Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pope's Urbi et Orbi Blessing

"A Call for Peace"

Saint Peter's Square
- Wednesday, 25 December 2013 -


Thousands of people flocked to St. Peter's Square to see Pope Francis' first Urbi et Orbi Christmas blessing. As expected, the Pope put his personal style in the message.

POPE FRANCIS

"God is peace: let us ask him to help us to be peacemakers each day, in our life, in our families, in our cities and nations, in the whole world. Let us allow ourselves to be moved by God’s goodness.”

It's a time of joy, but the Pope also understands that many people face stark challenges during this time of year.  In particular, Christians who live in the Holy Land, where Jesus was born.

POPE FRANCIS
"Looking at the Child in the manger, our thoughts turn to those children who are the most vulnerable victims of wars, but we think too of the elderly, to battered women, to the sick… Wars shatter and hurt so many lives!  Bless the land where you chose to come into the world, and grant a favorable outcome to the peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. Heal the wounds of the beloved country of Iraq, once more struck by frequent acts of violence."

The Pope isn't very fond of speaking languages he's not completely fluent in. Usually Popes say a Christmas greeting in dozens of languages, but the Pope stuck to the basics.

POPE FRANCIS

To you, dear brothers and sisters, gathered from throughout the world in this Square, and to all those from different countries who join us through the communications media, I offer my cordial best wishes for a merry Christmas!

Along with his blessing, the Vatican's Bavarian Christmas tree and nativity scene, from Naples,  shinned bright in St. Peter's Square, surrounded by thousands of people who made their way to the Vatican to celebrate Christmas.

© Copyright 2013 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

From Pope Francis

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Saint Peter's Square
- Wednesday, 18 December 2013 -



Speaker:

Dear Brothers and Sisters: In these last days of Advent we prepare ourselves spiritually to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Christmas is a feast of joyful hope, for God has become one with us in the person of his Son, true God and true man. He showed his love for us by becoming part of our world, with all its conflicts, its suffering and its poverty. Jesus is truly Emmanuel: God among us. This is the great "gift" which he brings: a divine love which heals and transforms our hearts, overcoming all uncertainty and pessimism. Our joyful contemplation of the mystery of Christmas should make us realize that, as God has become one of us, we too are called to become like God: humble, close to others, especially the poor, and ever attentive to their needs. This Christmas, let us ask Mary, Mother of Jesus and our Mother, to help us see in our neighbour the face of Jesus, God made man. May we be in this world a ray of that light which shone forth from Bethlehem, bringing the joy and peace to the hearts of all men and women.

Holy Father:

Saluto tutti i pellegrini di lingua inglese presenti a questa Udienza, specialmente quelli provenienti da Inghilterra, Australia e Stati Uniti. Ringrazio il gruppo "Viva la Gente" per la loro animazione musicale. Su tutti voi e sulle vostre famiglie invoco la gioia e la pace del Signore!

Speaker:

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present at today's Audience including those from England, Australia and the United States. I thank the members of "Up with People" for their musical entertainment. Upon you and your families I invoke God's blessings of joy and peace!

© Copyright 2013 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Monday, December 16, 2013

Confession Monday, December 16th

Today, Monday, December 16th St. Columba will join many other churches in New York in celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Individual confessions will be heard in the Chapel from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Please avail yourself of this opportunity to make peace with our Lord and others.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Confession Monday

This Monday, December 16th St. Columba will join many other churches in New York in celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Individual confessions will be heard in the Chapel from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Please avail yourself of this opportunity to make peace with our Lord and others.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

From Pope Francis

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Saint Peter's Square
Wednesday, 11 December 2013



Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning.

