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MMXX
Infra Octavam Nativitatis

THE OLD ROMAN Vol. II Issue XVII W/C 27th December 2020

St John the Beloved

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A VERY BLESSED CHRISTMAS
& HAPPY NEW YEAR
A Pastoral Epistle
HE The Most Revd Jerome Lloyd OSJV
Titular Archbishop of Selsey
THE PRIMUS

Carissimi

Irrespective of any pandemic, the commemoration of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ is still a powerful force for hope in our world. The ramifications of that event some 2’000 years ago still touches the lives of millions of people around the world.

It’s quite possible that many of us this year will not be able to celebrate Christmas in the usual way. Restrictions and limitations on movement, travel, even company and a variety of other factors may preclude us from being able to keep Christmas as we might otherwise prefer. Yet one thing will remain the same, just as it always has throughout the centuries and despite the varying fortunes of humanity in any given age since the first Christmas; the incarnation of Jesus Christ will still become a present reality as well as a remembered history. How? By Christians manifesting in themselves, in their words, in their actions and in their lives, their Hope through His glory.

On Christmas Day the beginning of St John's Gospel is usually read and we hear the Word described as the light that illuminates every person [John 1:9]; that this light is God and was sent from God and is life-giving [John 1:4]. In order for this light to give eternal life however, it must be recognized [John 1:12], acknowledged [John 1:13] and accepted. "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" St John 1:14. There is nothing abstract about the Christian faith! Our God came to live among us, as one of us and desires us to become like Him!

The passage from St John's Gospel continues: "And we beheld His glory". In Hebrew the word for glory is kabôd and it refers to the weight or value of something. To contemplate the glory of God is to recognize His true worth. Sometimes we see the genuine glory i.e. worth of a person - not in moments of success or triumph - but in difficult and challenging moments in response to adversity. Later in the Gospel, we discover that this glory of God in Christ was manifested on the Cross and in the Resurrection. In the Nativity we see God’s glory already in the fact that He willingly chose these most humble of circumstances for our benefit.

This is real glory, the glory of the utter renunciation of oneself for others.

“God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27 These words of St Paul ought to resonate with every Christian today in these difficult and confusing times. “When I am in the world, I am the Light of the World.” John 9:5 We are to make known to the world the presence of Christ in us, through we who are called to bring “light to the world” and who must “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” [Matthew 5:14-16]

The fact that Jesus became flesh shows that our existence is not one that must be rescued from the flesh, but rather that through baptism our flesh itself has been redeemed. Our flesh has become through baptism the temple of the Holy Spirit, the place in which we have the potential to live the complete form of humanity that Jesus, in His incarnation became and revealed. Every baptized Christian has been made a new creation in Christ [c2 Corinthians 5:17] a child of God [John 1:13], whose identity is in Christ [Galations 2:20] and in whom the glory - kabôd - of God can be revealed.

Just as Christians throughout the pandemic through their acts of charity have been manifesting God’s glory in Christ by their faith. So too can the meaning of Christmas, the significance and hope of the Incarnation, continue to be made known through YOU! Emmanuel – God with US!

Oremus pro invicem!

May the Christ-child dwell in your hearts that you may shew forth His love to the world!

✠Jerome Seleisi
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THE LITURGY
ORDO w/c Sunday 27th December 2020
    OFFICE   N.B.
27.12 S St John, Apostle & Evangelist 
Com. Octave of the Nativity
Com. Octave of St Stephen
(W) Missa “In medio ecclesiae
dii 2a) Oct.Nat.
3a) Oct.Stephen
Gl.Cr.Pref.Nativity
Communicantes.Nat.
28.12 M Feast of the Holy Innocents
Com. Octave of the Nativity
Com. Octave of St Stephen
Com. Octave of St John
(V) Missa “Ex ore infantium”

 
dii 2a) Oct.Nat.
3a) Oct.Stephen
4a) Oct.StJohn
noGl.Tract.noAlleluia
Cr.Pref.Nativity
Communicantes.Nat.BD
29.12 T St Thomas of Canterbury BM
Com. Octave of the Nativity
Com. Octave of St Stephen
Com. Octave of St John
Com. Octave of H.Innocents
(R) Missa “Gaudeamus omnes” 
di 2a) Oct.Nat.
3a) Oct.Stephen
4a) Oct.StJohn
5a) Oct.H.Innocents
Gl.Cr.Pref.Nativity
Communicantes.Nat.
30.12 W Sixth Day in the Octave of the Nativity
Com. Octave of the Nativity
Com. Octave of St Stephen 
Com. Octave of St John
Com. Octave of H.Innocents
Com. Octave of St Thomas
(W) Missa “Dum medium”  (see notes)
sd 2a) Oct. Nativity
3a) Oct.St Stephen
4a) Oct.St John
5a) Oct.H,Innocents
6a) Oct.St Thomas
Gl.Cr.Pref.Nativity
Communicantes.Nat. 
31.12 T St Sylvester of Rome BC
Com. Octave of the Nativity
Com. Octave of St Stephen 
Com. Octave of St John
Com. Octave of H.Innocents
Com. Octave of St Thomas
(W) Missa “Sacerdotes tui”
d 2a) Oct. Nativity
3a) Oct.St Stephen
4a) Oct.St John
5a) Oct.H,Innocents
6a) Oct.St Thomas
Gl.Cr.Pref.Nativity
Communicantes.Nat. 
01.01 F THE CIRCUMCISION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
The Octave Day of the Nativity
(W) Missa “Puer natus”
dii
Gl. Cr. Pref. Nativity
Communicantes.Nat. 
26.12 S Octave Day of St Stephen
Com. Octave of St John
Com. Octave of H.Innocents
Com. Octave of St Thomas
(R) Missa “Sederunt”
sd

 
2a) Oct.St John
3a) Oct.H.Innocents
4a) Oct.St Thomas
Gl.Pref.Common
27.12 S Octave Day of St John 
Com. Octave of the Nativity
Com. Octave of St Stephen
(W) Missa “In medio ecclesiae” (see notes)
sd 2a) St John
3a) Oct.H.Innocents
4a) Oct.St Thomas
Gl.Pref.Apostles
Nota Bene
a) When the 30th of December does not fall on a Sunday, it is called “the Sixth Day within the Octave,” and the 3rd Mass of Christmas Day is repeated; excepting only the Epistle and Gospel, which are taken from the 2nd Mass.
b) The Feast of the Holy Name is celebrated traditionally on the second Sunday after Epiphany NOT on the Sunday following the Circumcision.

RITUAL NOTES
From Ceremonies of the Roman Rite described by Fr Adrian Fortesque
  • In the Octave of Christmas, each of the feasts following Christmas Day has an Octave which is commemorated at each subsequent Mass.
  • On the Feast of Holy Innocents the colour of the Mass is violet and penitential in character thus the Alleluia, Gloria etc is not said (the reverse i.e. red vestments and festive Propers are used on the Octave day).
  • No votive Requiems are permitted during the Christmas Octave inclusive; but obsequies if required are of course permitted.
KEY: A=Abbot A cunctis=of the Saints B=Bishop BD=Benedicamus Domino BVM=Blessed Virgin Mary C=Confessor Com=Commemoration Cr=Creed D=Doctor d=double d.i/ii=double of the 1st/2nd Class E=Evangelist F=Feria Gl=Gloria gr.d=greater-double (G)=Green H=Holy Heb.=Hedomadam (week) K=King M=Martyr mpal=missae pro aliquibus locis Mm=Martyrs Pent=Pentecost P=Priest PP/PostPent=Post Pentecost PLG=Proper Last Gospel Pref=Preface ProEccl=for the Church (R)=Red (Rc)=Rose-coloured s=simple s-d=semi-double Co=Companions V1=1st Vespers V=Virgin v=votive (V)=violet W=Widow (W)=white *Ob.=Obligation 2a=second oration 3a=third oration
THE LITURGICAL YEAR
by Abbot Gueranger

Within the Octave of Christmas
When the 30th of December does not fall on a Sunday, it is called “the Sixth Day within the Octave,” and the 3rd Mass of Christmas Day is repeated; excepting only the Epistle and Gospel, which are taken from the 2nd Mass.

This is the only day within the Christmas Octave which is not a Saint’s Feast. During the Octaves of the Epiphany, Easter, and Pentecost, the Church is so absorbed in the respective mysteries that she puts off everything that could share her attention; whereas during this of Christmas, there is only one day which does not celebrate the memory of some glorious Saint, and our Infant Jesus is surrounded by a choir of heroes who loved and served him. Thus, the Church—or, more correctly, God, for God is the first author of the Cycle of the Year—shows us how the Incarnate Word, who came to save mankind, desires to give mankind confidence by this his adorable familiarity.

We have already shown that the Birth of our Lord took place on a Sunday, the Day on which, in the beginning of the world, God created Light. We shall find, later on, that his Resurrection also was on a Sunday. This the first day of creation and the first day of the week was consecrated, by the old Pagans, to the Sun: with us Christians, it is most sacred and holy, on account of the two risings of our divine Sun of Justice—his Birth and his Resurrection. While the solemnity of Easter is always kept on a Sunday, that of Christmas falls, by turns, on each of the days of the week—we have already had this difference explained to us by the Holy Fathers: but the mystery of Jesus’ Birth is more aptly and strongly expressed when its anniversary falls on a Sunday. Other years, when the coincidence does not happen, the Faithful will at least be led by their Christian instincts to give especial honor to the Day within the Octave, which falls on the Sunday. The Church has honored it with a proper Mass and Office, and we of course insert them.

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SUNDAY MASS PROPERS

St John the Evangelist, Apostle; Within the Octave of the Nativity: Missa “In medio Ecclesiae”

Saint John, brother of Saint James the Greater, the Apostle of Spain, is the beloved disciple. He was privileged, with his brother and Saint Peter, to behold Our Lord raise up a dead child to life, then saw Him transfigured on the mountaintop; he alone reposed his head on His breast at the Last Supper. After the crucifixion it is he who, with Saint Peter, hastened to the empty tomb on the morning of the Resurrection. Standing beside Mary at the Cross, he had heard his Master confide that Blessed Mother to him to be henceforth his Mother also. He took his precious treasure for refuge to Ephesus when the persecution of the Jerusalem Christians became too intense; and from there he went out to evangelize Asia Minor, of which he became the first Archbishop. He was later exiled to the Island of Patmos, where he wrote the Apocalypse, but afterwards returned to Ephesus.

Compared with an eagle by his flights of elevated contemplation, Saint John is the supreme Doctor of the Divinity of Jesus of Nazareth. Endowed with an astounding memory, he was able even in his later years, to reproduce the discourses of Christ in such a way as to make the reader experience their power and impact on their audiences as if present to hear them. He is the author of five books of the New Testament, his Gospel, three Epistles, and the last canonical prophecy, the Apocalypse or Revelation of Saint John — all of which were composed after the ruin of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

In his extreme old age he continued to visit the churches of Asia, and Saint Jerome relates that when age and weakness grew upon him so that he was no longer able to preach to the people, he would be carried to the assembly of the faithful by his disciples, with great difficulty; and every time said to his flock only these words: “My dear children, love one another.”

Saint John died in peace at Ephesus in the third year of Trajan, that is, the hundredth of the Christian era, or the sixty-sixth from the crucifixion of Christ, Saint John then being about ninety-four years old, according to Saint Epiphanus.

The Feast of St. John is the only feast of an apostle now remaining in the Christmas cycle. The station is at St. Mary Major, dedicated to the Savior; this basilica seemed the most suitable place for the celebration of the Christmas station in honor of St. John to whom the Blessed Virgin had been entrusted, both on account of the Savior’s crib there preserved, and of the mosaics of Pope Sixtus III commemorating the Council of Ephesus, held near the tomb of the Evangelist. The Gradual Is drawn from that passage of St. John’s Gospel in which reference is made to the popular belief current in the first generation of Christians in Asia that the beloved disciple should not die before the parousia or last coming of Christ. The advanced age of the Apostle, on the other hand, seemed to lend credit to this opinion. So St. John, in the very last chapter of his Gospel, desired -as a sort of final postscript- to rectify this erroneous interpretation of the Savior’s words. “So I will have him to remain till I come, what is it to thee?” The words were uttered by Our Lord merely as an hypothesis. “So (if) I will”; but in the several oral versions of the episode the conditional and hypothetical particle “If” was easily passed over; hence St. John felt the necessity of explaining the misunderstanding and setting the matter right.

INTROIT Ecclesiasticus 15: 5

In the midst of the Church the Lord opened his mouth: and filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding: He clothed him with a robe of glory.. (Ps. 91: 2) It is good to give praise to the Lord: and to sing to Thy Name, O Most High. v. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Repeat In the midst of the Church…

COLLECT

Of Thy goodness, O Lord, shine upon Thy Church, that, enlightened by the teachings of blessed John, Thy Apostle and Evangelist, she may attain to everlasting gifts. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Commemoration of Christmas Collect:
Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that the new birth of Thine only-begotten Son in the flesh may set us free, who are held by the old bondage under the yoke of sin. Through the same Lord.

EPISTLE Ecclesiasticus 15: 1-6

Lesson from the Book of Wisdom. He that feareth God will do good: and he that possesseth justice shall lay hold on her, and she will meet him as an honorable mother. With the bread of life and understanding she shall feed him and give him the water of wholesome wisdom to drink: and she shall be made strong in him, and he shall not be moved: and she shall hold him fast, and he shall not be confounded: and she shall exalt him among his neighbors, and in the midst of the Church she shall open his mouth, and shall fill him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding, and shall clothe him with a robe of glory. The Lord our God shall heap upon him a treasure of joy and gladness, and shall cause him to inherit an everlasting name.

GRADUAL/ALLELUIA  John 21: 23, 19

This saying therefore went abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die. And Jesus did not say: He should not die. V. But: So I will have him to remain until I come: follow thou Me.

Alleluia, alleluia. V. (John 21: 24) This is that disciple who giveth testimony of these things: and we know that his testimony is true. Alleluia.

GOSPEL  John 21: 19-24

At that time Jesus said to Peter: Follow Me. Peter turning about saw that disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also leaned on His breast at supper and said: Lord, who is he that shall betray Thee? Him therefore when Peter had seen, he saith to Jesus: Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith to him: So I will have him to remain till I come, what is it to thee? Follow thou Me. This saying therefore went abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die. And Jesus did not say to him: He should not die; but: So I will have him to remain till I come: what is it to thee? This is that disciple who giveth testimony of these things, and hath written these things: and we know that he testimony is true.

OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 92: 15

The just shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall be multiplied like the cedar that is in Libanus.

SECRET

Receive, O Lord, the gifts we bring to Thee on the feast of him, by whose pleading we hope to be delivered. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.

