Saturday, December 31, 2016

January 1 Feast of The Mother of God and New Years Day


by achristianpilgrim
Jakarta, 1 January 2017
A Christian Pilgrim
achristianpilgrim | January 1, 2017 at 1:30 am | Tags: MARY THE MOTHER OF GOD, THEOTOKOS | Categories: MISCELLANY | URL:
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December 31 Reflection on Mary the Mother of God

(A biblical refection on THE SOLEMNITY OF MARY, MOTHER OF GOD – Octave Day of Christmas - Sunday, 1 January 2017) 
Gospel Reading: Luke 2:16-21 
First Reading: Numbers 6:22-27; Psalms: Psalm 67:2-3,5-6,8; Second Reading: Galatians 4:4-7 
The Scripture Text
And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this Child; and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
And at the end of eight days when He was circumcised, He was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2:16-21 RSV) 
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). To nobody is all this more readily applicable than to the one who was the first to believe in Christ, our mother in faith, as well as Christ’s earthly mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. There are many of us who, in our approach to Mary, place her on a lasting pedestal, and look on her after the manner of the three apostles gazing on the transfigured Christ. All too often we imagine her as the Madonna of the Christmas card, serene, immobile, seated forever in the immaculately clean stable of golden straw and glistening snow outside, with adoring angels hovering overhead. Such a figure is simply not real. For the plain fact is that Mary, on earth, knew neither triumph nor heavenly spectacle. No one has ever lived, suffered, died in such simplicity, in such deep unawareness of her own supernatural dignity.
What evidence do we have for this, you may ask? And the answer is there in the few short sayings attributed to her in the Gospels. For, in her own eyes, Mary was the handmaid, the servant of the Lord, depending entirely on God’s will, and sustained by God’s goodness. The fathers of the Vatican II Council acknowledged this when they stated that Mary stands out among the poor and the humble of the Lord, who confidently await and receive salvation from God (Lumen Gentium 55). Indeed, in the first four centuries of the Church, Christian writers placed greater emphasis on the simple faith of Mary at the Annunciation, than on her divine motherhood. The Virgin believed, and in her faith conceived, or as St. Augustine strikingly wrote, “She first conceived Jesus in her heart, before conceiving Him in her womb.”
Mary, who we venerate as the Mother of God (Greek: Theotokos, God’s bearer) wants above all to be our guide and counselor in this area of faith. She wants to beget faith in us, to be “our mother in faith”. That is why, in the Gospel of Saint John, she is present at the beginning and the end of Christ’s public life. She was there at the wedding feast at Cana (John 2:1-11), fully believing before Jesus had worked a single miracle. It was only after the changing of water into wine that Jesus’ disciples began to believe in Him (see John 2:11). In fact it was Mary herself who brought about this very sign by her request to Jesus to intervene, “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2:5), she told the attendants, words which only one who believed totally in the power of Jesus could utter. Cana was the first of the signs recorded by Saint John, in order to bring us, as it did His first disciples, to believe in Jesus. But as to the Mother of Jesus, she is represented as already believing before it.
Significantly, John’s Gospel also is the only one to record the presence of Mary at Calvary (John 19:25-17). When all the signs and wonders of the public mission of Christ seemed, in the estimation of many, to have been a delusion, and all but one of His carefully chosen apostles had deserted Him, His mother was still there witnessing Him draw His last breath, and still believing. For Mary’s faith in her Son had never been founded on the evidence of astounding miracles or visions, but rather on a complete, absolute, childlike trust in the mysterious ways of God our Father. Nor did her role as Mother on earth cease when her Son departed this world. For in His dying moments, Jesus has ensured its continuation when He said to John, “Behold, your mother” (John 19:27). Here Jesus reveals that His own natural mother will henceforth be the mother of the disciple also, the disciple who was a figure of all of Jesus’ true disciples, you and I included. At that moment Mary assumed a new role in God’s plan of salvation for the human race, that of “spiritual mother” to us all.
Prayer: Holy Spirit, come into my life deeply and powerfully this year. Fill me with Jesus and His words as You filled Mary. Help me to live and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Jakarta, 31 December 2016 
A Christian Pilgrim 

Friday, December 30, 2016

December 30


FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY: Sunday Within the Octave of Christmas or 30 December

by achristianpilgrim
Prayer: Heavenly Father, in the Holy Family of Nazareth You have given us the true model of a Christian home. Grant that by following Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in their love for each other and in the example of their family life we may come to Your home of peace and joy. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Jakarta, 30 December 2016
A Christian Pilgrim

