Saturday, January 5, 2013



THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS are 12 days from December 25 till January 5 that are spent celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, Savior of mankind. (Image share Blogger/Google)
There are several feast days that are traditionally celebrated on the 12 days including:
Dec. 26 - St. Stephen, 1st Martyr of the Church
27 - St. John the Evangelist, Apostle
28 - Holy Innocents, Martyred children by Herod in search of Jesus
29 - St. Thomas Becket, Martyred Bishop of England under Henry II
30 - The feast of the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph
31 - St. Sylvester I, Pope 314-335 AD
Jan. 1 - Feast of Holy Mary Mother of God
2 - Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus - commemorating the Circumcision 8 days after Christ's birth
3 - St. Genevieve - Patroness of Paris
4 - St. Elizabeth Ann Seton of USA established Catholic schools
5 - St. John Neumann - Bishop and also established the Catholic school system in the US

The playwright Shakespeare wrote his play "Twelfth Night, or what you will" circa 1601 in honor of these days. 
The lyrics of the song "The 12 Days of Christmas", written circa 1645, hold a special meaning. This was written during the persecution of Catholics in England. They serve as a hidden catechesis 
On the 1st day of Christmas my true love sent to me…
A Partridge in a Pear Tree  
The partridge is representative of Jesus Christ and the pear tree is the cross. Jesus is symbolically rendered as a mother bird protecting her young. This recalls Christ's words: “Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . .” (Luke 13:34) 
Two Turtle Doves 
The 2 doves symbolize the two natures in Jesus: human and divine or the Old and New Testaments.
Three French Hens
The 3 hens are the Three Persons in One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; but can also refer to the three Theological Virtues: Faith, Hope and Charity.
Four Calling Birds
The birds represent the 4 Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They tell of the Good News throughout the world.
Five Gold Rings
The 5 rings represent the five books of the Old Testament also known as the Torah or the Pentateuch:  1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy.
Six Geese A-laying
The geese symbolize the six days of Creation;  or the 6 Precepts of the Church:
  • to keep the Sundays and Holy Days of obligation holy, by hearing Mass and resting from servile work;
  • to keep the days of fasting and abstinence appointed by the Church;
  • to go to confession at least once a year;
  • to receive the Blessed Sacrament at least once a year and that at Easter or thereabouts;
  • to contribute to the support of our pastors;
  • not to marry within a certain degree of kindred nor to solemnize marriage at the forbidden times.

Seven Swans A-swimming
These are the 7 Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion, Confession, Marriage, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick.
Eight Maids A-milking
Represent the 8 Beatitudes 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. (Matthew 5:3-10)
Nine Ladies Dancing
The 9 choirs of angels;  or the 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)
Ten Lords A-Leaping
The 10 Commandments: 1) I am the Lord your God; you shall not have strange gods before me; 2) You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain; 3) Remember to keep holy the Lord’s day; 4) Honour your father and mother; 5) You shall not kill; 6) You shall not commit adultery; 7) You shall not steal; 8) You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour; 9) You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife; 10) You shall not covet your neighbour’s goods. 
Eleven Pipers Piping

The 11 Apostles: 1) Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James the Greater, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8 ) Thomas, 9) James the Less, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Jude Thaddaeus. This does not include Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus.
Twelve Drummers Drumming
These are the 12 main beliefs of the Catholic Church as dictated in the Apostles Creed: 1) I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; 2) And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord; 3) Who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, 4) Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. 5) He descended into hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead; 6) He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; 7) From thence He shall come again to judge the living and the dead. 8 ) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 9) the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting.


DIOCESE OF SPRINGFIELD RELEASE— Bishop Thomas John Paprocki of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Illinois released a letter concerning the proposed Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. This letter has been sent to priests, deacons and pastoral facilitators in the 131 parishes of the diocese.

In his cover message, Bishop Paprocki said: "In light of the urgency and importance of the matter, I ask that my attached letter be read from the pulpit at all Masses this weekend (January 5-6), either incorporated appropriately with the homily or at the announcement time after Communion. Copies may also be reproduced for distribution with the parish bulletin. Your cooperation and prayers will be appreciated."