Commemoration of the Nativity
Sanctify, O Lord, the gifts offered to Thee, by the new birth of Thine Only-begotten Son: and cleanse us from the stains of our sins. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R.Amen.

PREFACE of the Nativity

It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God, for through the Mystery of the Word made flesh, the new light of Thy glory hath shone upon the eyes of our mind, so that while we acknowledge God in visible form, we may through Him be drawn to the love things invisible. And therefore with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominations, and with all the hosts of the heavenly army, we sing the hymn of The glory, evermore saying:
HOLY, HOLY, HOLY…

COMMUNICANTES For the Nativity of Our Lord

Communicating, and keeping this most holy day, on which the spotless virginity of blessed Mary brought forth a Savior to this world; and also reverencing the memory first of the same glorious Mary, ever Virgin, Mother of the same our God and Lord Jesus Christ: as also of the blessed Apostles and Martyrs Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon, and Thaddeus; Linus, Cletus, Clement, Xystus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian, and of all Thy Saints, through whose merits and prayers, grant that we may in all things be defended by the help of Thy protection. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

COMMUNION ANTIPHON  John 21: 23

This saying therefore went abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die. And Jesus did not say: He should not die; but: So I will have him to remain until I come.

POSTCOMMUNION

We who have been refreshed by heavenly food and drink, humbly entreat Thee, O our God, that we may be strengthened also by the prayers of him, in whose commemoration we have received them. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.

Commemoration of the Nativity
Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that as the Savior of the world, born on this day, is the Author of our heavenly birth, so He may also be to us the Giver of immortality. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.


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How are Old Roman vocations to the Sacred Ministry discerned, formed and realised? If you are discerning a vocation to the Sacred Ministry and are considering exploring the possibility of realising your vocation as an Old Roman or transferring your discernment, this is the programme for you! 
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MEDITATIONS FOR EVERY DAY IN THE YEAR
BY BISHOP CHALLONER
Richard Challoner (1691–1781) was an English Roman Catholic bishop, a leading figure of English Catholicism during the greater part of the 18th century. The titular Bishop of Doberus, he is perhaps most famous for his revision of the Douay–Rheims translation of the Bible.

ON ST. JOHN THE APOSTLE AND EVANGELIST

Consider first, upon how many accounts we ought to honour St. John, the beloved disciple of the Son of God; and to glorify God in him, for the extraordinary gifts and graces bestowed upon him. He was called in his youth, whilst he was as yet innocent and pure, to follow our Lord Jesus; and he readily obeyed the call, and left both his parents and all things else for the sake of Christ. His zeal and fortitude in the cause of his master procured him the name of Boanerges, or a son of thunder. The purity of his soul and body made him a special favourite of his Lord; who therefore admitted him to lean upon his bosom at his last supper, and to draw from that sacred fountain of life the heavenly waters of grace and truth; and on the following day, when he was dying upon the cross, he recommended his virgin mother to his care, that she might be his mother, and he might be her son. O blessed saint, great favourite both of Jesus and Mary, introduce us also, by the interest thou hast now in heaven, into some share in their favour, by procuring for us, by thy prayers, the grace to imitate thy purity.

Consider 2ndly, to what a height St. John was raised by divine grace. He was made an apostle, and one of the chiefest of the apostles; even one of the three that were chosen by our Lord to be witness both of his glory on Mount Thabor, and of is anguish and agony on Mount Oliver. he was also an Evangelist or writer of the gospel, (which none of the other apostles were, except St. Matthew,) and amongst the four Evangelists is compared to the eagle, (which flies high, and looks upon the sun with a steadfast eye,) because of his sublime beginning, by taking his first flight up to the eternal Word, by whom all things were made; and his following throughout his whole gospel the same sublime course, with his eye still fixed on this great sun of justice, and the immense light of his divinity. St. John was also a martyr, by drinking of the chalice of his Lord, (as he had foretold him,) by a long course of sufferings; and by being at length sentenced to death by the tyrant Domitian, and cast into a vessel of boiling oil, from whence he was delivered by an evident miracle. In fine, he was a prophet, to whom our Lord revealed an infinity of heavenly secrets and mysteries relating to latter times, which we find recorded in his Apocalypse, written during his banishment in the isle of Patmos. See then, my soul how many titles this great saint has to our veneration. But remember, at the same time, that the veneration which will please him best, will be a love and imitation of his virtues.

Consider 3rdly, that the writings of St. John recommend nothing so much as charity and verity, love and truth, These they continually inculcate: charity, because God is charity; he is all love, he has died for love; 'Let us therefore love God,' saith he, 'because God first hath loved us.' 'But then this,' saith he, 'is the love of God, this is the Charity we owe him, to keep his commandments. and this commandment we have from God, (the favourite commandment indeed of the Son of God,) that we should love one another.' This love for one another all his epistles are full of; they all breathe this sweet odour; with this they join verity or truth; loving in truth, walking in truth, for the sake of truth, which abideth in us, and shall be with us for ever. And what is this truth, and the life? Such was always the doctrine of St. John: this he perpetually preached, both by word and writing: such was the spirit of this disciple of love.

Conclude to embrace, with all thy soul, this charity and verity, this love and truth so much recommended by St. John, or rather by the spirit of God, through him. Keep close to this charity and verity here, and it will abide with thee for ever hereafter, and will make thee happy for endless ages.

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24. On the birth of Christ
25. On Christmas day
26. On St. Stephen
27. On St. John the apostle and evangelist
28. On the Holy Innocents
29. On the gospel of the good shepherd, John x., read for St. Thomas of Canterbury
30. On the conclusion of the year
31. On the gospel of girding the loins, &c. Luke xii. 35, &c., read for St. Sylvester
A SERMON FOR SUNDAY
Revd Dr Robert Wilson PhD
St. John Apostle and Evangelist
This is that disciple who giveth testimony of these things and hath written these things: and we know that his testimony is true.
Today we celebrate the great feast of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist. It is especially appropriate that this feast falls within the Octave of Christmas for it is St. John’s Gospel that bears witness to the central message of Christmas, that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. But St. John’s Gospel is not simply a theological treatise. It claims specifically to rest on eyewitness testimony, and indeed in the closing words of the Gospel it is claimed that the Beloved Disciple himself wrote the Gospel. In making this claim it is unique among the Gospels. Neither St. Mark nor St. Luke professed to be an eyewitness of the ministry of Jesus. They based their accounts on traditions that had been handed on to them by those who were from the beginning eyewitnesses and ministers of the word. Though St. Matthew was an eyewitness, his Gospel does not make the same personal appeal to eyewitness testimony as St. John’s Gospel. St. John’s Gospel specifically claims to be the work of one who knew Jesus and was loved by him.

Who was the Beloved Disciple?  Christian tradition affirms him to be none other than John, son of Zebedee, brother of James and one who, alongside St. Peter, formed the inner core of Jesus’ disciples. St. Irenaeus claimed that St. John himself published his Gospel at Ephesus and that he was the last of the apostles to die, surviving to the reign of Trajan at the end of the first century. St. Irenaeus is a good source in this matter for in his youth he had been a disciple of St. Polycarp, and recalled how St. Polycarp could himself recall his own earlier discipleship of St. John. The internal evidence of the Gospel also supports St. Irenaeus’ testimony. Though the Beloved Disciple is never named he appears alongside St. Peter at the Last Supper (John 13), in the race to the tomb on the first Easter morning (John 20), and in Jesus’ resurrection appearance to the disciples by the Sea of Galilee (John 21). It is also probable that the unnamed disciple who followed Jesus’ alongside Peter and Andrew in the first chapter of the Gospel was St. John, and that he was also the disciple known to the high priest who was able to gain access alongside St. Peter at the time of Jesus’ trial before the Jewish authorities (John 18). Since the sons of Zebedee are otherwise unaccountably missing from the Gospel, (apart from being mentioned at the resurrection appearance by the sea of Galilee at the close of the Gospel), and the beloved disciple must have been a man of real authority in the Church, with a status not unlike St. Peter, it is reasonable to infer that he was St. John. It is also the case that in the earliest days of the Church in the Acts of the Apostles St. John appears alongside St. Peter in preaching the Gospel in Jerusalem and in Samaria. It is significant that St. John’s Gospel is especially focused on Jerusalem and also includes the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman.  St. John’s Gospel is especially written to show that Jesus is the fulfilment of the hopes of Israel and that the true Israelites are those who follow Jesus. St. Paul, in the Epistle to the Galatians, recalls that at the Apostolic Council in Jerusalem he had agreed with St. Peter, St. James and St. John that he would focus especially on mission to the Gentiles and they would focus especially on mission to the Jews. At some stage this missionary work must have led St. John to settle in Ephesus where he published his Gospel. Exactly when St. John settled in Ephesus and when the Gospel was written is unknown (most probably it was written in stages over an extended period of time), though we do know that St. John was the last of the Apostles to survive and he lived until the reign of Trajan at the end of the first century. 

It is often correctly observed that St. John’s Gospel provides the key that unlocks the significance of the other three theologically. What is less commonly recognised is the fact that it also provides the key that unlocks the significance of the other three historically as well. The other three Gospels tell of Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem with the prospect of certain death before him. Up until that point they speak only of a ministry in Galilee and yet they also show that Jesus already has friends and acquaintances in Jerusalem, a man who provided a donkey for the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the man with the pitcher of water who provided an Upper Room for the last supper, and Joseph of Arimathea, who provided a tomb for Jesus’ burial. They also recall how Jesus wept over Jerusalem as he made his final journey into Jerusalem. It would be strange if he wept over a city that he had not sought to win over.

St. John’s Gospel unlocks the key to this otherwise unaccountable mystery. It shows that Jesus undertook an extensive ministry in Jerusalem and Judea as well as in Galilee. It tells of how Jesus’ first disciples were previously disciples of St. John the Baptist and that Jesus, on gathering these first disciples ministered in Jerusalem, where he cleansed the temple as an act of prophetic symbolism in judgement upon the Jewish nation, and ministered in Judea alongside St. John the Baptist (John 1-3). All this took place before the imprisonment of St. John the Baptist by Herod Antipas. It was only after John’s imprisonment that Jesus began his Galilean ministry. He is only in Galilee at all because he faced opposition in Judea and Jerusalem. It was precisely because those first disciples had already been followers of St. John the Baptist and had followed Jesus in his first Judean ministry that they subsequently gave up all and followed him in Galilee when they were called to be fishers of men.

Though St. John largely omits most of Jesus’ ministry of seeking and saving the lost in Galilee (which is reported in the other Gospels) it provides the key to understanding the climax of the Galilean ministry at the Feeding of the Five Thousand when it recalls how the crowd, when they witnessed the miracle which recalled the giving of manna through Moses in the wilderness, sought to make him king by force (John 6). Jesus therefore had to educate his disciples on the true nature of his ministry as one who was the Suffering Servant of Isaiah who would give his own life for the life of the world. Many of his disciples found this a hard saying and ceased to follow him, but Jesus’ inner circle remained faithful and from that time on in all the gospels it is intimated that he must go to Jerusalem where he will face certain death.

It is here that St. John again provides more detailed information, for he not only recalls the last week in Jerusalem but also a final ministry in Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles and at the Feast of Dedication, as well as ministry in the country beyond the Jordan where John had first baptised (John 7-10). It is after the furore provoked by the raising of Lazarus that a meeting of the Sanhedrin takes place during which the high priest Caiaphas utters the fateful words that it is expedient that one should die for the people lest the whole nation perish, and the Sanhedrin resolve to put Jesus to death (John 11). This crucial event (which is reported only in St. John) provides the key to understanding the whole subsequent passion narrative and the collaboration between the Jewish and Roman authorities. It shows that the decision by the Jewish authorities to hand Jesus over to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate and to put him to death had been made in advance. It was only the carrying out of the plan (assisted by the unexpected windfall of Judas’ offer) that needed to be done.

Thus, St. John is not only the most theological of the Gospels, it is also (as the work of an eyewitness) in many ways the most historically valuable in terms of the detailed precision which it shows in describing the topography of Palestine and the chronological sequence of the events of Jesus’ life. In affirming this we can join with the testimony of those who in St. John’s presence affirmed that we know that his witness is true. It is in truth the witness of one who beheld his glory in the days of his earthly life.

Do thou, O Lord, in thy goodness shine upon thy Church: that being enlightened by the doctrine of blessed John thine Apostle and Evangelist, she may attain to everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who livest and reignest with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
 
THIS WEEK'S FEASTS
& COMMEMORATIONS
Saint John
December 27 Apostle, Evangelist, and Prophet
(† 103)

Saint John, brother of Saint James the Greater, the Apostle of Spain, is the beloved disciple. He was privileged, with his brother and Saint Peter, to behold the Saviour raise up a dead child to life, then saw Him transfigured on the mountaintop; he alone reposed his head on His breast at the Last Supper. After the crucifixion it is he who, with Saint Peter, hastened to the empty tomb on the morning of the Resurrection. Standing beside Mary at the Cross, he had heard his Master confide that Blessed Mother to him to be henceforth his Mother also. He took his precious treasure for refuge to Ephesus when the persecution of the Jerusalem Christians became too intense; and from there he went out to evangelize Asia Minor, of which he became the first Archbishop. He was later exiled to the Island of Patmos, where he wrote the Apocalypse, but afterwards returned to Ephesus.

Compared with an eagle by his flights of elevated contemplation, Saint John is the supreme Doctor of the Divinity of Jesus of Nazareth. Endowed with an astounding memory, he was able even in his later years, to reproduce the discourses of Christ in such a way as to make the reader experience their power and impact on their audiences as if present to hear them. He is the author of five books of the New Testament, his Gospel, three Epistles, and the last canonical prophecy, the Apocalypse or Revelation of Saint John — all of which were composed after the ruin of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

In his extreme old age he continued to visit the churches of Asia, and Saint Jerome relates that when age and weakness grew upon him so that he was no longer able to preach to the people, he would be carried to the assembly of the faithful by his disciples, with great difficulty; and every time said to his flock only these words: My dear children, love one another.

Saint John died in peace at Ephesus in the third year of Trajan, that is, the hundredth of the Christian era, or the sixty-sixth from the crucifixion of Christ, Saint John then being about ninety-four years old, according to Saint Epiphanus.

Reflection: Saint John is a living proof of Our Lord's beatitude: Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)

The New Testament: Acts of the Apostles; Heavenly Friends, by Rosalie M. Levy (St. Paul: Boston, 1958).

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The Holy Innocents
December 28 Martyrs at the time of the Nativity of Our Lord
(†1 A.D.)

