Friday, December 15, 2017

Star Wars Conversion to Catholicism of Actor Sir Alec Guinness the #Jedi Knight Obiwan - SHARE #StarWars

 Sir Alec Guinness is best known as having played Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars. Guinness was born in 1914 in London, England, as Alec Guinness de Cuffe. His mother's maiden name was Agnes Cuff. The identity of Guinness's father has never been confirmed. Guinness believed that his father was a Scottish banker, Andrew Geddes, who paid for Guinness's education. Geddes also visited Guinness and his mother, posing as an uncle.  Alec was confirmed in the Anglican faith at 16; but he later tried Presbyterianism, atheism, Marxism, Buddhism, and even the Quaker sect. .Guinness married the actress Merula Sylvia Salaman (1914–2000) in 1938; and in 1940, they had a son, Matthew Guinness. He conversion started when he was 40 years old in France working on the film Father Brown. This series is based on G. K. Chesterton's novels about a detective priest. Guinness was playing the role of Fr. Brown and was dressed in a cassock as a Catholic priest. When walking down the street in costume, a child saw him and thought him to be a priest. The child grabbed his hand, and walked with him down the road; afterwards saying goodbye Father.  He later explained: “Continuing my walk, I reflected that a Church that could inspire such confidence in a child, making priests, even when unknown, so easily approachable, could not be as scheming or as creepy as so often made out. I began to shake off my long-taught, long-absorbed prejudices.” Then his 11 year old son Matthew was struck with polio and thought be near death. Guinness then started visiting a Catholic church to pray. Alec made a deal with God: if God healed Matthew, he would allow his son to become Catholic. Then them miracle happened; his son recovered. Guinness then enrolled Matthew in a Jesuit Catholic school. These events led to Alec's conversion at the age of 42. A few years later, his wife, and his son all converted to Catholicism. Guinness was a faithful Catholic till his death in 2000. (with Information from Wikipedia and This Rock Magazing 2005)
SHARE this Amazing Conversion Story- May the FAITH be with you!

#PopeFrancis "I express a warm wish for a serene Christmas festivity, rich in joy and peace..." to Artists - FULL TEXT + Video

Pope Francis met with 180 people involved in the Christmas Concert” who will be performing in the Vatican, Saturday evening.Funds raised by the concert in the Vatican will support two children’s projects: the Pontifical Foundation Scholas Occurrentes, headquartered in Argentina and a programme to free children enslaved in the coltan mines of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). (Vatican Radio excerpt)
FULL TEXT OF Pope Francis 
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I receive you in this meeting, which enables me to express my appreciation for your participation in the concert “Christmas in the Vatican,” whose proceeds will go to finance two projects in favor of children of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and of young people of Argentina. I greet and thank the promoters of the event and all those who will perform tomorrow evening, as well as all those that will take part, thus expressing sensitivity to the needs of the neediest and those in hardship, who ask for help and solidarity.
Christmas — we know — is a warm, widely celebrated feast, able to warm the coldest hearts, to remove the barriers of indifference to one’s neighbor, to encourage openness to the other and to the free gift. Therefore, there is need also today to spread the message of peace and fraternity proper of Christmas; there is need to represent this event by expressing the genuine sentiments that animate it. And art is a formidable means to open the doors of the mind and of the heart to the true meaning of Christmas. The creativity and genius of the artists, with their works, also with music and singing, succeed in reaching the most intimate registers of the conscience. Art enters precisely in the depth of the conscience.
I express my best wishes that the Concert of Christmas in the Vatican may be an occasion to sow tenderness – this word so forgotten today! “Violence,” “war” . . . no, no, tenderness – to sow tenderness, peace and hospitality, which spring from the Bethlehem cave. I renew to each one my gratitude and, while I express a warm wish for a serene Christmas festivity, rich in joy and peace, I bless each one of you, your families and your dear ones.
And please, don’t forget to pray for me. Thank you!
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s working translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

#BreakingNews 30 Catholic Seminarians and 2 Priests held Hostage for Christmas Carols in India - Please PRAY

Madhya Pradesh, dangerous Christmas songs: 30 seminarians and two priests held hostage

Nirmala Carvalho
AsiaNews Report:The Christians were detained yesterday in Satna. Their car was burned. Like every year, they wanted to reach a remote village to hold a Christmas carol service.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Yesterday in Satna, in Madhya Pradesh, 30 seminarians and two priests were held hostage by Hindu fundamentalists for a few hours, after being arrested while they were going to a distant village to perform a Christmas carol service. One of their cars was set on fire by the angry mob.
Speaking to AsiaNews Fr. Stephen Maria, head of public relations in the Madhya Pradesh region, denounces: "The freedom to practice and profess one's faith is suspended by extremists. The celebrations of Christmas have already been disturbed. This is an attack on the secular nature of the country ".
The seminarians and priests come from St. Ephrem's Theological College in Satna. Like every year, they were traveling to a village to perform a Carol service marking the birth of Jesus and bring his message of peace.
Yesterday at 8 pm (local time) the priests and seminarians were blocked by fundamentalists and forced by them to follow them to the police station. The agents collected their depositions and wanted to release them, but the mob of extremists locked them up inside the structure, shouting  against them.
The Christians were able to leave the station only when the multitude dispersed and they no longer risked harm. Released outside, they found one of the cars burning. Stephen Maria relates: "The extremists have burned the car of our singers. They went to the village to give false testimony against the Christians, they wanted to show that they were proselityzing".
The arrest in Satna is the second episode of intolerance against the Christian minority of Madhya Pradesh in this period of Advent. On December 10th, four Pentecostals were imprisoned in the village of Kalibai because they were "guilty" of praying for Christmas.

Wow Beautiful #Advent Hymn "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" with Stunning Images of Art - will touch your heart - SHARE

An absolutely haunting and beautiful rendition of this song from Linda Ronstadt's "A Merry Little Christmas" album, released in 2000. Stunning vocal performance . . .to SHARE

Wow World's Tallest Christmas Tree built by Buddhists in Sri Lanka - Asia - 72.1 M in the Guinness World Records

Colombo, the world's tallest Christmas tree “symbol of unity"

Melani Manel Perera
AsiaNews Report: The project by a Buddhist group is listed in the Guinness World Records. The artificial tree measures 72.1 metres and cost almost US$ 72,000. For the prime minister, “although Sri Lanka is a predominantly Buddhist country, it has shown the world that all religions".


Colombo (AsiaNews) – The Christmas tree built last year on the Galle Face Green in Colombo has been included in the Guinness World Records as the tallest artificial tree in the world.
On 13 December Arjuna Ranatunga, minister of Ports and Fisheries and one of the major backers of the initiative, presented the certificate to Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe.
The latter in turn thanked "all people, regardless of religious differences, who made the tallest Christmas tree in the world possible. It stands out as a symbol of peace and unity."
Last year the construction of the 72.1-metre tree was very controversial, especially for the leaders of the local Catholic Church, who described it as a waste of money.
The event was backed however by a group of Buddhists, led by the Foundation of Social Services of Minister Ranatunga, a former captain of the Sri Lankan cricket team.
During the award ceremony, Prime Minister Wickremasinghe stressed that "although Sri Lanka is a predominantly Buddhist country, it has shown the world that all religions are respected the same way".
He then praised the group that built the tree for their "tireless work and commitment to establishing this world record".
The tree was lit on 23 December 2016 until 31 December. Its main frame was made of metal cables, covered with bark and natural pine cones.
The project cost 11 million rupees (almost US$ 72,000). Its creator, Mahinda Nanayakkara, a Buddhist, told AsiaNews that he was “happy to have put the name of my country in the Guinness World Record, thanks to my capacity for innovation and team spirit."

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Fri. December 15, 2017 - #Eucharist


Friday of the Second Week of Advent
Lectionary: 185


Reading 1IS 48:17-19

Thus says the LORD, your redeemer,
the Holy One of Israel:
I, the LORD, your God,
teach you what is for your good,
and lead you on the way you should go.
If you would hearken to my commandments,
your prosperity would be like a river,
and your vindication like the waves of the sea;
Your descendants would be like the sand,
and those born of your stock like its grains,
Their name never cut off
or blotted out from my presence.

Responsorial PsalmPS 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6

R. (see John 8:12) Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.

Alleluia 

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The Lord will come; go out to meet him!
He is the prince of peace.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 11:16-19

Jesus said to the crowds:
"To what shall I compare this generation?
It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another,
'We played the flute for you, but you did not dance,
we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.'
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said,
'He is possessed by a demon.'
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said,
'Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard,
a friend of tax collectors and sinners.'
But wisdom is vindicated by her works."

Saint December 15 : St. Mary di Rosa : #Foundress of the Handmaids of Charity

St. Mary di Rosa
FOUNDRESS
Feast: December 15


Information:
Feast Day: December 15
Born: November 6, 1813, Brescia, Italy
Died: 1855, Brescia, Italy
Canonized: 12 June 1954 by Pope Pius XII
Foundress of the Handmaids of Charity of Brescia, also called the Servants of Charity. Born into a wealthy family in Brescia, Italy, on November 6, 1813, by age seventeen she was running her father's household and caring for the girls in her father's mill and estate. In the cholera epidemic of 1836, she became well-known as she directed a home for girls and begame another residence for deaf and mute young ladies. In 1840, she became superior of a community that evolved into her congregation. The women of the Servants of Charity ministered to the wounded on the battlefields of northern Italy and in hospitals. Maria died at Brescia on December 15. She was canonized in 1954.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Pope Francis “It seems that our God wants to sing us a lullaby. Our God is gifted at this. His tenderness..." Homily


(Vatican Radio) The tenderness of God, as his defining trait, was at the heart of the Pope’s homily this morning  at Mass at the Casa Santa Marta. The theme was taken from the first reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah and the psalm where God says of himself: "... his tenderness expands over all creatures".
The image presented by Isaiah is that of a God who speaks to us as a father with his child, imitating his voice to make it as similar as possible to his. And first of all he reassures him by caressing him: "Do not be afraid, I will come to your aid".
“It seems that our God wants to sing us a lullaby. Our God is gifted at this. His tenderness is this: he is a father and a mother. Many times he said: "But if a mother forgets her son, I will not forget you. He carries us in his deep within. He is the God who with this dialogue makes himself small to make us understand, to make us trust in him and we can tell him with the courage of Paul who changes the word and says: ", Abba Father". Father ... It's the tenderness of God.”
The great that becomes small and the small that is great
It is true, said Pope Francis, sometimes God raps us over the knuckles, He is great, but with his tenderness he approaches us and saves us. And this is a mystery and one of the most beautiful things:
“He is the great God who makes himself small and in his smallness he does not stop being great. And in this great dialectic he is small: there is the tenderness of God. The great that makes himself small and the small  that is great. Christmas helps us to understand this: in that manger ... the little God. A phrase from St. Thomas comes to mind in the first part of Summa [Theologica]. Wanting to explain this: "What is divine? What is the most divine thing? ", He says:" “to the maximum tamen continents at the minimum divinum est", that is, do not be frightened of big things, but keep small things in mind. This is divine, both together.”
But where, in particular, is the tenderness of God shown?
God not only helps us, but he also makes us promises of joy, of a great harvest, to help us move forward. God, repeated Pope Francis, is not just father but a Dad:
“Am I able to speak with the Lord like this or am I afraid? Everyone answers. But someone can say, he can ask: "But what is the theological place of God's tenderness? Where can the tenderness of God be found? What is the place where God's tenderness is best manifested? "-" The wounds ". My wounds, your sores, when you meet my wound with his wound. We have been healed in their wounds.
And the Pope recalled the parable of the Good Samaritan: there, someone bent over the man who had stumbled upon brigands and helped him by cleaning his wounds and paying for his recovery. Here is "the theological place of God's tenderness: our wounds". And the Pope concludes by exhorting us to think about the Lord's invitation during the day: "Come on, come on: show me your wounds. I want to heal them ".

Pope Francis meets with World Evangelical Leaders to promote Religious Freedom

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis met on Thursday with leaders of the World Evangelical Alliance who were in Rome to discuss closer cooperation with the Catholic Church, especially regarding issues of religious freedom.
The WEA is a network of Protestant Churches in 129 nations representing more than 600 million evangelical Christians worldwide. Its secretary general, Bishop Efraim Tendero, was leading the delegation to the papal audience and for talks with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
He talked to Philippa Hitchen about his hopes for strengthening practical cooperation with Catholics in countries around the globe..
Bishop Efraim said he is bringing to the Pope a “call for closer partnership” in protecting religious freedom, promoting the distribution of bibles and addressing social justice issues. “We want to see this world to be a place where peace, justice and righteousness reign”, he says, “where everyone has a decent standard of living, and where Jesus Christ is recognised as Lord of all.”
Searching for common agenda
He notes that the WEA and the Pontifical Council have just completed seven years of dialogue, culminating in a joint document on Scripture and Tradition. While major theological differences remain, he says, it’s increasingly important to “look for a common agenda”, rather than “focus on what differs and what pulls us apart”.
Prior to his appointment as head of the WEA, Bishop Efraim served as for over 20 years as National Director of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches and as President of the Philippine Relief and Development Services, working to support the poor and needy.
Ecumenism in the Philippines
In the country which is 80 percent Roman Catholic, he says ecumenical relations are very good and he was recently asked to address a retreat for the Filipino bishops conference. There is also strong practical cooperation on issues including human trafficking, combating climate change, fighting corruption, promoting peace, and providing relief and development for victims of the many typhoons which affect the region.
Also attending the papal audience was Rev. Thomas K. Johnson, the WEA’s Religious Freedom Ambassasdor to the Vatican. He explains why there is an urgent need to join forces to combat the increasing persecution of Christians worldwide.
Worsening persecution of Christians
Johnson notes the problem is not confined to one particular area of the globe but he says the last three years may have seen the worst persecution in the whole history of the Christian Church.
He recalls the important international consultation that took place two years ago in the Albanian capital, Tirana, on discrimination, persecution and martyrdom. Representatives of the WEA, the Vatican, the World Council of Churches and the Pentecostal world discussed ways of responding to the problem “in a unified manner”.
Hopes for joint educational materials
While Johnson admits there are still problems of discrimination between Evangelicals and Catholics in some countries, he adds that Evangelicals have always been made to feel “very welcome in the Vatican”.
As a philosophy professor and human rights specialist, he is particularly interested in Catholics and Evangelicals publishing “education materials that we’ve developed together”. While no-one is expecting any major pronouncements from Thursday’s meeting, he says the small steps undertaken together can lead “to a broader coalition over years” and reinforce the message that, “Christians of all varieties need to be protecting each other in the public square”.