Today I would like to begin the last series of catecheses on our profession of faith, by discussing the statement "I believe in eternal life". In particular, I will reflect on the Last Judgement. We need not be afraid: let us listen to what the Word of God tells us. Concerning this, we read in the Gospel of Matthew: when Christ "comes in his glory, and all the angels with him.... Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left.... And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Mt 25:31-33, 46). Whenever we think of Christ's return and of his final judgement, which will manifest to its ultimate consequences the good that each person has done or failed to do during his earthly life, we seem to find ourselves before a mystery which towers above us, which we fail even to imagine. A mystery which almost instinctively arouses a sense of fear in us, and perhaps even one of trepidation. If, however, we reflect well on this reality, it cannot but expand the heart of a Christian and come to constitute a cause of consolation and of trust.

In this regard, the testimony of the first Christian communities resounds ever so evocatively. In fact, they usually accompanied the celebrations and prayers with the acclamation Maranatha, an expression composed of two Aramaic words which, according to how they are pronounced, may be understood as a supplication: "Come, Lord!", or as a certainty nourished by faith: "Yes, the Lord is coming, the Lord is near". The whole of Christian revelation culminates in this exclamation, at the conclusion of the marvellous contemplation which is offered to us by John in Revelation (cf. 22:20). In that case, it is the Church as bride who, on behalf of all humanity and as its first fruits, addresses herself to Christ her Bridegroom, looking forward to be enfolded in his embrace: Jesus' embrace, which is the fullness of life and the fullness of love. This is how Jesus embraces us. If we think of judgement in this perspective, all fear and hesitation fade and make room for expectation and deep joy: it will be the very moment when we will be judged finally ready to be clothed in Christ's glory, as with a nuptial garment, to be led into the banquet, the image of full and definitive communion with God.

A second reason for confidence is offered to us by the observation that, at the moment of judgement, we will not be left alone. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus himself foretells how, at the end of time, those who have followed him will take their place in glory, and judge with him (cf. Mt 19:28). The Apostle Paul then, writing to the community of Corinth, states: "Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?... How much more, matters pertaining to this life!" (1 Cor 6:2-3). How beautiful it is to know that at that juncture, in addition to Christ, our Paraclete, our Advocate with the Father (cf. 1 Jn 2:1), we will be able to count on the intercession and goodness of so many of our elder brothers and sisters who have gone before us on the journey of faith, who have offered their lives for us and who continue to love us ineffably! The saints already live in the sight of God, in the splendour of his glory praying for us who still live on earth. What consolation this certainty arouses in our hearts! The Church is truly a mother and, as a mother, she seeks her children's good, especially of those who are furthest away and are afflicted, until she finds its fullness in the glorious body of Christ with all its members.

A further suggestion is offered to us by the Gospel of John, where it explicitly states that "God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God" (Jn 3:17-18). This means, then, that this final judgement is already in progress, it begins now over the course of our lives. Thus judgement is pronounced at every moment of life, as it sums up our faith in the salvation which is present and active in Christ, or of our unbelief, whereby we close in upon ourselves. But if we close ourselves to the love of Jesus, we condemn ourselves. Salvation is to open oneself to Jesus, it is he who saves us. If we are sinners — and we all are — we ask him for forgiveness and if we go to him with the desire to be good, the Lord forgives us. But for this we must open ourselves to Jesus' love, which is stronger than all else. Jesus' love is great, Jesus' love is merciful, Jesus' love forgives; but you have to open yourself and to open oneself means to repent, to accuse oneself of the things that are not good and which we have done. The Lord Jesus gave himself and he continues to give himself to us, in order to fill us with all of the mercy and grace of the Father. We then, in a certain sense, can become judges of ourselves, by condemning ourselves to exclusion from communion with God and with the brethren. We must not grow weary, then, of keeping watch over our thoughts and our attitudes, in order that we may be given even now a foretaste of the warmth and splendour of God's Face — and this will be beautiful — which in eternal life we shall contemplate in all its fullness. Forward, thinking of this judgement which begins now, which has already begun. Forward, doing so in such a way that our hearts open to Jesus and to his salvation; forward without fear, for Jesus' love is greater and if we ask forgiveness for our sins he will forgive us. This is what Jesus is like. Forward then with this certainly, which will bring us to the glory of heaven!

To special groups

I greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present at today's Audience. Upon you and your families I invoke God's blessings of joy and peace!