The wily king Herod, who was reigning in Judea at the time of the birth of Our Saviour, learned from three Wise Men from the East that they had come to Jerusalem, advised by a star in the heavens, in search of the newborn King of the Jews. Herod's superstitious fear of losing his throne was awakened, and he grew troubled. He called together the chief priests, questioned them, and learned from them that the awaited Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David. He said to the strangers: When you have found Him, bring me word, that I too may go and adore Him.

The star which had guided the Magi re-appeared over Bethlehem, and they found the Infant and adored Him, and offered Him their royal gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, recognizing by these His perfect Divinity, His royalty, and His prophesied sufferings. God warned them in a dream afterwards not to go back to Herod, and they returned to their lands, rejoicing, by a different route. Saint Joseph, too, was warned during his sleep by an Angel to take the Child and His Mother and flee into Egypt, for Herod will seek the life of the Infant.

When Herod realized that the Wise Men would not return, he was furious, and in his rage ordered that every male child in Bethlehem and its vicinity, of the age of two years or less, be slain. These innocent victims were the flowers and first-fruits of the Saviour's legions of martyrs; they triumphed over the world without having ever known it or experienced its dangers.

Reflection: That the Holy Innocents may be invoked to be preserved from illusion is the Church's belief. Herod's illusion of threat from the newborn King cost their lives... How few, perhaps, of these innocent little ones, if they had lived, would have escaped the dangers of the world! From what snares, what sins, what miseries were they preserved! Surely they rejoice now in their fate. We often lament, as misfortunes, many accidents which in the designs of Heaven are the greatest mercies.

The New Testament: Acts of the Apostles; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler's Lives of the Saints and other sources, by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).

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Saint Thomas Becket
December 29 Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr
(1117-1170)

Saint Thomas, son of an English nobleman, Gilbert Becket, was born on the day consecrated to the memory of Saint Thomas the Apostle, December 21, 1117, in Southwark, England. He was endowed by both nature and grace with gifts recommending him to his fellow men; and his father, certain he would one day be a great servant of Christ, confided his education to a monastery. His first employment was in the government of the London police. There he was obliged to learn the various rights of the Church and of the secular arm, but already he saw so many injustices imposed upon the clergy that he preferred to leave that employment rather than to participate in iniquity. He was perfectly chaste and truthful, and no snares could cause to waver his hatred for any form of covert action.

He was employed then by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who sent him on missions to Rome and permitted him to study civil law at the University of Bologna (Italy) for an entire year. After a few years, witnessing his perfect service, he made him his Archdeacon and endowed him with several benefices. The young cleric's virtue and force soon recommended him also to the king, who made of him his Lord Chancellor. In that high office, while inflexible in the rendition of justice, he was generous and solicitous for the relief of misery. He was severe towards himself, spending the better part of every night in prayer. He often employed a discipline, to be less subject to the revolts of the flesh against the spirit. In a war with France he won the respect of his enemies, including that of the young king Louis VII. To Saint Thomas, his own sovereign, Henry II, confided the education of the crown prince. Of the formation of the future king and the young lords who composed his suite, the Chancellor took extreme care, knowing well that the strength of a State depends largely on the early impressions received by the elite of its youth.

When Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury died, the king insisted on the consecration of Saint Thomas in his stead. Saint Thomas at first declined, warning the king that from that hour their friendship would be threatened by his own obligations to uphold the rights of the Church against infringement by the sovereign, whose tendencies were not different from those of his predecessors. In the end he was obliged by obedience to yield. The inevitable conflict was not long in coming. Saint Thomas resisted when the king's courtiers drew up a list of royal customs at Clarendon, where the parliament of the king was assembled, and Henry obliged all the bishops as well as the lords to sign a promise to uphold these without permitting any restrictions whatsoever. Many of these pretended customs violated the liberties of the Church, and some were even invented for the occasion. Saint Thomas, obliged in conscience to resist, was soon the object of persecution, not only from the irritated king but by all who had sworn loyalty to his nefarious doings.

Saint Thomas took refuge in France under the protection of the generous Louis VII, who resisted successfully the repeated efforts of Henry to turn away his favor from the Archbishop. The Pope at that time was in France, and he, too, was besieged by Henry's emissaries, but knew well how to pacify minds and protect the defender of the Church. Thomas retired to a Benedictine monastery for two years, and when Henry wrote a threatening letter to its abbot, moved to another. After six years, his office restored as the Pope's apostolic legate, a title which Henry had wrested from him for a time, he returned to England, to preach again and enforce order in his see. He knew well that it was to martyrdom that he was destined; it is related that the Mother of God appeared to him in France to foretell it to him, and that She presented him for that intention with a red chasuble. By this time the persecuted Archbishop's case was known to all of Christian Europe, which sympathized with him and elicited from king Henry an appearance of conciliation.

A few words which the capricious Henry spoke to certain courtiers who hated Thomas, sufficed for the latter to decide to do away with the prelate who contravened all their unchristian doings. They violated a monastic cloister and chapel to enter there while he was assisting at Vespers; the Saint himself prevented the monks from resisting the assassins at the door. Refusing to flee the church as the assassins summoned him to do, he was slain before the altar, by cruel and murderous repeated blows on the head. He died, saying: I die willingly, for the name of Jesus and for the defense of the Church.

The actions of the Pope in this conflict make clear what all of history teaches: the lives of the Church's Saints themselves comprise the history of the world. The humility of Thomas had prompted him, after a moment of weakness he had manifested in a difficult situation, to judge himself unfit for his office and offer his resignation as Archbishop. The Pope did not hesitate a moment in refusing his resignation. He judged with apostolic wisdom that if Thomas should be deprived of his rank for having opposed the unjust pretensions of the English royalty, no bishop would ever dare oppose the impingements of iniquity on the Church's rights, and the Spouse of Christ would be no longer sustained by marble columns, but by reeds bending in the wind.

The martyred Archbishop was canonized by Pope Alexander III on Ash Wednesday, 1173, not yet three years after his death on December 29, 1170, to the edification of the entire Church.

Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 14

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St Thomas a Becket (Feast 29-Dec) ~ Michael Davies
Saint Sabinus & his Companions
December 30 Bishop of Spoleto and his Companions Martyrs
(† 303)
When the cruel edicts of Diocletian and Maximin Hercules were published against the Christians in the year 303, it required more than ordinary force in the bishops and clergy, to encourage the people to undergo martyrdom rather than apostatize. All were forbidden even to draw water or grind wheat, if they would not first incense idols placed for that purpose in the markets and on street corners.

Saint Sabinus, Bishop of Spoleto, with Marcellus and Exuperantius, his deacons, and several other members of his clergy who were worthy of their sacred mandate, were apprehended in Assisi for revolt and thrown into prison by Venustianus, Governor of Etruria and Umbria. He summoned them before him a few days later and required that they adore his idol of Jupiter, richly adorned with gold. The holy bishop took up the idol and threw it down, breaking it in pieces. The prefect, furious, had his hands cut off and his deacons tortured on the rack and burnt with torches until they expired.

Saint Sabinus was put back into prison for a time. He was aided there by a Christian widow of rank, who brought her blind nephew to him there to be cured. Fifteen prisoners who witnessed this splendid miracle were converted to the Faith. The prefect left the bishop in peace for a month, because he himself was suffering from a painful eye ailment. He heard of the miracle and came to the bishop in prison with his wife and two sons, to ask him for help in his affliction. Saint Sabinus answered that if Venustianus would believe in Jesus Christ and be baptized with his wife and children, he would obtain that grace for him. The officer consented, they were baptized, and he threw into the river the pieces of his broken statue. Soon all the new converts gave their lives for having confessed the Gospel, sentenced by Lucius, whom Maximus Hercules sent to Spoleto after hearing of their decision, to judge and condemn them.

As for Saint Sabinus, he was beaten so cruelly that on December 7, 303, he expired under the blows. The charitable widow, Serena, after seeing to his honorable burial near the city, was also crowned with martyrdom. A basilica was later built at the site of the bishop's tomb, and a number of monasteries in Italy were consecrated under his illustrious name.

Reflection: How powerfully do the martyrs cry out to us by their example, exhorting us to detach from a false and wicked world!

Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 14

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Saint Sylvester
December 31 Pope and Confessor
(280-335)

Saint Sylvester was born in Rome. When he reached the age to dispose of his fortune, he took pleasure in giving hospitality to Christians passing through the city. He would take them with him, wash their feet, serve them at table, and in sum give them in the name of Christ, all the care that the most sincere charity inspired. One day Timothy of Antioch, an illustrious confessor of the Faith, arrived in Rome. No one dared receive him, but Sylvester considered it an honor. For a year Timothy, preaching Jesus Christ with unflagging zeal, received at Sylvester's dwelling the most generous hospitality. When this heroic man had won the palm of martyrdom, Sylvester took up his precious remains and buried them during the night. But he himself was soon denounced to the prefect and accused of having hidden the martyr's treasures. He replied, Timothy left to me only the heritage of his faith and courage. The governor threatened him with death and had him imprisoned, but Sylvester said to him, Senseless one, this very night it is you who will render an account to God. And the persecutor that evening swallowed a fish bone, and died in fact that night.

Fear of heavenly chastisements softened the guardians, and the brave young man was set at liberty. Sylvester's courageous acts became known to Saint Melchiad, Pope, who elevated him to the diaconate. He was a young priest when persecution of the Christians grew worse under the tyrant Diocletian. Idols were erected at the street corners, in the market-places, and over the public fountains, so that it was scarcely possible for a Christian to go abroad without being put to the test of offering sacrifice, with the alternative of apostasy or death. During this fiery trial, Sylvester strengthened the confessors and martyrs, and God preserved his life from many dangers. It was indeed he who was destined to succeed the Pope who had recognized his virtues.

His long pontificate of twenty-one years, famous for several reasons, is remembered in particular for the Council of Nicea, the Baptism of Constantine, and the triumph of the Church. Some authors would place Constantine's Baptism later, but there are numerous and serious testimonies which fix the emperor's reception into the Church under the reign of Saint Sylvester, and the Roman Breviary confirms that opinion. Constantine, while still pagan and little concerned for the Christians, whose doctrine was entirely unknown to him, was attacked by a kind of leprosy which soon covered his entire body. One night Saint Peter and Saint Paul, shining with light, appeared to him and commanded him to call for Pope Sylvester, who would cure him by giving him Baptism. In effect, the Pope instructed the royal neophyte and baptized him. Thus began the social reign of Jesus Christ: Constantine's conversion, culminating in the Edict of Milan in 313, had as its happy consequence that of the known world.

Reflection: Never forget to thank God daily for having made you a member of His indefectible Church, and grow daily in your attachment, devotion, and loyalty to the Vicar of Christ. Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia: Where Peter is, there the Church is.

Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 14; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler's Lives of the Saints and other sources, by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894)



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The Circumcision of Our Lord
January 1st 

Circumcision was a sacrament of the Old Law, and the first legal observance required of the descendants of Abraham by Almighty God. It was a sacrament of initiation in the service of God, and a promise, an engagement, to believe and act as He had revealed and directed. The law of circumcision continued in force until the death of Christ. Our Saviour having thus been born under the law, it became Him who came to teach mankind obedience to the law of God,to fulfill all justice, and to submit to it. He was circumcised that He might redeem those who were under the law, by freeing them from the servitude of it, and that those who were formerly in the condition of servants might be set at liberty and receive the adoption of sons in Baptism, which, by Christ's institution, succeeded to circumcision. (Cf. Gal. 4:5)

On the day when the divine Infant was circumcised, He received the name of JESUS, which was assigned to Him by the Angel before He was conceived, and which signifies SAVIOUR. That name, so beautiful, so glorious, the divine Child does not wish to bear for one moment without fulfilling its meaning. Even at the moment of His circumcision He showed Himself a SAVIOUR by shedding for us that blood of which a single drop is more than sufficient for the ransom and salvation of the whole world.

Reflection. Let us profit by the circumstance of the New Year, and of the wonderful renewal wrought in the world by the great mystery of this day, to renew in our hearts an increase of fervor and of generosity in the service of God. May this year be one of fervor and of progress! It will go by rapidly, like the one which has just ended. If God permits us to see its end, how happy we shall be to have passed it in a holy manner!

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler's Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894)

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Saint Fulgentius
January 2 Doctor of the Church, Bishop
(468-533)

Born in Africa of illustrious and Catholic parents, Fulgentius was an excellent student of languages and of various other practical disciplines. His father had died while still young, and Fulgentius soon became the support of his mother and younger brother. He was appointed at an early age procurator of his province at Carthage; but this elevation in the world's esteem was distasteful to him, and he was enlightened by the Spirit of God to see the vanity of the world.

At the age of twenty-two, having read Saint Augustine's treatise on the Psalms, he resolved to embrace monastic life, and began to prepare for it by mental prayer, fasting, and other penances practiced in secret. When he was accepted into a monastery by a holy bishop named Faustus, his mother hoped to change his mind; but when she arrived he remained firm and did not accept to see her. Such are the austerities of the Saints, called to accomplish much for God. He later renounced all his goods on behalf of his mother and younger brother.

After six years of peace, his monastery was attacked by Arian heretics, and Faustus, Fulgentius and the other monks were driven out, destitute, into the desert. Fulgentius entered another monastery on his Superior's advice, and there he shared the duties of the Superior, to the latter's great consolation, until that house was attacked by barbarians. In the refuge to which he then repaired he was persecuted, held captive, and tortured by an Arian priest, but sought no vengeance when authorities offered him support if he would enter a complaint. Fulgentius and his Superior, who was with him, decided to build another monastery in the province they had abandoned.

For a time Fulgentius remained there, but he desired solitude and set out on a journey to the holy places of Rome. There the imperial splendors he beheld spoke to him of the greater glory of the heavenly Jerusalem, his final goal. And at the first lull in the persecution, he returned to his African cell in the year 500.

Elected bishop of Ruspe in 508, he was summoned to face new dangers, and was shortly afterwards banished by the Arian king, with some sixty other Catholic prelates, to Sardinia. Though the youngest of the exiles, he became the spokesman of his brethren and the support of their orphaned flocks. By his books and letters, which are still extant, he confounded both Pelagian and Arian heresiarchs, and strengthened the Catholics in Africa and Gaul. He prayed for all his compatriots in exile: You know, Lord, what is most expedient for the salvation of our souls; assist us in our corporal necessities, that we may not lose the spiritual goods. On the death of the Arian king, the bishops returned to their flocks. Saint Fulgentius was welcomed amid the greatest joy, after eighteen years of exile. He labored with his fellow bishops in the synods as their chosen leader, and re-established discipline. When he felt his end was near, he retired to an island monastery, where after a year's preparation he called for his clergy and religious, and with their aid distributed all his goods to the poor. He died in peace in the year 533.

Reflection. Each year may bring us new changes and trials; let us learn from Saint Fulgentius to receive all that happens as appointed for our salvation, and from the hand of God.

Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 1; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler's Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894)
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CORONAVIRUS
UPDATE INFO LINKS
Links to Government websites; remember these are being updated regularly as new information and changes in statuses develop:
For the ORC Policy Document click below
Coronavirus Policy Document
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SUPPORTING THOSE IN ISOLATION
The Coronavirus Policy document [above] mentions specifically consideration pastorally of those in isolation, whether self-isolating i.e. a person or someone in their household has symptoms, or quarantined i.e. positively infected and required to convalesce at home or receive treatment in hospital. As the guidance posits, those who are hospitalised are unlikely to be permitted visitors, but in the section "Pastoral Care of the Isolated" those who are in isolation at home may require regular contact and communication as well as occasional practical assistance e.g. to get supplies.

STAYING IN TOUCH
The Policy suggests that parishioners and clergy... 
  • inform one another as soon as possible of any church member becoming isolated,
  • that the pastor or church secretary records the date of the start of a person's isolation (to calculate the date they should be free of infection),
  • that the pastor make every effort to stay in regular contact with the isolated person.
The Policy also suggests for those parishes/missions with a localised congregation in a neighbourhood, a system of "street wardens" be established. A "street warden" is a nominated member of the church who agrees to become a point of contact between the church and any church member living on their street who is self-isolating, and even perhaps for anybody else as well (as a form of witness and outreach). The "street warden" would let the pastor know of someone becoming self-isolating, would maintain regular contact with the member perhaps through electronic means eg mobile phone, talking through a door or window and be prepared to arrange the supply of provisions eg medicine or food etc. 
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Practical advice for staying at home
You might be worried about coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it could affect your life. This may include having to stay at home and avoid other people.

This might feel difficult or stressful. But there are lots of things you can try that could help your wellbeing. 

Eat well and stay hydrated
  • Think about your diet. Your appetite might change if your routine changes, or if you’re less active than you usually are. Eating regularly and keeping your blood sugar stable can help your mood and energy levels.
  • Drink water regularly. Drinking enough water is important for your mental and physical health. Changing your routine might affect when you drink or what fluids you drink. It could help to set an alarm or use an app to remind you. You should drink enough during the day so your urine (pee) is a pale clear colour.
  • You can use over-the-counter medications, such as paracetamol, to help with some of your symptoms. Use these according to the instructions on the packet or label and do not exceed the recommended dose.
  • If you are self-isolating, you can ask someone to drop off essential food items for you. If they do this, ask them to leave food at your doorstep, to avoid face-to-face contact with each other.
Take care of your immediate environment
  • If you are spending a lot of time at home, you may find it helpful to keep things clean and tidy, although this is different for different people.
  • If you live with other people, keeping things tidy might feel more important if you’re all at home together. But you might have different ideas about what counts as 'tidy' or how much it matters. It could help to decide together how you’ll use different spaces. And you could discuss what each person needs to feel comfortable. 
  • Cleaning your house, doing laundry and washing yourself are important ways to help stop germs spreading, including when there are warnings about particular diseases. 
  • When cleaning you should use your usual household products, like detergents and bleach, as these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces. Clean frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, handrails, remote controls and table tops. This is particularly important if you have an older or vulnerable person in the house.
  • Personal waste (such as used tissues) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags. These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin.
  • Other household waste can be disposed of as normal. To minimise the possibility of dispersing virus through the air, do not shake dirty laundry.
  • Wash items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. All dirty laundry can be washed in the same load.
  • If you do not have a washing machine, wait a further 72 hours after your 7-day (for individual isolation) or 14-day isolation period (for households) has ended when you can then take the laundry to a public launderette.
For parents and carers of children and young people
  • If you are working from home more than usual, you may find it especially difficult if you are also looking after children would usually be in nursery, school or college while you work.
  • Think about how to balance your work with caring for your children. If you have an employer, they may be able to help you balance your work and childcare responsibilities.
  • Some employers may ask if there is another adult who can supervise your children while you’re working. It may help to speak to your employer if you are concerned about this.
  • Think about being more lenient with your children’s social media and mobile phone use during their time at home. If your children would normally go to school or college, they will be used to being around other children for several hours a day. They might find it difficult to be removed from this, especially if they're also worried about their health.
  • Ask their school or college if any digital learning is available while your children are at home, and what technology they may need. Remember to add time in for breaks and lunch.
  • You can also think about card games, board games and puzzles, and any other ways to stay active or be creative.If no digital learning is available, you could encourage your children to select books or podcasts they'd like to explore during their time away from school or college.
  • For older teens, there are free online courses they could try out.
Taking care of your mental health and wellbeing
If you are staying at home more than you usually would, it might feel more difficult than usual to take care of your mental health and wellbeing.

Keeping in touch digitally
  • Make plans to video chat with people or groups you’d normally see in person.
  • You can also arrange phone calls or send instant messages or texts.
  • If you’re worried that you might run out of stuff to talk about, make a plan with someone to watch a show or read a book separately so that you can discuss it when you contact each other. 
  • Think of other ways to keep in contact with people while meeting in person is not possible. For example, you could check your phone numbers are up to date, or that you have current email addresses for friends you've not seen for a while. 
"Online is the only place I can really make friends, so that helps obviously. For people who cannot get out to socialise, the internet is a link to the outside world. It IS a social life of sorts."

If you're worried about loneliness
  • Think about things you can do to connect with people. For example, putting extra pictures up of the people you care about might be a nice reminder of the people in your life.
  • Listen to a chatty radio station or podcast if your home feels too quiet.
Decide on a routine
  • Plan how you’ll spend your time. It might help to write this down on paper and put it on the wall. 
  • Try to follow your ordinary routine as much as possible. Get up at the same time as normal, follow your usual morning routines, and go to bed at your usual time. Set alarms to remind you of your new schedule if that helps.
  • If you aren’t happy with your usual routine, this might be a chance to do things differently. For example, you could go to bed earlier, spend more time cooking or do other things you don’t usually have time for.
  • Think about how you’ll spend time by yourself at home. For example, plan activities to do on different days or habits you want to start or keep up.
If you live with other people, it may help to do the following:
  • Agree on a household routine. Try to give everyone you live with a say in this agreement.
  • Try to respect each other's privacy and give each other space. For example, some people might want to discuss everything they’re doing while others won’t.
Try to keep active
 
Build physical activity into your daily routine, if possible. Most of us don’t have exercise equipment like treadmills where we live, but there are still activities you can do. Exercising at home can be simple and there are options for most ages and abilities, such as:
  • cleaning your home 
  • dancing to music
  • going up and down stairs
  • seated exercises
  • online exercise workouts that you can follow
  • sitting less – if you notice you’ve been sitting down for an hour, just getting up or changing position can help.
Find ways to spend your time
  • Try having a clear out. You could sort through your possessions and put them away tidily, or have a spring clean.
  • You could also have a digital clear out. Delete any old files and apps you don’t use, upgrade your software, update all your passwords or clear out your inboxes.
  • Write letters or emails, or make phone calls with people you’ve been meaning to catch up with.
Find ways to relax
There are lots of different ways that you can relax, take notice of the present moment and use your creative side. These include:
  • arts and crafts, such as drawing, painting, collage, sewing, craft kits or upcycling
  • DIY
  • colouring
  • prayer and meditation
  • playing musical instruments, singing or listening to music
  • writing.
Keep your mind stimulated
  • Keep your brain occupied and challenged. Set aside time in your routine for this. Read books, magazines and articles. Listen to podcasts, watch films and do puzzles.
  • There are lots of apps that can help you learn things, such as a foreign language or other new skills.
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BIVOCATION AND COVID19
Fr Thomas Gierke OSF shares an insight into his bi-vocation as a priest and an EMS
VOX POPULI
FROM AROUND THE COMMUNION
Divine Mercy, Bacoor
ADVENT
Here are some pictures taken last Tuesday December 15. Sponsored by Macrologic Diversified Technologies (I.T. provider) Company. Our outreach program partner for 3 consecutive years.
During our Gift Giving, 130 individual persons received Grocery food (Christmas noche buena) items and 5Kg of Rice packs. Most of our recipients live in Creek area.  About 150 meters from our church.
Santa Isidro Labrador, Laguna
The result of our prayers and cooperation is that yesterday the arrangement of the flooring of our church. Thank you very much to the donor who didn't want to mention his name and also to those who shared with Father Jessie Patiam, Jack and Edu in Gayakan Family with Edwardo Ramos Jr . To Severa thanks and to the young people who do. the flooring.
Revd Fr Jose Rodelon Porteza
Tagapo Chapel, Laguna
Blessing office building facilities and parking. Thank you very much to Sir Philip Camcaman Chairman of STARCUT (Santa Rosa City Unified Transport Cooperative) for inviting your servant to the blessing of the office, parking and vehicles of the members of the cooperative as well as for the help given to promote Tagapo Mission Chapel
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Santa Cruz, Houston
Brighton Oratory
WINTER APPEAL

Persons experiencing homelessness encounter significant barriers to self-care and personal hygiene, including limited access to clean showers, laundry and hand washing facilities. The obstacles to personal hygiene associated with homelessness may increase risk of infectious disease, yet hygiene-related behaviours among people experiencing homelessness receives limited attention. 

Due to COVID the situation for people sleeping on our streets has become more difficult as homeless provision services affected by the pandemic have ceased operating or had to scale back significantly their operations; some unable to operate at all. For Brighton & Hove there is no only one provider of showering and washing facilities for those sleeping rough.

Usually at this time of year, the Archbishop would be planning a Christmas Day lunch with the Salvation Army for the homeless, but due to COVID restrictions, regrettably neither the regular Wednesday drop-in nor Christmas Day Lunch are realisable.

The Archbishop is supporting a new homeless project in Brighton & Hove, Soup & socks that will be tackling food poverty and serving the homeless of the city a hot meal four nights a week throughout winter. In addition to socks, His Grace is keen to provide necessary items for personal hygiene, toiletries, sanitiser, change of underwear and particularly women’s health items such as sanitary towels and fresh wipes. These items are often overlooked. Funding for such items is seldom available.

Please help the Archbishop to help others by way of a donation so that necessary personal hygiene items can be purchased wholesale and distributed to those who need them most.

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King of Mercy Mission
Adoration Chapel Appeal
An opportunity to present Christ - Emmanuel - in the heart of people's lives. To bring the peace of Christ's presence to the hustle and bustle of daily life. To provide an opportunity for spiritual encounter in a worldly environment...

The King of Mercy mission in Detroit, currently being established by the order of Little Marion Sons (FMCD), has the opportunity to create an Adoration Chapel in the heart of a shopping mall south of the city of Detroit, Michigan. The concept is to provide a spiritual oasis where people can take time out to pray. The chapel will be supported by a religious 
repository selling devotional objects, rosaries. icons, statues, books etc, the proceeds from which will support an outreach programme to the local homeless population.

The Little Marion Sons need help to cover initial costs for moving chapel appointments from storage to the outlet and fitting out the spaces for a sanctuary, shop and café areas.
You can make a tax-exempt donation to the order via PayPal.


Filii Minimi Cordis Dulcissime, LLC is a registered charity 501(c)(3) and non-profit company registered with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), EIN: 47-3962843

 
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HOW TO WORSHIP ONLINE
Following last issue's article about "How to participate in online worship" Metropolitan Jerome took the opportunity this past week to record a series of four talks on "How to worship online". In each episode his grace gives both a theological dimension as well as practical suggestions as to the disposition one should have toward worship online and to maximise the spiritual experience.
EPSIODE 1: first principles
EPISODE 2: preparation
EPISODE 3: practicalities
EPISODE 4: Spiritual Communion
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CHRISTMAS BROADCASTS
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0930 Mass
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12 Noon Mass


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Old Roman TV and The Old Roman are not free to produce. Though the considerable hours to conceive, edit produce and broadcast programmes and bulletins are given voluntarily, there are some monthly costs involved ref web platform subscriptions etc for hosting channels as well as professional software for producing the published content. Please prayerfully consider becoming an ORtv Benefactor today and help defray the costs currently born by only a few faithful souls. A larger number of regular subscribers would not only cover costs but enable even more programmes and aid our mission to spread the Faith! Become a Patron of Old Roman TV and receive gifts and special offers as well as exclusive access to content!
QUESTION: What benefits do I derive from watching the traditional Latin Mass on the internet? I know I don’t get the full benefit I would if I were there in person.

RESPONSE: It is clear, based on the teaching of pre-Vatican II theologians regarding hearing Mass over the radio or television, that one could not fulfill his Sunday obligation by viewing a Mass broadcast over the internet. The law requires physical presence at the Holy Sacrifice, or at least being part of a group that is actually present (in the case of a congregation so large, for example, that it spills out beyond the doors of the church into the street).

So, if you were able to be physically present at Mass under the usual conditions on a Sunday or a Holy Day, you would be obliged to go to it. You could not choose instead to remain at home glued to your computer— or indeed, to remain in the church parking lot, hovering over your I-Phone — and still fulfill your duty to assist at Mass.

Thus the question of the obligation.

However, the spiritual benefit of a broadcast Mass is another matter — you can indeed benefit from it. This is clear from the comment of Fr. Francis Connell, a well-known moral theologian at Catholic University in the 1950s, who addressed the question of hearing Mass over the radio:

“One may participate in the benefits of the Mass without being actually present — namely, by directing one’s intention and devotion to the sacred rite. By hearing Mass over the radio one can certainly foster his devotion, and thus profit considerably from the offering of the Holy Sacrifice. Indeed, it could happen that one who participates in the Holy Sacrifice in this manner will gain much more benefit than many of those who are actually present.” (Father Connell Answers Moral Questions [Washington: CUA 1959] 75–6)

So, in these days when true Masses offered by real priests are few and far between, Catholics can at least have the consolation of knowing that a facet of modern technology so often used for evil can also be used to foster their own devotion — and indeed, to bring to them the benefits of a true Mass, wherever it is offered.
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OLD ROMAN CULTURE
LUMEN GENTIUM
St Martin's Lent
The Feast of St. Martin of Tours occurs every year on November 11th. Also known as Martinmas, this special day offers us the opportunity to celebrate the life of this wonderful saint who had such a profound impact on the history of the Church, and who set an example that is still very relevant today. Martinmas also marks the beginning of St. Martin’s Lent, or the Christmas Fast. In prior ages, Advent was synonymous with St. Martin’s Lent and was observed as a time of fasting and penance in anticipation of Christmas. Want to learn more? The links below should get you started.
St. Martin’s Lent
St. Martin’s Lent Meditations
Celebrate Martinmas
Martinmas Lanterns Tutorial
Photo Post :: Martinmas at Our House
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We continue to love, pray and help each other, whether we are on Earth, in Purgatory on in Heaven.
ADVENT
Advent begins on the Sunday closest to – before or after – St. Andrew’s Day (November 30). The focus of the season is preparation for the coming of the Lord — both in commemoration of His Nativity and His coming again at the end of time. Though most Protestants — and far too many Catholics — see this time of year as a part of the “Christmas Season,” it isn’t; the Christmas season does not begin until the first Mass at Christmas Eve, and doesn’t end liturgically until the Octave of the Epiphany on January 14. It goes on in the spiritual sense until Candlemas on February 2, when all celebrations of Christ’s Childhood give way to Septuagesima and Lent.
The mood of this season is one of sombre spiritual preparation that increases in joy with each day, and the gaudy “Christmas” commercialism that surrounds it in the Western world should be overcome as much as possible. The singing of Christmas carols (which comes earlier and earlier each year), the talk of “Christmas” as a present reality, the decorated trees and the parties – these things are “out of season” for Catholics; we should strive to keep the Seasons of Advent holy and penitential, always remembering, as they say, that “He is the reason for the Season.”

Seasonal baking Advent is also season of preparation in a more mundane sense. Homes are cleaned from top to bottom, and Christmas cakes and cookies are often made by the hundreds for family and to give out to friends and acquaintances when Christmas finally arrives.
Christmas trees shouldn’t be decorated (or at least lit) until Christmas Eve because Advent itself should remain penitential, but time can be wonderfully spent making Christmas Tree ornaments throughout the Season for when Christmas finally arrives.
Seasonal greeting cards Old Romans send Christmas cards at this time of year, usually with religious themes and avoiding the secularised language and images so prevalent today (i.e., “Season’s Greetings” as opposed to “Merry Christmas”; Santa or Rudolph instead of Mother and Child, etc.) Always, the emphasis should be on Christ! Religious-themed Christmas cards are getting more and more difficult to find; buying them early from a Catholic Bookstore is a good idea.
Seasonal greetings Old Romans might avoid greeting people during this season with “Happy holidays!” and the like. “Merry Christmas” is the proper greeting — and if one wants to get technical about it, Catholics may say “Blessed Advent” up until the first Mass on Christmas Eve, and “Merry Christmas” thereafter for the twelve days of Christmas. People might not understand, but this affords Catholics an opportunity to explain (with a smile).
More customs Advent candlesJesse TreesChristmas cribs, and Advent calendars are all used during Advent and each is described on the links.
Christkindl (Christ Child) Many people are familiar with the concept, usually in the workplace, of “Secret Santa” where names on folded paper are drawn from a hat and folk buy presents for the named person they’ve drawn, but anonymously. A similar Old Roman custom in Advent is called “Christkindl” and comes from Bavaria. Maria Von Trapp describes it thus:
Once more the mother appears with the bowl, which she passes around. This time the pieces of paper contain the names of the members of the family and are neatly rolled up, because the drawing has to be done in great secrecy. The person whose name one has drawn is now in one’s special care. From this day until Christmas, one has to do as many little favours for him or her as one can. One has to provide at least one surprise every single day — but without ever being found out. This creates a wonderful atmosphere of joyful suspense, kindness, and thoughtfulness. Perhaps you will find that somebody has made your bed or shined your shoes or has informed you, in a disguised handwriting on a holy card, that “a rosary has been said for you today” or a number of sacrifices have been offered up. This new relationship is called “Christkindl” (Christ Child)…”
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The O Antiphons

An antiphon is a short verse that is used like a refrain, either repeated at points through another text or to begin and end it. Antiphons are often used in Christian worship, for example, during the singing of psalms.

It is also traditional for the Gospel Canticle at Morning, Evening and Night Prayer to have an antiphon said or sung at the beginning and the end. The Gospel canticle at Evening Prayer (also known as Vespers) is the Magnificat, the Song of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Luke 1.46-55).

The ‘O Antiphons’ are the antiphons that are said or sung before and after the Magnificat on the seven days preceding Christmas Eve (17–23 December). They all begin ‘O…’ hence their name. They are known by their Latin titles, for example, ‘O Sapientia…’, is ‘O Wisdom…’

The antiphons use texts from the Bible, both Old and New Testament, that Christians understand to refer to Jesus Christ, the coming Messiah.

People who do not know the antiphons from Vespers may well know them from the Advent hymn ‘O come, O come, Emmanuel’.

In England the medieval rite of Salisbury Cathedral – known as the Sarum Rite - that was widespread before the Reformation, the antiphons began on 16 December and there was an additional antiphon (‘O Virgin of virgins’) on 23 December; so 16 December is designated O Sapientia (O Wisdom). It is not known when and by whom the antiphons were composed, but they were already in use by the eighth century.

17 December – O Sapientia

O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,

reaching from one end to the other mightily,

and sweetly ordering all things:

Come and teach us the way of prudence. cf Ecclesiasticus 24.3; Wisdom 8.1

18 December – O Adonai

O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,

who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush

and gave him the law on Sinai:

Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm. cf Exodus 3.2; 24.12

19 December – O Radix Jesse

O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;

before you kings will shut their mouths,

to you the nations will make their prayer:

Come and deliver us, and delay no longer. cf Isaiah 11.10; 45.14; 52.15; Romans 15.12

20 December – O Clavis David

O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;

you open and no one can shut;

you shut and no one can open:

Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,

those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death. cf Isaiah 22.22; 42.7

21 December – O Oriens

O Morning Star,

splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:

Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness

and the shadow of death. cf Malachi 4.2

22 December – O Rex Gentium

O King of the nations, and their desire,

the cornerstone making both one:

Come and save the human race,

which you fashioned from clay. cf Isaiah 28.16; Ephesians 2.14

23 December – O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, our King and our lawgiver,

the hope of the nations and their Saviour:

Come and save us, O Lord our God. cf Isaiah 7.14

SIMBANG GABI
Simbang Gabi (Filipino for "Night Mass") is a devotional nine-day series of Masses practiced by Filipino Catholics in the Philippines in anticipation of Christmas. This is similar to the nine-day series of dawn Masses leading to Christmas Eve practiced in Puerto Rico called Misa de Aguinaldo and the Rorate Caeli votive Masses traditional in Europe.

The Simbáng Gabi Masses in the Philippines are held daily from December 16-24 and occur at different times ranging from as early as 03:00 to 05:00 PST. On the last day of the Simbang Gabi, which is Christmas Eve, the service is instead called Misa de Gallo (Spanish for "Rooster's Mass"). It has an important role in Philippine culture.

The Simbang Gabi originated in the early days of Spanish rule over the Philippines as a practical compromise for farmers, who began work before sunrise to avoid the noonday heat out in the fields. It began in 1669. Priests began to say Mass in the early mornings instead of the evening novenas more common in the rest of the Hispanic world. This cherished Christmas custom eventually became a distinct feature of Philippine culture and became a symbol of sharing.

During the Spanish Era and early American Period, the parishioners would mostly have nothing to offer during Mass except sacks of rice, fruits and vegetables and fresh eggs. The Church would share the produce with the congregation after the service.

After Mass, Filipinos buy and eat holiday delicacies sold in the churchyard for breakfast. Bibingka, (rice cakes cooked above and below) and puto bumbong (steamed purple rice pastries, seasoned with butter, grated coconut, and brown sugar) are popular, often paired with tsokolate (hot chocolate from local cacao) or salabát (ginger tea).

Today, local delicacies are readily available in the church's premises for the parishioners. The iconic puto bumbóng, bibingka, suman and other rice pastries are cooked on the spot. Latík and yema are sweets sold to children, while biscuits like uraró (arrowroot), barquillos, lengua de gato and otap (ladyfingers) are also available. Kape Barako (a very strong coffee grown in the province of Batangas), hot tsokolate, or salabat are the main drinks, while soups such as arróz caldo (rice and chicken porridge) and papait (goat bile stew from the Ilocos region) are also found.

The rice-based foods were traditionally served to fill the stomachs of the farmers, since rice is a cheap and primary staple. The pastries were full of carbohydrates needed by colonial Filipinos for the work they undertook in the rice paddies and sugar mills.

Filipinos celebrate this Mass with great solemnity and the Gloria is sung. White is the liturgical colour authorised solely for Masses celebrated within the context of the novena; violet is used for any other Masses said during the day, as these are still considered part of the Advent season. 

Evening celebrations of the Simbáng Gabi which begins at the 15th of December and ends on the 23rd, (erroneously described as "anticipated Simbang gabi" since Vigil or anticipated Masses are only applicable for Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation), are scheduled especially in urban areas. However, the propers and readings used for these Masses are those which are prescribed for the day. Although practiced in some parishes, "Anticipation" of the propers and readings prescribed for the next day is prohibited.

A well-known folk belief among the Filipinos is that if a devotee completed all nine days of the Simbáng Gabi, a request made as part of the novena may be granted.

Similar to the Spanish tradition of lighting small oil lamps on Christmas Eve, Filipinos adorn their homes with paról, which are colourful star-shaped lantern. This is believed to have originally been used by worshippers to light their way to church in the early morning, as well as to symbolise the Star of Bethlehem. Paróls continue to be popular yuletide decorations in the Philippines, as iconic and emblematic as Christmas trees are in the West.

To give the faithful a chance to experience how the Simbang gabi was celebrated during Spanish times, groups which celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass also celebrate the Simbang gabi in candlelight and with locally composed centuries old music for the Mass.
Parish of Jesus the Divine Mercy,
Copper St. Platinum Ville,
San Nicolas III, Bacoor

SIMBANG GABI 2020
Dec.15~24 @ 5:00PM & 7:00PM

MISSA DE GALLO
Dec.16~Dec.24 @4:00AM
Parokya ni San Isidro Labrador
Dita Sta.Rosa, Laguna

SIMBANG GABI 2020
DEC.15~24 @ 8:00PM
RORATE CAELI MASSES
The Rorate Mass got its proper name from the first word of the Introit (Entrance antiphon): "Rorate caeli désuper et nubes pluant justum" ("Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just").

In the Old Roman Rite, this Mass is celebrated very early in the morning on all Saturdays. In some areas, it is celebrated on several or even all weekdays during Advent (the Votive Mass of Our Lady in Advent). 

The Rorate Mass is a Votive Mass in honour of the Virgin Mary for the season of Advent. It has a long tradition in the Catholic Church, especially in German-speaking areas. The Masses had to begin relatively early in the morning when it was still dark due to winter-time and were said by candlelight.

As a votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin, its liturgical colour is white. It is a tradition to celebrate such Rorate Masses in the early morning (before sunrise), accompanied by candle light in an otherwise dark church. In the new Mass of the Conciliar Church, it is often replaced by a Mass with the liturgical texts of the corresponding Advent weekday (consequently with violet vestments), or possibly the day's saint, but with the rest of the Rorate Mass traditions.

As one of the themes of Advent is the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, the emergence of these devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary were a natural development. The Rorate Mass, in particular, was a favourite of the people. The Introit Antiphon, the Epistle, the Gradual, Gospel, and Communion Antiphon of the Rorate Mass are taken from the Mass of Ember Wednesday in Advent, the Offertory is taken from the Fourth Sunday of Advent, and the orations (prayers) from the Feast of the Annunciation.

The Rorate Mass was also known in the Middle Ages as the Missa aurea (the Golden Mass), because of the various promises added to it (varias enim promissiones adjungebant his Missis), and the Missa Angelica (the Angelic Mass) because of the Gospel reading which, recounting the Annunciation, opens with the words "Missus est Angelus Gábriel (The Angel Gabriel was sent)".

The Rorate Mass is celebrated in the following ways:
  • According to Ordo Romanus XV (8th Century), the Rorate Mass was said on the seven days preceding Christmas.
  • Another tradition is to celebrate this Mass on the nine consecutive days prior to Christmas (Celebratio novendialis Missarum ((aurearum)) / A Novena of Golden Masses). This practice was permitted by the Sacred Congregation of Rites, especially to dioceses in Italy (1658, 1713, and 1718). It is a common Catholic practice to prepare for major events by a novena. This novena has the added symbolism of each day representing one of the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy.
  • In some places, the Rorate Mass is said on the Wednesday during the third week of Advent in place of the Mass of Ember Wednesday in Advent.
In Germany, Austria, Poland, Bohemia, and Hungary the Rorate Mass was celebrated daily through the whole period of Advent. This was forbidden, of course, on the more solemn feasts if the saying of this Mass would cause a conventual Mass or a Mass of precept to be omitted. The Boldvensi Sacramentary (written in Hungary between 1192 and 1195) has a proper Preface text for the Rorate Mass "qui per BVM partum ecclesiae tuae tribuisti celebrare mirabile mysterium (You, who through the Offspring of the Blessed Virgin Mary, granted to your Church to celebrate the wonderful mystery)." Between 1774 and 1960, various permissions were granted regarding this practice by the Sacred Congregation of Rites.

There is also the custom in "Austria, Switzerland, and Germany" that "families walked in the dark of the early morning, (carrying lamps, candles, or later, flashlights) to church, where Mass was celebrated and favourite Advent hymns were sung." This tradition is also alive in modern Poland, however, depending on local custom, it is celebrated either in the early morning or in the late evening of Advent weekdays.

"As a rule the Blessed Sacrament was exposed at the same time" as the Rorate Mass was being said. This was still customary "in many places" in the 1960s.

There is the custom of singing three times the antiphon "Ecce, Dominus veniet" at the conclusion of the Rorate Mass. After the Last Gospel, the Priest (and ministers if it is a Solemn High Mass) goes to the centre of the altar. He then intones the antiphon three times after which the antiphon is continued by those present. Each intonation is begun at higher pitch than the previous one. This mirrors the practice of the three-fold "Ecce Lignum Crucis" on Good Friday and the three-fold Alleluia at the Easter Vigil. The text of the antiphon reads: "Ecce Dominus veniet, et omnes sancti ejus cum eo: et erit in die illa lux magna, alleluia. / Behold, the Lord will come, and with Him all His saints; and on that day there shall be a great light, alleluia." The "Ecce, Dominus veniet" is the third antiphon for the Office of the First Sunday of Advent. The reference to the great light is fitting for a Mass that is just conducted in candlelight and during which the sun has risen.
CAROLS FROM KINGS COLLEGE
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CATHOLIC FAMILY NEWS PLAYLIST
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Rosary Guild
The Manghera family Rosary Guild is once again taking orders for homemade rosaries, scapulas, Miraculous Medals and holy cards to support their parish mission!  If you are interested to place an order, please contact Fr Kristopher 
How to pray the Rosary
  1. Make the Sign of the Cross and say the “Apostles’ Creed”
  2. Say the “Our Father”
  3. Say three “Hail Marys” for Faith, Hope, and Charity
  4. Say the “Glory Be”
  5. Announce the First Mystery and then say the “Our Father”
  6. Say ten “Hail Marys” while meditating on the Mystery
  7. Say the “Glory Be” (Optional: Say the “O My Jesus” prayer requested by Mary at Fatima)
  8. Announce the Next Mystery; then say the “Our Father” and repeat these steps (6 through 8) as you continue through the remaining Mysteries.
  9. Say the closing prayers: the “Hail Holy Queen” and “Final Prayer”
  10. Make the “Sign of the Cross”
If you’ve never prayed the Rosary before, this article will give you the basics; and, if you’re returning to the Rosary after a long time away, you can use this article as a "refresher course." Keep in mind, though, that there are no "Rosary police" checking up on you to make sure that you’re doing it "the right way."

