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FEAST OF ST. SEBASTIAN-MLK DAY-PENGUIN DAY 1 Peter, Chapter 3, Verse 13-16 13 Now who is going to harm you if you are enthusia...

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Sunday, April 1, 2018

APRIL

Lush and blooming vistas beckon us to take to the road and to explore. As we itch to go out and travel more in springtime, let us reflect on the mixed blessings. Interconnected communities and beautiful scenery are often coupled with air pollution, consumption of scarce petroleum, congestion, excessive mobility, and noise.


Overview of April[1]

The month of April is dedicated to The Holy Spirit. The entire month falls during the Easter season. The liturgical color is white — the color of light, a symbol of joy, purity and innocence (absolute or restored). After our solemn commemoration of the last days and death of Our Lord we will spend the month of April celebrating. As Spring breaks forth even nature will join us as buds and blooms begin to surface and we spend this month basking in the joy of the Resurrection. We continue throughout the entire month our cry, "Christ is risen, Christ is truly risen." The Feast of Divine Mercy offers us the opportunity to begin again as though we were newly baptized. The unfathomable mercy of God is made manifest today if we but accept His most gracious offer. Easter is the feast of feasts, the unalloyed joy and gladness of all Christians. This truly is "the day that the Lord has made." From Sunday to Sunday, from year to year, the Easters of this earth will lead us to that blessed day on which Christ has promised that He will come again with glory to take us with Him into the kingdom of His Father. April boasts the most solemn and sublime event of human history: the Resurrection of Jesus Christ – the Paschal mystery. Though the way to the Resurrection was the Via Crucis, the Sacrificial Lamb of God is now and forever Christ our Light, the Eternal high priest of the New Covenant. And his sorrowful mother, the Stabat Mater of Good Friday, is now the jubilant Mother of the Regina Caeli. We the members of Christ’s Mystical Body exalt in the mystery by which we were redeemed. If in Baptism we were buried with Christ, so also will we share in his resurrection. By his death we were reborn; “by his stripes we were healed.” (Is 53:5) Easter, the epicenter of time, is the event that links time and eternity. It is indeed “the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it.” (Ps 118:24)



Easter Sunday
FOOLS DAY


Baruch, Chapter 6, Verse 68
Thus is it in no way apparent to us that they are gods; so do not fear them.

What are the gods in your life that you are afraid of. To reflect on this let us examine the angels of God who worship HE that IS: the living God.

The first choir of angels is the Seraphim. Their chief characteristic is great and ardent love. They were made for one thing alone-----to love the God of Love. Without ceasing they honor, praise, and love the most Blessed Trinity-----they can do nothing else-----this is their happiness.

ü  Are you afraid of love? Do you fear to commit? Do you avoid being vulnerable? Do not fear to love!

The second choir is the Cherubim who continually are employed in contemplating the beauty and perfections of God. Cherubim are full of zeal for the glory of God and stand ready at all times to defend His honor. Cherubim should be invoked when one is troubled with doubts against faith and those who experience temptations against holy purity.

ü  Has the beauty of art, sex, idealism, or science been your god; are you afraid to let go and give a fiat to the will of God in your life? Are you afraid to be a fool for God? Have you given in and worship at the altar of hedonism? Have you been afraid of others opinion of you? Be a temple for the Holy Spirit!

The third choir is the choir of Thrones. They are called Angels of Peace; calm, tranquility, and stability. Ask them for that peace of soul which is the fruit of a good conscience. Invoke their aid for such as are prone to hatred, passion and impatience; and after their example, practice being meek, calm, and peaceful with all.

ü  Has competition and fear of being behind been your constant companion? Are you afraid of being last or worse average? Has efficiency been your god? You should rest in God!

The choir of Dominations is consumed by their yearning for the interests of God: their principal office is to manifest His will. We should also beg of God to manifest His will to us by these Blessed "Intelligences" and then take care to fulfill it scrupulously, as being the shortest way to perfection and sanctity. We should ask these Angels to help us to spread God's kingdom upon earth, for the conversion of heretics and infidels, and for the return of lukewarm and fallen away Catholics to the practice of the faith.

