Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Lenten Devotions - Stations of the Cross Photos

Every year during the Lenten season, one the devotions which the parish undertakes is the Stations of the Cross where the faithful reflect on the passion of our Lord. A journey up the Calvary Hill in St. Joseph accompanies this reflection and HERE are some pictures which were taken during the Lenten season! Enjoy!

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Special Notice!

Due to conditions beyond our control, the Joint Parish 5K which was slated for Saturday May 3rd has been postponed to a later date. We thank you for expressing your interest and sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused. God Bless. Stay posted for the new date!Those who have already registered and paid will receive a refund.

Celebrating the Life and Legacy of St. Catherine of Siena

Catherine was a remarkable woman in Renaissance Italy. She refused her parents’ arrangements for her to marry and went into isolation for three years. She gathered a huge following of friends and disciples. She persuaded the Pope to come back from Avignon to Rome and gave herself in service of the Church and the poor.

Three years’ isolation and a mystical marriage
Catherine joined the third order of St. Dominic, wore the black and white habit but stayed at home. For three years she never left her room, except to go to Mass and confession, and spoke to no one except her confessor. “My cell will not be one of stone,” she said, “but one of self-knowledge.
She received a vision of Christ, who told her: “Know, daughter, that I am He who is, and you are that which is not.” From this she developed her sense of her vocation and her spiritual life. She trained herself to live on a spoonful of herbs a day and a few hours’ sleep every night. While the town of Siena celebrated Carnivale, she remained praying in her room where she experienced a mystical marriage with Jesus. Jesus appeared to her and placed a ring on her finger, visible only to herself.

A following – ‘Caterinati’
After three years she resumed her share of the housework at home and began to mix with other people, first through nursing the sick and helping the poor. She soon had a following – men and women, friars and priests – attracted as much by her gifts of discernment and asceticism as by her lively personality and personal charm. The people of Siena, puzzled by all this coming and going around a young woman with a reputation for holiness, called them the ‘Caterinati’, of “Catherine followers”. Affectionately they called her Mama.

Call as peacemaker
In 1370 she experienced a kind of mystical death with a vision of hell, purgatory and heaven followed by a divine call to enter the public life of the world. She never learned to write herself until quite near her death. At first she served as a local peacemaker, mediating between feuding families in Siena. But soon she was called to make peace in the armed conflict between the city of Florence and the Avignon-based papacy.
The Popes had been in Avignon since 1309 and were strongly under the influence of France. The Italian cities were at strife with the French papal legates. When Florence declared war on the papal states in protest against the legates’ rule, eighty towns joined them in ten days. While Catherine was in Pisa, working in the cause of peace, she received the stigmata on the fourth Sunday of Lent, 1375, although the marks remained invisible until after her death.

At Avignon
At a certain stage in this war, Florence asked Catherine to go to Avignon to intercede with Pope Gregory XI on behalf of their embassy. She agreed and went with twenty-three members of the ‘bella brigata’, including four priests, to Avignon arriving in May, 1376 where she stayed for four months.
It was a difficult time for Catherine. The prelates of the inquisition harassed her with examinations in doctrine; the women of power made fun of her and the Florentine ambassadors did not accept her mediation. But Pope Gregory XI listened to her. She understood the irresolution of his character and finally succeeded in getting him to do what he had already decided in his heart he ought to do – go to Rome.

The Papacy restored to Rome
Pope Gregory XI left Avignon for Rome the following September, but died within a year. The Romans rioted, demanding a Roman pope. The cardinals elected a Neapolitan, Urban VI, who soon proved so arrogant, over-zealous and prone to violent outbursts of temper that the French and other cardinals regretted their action. But failing to persuade him to resign, they withdrew to Anagni and elected a second, in fact an anti-pope, who went to live in Avignon, Robert of Geneva (Clement VII), thus starting the great western Schism which lasted for the next forty years.

Loyal to the belligerent Urban VI
Catherine remained loyal to the belligerent Urban VI and at his request went to Rome to work to restore unity. She frequently wrote letters to him urging him to moderate his harshness and to various European leaders and the cardinals to whom she pleaded to recognise him as the authentic pope. But she felt the wound in the body of Christ could only be healed by a great sacrifice.

