Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Pope Francis Plays Steel Pan... Featured on Stamps



There is a great article in the local news paper the Newsday of Wednesday June 24th 2015 talking about stamps issued of the Pope playing the Steel pan. That national Instrument of Trinidad and Tobago. This was a steel pan given to the Pope by the President of Trinidad and Tobago Anthony Carmona ( a good Catholic) on his visit to the Vatican for an audience with Pope Francis.





Here is the Article:
PRESIDENT Anthony Carmona was yesterday presented with a framed copy of two sets of postage stamps respectively from Ghana and Grenada, each commemorative set featuring His Excellency with Pope Francis the latter playing the steelpan.

The presentation at the Office of the President, St Ann’s, was made by Trinidad and Tobago Philatelic Society, vice-president, Albert Sidney.

Also present was Papal Nuncio, Nicola Girasoli, and Apostolic Nunciature ChargĂ© d’Affaires, Monsignor Pawel Obiedzinski.

At their meeting on July 6, 2013, at Vatican City, Carmona presented a tenor pan to Pope Francis, who immediately tried his hand at playing it.

Upon being presented with the stamp sets yesterday, Carmona said, “Thank you very much. I will certainly cherish it.”

Sidney said the issuance of the stamp-sets was very historic, saying the last time a Trinidad and Tobago head of State had been featured in an international postage-stamp had been in 2003 when former president Arthur NR Robinson had been honoured for his role in setting up the International Criminal Court.

“So it is very significant that the international community focussed on President Carmona and Pope Francis and steelpan,” said Sidney.

“It’s very good in terms of the deepening of relations between the two countries, and in terms of promoting the steelpan.”

Sidney thanked Girasoli for his help towards the event by having liaised with his Ghanaian counterpart.



 
 


 

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Corpus Christi Trinidad 2015

Corpus Christi in Trinidad and Tobago. Such a beautiful and Holy day. Mass started at the
Queens Park Savannah at 8:30am



After Mass, thousands took to the street in procession. With the Monstrance covered by a canopy carried by School children and flower petal being strewn on the street before it.



Along the way we stopped for Benediction which was said by the Nuncio Nicolas Girasoli.


Sunday, 31 May 2015

HUGE CROSS ERRECTED IN PAKISTAN

Wow! there is a cross being built in Pakistan. It is against the law to build a christian church. This guy is getting away with the cross probably because it is inside a christian cemetary. Christians are being killed regularly in Pakistan just because of their faith. There is something to be said for a man who glorifies Christ with the money he has, even though he knows that he very well may be killed for his actions. Praise God for people like him. Here is the article taken from google dated 31st May 2015 -


KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Now towering over this violent port city in Pakistan, where Islamic militant attacks and gangland shootings remain common, is an uncommon sight in this Muslim-majority country: a 42-meter (140-foot) Christian cross.

The cross, being built by a businessman who said the idea came to him in a dream, is rising as Christians here often face discrimination. A tiny minority of Pakistan's 180 million people are Christians who eke out livings in menial jobs like garbage collection.

Christians have faced mob violence in blasphemy cases, which often turn out to be false allegations over personal disputes. Under Pakistan's harsh blasphemy laws, anyone accused of insulting Islam, the Prophet Muhammad or other religious Islamic figures can be sentenced to death.

Christians also face extremist attacks. A Taliban suicide attack outside two churches in Lahore in March killed 15 people during services. In 2013, another Taliban suicide attack killed over 80 people at the All Saints Church in Peshawar.

The persecution has forced some Christians to flee, though some remain, like businessman Parvez Henry Gill. Gill said he had a dream some two years ago in which God told him to do something for his community.

"I want to show the world the Christian community in Pakistan has religious freedom," he said.
Gill said some people have criticized the cross, but "I leave that to God."

Likely to be completed in a few months, the cross stands at the entrance of a Christian cemetery in the center of Karachi. The cemetery, built under British rule, is nearly 200 years old and its administrators will take care of the cross once it's constructed.

The construction of the cross came as a surprise to many living around it, neighbor Adnan Ali said. But Bishop Sadiq Danial of Church of Pakistan, an Episcopal church, said he offered to demolish the cross if it becomes too divisive, though he doubted it would come to pass.

"We spread peace," he said.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Teaching Priests to Preach

So I read this article on a seminary in Detroit USA hiring an actors to help young emerging priests to give more animated and exciting homilies. Now I have had the discussion with many people, Do we want a show or do we want to be fed spiritually?

