Monthly Archives: December 2018

‘Tis the Season to Be Overjoyed! – 23 DECEMBER 2018 – Fourth Sunday of Advent (C)

Mi 5:1-4, Heb 10:5-10, Lk 1:39-45


– Edmond Lo


Micah’s proclamation of the Good News is almost hysterical. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the prophet sounds so overjoyed he is, I’d venture to say, a little beyond himself:

“From you [Bethlehem] shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel. Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time when she who is to give birth has borne…. His greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth; he shall be peace… (Mi 5:1-4)

Beyond ourselves is what we Christians should be – what the whole world should be – as the Church’s celebration of Advent enters its final week. For the mystery of the Father’s divine love is about to be revealed in its fullness and made visible to the whole world in His Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Dramatizing the liturgy of the Word?

– Enrico Finotti

On some occasions the liturgy of the Word is dramatized with the children of catechesis and in certain celebrations images and films are projected. The opinions among us are somewhat divergent. What about this?

The Church has always celebrated the liturgy of the Word so that it is proclaimed by the living voice of the reader and heard by all the people summoned. This modality had its origins in the synagogical liturgy, as is well established in the sacred Scriptures and in ancient sources. The sacred representations certainly originated from the Christian liturgy, but they never replaced it. Undoubtedly the Church assumed some dramatic expressions to embellish the liturgical proclamation, but these are very sober and completely functional to an even more noble and effective liturgical proclamation. The most evident case is that of reading the Passion with the three deacons and the schola for choral interventions. Even the cantillatio can give greater strength and color to the proclamation of the readings, in particular to the Gospel text.

CHURCH FATHERS (37) – Saint Augustine

– Anastasios


Honestly speaking, one feels a sort of embarrassment when there is the need to talk, in such a little space, of a giant like Saint Augustine, a thinker, a saint, a bishop that would need volumes to only grasp the depth of his life. All the Fathers of the Church deserve our attention and respect. Some of them were really influential also for the successive development of theology. Let us think of St Ambrose, St Jerome, St Basil, Origen (this one in a more problematic way). But no one was as influential as Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430), probably the most important Christian thinker in history together with Saint Thomas Aquinas.

MARIAN APPARITIONS (95) – Spoleto, Italy

– Tej Francis

A devout man named Diotallevi d’Antonio Santilli was the owner of a modest house near the town of Spoleto, Italy, located on the road to Trevi. In all the documents of the time, the owner of the house was shown to be Antonio Diotallevi, although in actually the owner was Antonio’s son. With his savings he bought several small plots of land, and he is known to have owned some cattle, but he was not a rich man. He had three children named Sante, Antonello and Baptist.

THE MOST BELOVED CHRISTMAS CAROL – The Story behind “Silent Night”

– Fr Leonard E. Dollentas


It was Christmas eve in the small village of Mariapfarr, a small municipality in the district of Tamsweg in the state of Salzburg in Austria. The year was 1816, and the young village priest was in his usual reflective mood. In his hands was an old and tattered Bible, and his eyes were glued to the pages of the glorious story of Christmas. From his room, he could hear the chattering of people who were on their way to his little church. As he looked reflectively from his window, the sight of them moving across the valley, with their flaming torches was a wonderful sight to behold. He watched them with profound admiration, they were the poorest of his parishioners. The priest had known and lived in poverty, he knew thoroughly well the miserable circumstances of his flock. The priest comfort himself by turning his gaze once again to the passage of the gospel of Luke he was reading: “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Great Figures of the Missionary Work – Bengal and the Kingdom of the Dragon (33)

– Joaquim Magalhães de Castro


As the vehicle struggled over the uphill zigzag path that came from the main road, we are able to see several houses in ruins, proving the ancestrality of the place. We had witnessed nothing of the sort in the previous villages. I am slowly reconciled with the country, now that the houses with half-timbered walls – windows, doorways and richly decorated parapets – show their authenticity. Protected by the eaves, the wood-burning sauces are used to warm the fireplaces in the long winter. Houses almost intact in their original layout, undone only by the substitute zinc ceilings of the schist slabs and the stem. Between the roof and the base there is an open loft where all kinds of implements and the hay for the cattle are stored. The intense brown of the woods contrasts with the white of the lime that covers substantial parts of the walls made of mud. In the surrounding fields potatoes and all kinds of vegetables are grown. There are no synthetic fertilizers around here, and what you put on the table is one hundred percent organic. It reminds me of Georgia, where the fruits tastes like true fruits, a rarity in our days.

DEVOTION TO THE “TRINITY” OF NAZARETH — Families called to holiness

– Miguel Augusto

It is interesting to note that after Christmas, the following Sunday, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family, no later than 30th of December. Christ wanted to enter the world by a family, by the same “door” we all take, because the family is the basis of God’s plan for the existence of humanity. Jesus did not need a family to dwell among us; God almighty could have made Him come down to earth already man. But God wanted to begin in this way the work of Redemption, to restore the foundations of humankind, which fell by original sin in Adam and Eve (first family), the first marriage and couple, created by God.


– Robert Carroll

St Joseph Freinademetz The First Saint To Ever Serve in Hong Kong. A Catholic Musical produced in Hong Kong is planned to be staged in Macau. The show’s producer Fr Tan Lei Tao has long been hugely inspired by Freinademetz who’s still “a big influence” in his life. The Saint was a devoted missionary dedicated to China where he arduously built church community after community. Though a multilingualist his motto was: “The language that all people understand is that of love.”

VATICAN — The sand nativity

– José Maria C.S. André

This year, the crib of St. Peter’s Square is a 16 m long, 5 m high and 6 m deep sand sculpture. It took 20 large trucks to transport 700 tons of sand from Jesolo in northern Italy to St Peter’s Square. Ten workers carried out the operation of compacting the sand to make it more consistent, and then mounted the roof that protects the whole scenery from the elements. Over the next two weeks, four international sculptors with experience in this type of material joined forces to sculpt the figures: Richard Varano (from the United States), Ilya Filimontsev (from Russia), Susanne Ruseler (from the Netherlands) and Rodovan Ziuny (from the Czech Republic). Richard Varano has won the world title of sand sculpture eleven times and the others are also top sculptors in this specific field.

1st Simbang Gabi at Macau Cathedral

For the first time the Simbang Gabi has also been held this year in the Macau Cathedral at 8 in the evening. Other venues for the traditional Filipino novena of Christmas Masses are St Augustine (8 PM) and St Lawrence (5:30 AM) and Our Lady of Fatima (9:30 PM). The Simbang Gabi may have originated from the Rorate coeli Masses that were celebrated during the season of Advent early in the morning with candlelight in the Middle Ages. The  Mass is a Votive Mass in honor of the Virgin Mary for the season of Advent. It is so named from the Entrance Antiphon: Roráte caéli désuper, et núbes plúant jústum. (Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness.)