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Linus - What Christmas Is All About

Thursday December 8


by achristianpilgrim
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we rejoice in the privilege of our Lady's Immaculate Conception, which preserved her from the stain of sin by the power of Christ's redeeming death, and prepared her to be the Mother of God. Grant the through her prayers we ourselves may come to You, cleansed from all sin. We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Jakarta, 8 December 2016
A Christian Pilgrim 
achristianpilgrim | December 8, 2016 at 4:43 am | Tags: MOTHER OF GODOUR LADY'S IMMACULATE CONCEPTION | Categories: MARYSAINTS WE LOVE | URL:
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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Pope Francis says humility is not speaking poorly about others

Poor Clare Beginnnings.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

November 29

Establishing contemplative communities in the US: The early history

Poor Clare Sisters Maddelena (1834-1905) and Constance (1836-1902) Bentivoglio's 1875 arrival in New York City was unannounced and unexpected, but they were not worried. Their plan to establish a contemplative foundation in Belle Prairie, Minnesota, proved unsuccessful, but the two Italian immigrants — who were also biological sisters — were confident that Archbishop (later Cardinal) John McCloskey (1864-1885) would allow them to remain in the city. After all, they reasoned, Pius IX had clearly instructed them to bring the Poor Clares to the United States. Since the nation’s largest city boasted a great number of Catholics, it seemed a logical place for them to begin their ministry. According to Marianus Fiege, OFM, Cap., the pope is reported to have said, “You, my dear daughters, must be to the people of your new home an example by your detachment from all earthly things. This will be to them a silent preaching, which together with your prayers and your communion with God, will obtain for many souls the grace to understand that true happiness is not found in material temporal things.” 1
Much to the nuns’ surprise, McCloskey’s answer was a firm, “No.” Fiege notes that Sister Maddelena explained that the cardinal informed the nuns “that he could not admit us into his diocese, as he did not consider our Institute to be in keeping with the spirit of the age, and still less in accordance with the trend of the mind of the American people.” McCloskey simply had no interest in contemplative congregations of women religious residing in the Archdiocese of New York. If the sisters were to open a school, then they could stay. “[T]he time has not yet come,” he said, “for God to give to the Heads of the Church, the light to be able to understand the great value of the Contemplative Orders.”
McCloskey’s refusal to allow the contemplative Poor Clares to establish a foundation in “his” archdiocese might surprise many U.S. Catholics, who have seen church leaders criticize and investigate communities of women religious engaged in active apostolates for a number of reasons, including a perceived disagreement with church teaching. Although the recent apostolic investigation of sisters focused on active congregations, American bishops have not always been happy to have the non-controversial contemplative congregations located within their dioceses. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, church leaders found themselves in need of religious communities dedicated to active apostolates and willing to establish schools and hospitals in order to meet the material and spiritual needs of the many Catholics who were poor and uneducated. In addition, they worried that contemplative nuns would be forced to depend on contributions from willing Catholics to support themselves, money that could better be spent in other places.
In retrospect, McCloskey’s decision was not all that surprising. Even John Carroll, the first bishop in the United States, was less than happy to see contemplative nuns arrive in Maryland, especially since he believed in the importance of American children receiving a Catholic education. When the American Revolution ended, Ann Teresa Matthews (Mother Bernardina), who had left Maryland to enter a contemplative Carmelite monastery in Hoogstraeten, Belgium, along with her two nieces, Sister Mary Eleanora of St. Francis Xavier and Sister Mary Aloysia of the Blessed Trinity, were urged by some to return to the United States and open a convent. Along with Mother Clare Joseph Dickenson, a native of London, the women arrived in Port Tobacco, Maryland, on July 10, 1790, and dedicated their convent on October 15 of that year. They hold the distinction of being the first women religious to reside in the former British colonies.
The nuns’ lifestyle reflected the rule designed by Teresa of Avila, but adapted to the American Catholic situation. European monasteries were surrounded by high walls to prevent cloistered nuns from interacting with the world, for instance, but it was difficult to build such a structure in late 18th-century Maryland. The Port Tobacco monastery originally consisted of eight one-story buildings, including a priest’s house, chapel, infirmary and kitchen. In keeping with their vow of poverty, the only fire was in the kitchen. The women filled a small iron pot with coals in order to keep their cells warm in the winter. Living conditions were less than ideal; their cells were not protected from the weather, and the nuns sometimes had to shake snow off their beds on winter mornings.
Carroll graciously welcomed the Carmelites, but like New York’s McCloskey almost a century later, really wanted to attract women religious willing to serve as teachers and nurses. John Thorpe, a friend of Carroll’s, actually suggested that the bishop try and discourage the nuns from establishing a foundation in the United States. If they did insist on returning to the new nation, however, Carroll should not attempt to turn them into teachers. “If the Carmelites become teachers,” Thorpe explained, in a letter published in The John Carroll Papers, “[a]fter some time you will have neither good Teresians nor good school mistresses.”
