Posts tagged ‘other stories’

#LittlePilgrimage 30. Our Lady of Victory Cathedral Daimyo-machi, Fukuoka, Japan

25 June 2017. It was cloudy in Fukuoka, Japan. Me and my friend were on our holiday in Kyushu island, Japan.

Weekly Mass for me is a habit, something I do regularly. But attending Mass during holiday has became one of my favorite activity! It started since I accidentally attended a local Mass in Hong Kong. Since then, I tried to always visit the church during the holiday. But attend the Mass is not always easy to do, especially if I traveled with a non-Catholic friend.

But here I was in Japan, and my Catholic friend agreed to join me for a Mass.

#LittlePilgrimage 30. Our Lady of Victory Cathedral Daimyo-machi, Fukuoka, Japan, 〒810-0041 Fukuoka Prefecture, Fukuoka, Chuo Ward, Daimyo, 2 Chome-7-7.

In 1896, a small wooden chapel was built on the site where the present church is located. In 1938, the number of faithful from Fukuoka rose sharply, and then there was the need to expand the chapel premises. The church was rebuilt and reinforced with red brick.

In 1984 he began a new restructuring of the cathedral. In 1986 the church was demolished and a modern concrete church was built in its place. The old church only remained the main altar.

The church follows the Roman or Latin rite and is the main church of the Catholic diocese of Fukuoka (Dioecesis Fukuokaensis; カトリック福岡教区) which was created in 1927 with the Papal brief Catholicae Fidei under the pontificate of Pope Pius XI. Read more…

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The Story of the Three Kings

This is a story about what happened to the three Kings, (called Magi), before they went to Bethlehem and after they went to Bethlehem.

There was a prophet called Balaam who prophesied saying, “A star shall spring out of Jacob and a man shall rise upon Israel and shall be Lord of all folk.” Because of this prophecy, many great lords and other people of India desired greatly to see that star.

In the land of India where the three Kings lived, was a very high hill called Vaus. On this hill twelve of the greatest astronomers, were asked to watch the stars day and night to see if any unusual light or star showed up in the sky, which they had never seen before.

Then one day something very unusual happened. On the same night and the same hour that Our Lord was born, a new star shone in the sky and it was as bright as the sun. It came and stood still over the Hill of Vaus and would not move. When the sun was most hot and most high, there was no difference between the brightness of the star and the brightness of the sun. And the star had in it the likeness of a Baby Boy and above Him was the Sign of the Cross. A voice came from the star saying: “Unto us is born this day, the King and Lord that folk have long sought. Go then and seek Him and do Him worship.”

All the people of the country were greatly amazed when they saw this wonderful star and heard the voice out of the star. When the twelve astronomers saw the miraculous star, with the Baby King bearing the sign of the cross, they joyfully ran to tell the wisemen of the land all that they had seen and heard.

Now at that time there were three good kings who ruled in India and when the astronomers told them about the miraculous star, they were truly glad. And though each of the kings lived far from each other, they all saw the star at the same hour and the same time. Then each of the three kings decided to go on a journey to see the Baby King which they had seen in the star, and do as the voice from the star had told them to do.

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Each of the three kings prepared great and rich gifts for their journey. They loaded horses, camels and mules with treasures and took with them a great crowd of people. And they also took along tents and bedding and much food for the journey there, and the journey home.

As each of the three kings left their kingdom the star went before them to guide them; even though they all came from different directions! They rode over many lands and passed through many kingdoms, cities and towns. And even though they came to some dangerous places, neither one of the kings had a difficult time; they were able to carry on with their journey in peace and quiet. And what’s more, the three kings never rested night or day, and they did not eat or drink until they came to Bethlehem.

After twelve days when the three Kings were almost at Jerusalem, God worked a very great miracle so that the three Kings could meet with each other before going to Bethlehem. Melchior with his host of people and animals came first to the outskirts of Jerusalem, near the hill of Calvary. Beside this hill three roads came together to form one road, which led to Jerusalem.

God caused a dark cloud to descend upon the world. Melchior and his host could no longer see the star; so they waited. Along came Balthazar and he could no longer see the star, so he and his host waited. After a time, God lifted the cloud and Melchior and Balthazar started making their way to the main road leading to Jerusalem. Casper and his host were also making their way to Jerusalem and where the three roads join with the main road to Jerusalem, the three kings met each other.

Then God worked another miracle; even though the three Kings spoke different languages, they could all understand each other and they told each other that they were following the star to see the Baby King. They followed the star to Jerusalem and after meeting Herod they followed the star to Bethlehem. As they got closer to the stable where Jesus was, the star shone brighter! And when they arrived in Bethlehem the star lit up the place where Jesus, Mary and Joseph were staying.