On the one hand, many people who leave the catholic church talk about how boring the Catholic Mass is. Surely, as a parent i can identify with my children saying so too, but to be fair, if we had a three ring circus at the church they would be excited at first, but the mere fact that they HAVE TO go to church, instead of playing computer games, would have them grumbling.

Also here in Trinidad, we have about 60,000 people who go to church every week, yet these 60,000 are invested in the church. They give more today than members gave ten years ago. They come to church for the BODY OF CHRIST, the homily is incidental.

On the flip side, aren't we supposed to be a church of evangelization? How can we get people to come to church? Isn't one way to make the experience better?  Does having an entertaining homily mean that the gospel can't be expressed properly? Of course it can be.  The message could be made clearer and even more profound, if it is done right.

We have some very caring and loving priests here in Trinidad, but not all are great orators. Perhaps, the archdiocese of Port of Spain could take a page from the book of the Detroit Seminary.

Here is the article:

Let's be honest, Catholic priests aren't known for soul-stirring preaching. And according to Pope Francis and many ex-Catholics, that's a problem. Boring sermonizing does not fill the sanctuary or pay the bills. It certainly will not curb the steady march of American Catholics from the faith.
"Priests today have to compete with a digital media culture where sounds bites, tweets and social media updates are the currency of communication. It's a real challenge for preachers to break through," said John Gehring, Catholic program director at the Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group Faith in Public Life.

That's why Detroit's Sacred Heart Major Seminary has hired two professional actors to put priests-in-training through an acting/public speaking workshop nicknamed Preaching Boot Camp.
For the last several years, actors Arthur Beer and Mary Bremer-Beer have conducted the three-week workshops at the seminary. The seminarians are taught how to project, how to control tempo, and how to master timing in order to deliver a Biblical truth or a laugh line. The married couple's boot camp is a change-up from the typical seminary classes in Catholic theology and doctrine. Classes begin with rounds of vocal exercises — think "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers." There are stretches to loosen muscles and minds.

The priests-in-training test their endurance in breathing exercises that involve holding a lit candle in front of their mouths. The goal is to exhale slowly to make the flame dance, while not blowing it out. Learning how to control their breathing can help in their delivery. To get them to tap into their emotions, the men were asked to write and deliver speeches about their mothers — and to read those speeches to their moms. When one of the seminarians said his mother started crying, Bremer-Beer, a Henry Ford College acting teacher, took it as a good sign: "Doesn't it make you feel good when they cry?"

In an afternoon session, the seminarians took to the stage. The students memorized monologues involving characters from plays — a Jewish businessman from Neil Simon's "God's Favorite" to an engaging Irish-American pastor from "Mass Appeal." The men whooped and applauded when classmate Edgar De La Cruz, 27, did a foot-stomping, arm-pumping interpretation of a preacher from the drama "The Diviners." De La Cruz can be philosophical and introspective, and his passionate acting was a surprise, said his classmates.

"My Daddy, now he was a preacher," went De La Cruz's line. "Man took to the Bible like he was there just to shout it. Gonna tell everybody! Gonna tell everybody about the wonder and the miracle and the sweet love of Jesus." De La Cruz had been told to amp it up from a previous practice. But on this day, the delivery was staccato, not a fluid reverie. The preaching came out as screeching.
In the critique afterward, Beer, a University of Detroit Mercy theater professor, credited the seminarian for trying. But Beer said the student satirized the preacher rather than portraying a heartfelt character. "That was Joel Osteen on speed," quipped Bremer-Beer, referring to the noted televangelist and author whose Texas church is one of the country's largest Protestant congregations.

By Patricia Montemurri, Detroit Free Press 12:47 a.m. EDT May 18, 2015


Thursday, 26 February 2015

Exciting Bible Stories - The Acts of the Apostles -The Seven Brothers and the Demon





An exciting bible story for kids is the story of the seven brothers. My kids loved the story. It was very funny for them. This story teaches one to be humble, to be dedicated and to be firm in your faith. There is power in the name of Jesus, but only for believers. This does not say that one cannot be a Hindu and then acknowledge Christ and convert. This says that if that conversion takes place, one cannot reclaim ones hindu faith and expect that there would be Power in the name of Christ for that person.

Keep the lamp lit.


ACTS 19: 11-20

11 So remarkable were the miracles worked by God at Paul's hands

12 that handkerchiefs or aprons which had touched him were taken to the sick, and they were cured of their illnesses, and the evil spirits came out of them.

13 But some itinerant Jewish exorcists too tried pronouncing the name of the Lord Jesus over people who were possessed by evil spirits; they used to say, 'I adjure you by the Jesus whose spokesman is Paul.'