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Our state's elected lawmakers will soon consider a bill called "The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act." A more fraudulent title for this dangerous measure could not be imagined. The proposed law is, in truth, a grave assault upon both religious liberty and marriage. All people of goodwill, and especially Christ's faithful committed to my pastoral care in the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, should resolutely oppose this bill and make their opinions known to their representatives.
The pending bill would, for the first time in our state's history, redefine marriage to legally recognize same-sex "marriages." But neither two men nor two women - nor, for that matter, three or more people - can possibly form a marriage. Our law would be lying if it said they could.
The basic structure of marriage as the exclusive and lasting relationship of a man and a woman, committed to a life which is fulfilled by having children, is given to us in human nature, and thus by nature's God. Notwithstanding the vanity of human wishes, every society in human history - including every society untouched by Jewish or Christian revelation - has managed to grasp this profound truth about human relationships and happiness: marriage is the union of man and woman.
The bill's sponsors maintain it would simply extend marriage to some people who have long been arbitrarily excluded from it. They are wrong. The pending bill would not expand the eligibility-roster for marriage. It would radically redefine what marriage is- for everybody.
It would enshrine in our law - and thus in public opinion and practice - three harmful ideas:
  1. What essentially makes a marriage is romantic-emotional union.
  2. Children don't need both a mother and father.
  3. The main purpose of marriage is adult satisfactions.
These ideas would deepen the sexual revolution's harms on all society. After all, if marriage is an emotional union meant for adult satisfactions, why should it be sexually exclusive? Or limited to two? Or pledged to permanence? If children don't need both their mother and father, why should fathers stick around when romance fades? As marriage is redefined, it becomes harder for people to see the point of these profoundly important marital norms, to live by them, and to encourage others to do the same. The resulting instability hurts spouses, but also - and especially - children, who do best when reared by their committed mother and father.
Indeed, children's need - and right - to be reared by the mother and father whose union brought them into being explains why our law has recognized marriage as a conjugal partnership - the union of husband and wife - at all. Our lawmakers have understood that marriage is naturally oriented to procreation, to family. Of course, marriage also includesa committed, intimate relationship of a sort which some same-sex coulples (or multiple lovers in groups of three or more) could imitate. But our law never recognized and supported marriage in order to regulate intimacy for its own sake. The reason marriage is recognized in civil law at all (as ordinary friendships, or other sacraments, are not) is specific to the committed, intimate relationships of people of opposite-sex couples: they are by nature oriented to having children. Their love-making acts are life-giving acts.
Same-sex relationships lack this unique predicate of state recognition and support. Even the most ideologically blinded legislator cannot change this natural fact: the sexual acts of a same-sex couple (regardless of how one views them morally) are simply not of the type that yield the gift of new life. So they cannot extend a union of hearts by a true bodily union. They cannot turn a friendship into the one-flesh union of marriage. They are not marital. This is not just a Christian idea, but one common to every major religious tradition and our civilization's great philosophical traditions, beginning with ancient Greece and Rome.
The pending bill is not only a dangerous social experiment about marriage. It is also a lethal attack upon religious liberty. This so-called "religious freedom" would not stop the state from obligating the Knights of Columbus to make their halls available for same-sex "weddings." It would not stop the state from requiring Catholic grade schools to hire teachers who are legally "married" to someone of the same sex. This bill would not protect Catholic hospitals, charities, or colleges, which exclude those so "married" from senior leadership positions. Nor would it protect me, the Bishop of Springfield, if I refused to employ someone in a same-sex "marriage" who applied to the Diocese for a position meant to serve my ministry as your bishop. This "religious freedom" law does nothing at all to protect the consciences of people in business, or who work for the government. We saw the harmful consequences of deceptive titles all too painfully last year when the so-called "Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act" forced Catholic Charities out of foster care and adoption services in Illinois.
These threats do not raise a question about drafting a better law, one with more extensive conscience protections. There is no possible way - none whatsoever- for those who believe that marriage is exclusively the union of husband and wife to avoid legal penalties and harsh discriminatory treatment if the bill becomes law. Why should we expect it be otherwise? After all, we would be people who, according to the thinking behind the bill, hold onto an "unfair" view of marriage. The state would have equated our view with bigotry - which it uses the law to marginalize in every way short of criminal punishment.
The only way to protect religious liberty, and to preserve marriage, is to defeat this perilous proposal. Please make sure our elected representatives understand that and know that they will be held to account.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki
Bishop of Springfield in Illinois