ü  Has the lack of mastery over the control of others, or the acquisition of needed skills been your constant distress? Has the gaining of the things of the material world and its pursuits left you no time to develop the fear of God in yourself? Have you sought the god of power or dreaded the loss of it? Have you worshiped at the altar of materialism? Your zeal should be for the Kingdom!

The fifth choir of angels which is the choir of Principalities. The Principalities watch over Empires, Provinces, and Dioceses. Purity of intention is the virtue ascribed to them, for in their high functions they never seek but the honor and interest of God alone.

ü  Have you been anxious about letting all you do and say allow you to seek the greater glory of God? Have you been troubled by allowing evil to exist in the workplace? Have you supported the secular world and been complacent in confronting it? We are all soldiers of Christ!

The sixth choir of angels is the Powers. These Angels have unlimited mastery over the wicked Spirits; they are endowed with great intelligence and are able to discover their schemes and plans for our destruction. Their power is so incredible that one alone of them would be able to destroy the entire infernal host. It is well to invoke them in temptation: but to merit their assistance we must take care to avoid the occasions of sin.

ü  Have you been frightened of the devil? Have you avoided taking action against evil enterprises? Have you contributed to evil by use of the internet? Listened to evil inspired music? Been afraid to look uncool? True power is often uncool!

The seventh choir of angels is the Virtues. Energy and strength are attributed to the Virtues. They have dominion over the elements; all nature is subjected to their control. Hence they can raise or appease the tempest. We may profitably invoke them in unforeseen accidents, sickness, etc. We may also have recourse to them for that strength necessary to lead a penitential life, and root out the inclinations of depraved nature. All persons inclined to the contemplative life should call on this choir of Angels for help, for good thoughts alone do not make holy, one needs also strength to persevere and to accomplish this great task.

ü  Have you worshipped at the altar of your natural passions and given into fits of anger, lust and envy? Have you been afraid of your own passions? Have you avoided controlling the body and been indulgent? Prayer and exercise makes us stronger!

The eighth choir of angels the Archangels. The Archangels are distinguished from the Angels by the greater importance of their functions: the Guardians of those invested with authority in the Church and State and are remarkable for their love and care of men. Let us imitate them, doing our neighbor all the good we can and invoking in his behalf these Blessed Spirits. Members of this choir are the holy spirits who stand before the throne of God, ever ready to announce His commands. St. Michael is the warrior leader of God’s angels. St. Gabriel is the special messenger of The Holy Spirit. St. Raphael is the angel of Joy.

ü  Have you worship others in authority or been fearful of them? Have you been apprehensive of your neighbor? Have you relished quashing others joy? Have you cared less about something you should? Have you feared taking responsibility or worshipped at the altar of doing nothingness? We are all called to service of the Lord!

The Ninth choir is the angels. They are charged with the execution of the Divine ordinances, and are appointed the Guardians of men. Humility is the virtue particularly ascribed to them-----for though the least among the Choirs, yet they see their celestial companions without desiring their greater, more excellent endowments. The Guardian Angels exercise continual watchfulness over the souls committed to their care. Their number is exceedingly great, and it is not necessary when an Angel has accompanied his charge into Heaven, that he be again assigned to a soul in any future generation. Our Guardian, who is our companion in life, will also be forever at our side in Heaven. The joy of these Angels is immeasurably increased when souls entrusted to their care enter Heaven. The Guardian Angels of the lost souls are not deprived of their share of joy. God in His justice increases also theirs with the others, and then assigns them to the special guard of the Queen of Angels, where they with great joy praise the Infinite Justice of God. Let us, like the humble Guardian Angels, love the lowest place, especially when placed therein by Divine Providence, and to behold with joy the preference given to others.

ü  Have you been full of yourself; had a little egomania? Have you had the opinion that it is my way or the highway? Have you watched yourself in the mirror? Imagined you are the center of every love song? Imitate your guardian angel and be a seraph of love for others and be a guardian of the faith of the church!

Information was obtained from: http://www.catholictradition.org/Angels/angels.htm

Easter Sunday[1]

WHAT is the feast of Easter? The celebration of the day on which Jesus Christ, according to the predictions both of Himself and the prophets, by His almighty power, reunited His body and soul, and arose alive from the grave.

Why is Easter Sunday sometimes called Pasch or Passover? It is from the Latin Pascha, and the Hebrew Phase, meaning “the passing over” because the destroyer of the firstborn in Egypt passed over the houses of the Israelites who had sprinkled the transom and posts of the door with the blood of the paschal lamb and because the Jews were in that same night delivered from bondage, passing over through the Red Sea into the land of promise. Now we Christians are by the death and resurrection of Christ redeemed and passed over to the freedom of the children of God, so we call the day of His resurrection Pasch or Passover.

How should we observe the feast of Easter? We observe the feast in such manner as to confirm our faith in Jesus Christ and in His Church, and to pass over from the death of sin to the new life of grace.

What is the meaning of Alleluia, so often repeated at Easter-time? “Alleluia” means “Praise God.” In the Introit of the Mass of the day the Church introduces Jesus Christ as risen, addressing His heavenly Father as follows “I rose up and am still with Thee, alleluia ; Thou hast laid Thy hand upon Me, alleluia. Lord, Thou hast proved me, and know me; Thou hast known my sitting down and my rising up.”

Why did the holy women desire to anoint the body of Jesus with sweet spices? The women wanted to anoint Jesus’ body out of love for him. This love God rewarded by sending to them an angel, who rolled back the great stone from before the mouth of the sepulcher, comforted them, and convinced them that Christ was really raised from the dead. From this we learn that God always consoles those who seek Him. The angel sent the holy women to the disciples to console them for Christ s death, and in order that they might make known His resurrection to the world. St. Peter was specially named not only because he was the head of the apostles, but because he was sadder and more dispirited than the others on account of his denial of Our Savior.

How did Our Savior prove that He was really risen from the dead? Our Lord proved Himself risen by showing Himself first to the holy women, then to His disciples, and finally to five hundred persons at once. His disciples not only saw Him, but ate and drank with Him, not once only, but repeatedly, and for forty days.

It was through combat and inexpressible sufferings that Our Savior gained victory. So also with us we gain heaven only by labor, combat, and sufferings shall we win the crown of eternal life; though redeemed by Christ from the servitude of Satan and sin, we shall not be able to enter the kingdom of Christ unless, after His example and by His grace, we fight till the end against the flesh, the devil, and the world; for only he that perseveres to the end shall receive the crown (n. Tim. ii. 5).

Paschaltide Customs[2]


The Easter Kiss and Greeting

The day that the risen Christ appeared to His apostles, breathed the Spirit on them, and wished them peace is the day that Christians greet each other with special fraternal affection. Early Latin Christians embraced each other on Easter with the greeting, Surrexit Dominus vere ("The Lord is truly risen"). The appropriate response is Deo gratias ("Thanks be to God"). Greek Christians, on the other hand, say, Christos aneste ("Christ is risen"), to which is answered, Alethos aneste ("Truly He is risen"). The mutual kiss and embrace last throughout the Easter Octave.
 
Blessings

There was a time in both the Eastern and Western churches that no one would dream of eating unblessed food on Easter. Priests would either visit families on Holy Saturday night and bless the spread made ready for the following day, or they would bless the food brought to church after the Easter Sunday Mass. The old Roman ritual attests to this tradition by its title for Food Blessings: Benedictiones Esculentorum, Praesertim in Pascha - "The Blessings of Edibles, Especially for Easter". 

