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Catholic Teachings

Third Sunday of Advent

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Bishop's Advent Message

In his Advent 2022 message, Bishop McGrattan urges us to rediscover the meaning and goal of our lives, in relation to God, and to all humanity through Christ:

The Advent season marks the beginning of a new liturgical year. In preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas, it is a time of spiritual renewal which invites us as Christians to reflect more deeply on the meaning of our common human history. To rediscover our vocation and mission in Christ which calls us to reach out to all of humanity, peoples, cultures, and across the path of time.
 
In our lives we can all experience the call to begin again, to rediscover the meaning and the goal of our lives in relation to God, and to all of humanity through Christ. It is similar for the human family in rediscovering the common path and horizon that unites us. This horizon of hope for all of humanity has been revealed to us in Christ, who was the incarnate Word of God. 
 
The season of Advent can restore in each of us this horizon of hope. It is a hope which does not disappoint for it is founded on God’s word. It can be a time to deepen our longing and anticipation that God will do what the prophets of the Old Testament promised. To fully reveal the promise of His love, the promise of salvation that is founded on hope and which unites us in Christ to all of humanity. Read more...

 

Mass readings, reflections and activities for the Third Sunday of Advent (Year A)

Mass Readings  |  Last Sunday, we heard John the Baptist preach the coming of a strong Messiah who would restore order and punish evil people, and ensure that justice would prevail. Now Jesus has arrived, and John has doubts while in prison, so he asks Jesus the question: “Are you the one?” Jesus points to what is happening: healing, new life and Good News proclaimed. But this is not what John had envisioned: that salvation is not punitive but salvific. Instead of judgment, Jesus announces God’s mercy. Instead of imposing a new world order, Jesus invites people into a new covenant that transforms their lives, and Jesus shows special care to the excluded and the suffering. 

  • What do you learn in this reading about the relationship between John and Jesus?
  • How has your life been touched and transformed by Jesus and his message of God’s mercy? 
  • What are the distinguishing marks of a prophet?    (Source: Diocese of Saskatoon)

Resources for children:

Gospel Kid's challenge this week:  What do you think might be a reason for our rejoicing today? This week, together as a family, look through the newspaper for signs of hope that God is at work in our world. Pray that the world will know God's salvation by praying together the Lord's Prayer. (Loyola Press)

Journey through Advent Videos from CCCB

 The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) presents Journey through Advent with the Most Rev. Joseph Dabrowski, CSMA, Auxiliary Bishop of London, Ontario. Join us as we reflect on the Scriptures for the Sundays of Advent 2022. Watch video - 6 minutes reflection for the Second Sunday of Advent by Bishop Joseph Dabrowski.

 

 

Pope's Prayer Intention for December

This month, let us pray that volunteer non-profit and human development organizations may find people willing to commit themselves to the common good and ceaselessly seek out new paths of international cooperation.

In his intention, the Holy Father encourages volunteers to continue their labour, working “not just for the people, but with the people,” being close to them, being “artisans of mercy” and always listening to other people’s needs. Watch Pope's video this month


 

"The Letter"

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A new documentary “on humanity’s power to stop the ecological crisis” facing the world is presented at a press conference at the Vatican on Tuesday, Oct. 4. The film “The Letter,” says Cardinal Michael Czerny, “is a clarion cry to people everywhere: we have to act together, we have to do it now.” 

This documentary is packed with powerfully moving personal stories alongside the latest information about the planetary crisis and the toll it’s taking on nature and people. 

  • Watch documentary "The Letter" on Youtube Originals here 

 

Vatican II’s primary goal

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POPE JOHN JOHN XXIII

St. John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council on October 11, 1962, and revealed the primary goal of the Council in his opening address. The major interest of the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred heritage of Christian truth be safeguarded and expounded with greater efficacy. That doctrine embraces the whole man, body and soul. It bids us live as pilgrims here on earth, as we journey onwards towards our heavenly homeland.

He saw the Council’s main activity as to safeguard the truth, but also to present that same truth to the modern world.

What is needed at the present time is a new enthusiasm, a new joy and serenity of mind in the unreserved acceptance by all of the entire Christian faith, without forfeiting that accuracy and precision in its presentation which characterized the proceedings of the Council of Trent and the First Vatican Council. What is needed, and what everyone imbued with a truly Christian, Catholic and apostolic spirit craves today, is that this doctrine shall be more widely known, more deeply understood, and more penetrating in its effects on men’s moral lives.

A unique aspect of St. John XXIII’s approach was to not focus on the negative, but to focus on the positive. Instead of issuing condemnations, he wanted to make clarifications.

The Church has always opposed these errors, and often condemned them with the utmost severity. Today, however, Christ’s Bride prefers the balm of mercy to the arm of severity. She believes that, present needs are best served by explaining more fully the purport of her doctrines, rather than by publishing condemnations.

The Second Vatican Council continues to affect the Church today, and it is important for all Catholics to go back to the Council’s documents to understand it more fully and see how the Holy Spirit helped to preserve the heritage of truth in the modern world.

Source: https://aleteia.org/2021/10/11/vatican-iis-primary-goal-according-to-st-john-xxiii 


 

Directory for Catechesis Study Group Series

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The Office of Pastoral Ministry offers an online opportunity (via Zoom) for those engaged in sacramental preparation, RCIA, pastoral care ministry, and other parish ministries to delve deeper into the reading, studying, and discussing of the Directory for Catechesis


 

Multiculturalism

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Sociologist Dr. Caleb Rosado specializes in diversity and multiculturalism, and has written several articles:

Multicultural Ministry: The Theory

"Multicultural ministry is the development and implementation of heterogeneous models of communicating the Gospel, through beliefs and behaviors which are sensitive to the needs of the culturally diverse population within a church's field of service, creating a community which celebrates unity in diversity in Christ. For too long the Christian Church has been operating on exclusive, homogeneous models of ministry and styles of worship in a heterogeneous church and society... There is a difference between a "multiethnic" church and a "multicultural" church. A Multiethnic Church is one that has a diversity of ethnic groups in the congregation, but the church's "seven Ps" (perspectives, policies, purposes,programs, personnel, practices, and power–see below) do not necessarily reflect the diversity of the church. A Multicultural Church, on the other hand, is one tha tincorporates these differences into a wholistic program of ministry. It is sensitive to all the experiences and differences that people bring, and not just differences of race, ethnicity and culture. The concern in multicultural ministry is a respect for others and what they bring to the altar to present before God." Read the full document

Toward a Definition of Multiculturalism (October 28, 1996)

 "Transculturation must not be confused with the more common term, “acculturaltion,” the anthropological equivalent of assimilation, meaning that one group adapts it culture to the cultural ways of the dominant group, usually through the one-way process of socialization. Transculturation is radically different. Transculturation is the reciprocal process by which two cultures, upon contact, engage in a system of give and take and adaptation to each other's ways, though often not in an equal manner, resulting in the emergence of a new cultural reality (Ortiz 1970). It is a two-way process of cultural exchange, where the various groups learn from each other, each impacting the other, without totally losing their unique distinctiveness. This rich blend of ethnic groups, coming together on the basis of coalitions of interests and not of color, with a common set of values..." (excerpt) Read the full document.


 

Faith, Fun and Fellowship

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This time of the pandemic is a challenge to everyone. The pandemic has brought lockdowns, isolation, loneliness, mental illness, and as for lately, it has become the seed of division. Everything seems to be hanging from a thread, on the brink of collapse.

And yet, even in the midst of the instability that surrounds us, we can find God’s hands leading us to create spaces where we can get together, enjoy the company of one another, be able to check on our loved ones, and above all, to bring faith and hope to one another.

The Catholic Women’s League has a beautiful tradition in the way its members treat to each other. Each of the members has a strong sense of belonging to the league, and strong sense of sisterhood. It is a family that gets together, and brave together the storms that they have to face.

Today’s meeting is just a glimpse of that sense of sisterhood, of togetherness, of fellowship. With ingenuity each of the members have found ways to be at the disposal of the rest of the sisters, to be present and to the of service. With ingenuity, each of the sisters of the League is able to bring their own contribution, thus building up a strong group of women who continue to work for God, the Church and Canada.

So in the midst of the challenging times in which we live in, that sense of fellowship and sisterhood has to become stronger every day. Pope Benedict in a reflection of the spirit of fellowship reminds us.

“Just as in the commercial world there is an insidious devaluation of currency when the coins in circulation are no longer backed by a corresponding weight of objective assets and production, so too the currency of the mind- the word- is in danger of being emptied out by a kind of inflation when the force of convictions and views is no longer able to keep the scale from tipping toward the surplus verbal coins that are issued so carelessly. Many of the greatest words of the human mind -heart, love, and happiness, for example- have succumbed to devaluation in this way; the profound Christian word "brotherhood" or “sisterhood” seems today about to suffer the same fate. We said before that words are the currency of the mind because in them the mind of one person imparts itself to another; someone who values the word for the sake of the mind will do two things when inflation threatens to consume the word: he will use the great coin of the word sparingly and not take it upon his lips when it is doomed to meaninglessness; on the other hand, he will try to strengthen those convictions which lend life and strength to words.

What is the intellectual backing behind the word “Christian brotherhood/sisterhood”? The central point on which this word lives, in which its force is rooted, is nothing other than the central point of Christian reality in general: the table fellowship of the faithful with the risen Lord. People have always experienced sharing a meal as the most effective way of creating fellowship; here, though, when they eat the one divine bread that the Lord himself desired to become for us, this is raised to the highest power: it is in the final analysis nothing other than incorporation into the Lord´s body, into the realm of the Risen Christ.”

The sense of fellowship, and among the members of the League, the sense of Sisterhood is at stake nowadays, if we take the term lightly. Sisterhood cannot be condemned to be a meaningless word, losing its value as a word and above all, losing its value as what it really means.

Christ teaches us, by his example the meaning of fellowship, of relationship, of brotherhood and of sisterhood. He took it all the way to the Cross, but in between, the left for us the milestones that bring us together even closer in him. The Eucharist, the summit of our faith. Sisterhood cannot be a reality, if we do not break bread, if we do not break the bread that Jesus gives us in the Eucharist, the sign of the fellowship Christ shares with us. It is in this intimate place that Jesus invites us to be part of him and part of one another, thus we become a is community.

So the community, the Church, is another gift from Jesus to us. A real community is where sisterhood is found at its best. It is in sharing and caring for one another that the bonds of the sisters is strengthened. It is in the community that each person gets to know each other. It is in the spirit of selfless giving of each other that the love, goodness and kindness of Christ is displayed in the community.

It is in the community that faith is exercised, with no hint of shame and shyness, because, God invites us to exercise this beautiful gift in the midst of the community. Faith, thus, strengthens the bond of fellowship.

Fellowship sisterhood, invites us spend is intentional time with God & with your sisters.

It is in fellowship that we are “devoted” to God & to each other.

Fellowship doesn’t happen by accident. In order to be in true fellowship with each other we need to do so intentionally, and not just making plans to hang out, but making sure that we are spending time with the focus of giving God Glory.

It’s hard to be accountable, bond, trust, that you only see once per week in minimal doses. And like I said earlier for many of us in church context “fellowship” has been boiled down to this once per week thing.

Therefore, as we get together, even though it is virtual, we are still making it tangible, in a way, the sense of fellowship and sisterhood among the members of the League. The sense of sisterhood that engages the mind and heart, is what keeps each of the councils active, each of the members engaged in the different activities. Sisterhood, in its real sense, the sense given to it by God, is to be a relationship of love, goodness and kindness.

Presented by Fr Pilmaiken Lezano at the 25 September 2021 Calgary Diocesan Fall Meeting

 

THE WORD OF GOD

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The Scriptures do not stand on their own; they must be explained, interpreted within the context of the living faith of the community, and applied to its present circumstances, often radically different from those out of which the text first arose.  The proclamation of God’s word in the liturgy provides the best possible context for the authentic interpretation of the Bible.  In the liturgy the biblical context is proclaimed to the assembled Christians, and the apostolic leader of the community explains its significance by relating it to its original situation, to the whole plan of God, to the faith of the Church, to the practical concerns of his particular community, and to the experience of the Lord in the Eucharist.

The Jewish tradition of liturgical proclamation of the Scriptures includes a tradition of interpretation.  In the synagogue services of ancient Palestine, the Scriptures were read in Hebrew, but since many in the congregation understood only Aramaic, an official of the synagogue would provide a running translation in that language, a targum, which was a kind of paraphrase including within it a commentary on the text.  The spiritual leaders of the synagogue community would also preach on the various scriptural texts.  In Luke 4 we have an account of Jesus reading the scriptural text and commenting on it.

In Justin’s description of the Eucharistic liturgy, a member of the community reads the texts and then the leader explains their meaning.  Down through the centuries, liturgical proclamation of the Scriptures has been inseparable from the homiletic interpretation.  Many scriptural commentaries of the Fathers of the Church are really homilies on the texts proclaimed in the liturgy.  In our own day the Constitution on the Liturgy states that “through the homily, the hidden realities of faith and the guiding principles of the Christian life are explained over the course of the liturgical year from the text of the scripture: (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 52).  The homily is a basic element of the liturgical reading of the Bible.

Read more...

THE LECTIONARY: The Sacred Text in the Eucharist

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The Eucharist is shaped by the Scriptures.  The various prayers, and especially the Eucharistic prayers, constantly allude to the Bible.  In the First Eucharistic Prayer it is assumed that the Christian is familiar with the significance of Abel, of Melchizedek, and of Abraham, our father in faith.  One reason for encouraging a deeper understanding of the Scriptures is to help Christians appreciate the Eucharistic texts.  The most important way in which Christians encounter the Bible at the Eucharist is in the Liturgy of the Word, when portions of the sacred text are read from the lectionary.

When the first Christians developed a Liturgy of the Word to precede the celebration of the Eucharist, they were influenced by the practice of the Jewish synagogue, where the main liturgical event was a series of scriptural readings.  The five books of Moses - the Torah - were read systematically, section by section.  Other passages, from the prophets were also read.  It took time for the New Testament writings to be accepted as “Scripture” by the first Christians:  when they thought of Scripture they normally meant what we call the Old Testament.  But gradually, as we see in the quote from Justin (November Newsletter), they came to read out passages not only from the ancient Hebrew Scriptures, but also from writings concerning Christ.

In early centuries the various Christian communities had different ways of arranging the readings.  A common pattern was to have one or more Old Testament readings (The Prophet), New Testament readings (The Apostle), and a Gospel.  As the various Christian communities developed their systems, the appropriate passages were marked in the biblical text to guide the reader.  Later, the texts were copied out into special books, the first lectionaries.

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