Remains of 'The Little Flower' go on tour reporter, Laoag City
Catholic Church News Image of
An image of St Therese of Lisieux, "The Little Flower" (Wikimedia Commons)
Thousands of Catholics carrying red roses welcomed the relics of St Therese of the Child Jesus in the province of Ilocos Norte today.
Bishop Renato Mayugba of Laoag diocese said the visit is "significant" and an opportunity to invite young people to become missionaries of the Church.
The relics, which are bone fragments of the saint housed in a special reliquary, arrived in the Philippines on December 15 for a four-month tour that will include visits to 48 archdioceses and dioceses throughout the country.
The relics traveled from the Basilica of St Therese in Lisieux, France. 
This is the third time the pilgrim relics have visited the Philippines. The first two visits in 2000 and 2008 were reportedly marked with miracles and thousands of devotees gathering to pray.
St Thérèse of Lisieux, or St Thérèse of the Child Jesus, was a French Carmelite nun who felt an early call to religious life. She overcame various obstacles  to become a nun in 1888 at the young age of 15, and joined two of her elder sisters in the cloistered Carmelite community of Lisieux, Normandy. 
After nine years as a Carmelite nun, she died of tuberculosis at the age of 24.
During the celebration of the relic's arrival, Bishop Mayugba said anyone can become a saint if he or she does "what you are supposed to do."


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
4 Jan 2013
Professor Scott Prasser, Executive Director of the Public Policy Institute
Non-compulsory voting would not put Australia's democracy at risk says Professor Scott Prasser, Executive Director of the Public Policy Institute at the Australian Catholic University (ACU), nor would it make democracy the "plaything of cashed-up interest groups" as the Prime Minister Julia Gillard claims.
Professor Prasser points out the argument put up by the PM could "equally apply to trade unions being an embedded part of the Labor Party and a major contributor to ALP finances."
"Times have changed. We now have a more diverse community, a better educated community and new ways of communication that makes compulsory voting increasingly obsolete," he says.
Although voting has been compulsory for federal elections since 1924, and in Queensland since 1915, Australia remains one of the few democracies in the world where registering for the electoral roll and voting in state as well as federal elections is mandatory. In the US, Canada, Britain, New Zealand as well as most European nations and in many Asian democracies, voting is voluntary.
But when Queensland's Newman Government released its Green Paper on Electoral Reform yesterday and suggested compulsory voting be reviewed there was an immediate outcry from the Federal Government. The PM Julia Gillard instantly tweeted Fight@theqldpremier's plan to end compulsory voting. Don't let the Liberals make democracy the plaything of cashed up interest groups."
Queensland to review compulsory voting
Treasurer Wayne Swan lashed out as well and compared the suggestion to the Joh Bjelke-Petersen era and the US Tea Party movement.
A parliamentary inquiry after the 1996 Federal Election which called for a repeal of compulsory voting, arguing Australian could not otherwise "consider itself a mature democracy" and more recently, Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Liberal Senator Eric Abetz have both written in favour of voluntary voting.
But instead of a discussion about whether voting at state or federal level should be voluntary, the Green Paper has triggered a political firestorm and attack and counter-attack between the two major parties.
"We should stop the hysteria and the political-point scoring about the Newman Government's proposal and for a change have a robust, but informed discussion about whether compulsory voting is still warranted in the 21st Century," Professor Prasser says.
While there are very good reasons for compulsory voting, including civic duties and participation, and to ensure an inclusive democratic society, he says one of the problems with mandatory voting is that it makes political parties lazy in terms of seeking members and promoting real participation in democratic processes.
"That is why political parties have so few members these days and no longer act as conduits between leaders, governments and the community," he says. "This problem has been further exacerbated by public funding of political parties."
Public funding has meant that parties do not have to go out and get members and funding from their own supporters, but instead are able to rely on taxpayers to underpin their organisations.
"This has also contributed to the increasing professionalisation of politics with more and more functions being performed by hired hands rather than volunteer citizens," he says. 
Australia one of the few democracies where voting is compulsory
While voter turn-out would be less if voting was no longer compulsory, in the US it is believed the freedom to vote or not to vote is all part of the democratic process and argue that those who choose to vote are the ones who take an active interest in policy and politics.
"There are many worthwhile ideas in the Green Paper and it is time these issues were on the agenda for genuine discussion," Professor Prasser says.
If Queensland did decide to end compulsory voting, it would not be an issue for other states or the federal system, he adds.
"The reasons why we have a federal system of government is to promote diversity in policy and to try out new ideas in one jurisdiction," he explains.
Interestingly he points out that when Australians voted on the Constitution and the decision to form a united country at the turn of the 20th Century, voting was not compulsory.
"But this did not undermine the democratic will on that important issue," he says.



