration of all saints, and special hymns to all saints are chanted from the Octoechos.

In the West

The Western Christian holiday of All Saints' Day falls on November 1, followed by All Souls' Day on November 2, and is a Holy Day of Obligation in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.
The origin of the festival of All Saints celebrated in the West dates to May 13, 609 or 610, when Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs; the feast of the dedicatio Sanctae Mariae ad Martyres has been celebrated at Rome ever since. There is evidence that from the fifth through the seventh centuries there existed in certain places and at sporadic intervals a feast date 13 May to celebrate the holy martyrs.[4] The origin of All Saints' Day cannot be traced with certainty, and it has been observed on various days in different places. However, there are some who maintain the belief that it has origins in the pagan observation of 13 May, the Feast of the Lemures, in which the malevolent and restless spirits of the dead were propitiated. Liturgiologists base the idea that this Lemuria festival was the origin of that of All Saints on their identical dates and on the similar theme of "all the dead".[5]
The feast of All Saints, on its current date, is traced to the foundation by Pope Gregory III (731.741) of an oratory in St. Peter's for the relics "of the holy apostles and of all saints, martyrs and confessors, of all the just made perfect who are at rest throughout the world", with the day moved to 1 November and the 13 May feast suppressed.[6]
This usually fell within a few weeks of the Celtic holiday of Samhain, which had a theme similar to the Roman festival of Lemuria, but which was also a harvest festival. The Irish, having celebrated Samhain in the past, did not celebrate All Hallows Day on this November 1 date, as extant historical documents attest that the celebration in Ireland took place in the spring: "...the Felire of Oengus and the Martyrology of Tallaght prove that the early medieval churches [in Ireland] celebrated the feast of All Saints on April 20."[7]
A November festival of all the saints was already widely celebrated on November 1 in the days of Charlemagne. It was made a day of obligation throughout the Frankish empire in 835, by a decree of Louis the Pious, issued "at the instance of Pope Gregory IV and with the assent of all the bishops", which confirmed its celebration on November 1. The octave was added by Pope Sixtus IV (1471.1484).[8]
The festival was retained after the Reformation in the calendar of the Anglican Church and in many Lutheran churches. In the Lutheran churches, such as the Church of Sweden, it assumes a role of general commemoration of the dead. In the Swedish calendar, the observance takes place on the Saturday between October 31 and November 6. In many Lutheran Churches, it is moved to the first Sunday of November. It is also celebrated by other Protestants of the English tradition, such as the United Church of Canada, the Methodist churches, and the Wesleyan Church.[9]
Protestants generally regard all true Christian believers as saints and if they observe All Saints Day at all they use it to remember all Christians both past and present. In the United Methodist Church, All Saints' Day is celebrated on the first Sunday in November. It is held, not only to remember Saints, but also to remember all those that have died that were members of the local church congregation.[10] In some congregations, a candle is lit by the Acolyte as each person's name is called out by the clergy. Prayers and responsive readings may accompany the event. Often, the names of those who have died in the past year are afixed to a memorial plaque.
In many Lutheran churches, All Saints' Day and Reformation Day are observed concurrently on the Sunday before or after those dates, given Reformation Day is observed in Protestant Churches on October 31. Typically, Martin Luther's A Mighty Fortress is Our God is sung during the service. Besides discussing Luther's role in the Protestant Reformation, some recognition of the prominent early leaders of the Reformed tradition, such as John Calvin and John Knox, occurs. The observance of Reformation Day may be immediately followed by a reading of those members of the local congregation who have died in the past year in observance of All Saints' Day. Otherwise, the recognition of deceased church members occurs at another designated portion of the service.

Roman Catholic Obligation

In the Roman Catholic Church, All Saints' Day is a Holy Day of Obligation in many (but not all) countries, meaning going to Mass on the date is required unless one has a good reason to be excused from that obligation, such as illness. However, in a number of countries that do list All Saints' Day as a Holy Day of Obligation, including England & Wales, the solemnity of All Saints' Day is transferred to the adjacent Sunday if 1 November falls on a Monday or a Saturday, while in the same circumstances in the United States the Solemnity is still celebrated on November 1 but the obligation to attend Mass is abrogated.