In the long run, you may pray the Rosary however you prefer to pray it. The main objective of the Rosary is the same as any method of prayer—to nourish your intimacy with the triune God and with the communion of saints in this world and the next. So whatever serves that purpose is good.

If you want to pray the Rosary in the customary manner, however, there is a traditional way to go about it. The prayers of the Rosary will be provided here, in case you don’t already know them.

Because praying the Rosary involves repetitive prayer, it’s a good idea to have a rosary. If you don’t have a religious goods store in your area, you can find several sources on the Internet—some of which even offer free rosaries.

There are two basic ways to pray the Rosary—alone or with one or more people. If you are praying the Rosary with others, the custom is for one person to lead the group, primarily by saying the first half of each prayer and announcing each of the mysteries. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll assume here that you are praying the Rosary by yourself. If you join a group, most likely many of those present will understand how to pray the Rosary as a group, so all you’ll need to do is follow along. When praying the Rosary alone, you may either recite the prayers aloud or say them silently—it’s up to you.

The rosary consists of six Our Father beads and five decades (sets of ten) Hail Mary Beads plus one set of three Hail Mary beads. The Apostles’ Creed is said on the crucifix, and the Glory Be is said on the chain or knot after each set of Hail Marys. The Hail, Holy Queen is said at the end of the Rosary. Here’s how to go about it. You may be surprised when you see how easy it really is:

Make the Sign of the Cross

You begin the Rosary by making the sign of the cross using the small crucifix on the rosary. Simply hold the crucifix on your rosary with your fingers and trace the sign of the cross on your forehead, your chest, and then your left and right shoulders while saying,

In the name of the Father [forehead], and of the Son [chest], and of the Holy [left shoulder] Spirit [right shoulder]. Amen.

Say the Apostles’ Creed

Still holding the crucifix, pray the Apostles’ Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. From thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

Say the Our Father

Holding the first bead of your rosary (the bead closest to the crucifix), pray the Our Father:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.

(If you came, or are coming, to Catholicism from a Protestant tradition, remember that Catholics say a doxology—"For the kingdom, and the power, and the glory are yours now and forever"—only in the context of the Mass, and then it is separated from the Our Father by a prayer said by the priest.)

Say Three Hail Marys

Next, hold each of the three beads in the next series one at a time, and pray a Hail Mary for each bead:

Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee (you). Blessed art thou (are you) among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy (your) womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Say the Glory Be/Doxology

Holding the chain or knot that comes after the series of three Hail Mary beads, pray the Glory Be:

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, it is now and ever shall be, world without end. (now and forever.) Amen.

If you like, you can say the following lines at the end of each Glory Be:

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, and lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of thy (your) mercy. Amen.

It’s up to you whether you use this prayer, or not. If it appeals to you, go ahead and say it. If not, skip it.

Say the Five Decades

The next set of prayers—consisting of an Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and a Glory Be—is repeated five times, once for each mystery of the Rosary. While holding the next, single bead, announce the first mystery of the kind you are praying today—joyful, sorrowful, glorious, or luminous. For example, "The first joyful mystery, the annunciation." Theoretically, the idea is to meditate or reflect upon this mystery while praying an Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and a Glory Be. If you can do that, great. If not, don’t worry about it. Personally, I suspect that the repetitive nature of the Rosary actually short-circuits conscious reflection on anything—let alone a mystery of faith—and acts something like a mantra does in the meditation methods of Zen Buddhism. The Rosary gives the fingers and tongue something to do, so that your mind and heart can "go deep," as it were, in wordless prayer.

After announcing the first mystery, and still holding the single bead, pray the Our Father. For each of the ten beads in the first decade of the Rosary, say one Hail Mary. When you reach the chain or knot after the tenth Hail Mary bead, say one Glory Be. Then hold the next single bead, announce the next mystery, say an Our Father, say the next set of ten Hail Marys, and say another Glory Be. Do this until you finish all five decades.

Say the Hail, Holy Queen/Salve Regina

When you have completed the fifth decade of the Rosary and said the final Glory Be, say the Hail, Holy Queen:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee (you) do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; (the children of Eve;) to thee (you) do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale (valley) of tears. (in this land of exile.) Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine (your) eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile, (lead us home at last and) show unto us the blessed fruit of thy (your) womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

If you wish, you may also add this final verse-and-response prayer:

V: Pray for us, O holy mother of God,
R: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

And that’s it. That’s all there is to praying the Rosary. After you have prayed the Rosary a few times, you’ll know how easy it is. The more you pray the Rosary, however, the deeper you’ll get into it and the more you’ll discover its spiritual riches.

An excerpt from The Rosary Handbook by Mitch Finley.

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WORK OF HUMAN HANDS
Fr. Anthony Cekada's Work of Human Hands: A Theological Critique of the Mass of Paul VI.
Bp SANBORN CONFERENCES
Spiritual Conferences by Bishop Sanborn
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Old Roman Catholicism In the History Of The One True Catholic and Apostolic Church
NEW serialisation 
Chapter XIV 
 
Convinced long before the Vatican Council [1870] that the doctrines of papal infallibility and the universality of the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome over the Church were absolutely erroneous, Old Roman Catholics did not allow that the simple fact of the dogmatization of these two errors by the pope and the majority of the Council was sufficient to transform them into truths - still less, divine truths; and after, as before, the 18th of July 1870, we rejected these two dogmas. It is hardly necessary to recall the proofs established by Old Roman Catholics of the falsity of these new dogmas - a falsity clearly shown up by the Scriptures, by universal tradition, by the history of the seven Ecumenical Councils, and by several other undoubted facts. Roman Catholic theologians have seriously refuted none of these proofs.

Old Roman Catholics, therefore, by rejecting these false dogmas, remained faithful to the Catholicism of the time before the Vatican Council. We did not leave the Catholic Church to form a new Church, we remained in the Catholic Church of which we had always formed a part; and we continue to set the 'universal' unvarying, and unanimous testimony of the Church in opposition to Roman innovations.

This attitude and the theological works, which we had had to produce to prove the truth of our cause, have led us to discover a number of errors made by Roman theologians and transformed into dogmas in the course of the ages. So that the protest against the false dogmas of the 18th of July 1870, has logically incurred on our part the protest against all the false dogmas previously promulgated by the papacy. [See especially W. Guettee, La Papaute schismatique, Paris, 1863, and La Papute heretique, do. 1874, and E. Michaud, La Papaute antichretienne, do. 1873].

This discovery of the errors of the Roman papacy from the 9th century to the present day, and in all the individual Churches under the jurisdiction of Rome, has given fresh impetus and considerable importance to the Old Roman Catholic movement. It is a complete history of Roman Theology, remade in accordance with authentic sources and contrary to the thousands of Roman falsifications pointed out recently by the most eminent theologians of the Churches, including even Roman theologians.

We may say that these new publications - this veritable resurrection of ancient documents believed to be buried in darkness - have created a new situation and started a thorough reformation of so-called Catholic theology.

After 1870, a truly General Council was no longer considered a remote possibility. The Old Roman Catholic Church [as it was now known] then resolved to bring about many desired reforms within its own organization. Until then it had kept fairly close to the traditional laws and liturgical customs of the Roman Church.
The chief aims of the Old Roman Catholic Church may be reduced to three:
•    1] theological reform;
•    2] ecclesiastical reform;
•    3] union of the Christian Churches.

Theological Reform
This reform was not undertaken arbitrarily; nor is it conducted by each theologian according to his personal opinions on each of the disputed questions. A strict method governs all their actions, a method, which results especially in distinguishing dogma from theology. Dogma, which is the word of Christ as it is recorded in the Gospels, from theology, which is the explanation given by the apostles and scholars to secure the acceptance and practice of the precepts of Jesus Christ.

Christ, being 'the way, the truth, and the life', is the only Scholar, the only Master; He has declared it Himself to His disciples. It is therefore, He alone who, as the only Mediator and Saviour, possesses the words of eternal life, it is He alone who is the light of the world, and it is He alone who has the right to impose His doctrines, decrees, and dogmas on His disciples.

On the other hand, every disciple is entitled and even duty bound to try to understand the dogmas of Christ, to see their depth and beauty, and to derive profit from them for the sanctification of his soul. Dogma is the divine truth which is taught by Christ; theology is the explanation given by man - an explanation more or less luminous, which each one may judge according to the light of his reason, conscience, and knowledge: "Prove all things, hold fast that which is good" [1 Th. 5:21].

This distinction between dogma and theology is made by the application of the Catholic test to every disputed point. The test is the one so well epitomized by Vincent of Lerins: "What has been believed everywhere, always, and by all the Christian Churches is Catholic" [Commonitory, ii..6]. The Catholic faith is the universal, unvarying, and unanimous faith, because, even humanly speaking, all the Christian Churches cannot be making a mistake when they attest, as a fact, they have always believed or not believed, from their very foundation, in the doctrine which the apostle-founders of their particular Church has taught them or not.

It is not a question of settling an important discussion, but of making a simple statement of fact. As to the theological explanations, which may be given of the established doctrine, they depend, like all the explanations in this world, on reason, science, history, and the knowledge which humanity has at its disposal.

Thus faith and liberty are reconciled. The faith which depends not on any caprice or any school, but solely on the historical and objective testimony of the Churches; and liberty of criticism or of reason, which conscientiously speaking, belongs to the religious truths transmitted to all the Churches, to the best of the religious interests of each Church. Thus the faith is a depository. A depository of all the precepts confided by Jesus Christ to His disciples, a depository which does not belong exclusively to any one person, but to everybody, to the preservation of which all faithful Churches carefully attend, so that none of it may be suppressed, and also that no foreign doctrine may be surreptitiously introduced into it [depositum custodi]. And theology is a science which, like other sciences, belong to reason, to history, to criticism, and which also obeys fixed rules.

It is therefore neither a bishop nor a priest nor a scholar that is entrusted with the preservation of dogma, but all bishops, all priests, all scholars - in a word, all the faithful members of the Church. Christ being the only Master of His Church, there is no other rule than His; it is sufficient to guard His doctrine and precepts. The Church was not instituted to found a religion other than that of Christ, but merely to preserve it and spread it throughout the world ["Go ye therefore, and teach all nations"]. The Church is therefore a guardian of the teachings and precepts of Jesus Christ; its title, the 'teaching Church', means not that it has the right to teach any doctrines that it pleases, but that it is its duty to preach openly what Christ taught His disciples in secret.

Real theological reform should consist in communicating to all men the teachings of Jesus Christ, as they are collected in the Scriptures and recorded in the universal tradition of the Church - a tradition, which also belongs to all the members of the Church. It is the duty of pastors and scholars to explain them, and it is the duty of each member to study the explanation, which appear to them wisest and most useful. The good sense and the Christian spirit that prevail in the Church are sufficient to ensure the final triumph of truth over error; "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them".

Since the Church is not a chair to which might be addressed all questions that arise in the minds of the inquisitive and the imaginative, it is not obliged to solve them or to prevent men from discussing among themselves matters which neither God nor Christ has thought fit to make clear. It is the work of scholars to elucidate the mysteries of science; the apostles have simply to preach the truths, which Christ thought sufficient for the edification and sanctification of humanity.

The fruitfulness of the faith does not consist in discovering new dogmas or in transforming the Church into a revealer, charged with completing the revelation made by Christ. The faith is fruitful, it increases, it grows by the closeness of its adherence to the word of Christ, and not by the proclamation of unknown dogmas. It is Christ alone who is the religious light and the religious life of the world - the Church must only be His humble servant.

Ecclesiastical Reform
This reform should consist in reminding the Church what Christ wished it to be. Christ established a hierarchy for the service of the faithful. That hierarchy, therefore, ought to serve, and not to rule. Its offices are a ministry, and not an authority. There is no imperium in the Church of Christ; "neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you"; and the obedience of the disciples must be reasonable, and not servile.

If any member wanted to be first, he had to be the first to serve his brothers, and not to give them orders - to feed the flock, i.e. to lead it into good pastures, and not to enslave it by false dogmas or exploit it by superstitions. The main duties of pastors are to arouse the conscience of the faithful, to enlighten it, to act as if each of them were another Christ. Christ took a firm stand against the Pharisees of His day, but He did not charge any of His disciples to rebuke his brothers, still less to excommunicate them or curse them.

The mission of the Church also is essentially religious and spiritual. Christ did not give it any worldly and temporal authority; He chose apostles and disciples only to lay the most strict duties on them, and thus to make examples of them for the flock. The early bishops or superintendents were only the overseers, and not master: "for one is your Master" [Matthew 23.8].

The primitive Church, then, was simply a gathering or reunion in which the first and only Chief was, in the eyes of the faithful, Christ himself. Pastor5s and people simply formed a school, a body and soul. This was the parish, and, if a dispute arose between any of the members, it was 'the Church' that restored peace: "Die Ecclesiae".

Gradually bonds of brotherhood and charity were formed between the various local churches, and in this way synods came into being - special and very limited synods, before the idea of general councils were heard of. It is not only the idea of the true bishops, therefore, that has to be restored, but also that of the synod and the council.

Because the so-called ecumenical council was believed to be the representation of the whole Church, it was soon confused by the Church, and rights were assigned to it, which the Church itself hardly possessed. Under the pretext that the council was, as it were, the supreme jurisdiction of the Church, this jurisdiction was made a universal and absolute jurisdiction to which was soon joined the privilege of infallibility. The practical consequences resulting from this confusion and the numerous abuses arising from them to the detriment of the Church are well known.

Old Roman Catholics are engaged in restoring the true conceptions of pastor, bishop, synod, council, ecclesiastical authority, and even infallibility according to ancient traditions. The constitution of the Church is monarchical only because Christ is its only monarch. But, inasmuch as it is a society composed of men, the Church has been called from its very beginning a simple 'church' and it has been regarded in its universality, since the time when the question of universality arose, as a Christian 'republic'. It would give a wrong idea of the early bishops to represent their actions as an aristocratic government; the words of St. Peter himself are opposed to that.

The episcopal see of Rome was not long in attaining a certain priority. Rome being the capital of the empire; but it was merely a priority of honour, and not of jurisdiction. Christ did not appoint a master among His disciples. When He told Peter especially to feed His lambs and sheep, it was to restore to him the function of which he had proved unworthy, and of which he had been deprived in denying Christ. As Peter repented, he deserved to be reinstated, and he was, but it is a mistake to transform this reinstatement as a simple apostle into exaltation above all the other apostles. Rome accomplished the alteration of the constitution of the Church by means of grossly erroneous interpretations of texts; the policy and the ambition of the bishops of Rome did the rest.

Such is the spirit in which Old Roman Catholics have set about restoring the true conception of the Church and realizing the ecclesiastical reform claimed for such a long time 'in capite et in membris'.

Union of the Christian Churches
This reform of the Church would have been very imperfect if it had not from the very beginning implied the re-establishment of union among the separate Churches. It has been rightly said that 'it is as difficult to see Christ behind the Church as to see the sun behind the darkness of night'. From the very start of our work we have made it one of our aims to study means of reviving this union. Our efforts during our international congresses, and our writings on this question in Revue internationale de theologie [1893 - 1910], are well known; great reconciliations have been effected among all the Churches that have taken part in these, and, if the union has not yet been sanctioned, it is because there are still administrative obstacles to be overcome, and especially prejudices of a hierarchical kind to be put down - a matter of time, which more favourable social circumstances will undoubtedly help to bring to a successful issue.

It is already apparent to all eyes that the 'union' aimed at is on the 'unity' which many had at first imaged. That the latter is not necessary; and that, moreover, it is impossible, considering the needs of various kinds which are prevalent among the nations and which form part of human nature itself. The chimera of a false unity being removed, matter-of-fact men will return to the real nature of spiritual union and the 'bond of peace' [Eph. 4:3], which will be sufficient to form real Christian brotherhood throughout the world.

A better understanding has already been reached as to the respects in which the Christian Churches ought to be one, and those in which they ought to remain distinct and all. When all are one in loving one another, in working together for the social well-being, in banishing from their theology every trace of anthropomorphism and politics, in becoming more spiritually-minded after the pattern of Christ, and in establishing the reign of God in every individual conscience, then the union in question will be very near being declared.

Revd Fr Charles T Brusca
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On the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
The following compiled by Archbishop Lloyd of Selsey explains the Old Roman appreciation of the pious doctrine known as the "Immaculate" Conception. 

According to Prosper of Aquitaine, legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi, which is to say, ‘the law of prayer determines the law of belief’ (Prosper used the equivalent term lex supplicandi in place of lex orandi). Prosper treats the church’s prayer as an authoritative source for theology in arguing that salvation must come entirely at God’s initiative since in the liturgy the Church prayed for the conversion of infidels, Jews, heretics, schismatics and the lapsed who would not seek the true faith on their own. (Charles R. Hohenstein, “‘Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi’: Cautionary Notes “. Cf. Prosper of Aquitaine, De vocatione omnium gentium, 1, 12: PL 51, 664C.) The same phrase turns up in an official document of the Holy See, Indiculus, which was a compilation of all the authoritative statements of the Bishops of Rome on the subject of grace with reference to converts, heretics and schismatics, “Let us be mindful also of the sacraments of priestly public prayer, which handed down by the Apostles are uniformly celebrated in the whole world and in every Catholic Church, in order that the law of supplication may support the law of believing.” (Indiculus, chapter 8; Denz., n. 246 [old edition, n. 139]). It is believed that this document was edited by St. Prosper himself, as he was Pope St. Celestine’s secretary at the time. This highlights the grave importance of tradition in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and all the Church’s liturgy. It also shows us that the liturgy itself is a powerful source of Christian truth. When contemporary Rome returns to our liturgical Latin Rite traditions and take this axiom seriously again – as we Old Roman Western Orthodox do – the Eastern Orthodox, for whom tradition, liturgy, and the rule of faith are virtually synonymous – will take Rome seriously again.

The Eastern Christian Church first celebrated a “Feast of the Conception of the Most Holy and All Pure Mother of God” on December 9, perhaps as early as the 5th century in Syria. The original title of the feast focused more specifically on Saint Anne, being termed “sylepsis tes hagias kai theoprometoros Annas” (“conception of Saint Anne, the Ancestress of God”). After the feast was translated to the Western Church in the 8th century, it began to be celebrated on December 8. It spread from the Byzantine area of Southern Italy to Normandy during the period of Norman dominance over southern Italy. From there it spread to England, France, Germany, and eventually Rome.

The proper for the feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Medieval Sarum Missal merely addresses the fact of her conception. In 1568, Pope Pius V revised the Roman Breviary, and though the Franciscans were allowed to retain the “Immaculate” Office and Mass written by Bernardine dei Busti, this office was suppressed for the rest of the Church, and the office of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin was substituted instead, the word “Conception” being substituted for “Nativity.” According to the Papal Bull Commissi Nobis Divinitus, dated 6 December 1708, Pope Clement XI mandated the feast as a day of Solemnity and a Holy Day of Obligation. Prior to 1854, most missals referred to it as the Feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The festal texts of this period focused more on the action of Mary’s conception than on the theological question of her preservation from original sin. A missal published in England in 1806 indicates the same Collect for the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was used for this feast as well [The Roman Missal in English Tr. John England (Philadelphia: Eugene Chummiskey, 1843), p. 529.] If the Rule of Believing really is established by the Rule of Praying, then eodem sensu eademque sententia is right at the heart of whether the doctrine should ever have been dogmatised. The Deposit of Faith, the Tradition handed on through the Apostles, can only ever exist, can only ever be expressed, so that it comes to Christ’s People with the same sense and with the same meaning.

Throughout Christian history, from the rising of the sun to its setting, the forms of the Liturgy rested on the auctoritas of Tradition; of the centuries which prescribed and graciously sanctified what was being done. That auctoritas was guaranteed, strongly backed up by, the (more transient) human structures of power within the Church, which preserved the Liturgy’s integrity and guided its gradual and organic evolution. It was inconceivable that things could be different. Never had it been otherwise. Yet in 1854 Pope Pius IX created a new liturgy with different emphasis to accompany the promulgation of his new dogma.

The following is the Ultrajectine episcopate’s response to the promulgation by Bl. Pius IX of Rome in 1854 of the Bull, “Ineffabilis Deus” dogmatising the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Taken from “A History of the So-Called Jansenist Church of Holland; with a Sketch of Its Earlier Annals, And some Account of the Brothers of the Common Life” by the Rev. J.M. Neale, M.A. published at Oxford: John Henry and James Parker, 1858. Pope Sixtus IV had left Latin Rite Catholics free to believe that Mary was subject to original sin or not, having “allowed its celebration in the entire Church” by his decree of 1476; this freedom had been reiterated by the Council of Trent.

Most holy Father, — The year of the Incarnation, eighteen hundred and fifty-four, the sixth of the Ides of December, in the church of S. Peter, the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of our Saviour, was solemnly promulgated by your Holiness, as a dogma of the Christian faith. It is impossible to say how much such an event has astonished us; much more, has afflicted us. We might, perhaps, have been reproached for not having sooner made known our sentiments regarding so prodigious an occurrence. The sincere faith of the Church of Utrecht is sufficiently well known in the Catholic world. True Catholics have therefore certainly concluded that she rejected without hesitation the new and false dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Most Holy Virgin Mary. But our Church has not considered this good opinion of her faith a sufficient reason for not publicly manifesting her opposition to the new dogma. We owe to our dignity, to the Catholic faith, to the defenders of the truth, its open rejection. This is why we should think we had failed in our duty if we longer kept silence.

The integrity of the faith in which we have been instructed from our earliest years does not allow us to be silent. The charge which has been entrusted to us, notwithstanding our unworthiness, imposes a very grave obligation upon us, that of openly professing our belief upon the fact in question. We are, indeed, persuaded that the sacred deposit of the faith can neither be augmented nor diminished. In our office of Bishops of the Catholic Church, we have been charged to preserve intact that deposit. “Keep that which is committed to thy trust,” wrote S. Paul to his disciple Timothy, (1 Tim. vi. 20). S. Vincent of Lérins did not think that this was only written for Timothy; all those who should succeed him, by the very fact that they are bishops, ought to receive this commandment as written for them.

Now, the opinion which you have promulgated of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, Mother of our Saviour, would add to the faith. In fact, before the eleventh century of the Christian era, no such prerogative was anywhere recognised as belonging to the Blessed Virgin. If we turn either to the Eastern or the Western Church, and interrogate these two parts of the Catholic world upon their faith, we cannot find in either of them the slightest trace of this opinion before the time we have mentioned. If we appeal to the writings of the sovereign pontiffs your predecessors, we are convinced that they did not hold this opinion before the century above-mentioned; still further, it would not be difficult for us to quote some words of the sovereign pontiffs which are contrary to it. Let us only point out Innocent III., Innocent V., and Clement VI. It would be equally easy for us to cite some clear passages of Holy Scripture diametrically opposed to this new opinion. We can gain nothing, then, from the two sources of the Divine Word in favour of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, Mother of God. Therefore, to preserve this deposit as much as in us lies, we raise our voices, and we say that the said doctrine carries on its face the mark of novelty. This is the first and important reason which our judgment induces us to put forth.

The Bishops of the Catholic Church have not been allowed to be judges of this doctrine; and this is the second complaint we have to address to your Holiness. To the Bishops, in short, belongs the right to judge. No notice has been taken of this right attached to the episcopal character. The whole order of Bishops has not been asked its sentiments touching the opinion in question. The letters of those which have been addressed to Rome are only particular writings; the voice of their Churches has not been heard. Now it is certain that the right of judging is inherent in the episcopate. The Council of Jerusalem, the first and the model of all councils, proves the prerogative. For when S. Peter, the first of the apostles, had spoken, S. James rose, and said, “My sentence is,” (Acts xv. 19). Those Bishops, successors and vicars of the apostles, who have heard you, by yourself, proclaiming a new dogma of faith, have they safely kept their right? No, indeed, they have only been silent witnesses or contemptible flatterers. How the episcopal dignity was disgraced in this gathering, illustrious in appearance! No one came forward as the courageous guardian of his order. Without wishing to fail in the respect which is due to you, we will tell you the truth, most holy Father! To raise the head higher than was right, the most illustrious members of the body have been humbled. Thanks be to God, we have not yet forgotten our dignity, and we complain to you of the injury which has been done to it.

The love of our Church: this is the third reason which obliges us to reject publicly the false dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin. This love demands that we should take the greatest care to preserve our Church free from error. Through the grace of God, the faith has been preserved there pure, notwithstanding the events which have too often shaken it in our country. We have therefore thought that it was our duty to put far from her all novelty in that which regards articles of faith. After the confusion introduced, three years since, in the hierarchical order, the integrity of the Catholic faith might have been threatened. Our intention is to ensure ourselves from this danger; and we ought to use all our efforts to present our Church to Christ as a chaste virgin. Our duty is to transmit to posterity the ancient faith, in its simplicity and purity, as we have received it from our predecessors. Removed from all novelty, as friends of antiquity, we distinguish by this, with Tertullian, the true doctrine from the false, — “That comes evidently from the Lord, and is true, which has been from the beginning; but that is strange and false, which has been added in the course of time.” (Praescript, c. 31.) The Apostle of the Gentiles has warned us not less than Timothy, “avoiding profane and vain babblings (1 Timothy vi. 20); babblings, that is to say, novelties of dogmas, of things, of sentiments, which are contrary to truth and to antiquity; if these are admitted, the faith of the holy fathers must be violated in everything, or at least in a great measure.” Thus speaks S. Vincent of Lérins.

About two centuries ago, the ambassador of Philip IV, king of Spain, asked, in the name of his master, your predecessor, Alexander VII, a decision on the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin. This Pope wished to know if he could decide the question, and he interrogated Cardinal Bona on this subject. The pious and learned Cardinal replied to him, that neither the Holy See nor the Church herself could make new articles of faith, but that they could only declare what God had revealed to His Church, after having examined, according to rule, the traditions transmitted from the apostles. “Could I not,” replied the Pope, “under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, decide what we ought to believe on this point?” “Most holy Father,” said Bona, “that which might be divinely discovered to you, could only serve for you, and it would not be permitted you to oblige the faithful, any more than myself, to adhere to your decision.” Would to God that a procedure so wise and so catholic had been followed by all the successors of S. Peter!

We have thought it a matter of honour and duty to offer to your Holiness the pastoral instruction which we have joined to this letter. In order that it may be better and more clearly known in our dioceses what Catholics ought to believe regarding the new dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin, we have published it for the Dutch in the language of our country.

Our Church has often appealed to the Future Oecumenical Council that shall be legitimately assembled. It appears necessary to us to renew that appeal. On account of the violation which this deposit of the faith has suffered, and because of the injury which has been done to the episcopal order, when it has been desired to establish, as a dogma revealed from God, the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of our Saviour, we reserve to ourselves the right to make our appeal in time and place fitting. May the Father of lights give to our hearts enlightened eyes, and may He work in us that which pleases Him!

We have signed with veneration,
Most Holy Father, The most humble servants of your Holiness,
+John, Archbishop of Utrecht; (Van Santen).
+Henry john, Bishop of Haarlem; (Van Buul.)
+Hermann, Bishop of Deventer; (Heykamp).

Given at Utrecht, the 18 of the Calends of Sept., 1856.
The Secretary-General, Henri Loos.


The following provide the references to the three Popes mentioned at the beginning of the letter, Innocent III [1161-1216], Innocent V [1225-1276] and Clement VI [1291-1362].

Innocent III

Sermon on the Purification of the Virgin
But forthwith [upon the Angel’s words, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee’] the Holy Ghost came upon her. He had before come into her, when, in her mother’s womb, He cleansed her soul from original sin; but now too He came upon her to cleanse her flesh from the ‘fomes’ of sin, that she might be altogether without spot or wrinkle. That tyrant then of the flesh, the sickness of nature, the ‘fomes’ of sin, as I think, He altogether extinguished, that henceforth any motion from the law of sin should not be able to arise in her members.

Sermon on the Assumption, Sermon 2 (aka Second Discourse on the Assumption)
Eve was produced without sin, but she brought forth in sin; Mary was produced in sin, but she brought forth without sin.

On the Feast of John the Baptist, i (Sermon 16 on Feast Days)
Of John the Angel does not speak of the conception but of the birth. But of Jesus he predicts alike the Birth and the Conception. For to Zechariah the father it is predicted, ‘Thy wife shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John,’ but to Mary the mother it is predicted, ‘Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bear a Son, and shalt call His Name Jesus.’ For John was conceived in fault, but Christ Alone was conceived without fault. But each was born in grace, and therefore the Nativity of each is celebrated, but the Conception of Christ Alone is celebrated.

Innocent V

Commentary on Peter Lombard’s Sentences, Book 3, Distinction 3, Question 1, Article 1
The nearer any one approaches to the Holy of Holies, so much the greater degree of sanctification ought he to have, for there is no approach to Him, except through sanctification. But the mother approaches more than all to the Son, Who is the Holy of Holies; therefore she ought to have a greater degree of sanctification after her Son. The degree of sanctification may be understood as fourfold: either that one have sanctity (1) before conception and birth; (2) after conception and birth; (3) in the conception itself and birth; (4) in birth, not in conception. For, ‘in conception and not in birth’ is impossible. The first degree is not possible, both because personal perfection (like knowledge or virtue) is not transfused from the parents; and also because in children the being of grace cannot take place, before the actual being of nature, upon which it is founded. The second degree is common to all, according to the common law of sanctification through sacraments. The third is peculiar to the Holy of Holies, in Whom Alone all sanctification took place at once, conception, sanctification, assumption. There remains then the fourth. But this has four degrees; because the foetus, when conceived in the womb, may be understood to be sanctified either before animation, or in the animation, or soon after the animation, or long after the animation. The first degree is impossible, because according to Dionysius (de div. nom. c. 12) ‘Holiness is cleanness free from all defilement, and perfect and immaculate;’ but the uncleanness of fault is not expelled except through ‘grace making gracious’ [acceptable], as darkness by light, of which grace the reasonable creature only is the subject. The second degree was not suitable to the Virgin, because either she would not have contracted original sin, and so would not have needed the universal sanctification and redemption of Christ, or if she had contracted it, grace and fault could not have been in her at once. The fourth degree also was not suitable to the Virgin, because it did suit John and Jeremiah, and because it did not suit so great holiness that she should have lingered long in sin, as others; but John was sanctified in the sixth month (Luke i.). But the third seems suitable and piously credible, although it be not derived from Scripture, that she should have been sanctified, soon after her animation, either on the very day or hour, although not at the same moment.

Clement VI

Sermon One of the Lord’s Advent (aka “Sigua erunt in sole.”)
But before I divide the theme, it seems that that Conception ought not to be celebrated, first, on the authority of Bernard, who, in his Epistle to the Lyonnese [canons], gravely reprehends them, because they had received the feast and held it solemnly. Because no feast ought to be celebrated, except for reverence of the sanctity of the person as to whom it is celebrated, since such honor is shown to saints on account of the [relation] which they have to God above others; but this is on account of holiness; and not actual sin only, but original sin also [separates] from God. But the Blessed Virgin was conceived in original sin, as many saints seem to say, and may be proved by many grounds. It seems that the Church ought not to hold a festival of her Conception. Here, being unwilling to dispute, I say briefly that one thing is clear, that the Blessed Virgin contracted original sin in the cause. The cause and reason is this, that, as being conceived from the coming together of man and woman, she was conceived through passion, and therefore she had original sin in the cause, which her Son had not, because He was not conceived of seed of man, but through the mystic breathing (Luke i.), ‘The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee.’ And therefore not to have original sin is a singular privilege of Christ Alone. But whether she had ‘in form’ original sin, or was by Divine virtue preserved, there are different opinions among Doctors. But however it was, I say, that if, in form and not in cause only, she had original sin, we may still very reasonably keep festival of her Conception, supposing that, according to all most opposed, it was but a little hour that she was in original sin, because according to all she was sanctified as soon as she could be sanctified.


The Ultrajectine bishops suggest there were other Roman Pontiffs they could’ve referred to in their letter to Bl. Pius IX. The noted theologian and ecclesiastical historian Philip Schaff (January 1, 1819 – October 20, 1893) who spent most of his adult life living and teaching in the United States, identified seven Popes in total, as well as various other canonised Doctors of the Church and highly venerated theologians.
(Creeds of Christendom, Volume 1, Chapter 4, Section 29)

Schaff on the Immaculate Conception:
The third step, which exempts Mary from original sin as well, is of much later origin. It meets us first as a pious opinion in connection with the festival of the Conception of Mary, which was fixed upon Dec. 8, nine months before the older festival of her birth (celebrated Sept. 8). This festival was introduced by the Canons at Lyons in France, Dec. 8, 1139, and gradually spread into England and other countries. Although it was at first intended to be the festival of the Conception of the immaculate Mary, it concealed the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, since every ecclesiastical solemnity acknowledges the sanctity of its object.

For this reason, Bernard of Clairvaux, ‘the honey-flowing doctor’ (doctor mellifluus), and greatest saint of his age, who, by a voice mightier than the Pope’s, roused Europe to the second crusade, opposed the festival as a false honor to the royal Virgin, which she does not need, and as an unauthorized innovation, which was the mother of temerity, the sister of superstition, and the daughter of levity. [FN228] He urged against it that it was not sanctioned by the Roman Church. He rejected the opinion of the Immaculate Conception of Mary as contrary to tradition and derogatory to the dignity of Christ, the only sinless being, and asked the Canons of Lyons the pertinent question, ‘Whence they discovered such a hidden fact? On the same ground they might appoint festivals for the conception of the parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents of Mary, and so on without end.’ [FN229] It does not diminish, but rather increases (for the Romish stand-point) the weight of his protest, that he was himself an enthusiastic eulogist of Mary, and a believer in her sinless birth. He put her in this respect on a par with Jeremiah and John the Baptist. [FN230]

The same ground was taken substantially by the greatest schoolmen of the Middle Ages till the beginning of the fourteenth century: Anselm of Canterbury (d. 1109), who closely followed Augustine; [FN231] Peter the Lombard, ‘the Master of Sentences’ (d. 1161); Alexander of Hales, ‘the irrefragable doctor’ (d. 1245); St. Bonaventura, ‘the seraphic doctor’ (d. 1274); Albertus Magnus, ‘the wonderful doctor’ (d. 1280); St. Thomas Aquinas, ‘the angelic doctor’ (d. 1274), and the very champion of orthodoxy, followed by the whole school of Thomists and the order of the Dominicans. St. Thomas taught that Mary was conceived from sinful flesh in the ordinary way, secundum carnis concupiscentiam ex commixtione maris, and was sanctified in the womb after the infusion of the soul (which is called the passive conception); for otherwise she would not have needed the redemption of Christ, and so Christ would not be the Saviour of all men. He distinguishes, however, three grades in the sanctification of the Blessed Virgin: first, the sanctificatio in utero, by which she was freed from the original guilt (culpa originalis); secondly, the sanctificatio in conceptu Domini, when the Holy Ghost overshadowed her, whereby she was totally purged (totaliter mundata) from the fuel or incentive to sin (fomes peccati); and, thirdly, the sanctificatio in morte, by which she was freed from all consequences of sin (liberata ab omni miseria). Of the festival of the Conception, he says that it was not observed, but tolerated by the Church of Rome, and, like the festival of the Assumption, was not to be entirely rejected (non totaliter reprobanda). [FN232] The University of Paris, which during the Middle Ages was regarded as the third power in Europe, gave the weight of its authority for a long time to the doctrine of the Maculate Conception. Even seven Popes are quoted on the same side, and among them three of the greatest, viz., Leo I. (who says that Christ alone was free from original sin, and that Mary obtained her purification through her conception of Christ), Gregory I., and Innocent III. [FN233]

And here are the footnotes:
[FN228] ‘Virgo regia falso non eget honore, veris cumalata honorum titulis. . . . Non est hoc Virginem honorare sed honori detraher. . . . Præsumpta novitas mater temeritatis, soror superstitionis, filia levitatis.’ See his Epistola 174, ad Canonicos Lugdunenses, De conceptione S. Mar. (Op. ed. Migne, I. pp. 332–336). Comp. also Bernard’s Sermo 78 in Cant., Op. Vol. II. pp.1160, 1162.

[FN229] . . . ‘et sic tenderetur in infinitum, et festorum non esset numerus’ (Ep. 174, p. 334 sq.)

[FN230] ‘Si igitur ante conceptum sui sanctificari minime potuit, quoniam non erat; sed nec in ipso quidem conceptu, propter peccatum quod inerat: restat ut post conceptum in utero jam existens sanctificationem accepisse credatur, quæ excluso peccato sanctam fecerit nativitatem, non tamen et conceptionem’ (l.c. p. 336).

[FN231] Anselm, who is sometimes wrongly quoted on the other side, says, Cur Deus Homo, ii. 16 (Op. ed. Migne, I. p. 416): ‘Virgo ipsa . . . est in iniquitatibus concepta, et in peccatis concepit eam mater ejus, et cum originali peccato nata est, quoniam et ipsa in Adam peccavit, in quo omnes peccaverunt.’ To these words of Boso, Anselm replies that ‘Christ, though taken from the sinful mass (de massa peccatrice assumptus), had no sin.’ Then he speaks of Mary twice as being purified from sin (mundata a peccatis) by the future death of Christ (c. 16, 17). His pupil and biographer, Eadmer, in his book De excellent. beatæ Virg. Mariæ, c. 3 (Ans. Op. ed. Migne, II. pp. 560–62), says that the blessed Virgin was freed from all remaining stains of hereditary and actual sin when she consented to the announcement of the mystery of the Incarnation by the angel.’ Quoted also by Perrone, pp. 47–49.

[FN232] Summa Theologiæ, Pt. III. Qu. 27 (De sanctificatione B. Virg.), Art. 1–5; in Libr. I. Sentent. Dist. 44, Qu. 1, Art. 3. Nevertheless, Perrone (pp. 231 sqq.) thinks that St. Bernard and St. Thomas are not in the way of a definition of the new dogma, ‘because they wrote at a time when this view was not yet made quite clear, and because they lacked the principal support, which subsequently came to its aid; hence they must in this case be regarded as private teachers, propounding their own particular opinions, but not as witnesses of the traditional meaning of the Church.’ He then goes on to charge these doctors with comparative ignorance of previous Church history. This may be true, but does not help the matter; since the fuller knowledge of the Fathers in modern times reveals a still wider dissent from the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

[FN233] The other Popes, who taught that Mary was conceived in sin, are Gelasius I., Innocent V., John XXII., and Clement VI. (d. 1352). The proof is furnished by the Jansenist Launoy, Prœscriptions, Opera I. pp. 17 sqq., who also shows that the early Franciscans, and even Loyola and the early Jesuits, denied the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Perrone calls him an ‘irreligious innovator’ (p. 34), and an ‘impudent liar’ (p. 161), but does not refute his arguments, and evades the force of his quotations from Leo, Gelasius, and Gregory by the futile remark that they would prove too much, viz., that Mary was even born in sin, and not purified before the Incarnation, which would be impious!
(Creeds of Christendom, Volume 1, Chapter 4, Section 29)


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For health & well-being…
John & Peggy A, Sue D, Bob F, Linda I, Michael & Esther K, Andrew M, Margaret S, Sandra W, Karen W, Paul & Margaret W, John M,  Christopher, Lyn B, Simon G, Dagmar B, Karen K, Debbie G, Finley G, Diane C, Paul, +Rommel B, Penny E, Colin R, John, Ronald, Lilian & family, Ruth L, David G, David P, Fr Graham F, S&A, +Charles of Wisconsin, Fr Terrence M, +Guo Xijin, +John P, Karl R-W, Fr Kristopher M & family, Mark Coggan, Fr Nicholas P, Ounissa, Ronald Buczek, Rik C, Juanita Alaniz & family, Shirley & Selwyn V, Trayanka K, Amanda A, Evelyn B, Matt & Bethan, Ros R, Ralph S, Brenda M, Carmen, Tony, Marie, Ryan, Eva, Tello, Olive S, David, Joyce T, Ray & Ruth M, Diane & Rebecca, Czarina, William H., Zofia K., Sean H., Laura P, +Andrew Vellone, Marvin, Rene, Czarina, Hunter, Audrey, Susie, Ed Julius De Leon, Trayanka, Bayani Antonio, Jovita Villanueva, Migdelio, Tomas, Divina Dela Paz Labayen, Patrick H, Katherine G, Angela & Claire D, Maria, James T, Luke & Mariane, Eugenia B, Cristina H, Marina M,  

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For the faithful departed…
Lauretta (21.01.19), Clive Reed (23.01.19), Fr John Wright (24.01.19), Shelley Luben (11.12.18), Mick Howells (13.12.18), Daniel Callaghan (13.02.19), Alfie (Hub guest), Père Pierre Fournier (08.02.19), Jill Lewis (24.02.19), Cynthia Sharpe Conger (28.02.19), Richard (Ricky) Belmonte (10/03/19), Fr Leo Cameron OSA (29.03.19), Fr John Corbett (30.03.19), Deacon Richard Mulholland (Easter Day), Peter, Bernard Brown (27.06.19), Peter Ellis (01.08.19), Petronila Antonio (10.09.19), Fr Mark Spring (13.09.19), Jean Marchant (15.09.19), Mary Kelly (15.10.19), John Pender (23.10.19), Fr David Cole (17/12/20), Fr Graham Francis (03.01.20), Pauline Sheila White (06/01/20), Wendy Lamb (04/03/20), Sister Sienna O.P. 02.04.20 (COVID19), David Harvey 05.04.20 (COVID19), Fr Antonio Benedetto OSB, Pam Finch, Alejandro Garcia, Mrs Hayes, Kevin Browne, +Amadeus Dion Batain, Anthony Page, Ravi Zacariah, Jeniffer Basbas Lopoz, Amelia Santos Mcasera, Evelyn Tantay Batitis, Teroy Ambrad, Escolastico Ibanez, Angelita Lachica Morales, Amadeus Dion Batain, Fr Beaumont Brandie, Pjerin, Tom, Ambrocio Cruz, Natividad Cruz, Anita Cruz, Alice Juan, Officer Sutton, Peter Sheriff (05.06.20), Walenty Kolosionsek (30.06.20), Fr Bill Scot, Emmanuel Narciso, Remedios Legaspi, Robin Plummer (15.07.20), Eunice Banag (09.08.20), Fr Anthony Cedaka (11.09.20)

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PHILIPPINESBacoor Parish of Jesus the Divine Mercy, Copper St. Platinum Ville, San Nicolas III, Bacoor, Province of Cavite

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THE AMERICAS

USA, Brooklyn, NY Blessed Sacrament Catholic Community, Mustard Residence 440 Lenox Road, Apt 3H Brooklyn, New York 11226

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