On the Epiphany

“Marys Faith becomes the First Fruit and the Model of the Faith of the Church”

Here is the translation of the Holy Father’s Angelus address delivered from the window of the Apostolic Palace to pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

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Dear brothers and sisters!

I apologize for being late. I ordained 4 new bishops in St. Peter’s Basilica and the rite lasted a little while. But today we celebrate above all the Epiphany of the Lord, his manifestation to the nations, while many Eastern Churches, according to the Julian Calendar, celebrate Christmas. This slight difference, which superimposes the 2 moments, makes us see that the Child, born in a grotto in Bethlehem, is the light of the world, who directs the journey of all peoples. It is a combination, which makes us reflect, also from the point of view of faith: on the one hand, looking upon Jesus we see the faith of Mary, of Joseph and the shepherds; today, the Epiphany, we see the faith of the 3 magi, who came from the East to worship the king of the Jews.

The Virgin Mary, together with her husband, represent the “stump” of Israel, the “remnant” foretold by the prophets, from which the Messiah was to come forth. The magi represent the peoples, and, we can also say, the civilizations of the earth, the cultures, the religions that are, so to say, on their way to God, in search of his kingdom of peace, justice, truth and freedom. There was at first a nucleus, personified above all by Mary, the “daughter of Zion”: a nucleus of Israel, the people who knows and has faith in that God who is revealed to the Patriarchs and along the path of history. This faith reaches its fulfillment in Mary, in the fullness of time; in her, “blessed because she believed,” the Word became flesh, God “appeared” in the world. Mary’s faith becomes the first fruit and the model of the faith of the Church, the People of the New Covenant. But this people is from the beginning universal, and this we see today in the figures of the magi, who arrive in Bethlehem following the light of a star and the instructions of the Sacred Scriptures.

St. Leo the Great says: “There was once promised to Abraham countless descendants who would be begotten not by the flesh but by the fecundity of faith” (Sermon 3 for Epiphany, 1: PL 54, 240). Mary’s faith can be joined with Abraham’s: it is the new beginning of the same promise, of the same unchanging plan of God that now finds its completion in Christ Jesus. And Christ’s light is so limpid and powerful that it makes the language of the cosmos and that of the Scriptures intelligible so that all those who, like the magi, are open to the truth can recognize it and arrive at the contemplation of the Savior of the world. St. Leo continues: “Let the great mass of the nations … all peoples … enter in, indeed, let them enter into the family of the patriarchs, let them adore the Creator of the universe, and may God be known not only in Judea but in all the earth” (ibid.). We can also consider the episcopal ordinations that I had the joy to confer this morning in St. Peter’s Basilica from this perspective: 2 bishops will remain in the service of the Holy See and the other 2 will depart to be pontifical representatives in 2 other countries. Let us pray for each of them, for their ministry, and that the light of Christ shine upon the whole world.

[Following the recitation of the Angleus the Holy Father greeted those present in various languages. In Italian he said:]

Dear brothers and sisters!

As I already indicated, tomorrow the Eastern Churches who follow the Julian Calendar will celebrate the Birth of the Lord: in the joy of our common faith I address to them my most heartfelt wish of peace with a special remembrance in prayer.

Today in Italy is the Day of Holy Childhood, dedicated to the children who engage in the spread of the Gospel and concretely help their peers who are most in need. Dear children, I thank you and I encourage you: bring the love of God to everyone!

[In English he said:]

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present today, including the boys of the Palestrina Choir of Saint Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, who sang this morning at the solemn Mass of the Epiphany. At that ceremony I had the joy of conferring episcopal ordination upon four priests, including Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu of Nigeria. May the new Bishops be faithful successors of the Apostles, always bearing witness to Christ, who today reveals the face of God to the nations. May the Lord bless all of you and grant you his peace!

[Concluding in Italian he said:]

I wish everyone a happy feast day and a good year. Thank you. Happy feast day and have a good year!

[Translation by Joseph Trabbic]
Courtesy of Zenit.org

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Papal Homily at Vespers

“Christ Is Our Trustworthy Hope”

Here is a translation of the homily Benedict XVI delivered Dec. 31 at vespers and the Te Deum.

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Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As this year is also ending, we are gathered in the Vatican Basilica to celebrate First Vespers of the Solemnity of Mary Most Holy, Mother of God. The liturgy makes this important Marian feast coincide with the end and the beginning of the solar year.
Our hymn of gratitude for 2007 which is drawing to a close and for 2008 which we are already glimpsing is therefore combined with contemplation of the mystery of the divine motherhood. Time passes and its inexorable passing induces us to raise our gaze in deep gratitude to the One who is eternal, to the Lord of time. Let us thank him together, dear brothers and sisters, on behalf of the entire diocesan community of Rome.
I address my greeting to each one of you. In the first place, I greet the Cardinal Vicar, the Auxiliary Bishops, the priests and consecrated persons as well as all the lay faithful who are gathered here.
I greet Mr Mayor and the Authorities present, and I extend my thoughts to the entire population of Rome and in a special way to all those in conditions of difficulty and hardship. I assure them all of my cordial closeness, strengthened by constant remembrance in prayer.

In the short Reading from the Letter to the Galatians that we have just heard, speaking of the liberation of man brought about by God with the mystery of the Incarnation, St Paul very discreetly mentions the One through whom the Son of God entered the world: “when the time had fully come”, he wrote, “God sent forth his Son, born of woman” (Galatians 4: 4). The Church contemplates in the “woman” the features of Mary of Nazareth, a unique woman because she was called to carry out a mission that brought her into very close contact with Christ: indeed, it was an absolutely unique relationship, because Mary is Mother of the Saviour. Just as obviously, however, we can and must affirm that she is our Mother because, by living her very special maternal relationship with the Son, she shared in his mission for us and for the salvation of all people. In contemplating her, the Church makes out her own features: Mary lives faith and charity; Mary is also a creature saved by the one Saviour; Mary collaborates in the initiative of the salvation of all humanity.
Thus, Mary constitutes for the Church her truest image: she in whom the Ecclesial Community must continually discover the authentic sense of its own vocation and its own mystery.

The Incarnate Word changes life

This short but intense Pauline passage then continues, showing how the fact that the Son assumed human nature unfolds the perspective of a radical change of the actual human condition. Paul says in it that “God sent forth his Son … to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5). The Incarnate Word transforms human life from within, sharing with us his being as Son of the Father. 
He became like us in order for us to become like him: children of the Son, hence, people free from the law of sin. Is this not a fundamental reason to raise our thanksgiving to God? A thanksgiving which can only be even more motivated at the end of a year, considering the many benefits and his constant assistance that we have experienced over the period of the past 12 months.

This is why every Christian community gathers together this evening and sings the Te Deum, a traditional hymn of praise and thanksgiving to the Most Holy Trinity. This is what we shall also do at the end of this liturgical meeting of ours, before the Most Blessed Sacrament.
As we sing we will pray: “Te ergo, quæsumus, tuis famulis subveni, quos pretioso sanguine redemisti: Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood”. This is our prayer this evening: Come with your mercy, Lord, to the aid of the inhabitants of our City in which, as elsewhere, serious needs and poverty weigh on the lives of people and families, preventing them from looking with trust to the future. Many, especially young people, are attracted by a false exaltation or rather, by the profanation of the body and the trivialization of sexuality; so it is difficult to list the many challenges bound up with consumerism and secularism which call into question believers and people of good will.

To say it in a word, in Rome one also notes that lack of hope and trust in life that constitutes the “obscure” evil of modern Western society. But if the deficiencies are evident, there is no lack of light and reasons for hope on which to implore special divine blessings. Precisely in this perspective, in singing the Te Deum we shall pray: “Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati tuæ — Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance”.
O Lord, look upon and protect the diocesan community in particular, committed on the educational front to responding ever more vigorously to that great “educational emergency” of which I spoke last 11 June when I met the participants in the diocesan convention, or in other words, the increasing difficulty encountered in transmitting the basic values of life and upright conduct to the new generations (cf. Address to the Diocese of Rome Convention, 11 June 2007; L’Osservatore Romano English edition, 20 June, p. 3). 
Let us calmly and with patient trust face this emergency first of all in the context of the family. Moreover, it is certainly comforting to note that the work undertaken in recent years by parishes, movements and associations for the pastoral care of the family is continuing to develop and bear fruit.

Missionary initiatives by youth

Also protect, Lord, the missionary initiatives which involve the world of youth: they are increasing and there are now an important number of young people who are assuming responsibility and the joy of proclamation and Gospel witness in the first person. In this context, how can we fail to thank God for the precious pastoral service offered to the world by the Roman universities? It would be appropriate to start something similar in schools, despite the numerous difficulties. Bless, Lord, the many young men and adults who in recent decades have been ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Rome. At the present time there are 28 deacons who are awaiting priestly ordination, scheduled for next April. Thus, the average age of the clergy is rejuvenated and it is also possible to respond to the increase in pastoral needs, such as going to the help of other dioceses. Especially in the suburbs, the need for new parish complexes is growing, and there are eight currently under construction, after I myself had the pleasure not long ago of consecrating the one most recently completed: the Parish of Santa Maria del Rosario ai Martiri Portuensi.

It is lovely to be able to tangibly feel the joy and gratitude of the inhabitants of a neighbourhood as they enter their own new church for the first time. “In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in æternum — Lord, show us your love and mercy; for we put our trust in you”. The majestic hymn of the Te Deum ends with this cry of faith, of total trust in God, with this solemn proclamation of our hope. Christ is our “trustworthy” hope, and to this theme I dedicated my recent Encyclical entitled “Spe Salvi.”
But our hope is always essentially also hope for others, and only thus is it truly hope for each one of us (cf. No. 48).
Dear brothers and sisters of the Church of Rome, let us ask the Lord to make each one of us authentic leaven of hope in our various milieus, so that it will be possible to build a better future for the whole city. This is my wish for everyone on the eve of a New Year, a wish that I entrust to the motherly intercession of Mary, Mother of God and Star of Hope. Amen!

[Translation of the Italian original by L'Osservatore Romano]
Courtesy of Zenit.org

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Ascension Catholic Community Ministry of Intercession for June 2012

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, please pray for the following intentions this month.

For the Holy Father’s intention that believers may recognize in the Eucharist the living presence of the Risen One who accompanies them in daily life.

Missions: That Christian volunteers in mission territories may witness to the love of Christ.

Lord Jesus, we pray for all graduates and all those traveling this summer. May they be safe and enjoy their vacations.

As we approach the storm season, Lord, we ask your protection from bad weather.

We pray for all those who minister to the sick, bring peace and comfort to those they minister to.

We pray for all fathers who have striven to balance the demands of work, marriage and children with joy and sacrifice. We remember those fathers who have died but live in our memory.

We pray for those who suffer at the hands of others; the abused the oppressed and the wrongfully imprisoned.

Holy Spirit, guide the leaders of our nation in all that they do, especially those we will elect this year.

Holy Spirit, comfort all who are in their final days on this earth. We pray for all the sick and suffering members of Ascension Parish.

May you have a blessed month!

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Ascension Catholic Community Ministry of Intercession for May 2012

I call upon you God, for you will answer me: bend your ear and hear my prayer. Please pray the following intentions this month.

For the Holy Father’s intention that initiatives which defend and uphold the role of the family may be promoted within society.

Missions: That Mary, Queen of the World and Star of Evangelization, may accompany all missionaries in proclaiming her Son Jesus.

God Our Father, we thank you for the gift of Mary, our heavenly mother, and for our mothers, stepmothers, grandmothers and those who nurture in the place of mothers.

We pray for all those who receive the sacrament of the Eucharist that they will always love Jesus.

Father, we ask you to make us aware of our responsibility as citizens to uphold the principles of life, liberty, justice and equality.

Holy Spirit, we ask you to inspire all graduates to use the gifts that you have given them to fulfill their roll in life. Guide them in their career choices.

Good Shepherd, help our church to find creative ways to seek out all who are alienated from you and your church.

Jesus, comfort and console all who are grieving a loss of any kind. Bless support groups that seek to help people deal with loss.

We pray for all the sick and suffering members of Ascension Parish and their caregivers.

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Ascension Catholic Community Ministry of Intercession for April 2012

O God, bless us during this season of Spiritual Renewal. Fill our minds and hearts with love, that we may be a sign of Jesus to all those living in our midst. Please pray daily the following intercessions for April.

For the Holy Father’s intention that young people may hear the call of Christ and follow him in the priesthood and religious life.

Missions: Christ, Hope for Africans. That the risen Christ may be a sign of certain hope for men and women of the African continent.

We pray for those who labor out of love at our Ascension Social Concerns, Thrift Store, Habitat for Humanity, Daily Bread and Congregations for Community Action to lift people out of poverty.

Holy Spirit, bless, guide and strengthen all who care for the sick and infirmed. Especailly those who work with the healing ministry, nurses, doctors, caregivers and respite volunteers.

Lord Jesus, help us grow in appreciation of your gift of the Eucharist.

We pray for all those who are in prison, and especially young people, may they receive the necessary support from society to help them.

We pray for those facing financial difficulties and those seeking jobs.

Lord, strengthen those who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

We pray for all members of the Ascension parish who have died and those who are sick and have asked for our prayers.

May you have a blessedEaster.

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“St. Patrick’s Breast-Plate”

The beautiful prayer of St. Patrick, popularly known as “St. Patrick’s Breast-Plate”, is supposed to have been composed by him in preparation for this victory over Paganism. The following is a literal translation from the old Irish text:

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today
God’s Power to guide me,
God’s Might to uphold me,
God’s Wisdom to teach me,
God’s Eye to watch over me,
God’s Ear to hear me,
God’s Word to give me speech,
God’s Hand to guide me,
God’s Way to lie before me,
God’s Shield to shelter me,
God’s Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.

I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

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Saint Patrick

Feastday: March 17
Patron of Ireland
387 – 461

St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world’s most popular saints.

Apostle of Ireland, born at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 387; died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, 17 March, 461.

Patrick was born around 385 in Scotland, probably Kilpatrick. His parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, who were Romans living in Britian in charge of the colonies.

As a boy of fourteen or so, he was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to herd and tend sheep. Ireland at this time was a land of Druids and pagans. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him.

During his captivity, he turned to God in prayer. He wrote

“The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did the faith, and my soul was rosed, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers and in the night, nearly the same.” “I prayed in the woods and on the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.”

Patrick’s captivity lasted until he was twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him back to Britian, where he reunited with his family.

He had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him “We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more.”

He began his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years.

Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland March 25, 433, at Slane. One legend says that he met a chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick. Patrick converted Dichu (the chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick.

Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick’s message.

Patrick by now had many disciples, among them Beningnus, Auxilius, Iserninus, and Fiaac, (all later canonized as well).

Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering he died March 17, 461.

He died at Saul, where he had built the first church.

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CCP Donates too keep Hospice Patient Accounts Active

Some are aware that there are players within the CCP EVE Universe that are playing from their beds in Hospice Wards that they are tied too by life support systems. CCP has agreed too continue too fund some of these accounts for another year. On behalf of the Hospice Wards I wish too publicly thank CCP/EVE Online for their generous donation. For without this donation all accounts would have been deactivated within a month.

This gratitude is also extended too all those capsuleers who have helped these players whether it be in showing understanding in limited/erratic play times, showing patience with patients with physical limitations that affect game play, donation of fees for individual Killboards, with occasional ISK donations and that of ships (last two listed are virtual donations). We will not list any individual by name as the donations were given with an open heart and not for acknowledgment.

The IHM Hermitage will administer any real world donations while in the EVE Universe donation too aid these patients are administered by and may be donated too Primatech Industries Ltd. [PI.L] via their CEO only please.

Once again for the hospice wards I say Thank you!

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Ascension Catholic Community Ministry of Intercession for March 2012

O God, bless us during this season of Lent. Fill our minds and hearts with love, that we may be a sign of Jesus to all those living in our midst.

Please pray for the following this month.

For the holy Father’s intention that the world may recognize the contribution of women to the development of society.

Missions: That the Holy Spirit may grant perseverance to those who suffer discrimination, persecution, or death in the name of Christ, particularly in Asia.

We pray for all the men and women participating in the Christ Renews His Parish retreats, may the weekends touch their hearts and awaken their spirits to a new life in your image.

Holy Spirit we thank you for all the men and women who minister in our parish. Help all of us to be good and generous stewards of our time, treasure and talents.

Lord, we pray that during this Lenten season we will pattern our lives after you. help us to imiate you completely in all our thoughts, words and deeds.

We pray for all those looking for employment and facing financial difficulties.

God our Father, comfort all those who suffer from diseases that devastate the body, may they be granted strength and hope.

Bless and console all the members of Ascension community in need of your healing powers, grant them peace and comfort.

Peace be with you and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.

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Ascension Catholic Community Ministry of Intercession for February 2012

Thank you for being a part of this behind the scenes ministry. Please pray the following intentions this month.

For the Holy Father’s intention that all people may have access to water and other resources needed for daily life.

Missions: That the Lord may sustain in the efforts of the health workers assisting the sick and elderly in the world’s poorest regions.

Holy Spirit, guide our efforts to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, comfort the grieving and to stand for justice.

We pray that by opening our hearts to love we may put an end to the numerous wars and conflicts which continue to bloody our world.

Lord God, bless all families of Ascension Parish and watch over our children.

Father, we pray for all those you are calling to the priesthood and religious life, may they hear and answer your call.

We pray as we approach this Lenten Season that your will pattern our lives after you. Help us to imitate you in all our thoughts, words and deeds.

God Our Father, we pray for all those who suffer from cancer and other serious diseases.

Lord, we pray for all those in need of food, shelter and employment.

We pray for all those who are in their final days on this earth. May they find in your presence light, happiness and peace.

May you have a blessed month.

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