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Newsletter

 

IRISH DOMINICAN PARISH NEWSLETTER

July/August 2019

 

 

On the 8th August the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans) will celebrate the feast of their founder St. Dominic Guzman.

Saint Dominic was born in Caleruega, Spain in 1170. His parents were members of the Spanish nobility and related to the ruling family. His father was Felix Guzman, and was the royal warden of the village. His mother, Bl. Joan of Aza, was a holy woman in her own right. According to one legend, his mother made a pilgrimage to an abbey at Silos. Legend says there were many signs of the great child she would bear. One of the most common legends says that during the pilgrimage, Joan had a dream of a dog leaping from her womb with a torch in its mouth. The animal "seemed to set the earth on fire." His parents named him Dominic a play on the words Domini canis, meaning the Lord's dog in Latin. An alternative, and possibly more likely story says he was named after St. Dominic de Silos, a Spanish monk who lived a century before.

It is known that Dominic was educated in Palencia, and he concentrated on theology and the arts. He spent six years studying theology and four the arts. He was widely acclaimed as an exemplary student by his professors. In 1191, a famine left many people desolate and homeless across Spain. Dominic sold everything he had, including his furniture and clothes and bought food for the poor. When he sold his manuscripts, required for study, he replied, "Would you have me study from these dead skins when people are dying of hunger?" On two other occasions, Dominic attempted to sell himself into slavery to the Moors to obtain the freedom of others.

In 1194, Dominic joined a Benedictine order, the Canons Regular in Osma. He became the superior or prior of the chapter in 1201.

In 1203 he joined his bishop, Diego de Acebo on a trip to Denmark. His mission was to help find a bride for Crown Prince Ferdinand. Although an agreement was made, the princess died before she could depart for Spain.

Her untimely death left the pair free to travel where they wished. They opted to travel to Rome, where they arrived in late 1204. The reason for this trip was that Bishop Diego de Acebo wanted to resign his office to pursue a new mission, the conversion of unbelievers.

Pope Innocent III did not wish the pair to travel to a distant land filled with unbelievers. Instead, the pair were asked to go to southern France, the region of Languedoc, to convert heretics back to the true faith.

At that time, the Albigensian heresy was flourishing. This heresy was so dangerous that it even praised the suicide of its members, often by means of self-inflicted starvation! The heresy wrongly taught that all material things, including the human body itself, were fundamentally evil. The Christian faith teaches otherwise. In fact, it proclaims the very resurrection of the Body.

A group of monks, an order of Benedictines who returned to an ancient Rule of St. Benedict, known as the Cistercians, were specifically assigned to combat the heresy through prayer, fasting and instruction, but they made little headway. According to writings from the period, some of the monks had become worldly and even pompous in their approach, surrounding themselves with material artifacts which repulsed the Albigensians.

Diego and Dominic were austere by comparison to some of these worldly monks and this austerity and personal self discipline appealed to many of the heretics who had been deceived in their thinking.

When Dominic debated the heretics, they could not defend themselves. Naturally, there is no defense against the truth. Many heretics threatened Dominic with violence. Despite the threats, Dominic travelled throughout the region, preaching and converting many back to the Catholic faith and practice.

Dominic recognized the need for a physical institution in Southern France to preserve the gains he made against the Albigensian heresy. The nobility needed a place to educate their children and Catholic women needed a safe place away from hostile heretics. Dominic established a convent at Prouille in 1206, which would become the first Dominican house. Bishop Diego and Dominic established their headquarters there. The monastery remains to this day as the Notre-Dame-de-Prouille Monastery.

In January 1208, the French nobility decided to take up arms against the heretics, after they murdered a papal legate. During the crusade that followed, Dominic consistently appealed for mercy for the heretics who were often the victims of atrocities. Dominic followed the armies and spent his time reconciling survivors to the Church.

Around this time, two things have been attributed to St. Dominic, although both are questioned by historians.

The first is his status as the first Inquisitor of the Inquisition. The first formal Inquisition was established as early as 1184, when Dominic would have been a teenager. The purpose of the Inquisition was to combat heresy by bringing the accused to trial and giving them an opportunity to repent. Although modern depictions accuse the Inquisition of being a bloodthirsty institution that liberally employed torture and death, such insinuations are generally false. The Inquisition was the first to provide many of the rights afforded to accused persons in modern courts. It was very progressive for its time.

There had been earlier courts to combat heresy, but these were not known as the inquisition.

In any case, while Dominic devoted his life to combating heresy, he was by no means the first inquisitor. It is possible he did advise various judges on Catholic orthodoxy when questions arose. There are no primary sources from the period which say Dominic was directly involved with the Inquisition.

