Monday, November 29, 2010

Advent: Vigilate (Keep Watch!)

Vigilate is a five-part Latin motet by the renaissance English composer William Byrd (1543-1623). It was published in the Cantiones Sacrae of 1589 and takes its text from Mk. 13 : 35-7, where Christ exhorts his disciples to watch for the end of the world.

Watch ye, therefore,(for you know not when the lord of the house cometh: at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the morning). Lest coming on a sudden, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Martyrs in Iraq

We Are the Christians of Iraq

Letter of an Iraqi Priest to His Wounded Country

By Father Albert Hisham Naoum

ROME, NOV. 11, 2010 ( The martyrs of the Church of Our Lady of Salvation showed the world once again who we are, the Christians of Iraq, and they joined the martyrs of our Church, those who sacrificed their lives to Christ our Lord, who taught us to bear witness to the resurrection of life, for forgiveness, for hope, for love, for faith, joy.

The blood of our fallen heroes cries out to the world and all humanity, and urges the Christians of Iraq, wherever we are, to "preach" to the world about the suffering and risen Christ who lives in our wounded land.

Yes, I say "preach" because our faith is good news, as it "was and will always be." Who has ears to hear, hear us now, and know that Christ lives in the Christians of Iraq. It's a witness that lives and will continue to live. And if there is someone who does not feel the importance of witnessing in life, we would only say to him and to the whole world, that for us it is life itself. What the world calls "nothing," for us it is "everything"!

The Christians of Iraq are well aware that the risen Christ has conquered death, not because they are baptized believers, but rather because, with him, they have experienced death on the cross several times, and with him they drank the bitter cup, and have experienced the abandonment of others. And side by side with him they walked the way of his cross, and fell under the weight of their cross -- once in the attack on their churches, one with death, and yet another with the massacre of Our Lady of Salvation. Yet, they continue to stand up and live their faith as they have always done throughout history, walking along the path of suffering.

For Christians in Iraq, Oct. 31 was not the first time they have suffered, and no human being, especially those who claim to want peace, but really don't, can pretend that this will be the last time. But they do not interest us, because our hope has never been, and never will be, in them, but in the One who took up his cross and walked the path of death to ensure that life will continue and eventually win.

Joy and tragedy

Iraq's Christians have experienced deeply the meaning of life because they have experienced its joys after having tasted the bitterness of grief. They have lived in hope after experiencing the power of tragedy. They experienced laughter after having paid tears, and have experienced smiles after seeing their will broken by violence. These are really the Christians of Iraq with their good hearts, who love everyone, their country, and life, and these are those who forgive their enemies, and sow goodness wherever they are, spreading the spirit of peace. And despite their great suffering, they never forgot to live their Christian spirit in every place they went.

As an example of all this I can show you the Church of Our Lady of Salvation, which speaks on behalf of all Christians in Iraq, and which give examples written with the blood of its martyrs.

Have you heard how they died in this massacre, the two brave priests, and Wasim Sabieh and Thaier Saad Abdal? Did you know that they defended the faithful and tried to save their lives by offering their own from the first moment thecriminals set foot in church? Did you know that a father protected his son by covering him completely with his own body while they were lying on the floor, and died in a hail of bullets so that the child would survive? Have you heard that the killers murdered a four-month-old baby girl and a young woman who, on the day of her death, had received the best news, namely that she was pregnant, and so went to church to thank God for this gift?

O people of the world, these are the Christians of Iraq. Hear and evangelize to everyone!

And you Christians of Iraq, when sadness fills your soul and you cannot imagine the future, look up there, to the God of Heaven and Earth, and remember well who you are and let the world know! Christ will not leave us alone, we are his "little flock," and he wants us to remain forever with him, to live our faith and our love for all as we have always done, because as he tells us, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples" (John 13: 35).

We witness with our lives, so that the world can see what is happening to us, so that those who have plugged their ears and those who have shut their mouths will speak about who we are. We are the Christians of Iraq!

[Translation from Arabic by ZENIT]

* * *

Father Albert Hisham Naoum is an Iraqi Chaldean priest studying communications in Rome, and was a friend of Father Wasim Sabieh and Father Thaier Saad Abdal, the two priests who died in the Oct. 31 attack on Our Lady of Salvation Syrian Catholic Church.

O sweet Jesus...O Holy Loving Mary, Mother of Sorrows! How absolutely horrid this is; yet in faith, in love, in hope, we know that the witness of the faithful brings forth grace for Your Church! Help us, give us strength, make our lives conformed to the true Image of God...dear Sorrowful Savior and Sorrowful Mother, help us!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Eponymous Flower: Iraq: New Attacks on Christians -- Three Dead, 26 Wounded

The Eponymous Flower: Iraq: New Attacks on Christians -- Three Dead, 26 Wounded

Update on the Persectution/Martydom of Iraqui Catholics/Christians

This has not been reported on the international news; not that I can see.
What a horrid and absolute abomination.
Please pray for our Catholic/Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq and in the Middle East.
Islamic fundamentalism is creating a terrible crisis here; in the West, we may be next.
Don't you ever think otherwise.

Archbishop Matokas cries for help to the international community of nations: 'If someone would like to drive us Christians out of the country, then they would succeed. We don't know any more what we should say. Families want to leave. It is horrible!'

Bagdad [] In Baghdad a new wave of attacks against Christians: On Wednesday in the early morning between 4 and 6AM explosive devices were set off at several Christian homes.