CISA NEWS REPORTSame-Sex-Marriages-are-Crimes-Against-Humanity,-says-Archbishop-Bakot
YAOUNDE, January 04, 2013 (CISA) -One of Cameroon’s most senior Christian leaders called same-sex marriages a “crime against humanity”, ramping up anti-gay rhetoric in the Central African state.
As in most African nations, homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon. But a number of incidents have highlighted the clash between a largely conservative culture backed by draconian law and youth for some of whom it is less of an issue.
“Marriage of persons of the same sex is a serious crime against humanity,” Victor Tonye Bakot, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Yaounde, told followers at Christmas Day mass.
“We need to stand up to combat it with all our energy. I am particularly thankful to our local media that has been spreading this message of it as a criminality against mankind.”
The comments follow a three-year jail sentence handed earlier this month to 32-year-old Jean-Claude Roger Mbede, who was found guilty of homosexual conduct because he sent a text message to another man telling him he loved him.
At least 12 people were convicted this year of being gay in Cameroon, where jail terms range from six months to five years.
Other African countries have seen fierce debate over anti-gay measures, which are often popular in societies where homosexuality is largely taboo but have drawn criticism from rights groups and threats of aid cuts from donors.
Ugandan politicians are seeking to pass an anti-gay law that initially sought the death penalty for homosexuals before it was watered down in the face of opposition.
Meanwhile according to Reuters, the Roman Catholic Church’s leader in England and Wales, Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, said the government’s plans to allow gay marriage were a “shambles” and had no mandate.




1 John 3: 11 - 21
11For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,
12and not be like Cain who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous.
13Do not wonder, brethren, that the world hates you.
14We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.
15Any one who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
16By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
17But if any one has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?
18Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth.
19By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and reassure our hearts before him
20whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
21Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God;
Psalms 100: 1 - 5
1Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the lands!
2Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
3Know that the LORD is God! It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him, bless his name!
5For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures for ever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

John 1: 43 - 51

43The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. And he found Philip and said to him, "Follow me."44Now Philip was from Beth-sa'ida, the city of Andrew and Peter.45Philip found Nathan'a-el, and said to him, "We have found him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph."46Nathan'a-el said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."47Jesus saw Nathan'a-el coming to him, and said of him, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!"48Nathan'a-el said to him, "How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you."49Nathan'a-el answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!"50Jesus answered him, "Because I said to you, I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You shall see greater things than these."51And he said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."


St. John N. Neumann
Feast: January 5

Feast Day:January 5
28 March 1811 at Prachititz, Bohemia
Died:5 January 1860
19 June 1977 by Pope Paul VI
Major Shrine:National Shrine of Saint John Neumann, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Neumann was born in Prachatice, Bohemia (modern-day Czech Republic), then within the Austrian Empire. He attended school in Budweis before entering seminary there in 1831. Two years later he transferred to the University of Prague, where he studied theology. He was interested in astronomy and botany. He intended to be ordained, but his bishop, in 1835, decided there would be no more ordinations, as Bohemia had a high number of priests already.
Neumann, who spoke eight languages then wrote to other bishops in Europe, but they all replied that they also had too many priests already. He was inspired by the missionary writings of Bishop Frederic Baraga in America, and because he had learned English by working in a factory with English-speaking workers, Neumann wrote to bishops in America, requesting to be ordained in the United States. In 1836, he arrived in the United States with very little money, and was ordained to the priesthood there. He was assigned by the Bishop of New York to work with recent German immigrants in mission churches in the Niagara Falls area, where he visited the sick, taught catechism, and trained teachers to take over when he left. After four years of service there, he realized his own need for support and came to realize the importance of communal activity in his work. He thus applied to the Redemptorists. He was accepted, and entered the novitiate of the order in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In January, 1842, he took the vows to enter the order in Baltimore, Maryland, and became the first Redemptorist in the New World. After six years of difficult but fruitful work with the order, he was appointed the order's provincial superior in the United States. Neumann was naturalized as a citizen of the United States in Baltimore on February 10, 1848.
In March 1852, Neumann was consecrated in Baltimore, as Bishop of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the first to organize a Catholic diocesan school system and increased the number of Catholic schools in his diocese from one to two hundred. He also introduced the School Sisters of Notre Dame to the New World to assist in religious instruction and staffing the orphanage. In 1853, he established Saint Peter's Parish in Riverside, New Jersey.
Neumann was not a popular bishop and received criticism. He had to deal with the Know Nothings, a political group determined to deprive foreigners and Catholics of their civil rights; the group burnt down convents and schools. Discouraged, Neumann unsuccessfully wrote to Rome and asked for someone else to take his place.
Neumann wrote in many Catholic newspaper and magazine articles. He also published two catechisms and a Bible history in German. There were also many teaching orders brought in by him.
In 1860, Neumann died due to a stroke at the age of 48 while walking down a street in Philadelphia. After his death people began to talk of how great he had been.