Saturday, 29 December 2012

Feast of the Innocents - Trinidad Tradition

 The 28th of December is the feast of Holy Innocents. Remembering the Slaughter of the innocents (children) in Bethlehem by King Herod 2000 years ago. It is also called Holy Innocents' DayChildermas or Children's Mass. In  Trinidad. the children come to Mass (brought by the parents)  to be blessed, but they also bring their toys to be blessed. The Saturday December 29 2012 edition of the Trinidad Guardian Newspaper has a wonderful article written by Camille Clarke.- Priest prays for children at Feast of the Innocents
Scores of children visited St Ann’s RC Church, St Ann’s, yesterday hoping to be blessed bountifully at the Feast of the Holy Innocents service. Also known as Innocents’ Day, it is a mass that commemorates the massacre of children by King Herod in his attempt to find and kill the baby Jesus. Yesterday, the children and their families brought their toys along to be blessed by Monsignor Esau Joseph.
The children clutched their Christmas gifts, which included Ernie from Sesame Street, Bratz and Raggedy Ann dolls and construction trucks. The choir and parishioners sang an upbeat version of Joy to the World, Little Drummer Boy, Let There Be Peace on Earth, Away in a Manger and Long Time Ago in Bethlehem.
Joseph told parishioners: “The lights on the Christmas tree remind us that God is our light. As followers of Jesus we live as followers of the light. Jesus takes away the sins of the world.” Joseph then quoted from the gospels of Matthew and John about Herod’s slaughter of the Jewish children.
He said Jesus’ father, Joseph, fled to Egypt with his wife Mary and Jesus after an angel visited to warn them that Herod intended to kill the infants in that area.
“Today, we ask God to bless the children and their toys...that Jesus will lead them on the right way of light. 
“Nobody knows how they will turn out and we want them to have the guidance of Jesus so that his light will always be with them. “We want to protect them from the Herods that live in this world—danger and violence,” Joseph said.

Monday, 24 December 2012


The Mystical Nativity is a painting  by the Italian Renaissance master Sandro Botticelli

The Greek inscription at the top translates as: "This picture, at the end of the year 1500, in the troubles of Italy, I Alessandro, in the half-time after the time, painted, according to the eleventh [chapter] of Saint John, in the second woe of the Apocalypse, during the release of the devil for three-and-a-half years; then he shall be bound in the twelfth [chapter] and we shall see [him buried] as in this picture". Botticelli believed himself to be living during the Tribulation, possibly due to the upheavals in Europe at the time, and was predicting Christ's Millennium as stated in Biblical text.

The Mystical Nativity depicts a scene of joy and celebration, of earthly and heavenly delight, with angels dancing at the top of the painting. At the top of the painting Sandro Botticelli's name – but also the apocalyptic and troubling words. And there are dark premonitions – the helpless child rests on a sheet that evokes the shroud in which his body will one day be wrapped, while the cave in which the scene is set calls to mind his tomb. The Kings on the left bear no gifts, but their own devotion. At the top of the painting twelve angels dressed in the colours of faith, hope and charity dance in a circle holding olive branches, and above them heaven opens in a great golden dome, while at the bottom of the painting three angels embrace three men, seeming to raise them up from the ground. They hold scrolls which proclaim in Latin, "peace on earth to men of goodwill". Behind them seven devils flee to the underworld, some impaled on their own weapons. In Renaissance times Last Judgment paintings showed viewers the reckoning of the damned and the saved at the time of Christ's Second Coming. In echoing this kind of painting the Mystical Nativity is asking us to think not only of Christ's birth but of his return.."

