Archive for January, 2017

The Light Of Christ

Christmas lantern with light stars

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Refrain:
   The light of Christ
   has come into the world (2x)

1. All men must be born again
   to see the kingdom of God
   The water and the Spirit
   bring new life in God’s love

2. God gave up His only Son
   out of love for the world
   So that all men who believe
   in Him will live forever

3. The light of God has come to us
   so that we might have salvation
   From the darkness of our sins
  we walk into glory with Christ Jesus

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#ShortNews: Farm animals gather in St. Peter’s Square for annual observance

St. Peter’s Square was filled with farm animals on January 17, for the annual “Farm under the Sky,” organized by Italian farmers’ groups on the feast of St. Anthony the Abbot.

St. Anthony is the patron of livestock, and the square in front of the Vatican basilica was filled with pigs, cattle, chicken, and goats for the occasion.

http://www.ansa.it/english/news/vatican/2017/01/17/animals-gather-at-st-peters_5bb482fc-c083-499a-a14a-de6e733d9937.html

#ShortNews: Rising attacks on Christians in India

During the typical week in India, there are ten incidents of anti-Christian violence, such as church burnings or attacks on clerics, The Guardian reported.

“There is a clear pattern of rising religious intolerance across the Indian sub-continent, which affects many millions of Christians,” said Lisa Pearce of Open Doors UK & Ireland, a group that advocates on behalf of persecuted Christians.

“Religious nationalists attempt to forcibly convert people to the dominant faith of their nation, often turning to violence when community discrimination and non-violent oppression do not succeed in imposing their religious beliefs on minority Christians,” she added.

The nation of 1.27 billion is 80% Hindu and 14% Muslim.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/11/christians-in-india-increasingly-under-attack-study-shows

#ShortNews: Italian cardinal: ‘populism does not solve problems’

In a recent meeting with journalists, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco of Genoa said that populism is not the answer to the problems facing Europe.

The prelate is president of the Italian Episcopal Conference and the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences.

Populism “is not an answer to the problems and challenges of our time,” he said. “It takes advantage of and feeds on discontent, but cannot control it. Instead, we need a new synthesis, a global vision to look to the future with hope.”

http://agensir.it/quotidiano/2017/1/10/cardinal-bagnasco-visit-to-brussels-populism-does-not-solve-problems-it-feeds-on-them-a-new-global-vision-is-needed/

The Catholic Blessing of Tossing Yu Sheng

This was written by Fr Alex and all credits go to him in taking time to write this for people who celebrate Chinese New Year as a community the previous week. Here is how it goes:

“In the name of Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Raw Fish: That we be reminded that Christ has called all of us, his disciples, to be fishers of men, sharing his good news with everyone.

Pepper & Cinnamon: May these spices remind us of the frankincense and myrrh that the wise magi brought to give to baby Jesus- that we must always give the best of ourselves to God, and not what is leftover.

Lime Juice: This juice that we squeeze from the fruit of the lime tree reminds us that Christ has commissioned us to go out and bear much fruit, fruit that will last.

Oil: To remind us that we have been baptized and confirmed with the sacred Oil of Chrism, so that we will always remember to carry out our roles as priests, prophets and kinds- our sacred duties which we share with Christ, the Anointed One.

Plum Sauce: Let us always savour the sweetness and goodness of our Lord, as the Psalmist said: “O taste and see, how good the Lord is.”

And finally the Crackers: These crackers that will be broken, remind us that as an Eucharistic people, we must be like Christ- bread broken for others.

“Bless all of us, O Lord, our family and friends near and far, our daily work and studies, our ministries and service, the poor and hungry, our health and well-being, our choices and decisions, in this new year, that all maybe according to your holy will, and not what we desire for ourselves because of our human greed and money-mindedness. We make this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, your son, through the power of our Holy Spirit, and with the intercession of Mary our Blessed Mother. Amen. “

120 Martyr Saints of China

lady-of-chinaOn July 9 the Church celebrates the feast of the 120 Martyrs of China. Religious persecution has a long history in China, especially persecution of Christians, thousands of whom have died for their faith in the last millennium.

