Father Andy Nyga

From the Parish of St Dominics

From the Parish of St Dominics

Liturgical Season reverts to Ordinary Time

Liturgical Season reverts to Ordinary Time

Following the celebration of Pentecost last Sunday, we revert to the liturgical season of Ordinary Time. However for the next two Sundays, we celebrate two special solemnities: Trinity Sunday and Corpus Christi. Today, on the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, as it is officially called, we accept and honour God the Father, God the Son and

the Holy Spirit, Three Persons, One God.

The existence of the Trinity is one of the most fundamental dogmas of the Catholic Church, one we must accept even though we do not understand it. Although many metaphors are used to explain it, it is a mystery beyond the understanding of mortal minds. As such it is a very controversial matter, which Catholics are called upon very often to defend. In fact, it was one of the first major controversies that led the Catholic Church to state its position on the Trinity. In the fourth century, one by the name of Arius in the diocese of Alexandria, questioned the co-existence of God the Father and the Spirit and a great schism developed in the church known as Arianism.

In AD 325, Emperor Constantine, who himself was relatively new to Christianity convened the Council of Bishops in Nicaea to deal with this heresy. It was at this council, that the beginnings of the Nicene Creed, were developed. Later

on more additions were made to this Creed resulting in the version now used at masses today. The Creed is the absolute profession of faith by every Catholic person. It is structured on belief in the Holy Trinity and the importance and role of each of these three persons in One God: the creation of the world by God the Father, the redemption of mankind from sin by the Son and the sanctification and strengthening by The Holy Spirit. Belief in the Trinity is so fundamental that at Baptism which is the entry rite to the church, the person being baptised or god-parent (if it is a child) are asked to respond as to whether they believed in God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The Church also uses the Apostles’ Creed, which it is believed, was composed by the Apostles, shorter than the Nicene Creed and also a profession of faith. In the early days of the Church, there were a few isolated observances of the Trinity but no official observance was proclaimed until 1334, when Pope John XX11 established the feast day and prayers in honour and praise of the Trinity, were incorporated in the liturgy and the Divine Office.

We may not be conscious of this but we begin all our prayers, including Holy Mass, by calling on the three persons in one God when we say: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen and conclude most of the time, in the same way by saying: Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, Amen.

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Happy Birthday Catholic Church

Happy Birthday Catholic Church

Fifty days ago, we celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (the first glorious mystery), ten days ago His Ascension into Heaven (second glorious mystery) and today, as He promised, we commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles, Pentecost (third glorious mystery). The mission of Jesus Christ on earth is over and the season of Easter comes to an end but the existence of the Church in our human world is just beginning. As a matter of fact, Pentecost is often called the birthday of the Church. We may recall the last words of encouragement and guidance, Jesus left with His disciples before His departure from earth: My peace I give to you, love one another, do not be afraid, the Holy Spirit will teach you everything. Why did Jesus say and promise all these things? He knew His apostles and disciples would be confused and frightened...and they were. They were very simple folk, fishermen mainly, being left alone to build and sustain a Church, the Divine Will, without leadership and guidance. They spent nine days together huddled in prayer when the promise was fulfilled and the Holy Spirit descended on them and gave them powers and attributes that left they themselves and onlookers astounded. Pentecost was also a feast celebrated by the Jews and there were many people from different places who were gathered in Jerusalem for this occasion. They were witnesses to the coming of the Spirit and the ability of the disciples to speak in all different languages (the first reading today describes the manner in which the Holy Spirit descended). Many of those celebrating the Jewish Pentecost, about three thousand, believed and were baptised and the Church was created.

Pentecost is sometimes called Whit Sunday and in older times known as White Sunday because of the white robes worn by those who were baptised on the vigil of Pentecost. THE HOLY SPIRIT IN OUR LIVES As Catholics, we receive the gifts that enable us to deliver the fruits of the Holy Spirit through the Sacrament of Confirmation. Today some of our young Catholics will receive this sacrament. Having received this sacrament, we begin a new phase in our life as a Catholic as we become soldiers of Jesus Christ; we are strengthened, enlightened, entrusted