The attacks took the lives of at least three people and 26 were wounded, as reported by a representative of the Interior Ministry. Already on Tuesday evening, three Christian homes were attacked in Mansur. No one was injured in those attacks.

"What could we do, what should we say?", complained the Syro-Catholic Archbishop of Baghdad, Atanase Matti Shaba Matoka. "In our communities there is great panic. The wave of violence will become much greater. Ten days ago there was a terror attack against our Cathedral. Today our homes were targeted. Families are aggrieved and want to flee. It is horrible!"

Before his visit to stricken families the Archbishop said to Fidesdienst: "All of the forewarning and urging the government has done nothing to halt this wave of violence which has swept over us.

Police are standing in front of the churches, really it's the homes of our faithful which have become targets of attack. Among the victims there are Christians of various confessions in the district of Doura. The terror knocks on our doors. The families are horrified. This is not life any more, they say."

If one would like to drive us from the land, then it would succeed. This country is the victim of desolation and terror. The suffering of Christians will become ever greater and lead them to leave their country. We don't know any more, what we should say."

Finally, the Archbishop appealed to the international community of nations and the world Church: "We pray for a quick response of the international community of nations and hope for the assitance of the Holy Father and the world Church.

Today there is nothing else for us to hope for and to pray and to put our lives in the hands of God. Through their tears the Iraqi Christians are saying: In manus tuas, Domine".

Read original...
Posted by Tancred at 3:48 AM Labels: Chaldeans, Iraq, Islam, Terrorism

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Christian Martyrs

On October 31, 2010, Islamic gunmen entered a Syrian Catholic Church in Baghdad, Iraq and opened fire upon the congregation assembled for Holy Mass. Three priests were killed. Many laity were killed. This is a martyrdom in our own day.
Please pray for the families of these holy men and women, for their comfort and peace in this most distressing time; please pray for the conversion of their murderers.

Hood tip to John Sonnen at:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


When I was in English literature class in high school, we had to memorize this introduction of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales":
WHEN APRIL with his showers sweet with fruit
The drought of March has pierced unto the root
And bathed each vein with liquor that has power
To generate therein and sire the flower;
When Zephyr also has, with his sweet breath,(5)
Quickened again, in every holt and heath,
The tender shoots and buds, and the young sun
Into the Ram one half his course has run,
And many little birds make melody
That sleep through all the night with open eye(10)
(So Nature pricks them on to ramp and rage)—
Then do folk long to go on pilgrimage,
And palmers to go seeking out strange strands,
To distant shrines well known in sundry lands.
And specially from every shire’s end(15)
Of England they to Canterbury wend,
The holy blessed martyr there to seek
Who helped them when they lay so ill and weak.
Befell that, in that season, on a day
In Southwark, at the Tabard, as I lay(20)
Ready to start upon my pilgrimage
To Canterbury, full of devout courage,...

Now, although I would LOVE to make a pilgrimage to Canterbury (my roots being English with an Irish flavor...mostly my tendency to weep and my temper!) I be going to Rome next Monday for the elevation of Cardinal-elect Raymond L. Burke to the College of Cardinals.

He is my spiritual father; he has been the supporter and guardian and mentor for our Association of the Faithful, the Institute of Saint Joseph. And he ordained me as a priest of Jesus Christ in 2003...just in time, before he was called to be Archbishop of St. Louis.

I take all of you with me to Rome; if you have particular intentions you would like remembered in my Masses and prayers at the holy shrines there, please let me know.
If you want to have a more private communication, my email is
I promise to remember you all and every intention you might want me to include.
This is not only a joyous occasion, but a historical one, as well.
I'm just in absolute awe.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Welcome to You, O Jesus

This is a beautiful Christmas hymn, which can also be a Communion hymn, in Irish.
Welcoming Jesus, our most Holy Savior and Lord, into our hearts in holy Communion is always another "Christmas", where with the Holy Virgin and Saint Joseph, we receive and adore the Divine Infant. How wondrous a Sacrament! How privileged we are to receive Him, our God and our Savior!

He is the Bread of Life, the Hope of Eternal Life, the Guardian of our Souls! Each Holy Communion, received with love, fervor and devotion in the state of grace increases our love for Him and His Love for us unto eternal life.

We pray for the dearly departed during this month of November; we also prepare to enter into the "shadow of death" one day. Let the joy and love of these Eucharistic moments prepare us to meet Jesus, our Lord, our Love, our All!

A hundred thousand welcomes to you, o Jesus, o Jesus,
A hundred thousand welcomes to you, o Jesus,
A hundred thousand welcomes to you, o Saviour,
A hundred thousand welcomes to you, o Jesus, o Jesus...

Glory and praise to you, o Jesus, o Jesus,
Glory and praise to you, o Jesus,
Glory and praise to you, o Saviour,
Glory, praise and thanks to you, o Jesus, o Jesus...

A hundred thousand welcomes to you, o Saviour,
A hundred thousand welcomes to you, o Jesus, o Jesus

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

All Souls Day Meditation: Lough Derg- Ag Criost An Siol

English translation adapted in metre:

Christ's is the seed, Christ's is the wheat

Into God's store may we harvested be.

Christ's is the fish, Christ's is the sea

And into God's net may we gathered be

From the dawn of the day and from sunset to dawn

May your two hands, O Christ, o'er us be drawn

From our birth to our death, when a new birth we see

In your heavenly grace, may we ever be.