The second thing concerns the Rosary. According to legend, St. Dominic received the Rosary during a period of prayer at the abbey in Prouille. This allegedly took place in 1214 during an apparition of the Virgin Mary.This legend is a matter of some dispute among historians, but while similar devotions existed before this time, there is no record of the Marian rosary in this form before. Also, the Marian Rosary became popular following this event, suggesting the legend may be true.

Dominic became famous as a result of his mercy and his work. Several other prominent religious figures of the time petitioned for Dominic to be made bishop. He refused at least three attempts at promotion, saying he would rather run away with nothing than become a bishop.

Dominic remained steadfast to his mission to establish an order dedicated to promoting morality and the expulsion of heresy.

In July 1215, Dominic was granted permission to form his own religious order for this purpose. He was joined by six followers. The group followed a Rule of Life which included a strict routine of discipline, including prayer and penance. They also established a system of education. They often travelled the countryside to preach.

His order was confirmed on December 22, 1216, and in 1217, Pope Honorius III dubbed Dominic and his followers "The Order of Preachers."

In the summer of 1217, Dominic decided it was time to send his followers out to grow the order. The band of seventeen men was ordered to depart Prouille and to go out across Europe to spread the order. The decision was a fateful one which proved successful. New members began to appear in great numbers across the continent.

After sending out his followers, Dominic headed to Rome to meet with the Pope and seek support for his mission. Shortly afterwards, Pope Honorarius III elevated Dominic to the rank of "Master of the Sacred Palace." The position has been occupied by Dominican preachers since Dominic himself in 1218.

Pope Honorarius III issued a Bull, a papal decree, asking all clergy across Europe to support the Order of Preachers. He then asked Dominic to assist with a new mission. The Pope noted that the religious orders for women in Rome were becoming lax in their discipline. He desired to bring them together to restore their discipline. He assigned Dominic this task.

He gave Dominic an old church, San Sisto, which required renovation. Once complete, Dominic did the hard work of persuading several orders of nuns to relocate. Somehow, he accomplished this mission. However, the arrival of the nuns meant that Dominic's small order had no place to call home in Rome. The Pope rewarded Dominic with a new church, the basilica of Santa Sabina. The basilica remains the headquarters of the Dominican order to this day.

Following these successes, Dominic began a period of travel that would continue for the rest of his life. His followers managed to establish several new houses which were growing rapidly.

According to writings about him, Dominic chose for himself only the most meager of provisions. His accommodations and clothes were described as "mean." He refused to sleep on a bed. When he reached the edge of a town, he removed his sandals and walked barefoot, regardless of the path. He constantly prayed or issued instruction as he walked and whenever he faced discomfort, he praised God. His only possessions were a small bundle and a staff. In his bundle he kept a copy of the Gospel of Matthew and the Epistles of St. Paul, which he would read over and over again. He always drew great crowds wherever he went.

As Dominic travelled, he recognized the need for written rules for his monks to follow. His order had previously adopted the Rule of St. Augustine, but they recognized a need for a more formal constitution. This was worked out between 1220 and 1221. The constitution was revolutionary for its time. Every superior was to be elected for a limited period of time. The order was to be supported with alms, and still is to this day. Preaching and study were to be the dominant work of the Dominica orders.

By spring of 1221, Dominic went back to his travels. He began with a trip to Venice, and then returned to Bologna where he had established a convent in 1218.

In July of 1221, Dominic took ill with a fever. He asked to be laid on the ground, still refusing a bed. He exhorted his brothers to keep a spirit of humility and charity. After several weeks of illness, he made a last confession and a will, and passed away on August 6. He died in the presence of his brother Dominicans. Dominic was just 51. Dominic's body was placed in a humble sarcophagus in 1223. It was then moved to a shrine in 1267.

Pope Gregory IX canonized St. Dominic on July 13, 1234, and his feast day is August 8.

Saint Dominic is the patron saint of astronomers, the Dominican Republic, and the innocent who are falsely accused of crimes. He is commonly depicted in icons with a dog, or lilies, holding a book. His hair always appears cut with a tonsure.

 

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Every Catholic should attend Mass each Sunday. Why?

On an early Sunday morning “Do I really have to get up just to go to Mass?” may be the question some Catholics ask. “Am I really getting anything out of it; why can’t I just pray alone?” they ponder.

How important really is Mass for Catholics, and should each one attend Mass every Sunday? The answer of course is that for Catholics attending Mass is possibly the most important hour of the week.