Carroll, however, rejected Thorpe’s advice, and asked Vatican leaders to consider modifying the community’s rule so that the women would be able to teach. It was clear, he wrote, that the nuns’ “. . . example, a novelty in this country, has aroused many to serious thoughts on divine things, [but] they would be far more useful if . . . they undertook the education of girls.” Cardinal Leonardo Antonelli responded that “While [the nuns] are not to be urged to undertake the care of young girls against their rule, they should be exhorted not to refuse this work which will be pleasing to God and which is badly needed.” Antonelli’s comments were reported to Mother Bernardina Matthews, but the Carmelites chose not to transform themselves into a congregation devoted to teaching. Their ministry, they believed, was to pray for the Catholic church and its mission in the United States. Ten years later, Carroll still hoped the women would change their minds. “They have multiplied themselves considerably, and given much edification by their retirement and total seclusion from the world,” he wrote in 1800, “and I do not doubt the efficacy of their prayer in drawing down blessings on us all; but they will not concern themselves in the business of female education, tho the late Pope, soon after their arrival recommended it earnestly to them.”
The Carmelites in Port Tobacco continued to remain faithful to their rule of strict enclosure until 1830, when Archbishop James Whitefield (1828-1834), recognizing that they were unable to support themselves, suggested that they solve their financial problems by teaching in either Baltimore or Washington, D.C. The nuns agreed (did they have any choice?), but this ministry was short-lived. They simply found it was too difficult to teach and remain faithful to their rule. Even though classrooms were located outside of the cloister, for instance, only students and teachers were allowed to enter them. In addition, in order to ensure that the nuns’ primary focus remained a ministry of prayer, they were forbidden to speak about either school or their students with each other, even during periods of recreation. Despite these difficulties, the school attracted the daughters and nieces of wealthy southerners — Catholic and non-Catholic — for 20 years. The Carmelites returned to a ministry of prayer when a new archbishop, Francis Patrick Kenrick (1851-1863) decided they should resume their contemplative lifestyle.
The Carmelite foundation in Port Tobacco marked the beginning of contemplative women religious in the United States. Although the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of the Carmel of Port Tobacco are still present in Maryland, other early attempts to establish cloistered foundations were not as successful. In 1793 — 82 years before Sisters Maddelena and Constance arrived on McCloskey’s doorstep — three Poor Clares trying to escape France’s Reign of Terror disembarked from a ship in Charleston, South Carolina. Unable to communicate effectively with the residents of that city — the nuns did not speak English — they relocated several times, eventually opening the Georgetown Academy for Young Ladies in Washington, D.C. (The school, now known as Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, has been administered by the Visitation Sisters since 1799.)
The Poor Clares were of no more help to John Carroll than the Carmelites. Hindered by their inability to speak English, according to Gabriel Naughton, OFM, they struggled to support themselves and the school, at one time even resorting to selling “Excellent Waters for the cure of almost all kinds of Sore Eyes . . . [and] Salves for the cure of different sorts of sores, hurts, wounds, etc.”When the superior, Mother Marie de la Marche, died in 1804, the two remaining Poor Clares returned to France. The congregation would not return to the United States until the Bishop of Cincinnati, Edward Fenwick, OP, invited two Poor Clares from Belgium to open a boarding school in 1826. The nuns agreed, but later moved the school to Pittsburgh where they hoped more young women would be attracted to the community. It would be almost 50 years before Sisters Maddalena and Constance Bentivoglio arrived to enhance the growing presence of contemplative life — particularly the Poor Clares — in the United States.
Issues related to the role of contemplative congregations within the American church continued into the 20th century. After establishing a successful monastery in Philadelphia, the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters — known as the Pink Sisters — were eager to found a daughter-house in another city. When a wealthy St. Louis widow, Theresa Kulage, approached Archbishop John Glennon (1903-1946), he was reluctant to approve the nuns’ request. Kulage persisted, however, and the archbishop finally consented. In a history of the congregation written by Karl Müller, SVD, Glennon is quoted as stating that he had “doubted whether a congregation with strict enclosure and without a significant source of income could maintain a house in this city.”
Although contemplative and active religious communities are involved in very different ministries, parts of their stories as American sisters and nuns are similar. Like their sisters serving schools in the 19th-century West or establishing hospitals for immigrants in New York City during the early 20th century, they often lived and ministered under very difficult circumstances. The focus of contemplative congregations is prayer and adoration, but they also maintain a strenuous work schedule in order to support themselves. And although it is a ministry of prayer, rather than one of education, healing, or social justice advocacy, contemplative nuns also serve the church and the world.
[Margaret M. McGuinness is Professor of Religion at La Salle University, Philadelphia, and author of several books about the history of Catholic sisters in the United States.]      
1 - Father Marianus Fiege, OFM, Cap. The Princess of Poverty: Saint Clare of Assisi and the Order of Poor Ladies, 2nd ed. (Evansville, IN: Poor Clare Monastery of St. Clare, 1901), 243, 269-270.
2 - Gabriel Naughton, OFM, "The Poor Clares in Georgetown: Second Convent of Women in the United States," Franciscan Studies 24 (1943): 69.

