TE DEUM(a solemn psalm of praise), in thanksgiving for the end of the year.

It’s a Catholic custom that deserves to be maintained, that of praying the Te Deum (a solemn psalm of praise) on New Year’s Eve in recognition of the grace bestowed on us throughout the year that is ending.

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(Vatican Radio) Below, please find the full text of Pope Benedict XVI’s homily for Solemn First Vespers for the Feast of Mary the Mother of God (Monday, 31 Dec 2012): (emphasis mine)

Venerable brothers in the Episcopate and the Priesthood, Distinguished authorities, 

Dear brothers and sisters,

I thank all of you who have chosen to participate in this liturgy of the last hour of the year of the Lord 2012. This “hour” bears a particular intensity and becomes, in a sense, a synthesis of all the hours of the year that is about to come to an end. I cordially greet the Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful, and especially the many people from the ecclesial community of Rome. In a special way I greet the Authorities present, beginning with the Mayor of the City, and thank them for choosing to share with us this moment of prayer and thanksgiving to God.


The “Te Deum” that we raise to the Lord this evening, at the end of a calendar year, is a hymn of thanksgiving that opens with the praise – “We praise you, O God, we proclaim you to be the Lord” – and ends with a profession of faith – “You are our hope, we will not be confounded forever.” For all that came to pass over the course of the year, whether easy or difficult, barren or fruitful, we give thanks to God. The Te Deum, in fact, contains a profound wisdom, the wisdom that makes us say that, despite everything, there is good in the world, and this good is destined to triumph, thanks God, the God of Jesus Christ, who became incarnate, died, and rose again. Certainly, it is difficult, sometimes, to accept this profound reality, since evil makes more noise than the good: a brutal murder, the spread of violence, serious injustices make the news. Gestures of love and service, on the contrary, daily struggles endured with patience and fidelity are often left in the shadows. And this is why we cannot rely solely on the news if we want to understand the world and life. We must be able to remain in silence, in meditation, in calm and prolonged reflection; we must know how to stop and think. In this way, our mind can find healing from the inevitable wounds of daily life, can go deeper into the events that occur in our lives and in the world, and come to the knowledge that allows us to evaluate things with new eyes.
Especially in the recollection of conscience, where God speaks to us, we learn to look truthfully at our own actions, even at the evil within us and around us, to begin a journey of conversion that makes us wiser and better, more capable of creating solidarity and communion, of overcoming evil with good.

The Christian is a man of hope, even and especially in the face of the darkness that often exists in the world, not as a consequence of God’s plans, but because of the wrong choices of man, because the Christian knows that the power of faith can move mountains ( cf. Mt 17:20): the Lord can brighten even the deepest darkness.


The Year of Faith, which the Church is living, should arouse in the heart of each believer a greater awareness that the encounter with Christ is the source of true life and a solid hope. Faith in Jesus allows a constant renewal of goodness and of the ability to rise from the quicksand of sin and to begin anew. In the Word made flesh is possible, to rediscover the true identity of man, who finds himself destined for the infinite love of God and called to a personal communion with Him. This truth, that Jesus Christ came to reveal, is the certainty that drives us to face with confidence the year we are about to begin.


The Church, which has received from her Lord the mission to evangelize, knows well that the Gospel is for all people, especially the younger generations, to quench that thirst for truth that everyone carries in his heart and that is often obscured by all those things that occupy life. This apostolic commitment is all the more necessary when the faith risks being obscured in cultural contexts which hinder its personal roots and its social presence. Rome, too, is a city where the Christian faith must be proclaimed again and again and witnessed in a credible manner. On the one hand, there is the growing number of believers of other religions, the difficulties parish communities have in attracting young people, the spread of lifestyles marked by individualism and moral relativism; on the other, the quest, in so many people, for a sense of their own existence and for a hope that will not disappoint, that cannot leave us indifferent. Like the Apostle Paul (cf. Rom 1:14-15) all the faithful of this city should consider themselves under obligation of the Gospel towards the other inhabitants!
For this reason, for several years now, our Diocese has been committed to highlighting the missionary dimension of ordinary pastoral care, so that the faithful, supported especially by the Sunday Eucharist, can become disciples and coherent witnesses of Jesus Christ. Christian parents, who are for their children the primary educators in the faith, are called in a special way to this coherence in their lives. The complexity of life in a great city like Rome and in a culture that often seems indifferent to God, demands that we not leave fathers and mothers alone in so crucial a task, but rather that we support and accompany them in their spiritual life. In this regard, I encourage those who work in family ministry to implement the pastoral activities that emerged from the last Diocesan Convention, dedicated to baptismal and post-baptismal pastoral care. It requires a generous commitment to develop the paths of spiritual formation that after the baptism of children will go with the parents in order to keep the flame of faith alive, offering concrete suggestions so that, from an early age, the Gospel of Jesus will be announced. The emergence of groups of families, in which the Word of God is heard and the experiences of Christian life are shared helps to strengthen the sense of belonging to the ecclesial community and to grow in friendship with the Lord. It is also important to build a relationship of cordial friendship with those of the faithful who, after having baptized their child, distracted by the demands of everyday life, do not show great interest in living this experience: they will be able to experience the love of the Church, as a caring mother, stands by them to promote their spiritual life.