Melchior, the King of Nubia and Arabia, offered gold to the Baby Jesus because He was a King. Balthazar, the King of Saba, offered frankincense to the Baby Jesus because He was God, and Caspar, the King of Tharsis, offered the Baby Jesus myrrh, because He became man and would die in order to save people from their sins.

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When the three Kings left the Holy Family, they stayed that day in Bethlehem and told the people of that city and the people of the surrounding country about the Child Jesus and how the star had guided them from the East to Bethlehem. At night when the three Kings were sleeping, an Angel came and warned them that they should not return to Herod, (as Herod wanted to kill the Baby Jesus), so they went home by another way. As the three Kings travelled through different towns and cities on their way home, they preached to the people about the Baby Jesus, the Star, and all they had seen and heard and done.

Even though it had only taken thirteen days for the three Kings to travel to Bethlehem, it took them two years to return home! When they reached their kingdoms, they preached to their people and told them all that they had heard and seen and done on the way. And they made in all their temples a star, in the same form and likeness as it had appeared to them. Because of this, many pagans left their errors and their false idols and worshiped the Child Jesus.

The three Kings also built a beautiful chapel on the Hill of Vaus, in India, and promised each other that they would meet there every year. This chapel was also visited by many people from different lands.

At the time Our Lord ascended into Heaven, He sent St. Thomas the Apostle into India to preach there, the Word of God. Now as St. Thomas preached the Word of God in the temples of India, and performed many miracles by the sign of the cross, he found in every temple a star which had been painted and formed in the likeness of the star that had appeared to the three Kings on the night when Christ was born.

The three Kings had prayed that they would not die until they had been baptised. So when they heard that a disciple of Christ had come to their lands and was preaching to the people about the works of the Lord, they set out to meet him. Even though they were very old, they dressed themselves in fine garments and went to see St. Thomas. They also took with them other lords and princes and a great crowd of people.

When Thomas saw the three Kings, he received them with great joy and told them all about the life of Christ and what He had taught to his disciples. Then the Kings told St. Thomas how they had gone to Bethlehem to see the Baby Jesus. Thomas was very touched by their story and baptised the three Kings and all the people who had come with them. Suddenly the three Kings were filled with the Holy Ghost and began to preach the word of God to all the people. Then the three Kings went with St. Thomas to the Hill of Vaus, and there St. Thomas blessed the chapel which the three Kings had built. St. Thomas and the three Kings preached to the people in that chapel about the Christian faith and the star that had appeared to the three Kings. And later, around the chapel of Vaus, the three Kings built the Catholic city of Suwella.

When St. Thomas had preached and converted the people of that area to the Christian faith, he then ordained the three Kings as priests and consecrated them as Bishops. And they ordained other priests and consecrated more Bishops to serve God. St. Thomas went on to preach in other cities and towns of India and in time he was martyred.

Two years before the three Kings died, they called together all the Kings and Princes and Bishops of their lands and chose from among them a man who would be the spiritual leader of the people; and who would take the place of St. Thomas the Apostle.

The three Kings lived together like monks in Suwella, for the next two years. Then before the end of the second year, a little while before Christmas, a wonderful star appeared above the city of Suwella. By this star they knew that they would die soon. So they built a large tomb in the church there, where they could be buried. They all said Mass on Christmas day. Eight days after Christmas, Melchior; who was 116 years old, said Mass and then died. Three days later, Balthazar; who was 112 years old, said Mass and then died. And six days later, Casper; who was 109 years old, said Mass and also died.

The three Kings bodies remained incorrupt for many years, and the star appeared over Suwella until the bodies of the Kings were moved away. A long time after the death of the three Kings, the Catholic faith was practised in the city of Suwella and in all the kingdoms of the East. But as the years passed, the people of India fell again into their pagan religion. They forgot about the three Kings and as God’s punishment, the bodies of the three Kings turned to dust!

St. Helen took the bodies of the three Kings to Constantinople, where her son was the Emperor. After the death of St. Helen the bodies of the three Kings were taken to Milan Italy. Some time later, Archbishop Rainald took the bodies of the three Kings to a church in Cologne, Germany, where they still are today!

    The End

Where Is Your Bethlehem?

joseph-maryJoseph went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem… He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  Luke 2:4, 5

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As the crow flies, it was a journey of approximately 100 kilometers but traveling over hills, through villages and around rivers would likely have made the trip even longer. Christmas pictures always show Mary riding a donkey but we really have no idea of their mode of travel. In any case, whether on foot or on the back of a swaying brown animal, it wasn’t an easy journey, especially for a women nearing the end of her pregnancy.

