Saturday, 29 December 2012

Pope Benedict XVI's Message on the Feast of the Holy Family

BENEDICT XVI (December 28,  2011)
 “Our continuing catechesis on prayer leads us, during this Christmas season, to reflect on the place of prayer in the life of the Holy Family of Nazareth. In the home of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, we learn to contemplate the mystery of God’s presence and to grow as faithful disciples of Christ. The Gospels present Mary as the supreme model of prayerful medition on the mysteries of Christ’s life; in praying the Rosary, in fact, we unite ourselves to her contemplation of those mysteries in faith and hope. Saint Joseph fulfilled his vocation as the father of the Holy Family by teaching Jesus the importance of quiet fidelity to work, prayer and observance of the precepts of the Law. Jesus’ unique relationship with his heavenly Father was reflected in the prayer life of the Holy Family and stands at the heart of all Christian prayer. May the example of the Holy Family inspire all Christian families to be schools of prayer, where parents and children alike come to know that closeness to God which we joyfully celebrate in these days of Christmas.”

The Story of Christmas

Found this cute video produced in New Zealand about children trying to explain how God decided to organized the first Christmas.

Below is the Nativity Story that they performed last year

Hope You all Enjoy & Merry Christmas to all !!!

Saturday, 22 December 2012

CCSJ 's Message On Green Living

The Catholic Commission for Social Justice (CCSJ) of St. Joseph/Mt. D’Or Parish, Trinidad has become one of the newest groups in the parish, taking off successfully in 2012. The group is committed to promoting work which addresses social and environmental justice issues. Social justice issues include a focus on welfare and the poor. Work surrounding environmental justice issues is often overlooked and so the CCSJ appreciated the theme for respect for life week as it provided a platform to show just how the CCSJ incorporates environmental justice issues in its mission. This is in keeping with Catholic Social Teaching which encourages us to be stewards of God's creation with love and wisdom. The central message of Catholic Social Teaching on the environment is that mankind was commissioned by God to act as steward for the earth's resources, and guardian of God's "creative work".

The Catholic Church has been communicating its position on environmental conservation through some major global forums and through the work of different groups and organisations in the Church throughout the world. The late Pope John Paul II left us with numerous readings on the subject. He taught that it is man's responsibility to "defend and promote life, to show reverence and love for it is a task which God entrusts to every man, calling him as his living image to share his own lordship over the world ..." (Evangelium Vitae, Section 42 (1995).

The ecological crisis is a moral issue. Environmental and social justice issues cannot be divorced especially in the case of the poor. In the past the Church has taught that "the whole human race suffers as a result of environmental blight, and generations yet unborn will bear the cost for our failure to act today. But in most countries today, including our own, it is the poor and the powerless that most directly bear the burden of current environmental carelessness."

As in the case of the poor "their lands and neighborhoods are more likely to be polluted or to host toxic waste dumps, their water to be undrinkable, their children to be harmed". They are "caught in a spiral of poverty and environmental degradation, poor people suffer acutely from the loss of soil fertility, pollution of rivers and urban streets, and the destruction of forest resources. Overcrowding and unequal land distribution often force them to overwork the soil, clear the forests, or migrate to marginal land. Their efforts to eke out a bare existence add in its own way to environmental degradation and not infrequently to disaster for themselves and others who are equally poor."

(These quotes were taken from the Renewing the Earth article which draws on two other articles: An Invitation to Reflection and Action on Environment in Light of Catholic Social Teaching A Pastoral Statement of the United States Catholic Conference
November 14, 1991
and Pope John Paul II, The Ecological Crisis: A Common Responsibility, nos. 1, 15, December 8, 1989)

Pope John Paul II further added that, man has been called to "till and look after the 
garden of the world (cf. Gen 215) [therefore] man has a specific responsibility towards the environment in which he lives, towards the creation which God has put at the service of his personal dignity, of his life, not only for the present but also for future generations" (Evangelium Vitae, Section 42 (1995).

Whether poor or not, environmental issues affect our health and in turn our life. This is why we found it fitting to have as part of our activities for Respect for Life Week in October 2012, a lecture on diabetes, a lifestyle disease affecting many. We also held a talk on organic planting that also aimed to send home this message. As stewards, we not only care for the environment and all of God's creation, but we should also show appreciation for the gift of life by trying to live healthy lives. Our speaker, Mr. Nicholas Roberts exemplified the life of a true steward of the environment and has proven to be an inspiration to us all through his two projects on organic home farming/gardening and collection of plastics, bottles and more, for reuse and recycling.  He does composting using garden waste from gardeners in his neighborhood and uses it to grow his organic produce. His garden is a model of how material can be reused to serve as vessels for plants.