Tomorrow we are celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Dear young people, learn from Mary how to listen to the will of the Lord; dear sick people, invoke the Lord's Mother in moments of great difficulty; and you, dear newlyweds, be inspired by Our Lady to bring love and serenity into your family.

MESSAGE TO THE AMERICAS FOR THE FEAST OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE

Tomorrow is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of the Americas. I would like to greet all my brothers and sisters on that continent, and I do so thinking of the Virgin of Tepeyac.

When Our Lady appeared to Saint Juan Diego, her face was that of a woman of mixed blood, a mestiza, and her garments bore many symbols of the native culture. Like Jesus, Mary is close to all her sons and daughters; as a concerned mother, she accompanies them on their way through life. She shares all the joys and hopes, the sorrows and troubles of God's People, which is made up of men and women of every race and nation.

When the image of the Virgin appeared on the tilma of Juan Diego, it was the prophecy of an embrace: Mary's embrace of all the peoples of the vast expanses of America – the peoples who already lived there, and those who were yet to come. Mary's embrace showed what America – North and South – is called to be: a land where different peoples come together; a land prepared to accept human life at every stage, from the mother's womb to old age; a land which welcomes immigrants, and the poor and the marginalized, in every age. A land of generosity.

That is the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and it is also my message, the message of the Church. I ask all the people of the Americas to open wide their arms, like the Virgin, with love and tenderness.

I pray for all of you, dear brothers and sisters, and I ask you to pray for me! May the joy of the Gospel always abide in your hearts. May the Lord bless you, and may Our Lady be ever at your side.

APPEAL

Yesterday Caritas launched a worldwide campaign against hunger and the wasting of food, with the motto: "One human family, food for all". The scandal of the millions of people who suffer from hunger should not paralyze us, but rather move us to act — everyone, individuals, families, communities, institutions, governments — to eliminate this injustice. Jesus' Gospel shows us the way: trusting in the Father's providence and sharing our daily bread without wasting it. I encourage Caritas to carry on in this commitment, and I invite everyone to join in this "wave" of solidarity.


© Copyright - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

TIME's 2013 Person of the Year: Pope Francis


Pope Francis, The People’s Pope

He took the name of a humble saint and then called for a church of healing. The first non-European pope in 1,200 years is poised to transform a place that measures change by the century Read more

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Atlantic City Trip - Thursday, December 12th

The next trip to Atlantic City is Thursday, December 12th. The bus will leave at 9:30 am sharp and will return after six hours at the casino. The cost of the trip is $30, payable two weeks in advance. Please make check payable to St. Columba. Payments can be dropped off at the rectory during office hours or can be put through the slot at the convent door. Because of the need to pay for the bus in advance, anyone deciding to go on the trip on the day it occurs will be charged $35 

Please spread the word to all you think may be interested. See you on the bus!

Liturgical Minister Wanted

Your parish has need of committed Liturgical Ministers. Please consider taking up the role of  lector or Eucharistic Minister. We think you will find this a rewarding activity and a great help to your fellow parishioners. Please call Elizabeth Foley at 212 807-8876, ext. 11 to express your interest.

Friday, December 6, 2013

From Pope Francis

GENERAL AUDIENCE

Saint Peter's Square
- Wednesday, 4 December 2013 -



Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today I wish to return to the affirmation "I believe in the resurrection of the body". This is not a simple truth and it is anything but obvious; living immersed in this world it is not easy for us to fathom a future reality. But the Gospel enlightens us: our resurrection is strictly bound to Jesus' Resurrection. The fact that he is risen is the proof that there is a resurrection of the dead. I would like to present several aspects regarding the relation between the Resurrection of Christ and our resurrection. He is risen, and because he rose, we too will be raised.

