December 2004 Archives

Happy New Year

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May the new year be filled with Blessings and Peace for all.

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Tidal Wave

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CPPS Parish in Tamil Nadu, India, Hit by Tidal Wave

Visitors to our site already know of the devastating earthquake and tidal wave that has struck India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, and other countries. One of the parishes of the Indian Vicariate was affected by the tidal wave. Fr. Michael Peter's of the Vicariate writes:

"Sadras where our missionaries are working is badly hit by the flood this morning arround 6.40 AM and waters entered the Church and ruined the Church very badly and many died and many huts there in the village were washed away in the flood. Our missionaries, Fr. Irudayaraj and Arockiaraj, escaped from the flood miraculously. The presbytery and their vehicles are damaged. Vehicles are carried away in the waters. But the missionaries are now safe at Thirukazhagu Kunram, about 18 Km from Sadras. We have no further news. I ask you of your prayers."

The above message arrive at the Generalate at about 1300 hrs on 26 December. Indeed, let us keep our brothers and all affected by this massive disaster in our prayers.

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"I learned that he was devoted to the Holy Christ child and he demonstrated this to me when on the eve of the holy Nativity he would never remain at home but would spend that night either in the Vincentian house in the Montecitorio area or in that of San Silvestro in the Quirinale area. The Vincentians would ordinarily give him an invitation to sing one of the other Masses. He showed a tremendous joy when he was given the gift of a Christmas crib by the nuns of Sant’Urbino. He had a setting made for it and had them set it up in the room where he slept."

From the deposition of Vincenzo Severini, companion and helper of St. Gaspar

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Busy Week

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It is so much fun being back in a parish. Task today, put out the shepherds in the creche, and finish my Christmas Homily in Spanish.

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After two days, the Blessed Sacrament locked up in the sacristy, the destroyed lock on the tabernacle was replaced. Tuesday Morning at 9:00am Mass, we blessed the Tabernacle, did an act of reparation and placed the Blessed Sacrament inside again. A new latch was placed on the sacristy window.
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What a Day!!

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Too much sadness in my life at the moment.

Entered the church this morning to discover that the tabernacle had been vandalized.

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Third Sunday of Advent


As the Spirit of the Lord descended upon Isaiah that he might announce good tidings to the poor and oppressed, so we hear Mary proclaim that God who lifts up the lowly has looked upon her in her lowliness. As the desert cries of Isaiah and John the Baptist announced the coming of the Lord, so the roses blooming in the arid soil of Tepeyac symbolized the blossoming of Christianity in the Americas. Our Lady of Guadalupe claimed justice for the people of Tepeyac, raising up those who were oppressed. Thus she is a "mantle of justice" for all who are oppressed. Do we not hear her say to us, "Is it not I, your mother, who is here? Are you not, fortunately, in my care?" "¿No soy yo, su madre, que estoy aquí? ¿No están, ustedes, afortunadamente, bajo mi cuidado?"

There was once one who was greater than a prophet. It was said that among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist. Sitting in his prison, his head in his hands, John spoke to God: "I have been taken out of the wilderness, and am bound by these chains and I cannot move, all words have failed me. All I can do is ask the question, `Are you the one who is to come or are we to await another?’" For all who have ever known disappointment and loss, this mother has provided an answer.

All John’s expectations were failing him. He heard that the story was changing and that was a great disappointment to him. God's power was something he had hoped for and depended on all his life. He had preached with all his might the coming of the wrath of God. He thought he saw the picture perfectly. God's winnowing fan is in his hand ready to clear the threshing floor and gather crop into the kingdom; but the refuse he will burn with unquenchable fire. He had given up everything. He wore clothing of camel's hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. He had left everything, and come to this place in the wilderness to wait for the promised one.

But the one whom he had baptized, the one for whom the heavens opened, the one who heard God's voice, had now become very different. Rather than taking his place in the wilderness He was going around eating and drinking at the homes of Pharisees and sinners, and they were saying, 'Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners. Rather than gathering a select band of chosen disciples in a community in the wilderness, he had gathered around him a strange mixture of fishermen, artisans, and tax collectors and zealot party members. He even associated with women and counted some as his friends.

Rather than condemning sinners, he would gather them together, feed them, and call them "blessed." He would tell them to "rejoice," say that they were the "salt of the earth" and the "light of the world." Where was the wrath? When was he going to wield the winnowing fan? When was the wheat going to be separated from the chaff? When was he going to call down unquenchable fire? Is this the one who is to come or are we to look for another?

Jesus answers slowly, and not even very directly. There is no wrath, no threshing floor, no winnowing fan. Wheat is still mixed up with chaff. And all he says is "trust what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. No trumpets, no angels coming on the clouds, just words from the vision of the prophet Isaiah. No wrath, no winnowing fan, wheat is still mixed with chaff, and light still mingles with the darkness.

Hope, Peace, community, justice, forgiveness and oneness of heart will come about because of a God who can do what is impossible — raise the dead to life — will also raise us up. My hope is no longer in myself, or in my hopes, dreams or expectations. My hope is in the Christ whom we put on as a garment of salvation.

The first light of this gift of Jesus is still only coming into view, and so with John, the one who is more than a prophet but who now takes his place with all the little ones in the reign of God, we leave the prisons we have built with our expectations and enter again the wilderness of this Advent.

With the prophets of old, those who came before John, and now those who come after, the prophets of this time and place, the prophets of hope who fill these pews, we see what threatens us, we too need to intercede to heaven, We gather again in this wilderness knowing that the world still waits for the body of Christ to be revealed. We gather with songs in the darkness, and light a wreath proclaiming the unending light. We pray that the light will come to full glory in the darkness of Easter night. We move again in reverence around this table and pray again the words that our Savior taught us.

As the desert vision of Isaiah set our hopes afire and John the Baptist struggles in darkness, we too bring our hopes and dreams, our doubts and expectations to witness the roses blooming in the arid soil of Tepeyac and even in the doubts and darkness of our own lives. Our Lady of Guadalupe claimed justice for the people of Tepeyac, raising up those who were oppressed. Thus she is a "mantle of justice" for all who are oppressed. "Is it not I, your mother, who is here? Are you not, fortunately, in my care?" O Madre de Dios, ruega por nosotros.

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Sad duty

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...sitting here by the fire, puppy at my side, trying to think of words for a funeral tomorrow, a 14 year old boy who committed suicide. sigh.....

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In spirit and in truth: it means that what we use for liturgy should have a certain dignity. My predessors had different gifts. Liturgy was not something they paid a lot of attention to.

Some of the things that have disappeared recently:

1. fake lectionary, we have real books now.
2. fake trees, statues stand there now.
3. fake altar candles
3. fake advent wreath
4. fake advent candles

Blue banners and vestments, with a horrid pink trim, remain in the closets. One regular commenter here will probably criticize the fact that I have a simple violet chasuble with elegant violet and gold overstole. Vestments are a future project. I spent a great deal of money on those vestments several years ago and they are still in beautiful condition.

The Church now has a crucifix. The processional crucifix which is used every Sunday had its stand fixed and it now stands in the sanctuary during liturgy.

In the closets we had some old chalices and ciboria badly in need of refinishing. They all left last Sunday to be refinished. A parishioner is donating the work.

So, progress is being made, and we are not spending a great deal of money yet. I am still in the process of wrestling the budget to the ground. Pray that we get it balanced by Saturday. That, at least, is the current goal.

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Who is right?

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"I want to remind you of the meaning of blue in Advent. Blue is the color of Advent, not purple-even though it was used instead of blue, for many generations. Purple is penitential and belongs to Lent. The deep blue of Advent reminds us of the night sky and the contrasting light shining in the darkness."
-Fr. George Wertin

You can find pictures of his "church" here.

On the other hand we have this educated opinion:

Several people have written to us inquiring whether blue is an approved color for liturgical vestments in Advent. It is not.

You can find their documentation here.

I went looking for resources today because of the experience of an irate parishioner, angry that the sanctuary was no longer Blue.

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  one of Fr. Keyes' photos

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from December 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2004 is the previous archive.

January 2005 is the next archive.

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