Wednesday, 19 December 2012


O Clavis David

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel;
you open and no one can shut;
you shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house,
those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
Isaiah had prophesied:
  • "I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open." Isaiah 22:22
  • "His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and for evermore." Isaiah 9:7
  • "...To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house."Isaiah 42:7.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Trinidad Catholic Carnival Band 2013

Word & Associates, the creators of the Trinidad Catholic Carnival band has launched it's presentation for Carnival 2013: The Book of Leviticus, the Book of Law, Love and Promise

Below the ladies model costumes for the following sections: The Bird Offerings, Rejoice and Celebrate and Fruit Offerings.
The photo was taken by Nicole Drayton at the band launch,  Assumption RC Parish Hall, Long Circular Road, Maraval,  and appeared in the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian Newspaper on 23rd September 2012.

O Radix, O Root of Jessie, O Antiphon - Wednesday 19th December 2012

O Radix Jesse

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.
O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;
before you kings will shut their mouths,
to you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.
Isaiah had prophesied:
  • "A shoot shall come out from the stock of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots." Isaiah 11:1
  • "On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious." Isaiah 11:10
Jesse was the father of King David, and Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be of the house and lineage of David and be born in David’s city, Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Also compare Isaiah 45:14, Isaiah 52:15 and Romans 15:12.

Monday, 17 December 2012

O Adonai O Antiphon - 18th december

Tuesday 18th O Antiphon


O Adonai

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.
O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.
Isaiah had prophesied:
  • "[...] but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins." Isaiah 11:4-5
  • "For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our ruler, the Lord is our king; he will save us." Isaiah 33:22
Also compare Exodus 3:2 and Exodus 24:12

Sunday, 16 December 2012

O Sapientia - O Wisdom - O Antiphon for Monday 17th December

O Sapientia

Monday is the17th of December. We begin the O Antiphons.  Today we highlight Wisdom.

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem,
fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.
O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other,
mightily and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.
Isaiah had prophesied:
  • "The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,  the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord." Isaiah 11:2-3
  • "[...] he is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in wisdom." Isaiah 28:29
Also compare Sirach 24:3 and Wisdom of Solomon 8:1

This prophecy is also relevant in that it describes the Messiah as "coming forth from the mouth of the Most High", which is very significant in light of the Christian doctrine, rooted in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, according to which Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is the Incarnate Word of God the Father.

Activists threaten Pope over comment on Gay Marriage

In an article from the Associated Press the Pope is supposed to have said that gay marriage is a threat to peace. This was from a speech he made on Friday 14th December 2012 on the 46th World Peace Day. On Sunday 16th December (Guadette Sunday) some protesters entered St Peters Square with signs in several languages: Two of the signs noted by the Associated press article were:  "Marriage for All" and "Homophobia (equals) death."

 Now what is that? HOMOPHOBIA EQUALS DEATH. Is that a threat? I don't know, but I am quite concerned.

But I am also concerned about the press getting the story right. What did the Pope say about Gay Marriage? I can see that  there would be people who would disagree with the Pope's opinion, but I would not call his speech "hate Speech". I would however call that sign about homophobia equals death as "Hate Speech" and a threat. Maybe the Pope was right - Fundamentalism of the non religious type is also a threat to peace. But what did he actually say? Well His speech was broken into several parts:
  • Preamble
  • Gospel beatitude
  • Peace: God’s gift and the fruit of human effort
  • Peacemakers are those who love, defend and promote life in its fullness
  • Building the good of peace through a new model of development and economics
  • Education for a culture of peace: the role of the family and institutions
  • A pedagogy for peacemakers
 The part that mentions gay marriage is #4 - PEACEMAKERS ARE THOSE WHO LOVE, DEFEND AND PROMOTE LIFE IN ITS FULLNESS - Here it is below.

"4. The path to the attainment of the common good and to peace is above all that of respect for human life in all its many aspects, beginning with its conception, through its development and up to its natural end. True peacemakers, then, are those who love, defend and promote human life in all its dimensions, personal, communitarian and transcendent. Life in its fullness is the height of peace. Anyone who loves peace cannot tolerate attacks and crimes against life.