In order to proclaim the Gospel and to allow those who still do not know Jesus, or have abandoned Him, to cross again the threshold of faith and live in communion with God, it is essential to know in depth the meaning of the truths contained in the Profession of Faith. The commitment to a systematic training of pastoral workers, which for some years now has taken place in the various prefectures of the Diocese of Rome, is a valuable tool that must be pursued with commitment in the future, in order to form lay people who know how to echo the Gospel in every house and in every room, even in those listening centres that have brought so much fruit since the time of the city Missions. In this respect, the “Dialogues in the Cathedral,” which have been held in the Basilica of St. John Lateran for some years, constitute a particularly appropriate experience to encounter the City and to dialogue with those who seek God and truth, and who are inquiring into the into the great questions of human existence.


As in the past, so today the Church of Rome is called to announce and to tirelessly witness to the riches of the Gospel of Christ. It must do so also by supporting the many people living in situations of poverty and marginalization, as well as families in need, especially when they have to assist sick and disabled people. I hope very much that the Institutions at various levels will not allow their activities to cease, so that all citizens might have access to what is essential to a dignified life.


Dear friends, on the last night of the year that is coming to an end, and at the threshold of the new, let us praise the Lord! Let us show to “He who is and who was and who is to come” (Rev. 1:8) repentance and asking for forgiveness for their offenses, as well as the sincere thanks for the countless benefits granted by the divine goodness. In particular, we give thanks for the grace and truth that have come to us through Jesus Christ. In Him the fullness of all human time is placed. The future of every human being is kept safe in him. In Him, the fulfilment of the hopes of the Church and of the world comes true. Amen.

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It’s thumbs – up for the Salmon in 2012 !

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Blog of the Year Award 1 star jpeg

An unexpected , greatly appreciated thumbs-up!!

An unexpected , greatly appreciated thumbs-up!!

I received a rousing ‘Thumb’s Up’ from two super-bloggers whom I follow diligently on a daily basis. Thank you both 8 Kids and a Business and BILTRIX for your loyalty and heads-up!

The ‘rules’ for this award are simple:

1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012′ Award

2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen — there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required — and ‘present’ them with their award.

3 Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012′ Award —http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/our-awards/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/ and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them

5 You can now also join our Facebook group — click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012′ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience

6 As a winner of the award — please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award — and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

Yes — that’s right — there are stars to collect!

Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once — this award is different!

When you begin you will receive the ’1 star’ award — and every time you are given the award by another blog — you can add another star!

There are a total of 6 stars to collect.

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Which means that you can check out your favourite blogs — and even if they have already been given the award by someone else — you can still bestow it on them again and help them to reach the maximum 6 stars!

The Nominees for the 2012 Blog of the Year Award from 1catholicsalmon are:

  1. 8Kids and a Business: Visit this here to enjoy Catholic food for thought and  inspiration which includes well-seasoned Christian values. Thank you 8KAAB for your comments and outstanding Catholic reading in 2012. I look forward to your posts in 2013. Thank you too for posts written from the heart.
  2. The Salmon’s dedicated mentor, most faithful supporter and follower who made time to comment on posts at  1Catholicsalmon during it’s fledgling year on the web, not only with flair and wit , but with the definite sense of camaraderie and encouragement. Thank you!: BILTRIX– visit here if you want a delicious recipe for mulled wine, as well as  sound, Catholic cultural apologetics for the New Evangelisation.
  3. Catholic Pure and Simple: Only generic ingredients of Catholicism used in this kitchen!
  4. Reinkat: Adding beauty and creativity to the Faith.
  5. Fra Angelico Institute for the Sacred Arts: Its mission is to deepen the prayer life of it’s participants by evangelising the truth, goodness and beauty of God through the understanding and creation of sacred art.
  6. Rebecca Hamilton at Patheos: Shoots straight from the hip. Excellent aim. Never misses.
  7. Teresa Rice at Catholiclibertarian: The Truth as it is.
  8. MyHopeBox:  This box is filled with good things.
  9. Foragingsquirrel:  FUN, talent, ENTERTAINING, sincere.
  10. Gracie’s Quest:  A quest worth fighting for.
  11. Therainyview:  Fresh and uplifting.
  12. Catholicteenapologetics:  Where love of Church meets love of blogging: this from a teenager! What more could you wish for?
  13. Catholic cravings: A journey from Protestantism to Catholicism.
  14. The Lonely Pilgrim:  A Christian’s Road Home to Rome and Journey Onward: excellent posts. 
  15. Shalom Mystic Wind: Strategies of sowing Faith pathways of Christian living- an Ecumenical outreach. Detail and depth. 

 

Excellent!!

Garvan Hill

In the 1960s Simone de Beauvoir was at the heart of the counter-culture of that age. As the Pope reminded us in his pre-Christmas address she advanced the then-radical view that one is not born a woman, but one becomes so – that sex was no longer an element of nature but a social role people chose for themselves. Her theory applied quid pro quo to men. She, with her boyfriend, Jean-Paul Sartre, were the icons of the sexual revolution.

Fifty years later who is the leader of the new counter-culture in the West? Pope Benedict XVI is the answer. In a half-century the cultural pendulum has swung so far in the direction of Simone de Beauvoir’s view that we can now look at a routine questionnaire from an agency as commonplace as Stockport Council in Manchester and find a question asking “Is your gender identity the same as the…

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Support marriage as the heart of the family.

Archbishop Vincent Nicholls

Archbishop Vincent Nichols

Catholics will be urged to speak up for marriage as the heart of the family in a Pastoral Letter from the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster to his diocese. The Pastoral Letter will be read out during Masses at the 214 Catholic churches in the Diocese of Westminster over 29 – 30 December 2012, the Feast of the Holy Family.

In the letter the Archbishop says: “Indeed this is a time in which to speak up for marriage, between a husband and wife, as the heart of the family.”

“This vision of the family is rooted in the faithful love of a man and a woman, publicly expressed and accepted in marriage, responsible for the birth of the next generation and out of love working for the care and upbringing of their children. This is the vocation of marriage and parenthood, rooted in a natural bond, blessed by God and a sure sacrament in the life of the Church.

 

The full text of the letter follows: Quoted from ICN

My brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ

Today’s Feast is a moment in which to rejoice again in the vitality and importance of the family. Indeed this is a time in which to speak up for marriage, between a husband and wife, as the heart of the family.

Of course there are many different circumstances to family life. Events reshape the family lives of many people. We are right to express our admiration for those who work so hard to maintain family stability in difficulty and isolation. Support and loving care for them can make all the difference.

But none of this takes away the importance of having a clear vision of marriage and family, based on human nature itself. This vision of the family is rooted in the faithful love of a man and a woman, publicly expressed and accepted in marriage, responsible for the birth of the next generation and out of love working for the care and upbringing of their children. This is the vocation of marriage and parenthood, rooted in a natural bond, blessed by God and a sure sacrament in the life of the Church.

The first reading of our Mass today, from the Book of Ecclesiasticus, bears witness to the ancient roots of this vision. Written in the second century before Christ, it emphasises the sense of right and wrong that lies at the heart of marriage and family life. It speaks of the honour that is to exist between all the members of a family and across the generations. Along with honour, the author speaks of rights, respect, obedience, support and kindness which are needed if family life is to be stable and fruitful. It values the wisdom of the elderly and recognises the sacrifices necessary to love and care for them as they become frail and live with suffering. Its references to ‘The Lord’ who seeks our obedience shows that these values are not of our choosing. Rather they have an objective character, coming to us from God, or, in other words, written into our very nature and there for us to heed.

The Gospel we have heard recognises that family life will be full of testing times. Indeed for the Holy Family these three days were full of awful anxiety. Only through her thoughtful pondering did Mary come to understand God’s purposes which were not at all the same as her initial expectations. Just as the Holy Spirit had brought about the conception of Jesus within her, so too that same Holy Spirit had to lead Mary to understand and follow God’s ways. The journey by which we come to understand the purpose of God in our human nature and in our lives is also frequently difficult. There is often a journey to make from what I might think is God’s plan for me, to what God really wants. And on this journey the Church and her teaching is a sure guide, not least in the patterns of our relationships.

As we turn to the lovely reading from the First Letter of St John, we learn again that the love at the heart of family life has its origins in God. As we strive to live a life of love we are indeed ‘already children of God’. And what is more, a great promise is given to us too. As this God-given love comes to its fulfilment, ‘we shall become like him because we shall see him as he really is’. This is the promise of heaven that steadies us on our journey on earth. Of course we have to ‘fear the Lord and walk in his ways’, as the Psalmist said. But when we try to do so as best we can, then ‘we need not be afraid in God’s presence’. Rather we can look forward, with a blessed hope, to the coming of our Saviour, both at the hour of our death and at the moment of final judgement.

Today I ask for every family the blessing of God that you may be steadfast in your love and loyalty for each other, overcoming life’s difficulties with a firm and trusting faith and great perseverance. I pray too for our country that we will maintain the importance of marriage between a man and a woman as the heart of family life and, while always retaining proper and due respect for all, resist the proposed redefining of marriage with all its likely consequences particularly in schools and in how children are taught about the true nature of marriage.

At this time, we look to our Members of Parliament to defend, not change, the bond of man and woman in marriage as the essential element of the vision of the family. I urge everyone who cares about upholding the meaning of marriage in civil law to make their views known to their Members of Parliament, clearly, calmly and forcefully. Please do so as soon as possible.

I ask you to keep me in your prayers on this day, that as a diocese we may be a family that is loving and supportive of one another in our life in the Lord. Amen
Yours devotedly
+Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster

Don Bosco relics to visit Southwark, January 2013

Friend of the young

Friend of the young

Here are the details about the relics tour.

Who are the Salesians?

The Salesians of Don Bosco are an international Roman Catholic Religious Order dedicated to be signs and bearers of the love of God for young people, especially those who are disadvantaged.

The Salesian family (made up of Priests, Brothers and Sisters as well as others, such as volunteers and past pupils), continues the work of its founder, Saint John Bosco, a priest who served the young and poor. Today the Salesians have projects such as schools, youth centres, homes for street children and vocational training centres.

Saint John Bosco has inspired thousands of people, young and old, priests, brothers, sisters and lay people, to strive for holiness in their lives. The Church has recognised many of them as outstanding in holiness and deserving the titles of Saint, Blessed, Venerable or Servant of God.

We, too, can be inspired by reading about their lives. The short accounts which appear on these pages are based on those appearing on the web site of the Salesians in Rome

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Creature on the loose.

image@swordofpeter.blogspot.uk

image@swordofpeter.blogspot.co.uk

A special tradition.

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Pic@salmon

Every year on the last Sunday before Christmas, we bring our Baby Jesus to the church for a ‘Blessing of the Bambini’. We love this tradition and look forward to it every Christmastime. Our Bambino is so content and happy.

A message from Papa.

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Being ‘different’.

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The U.K.  is awaiting the expected legal changes to be made to the fundamental understanding of the institution of  marriage, from being one which reflects marriage between one man and one woman,open in principle to the possibility of generating children, to one which reflects marriage between two people of the same sex. By redefining marriage as simply a contract between individuals irrespective of their sex, without regard either to its procreative function or to the complementarity of the relationship between man and woman is just plain wrong.

That in the Christian Church it is also a sacrament gives it a special value for Christian believers; but that in no way detracts from its character as an institution of central importance for the welfare of society as a whole, to believers and unbelievers alike. 

Here is an excellent post about this debacle.

ADVENT: HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF THE O ANTIPHONS?

 

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In the Church’s Liturgy of the Hours, Evening Prayer, also know as Vespers, always includes the great prayer of Mary known as the Magnificat. Each day, the Magnificat is preceded by a short verse or “antiphon.”

In the last seven days of Advent (December 17-24), the antiphons before the Magnificat are known as the “O Antiphons.

These “O Antiphons” were composed in the seventh or eighth century when monks put together texts from the Old Testament, particularly from the prophet Isaiah, which looked forward to the coming of our salvation

Each of the O Antiphons highlights a different title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel.

Each one of them refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah. A feature of the O Antiphons is that the first letter of each invocation, when read backwards, forms an acrostic in Latin: the first letters of Sapientia, Adonai, Radix, Clavis, Oriens, Rex, and Emmanuel in reverse form the Latin words: ERO CRAS. These can be understood as the words of Christ, responding to his people’s plea, saying “Tomorrow I will be there.”

These antiphons could be recited as a family, whether during grace at meals, in front of the manger scene, or in front of the Christmas tree. (XT3)