On October 1, 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized 120 men, women, and children who gave their lives for the faith in China between the years 1648 and 1930. The martyrs include 87 native Chinese and 33 foreign missionaries. The majority were killed during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900.

On January 15, 1648, the Manchus, having invaded the region of Fujian and shown themselves hostile to the Christian religion, killed Saint Francisco Fernández de Capillas, a Dominican priest aged 40. After having imprisoned and tortured him, they beheaded him while he recited with others the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. Father de Capillas has since been recognised by the Holy See as the pro to martyr of China.

After the first wave of missionary activities in China during the late Ming to early Qing dynasties, the Qing government officially banned Catholicism (Protestantism was considered outlawed by the same decree, as it was linked to Catholicism) in 1724 and lumped it together with other ‘perverse sects and sinister doctrines’ in Chinese folk religion.

While Catholicism continued to exist and increase many-fold in areas beyond the government’s control (Sichuan notably), and many Chinese Christians fled the persecution to go to ports cities in Guangdong or to Indonesia, where many translations of Christian works into Chinese occurred during this period, there were also many brave missionaries that broke the law and secretly entered the forbidden mainland territory. They eluded Chinese patrol boats on the rivers and coasts, however, some of them were caught and put to death.

Towards the middle of the 18th century five Spanish missionaries, who had carried out their activity between 1715 – 1747, were put to death as a result of a new wave of persecution that started in 1729 and broke out again in 1746. This was in the epoch of the Yongzheng Emperor and of his successor, the Qianlong Emperor.

A new period of persecution in regard to the Christian religion then occurred in the 19th century.

While Catholicism had been authorised by some Chinese emperors in the preceding centuries, the Jiaqing Emperor published, instead, numerous and severe decrees against it. The first was issued in 1805. Two edicts of 1811 were directed against those among the Chinese who were studying to receive sacred orders, and against priests who were propagating the Christian religion. A decree of 1813 exonerated voluntary apostates from every chastisement, that is, Christians who spontaneously declared that they would abandon their faith, but all others were to be dealt with harshly.

And so passed an era of expansion in the Christian missions, with the exception of the period in which they were struck by the disaster of the uprising by the “Society for Justice and Harmony” (commonly known as the “Boxers”). This occurred at the beginning of the 20th century and caused the shedding of the blood of many Christians.

It is known that, mingled in this rebellion, were all the secret societies and the accumulated and repressed hatred against foreigners in the last decades of the 19th century, because of the political and social changes following the Second Opium War and the imposition of the so-called unequal treaties on China by the Western Powers.

Very different, however, was the motive for the persecution of the missionaries, even though they were of European nationalities. Their slaughter was brought about solely on religious grounds. They were killed for the same reason as the Chinese faithful who had become Christians. Reliable historical documents provide evidence of the anti-Christian hatred which spurred the Boxers to massacre the missionaries and the Christians of the area who had adhered to their teaching. In this regard, an edict was issued on 1 July 1900 which, in substance, said that the time of good relations with European missionaries and their Christians was now past: that the former must be repatriated at once and the faithful forced to apostatize, on penalty of death. As a result, the martyrdom took place of several missionaries and many other Chinese.

Following the failure of the Boxer Rebellion, the government recognized it had no choice but to modernize, which in turn led to a booming conversion period in the following decades. The Chinese developed respect for the moral level that Christians maintained in their hospital and schools.[2] The continuing association between western imperialism in China and missionary efforts nevertheless continued to fuel hostilities against missions and Christianity in China. All missions were banned in China by the new communist regime after the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, and officially continue to be legally outlawed to the present.

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martyrs

“The Love of God is Greater Far than Tounge or Pen…”

“The Love of God is Greater far than tounge or pen can even tell it goes beyond the highest star and reaches to the lowest hell.” ~ Frederick Martin Lehman

love-of-god