"Those who insufficiently value human life and, in consequence, support among other things the liberalization of abortion, perhaps do not realize that in this way they are proposing the pursuit of a false peace. The flight from responsibility, which degrades human persons, and even more so the killing of a defenceless and innocent being, will never be able to produce happiness or peace. Indeed how could one claim to bring about peace, the integral development of peoples or even the protection of the environment without defending the life of those who are weakest, beginning with the unborn. Every offence against life, especially at its beginning, inevitably causes irreparable damage to development, peace and the environment. Neither is it just to introduce surreptitiously into legislation false rights or freedoms which, on the basis of a reductive and relativistic view of human beings and the clever use of ambiguous expressions aimed at promoting a supposed right to abortion and euthanasia, pose a threat to the fundamental right to life.

"There is also a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union; such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society.

"These principles are not truths of faith, nor are they simply a corollary of the right to religious freedom. They are inscribed in human nature itself, accessible to reason and thus common to all humanity. The Church’s efforts to promote them are not therefore confessional in character, but addressed to all people, whatever their religious affiliation. Efforts of this kind are all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, since this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace.

"Consequently, another important way of helping to build peace is for legal systems and the administration of justice to recognize the right to invoke the principle of conscientious objection in the face of laws or government measures that offend against human dignity, such as abortion and euthanasia.

"One of the fundamental human rights, also with reference to international peace, is the right of individuals and communities to religious freedom. At this stage in history, it is becoming increasingly important to promote this right not only from the negative point of view, as freedom from – for example, obligations or limitations involving the freedom to choose one’s religion – but also from the positive point of view, in its various expressions, as freedom for – for example, bearing witness to one’s religion, making its teachings known, engaging in activities in the educational, benevolent and charitable fields which permit the practice of religious precepts, and existing and acting as social bodies structured in accordance with the proper doctrinal principles and institutional ends of each. Sadly, even in countries of long-standing Christian tradition, instances of religious intolerance are becoming more numerous, especially in relation to Christianity and those who simply wear identifying signs of their religion.

"Peacemakers must also bear in mind that, in growing sectors of public opinion, the ideologies of radical liberalism and technocracy are spreading the conviction that economic growth should be pursued even to the detriment of the state’s social responsibilities and civil society’s networks of solidarity, together with social rights and duties. It should be remembered that these rights and duties are fundamental for the full realisation of other rights and duties, starting with those which are civil and political.

"One of the social rights and duties most under threat today is the right to work. The reason for this is that labour and the rightful recognition of workers’ juridical status are increasingly undervalued, since economic development is thought to depend principally on completely free markets. Labour is thus regarded as a variable dependent on economic and financial mechanisms. In this regard, I would reaffirm that human dignity and economic, social and political factors, demand that we continue 'to prioritise the goal of access to steady employment for everyone'. If this ambitious goal is to be realised, one prior condition is a fresh outlook on work, based on ethical principles and spiritual values that reinforce the notion of work as a fundamental good for the individual, for the family and for society. Corresponding to this good are a duty and a right that demand courageous new policies of universal employment.

Building the good of peace through a new model of development and economics

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Catholics raise their voices against Jamaican government bad spending

Should Catholics get involved in politics? YES YES YES !

We must seek the protection of the poor against injustice. And so the RC Social Justice Commission in Jamaica had something to say about the Jamaica government spending. 

The current rate of exchange between the US and Jamaica Dollar is one US Dollar is worth $92.18 Jamaican Dollars. Jamaica isn't doing so well yet the country wants to spend big money on politician vehicles. .....NO NO NO!  

Here is an article from the Jamiaca Observer:
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Members of the Roman Catholic Social Justice Commission today knocked the government for spending some $60 million on the purchase of high-end vehicles for its ministers.
“We believe that this decision is imprudent at the time, given the countries socio-economic position, and especially when the government is asking everyone else to make sacrifices,” the Roman Catholics said in a release today.

“The government cannot have one set of rules for the mass and a separate rule for itself. The issue is both a matter of insensitivity towards the majority of the people, and also a question of social injustice,” it added.  
The Catholics argued that there was currently a programme of tight fiscal management in order to reduce the national debt, a lingering global recession, along with other pressing social needs in the area of education, health and the care of the nation’s children.

Against this background they said that “government must formulate a policy which allows its officers to effectively carry out their responsibilities to the public while also behaving in such a manner that they are able to identify with the economic reality of the Jamaican people.  There must be no impression of fiscal insensitivity to the reality of the public as against government use of public funds”. 

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Christianity and the pumpkin

A woman was asked by a coworker, “What is it like to be a Christian?”

The coworker replied, “It is like being a pumpkin. 

God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. Then He cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, and greed. Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see.”

Monday, 3 December 2012

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Jesus was not born on Christmas day????

Well, that is not news. But does it matter? We celebrate His birth on that day. A miraculous birth that must be celebrated. Still, so many forget, Christmas may be the biggest commercial holiday but it is not the biggest religious day for us Catholics. The most important days are Good Friday when Jesus died for our sins and Easter Sunday when He raised Himself to conquer death. Anyhoo here is an interesting article from the Telegraph about something in one of the Pope's book's:

The entire Christian calendar is based on a miscalculation, the Pope has declared, as he claims in a new book that Jesus was born several years earlier than commonly believed.

The 'mistake' was made by a sixth century monk known as Dionysius Exiguus or in English Dennis the Small, the 85-year-old pontiff claims in the book 'Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives', published on Wednesday (21st November 2012).
"The calculation of the beginning of our calendar – based on the birth of Jesus – was made by Dionysius Exiguus, who made a mistake in his calculations by several years," the Pope writes in the book, which went on sale around the world with an initial print run of a million copies.
"The actual date of Jesus's birth was several years before."
The assertion that the Christian calendar is based on a false premise is not new – many historians believe that Christ was born sometime between 7BC and 2BC. But the fact that doubts over one of the keystones of Christian tradition have been raised by the leader of the world's one billion Catholics is striking. 
 Dennis the Small, who was born in Eastern Europe, is credited with being the "inventor" of the modern calendar and the concept of the Anno Domini era. He drew up the new system in part to distance it from the calendar in use at the time, which was based on the years since the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian.
The emperor had persecuted Christians, so there was good reason to expunge him from the new dating system in favour of one inspired by the birth of Christ. The monk's calendar became widely accepted in Europe after it was adopted by the Venerable Bede, the historian-monk, to date the events that he recounted in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, which he completed in AD 731.
But exactly how Dennis calculated the year of Christ's birth is not clear and the Pope's claim that he made a mistake is a view shared by many scholars. The Bible does not specify a date for the birth of Christ. The monk instead appears to have based his calculations on vague references to Jesus's age at the start of his ministry and the fact that he was baptised in the reign of the emperor Tiberius.
Christ's birth date is not the only controversy raised by the Pope in his new book – he also said that contrary to the traditional Nativity scene, there were no oxen, donkeys or other animals at Jesus's birth.
He also weighs in on the debate over Christ's birthplace, rejecting arguments by some scholars that he was born in Nazareth rather than Bethlehem. John Barton, Professor of the Interpretation of the Holy Scripture at Oriel College, Oxford University, said most academics agreed with the Pope that the Christian calendar was wrong and that Jesus was born several years earlier than commonly thought, probably between 6BC and 4BC.
"There is no reference to when he was born in the Bible - all we know is that he was born in the reign of Herod the Great, who died before 1AD," he told The Daily Telegraph. "It's been surmised for a very long time that Jesus was born before 1AD - no one knows for sure."
The idea that Christ was born on Dec 25 also has no basis in historical fact. "We don't even know which season he was born in. The whole idea of celebrating his birth during the darkest part of the year is probably linked to pagan traditions and the winter solstice."

Restoration of the Catholic Cathedral - Port of Spain