14 Among those who did this were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest.

15 The evil spirit replied, 'Jesus I recognise, and Paul I know, but who are you?'

16 and the man with the evil spirit hurled himself at them and overpowered first one and then another, and handled them so violently that they fled from that house stripped of clothing and badly mauled.

17 Everybody in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks, heard about this episode; everyone was filled with awe, and the name of the Lord Jesus came to be held in great honour.

18 Some believers, too, came forward to admit in detail how they had used spells

19 and a number of them who had practised magic collected their books and made a bonfire of them in public. The value of these was calculated to be fifty thousand silver pieces.

20 In this powerful way the word of the Lord spread more and more widely and successfully.

 
 
 

Exciting Bible Stories - The Acts of the Apostles - Simon the Magician

 
Another Exciting story from the Acts of the Apostles is the Story of the Magician Simon. Simon was a pretty good magician and when he became a believer. Yet he held on to his Magical practices. He even tries to Bribe Philip. Children seem to be fascinated with magic. Harry Potter comes to mind. To our children, we speak about what if the magician was Harry Potter and not Simon. From this story we can determine that Real Power comes from God... that the Angel of God was with Philip and that Philip was able to be used by God to do great things. We discuss Philips humility. Almost every time he is mentioned in the Bible with the other apostles, he is listed fifth. Yet even though he is not among the first three, he is no lesser or greater than any of the other twelve apostles.


ACTS  8 9-26

9 Now a man called Simon had for some time been practising magic arts in the town and astounded the Samaritan people. He had given it out that he was someone momentous,

10 and everyone believed in him; eminent citizens and ordinary people alike had declared, 'He is the divine power that is called Great.'

11 He had this following because for a considerable period they had been astounded by his wizardry.

12 But when they came to accept Philip's preaching of the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptised, both men and women,

13 and even Simon himself became a believer. After his baptism Simon went round constantly with Philip and was astonished when he saw the wonders and great miracles that took place.

14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,

15 and they went down there and prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit,

16 for as yet he had not come down on any of them: they had only been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus.

17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money,

19 with the words, 'Give me the same power so that anyone I lay my hands on will receive the Holy Spirit.'

20 Peter answered, 'May your silver be lost for ever, and you with it, for thinking that money could buy what God has given for nothing!

21 You have no share, no part, in this: God can see how your heart is warped.

22 Repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that this scheme of yours may be forgiven;

23 it is plain to me that you are held in the bitterness of gall and the chains of sin.'

24 Simon replied, 'Pray to the Lord for me yourselves so that none of the things you have spoken about may happen to me.'

25 Having given their testimony and proclaimed the word of the Lord, they went back to Jerusalem, preaching the good news to a number of Samaritan villages.

26 The angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, 'Set out at noon and go along the road that leads from Jerusalem down to Gaza, the desert road.'

Exciting Bible Stories - The Acts of the Apostles - The Angel frees Paul


Yet another great story from the book of the Acts of the Apostles sounds almost like a Monty Python skit.. if it wasn’t a serious story of God’s Work and intercessory prayer. Here is the Great Peter – Arrested. Chained. Guarded. Yet he escapes and the guards go “ Huh? Where did he go? Have you seen him? No! Have you?” Then he shows up at the door of his friends and the woman who greets him runs away and leaves him at the stoop instead of letting him in.

On a serious note, the story shows the power of prayer. Peter’s friends prayed unceasingly. It is significant to note that James – the son of Thunder, had just been beheaded. The disciples expected the same fate for Peter. An Angel of the Lord comes in and rescues him. The bible does not tell us how long Peter was in prison, or how long the disciples prayed. The significance of the story is that there are those who of lesser faith than you who can pray for you and get a miracle. Or You can pray for another (say a priest) who may have greater faith than you and still a miracle can occur. The trick is to pray unceasingly and also to remember that where two or three gather in His name, He is there.

ACTS 12: 1-19
 
12 Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church in order to mistreat them. And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword. When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. Now it was during the days of Unleavened Bread. When he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out before the people. So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.

On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.

11 When Peter came ]to himself, he said, “Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” 12 And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.

13 When he knocked at the door of the gate, a servant-girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her joy she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter was standing in front of the gate. 15 They said to her, “You are out of your mind!” But she kept insisting that it was so. They kept saying, “It is his angel.” 16 But Peter continued knocking; and when they had opened the door, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had led him out of the prison. And he said, “Report these things to James and the brethren.” Then he left and went to another place.

18 Now when day came, there was no small disturbance among the soldiers as to what could have become of Peter. 19 When Herod had searched for him and had not found him, he examined the guards and ordered that they be led away to execution. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and was spending time there.