New Clothes & the Easter Parade

Most people are familiar with the old-fashioned images of ladies bedecked in crisp new bonnets and dapper escorts during the annual Easter parade. What at first blush appears to be no more than a spectacle of vanity, however, is a combination of two deeply religious practices. The first is the custom of wearing new clothes for Easter. This stems from the ancient practice of newly baptized Christians wearing a white garment from the moment of their baptism during the Easter Vigil until the following week. The rest of the faithful eventually followed suit by wearing something new to symbolize the new life brought by the death and resurrection of Christ. Hence an old Irish saying: "For Christmas, food and drink; for Easter, new clothes." There was even a superstition that bad luck would come to those who could afford new clothes for Easter but did not buy them. The second practice is the Easter walk, in which the faithful (mostly couples) would march through town and country as a part of a religious procession. A crucifix or the Paschal candle would often lead the way, and the entourage would make several stops in order to pray or sing hymns. The rest of the time would be spent in light banter. This custom became secularized after the Reformation and thus became the "Easter parade" so popular before the 1960s.

Easter Eggs

Two kinds of activities (besides eating) surround this famous feature of Paschal celebration. The first is the decoration of the egg, a custom that goes back to the first centuries of Christianity. Colored dyes are the easiest way this is done, though different customs from various cultures sometimes determine which colors are used. The Chaldean, Syrian, and Greek Christians, for example, give each other scarlet eggs in honor of the most precious blood of Christ. Other nations, such as the Ukrainians and Russians, are famous for their beautiful and ornate egg decorations. Egg games are also a familiar part of Easter merriment. Most Americans are familiar with the custom of Easter egg hunts, but there are other forms as well. Egg-pecking is a game popular in Europe and the Middle East (not to mention the White House lawn), where hard-boiled eggs are rolled against each other on the lawn or down a hill; the egg left uncracked at the end is proclaimed the "victory egg."



The Dancing Sun

There is an old legend that the sun dances for joy or makes three cheerful jumps on Easter morning. In England and Ireland families would place a pan of water in the east window to watch the dancing rays mirrored on it. Other "sun" customs involve some kind of public gathering at sunrise. Greeting the daybreak with cannons, gunfire, choirs, or band music was once very popular, as was holding a prayer service, followed by a procession to the church where Mass would be offered.
 
"Sacred" Theater

According to some scholars the beautiful sequence Victimae Paschali Laudes sung during the Easter Mass in the traditional Roman rite is the inspiration for the development of medieval religious drama. The poem's dialogic structure, with its question and answer format, became the foundation on which more lines were added until a separate play was formed. This play, in turn, inspired the composition of the other medieval "mystery" plays held on Christmas, Epiphany, Corpus Christi, and so on. Solemn vespers and benediction were a traditional part of every Sunday afternoon in many parishes, but especially so on Easter. Perhaps one reason for this was the medieval custom of Easter fables where, prior to the service, the priest would regale the congregation with amusing anecdotes and whimsical yarns. This served as a sort of antidote to the many sad or stern Lenten sermons of the previous weeks.

The Easter Octave

The entire Octave of Easter constitutes an extended exultation in Christ's victory over death. Obviously, the two most important days of this Octave are the two Sundays. As mentioned elsewhere, Low Sunday was once the day that the neophytes took off their white robes and resumed their lives in the daily world, and it was also the traditional time for children to receive Holy Communion. Other days of the Octave, however, also had distinctive customs of their own. Easter Monday was reserved as a special day for rest and relaxation. Its most distinctive feature is the Emmaus walk, a leisurely constitution inspired by the Gospel of the day (Luke 24.13-35). This can take the form of a stroll through field or forest or, as in French Canada, a visit to one's grandparents. Games of mischief dating to pre-Christian times also take place on Easter Monday and Tuesday. Chief among them are drenching customs, where boys surprise girls with buckets of water, and vice versa, or switching customs, where switches are gently used on each other. Easter Thursday in Slavic countries, on the other hand, was reserved for remembering departed loved ones. Mass that day would be offered for the deceased of the parish. Finally, Easter Friday was a favorite day for pilgrimages in many parts of Europe. Large groups would take rather long processions to a shrine or church, where Mass would be offered.