Her death and influence
One evening in January, 1380, while dictating a letter to Urban, she suffered a stroke. It seemed as if the church, like a mighty ship, was placed on her back. She had a second stroke while at prayer in St. Peter’s and died three weeks later on April 29th, 1380, aged thirty-three. She was buried under the high altar in the Dominican church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, but her head was afterwards removed and taken to Siena, where it is enshrined in the Dominican church. Her friend, Raymond of Capua, later Master General of the Dominicans, wrote her life, which was influential in leading to her canonisation in 1461 by the Sienese Pope Pius II (Enea Silvio Piccolomini).

Before leaving Siena for the last time, she dictated a book called The Dialogue of St. Catherine; this and her four hundred Letters comprise a great treasury of spiritual writing.

Doctor of the Church
In 1970 Pope Paul VI named St Catherine of Siena, along with St Teresa of Avila, “Doctor of the Church”.

-- adapted from

Palm Sunday & Easter Triduum Photos

HERE are the official photos that were taken during the Palm Sunday Mass, The Good Friday Stations of the Cross and Veneration, The Easter Vigil and the Mass at Dawn at St. Jude's Chapel, Mt. D'or. Happy Easter!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Our New Catholic Saints!

We thank God for the righteous lives these faithful men lived and the contributions they made towards our Holy Catholic Church and we pray that God will continue to bless their sainthood in heaven.
St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II, pray for us.

Online Marian Devotions during the month of May

During the Sundays of May, we are going to honour our Blessed Mother, Mary by posting special devotional prayers and videos to uplift this magnificent woman! So beginning next Sunday (Sunday May 4th) and continuing every Sunday in May, the Parish Facebook Page and the Parish Blog Spot will have special posts which includes Marian Devotions! We hope you join with us as we celebrate the Mother of our King and the Mother of our lives!

Rood in the St. Joseph Church

If you haven't noticed, the iconic Crucifix that was usually seen hanging in the santuray (where the baptismal was formally located) is now back in the sanctuary, only this time, it hangs in a different loaction - rooftop, on the entrance to the sanctuary. This Crucifix is officially called a 'Rood' and according to Wikipedia, a Rood 'was originally the only Old English word for the instrument of Jesus' death'.
This Crucifix or Rood is one of the many iconic symbols which are featured in our Historic church. In the church's earliest days, this Crucifix was erected in this same position (rooftop of the sanctuary) but after some changes came, it was reloacted at various points throughout the church. It was once erected towards the back of the church and its recent location was in the sanctuary where the baptismal font was located. Now, the baptismal font has been omitted from the santuary and the Patronal statue of St. Joseph rests comfortably in its place.
The Rood is a life-like replica of the image of Jesus hanging on a cross and it is usually placed on the central axis of the church. Roods are tradionally placed on partition-like surface called a Rood Screen. Roods Screens are not commonly found in this region but it is still present in the European churches. The Rood which hangs in St. Joseph does not have a Rood Screen. Here is what a Rood Screen looks like, which is usually found in the European churches:

The cross is a symbol of unity and by Jesus hanging on the cross, it serves as a reminder of the greatest love that was shown to us by the greatest man of all. Here is a current look at where our parish's Rood is located:

--B.Durham, 2014

Divine Mercy Sunday

Divine Mercy Sunday always occurs on the second Sunday of Easter. On April 30th, 2000, Pope John Paul II declared this Sunday as Divine Mercy Sunday throughout the Catholic Church, universally. Jesus Christ had certain revelation with Sr. Faustina in which he he expressed a desire to have a day dedicated for the celebration of the Divine Mercy. In her diary, Jesus Christ clearly states "On one occasion, I heard these words: My daughter, tell the whole world about My Inconceivable mercy. I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners. On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity. Everything that exists has come forth from the very depths of My most tender mercy. Every soul in its relation to Me will I contemplate My love and mercy throughout eternity. The Feast of Mercy emerged from My very depths of tenderness. It is My desire that it be solemnly celebrated on the first Sunday after Easter. Mankind will not have peace until it turns to the Fount of My Mercy."
A 9-day novena is usually said prior to this special feast day which begins on Good Friday. Plenary Indulgences are said to be granted on this day, according to Pope John Paul II, if Catholics recite specific prayers on that day. The priests are also called on this day to lead special devotions and hear confessions.
The Divine Mercy image is one of the most known elements of this day. This image was revealed to St. Faustina on February 22nd, 1931 from Jesus himself in which he asked her to "Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus I trust in You.  I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and throughout the world." (Diary 47). Since then, this image has been venerated all across the world as Jesus requested. 
Jesus explains that the image in these words: " The two rays denote Blood and Water. the pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous. The red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. These two rays issued forth from the very depths of My tender mercy when My agonized heart was opened by a lance on the Cross. These rays shield souls from the wrath of My Father. Happy is the one who dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him." (Diary 299).

