JUNE – A month with St Paul the Apostle

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe historic records bearing on St. Paul are fuller than those for any Scriptural saint. We have Paul’s own wonderful writings, the fourteen letters included in the New Testament, which outline his missionary journeys, exhort and admonish the various Christian congregations, discuss ethics and doctrinal matters; and in the midst of all this we get a revelation of the man himself, his inner character, his problems and fears.

St. Luke’s Acts of the Apostles and certain apocryphal books are other sources of our knowledge of St. Paul. Of all the founders of the Church, Paul was perhaps the most brilliant and many-sided, the broadest in outlook, and therefore the best endowed to carry Christianity to alien lands and peoples.

Born into a well-to-do Jewish family of Tarsus, the son of a Roman citizen, Saul (as we shall call him until after his conversion) was sent to Jerusalem to be trained in the famous rabbinical school headed by Gamaliel. Here, in addition to studying the Law and the Prophets, he learned a trade, as was the custom. Young Saul chose the trade of tent-making. The Judaic, Roman, and Greek traditions and cultures all had a part in shaping this great Apostle, who was so different in status and temperament from the humble fishermen of Jesus’ initial band of disciples. His missionary journeys were to give him the flexibility and the deep sympathy that made him the ideal human instrument for preaching Christ’s Gospel of universality.

Prayer to St Paul the Apostle
Holy Apostle who, with your teachings and with your charity, have taught the entire world, look kindly upon us, your children and disciples.
We expect everything from your prayers to the Divine Master and to Mary, Queen of the Apostles. Grant, Doctor of the Gentiles, that we may live by faith, save ourselves by hope, and that charity alone reign in us. Obtain for us, vessel of election, docile correspondence to divine grace, so that it may not remain unfruitful in us.
Grant that we may ever better know you, love you, and imitate you; that we may be living members of the Church, the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. Raise up many and holy apostles. May the warm breath of true charity permeate the entire world. Grant that all may know and glorify God and the Divine Master, Way and Truth and Life.And, Lord Jesus, you know we have no faith in our own powers. In your mercy grant that we may be defended against all adversity, through the powerful intercession of St. Paul, our Teacher and Father. Amen

FEASTS OF ST PAUL
The Pauline Family celebrates the Conversion of St Paul on January 25, the Solemnity of SS Peter and Paul on June 29 and the Solemnity of St Paul on June 30 (specially approved for the Pauline Family).

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Divine Mercy Sunday

Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated on the Sunday after Easter, the Octave Easter,  This year it falls on Sunday April 23rd, 2017

Divine Mercy

Divine Mercy Portrait

“I want the image solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter, and I want it to be venerated publicly so that every soul may know about it” (Diary 341). These were the words of Jesus to Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska of the Blessed Sacrament, who received the visions and visitations from Our Lord Jesus himself. The devotion to  Divine Mercy was revealed during her encounters with Jesus and for all those who practice it, especially on the Divine Mercy Sunday, there are special promises from Jesus and indulgences granted by the Church. The Divine Mercy portrait is a depiction of Jesus based on the devotion initiated by Saint Maria Faustina.

“I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish,” Jesus told Faustina, according to her diary, which has been studied and authenticated by the Church over several decades. “I also promise victory over enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I myself will defend it as My own glory” (Diary of Faustina, 48). In the painting Jesus is shown raising his right hand in blessing, and pointing with his left hand on his chest from which flow forth two rays: one red and one white.   They have symbolic meaning: red for the blood of Jesus (which is the Life of Souls), and white for the water (which justify souls) (from Diary – 299). The depictions often contains the message “Jesus, I trust in You!” The whole image is symbolic of charity, forgiveness and love of God, referred to as the “Fountain of Mercy”. 

May we continue to experience the merciful love of Jesus in our daily lives and in our world today.

 

CHRIST IS RISEN, ALLELUIA!

Christ is risen graphicJesus Christ our Lord is truly risen from the dead, Alleluia!
We are an Easter people, privileged to celebrate the gift of Christ’s victory over death at Easter.
The Easter celebration is that of the great mystery of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. It is celebrated on Sunday (on a movable date, unlike Christmas that is fixed for 25 December).
It crowns our celebration of the Holy Week, is the end of Lent, the last day of the Easter Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday), and is the beginning of the Easter season of the liturgical year which lasts for seven weeks.
Let us continue to give thanks to the Father for raising Jesus from the dead and for giving us hope that death is not the end. There is eternal life for all who believe in Christ.
Jesus Christ is risen, he is our Lord and God, alleluia!