Why did she go? True, government officialdom decreed a census and that everyone must go to one’s “own city,” the place their families called home, for this official registration and counting. Perhaps Mary was also quite ready to leave the village of Nazareth where tongues were wagging about her pregnancy and unmarried status.

But Mary and Joseph knew they were going far from family and into a city whose streets would be clogged with traveling strangers. They were assured of no warm welcome, no cozy place to birth the expected child. Perhaps they hoped for a small house or a distant relative or a way for Joseph to earn money for their keep, but in almost every way, they were traveling into the unknown. The journey was long and hard, the destination uncertain.

Nearly nine months before their arrival in Bethlehem, Mary spoke life-changing words to God, words that were to comfort her in the many uncertain years ahead. “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” With those simple words of faith, she could endure the long journey on the back of a donkey, the cold streets of Bethlehem, the staring faces of strangers, and even the crude stable with its straw-lined manger.

Where is your Bethlehem? Has the path been long, the people uncaring, the circumstances burdensome? When we submit ourselves as servants to a loving God, we can—in quietness and confidence—add “May it be to me as you have said” no matter the place or position in which we find ourselves.

#MoralStory: のに~ちゃん❤

meet noni-chan!

nonichan

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It was a rough day, and I didn’t know why it was rough. It is just it is. Just my mood swings as usual, I guess. So I was thinking to stop by at st. Joseph church at bukit timah after work, do a quick prayer at the 14 ways of the cross on the way home.

That was my first intention.

But when I alighted at the bus stop across the church, I saw this sweet girl wandering around the bus stop, meowing at nothing. Seemed like she was lost, scared by many cars passing by and loud noises from the traffic. So I decided to pick her up and bring her with me to the church.

I immediately felt so relate to this sweet girl. I named her noni-chan. ‘Noni’, as that is how my mom used to call me at home. And this beautiful kitten, so young, so alone, so scared, so lost, yet so brave. She reminds me of myself. I’m a young lady too, so alone in this strange country, felt so scared if I would survive here, and so lost as it very difficult for me to find a place to fit in. But maybe I am brave too. But that is not because I am such a superwoman who can conquer the world by myself, but mostly because I have no choice but to be brave.

Carrying noni in my arm crossing a very busy street to the church, reminds me how I am also scared, I don’t know why God carry me in His arm, crossing a scary places, I might be clawed too hard trying to grab Him tight and hope He didn’t drop me. But yet I can feel His gentle arm always protect me. He probably just want me to be calm and trust him, and He will bring me to a safer place.

When I finally put noni in a grassy yard at the church, I could see her very happy playing around with the wild bushes. She is now away from the noisy traffic, the scary part. But here too, too dark and no one was there. Like I know how God always put me in a safer place after the scary part, but I always find myself alone. I know how even noni distracted by bugs and critters at the grass, but she didn’t want to be away from me. She followed me around. Like I followed God, even though I got distracted many times by many things, but I still hope God would never ever leave me.

And when I tried to lead noni to brighter place with more lighting and away from the dark, even when noni didn’t want me to be away from her, but she was also unsure to follow me either. I always want God to be around me, but even when He lead me to a brighter place I am not sure if I should follow Him. And if I slowly hesitated to follow Him, trying hard to trust Him, was it the correct way?

It was almost an hour with noni in the church’ backyard and failed calling SPCA many times. It was getting late and I needed to go back home. Finally SPCA picked up my call. But it was a bad news because SPCA couldn’t rescue her as they were already busy with more urgent cases. They suggested me to leave her in a quiet place, as noni already a grown up, she can take care of herself and there will be volunteers feeding the stray animals at night.

It was a tough choice. I didn’t want to leave noni alone. I don’t want myself to be left alone! But since pets are not allowed in my condo, and my ex-colleague also couldn’t adopt her, so I had no choice but to leave her in this church. I decided to pick her up once again, whispered in her ear that she will be alright tonight, and brought her to kindergarten’s yard, with hope tomorrow there will be kids found her and bring her home.

So today I have been saved by a kitten! I know I will survive tonight. And tomorrow there will be new hopes for me too. Even though I can’t see God with my eyes, but I know He always remember me.

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Please Help Those in Need This Easter

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Easter 2016

Dear Friend,

The good Lord has always been on our side. He has seen us through thick and thin. Our faith has been purified through persecution,” says Father Gideon Obasogie of the Diocese of Maiduguri in northeast Nigeria, where his faithful are undergoing unrelenting and unspeakable horrors at the hands of the terrorist group Boko Haram.