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Solemnity of the Ascension

Solemnity of the Ascension

Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord. Other parts of the world would have observed the occasion last Thursday, forty days after the resurrection, where most likely it would have been a Holy Day of Obligation. In certain parts of the western world in particular, where Ascension Thursday was not a Holy Day of Obligation, the celebration was transferred to the seventh Sunday of Easter to give more prominence to the

day which is a very important one. It commemorates the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth and the return to His Father. The theological meaning and significance of the Ascension is best explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Christ’s Ascension marks the definitive entrance of Jesus’ humanity into God’s heavenly domain whence He will come again. Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church precedes us into the Father’s glorious kingdom so that we, the members of His Body may live in the hope of one day being with him forever. Jesus Christ, having entered the sanctuary of heaven, intercedes constantly for us as the mediator who assures us of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

In His parting words to His disciples (and us Catholics) Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit “who will teach us everything”.

The descent of the Holy Spirit, (Pentecost) will be celebrated next Sunday, fifty days after Ascension Thursday. What did the apostles and disciples do between the Ascension and Pentecost? They went back from the Mount of Olives (from which Jesus ascended) to Jerusalem to the place where they were staying and together with Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the other women prayed together for nine days before the Holy Spirit appeared. (biblical reference; Acts of the Apostles, Ch.1;14) It is believed that this was the first

novena ever prayed. It is still customary in the modern day church to say a novena to the Holy Spirit, commencing on Friday after the Ascension and ending on the Saturday before Pentecost Sunday, during which we ask to receive the seven gifts and the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit.

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Peace be with you

Peace be with you

The season of Easter is coming to an end as next Sunday we celebrate the Ascension of Our Lord and the following Sunday, Pentecost. Although the theme of the readings are still following that of the previous Sundays of Easter, we hear today about the coming of the Holy Spirit and Jesus outlines for His disciples and for us, the role and relationship of the Spirit in the Church when He goes back to the Father. In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we learn that the early church has held its first Council, the Council of Jerusalem. How and why did this come about? As the disciples started to preach and spread the good news, they gained many converts and now had as their followers both Jewish Christians and non-Jewish Christians/Gentiles. There was great dissent and confusion between these two sets of followers as the Jewish Christians believed that the Gentile Christians should also obey the law of Moses as they did, especially with regard to the rite of circumcision. The apostles and other elders of the church met in Jerusalem and sent back word to the Gentile Christians, that guided by the Holy Spirit, they have decided not to saddle you with any burden beyond these essentials.....it was in a situation of compromise that the Gentile Christians were asked to accept some of the customs of the Jews: abstaining from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from fornication. So it still is today with our church in the 21st century. We often hear the pleading and requests from our Holy Father and others for religious tolerance and respect for cultural traditions and customs which can be incorporated in our own liturgy as long as they are not in conflict with ‘the essentials” e.g. the celebration of mass in the native language of a country. In the second reading, John treats us to another radiant view of the New Jerusalem, the Holy city. Last Sunday he described it as” a beautiful bride all dressed for her husband and today he describes it as “some precious jewel of crystal-clear diamond.” We believe this to be a description of the Church, open and all-embracing with gates on all sides and built on twelve foundation stones, representing the twelve apostles chosen by Jesus to carry on with his mission. There is no temple as physical structures are not important since Jesus and His Father are the temple and provide the light which shines for us. In our earthly life as a pilgrim, we each can be a radiant city, providing light to others by holding steadfast in our faith and by example in deed and word. The gospel contains the final and parting words of Jesus to his disciples at the Last Supper. He knows they are afraid and uncertain as He is about to leave them but he leaves them with words of ENCOURAGEMENT AND HOPE: the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the father will send will teach you everything.

CONSOLATION: do not let your hearts be troubled

PEACE: peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you

How relevant these words still are, so many years after Jesus walked on earth. We often wish that our lives are always full of joys and triumphs and happiness but very often they are clouded by frustration, despair and hopelessness. At times like these, we should take comfort in these words spoken by Jesus to His disciples and found in today’s gospel.

THE POPE’S INTENTIONS FOR MAY 2016. UNIVERSAL: RESPECT FOR WOMEN

That in every country in the world, women may be honoured and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed

EVANGELICAL: HOLY ROSARY

That families, communities and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for

evangelisation and peace.

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Time capsule!!!

Time capsule!!!

This is the Year of Mercy!  This is the year in which we are called by Pope Francis to rediscover the corporal and spiritual works of Mercy.  What does that mean for you?  Which spiritual and/or corporal works of Mercy do you feel God is calling you to do?  Remember that when you hear and answer that call, abundant grace is also awaiting you!!!


As we continue this Jubilee Year of Mercy we are going to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday, 3rd April in a special way. 

We are going to have a time capsule!!!  Have you ever journaled a special event in your life and ten years later you find this old dusty piece of paper, you read it and realise how far you have come?  How, like fine wine, you have matured through the difficulties of life, with God’s abundant grace? 


It is with this in mind that we are establishing a time capsule.  For as with most prayers, we plant the seeds of faith and with years of hope and persistence we eventually see those seeds we planted years ago bear fruit. So we would like you to memorialize this Year of special grace. You can write a letter to yourself, your children, grandchildren or to your parents or if you have small tokens/keepsakes with special meaning and we will place them in the time capsule on Divine Mercy Sunday at a special Mass at 3pm, April 3. 


If you choose to write a letter, please ensure that it is properly addressed as the contents are kept confidential and returned to the owner or the person to whom you address the letter.  In addition, no valuables! 
Come, let us remember the 2016 Jubilee Year of Mercy and see how God works; His wonders always to perform!  Please deliver your letters to the office before April 1st.

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ST DOMINICS LENTEN RETREAT

ST DOMINICS LENTEN RETREAT

The Retreat can best be described as an in-depth soul-searching exercise on our personal relationship with God.


                In the first session of our retreat we were reminded that God is merciful and we should be aware of this.
While we live in a busy, noisy and confused world, we should make time for God and try to connect with Him even in the midst of our crowded agenda.
Spending time with God should not be a calendar item but rather, by our commitment, it should become habitual. There are simple and practical ways to achieve this e.g. by getting out of bed fifteen minutes earlier or if possible just taking a quiet walk alone and listen to God. We were advised that we should “slow your life down and just listen.”


Spending time with God is continuous and one hour of weekend mass may not be enough to show our love for our best friend and Saviour who suffered the indignity and humiliation of death on the cross to cancel our debt of original sin. This was the ultimate expression of God’s love for us, of His showing His mercy for us and assuring us that there is no sin so grave that will not be forgiven and that we have the gift of eternal life if only we can make time for God.
We each have received a special gift from God but even if we do not know what it is, if we would listen and not be distracted by disturbances of the world and temptation, as Jesus was, in the desert, we may find out what it is.We should always also selflessly care for our brothers and sisters in Christ.

                Session two dealt specifically with God’s unending mercy for us and that we should trust in His mercy. Even though we believe that Jesus died to save us, we seem to lack the courage to seek Him out when we need to. There are many instances in the Bible where Jesus talks about his mercy and tells us “do not be afraid.”
Why is it that we think ourselves unworthy to receive God’s mercy? Mercy is there for all who ask for it but we must not ask for it on our terms but leave it in the hands of God.
 In our daily lives, we too should be merciful and forgiving. In Luke Ch. 6 we are told “to be merciful just as the father is merciful...” We were reminded of the story in which the master forgave his servant his debt but the servant in turn did not forgive the one who was indebted to him.
We must “do unto others as we would have them do unto us.”
We were asked to look back at our lives and think of a situation when we received God’s mercy.
              

Session three was centred on the call to repentance. We should remember that Jesus Christ died for us; he is calling us to holiness and to live our lives in His glory. Quoting from the Cathechism of the Catholic Church, we were reminded of the call to conversion and the opportunity to say we are sorry when we have times of weakness. God, in his mercy will always give us another chance.
The call to conversion however is not only about ourselves but to have us thinking on how we can serve God and our neighbours. We can answer God’s call: “here I am Lord;” help someone less fortunate; become the servant of others and recite often the “Jesus Prayer”:
                Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner.”
The Retreat ended with a Healing Mass.
 
AN APPRECIATION
The retreat was conducted by Deacon Ray del Castilho, Barbadian born and now living in Canada. He is married to Barbara, a Canadian born and has two daughters. He was ordained a Deacon in 2004 after four years of training, and assigned to his home parish, serving hospitals, nursing homes and mentoring aspirants to the Diaconate.
Deacon Ray, it was a privilege to have you conduct the Lenten retreat at St. Dominic’s Parish this year. We have had four days of inspiration, soul searching and receiving guidance as to how to have a better personal relationship with God.
We trust that God, speaking to us, through you, may help us in our daily lives.

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