To consider why this is so, let us go back to the very beginning, the institution of the Eucharist…Approximately two thousand years ago, Jesus had a roller-coaster Holy Week, which ultimately saw Him, through God’s power, defeat sin and death, thereby providing us with the possibility of eternal life. Just before His crucifixion, Jesus celebrated the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday with His disciples, during which He first instituted the Eucharist.

In Luke 22:17-20, the Gospel states… “Then he took bread and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them saying ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’  He did the same with the cup after supper, and said ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood poured out for you.’”

Not just a remembrance

Note the words ‘do this in remembrance of me’.  When Jesus said this, he did not want Catholics just to remember it, or believe in it, but to actually participate in the event. Without going to Mass, we cannot be part of this. Neither can we follow the request Jesus made before laying down his life for us. And as though that was not enough, by attending Mass we are given something…and not just anything…we are given the opportunity to receive the bread of life…the body and blood of Jesus, the Son of God. By ignoring the Sunday morning wake-up call for church and turning over in bed, we are turning our back on Our Lord Jesus Christ, and His gift to us of His Body and Blood. We are showing complete indifference to the celebration of the Eucharist in which the bread and wine become the Real Presence of Christ…Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.

By going to Mass, we remember and re-present his great act of love for us on the Cross – taking our sins upon himself so that we may live with him forever in Heaven. Receiving the sacrifice of God’s only son is crucial if we are to enjoy His love and harmony in eternal life.

The Church

Although we could still remember Jesus’ sacrifice or watch a video of the Last Supper that is not what God wanted. He wanted us to go to church to celebrate Mass with the Parish community. In Matthew 16:18-19 it is written ‘And I tell you that you are Peter and on this rock I will build my church’. The church involved the disciples coming together as a body, and not individuals doing their own thing. Such a body would need leadership, so that everyone could support each other when following the light of Christ. In this extract from Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus was in essence installing Peter as the leader of this new community of believers. Now, we as today’s disciples have a similar duty to follow Peter’s successor, Pope Francis, in spreading the good news. The strength to do so comes from receiving the body of Christ, and that can only be obtained by going to Mass.

Jesus then goes on to say to Peter ‘I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven: whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven.’  By giving Peter the ‘keys’, he was conferred as leader of the believing community, the church, and upon his death, has handed over to his successors of yesterday and today. This emphasises the fact that the teaching of the church, as confirmed by the successors of Peter, is that we have a duty to attend Mass on a Sunday.

Catechism

In Catechism of the Catholic Church 2181 states, ‘The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for serious reason (for example, illness the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor’. This emphasises the necessity of going to Church every week, and goes on to say “Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.”

…By missing Mass on a Sunday, we cannot, as by going, we join in with the perfect sacrifice created by Jesus. Through the priest we offer, Jesus, Body and Blood, to the Father, just as Jesus offered himself to the Father on the Cross, as well as make present Christ’s death and Resurrection. Through this memorial of Jesus, we offer God our praise, sorrow for our sins, and deepest thanks…

…God made us social beings. He wants us to come together in community, to worship him. Jesus said “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I” (Matthew 18:20). Without the communal event of Mass every week, we can never truly feel the presence of God through Jesus.

While it is good to attend Mass any day, it is especially important to attend Mass every Sunday.  In Exodus 31:15 is written “The seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, Holy to the Lord.” Throughout the Bible, the Sabbath is notably the most special day and scripture talks about it in Genesis I when the Lord “rested on the seventh day…”

The Word of God

I have mainly concentrated on the Eucharist in what I have written so far. There are other sections of the Mass also. There is the opening section when we get to reflect on what we have done and what we have failed to do.  This is particularly important when we consider the expression ‘the holy sacrifice of the Mass’. Christ’s sacrifice by dying on the cross was an act of atonement for our sins. By attending Mass every Sunday we get the chance to reflect on how we have performed over the last week. This is very important as it gives us a chance to ask for mercy for those aspects of our life where we have not done as well as we should have….

…Then we have an opportunity to listen to an Old Testament reading, a Psalm, a New Testament reading as we’ll as an extract from the Gospel. The main points are reflected on by the priest in his homily. This all helps to give us a better understanding of the Word of God and thereby improve our lives.  This isn’t going to happen under the duvet covers.

During the Mass, we have the chance to recite the Creed, enabling us to recall the fundamental aspects of our faith. We have the prayers of the faithful also. Later on, we get the chance to make the sign of peace with many people from our community. During the Mass, we are providing support for our parishioners just by being at Mass, just as they are doing likewise for us…

…The Mass is so full of opportunity. Where else do we get the opportunity to be fed with the Word of God and where else could we receive the Body of Christ and the cup of everlasting life?