Priesthood[3]

In the bible a priest is a father—and even more of a father than our own earthly father. In the Old Testament the history of the priesthood had two periods: the patriarchal and the Levitical. The patriarchal was based on the family order that place authority down from father to first born son in the form of a “blessing” and the leadership of the building of altars and for the presenting of sacrifice for the family. Fathers are empowered as priests by nature. Fatherhood is the original basis of priesthood. The firstborn is the father’s heir apparent, the one groomed to succeed one day to paternal authority and priesthood within the family. Imagine the blow to the Egyptian with the last plague which killed the firstborn. The pattern continued into the Exodus. There God declared to Moses, “Israel is my firstborn son”—that is, among the many peoples of the earth, Israel was God’s heir and his priest. God in His mercy made all heirs through Christ and with Christ came a restoration of the natural priesthood of fathers and the establishment of a fatherly order of New Covenant Priests. To Christ, we are “the children God has given me”, the “Many sons”, “his bretheren”, the new “seed of Abraham” who together form God’s “family/household” which Jesus builds and rules as a son. As all Christians are identified with Christ, the Church becomes the “assembly of the firstborn.” (Heb. 2, 3, 12) In the truest sense priests are so much more than managers, they are fathers. True fatherhood involves the communication of life. Natural fathers communicate human life but in the sacraments of baptism and Eucharist, a priest communicates divine life and the divine humanity of Jesus Christ. Every Priest therefore requires our respect in spite of their weaknesses or sins and we should pray for them. This is why our Holy Father asks us to pray for him.

April fool’s Day

April Fools' Day is a light-hearted comedic day of cheer, practical jokes and hoaxes.  April Fools' Day has been observed for centuries although its origins remain unclear.  It has been suggested that in ancient Roman and Hindu cultures, the day originally marked ‘New Year’s Day’.  Although in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII issued the Gregorian calendar which moved New Year’s Day from April 1st to January 1st.  It is believed that those who continued to celebrate New Year’s Day on April 1st were referred to as fools, leading to the concept of April 1st representing All Fools’ Day.  It has also been suggested that April Fools' Day is related to the vernal equinox, the beginning of spring, when Mother Nature plays sudden weather tricks on people. The custom of April Fools' was brought from Britain to the US centuries ago. Both kids and adults in North America and many European countries including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Poland, Finland, Iceland, and North American countries have developed traditional customs to celebrate the day.  These typically include fooling another person and yelling April fools.


April Fool's Day Facts & Quotes

·         Traditionally, pranksters shout April Fool as they reveal the joke.  In the United Kingdom, jokes can only be played until midday.  If someone plays a joke after midday, then they are the April Fool.  In Ireland, tradition was to deliver an important letter to a person, who would then deliver the letter to another person, and so on.  Once finally opened, the letter would say send the fool further.
·         Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Chinese Proverb.

April Fool's Day Top Events and Things to Do

·         Stay on guard!  You will surely be the victim of a prank during April Fools' Day, so be extra-careful of pranksters looming around you.
·         With social media, you can use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to dupe your friends and family.  Celebrities too have been fooled on April Fools Day as fake news about marriage, death or other significant events is propelled on social media by fans.
·         One of the best ways to fool someone on April Fools' Day is to call them first thing in the morning.  This way, they are less likely to realize that it is April Fools' Day.  Our top 3 phone call pranks:
1) Breaking news - create a fictional breaking news item about politics, celebrities, events in your city, etc.
2) You're late for work - tell your friend that the time is 11AM and they aren't at work or school yet.
3) Escaped monkey - a monkey from the local zoo is wandering in the backyard.  You just saw a news clip of the monkey on the local news
·         Watch a hidden-camera or practical joke TV show.  Our top 3 picks:
1) Punk’d
2) Just for Laughs: Gags
3) Impractical Jokers

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Manhood of the Master-Day 1 week 10
·         Divine Mercy Novena/Hike Day 3
·         Please pray for me and this ministry



[1] Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
[3] Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 21. Priesthood.

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