Customs

All Saints' Day at a cemetery in O.wi.cim, Poland, 1 November 1984
In Portugal, Spain, and Mexico, offerings (Portuguese: oferendas, Spanish: ofrendas) are made on this day. In Spain, the play Don Juan Tenorio is traditionally performed. In Mexico, All Saints Day coincides with the celebration of "DĂ­de los Inocentes" (Day of the Innocents), the first day of the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) celebration, honoring deceased children and infants. In Portugal, children celebrate the PĂŁpor-Deus tradition, and go door to door where they receive cakes, nuts and pomegranates. This only occurs in some areas around Lisbon.
In Austria, Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Spain, and American Cities such as New Orleans people take flowers to the graves of dead relatives.
In Poland, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Croatia, Austria, Romania, Moldova, Hungary and Catholic parts of Germany, the tradition is to light candles and visit the graves of deceased relatives.
In the Philippines, this day, called "Undas", "Todos los Santos" (literally "All Saints"), and sometimes "Araw ng mga Patay" (approximately "Day of the dead") is observed as All Souls' Day. This day and the one before and one after it is spent visiting the graves of deceased relatives, where prayers and flowers are offered, candles are lit and the graves themselves are cleaned, repaired and repainted.
In English-speaking countries, the festival is traditionally celebrated with the hymn "For All the Saints" by William Walsham How. The most familiar tune for this hymn is Sine Nomine by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Catholics generally celebrate with a day of rest consisting of avoiding physical exertion.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

SEPTEMER 23 - Saint Padre Pio's Feast Day

Padré Pio was born of simple, hardworking farming people on May 25, 1887 in Pietrelcina, southern Italy. He was tutored privately until his entry to the novitiate of the Capuchin Friars at the age of 15. Of feeble health but strong will, with the help of grace he completed the required studies and was ordained a priest in 1910.

On September 20,
1918 the five wounds of Our Lord's Passion appeared on his body, making him the first stigmatized priest in the history of the Church. Countless numbers were attracted to his confessional and many more received his saintly counsel and spiritual guidance through correspondence. His whole life was marked by long hours of prayer and continual austerity. His letters to his spiritual directors reveal the ineffable sufferings, physical and spiritual, which accompanied him all through life. They also reveal his very deep union with God, his burning love for the Blessed Eucharist and Our Blessed Lady. Worn out by over half a century of intense suffering and constant apostolic activity in San Giovanni Rotondo, he was called to his heavenly reward on September 23, 1968. After a public funeral, which attracted almost 100,000, his body was entombed in the crypt of Our Lady of Grace Church. Increasing numbers flock to his tomb from all parts of the world and many testify to spiritual and temporal graces received. On May 2, 1999 Pope John Paul II beatified Padre Pio in ceremonies at the Vatican.  

June 16, 2002, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina was solemnly canonized a Saint by Pope John Paul II.


John Paul II was the only pope who Padre Pio entrusted with the most private detail of his stigmata




Fr Wojtyla was the only person that Padre Pio ever told about his most painful and bloody wound
In the years after World War II, the young Fr Karol Wojtyla was doing further study in Rome. He journeyed into rural Italy so that he could spend nearly a week in San Giovanni Rotondo and be in the company of Padre Pio. At the time, swarms of people did not buzz around Padre Pio, so the young Fr Wojtyla had the opportunity to speak at length with the Franciscan who called himself the ‘humble friar who prays’.
Decades later, when Fr Wojtyla became the Holy Father, people speculated as to whether Padre Pio had told him that he would be Pope. Pope John Paul II clarified that Padre Pio did not tell him that he would be Pope.


But Padre Pio went further than reading the future for Fr Wojtyla, and did something much more decisive and significant. When Fr Wojtyla asked Padre Pio which one of his wounds (from the stigmata) caused him the most suffering, Padre Pio divulged, “it is my shoulder wound, which no one knows about and has never been cured or treated.”  After the most diligent analysis of Padre Pio’s life, it was revealed that Fr Wojtyla was the only person that Padre Pio ever told about his most painful and bloody wound.  
Padre Pio had his reasons, which are unknown, for not telling the young Pole that he would be the Holy Father. But it’s certain that Padre Pio bore the wounds of Christ, and deliberately confided in the priest who would be the Vicar of Christ. It’s like Padre Pio was talking directly to the soul of one who God had ordained would be Pope.  

But there’s something even more unique.  From what we know, Padre Pio did not tell other Popes, such as Paul VI (the reigning Pope when Padre Pio died) about his most excruciating wound. From all ruling popes and all future popes, Fr Wojtyla was the one entrusted with this secret. 


~by
from: CatholicHerald.co.uk