More than 5,000 Catholic men, women and children in northeast Nigeria have been killed. At least 100,000 have been displaced. The Church is struggling to help 7,000 widows and 10,000 orphans.

In Father Gideon’s diocese alone, 350 churches have been badly attacked. Most dioceses and half of the parish centers are under Boko Haram control. Pope Francis tells us, “Around us there is the presence of evil….But I would like to say in a loud voice:  God is stronger!”

ACN-20150410-22873This Easter, will you help Father Gideon and other religious respond to the needs of families who are fleeing Boko Haram? Will you reach out, and as the Holy Father has said, show them that God is, indeed, stronger?

Bishop Doeme of Maiduguri, too, is concerned about his people.  “A life lived with much fear is terrible…The threat we face presents a very bleak future for the Church. Many of our members are scattered and others have been killed. In some areas there are no Christians anymore.”  “The extremists point a gun or a knife at the faithful saying that if you do not convert you will be killed.”

The situation is a desperate one.  Thanks to our donors, we are supplying emergency aid to people from Maiduguri seeking sanctuary outside the diocese, supporting displaced persons with food, shelter and medicine, and providing Mass stipends to Maiduguri priests seeking refuge in nearby dioceses.

We need you in order to continue this vital aid.  This Easter, a time of joy in His Resurrection, please help us to show that despite the presence of evil, God is stronger.

Please keep our suffering faithful in your prayers, as well as Bishop Doeme and Father Gideon, two courageous men who are standing strong for their Church and their people.

May you enjoy a blessed Easter with your loved ones.

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Miracles associated with Brigid of Kildare and Her Cross

Brigid is celebrated for her generosity to the poor. In her case, most of the miracles associated with her relate to healing and household tasks usually attributed to women.

  • When Brigit was of marital age, a man by the name of Dubthach moccu Lugair came to woo her. Since Brigid offered her virginity to God, she told the man that she cannot accept him but to go to the woods behind his house where he will find a beautiful maiden to marry. Everything that he says to the maiden’s father will be pleasing to them. The man followed her instructions and it was as she said.
  • In one story, Brigid protected a woman from a nobleman who had entrusted a silver brooch to the woman for safekeeping but then accidentally dropped it into the sea. He charged her with stealing it, knowing that he could take her as a slave if a judge ruled in his favor. The woman fled and sought refuge with Brigid’s community. By chance, one of her fishermen hauled in a fish which, when cut open, proved to have swallowed the brooch. The nobleman freed the woman, confessed his sin, and bowed in submission to Brigid. A similar story is told of St Kentigern.
  • On another occasion, Brigid was travelling to see a physician for her headache. She stayed at the house of a Leinster couple who had two deaf daughters. The daughters were travelling with Brigid when her horse startled, causing her to fall and graze her head on a stone. A touch of Brigid’s blood healed the deaf girls.
  • When on the bank of the River Inny, Brigid was given a gift of apples and sweet sloes. She later entered a house where many lepers begged her for these apples, which she offered willingly. The woman who had given the gift to Brigid was angered by this, saying that she had not given the gift to the lepers. Brigid was angry at the nun for withholding from the lepers and cursed her trees so they would no longer bear fruit. Yet another woman also gave Brigid the same gift, and again Brigid gave them to begging lepers. This time the second woman asked that she and her garden be blessed. Brigid then said that a large tree in the virgin’s garden would have twofold fruit from its offshoots, and this was done.
  • One Easter Sunday, a leper had come to Brigid to ask for a cow. She said she would rest and would help him later; however, he did not wish to wait and said he would go somewhere else for a cow. Brigid then offered to heal him, but the man stubbornly replied that his condition allowed him to get more than he would if he were healthy. After convincing the leper that this was not so, she told one of her maidens to have the man washed in a blessed mug of water. After this was done, the man was healed and vowed to serve Brigid.
  • One of the more commonly told stories is of Brigid asking the King of Leinster for land. She told the king that the place where she stood was the perfect spot for a convent. It was beside a forest where they could collect firewood and berries. There was also a lake nearby that would provide water and the land was fertile. The king laughed at her and refused to give her any land. Brigid prayed to God and asked him to soften the king’s heart. Then she smiled at the king and said “will you give me as much land as my cloak will cover?” The king thought that she was joking and, hoping to get rid of her, he agreed. She told four of her sisters to take up the cloak, but instead of laying it flat on the turf, each sister, with face turned to a different point of the compass, began to run swiftly, the cloth growing in all directions. The cloak began to cover many acres of land. “Oh, Brigid!” said the frighted king, “what are you about?” “I am, or rather my cloak is about covering your whole province to punish you for your stinginess to the poor.” “Call your maidens back. I will give you a decent plot of ground.” The saint was persuaded, and if the king held his purse-strings tight in future, she had only to allude to her cloak to bring him to reason. Soon afterwards, the king became a Christian, began to help the poor and commissioned the building of the convent. Legend has it, the convent was known for making jam from the local blueberries which was sought for all over Ireland. There is a new tradition beginning among followers of St Brigid to eat jam on 1 February in honour of this miracle.
  • After Brigid promised God a life of chastity, her brothers were grieved at the loss of a bride price. When she was outside carrying a load past a group of poor people, some began to laugh at her. A man named Bacene said to her, “The beautiful eye which is in your head will be betrothed to a man though you like it or not.” In response, Brigit thrust her finger in her eye and said, “Here is that beautiful eye for you. I deem it unlikely that anyone will ask you for a blind girl.” Her brothers tried to save her and wash away the blood from her wound, but there was no water to be found. Brigid said to them, “Put my staff about this sod in front of you”, and after they did, a stream came forth from the ground. Then she said to Bacene, “Soon your two eyes will burst in your head” and it happened as she said.
  • She is associated with the preservation of a nun’s chastity in unusual circumstances. Some authors claim that it is an account of an abortion. Both Liam de Paor (1993) and Connolly & Picard (1987), in their complete translations of Cogitosus, give substantially the same translation of the account of Brigit’s ministry to a nun who had failed to keep her vow of chastity, and become pregnant. In the 1987 translation: “A certain woman who had taken the vow of chastity fell, through youthful desire of pleasure and her womb swelled with child. Brigid, exercising the most potent strength of her ineffable faith, blessed her, causing the child to disappear, without coming to birth, and without pain. She faithfully returned the woman to health and to penance.”