Easter Triduum

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bread and wine

The Easter Triduum, the three solemn days – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil (Holy Saturday night), is the celebration of the Christian Passover.  As with all the great feasts of the Church, the celebration begins at dusk on Holy Thursday with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. On Good Friday, the first full day of the Triduum, we gather to remember the Lord’s Passion and Death. Saturday is a day of quiet reflection on the Entombment of Christ as we wait, like the disciples, for news of the resurrection. And finally, on Saturday night we gather in vigil to hear the great news that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer, is not dead, but is risen from the grave. The Triduum liturgy ends with Evening Prayer on Easter day.

crucifix

Christ Crucified on the Cross

The Triduum is at the heart and soul of our Christian faith, commemorating the triumph of God’s love over darkness and death. It’s the fullest ritual expression of what it means to be a Christian (Dan Schutte). It is the journey of faith that truly shows us that death is not the end. As we embrace our crosses and go through suffering in our various situations in life, Christ’s resurrection is and will always be our victory.

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Paschal Candle

HOLY WEEK

Holy Week symbols

Holy Week Symbols – palm, basin and towel, crown and crosses

HOLY WEEK in the Catholic Church is the most important week of the year. In it we celebrate the paschal mystery – the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the week leading us to the solemn celebration of Christ’s victory over death at Easter. It is a time of immense recollection, reflection and prayer.

The Easter Triduum begins on Holy Thursday and concludes with the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night.

We are encouraged to take at heart once again our Lenten resolutions during Holy Week and make the effort to live them out concretely (in case we have failed to do so during the past five weeks of Lent). Reconciliation with oneself, with God and neighbour (through the Sacrament of Reconciliation), fasting and almsgiving are to continue during Holy Week and the fruits of these holy practices will lead us to the Easter joy.

 

 

 

Lent – a time of Grace and Reconciliation

Sacrament of Reconciliation

compiled by Sr Sarah Akombo, fsp

ReconciliationLitArtThe celebration of the sacrament of Reconciliation brings about healing in the penitents and enables them to live a life of holiness, by being moulded more into the image of Christ as they listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. This Sacrament gives us energy and strength in our life-long journey of conversion both at individual and family levels. The call to conversion, which is renewed for us in many ways, is also directed towards joining in the eternal banquet with all the saints. Through conversion, we keep alive the light of faith that we have received in baptism in order to enter the wedding feast wearing the baptismal garment.

The Sacraments of healing (Reconciliation and Anointing of the sick) play a very important part in the life of the Christian community and yet they are not fully understood. The sacrament of reconciliation is the story of a God who never turns away from us, not even when we fail to live in communion with him. God’s mercy, compassion and love are always greater and stronger than our selfishness and egoism. In fact, God reaches out to us in our sinful situation and brings healing into our life. Like the father in the parable of the prodigal son, God waits, watches, and hopes for our return every time we choose to turn away from him and live our life according to our self-centered plans. Like the son in the parable, we are called to recognize our sinfulness, especially during this Lenten season, which is very important penitential time which, if it is properly celebrated, can truly renew the Christian community in its baptismal calling. The penitential dimension of lent, in fact, must be seen within the wider context of the preparation of catechumens for the sacraments of initiation and the desire of the church to renew in the baptismal promises.

To return to our father, and welcome God’s love in our broken life (cf. Lk 15: 14-32). Then we will be able to celebrate the joy of forgiveness, the joy of being saved and restored toRonzani our baptismal identity as beloved sons and daughters of the father, brothers and sisters of Christ, anointed and consecrated by the Holy Spirit to be members of the ecclesial Body of the Lord. God’s unconditional offer of forgiveness is at the basis of this sacrament. The risen Lord, through the church, continues to speak to us of his forgiveness and of our beautiful and challenging calling to conversion and holiness. Our daily experience of sin leads us to know the power of God’s grace, the mercy that is bestowed on us as well as the joy of being once again reconciled and renewed. Then, together with the whole church, we can sing the great Alleluia at Easter.