EUROPE: ENGLAND: BISHOP ASKS CATHOLICS NOT TO BE "FIXATED" WITH ISSUES-
ASIA: VIETNAM: FR. VAN LY SUFFER STROKE WHILE IN JAIL-
AFRICA: CATHOLIC'S HOPE LEADERS WILL DO MORE AFTER SYNOD -
AUSTRALIA: PARLIAMENT DEFEATS VOLUNTARY EUTHANASIA BILL-
A community of Benedictine sisters living in the Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph have released a Christmas CD titled “Christmas at Ephesus.” Proceeds from their new CD, comprised of traditional carols as well as the sisters' compositions, will go toward the building of a new monastery. The Benedictines of Mary Queen of Apostles are still new to the Kansas City Catholic community, invited by Bishop Robert W. Finn in 2006. A traditional monastic community of women who desire to emulate the Blessed Virgin Mary by living in quiet seclusion at the Priory of Our Lady of Ephesus, they are a joyful group who sing while at work, at prayer or at play.
Last year the sisters recorded their first CD, “Echoes of Ephesus,” described by the prioress, Mother Therese McNamara, as a window into the life of the community. “People didn’t know about us,” she said. “But since that CD, they’ve been bringing us their prayer requests, for priests and for vocations, and priests have been coming to us for retreats.”
The sisters recently broke ground for a new monastery near Gower, Missouri. The proceeds from the Christmas CD will go toward that building plan.
The sisters have been encouraged by the success of the CD released last year. Nearly 60,000 copies were sold or given out. Their music and charism caught the attention of Ian Byrne, a Kansas City businessman and lead singer for the local Irish band The Elders. Through Byrne, the sisters connected with Steve Phillips, a recording engineer and musician with the band. With his assistance, the CD was recorded at Conception Abbey, where the acoustics are just right. Production costs were reduced by packaging the discs in cardboard cases.
Mother Therese is pleased with the results. “A lot of the arrangements are our own,” she said. “We recorded a fresh translation of Silent Night from the original German. One of the sisters did the translation and another set it to music. The church’s organ was broken so composer Franz Gruber played the accompaniment for Stille Nacht on his guitar.”
Some of the songs are familiar carols; others are original compositions by the sisters. Almost every day, one of the sisters is inspired to write a song, Mother Therese said. “We’re not professionals,” she said. “We just love to sing.”
The CDs, Christmas at Ephesus and Echoes of Ephesus, can be purchased for $20 online at the community’s website: http://www.benedictinesofmary.org/page-musicalrecordings.html
ENGLAND: BISHOP ASKS CATHOLICS NOT TO BE "FIXATED" WITH ISSUES
The Catholic Herald reports that Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton has told Catholics not to get “fixated” with issues such as the liturgy and contraception.In a pastoral letter read out in churches in his diocese last weekend, he also revealed that he was reported to the Vatican for comments he made about Confession in a previous letter. Bishop Conry wrote: “In May of this year I wrote a letter to you all and suggested that you might go along to the priest and talk about the one thing that was the biggest obstacle in your relationship with God. Someone was clearly unhappy with this and reported this advice to the Vatican. I had a very kind letter from the Holy See asking me to correct the impression I might have given, and I am very happy to do this.”In his letter Bishop Conry had suggested that people go to the confessional to talk about how the spark had gone out of their relationship with God, and what was making them tired. “Go to the priest and talk about these things, the way in which your relationship with God might have grown stale,” he wrote. But in his most recent pastoral letter he explained: “I was not suggesting that this is an alternative to the traditional practice of confession of sins, an integral part of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I was hoping that it might be a way back to the Sacrament for many people, a ‘toe back into the water’. The Church’s traditional teaching is that serious sins (what used to be called ‘mortal sins’) should be confessed at least once a year before receiving Communion, and that even the less serious sins (so-called ‘venial sins’ or ‘everyday faults’ as the Catechism puts it) should also be confessed, in order to form our conscience and help us advance along our spiritual path. All this is explained very clearly in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in Chapter 2, Article 4, ‘The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation’.”But Bishop Conry added: “It is all too easy to get caught up and even fixated with single issues, whether this is in religion or politics. So many people tend to focus on liturgy – even the language of the Mass – as if this somehow expresses the core of our beliefs. “Others campaign on the moral issues of the day. Someone said recently that a person’s attitude to Humanae Vitae was a ‘litmus test’ of being a Catholic, whereas many might not know what Humanae Vitae is. “These are all undoubtedly important issues, but they will never get anywhere near expressing our faith in its entirety, and we can ask if some of these questions are actually fundamental to faith at all.”Critics have accused the bishop of being hostile to the introduction of the Extraordinary Form since the Pope’s Motu Proprio in 2007. But he has always maintained that he never attempted to restrict its use, only that some of the demands of traditionalist Catholics were “over the top”. (SOURCE: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/articles/a0000692.shtml
VIETNAM: FR. VAN LY SUFFER STROKE WHILE IN JAIL
UCAN reports that Hue archdiocesan officials hope to visit a jailed fellow priest, Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly, who is in a state-run hospital after suffering a stroke.
Father Thadeus Nguyen Van Ly (right) talks with a security official at Ba Sao detention camp in October
Hue Church leaders have petitioned Thua Thien-Hue provincial security officials on Nov. 17 to visit Father Ly, a priest of the archdiocese. "We hope to meet him next week," said a priest from Hue Archbishop's House.
The priest, who requested anonymity, said Church officials first heard about Father Ly's condition from his nephew, Nguyen Cong Hoang, after he visited his uncle in a special ward at a Hanoi hospital on Nov. 16.
Hoang told the Church officials that Father Ly suffered the stroke on Nov. 14 while praying in his room at the Ba Sao camp in Ha Nam province in northern Vietnam. Father Ly has been serving his sentence there since 2007.
"He's now able to eat chao (rice porridge), read newspapers, watch television and walk around his room, which is under guard," Hoang said.
He said Nguyen Thi Hieu, Father Ly's sister, was to visit the priest in hospital. Prison officials informed her of the stroke the day after it happened, Hoang added.
This is the second stroke Father Ly has suffered this year. Two priests from the archdiocese visited him in September after he suffered his first stroke.
On that occasion, the two priests also met prison and security officials at the camp and asked them to allow the jailed priest to get medical treatment in hospital.
Father Ly was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment in December 1983 for allegedly undermining national unity and causing public disorder. In 2001, he was sentenced to 15 years' jail for allegedly disseminating anti-government propaganda.
He was released from prison in February 2005 but remained under house arrest in the Hue archbishop's residence. He was arrested again on Feb. 18, 2007, and sentenced to eight years in March of that year for anti-government activities after he allegedly helped organize a pro-democracy party.
CATHOLIC'S HOPE LEADERS WILL DO MORE AFTER SYNOD
Liberal MP David Ridgway rose just before the vote to withdraw his support and the bill was defeated, ABC reports. He told parliament he had rethought his position in light of his mother's death last week.
"I don't come to here with any great religious disposition as some members who are opposed to the bill or any other real position," he said.
"I just, at this point in time, don't feel comfortable supporting the bill." (source; http://www.cathnews.com/article.aspx?aeid=17826
The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Feast: November 21
Religious parents never fail by devout prayer to consecrate their children to the divine service and love, both before and after their birth. Some amongst the Jews, not content with this general consecration of their children, offered them to God in their infancy, by the hands of the priests in the temple, to be lodged in apartments belonging to the temple, and brought up in attending the priests and Levites in the sacred ministry. It is an ancient tradition, that the Blessed Virgin Mary was thus solemnly offered to God in the temple in her infancy. This festival of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin, or, as it is often called by the Greeks, the entrance of the Blessed Virgin into the Temple, is mentioned in the most ancient Greek Menologies extant.
By the consecration which the Blessed Virgin made of herself to God in the first use which she made of her reason, we are admonished of the most important and strict obligation which all persons lie under, of an early dedication of themselves to the divine love and service. It is agreed amongst all masters of Christian morality, that everyone is bound in the first moral instant of the use of reason to convert his heart to God by love; and if divine faith be then duly proposed to him (which is the case of Christian children) by a supernatural assent to it, he is bound then to make an act of faith; also an act of hope in God as a supernatural rewarder and helper, and an act of divine charity. Who can be secure that in the very moment in which he entered into his moral life and was capable of living to God, did not stain his innocence by a capital omission of this duty? How diligent and solicitous are parents bound to be in instructing their children in the first fundamental mysteries of faith, and in the duty of prayer, and in impressing upon their tender minds a sense of spiritual things in a manner in which their age may be capable of receiving it. These first fruits of the heart are a sacrifice of which God is infinitely jealous, an emblem of which were all the sacrifices of first fruits prescribed in the old law, in token that he is our beginning and last end. Such a heart, adorned with the baptismal grace of innocence, has particular charms. Grace recovered by penance is not like that of innocence which has never been defiled; nor is it the same happiness for a soul to return to God from the slavery of sin, as for one to give him her first affections, and to open her understanding and will to his love before the world has found any entrance there. The tender soul of Mary was then adorned with the most precious graces, an object of astonishment and praise to the angels, and of the highest complacence to the adorable Trinity, the Father looking upon her as his beloved daughter, the Son, as one chosen and prepared to become his mother, and the Holy Ghost as his darling spouse.
Her first presentation to God, made by the hands of her parents and by her own devotion, was then an offering most acceptable in his sight. Let our consecration of ourselves to God be made under her patronage, and assisted by her powerful intercession and the union of her merits. If we have reason to fear that we criminally neglected this duty at the first dawning of our reason, or, if we have since been unfaithful to our sacred baptismal engagements, such is the mercy and goodness of our gracious God, that he disdains not our late offerings. But that these may be accepted by him, we must first prepare the present he requires of us, that is, our hearts. They must be washed and cleansed in the sacred laver of Christ's adorable blood, by means of sincere compunction and penance; and all inordinate affections must be pared away by our perfectly renouncing in spirit, honours, riches, and pleasures, and being perfectly disengaged from creatures, and ready to do and suffer all for God, that we may be entirely his, and that neither the world nor pride, nor any irregular passion may have any place in us. What secret affections to this or that creature lurk in our souls, which hinder us from being altogether his, unless they are perfectly cut off or reformed! This Mary did by spending her youth in holy retirement, at a distance from the commerce and corruption of the world, and by the most assiduous application to all the duties and exercises of a religious and interior life. Mary was the first who set up the standard of virginity; and, by consecrating it by a perpetual vow to our Lord, she opened the way to all virgins who have since followed her example. They, in particular, ought to take her for their special patroness, and, as her life was the most perfect model of their state, they ought always to have her example before their eyes, and imitate her in prayer, humility, modesty, silence, and retirement.
Mary lived retired until she was introduced into the world and espoused to St. Joseph. Some think her espousals were at first only a promise or betrothing: but the ends assigned by the fathers, seem rather to show them to have been a marriage. These are summed up by St. Jerome as follows: that by the pedigree of Joseph, the descent of Mary from the tribe of Juda, might be demonstrated; that she might not be stoned by the Jews as an adulteress; that, fleeing into Egypt, she might have the comfort and protection of a spouse. A fourth reason, says St. Jerome, is added by the martyr Ignatius: that the birth of the Son of God might be concealed from the devil. The words of that apostolic father are: "Three mysteries wrought by God in silence were concealed from the prince of this world. the virginity of Mary, the bringing forth of her Son, and the death of the Lord." Not that God could fear any impediment to his designs from the devil; but he was pleased to effect these mysteries in silence and without worldly show and noise, that pride and hell might, by his all-wise and sweet providence, be more meetly triumphed over, whilst the devil himself hastened his own overthrow by concurring to the mystery of the cross. From the marriage of the Blessed Virgin and St. Joseph, St. Austin shows that marriage requires no more than the mutual consent of the will between parties who lie under no impediment or inability to an indissoluble individual society of life. In this holy marriage we admire the incomparable chastity of Mary and Joseph; and the sanctity and honour, as well as the patronage and example, which that holy state receives from this mystery. In certain particular churches the espousals of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph are honoured with an office on the 23rd of January.(SOURCE: http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/P/presentationoftheblessedvirginmary.asp
There came to him some Sadducees, those who say that there is no resurrection,
and they asked him a question, saying, "Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies, having a wife but no children, the man must take the wife and raise up children for his brother.
Now there were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and died without children;
and the second
and the third took her, and likewise all seven left no children and died.
Afterward the woman also died.
In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had her as wife."
And Jesus said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage;
but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage,
for they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.
Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him."
And some of the scribes answered, "Teacher, you have spoken well."
For they no longer dared to ask him any question.