Monthly Archives: December 2017

Obedience works wonders

24 December 2017 4th Sunday of Advent December 21, 2014

2 Sam 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16; Rom 16:25-27; Lk 1:26-38

 

May Tam

 

With this last Sunday of Advent, Christmas is knocking at the door. Many of us may well be ready for the celebration that is to come. But two thousand years ago, an unknown Jewish girl who brought forth the first Christmas, had her life-changing adventure began in today’s Annunciation story of Luke’s gospel. Let us revisit this extraordinary event.

It was extraordinary because the spiritual realm “touched base” with the material world—the invisible manifested itself to be visible. It was extraordinary because the Almighty God who, being the cause and source of everything and is in need of nothing, includes humanity’s (represented by Mary) cooperation and participation in His salvific plan. By the use of a diptych, we may see what it means.

Jesus is conceived from Mary’s yes

Fernando Armellini SCJ

Claretian Publications, Macau

There is a surprise in the expectations and realization of the messianic coming. He chooses not a valiant liberator like Gideon, not a hero like Samson or a powerful ruler as Solomon, but a woman, a virgin, a poor girl.

The central message of the passage is the opening greeting of the angel to Mary. “Rejoice, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” This greeting was well known to Mary because the prophets had already addressed it to the Virgin Zion from Zephaniah (Zep 3:1).

After the greeting, the angel announced to Mary the birth of a child to whom the Lord God will give the kingdom of David, his ancestor; he will rule over the people of Jacob forever, and his reign shall have no end. Almost identical words are found, on the mouth of Nathan (2 S 7:12-17). Placing them on the lips of the angel, the evangelist declares that the prophecy made to David was accomplished in the son of Mary: Jesus is the long-awaited messiah destined to rule forever.

Devotion to St Francis Xavier (2) — The link to India

Joaquim Magalhães de Castro

 

The Castro family went to India in 1550, initially to Daman, and later to Goa where they erected palaces and served the king, and remained there until 1850. “This date marks the definitive return to Lisbon of the representative of the family, and my great-grandfather, D. Luis Caetano de Castro,” he explains. The title Count Nova Goa would be awarded for “the valuable services rendered to the nation in lands of the East.”

To give an idea of “what has become the splendor” of the Castros, our interlocutor, sitting on the sofa of his house, not far from the silver of the family and an ivory statue of the Child Jesus of Indo-Portuguese art, reads excerpts from a letter from his aunt, written in 1950, in which she reveals the astonishment shown by a certain Indian character, “regular house visit,” who said that when he saw the family members leave the car and drive, they “carried beaters ahead like kings, that all might depart.”

Times have changed. Yesterday’s domain of Nova Goa is now a school run by Dominicans. But if the Castros lost palaces to the East, they won others in the Portugal itself, thanks to strategic marriages. One of them, he linked them to the family of the Abreus – who thought themselves so powerful that they said of themselves, “after God only the Abreus” – more properly to António de Abreu, than a court decision, “following of a quarrel with the friars of the convent of Christ,” commanded a ship to Malacca, and he was also one of the “discoverers” of the Maluku Islands.

Marian Apparitions (48) — Wisconsin, America

Adele Brise was born in Belgium in 1831. She and her farm family moved to the Bay Settlement area near Green Bay, Wisconsin sometime in the early 1850’s. The US Bishops had already declared Mary to be the patroness of the US in 1846. In 1854, Pope Pius IX declared the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which states that Mary was conceived without original sin. Just four years later, in 1858, at Lourdes, France, Mary appeared to St. Bernadette and declared that she was The Immaculate Conception. A year later, in 1859, the twenty eight year old Adele was surprised to see Mary appear to her in the wooded area of her farm in Wisconsin. As usual, her appearance had a very definitive purpose. Mary asked her to pray for poor sinners, to teach the young children how to make the sign of the cross, and to teach them about the catechism and the sacraments. Her exact statement is as follows:

FAITH ILLUSTRATED – Creed 03

God’s Nature and Attributes – 3 

Reverend Father Claude Lo passes away

Macau Diocesan priest Reverend Father Claude Lo (羅啟瑞神父) passed away from an illness in the morning of 13 December 2017 at the San Januario Hospital. He was 84.

Father Lo was born on 1 November 1933 in Hong Kong. He joined the St Joseph Seminary in 1949 and was ordained priest on 31 December 1961. From 1962 to 1965 he studied Church History and Liturgy in Rome at the Gregorian University from which he obtained a master’s degree.

A FILIPINO TRADITION SINCE 1668 – Crowds expected for Simbang Gabi

PEDRO DANIEL OLIVEIRA

Starting today, the Filipino Catholic community, led by the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT), is holding the Simbang Gabi (Dawn Masses) in Macau, an ancient religious tradition introduced in the Philippines by the Spaniards.

From Dec 16-24, the Masses honoring the Blessed Mother and preparing for Christ’s birth will be at 5:30 AM in St Lawrence’s Church. For those who cannot make it to the dawn Masses, Simbang Gabi will be celebrated at 8:30 PM from Dec 15-23 in St Joseph’s Seminary Chapel.

“The importance of this festivity to us, Filipinos, is that first of all it prepares us for the celebration of the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord,” Fr Alejandre Vergara, SOLT, told us. “This is the time to unite ourselves with one another to celebrate the love of God for all of us. This is a kind of thanksgiving to God for all the graces and blessings that we received especially for the gift of Jesus who was born for us,” he added.

NOVENA AND MASS — Macau honors St Francis Xavier

The Jesuit community and friends in Macau held a novena to St Francis Xavier from November 24 to December 2 at St Joseph’s Seminary Church. Throughout the nine-day devotion, many different lay persons came to share their thoughts on topics such as the family, discernment, service, vocation, education, and thanksgiving, among others.

This year, the 3rd of December, feast of St Francis, fell on a Sunday, so the celebration was moved to the following day, Monday, 4th of December.

Fr Paul Chan SJ spearheaded the novena. He had composed it several years ago, and wanted to promote it in Macau this year, hoping that lay witnesses can share their own experiences about how to face hardship and keep up their hope.

SVD GENERAL COUNCILOR IN ROME FR JOSÉ ANTUNES DA SILVA – “Our Society has been blessed with many vocations in Asia”

The Society of the Divine Word is gaining momentum in Asia with the growing number of new vocations, says the SVD General Councilor in Rome Fr José Antunes da Silva. Speaking to O CLARIM, he mentions about the establishment of missions in Myanmar and Bangladesh, the challenges the congregation faces throughout the world and the work carried out by Pope Francis in the Vatican. Macau is also a topic of conversation.

PEDRO DANIEL OLIVEIRA

 

You are an SVD priest in Rome. Can you describe the nature of your role?

I am a member of the General Council of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD). My role, together with the other councilors, is to help the Superior General to coordinate the Society’s work around the world, and to animate our members and our collaborators in their life and mission.

 

MONG HA SUNDAY SCHOOL STAFF – An Enlightening Advent Retreat

 Angela Chong

It was the feast of Christ the King on November 26, and an Advent retreat was held for the Mong Ha Sunday school staff.

Father Joey Mandia, our retreat director, inspired us greatly with useful information in relation to Christ’s kingship. With special emphasis on our need for regular confession, he explained very carefully how we should live our lives on earth in order to enter the Kingdom of God afterwards. Finally, he discussed how we become united in the kingship of Christ through baptism and how we should share in His kingly, priestly and prophetic offices in our everyday lives.

His talk initiated a lot of our thinking. And we appreciated the opportunity to ask related questions at intervals throughout the discussion. Indeed a lot of questions were raised and Father Mandia not only answered every one of them with patience and wisdom but also guided us to explore deeper into the issue being discussed.