In the pursuit of environmental justice, this kind of action should be encouraged and supported. Pope John Paul II says it best in his Liturgy of the word celebrated in Zamosc, Poland on June 12, 1999: "Only those who till the land can really testify that the barren earth does not produce fruit, but when cared for lovingly it is a generous provider".

The Catholic Committee for Social Justice, St. Joseph/Mt. D’Or Parish, St. Joseph, Trinidad, would like to share this message to encourage Catholic green living for environmental justice. Please receive this message with and open heart and an open mind and let us pray towards greater environmental justice in the world today.

Juliana Sherma Foster


4thSunday of Advent Year C – December 23, 2012

1.      Contributions for the Archbishop’s Appeal – Cathedral Restoration Fund continues. Persons or families desirous of contributing to the fund on a monthly basisare reminded to use the specially marked envelopes and place in the collection basket.

2.      The collections for Christmas and Easter at all parishes in the Archdiocese of Port of Spain are pooled together in a common fund called ‘Clergy Pool’. It is from this pool priests and administrators serving in the rural, urban and city parishes receive a monthly stipend of 2100 TT. So please use the specially marked envelopes and please give generously.

3.      We invite all who hold the leases for the plots in the Catholic Cemeterys in St. Joseph to present themseves (with said leases and ID documents) in the Parish Office between 14th of January and 17th of May 2013 in order to review the leases and to be informed about policy regarding the upkeep of the parish cemeteries.
The consequence of not applaing with this request is termination of the lease.

4.      The 2013 Catholic Almanacs are on sale at the Catholic News Stand and cost $3.00.

Schedule of Masses For Christmas & New Years

Masses during the Holy Time of Christmas 2012:

24th Dec (Mon.).: Christmas Eve: 6.00 PM – St. Jude Chapel, Mt. D’or.
25th Dec (Tue).: Christmas: 0.00 AM (Midnight Mass) and 8.30 AM – St, Joseph RC Church
26th Dec (Wed.).: St. Stephen (Boxing Day): 7.00 AM – St. Joseph RC Church
27th Dec (Thr.).: St. John: 7.00 AM - St. Joseph RC Church (blessing of the wine)
28th Dec (Fri.).: Holy Innocents: 7.00 AM and 6.00 PM – St. Joseph RC Church (blessing of the children)
29th Dec (Sat.).: Vigil of the Holy Family: 5.00 PM – St. Jude Chapel and 6.30 PM – St. Joseph RC Church
30th Dec (Sun.).: Holy Family: 6.00 AM and 8.30 AM – St. Joseph RC Church
31st Dec.: New Year Eve: 6.00 PM – St. Jude Chapel, Mt. D’or
1st Jan. 2012: New Year’s Day: 0.00 AM and 8.30 AM - St. Joseph RC Church

Monday, 10 December 2012

Pope Benedict XVI's Advent Reflection

At his Dec. 5 general audience, Pope Benedict XVI encouraged Christians to live out their faith during Advent.

Definition of Advent

The word Advent derives from the Latin word meaning coming. The Lord is coming. We may reflect that every year at this time we celebrate his coming , so that in a sense we can lose the feeling of expectancy and joyful anticipation, because at the end of the season, everything seems to return to pretty much the same routine. If that is the case, then our preparation may have been lacking and we have therefore been robbed of much of the true meaning of this season.
During Advent we recall the history of God's people and reflect on how the prophecies and promises of the Old Testament were fulfilled. This gives us a background for the present. Today we can reflect on the past track record of God and so begin to understand what it means to us now for the sake of what is to come, in our own future and that of our world.
© Liguori Publications Excerpt from Advent - A Quality Storecupboard The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer
from Wikipedia
An acolyte lighting Advent candles
Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is ananglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning "coming." It is the beginning of the Western liturgical year and commences on Advent Sunday. The Eastern churches'equivalent of Advent is called the Nativity Fast, but it differs both in length and observances and does not begin the church year, which starts instead on September 1.[1] At least in theRoman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Moravian, Presbyterianand Methodist calendars, Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before December 25, which is the Sunday from November 27 toDecember 3 inclusive.[2]
Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used in reference to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.


Advent wreaths are used to mark the passage of the season
The theme of readings and teachings during Advent is often to prepare for the Second Coming while commemorating the First Coming of Christ at Christmas. With the view of directing the thoughts of Christians to the first coming of Jesus Christ as savior and to his second coming as judge, special readings are prescribed for each of the four Sundays in Advent.
The usual liturgical colour in Western Christianity for Advent is either purple or blue.[3] The purple color is often used forhangings around the church, on the vestments of the clergy, and often also the tabernacle.
On the 3rd Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, rose may be used instead, referencing the rose used on Laetare Sunday, the 4th Sunday of Lent.
In some Christian denominations, blue, a colour representing hopefulness, is an alternative liturgical colour for Advent, a custom traced to the usage of the Church of Sweden (Lutheran) and the medievalSarum Rite in England. In addition, the colour blue is also used in the Mozarabic Rite (Catholic and Anglican), which dates to the eighth century. This colour is often referred to as "Sarum blue". TheLutheran Book of Worship lists blue as the preferred colour for Advent while the Methodist Book of Worship identifies purple or blue as being appropriate for Advent. There has been an increasing trend to supplant purple with blue during Advent as it is a hopeful season of preparation that anticipates both Bethlehem and the consummation of history in the second coming of Jesus Christ.[4] Proponents of this new liturgical trend argue that purple is traditionally associated with solemnity and somberness, which is fitting to the repentant character of Lent.
During the Nativity Fast, red is used among the denominations of Eastern Christianity, although gold is an alternative color.[5]
In Advent, the Advent Prose, an antiphonal plainsong, may be sung. The "Late Advent Weekdays",December 17–24, mark the singing of the Great Advent 'O antiphons'.[6] These are the antiphons for theMagnificat at Vespers, or Evening Prayer (in the Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches) and Evensongin Anglican churches each day and mark the forthcoming birth of the Messiah. They form the basis for each verse of the popular Advent hymn, "O come, O come, Emmanuel".
A child lighting candles on an Advent wreath in Serbia.
From the 4th century the season was kept as a period of fasting as strict as that of Lent (commencing in some localities on 11 November; this being the feast day of St. Martin of Tours, the fast became known as "St. Martin's Lent", "St. Martin's Fast" or the "forty days of St. Martin"). The feast day was in many countries a time of frolic and heavy eating, since the 40-day fast began the next day. In the Anglican and Lutheran churches this fasting rule was later relaxed, with the Roman Catholic Church doing likewise later, but still keeping Advent as a season of penitence. In addition to fasting, dancing and similar festivities were forbidden in these traditions. The third Sunday in Advent was a Rose Sunday, when the color of the vestments was changed and a relaxation of the fast was permitted. The Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches still hold the tradition of fasting for 40 days before the Nativity Feast.
The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church [Ed. F.L.Cross, 2nd ed., O.U.P., 1974] states regarding Advent: "The first clear references to the season in the Western Church come from the latter half of the 6th century. In the Gelasian Sacramentary Advent Collects, Epistles, and Gospels are provided for the five Sundays preceding Christmas and for the corresponding Wednesdays and Fridays." (p. 19).
Advent Lanterns
In many countries Advent was long marked by diverse popular observances, some of which still survive. In England, especially in the northern counties, there was a custom (now extinct) for poor women to carry around the "Advent images", two dolls dressed to represent Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. A halfpenny coin was expected from every one to whom these were exhibited and bad luck was thought to menace the household not visited by the doll-bearers before Christmas Eveat the latest.[7]
In Normandy, farmers employed children under twelve to run through the fields and orchards armed with torches, setting fire to bundles of straw, and thus it is believed driving out such vermin as are likely to damage the crops.[8] In Italy, among other Advent celebrations, is the entry into Rome in the last days of Advent of the Calabrian pifferari, or bagpipe players, who play before the shrines of Mary, the mother of Jesus, the Italian tradition being that the shepherds played these pipes when they came to the manger at Bethlehem to pay homage to the infant Jesus.[9]
In recent times the most common observance of Advent outside church circles has been the keeping of an advent calendar or advent candle, with one door being opened in the calendar, or one section of the candle being burned, on each day in December leading up to Christmas Eve. The keeping of an advent wreath is also a common practice, with four or five candles extending from the wreath. The colours associated with the candles are variously interpreted.[10]

End of the liturgical year

Censing during solemn Advent vespers
In Anglican churches the Sunday before Advent is sometimes nicknamed Stir-up Sunday[11] after the opening lines of theBook of Common Prayer collect for that day. In the Roman Catholic Church since 1969, and in most Anglican churches since at least 2000, the final Sunday of the liturgical year before Advent has been celebrated as the Feast of Christ the King. This feast is now also widely observed in many Protestant churches, sometimes as the Reign of Christ. In consequence, the collect for the first Sunday of Advent in the Episcopal Church USA is no longer "stir up". Since the 1979 revision of the Book of Common Prayer that collect is read on the third Sunday of the season.
- Taken from Catholic Online.