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Writing from ST. DOMINIC’S

What if I told you the Mass is Scriptural?

What if I told you the Mass is Scriptural?
To answer this question we must first look at the Old Covenant (Old Testament) as a foreshadowing of what was fulfilled in the New Covenant (New Testament) in Jesus.Our first glimpse of a priest is found when Abraham met Melchizedek, the King of Salem (Jerusalem) who was a priest of God of the highest heaven, who brought him bread and wine. (Gen. 1...
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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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