From this, the question is not “Why does a Catholic attend Mass each Sunday?” but “Why shouldn’t a Catholic want to go to Mass every day of the week?”

Kieran Breathnach -Young Catholic Writer

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A SIGN OF THE TIMES

They lie on the table, side by side The Holy Bible and the TV Guide.
One is well worn, but cherished with pride (Not the Bible, but the

TV Guide)
One is used daily to help folks decide. (Not the Bible: it's the TV Guide.)
As the pages are turned, what shall they see Oh, what does it matter?...turn on the TV.
Then confusion reigns, they can't all agree on what they shall watch on the old TV.
So they open the book in which they confide (No, not the Bible.....it's the TV Guide.)
The Word of God is seldom read. Maybe a verse e'er they fall into bed.
Exhausted and sleepy and tired as can be... not from reading the Bible-from watching TV.
So then back to the table, side by side, lay the Holy Bible and the TV Guide.
No time for prayer....no time for the Word. The plan of salvation is seldom heard.
But forgiveness of sin so full and free is found in the Bible.....NOT on TV!

 

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The Story of the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary

On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII defined the Assumption of Mary to be a dogma of faith: “We pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma that the immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory.” The pope proclaimed this dogma only after a broad consultation of bishops, theologians and laity. There were few dissenting voices. What the pope solemnly declared was already a common belief in the Catholic Church.

We find homilies on the Assumption going back to the sixth century. In following centuries, the Eastern Churches held steadily to the doctrine, but some authors in the West were hesitant. However by the 13th century there was universal agreement. The feast was celebrated under various names—Commemoration, Dormition, Passing, Assumption—from at least the fifth or sixth century. Today it is celebrated as a solemnity.

Scripture does not give an account of Mary’s Assumption into heaven. Nevertheless, Revelation 12 speaks of a woman who is caught up in the battle between good and evil. Many see this woman as God’s people. Since Mary best embodies the people of both Old and New Testaments, her Assumption can be seen as an exemplification of the woman’s victory.

Furthermore, in 1 Corinthians 15:20, Paul speaks of Christ’s resurrection as the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Since Mary is closely associated with all the mysteries of Jesus’ life, it is not surprising that the Holy Spirit has led the Church to believe in Mary’s share in his glorification. So close was she to Jesus on earth, she must be with him body and soul in heaven.

 

Reflection

In the light of the Assumption of Mary, it is easy to pray her Magnificat (Luke 1:46–55) with new meaning. In her glory she proclaims the greatness of the Lord and finds joy in God her Saviour. God has done marvels to her and she leads others to recognize God’s holiness. She is the lowly handmaid who deeply reverenced her God and has been raised to the heights. From her position of strength she will help the lowly and the poor find justice on earth, and she will challenge the rich and powerful to distrust wealth and power as a source of happiness.

 

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Burned Biscuits

When I was a kid, my Mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my Mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed!

All my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my Mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that ugly burned biscuit. He ate every bite of that thing...never made a face nor uttered a word about it!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my Mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I'll never forget what he said, "Honey, I love burned biscuits every now and then."

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, "Your Mom put in a hard day at work today and she's real tired. And besides--a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!"

As I've grown older, I've thought about that many times. Life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people.

I'm not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else. But what I've learned over the years is that learning to accept each other's faults and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

And that's my prayer for you today...that you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of God. Because in the end, He's the only One who will be able to give you a relationship where a burnt biscuit isn't a deal-breaker!

We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship!

"Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket--keep it in your own."

So, please pass me a biscuit, and yes, the burned one will do just fine.

 

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Spiritual Nourishment

Mon/Tues – 24 hour Adoration on the Blessed Sacrament, St. Mary’s Pastoral Centre.

Every Tuesday – Prayer Group St. Mary’s Pastoral Centre 10.30am.

Every Wednesday – 12 hours Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament 10.00am – 10.00pm St. Mary’s Pastoral Centre.

Rosary – The Rosary is recited before the 10.15am Mass on Sundays at St. Mary’s Pastoral centre. Rosary begins at 9.50am

N.S. Nagegantes – Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament every Friday 9.30am -10.30am

 

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Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady –Thursday 15th August

Mass Times

St. Mary’s Pastoral Centre – 10.15am

N.S. Navegantes – 12.00 noon

 

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'In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favour, you shall reach the goal.'

St. Bernard of Clairvaux