May the Mercy of God sustain us in our lives so that we will live righteous lives. Glory to God. Jesus, I Trust in you! Jesus, have mercy on me. 

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Parish Notices for the 2nd Sunday in Easter

  1. Let us praise the Lord in our prayers for the gift of the two Saint Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. Let us be united tomorrow/today in our prayers with the entire Church. 
  2. The Evening Friday Masses will be back from the coming Friday 2nd of May. 
  3. The next meeting of the Hermandad will take place on Friday 2nd of April at 7 pm in the Presbytery. 
  4. The First Communion and Confirmation classes will resume next Saturday. 
  5. Next Sunday May 4th, the first Synod Priority will be held concerning 'The Importance of Family Worship'. The Speakers will be Peter Timothy and family and this empowering talk will begin at 4PM at St. Joseph RC Church. Please come out!
Blessings to ALL our parishioners this week! 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Divine Mercy Devotions

Canonization of Popes John Paul II & John XXIII

On Sunday, April 27th 2014 (Divine Mercy Sunday), the Catholic Church universally will be in a celebratory mood as two former popes will be canonized as Saints. In a press release, Vatican officials stated that John XXIII's postulator, Fr. Giovangiuseppe Califano, always practiced resolutions which would help him become an actual saint. Similarly, John Paul II's postulator, Msgr. Slavomir Oder stated that the two had met at a university and he knew what he was seeing was a 'future saint' because of his prayer habits and reflections on the values of life. 
Back in September 2013, Pope Francis announced that a double canonization would take place on Divine Mercy Sunday of 2014. Rome states that they are expecting over 3 million visitors during the Easter celebrations and for the canonization and the New York Times has stated that 19 heads of states and 24 prime ministers among many other international guests are expected to attend the festivities at St. Peter's Square. Vicar for Rome, Cardinal Agostino Vallini revealed that some churches will remain open on the eve of the canonization to allow pilgrims to engage in special retreats. 
Some of the many notable moments which many people are remembering the former popes for is the fact that John XXIII lead the church in the Second Vatican Council and that Pope John Paul II served as a key interpreter, leaving the church a profound legacy that continues to shape her to this date. 
In May 2011, Pope John Paul II was beatified at the St. Peter's Basilica following a lavish ceremony after the Holy See discovered several miracles which occurred in the name of Pope John Paul II, making him the only Pope eligible for the fastest canonizing in modern history, following his death in 2005. Pope John XXIII, on the other hand, has had to wait 51 years for his canonization to take place. 

May God Bless these two men of faith as we will soon call them Saint. 

-- B. Durham, 2014

Monday, 21 April 2014

With Thanks......

On behalf of the Parish Priest and Deacon, we would like to extend our deepest and sincere thanks to all those that assisted in any way (both big or small) during the Easter Triduum Liturgies:
  • Altar Servers
  • Choir
  • Lectors
  • Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Communion
  • Animators
  • Decorators
  • The various groups which led in the special prayer vigils and morning prayers (Tenebrae)
  • The Parishioners
  • Anyone we may have forgotten or wishes to remain anonymous. 
 May the Risen Lord bless and strengthen each and everyone of you to continue to do His work.

"We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers." - 1 Thessalonians 1:2


Sunday, 20 April 2014

Easter Greetings











Saturday, 19 April 2014

Gloria Saturday - Day 3 of Easter Triduum

Today we celebrate the culmination of the Easter Triduum which also marks the end of Mass which began on Holy Thursday. We last left Jesus' corpse being laid to rest in a tomb which had never been used. It is believed that when Jesus died on the cross, his soul descended into Hades. For souls to be in Hades it means that they are 'in limbo', which means that they are neither in Hell nor Heaven. It is said that when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and sin entered the world, the gates of heaven were sealed and no other soul were admitted to heaven, even the souls of righteous men such as Abraham, Elijah and Moses to name a few. As such, when Jesus died and descended into Hades, he went there to free the good souls that were deserving of heaven and so in the same way Jesus' body was revived with new life, the entombed souls were now set free into the glory of heaven. It is wisee that Jesus' death had purpose, to save us and to also save the righteous souls who were suffering.