 The Tale of The Cross

SaintBrigidThere was an old pagan Chieftain who lay delirious on his deathbed in Kildare (some believe this was her father) and his servants summoned Brigid to his beside in the hope that the saintly woman may calm his restless spirit. Brigid is said to have sat by his bed, consoling and calming him and it is here that she picked up the rushes from the floor and began weaving them into the distinctive cross pattern. Whilst she weaved, she explained the meaning of the cross to the sick Chieftain and it is thought her calming words brought peace to his soul, and that he was so enamoured by her words that the old Chieftain requested he was baptized as a Christian just before his passing.

Since that day and for the centuries that followed, it has been customary on the eve of her Feat Day (1st February) for the Irish to fashion a St Brigid Cross of straw or rushes and place it inside the house over the door.

The Story of Rudolph

Rudolph frolics in the snow. The Tiny Reindeer come in and laugh at him.

Once upon a time,  there lived at the North Pole a young reindeer named Rudolph. He was a lively, happy reindeer and loved playing in the snow. But one day, the other reindeer noticed that he had a very large, bright red nose, and they teased him about it without mercy.

Rudolph is sad and begins to cry. The Tiny Reindeer prance off, still laughing.

Rudolph was sad because it was Christmas Eve and he was afraid that, because of his shiny nose, he would never be chosen to pull Santa’s sleigh. He went to visit Santa and Elf, who were getting all their presents ready.  They were always kind to Rudolph and never mentioned his funny nose.

Rudolph cheers up and trots off to see Santa and Elf, who are busy with all their presents. He helps them work. While they work, day turns to night.

At last, Santa boomed, “Elf, I must go now. Let’s load up the presents.”

Santa and Elf pack up the sleigh, while Rudolph helps them.

When all was ready, Santa asked, “Where are my eight reindeer? I need their strength to pull
my sleigh.”

The Tiny Reindeer prance onstage and proudly take their places in front of the sleigh.

Then Santa looked around him and noticed how foggy the night had become. He was worried that he would not be able to see his way. Suddenly he spied Rudolph with his bright red nose, and he had a very bright idea!

They get ready to leave but Santa stops them in their tracks. Then everyone’s eyes turn to Rudolph, standing alone at the side.

“Rudolph,” he cried, “I want YOU—with your shiny nose— to light the way for my sleigh tonight!”

Santa points to Rudolph, and the Tiny Reindeer cheer him.

The Tiny Reindeer made way for Rudolph. Now everybody loved him and said what a very special reindeer he was. From then on, Rudolph was Santa’s first choice every Christmas Eve.

Santa and Rudolph wave goodbye and fly away over the rooftops of houses, with their sleigh full of Christmas presents.

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