November 29 Feast of all the Saints of the Franciscan Order


"The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall feed; their young shall lie down together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:6-9 RSV).
Jakarta, 29 November 2016
A Christian Pilgrim 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

First Sunday of Advent


by achristianpilgrim
(A biblical refection on the FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT [Year A] – 27 November 2016)
Gospel Reading: Matthew 24:37-44 
First Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalms: Psalm 122:1-2,4-9; Second Reading: Romans 13:11-14 
The Scripture Text
As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and one is left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is  left. Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Matthew 24:37-44 RSV)
Today, the first Sunday of Advent, marks the beginning of a period of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Christ, our Savior, at Christmas. All the readings in the Mass advise us most urgently to make ourselves ready, to be on the alert, to turn aside from our sinful ways, and give more time to God in our lives. “Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord”, Isaiah says in the first reading. Let us not live lives of darkness and of sin, Saint Paul admonishes his listeners; but let us put on the armor of God’s grace, and appear in the light, meaning that our consciences should have nothing to hide at any time, but rather be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit directing them. “Be vigilant, stay awake”, the Gospel warns, at any moment you may be called upon to make an eternal choice, and that as unexpectedly as the people who were swallowed up by the Flood, in the time of Noah.
Outwardly, people may appear the same, like the men working in the fields or the women grinding at the millstone, but inwardly they have responded differently to the graces of God has given them. Thus they are in varying states of preparedness for what is to come, with the result that while some will be taken into God’s Kingdom, others will be left or rejected. This is true of every single individual, for as we pass through life we are all being faced with a choice between two ways, either that of slavery to evil tendencies in our lives, which we call sin, or, on the other hand, that of grace, which is allowing Jesus Christ be our guide and exemplar in all that we do.
It is only when we sincerely try to model our lives on that of Christ that our spirits will experience real freedom. Jesus Himself said to the Jews, “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32). Persevering in the word of Jesus demands that we listen to it, as it comes to us from out the scriptures and from within our consciences; also that we think about it and study its requirements, and that we put into action what we have learned.
The true disciple of Christ asks the question, “What am I setting before myself as the main purpose of my life?” My career, the acquisition of material possessions, the pursuit of pleasure, or the service of God and my neighbor? The truth of Jesus will teach us what things are really important and what are not. Furthermore, discipleship of Christ brings its own rewards. It brings freedom from fear, fear about oneself, fear about one’s ability to cope with life, fear about contradiction and opposition from others, fear about death and the uncertainty of life thereafter. Saint John wrote, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love” (1 John 4:18).
If we end up having no love or reverence towards God, no respect or consideration or pity towards others, then we will have reached the stage of choosing to be lost, as Jesus, in His prayer at the Last Supper, said of Judas. “Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We are one. While I was with them, I kept them in Thy name, which Thou hast given Me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:11-12). This is what should really frighten us, that the choice of our own destiny for all eternity rests entirely with ourselves.
If the Son of Man comes unexpectedly and finds us wanting, then we, who were part of the divine plans and designs from the moment of creation, we who were born to love, to be united with our Creator for ever in heaven, we will depart this world, and find ourselves unloving, frustrated by our rejection of love, utterly incapable of any response to the love of God who will still love us. To prevent such a tragedy, it is necessary for us from time to time to take a critical look at ourselves, at the kind of lives we are leading, the response we are making to God’s grace. We should take note of our patterns of behavior, but far more importantly our sets of values, what we regard as important in life.
Advent is a time when we ought to do precisely this. “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,” the first reading tells us, “to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us His ways, and that we may walk in His paths” (Isaiah 2:3). The second reading (Romans 13:11-14) is of special significance in that it finally brought about the conversion of Saint Augustine after he has opened the New Testament at random at that very passage, and please God it will help us to look into our own lives and, if needs be, change them too.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I want to devote Advent to preparing for Your coming into the world. Help me to immerse myself in Your love through the sacraments, prayer, Scripture, and repentance. Let the darkness of my sins give way to Your irresistible light. Thank You, Lord Jesus. Amen.
Jakarta, 25 November 2016  
A Christian Pilgrim 

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Congo pilgrims visit Rome with handmade clothes for the Jubilee closing

Congo pilgrims visit Rome with handmade clothes for the Jubilee closing

Thanksgiving Thoughts Tuesday November 22,

The first Thanksgiving in America was a Catholic Mass

By on Nov 22, 2016 05:28 am
I bet you didn’t learn this at school! Check out the full article at Aleteia:
Did you know that the first “thanksgiving” meal in the United States was notcelebrated by the Pilgrims in Plymouth, but by Spanish settlers, in what became Florida? And that first “Thanksgiving” was Eucharistic!
Historian Dr. Michael Gannon narrates the events that took place on September 8, 1565.
“When the first Spanish settlers landed in what is now St. Augustine on September 8, 1565, to build a settlement, their first act was to hold a religious service to thank God for the safe arrival of the Spanish fleet… After the Mass, Father Francisco Lopez, the Chaplin of the Spanish ships and the first pastor of St. Augustine, stipulated that the natives from the Timucua tribe be fed along with the Spanish settlers, including Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles, the leader of the expedition. It was the very first Thanksgiving and the first Thanksgiving meal in the United States.”

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Thanksgiving Thoughts Tuesday November 22,

The first Thanksgiving in America was a Catholic Mass

By on Nov 22, 2016 05:28 am
I bet you didn’t learn this at school! Check out the full article at Aleteia:
Did you know that the first “thanksgiving” meal in the United States was notcelebrated by the Pilgrims in Plymouth, but by Spanish settlers, in what became Florida? And that first “Thanksgiving” was Eucharistic!
Historian Dr. Michael Gannon narrates the events that took place on September 8, 1565.
“When the first Spanish settlers landed in what is now St. Augustine on September 8, 1565, to build a settlement, their first act was to hold a religious service to thank God for the safe arrival of the Spanish fleet… After the Mass, Father Francisco Lopez, the Chaplin of the Spanish ships and the first pastor of St. Augustine, stipulated that the natives from the Timucua tribe be fed along with the Spanish settlers, including Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles, the leader of the expedition. It was the very first Thanksgiving and the first Thanksgiving meal in the United States.”

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share on Twitter Like The first Thanksgiving in America was a Catholic Mass on Facebook

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Join us in Prayer for all of Creation With the Prayer on our Blog

Join us in praying for all of Creation and all People.
May each of us develop caring relationships with all of God's
creation and with all people who are part of our daily lives.
Thank You!
The Poor Clares of Chesterfield

Prayer for Creation
Lord , make me a steward of Creation.
Where there is violence, let me bring peace.
Where there are scars, let me bring beauty
Where there is destruction, let me plant Seeds;
Where there is waste, let me reuse;
Where there is domination, let me nurture;
Where there is want, let me give away;
Where there is pollution, let me be a healer;
Where there is exploitation, let me be reverent'
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
to control as to let go and let God;
To be powerful as to protect;
to be rich as to be poor in spirit;
To be indifferent as to love deeply.
For it is in giving away that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is dying to self that we are reborn to eternal life.

(Inspired by Peace Prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi)

Friday April 20, 2018 Continuing Gaudete Et Exsultate (Rejoice and Exsult ) by Pope Francis

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth These are strong words for where we constantly pigeonhole others on the basis...