The Gloria Saturday liturgy depicts Jesus coming out of the tomb and it is the most beautiful liturgy. This liturgy is sectioned into four main parts; The Service of Light, which reminds us, the faithful, that Jesus is the Light of the World, the Liturgy of the Word, which retells the marvels which God has done for his people, the Liturgy of Baptism, since new life is granted to us, we welcome new members into the Faith and where the faithful renews their baptismal promises and finally the Liturgy of the Eucharist where we now partake of the newly risen Christ.

Tonight we all rise out of the tomb with Christ and he promises us new life, and so we must do-away with the old habits and welcome new habits which are pleasing to God. The Epistle which we will hear from Paul's letter to the Romans 6:3-11 states that in the same way which we were baptized with Christ, we are given a new life and as Christ died, was buried and rose from the dead, we also do the same so our life is with God in Christ Jesus. It would be unfair to allow ourselves to fall back into the hands of sin. God's Holy Spirit is there to help us when we may feel weak.

Let us all not hesitate to rise with Christ into new life! Happy Easter!

--B.Durham, 2014

Friday, 18 April 2014

The Holy Cross



Good Friday - Day 2 of the Easter Triduum

Today is the second day of the Easter Triduum in which we remember and pay respect to Jesus who was sentenced to death, crucified and died on a cross. Last night, we remembered Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, eating his Last Supper with them, instituting the Eucharist and being betrayed by Judas Iscariot. Following supper, he made his way to the the Garden of Gethsemane where he stayed in prayer all night. Judas and some soldiers then came towards Jesus and made accusations against him but Peter, trying to defend Jesus, drew a sword and cut off the right ear of one of the soldiers, Malchus. Jesus then healed the ear of Malchus and surrendered himself to the soldiers.

At this point, the soldiers presented Jesus before the Chief Priests Annas and Caiaphas and then to Pilate who then questioned the services of Jesus. Pilate asked Jesus, 'Are you a King?' and Jesus' response stated that his Kingdom is not of this world. Pilate then decided to have the people of the town choose the fate of Jesus and so they presented him (Jesus) on the Pavement before the crowds along with a prisoner named Barabbas and Pilate gave them the choice of who they wished to release before Passover. The crowds unanimously chose to free the prisoner and have Jesus crucified.
Think of the many times where we turn our back on the Lord and chose sin over life. -- Lord have mercy on us.
While all this were taking place, Peter was asked three times by different bystanders if he is associated with Jesus and he denied it three times which fulfilled the words Jesus spoke, 'After the cock crows, you would have disowned me three times'.
Think of the times where we were ashamed to speak of and promote Jesus in public, among our peers -- Lord have mercy on us.  

Jesus was now ordered to carry a cross up a hill called Calvary which he fell many times, came face to face with his mother Mary, saw some women of Jerusalem weeping for him, encountered a woman named Veronica who wiped his face with a shroud which left his countenance and he was also assisted by a bystander named Simon from Cyrene. At that time, this was the most inhumane way for anyone to die but Jesus never had any regrets. He did this because of the love he has for us.
Think of the times where we voluntarily sin and we constantly pierce the nails back into the hands and feet of Jesus. -- Lord have mercy on us. 
It was on this day in which Mary and John stood at the foot of the cross and where Jesus asked John to accept Mary as his mother and Mary to accept John as her son and so, it was at this moment that Jesus gave the us (the faithful followers of him) Mary as our mother.
Think of the times where we never accepted Mary as our Spiritual Mother and have blasphemed her. -- Lord have mercy on us. 

At 3PM, Jesus breathed his last, bowed his head and died. Mary, John and Joseph of Arimathea then took the body of Jesus down from the cross, wrapped it in white cloths with herbs and spices and placed it in a tomb which had never been been used by anyone else.

Stations of the Cross is traditionally carried out on this day where the faithful walk the road which Jesus walked and at 3PM, the faithful all gather at church to celebrate the Passion and Veneration of Jesus Christ. As is was previously mentioned, no mass is celebrated on this day so the consecrated host from the Holy Thursday liturgy is used for the distribution. The faithful venerates the Cross which hung the Saviour of the World.