First, Sacred Scripture itself contains a path towards full faith in the resurrection of the dead. This is expressed as faith in God as creator of the whole man, soul and body, and as faith in God the Liberator, the God who is faithful to the covenant with his people. The Prophet Ezekiel, in a vision, contemplates the graves of the exiled which are are reopened and whose dry bones come back to life thanks to the breath of a living spirit. This vision expresses hope in the future "resurrection of Israel", that is, the rebirth of a people defeated and humiliated (cf. Ez 37:1-14).

Jesus, in the New Testament, brings to fulfilment this revelation, and ties faith in the resurrection to his own person and says: "I am the resurrection and the life" (Jn 11:25). It will be our Lord Jesus who on the last day raises those who have believed in him. Jesus has come among us, he became man like us in all things, except sin; in this way he took us with him on his return journey to the Father. He, the Word Incarnate, who died for us and rose again, gives to his disciples the Holy Spirit as a pledge of full communion in his glorious Kingdom, which we vigilantly await. This waiting is the source and reason for our hope: a hope that, if cultivated and guarded — our hope, if we cultivate and guard it — becomes a light that illumines our common history. Let us remember it always: we are disciples of the One who came, who comes everyday and who will come at the end. If we can manage to be more aware of this reality, we will be less fatigued by daily life, less prisoners of the ephemeral and more disposed to walk with a merciful heart on the way of salvation.

Another aspect: What does it mean to rise again? The resurrection of us all will take place on the last day, at the end of the world, through the omnipotence of God, who will return life to our bodies by reuniting them to our souls, through the power of Jesus' Resurrection. This is the fundamental explanation: because Jesus rose we will rise; we have the hope of resurrection because he has opened to us the door of resurrection. And this transformation, this transfiguration of our bodies is prepared for in this life by our relationship with Jesus, in the Sacraments, especially in the Eucharist. We, who are nourished in this life by his Body and by his Blood shall rise again like him, with him and through him. As Jesus rose with his own body but did not return to this earthly life, so we will be raised again with our own bodies which will be transfigured into glorified bodies. This is not a lie! This is true. We believe that Jesus is Risen, that Jesus is living at this moment. But do you believe that Jesus is alive? And if Jesus is alive, do you think that he will let us die and not make us rise? No! He is waiting for us, and because He is risen, the power of his resurrection will raise us all.

A last element: already in this life we have within us a participation in the Resurrection of Christ. If it is true that Jesus will raise us at the end of time, it is also true that, in a certain way, with him we have already risen. Eternal life has already begun in this moment, it begins during our lifetime, which is oriented to that moment of final resurrection. And we are already raised, in fact, through Baptism; we are inserted in the death and resurrection of Christ and we participate in the new life, in his life. Therefore, as we await the last day, we have within us a seed of resurrection, as an anticipation of the full resurrection which we shall receive as an inheritance. For this reason too, the body of each one of us is an echo of eternity, thus it should always be respected; and in particular, the life of those who suffer should be respected and loved, that they may feel the closeness of the Kingdom of God, of that state of eternal life towards which we are journeying. This thought gives us hope: we are walking toward the resurrection. To see Jesus, to encounter Jesus: this is our joy! We will all be together — not here in the Square, or elsewhere — joyful with Jesus. This is our destiny!

To special groups

I offer an affectionate greeting to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today's Audience, including those from England, Denmark, Australia and the United States. Upon you and your families I invoke God's blessings of joy and peace!

I extend an affectionate thought to young people, the sick and newlyweds. Yesterday we celebrated the memorial of St Francis Xavier, Patron of Missionaries. This holy priest reminds us of the duty of each to proclaim the Gospel. Dear young people, be courageous witnesses of your faith; dear sick people, offer your daily cross for the conversion of those far from the light of the Gospel; and you, dear newlyweds, be proclaimers of the love of Christ beginning in your family.

Now, I invite everyone to pray for the Greek-Orthodox nuns of St Tecla in Maaloula, Syria, who were taken by force two days ago by armed men. Let us pray for these religious, for these sisters, and for all people who have been sequestered because of this ongoing conflict. Let us continue to pray and to work together for peace. Let us pray to Our Lady. (Hail Mary...).

© Copyright 2013 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana