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TODAY’S RESPONSORIAL PSALM (PSALM 148)

R. Your glory fills all heaven and earth.

1. Alleluia!
Praise the Lord from the heavens,
praise him in the heights.
Praise him, all his angels,
praise him, all his host. (R.)

2. All earth’s kings and peoples,
earth’s princes and rulers;
young men and maidens,
old men together with children. (R.)

3. Let them praise the name of the Lord
for he alone is exalted.
The splendour of his name
reaches beyond heaven and earth. (R.)

4. He exalts the strength of his people.
He is the praise of all his saints,
of the sons of Israel,
of the people to whom he comes close. Alleluia! (R.)

ALLELUIA

Alleluia, alleluia!
Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ,
you must look for the things that are in heaven where Christ is,
sitting at God’s right hand.
Alleluia!

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IT’S NOT GOD WHO WILLS PUNISHMENT FOR THE WICKED, IT’S RATHER THE WICKED WHO BRINGS THE ADVERSITIES UPON HIMSELF…

FORGIVENESS

MARY: Do you want to give yourself an idea of the goodness of God and the hardness of creatures? Consider how God acts when he is offended and how men act!

MAN-MADE PUNISHMENTS

Oh how slight is human mercy, even non-existent! Man pretends to pardon, but in reality does nothing but treat his offender harshly while always remembering the offence. He forgives when he no longer feels the impact and the anger; he forgives with difficulty. Yet the offender is a being like him, perhaps better than him. Look at how inflexible man is when he punishes: the guilty person repents, begs, weeps, but the law strikes him, deprives him of freedom and is not placated until he has paid in full.

GOD’S PATIENCE AND GENEROSITY

God is infinite, he who offends him is a poor worm. The offence which he receives is incommensurable, yet God calls the sinner to his heart, he entices him with the most delicate expressions, he searches for him like a lost treasure, like a little lamb from his own fold, like a beloved son. If God wants him to confess his sin, it is for the benefit of the sinner, so that, by humiliating himself, he may feel free of his weight and deserve forgiveness and may look on this as a blessed right and not a humiliating concession.

GOD DOES NOT DESPISE THE SINNER

God does not despise the sinner, he does not look on him with severity nor reprove him, but embraces him, enriches him with grace, reclothes him with the garments of justice, puts the ring of sonship on his finger and prepares the solemn banquet of the Eucharist for him. One single sincere word of love, one single sigh of the soul is enough to reconcile him to God, even before mildly humbling himself before God’s minister.

GOD KEEPS INVITING HIM TO EVERLASTING LIFE EVEN WHEN THE SINNER DOESN’T LISTEN

It is true that adversities befall sinners, but it is not God who wills the punishment and death of the wicked, it is rather the wicked who brings the adversities and disasters upon himself… And even these serve God’s purpose to call the sinner to himself when he doesn’t listen to the voice of love. Oh how great is God’s mercy! And you are still unsure about him? Do you not know that he considers himself greatly offended by lack of trust precisely because he is infinite goodness? Throw yourself into his arms, then, weep at his feet. In him you will always find the most tender and loving of fathers.

ASPIRATION: Forgive me, O Jesus, and have mercy on me in your great mercy.
LITTLE WORK: Forgive the one who has offended you so that God will forgive you in the same measure.
– Don Dolindo Ruotolo (capital headings added)

 

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WHEN CHURCHES WERE TAKEN AWAY FROM CATHOLICS AND BEING AT MASS COULD COST YOU YOUR LIFE

“…discovery in a Catholic place of worship could result in arrest and even death…”

THE PENAL LAWS

A body of anti-Catholic legislation, known as the Penal Laws, was introduced in the late-16th and 17th centuries. These punitive measures were enacted by the English administrators in an effort to force the Irish renounce their Catholic faith. They removed Catholics’ voting rights and prohibited them from becoming members of municipal boroughs or parliament. They deprived Catholics of education, and from inheriting, buying or leasing land. They couldn’t even own a horse valued above £5! Membership to the legal profession, the army and public offices was prohibited.

From 1690 a number of discriminatory measures were introduced directed at strictly controlling the activities of the Catholic clergy and ridding the country of its religious leadership. The first two decades of the 18th century were particularly difficult. Restrictions on Catholic worship included the banning of public ceremonies involving clergy while many churches were destroyed or handed over to the Protestant faith. The 1704 Registration Act required Catholic priests to register with the authorities. Those who didn’t faced death or deportation. Many priests refused to register and went into hiding.

THE STATION MASS

Penal Mass sites still dot the Irish landscape. These include Mass houses and Mass rocks. According to Fr Kevin Bartley, Editor of “Penal Places, Artefacts and People in the Archdiocese of Dublin”, Penal Mass sites also included fields, caves and ditches in rural areas, while stables and outhouses were used in the urban areas. Mass Houses were usually located in concealed places to ensure worshippers would not be easily taken unawares by the forces of the Crown.

The venue changed in order to protect those hosting the Mass as well as the celebrant and the laity. Word was put about locally that Mass would be said in a particular house on a particular day. The neighbours would gather for what was often the only opportunity to attend Mass for a long time. The priest would come with his “Mass kit”, which included a specially designed cross with short arms for easy concealment up his sleeve. This Mass became known in Ireland as the “Station Mass” because of the random location and the need to move from place to place.

Some houses became known as regular venues for Mass and so became referred to as Mass Houses. More of these emerged as the Penal Laws were repealed, allowing Catholics to worship more freely. In 1795, the first Catholic seminary in Ireland was established at Maynooth, Co Kildare. After Catholic Emancipation in 1829, which secured Catholics the right to take their place in civil society, Mass Houses continued to provide places of worship because of the lack of churches. From the middle of the 19th century onwards, the situation began to change as a church building campaign was undertaken to cater for the Catholic population, despite the after effects of the horrific Famine years.

A MASS HOUSE IN RATHFARNHAM

Visitors to the Church of the Annunciation in the Dublin parish of Rathfarnham are often struck by a holy water font at the front door which bears the inscription: “Font used in Mass house of penal times in the parish of Rathfarnham from 1732”. The font is a link between the “new” church, which dates from 1878, and an old penal Mass House, which dates from 1730 and which parishioners attended prior to Catholic Emancipation. The remains of the Mass House are located behind the current presbytery.in penal times it was screened from the main road by thick shrubbery and was approached by the faithful via a discrete Mass path along the Owendore River. The historical record shows that there was, in fact, a Mass House on this site as early as 1697, when Fr Timothy Kelly is mentioned as the first parish priest of Rathfarnham.

POSING AS SPANISH PEOPLE WITH THE CODE NAME “PABLO”

Local historian, Tony Duffy, whose family goes back three generations in Rathfarnham, explains that in penal times networks were established to keep Catholics supplied with school teachers and priests. According to the parish newsletter, “Priests, especially, were hunted down by the Crown forces and put to death, usually by beheading. Despite it being an offence to send children abroad for education, many young men went to the seminaries of Europe – Paris, Rome, Louvain and Salamanca. There was a steady flow of young priests into Ireland with one particular route being from Salamanca to Kinsale. One story of the time refers to priests making their way through the countryside, posing as Spaniards. The code name used was “Pablo” when asked for identification, meaning in reality, “Padre”.

In his homily on Pentecost Sunday 2012, when 500 members of the parish gathered at the ancient Mass House, Fr Des Hayden praised the dedication of the volunteers who worked to recover the ruin. “Three hundred years ago, even though it was dangerous for them to do so, people gathered where we are standing now to celebrate their faith. And so strong was their faith in Christ’s presence among them and in the Eucharist that they were willing to take great risks to do so. Despite the fact that they suffered discrimination and opposition because of their Catholic faith, they kept that faith alive. Think of the courage and determination it would have taken them to be standing here where we are today. How hard it is, thank God, to quench the spirit!” He also underlined to the assembled crowd, “In every generation it always is, and always has been, the people who keep the faith alive. You are the ones who pass on the faith as a living and lived reality from generation to generation.”… A recognition of people’s brave perseverance in the faith in times of persecution – an inspiration to keep the flame of faith alight in our own times.
– The above are excerpts from an article by Sarah MacDonald published in “Messenger of Saint Anthony”, October 2012 issue. For subscriptions etc. Contact: Messenger of Saint Anthony, Basilica del Santo, via Orto Botanico 11, 35123 Padua, Italy

 

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WHAT HAPPENS TO THE CHURCH DURING HOLY WEEK?

HOLY WEEK

During Holy Week the Church celebrates the mysteries of salvation accomplished by Christ in the last days of his life on earth, beginning with his messianic entrance into Jerusalem.

The Lenten season lasts until the Thursday of this week. The Easter Triduum begins with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, is continued through Good Friday with the celebration of the Passion of the Lord and Holy Saturday, to reach its summit in the Easter Vigil. It concludes with Vespers of Easter Sunday. The days of Holy Week, from Monday to Thursday inclusive, have precedence over all other celebrations. It is not fitting that Baptisms or Confirmation be celebrated on these days.

Holy Week begins on ‘Passion (or Palm) Sunday’ which joins the foretelling of Christ’s regal triumph and the proclamation of the Passion. The connection between both aspects of the paschal mystery should be shown and explained in the celebration and catechesis of this day.

The Commemoration of the entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem has, according to ancient custom, been celebrated with a solemn procession, in which the faithful in song and gesture imitate the Hebrew children who went to meet the Lord singing ‘Hosanna’.

The procession may take place only once, before the Mass which has the largest attendance, even if this should be in the evening either of Saturday or Sunday. The congregation should assemble in a secondary church or chapel in some other suitable place distinct from the church to which the procession will move.

In this procession the faithful carry palm or other branches. The priest and the ministers (also carrying branches) precede the people.

The palms or branches are blessed so that they can be carried in the procession. The palms should be taken home, where they will serve as a reminder of the victory of Christ which the community celebrated in the procession.

Pastors should make every effort to ensure that this procession in honour of Christ the King be so prepared and celebrated that it is of great spiritual significance in the life of the faithful.

In addition to the solemn procession described above, the Missal gives two other forms to commemorate the entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem. This is not simply for convenience, but to provide for those situations when it will not be possible to have a procession.

The second form is that of a solemn entrance, when the procession cannot take place outside the church.

The third form is a simple entrance such as is used at all Masses on this Sunday which do not have the solemn entrance.

Where the Mass cannot be celebrated, there should be a celebration of word of God on the theme of the Lord’s messianic entrance and passion, either on Saturday evening or on Sunday at a convenient time.

During the procession, the choir and people should sing the chants proposed in the Roman Missal, especially psalms 23 and 46, as well as other appropriate songs in honour of Christ the King.

The Passion narrative occupies a special place. It should be sung or read in the traditional way, that is by three persons; one takes the part of Christ, another is the narrator, while the third represents the people. The Passion is proclaimed by deacons or priests, or by lay readers; in the latter case, the part of Christ should be reserved to the priest.

The proclamation of the Passion should be without candles or incense; the greeting and the signs of the cross are omitted; only a deacon asks for the blessing, as he does before the Gospel.

For the spiritual good of the faithful the Passion should be proclaimed in its entirety, and the readings which precede it should not be omitted.

After the Passion has been proclaimed, a homily is to be given.

THE CHRISM MASS

The Chrism Mass, which the bishop concelebrates with his presbyterium and at which the Holy Chrism is consecrated and the oils blessed, manifests the communion of the priests with their bishop in the same priesthood and ministry of Christ. To this Mass, the priest who concelebrate with the bishop should come from different parts of the diocese, thus showing in the consecration of the Chrism that they are his witnesses and cooperators, just as in their daily ministry they are his helpers and counsellors.
The faithful are also to be encouraged to participate in this Mass, and to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist.

Traditionally the Chrism Mass is celebrated on the Thursday of Holy Week. If however, it should prove to be difficult for the clergy and people to gather with the bishop, this rite can be transferred to another day, but always close to Easter. The Chrism and the oil of catechumens is to be used in the celebration of the sacraments of initiation on Easter night.

There should be only one celebration of the Chrism Mass given its significance in the life of the diocese, and it should take place in the cathedral or, for pastoral reasons, in another church which has a special significance.

The Holy Oils can be brought to the individual parishes before the celebration of the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, or at some other suitable time. This can be a means of catechizing the faithful about the use and effects of the Holy Oils and Chrism in Christian life.

THE PENITENTIAL CELEBRATIONS IN LENT

It is fitting that the Lenten season should be concluded with a penitential celebration, both for the individual Christian as well as for the whole Christian community, so that they may be helped to prepare to celebrate more fully the paschal mystery.
These celebrations should take place before the Easter Triduum, and should not immediately precede the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper.
– Given at Rome, at the Offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship, 16 January 1988

 

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING (ISAIAH 42:1-7)

Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom my soul delights.
I have endowed him with my spirit
that he may bring true justice to the nations.

He does not cry out or shout aloud,
or make his voice heard in the streets.
He does not break the crushed reed,
nor quench the wavering flame.

Faithfully he brings true justice;
he will neither waver, nor be crushed
until true justice is established on earth,
for the islands are awaiting his law.

Thus says God, the Lord,
he who created the heavens and spread them out,
who gave shape to the earth and what comes from it,
who gave breath to its people
and life to the creatures that move in it;

I, the Lord, have called you to serve the cause of right;
I have taken you by the hand and formed you;
I have appointed you as covenant of the people and light of the nations,

to open the eyes of the blind,
to free captives from prison,
and those who live in darkness from the dungeon.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING (EXODUS 32:7-14)

DO NOT BRING THIS DISASTER ON YOUR PEOPLE.

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Go down now, because your people whom you brought out of Egypt have apostasised. They have been quick to leave the way I marked out for them; they have made a themselves a calf of molten metal and have worshipped it and offered it sacrifice. ‘Here is your God, Israel,’ they have cried, ‘who brought you up from the land of Egypt!'” The Lord said to Moses, “I can see how headstrong these people are! Leave me, now, my wrath shall blaze out against them and devour them; of you, however, I will make a great nation.”

But Moses pleaded with the Lord his God. “Lord,” he said, “why should your wrath blaze against this people of yours whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with arm outstretched and mighty hand? Why let the Egyptians say, ‘Ah, it was in treachery that he brought them out, to do them to death in the mountains and wipe them off the face of the earth’? Leave your burning wrath; relent and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, your servants to whom by your own self you swore and made this promise: I will make your offspring as many as the stars of heaven, and all this land which I promised I will give to your descendants, and it shall be their heritage for ever.” So the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had
threatened.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 

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FOR YOUR DIARY: WEEK OF PRAYER FOR DEMENTIA SUFFERERS AND THEIR CARERS

WEEK OF PRAYER AND AWARENESS OF DEMENTIA

• 12th to 19th March 2013

This time of prayer offers an opportunity to focus on the person with dementia, what their pastoral needs are and how we can respond. Like many of us, people with dementia respond to prayer, to music, and can participate in services whether in church; with others in a care setting or at home.

Like all of us they need to feel loved by God. For more information and resources, please visit http://www.pastoralcareproject.org.uk/week_of_prayer_for_dementia.asp (external link).

 

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