--B. Durham, 2014

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Holy Thursday - Day 1 of the Easter Triduum

Today, our Holy Church begins its Easter Triduum, a 3-day celebration. It begins on Holy Thursday, continues with Good Friday and ends on Gloria Saturday night. On Holy Thursday, or as it is called in some areas as Maundy Thursday, we remember that on this night, several events occurred. Jesus washed the feet of his Disciples, He was betrayed by one of his twelve, He broke bread with his twelve and He instituted the Holy Eucharist.

Prior to the Sacred meal,  Jesus performed a selfless act of service - He washed the feet of his disciples. What was the significance of this kind and humble gesture? For Jesus, it was to display his humility and servant hood and for the disciples, it was a direct contrast to the attitude of their hearts at that time.
Think of the many times where our hearts were not clean and we saw the need for Jesus in our lives. -- Lord have mercy on us.
As the festival of Passover was fast approaching, the chief priests and scribes were trying to get rid of Jesus so Satan entered into the body of Judas Iscariot, one of Jesus' twelve, and discussed with the chief priests on how they can get rid of him. It was at that moment where the betrayal occurred. While eating the Jewish Passover Meal, Jesus announced that one of his own, who eats with him will betray him and hearing this, Judas ran out of the room.
Think of the many times where we have turned our backs from Jesus and allowed the powers of sin to enter into and define us. -- Lord have mercy on us.

During the Passover Meal, Jesus decided that now would be an appropriate time to leave with his disciples a piece of him and announced that the Son of Man will reach his fate and stated that where he is going, no one can follow, which was a clever connotation of him announcing his death. So instead of following the normal flow of the traditional Jewish Passover meal, Jesus took mere bread and a chalice of wine and consecrated them as his body and blood which is what we partake of at our masses to this day. This is what we call, 'The Institution of the Holy Eucharist'.
Think of the many times where we have doubted God especially in the Eucharist and never gave him the respect and admiration which he rightfully deserves. -- Lord have mercy on us.

Following the Last Supper, which Jesus had with his disciples before his death, he went into the Garden of Gethsemane where he remained in prayer all night long. Jesus asked his disciples to keep awake with him but they fell into a deep sleep.
Think of the times where we had good intentions but allowed the weaknesses of the flesh to overthrow the intentions of the spirit. -- Lord have mercy on us.

Holy Mass begins on this day, as such, no final blessing is said after the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The priest consecrates enough hosts since no prayers of consecration is said at the Good Friday service. After the distribution of Holy Communion, all the host is placed in a ciborium which is processed to the altar of repose. The faithful are asked to remain in quiet adoration for a short while.

--B. Durham, 2014

R.C.I.A. in St. Joseph

This year, the Parish of St. Joseph/Mt.D'or will welcome
Jabulani Mobhair (Baptism)
Cheryl-Ann Guevara-Lander (Baptism)
Feroza Mohammed (Baptism)
Nigel Polar (Baptism)
Mikhail Morton (Baptism)
Mark Mahadeo (First Communion)
Clint Alexander (First Communion) on Gloria Saturday night.

And on May 19th, St. Michael's Church, Maracus St. Joseph will host the Suburban Vicariate Confirmation for Adults with:
Miriam Jaisarie
Mark Job
Dominique Reid
Alicia Rampaul-Seelal
Trevor Seelal
Mark Mahadeo
Clint Alexander representing our parish.

Congratulations to you all and may God and his Holy Spirit bless your lives.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Jesus, both Human and Divine - A Lenten Reflection

Jesus Christ, our Lord, King, Master and Redeemer has two natures: Human and Divine. He is not half God and half Man, he is fully human and fully divine. Is it confusing to understand? Well, there's no need to be. In John 1:1, it clearly states that 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God' so that means when the Word became flesh, Jesus didn't only become fully divine (at that point) instead, the Word became human as it states on Colossians 2:9 'For in Him, all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily forms'. We must understand that Jesus was not just a human who had God within him or one who manifested God perfectly but that it is actually God himself in the form of a human. Jesus is the second person of the Holy Trinity.
Now since Jesus is both human and divine, he understands us in ways that are incredible. Let us look at Jesus in eyes of Human. 
He was born of a woman: Like all of us, Jesus was conceived in the womb of his mother Mary and endured the normal 9-month evolution. 
He has a body of flesh and bones: Jesus himself says, 'See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself, touch me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have' as it is stated in Luke 24:39.
He was tempted: All human being endure some sort of temptation and Jesus was no different. As it is stated in Matthew 4:1 'Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil'.
He has a Father: In addition to his Mother, Mary, Jesus also had a father, like no other as it is seen in John 17 whom he loved and prayed to.
He was called man: It states in John 19:5 that 'Jesus then came out wearing a crown of thorns and a purple robe and Pilate said "Behold the Man!"
He grew in wisdom: Just as we all grow older and wiser, Jesus was the same but his intellectual status began from a tender age in his life. 
He died:We all must face death at some point in our lives and Jesus faced it in the most inhumane way but he endured it because he loves us with an everlasting love.

So there it states the human nature of Jesus. Now let us look at Jesus in the eyes of Divinity.
He heals, performs miracles and gives eternal life: We often hear in bible passages about the marvels which Jesus performed. Some of which he healed a paralysis, a leper and the deaf and he even walked on water and gives eternal life (John 10:28).
He knows all things: When Simon was asked by Jesus if he loves him, Simon replied 'Lord, you know all things...'
He is worshiped: Many have came far to see the Lord, hear his teachings and be healed and even from birth, he was worshiped.
He is sinless: All human beings have some spec of sin but 1 Peter 2:22 explain that 'He who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth'
He rose from the dead: After Jesus suffered and died for us all, he conquered death and rose from the dead after three days. Only Jesus is capable is bringing himself and others back from the dead.

In this Holy Week, we witness both natures of Jesus Christ. He supped with his friends, he was betrayed and rejected by his own, he was sentenced to death, he endured excruciating pain, he was brought low by being stripped to his nothingness and died. All these and more are some of what we as humans endure and we often cry out, 'Oh God, help me!' Jesus understands what we go through day by day. But He reminds us that life is not only full of humiliating moments but also great joys which we can look forward to. This is where Jesus' divine nature came into play. He never allowed death to triumph in his life, he never remained down when he fell three times with the cross and he forgave all those who betrayed and rejected him, but we as humans find it hard to forgive. Indeed, we see the Jesus as Lord! Glory to God!

--B.Durham, 2014

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Chrism Mass 2014

What happens at the Chrism Mass?
At the Offertory, the three Holy Oils are carried up to the sanctuary by concelebrating priests with gifts of bread and wine offered up by the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.

Blessing of the Oil of the Sick.
The Oil of the Sick is blessed by the Bishop during the Eucharistic Prayer. Before the Bishop says “Through Christ our Lord/ you give us all these gifts” in Eucharistic Prayer I or the doxology “Through Him” in the other Eucharistic  prayers, the one who carried the vessel for oil of the sick brings it in front of the Bishop while he blesses the oil.
After the blessing, the vessel of the oil of the sick is returned to its place, and the Mass continues until the Communion Rite is completed.

Blessing of the Oil of the Catechumens
Following the Prayer after Communion, the concelebrating priests place the oils to be blessed on a table located in the center of the sanctuary. The concelebrating priests stand around the Bishop on either side, in a semicircle and the other ministers stand behind him. The Bishop then faces the people, and with his hands extended prays the prayer of blessing over the oil of catechumens.

Consecration of the Chrism
Then the Bishop pours the balsam or perfume in the oil and mixes the Chrism in silence, after which he says the invitation. The Bishop then breathes over the open vessel which contains the Chrism and sings or prays the Consecratory Prayer. This is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, who blew over the face of the waters before creation and of the risen Jesus, who appeared to his disciples and breathed on them saying “Receive the Holy Spirit...,” (John 20, 22-23). It is the Holy Spirit who consecrates this oil through the Bishop’s invocation. During this time, all concelebrating priests will join in silence, by extending their right hands toward the Chrism, signifying their participation in his authority, through which Christ Himself sanctifies and builds up His body, the Church.
At the end of the liturgy, the holy oils are distributed to the priests of the diocese, for their respective parishes.

It is recommended that each parish keep the vessels containing the Holy Oil in a special clear glass cabinet called an ambry, were they can be viewed by all the faithful. Many newer churches have an ambry, which is usually located close to the baptismal font. It reminds all who see it of the anointing which unites and strengthens us to live as one body in Christ, and comes to us through ministry of His Church.

On Monday April 14th, the Annual Chrism Mass will be held at St. Benedict’s Church, La Romaine at 5pm. Our parish representatives are Irvin & Ingrid Coutou.

PARISH FLASHBACK: Parish Representatives Dhanielle Smith (left) and Brent Durham (right) collecting the oils of catechumens from Deacon Tristram at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception back in 2011.

Picture Courtesy: CAMSEL

Holy Week

This week, the Catholic Church celebrates the most important week of its liturgical year - Holy Week. Holy Week consists of Palm Sunday which opens the solemn week and it is a build up towards the Easter Triduum which consists of Holy Thursday (The Last Supper), Good Friday (The Crucifixion & Death of Jesus Christ, Our Lord) and Gloria Saturday (The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Our Lord). The season of Lent officially comes to a close on Holy Thursday. Let us now look closely to the significance of each day.

On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the first joy of the season, as we acknowledge Our Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by crowds worshiping him and laying down palm leaves before him.

On Holy Thursday, we celebrate the Last Supper in which Christ broke bread with his twelve apostles around table. It was at this time that Jesus washed the feet of his apostles and was aware that one of the twelve were to betray him. Following the sacred supper, Christ spent the entire night in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane which was immediately followed by his arrest and taken before the chief priests and scribes. As a Church, we are encouraged to 'eat' with Christ. The Priest consecrates enough Eucharist at this mass since no consecration is allowed during the Good Friday service.

On Good Friday, outside the gates of Jerusalem, Jesus was ordered to be crucified. During that time, it was the cruelest way for any human to die. After being crowned with thorns, spat upon, insulted, beaten with whips, humiliated, stripped of his own garments, nailed to a cross, drunk gall and vinegar, and pierced by a lance, Jesus finally breathed his last after three hours of agony on the cross. As a Church we are encouraged to 'die' with Christ. A Eucharistic Service, not a Mass, formally known as The Passion and Veneration of the Cross, is conducted at 3PM to commemorate the hour Christ died. During this liturgy, general intercessions are offered up and the faithful venerate the Holy Cross.

On Gloria Saturday, the church remains closed since no masses are allowed to take place before the Vigil Hour (usually 6pm and beyond). As a Church we are to remain 'low' with Christ. However, when the Easter Vigil officially begins, we celebrate Jesus Christ coming out of the tomb. The Easter Vigil liturgy is the most beautiful liturgy in the Roman Catholic Church. It marks the beginning of Easter season and it is divided into four (4) parts: The Service of Light, the Liturgy of the Word, The Liturgy of Baptism and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

The Service of Light - The service begins outside the church. A new fire is lit and blessed. The Priest lights a special candle called 'The Paschal Candle' which symbolizes Christ as the Light of the World. The candle is then processed through the church, which the Deacon lifts at three different times, singing: Christ our light (Lumen Christi) and the congregation replies: Thanks be to God (Deo gratias). Everyone lights their candle from the Easter candle and continue in procession and the Deacon then chants the Exsultet (The Easter Proclamation).

The Liturgy of the Word; while the Church remains in complete darkness, the second part of the Celebration begins, the Liturgy of the Word. At this point, the faithful listen to God's word and meditate on the wonderful works which he has done for his people since the beginning of time. Nine (9) readings are done; seven (7) from the Old Testament, One from the New Testament which is called the Epistle and the Gospel. The Gloria is sung before the reading of the Epistle, and the Alleluia is sung before the Gospel.

The Liturgy of Baptism; During this time the Easter water is blessed, new members are brought into the Church through baptism, and the faithful are blessed with water and renew their baptismal promises.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist; The Mass resumes at this point and the whole church is now called to join in the sacrificial table that Christ prepared for us through his death and resurrection. The rest of the Liturgy continues as normal. As a Church we are to 'rise' with Christ.

Easter Sunday, Holy Mass is celebrated only in a condensed fashion.

At St. Joseph/ Mt. D'or our Easter Triduum goes as follows:
Holy Thursday: 6.30PM at St. Joseph R.C. Church (please walk with a loaf of bread)
Good Friday: Stations of the Cross beginning at the Church at 6AM and Passion and Veneration of the Cross at 3PM at St. Joseph R.C. Church
Gloria Saturday: Easter Vigil at 9PM at St. Joseph R.C. Church (please walk with your candles)
Easter Sunday: 7AM at St. Jude's Chapel and 8:30AM at St. Joseph R.C. Church
Easter Monday: 7AM at St. Joseph R.C. Church.

Here are some images of last year's Easter Triduum Celebrations: