BISHOP’S APPEAL FOR DONATIONS

By | Bishop Carmel

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

 Our parishes, our 8 priests and those we employ, depend almost totally on your generous donations for their running costs. We have 2 major historic buildings to maintain, 5 parish churches, the Shrine and various chapels and centres.

 Indeed, without your support, we simply could not manage as a Diocese. Without this support we cannot deliver our spiritual and pastoral care. Without you, we cannot look after those in need. Without you we will not be able to look after our priests when they too will fall ill. Without this support, we could not give back to you in the form of the priestly ministry you are accustomed to.

 The Covid-19 situation is affecting everyone in our community, individuals and businesses alike. The Church is no different.

 Since we operate from your charitable contributions, it means that now that there are no religious services, practically all our normal income through Sunday collections and devotional offerings have suddenly ceased.

 Many have been asking how they can continue to support the Church in this time of pandemic crisis. Thank you for showing this sensitivity and interest to help us.

 Please support us by donating online or by direct bank transfer [which remains the preferred option to avoid commissions and exchange rate charges on online payments] to the Diocese’s general needs. The donations received will then enable us to support individual parishes centrally, to ensure your donation is fairly distributed according to priority of need.

 Thank you and may God bless you all for this act of practical love for your Church and our community in a time of truly urgent need. It will help us immensely to continue to be of service to all during this crisis, but also, to still be here for you once this tragedy is over.

+Carmel

Bishop of Gibraltar

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You can donate online on our website:

catholic.gi which will take you to the page dedicated to this:  catholic.gi/donate   It will open up the donation PayPal page, but you can also access it here directly by clicking: DONATE

Please choose the first option “The Church’s APOSTOLATE/ GENERAL”

Please be aware that Paypal charges us a commission on each transaction and an exchange rate (to convert into Gibraltar pounds). You may prefer instead to make a direct bank transfer as detailed below.

 

Direct Bank transfers & Standing Orders can be made to:

 Account Name:           “The Registered Trustees of the Catholic Church”

Bank address:             GIBRALTAR INTERNATIONAL BANK LTD.

INCE’S HOUSE, 310 MAIN STREET, GIBRALTAR

Gib or UK format:

SORT CODE: ACCOUNT NUMBER:
608314 00812001

 

International format:

 

IBAN. INTERNATIONAL BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER BIC. BANK IDENTIFIER CODE
GI64 GIBK 0000 0008 1200 001 GIBKGIGIXXX

Novena in honour of the Annunciation of our Blessed Lord

By | Bishop Carmel, Churches, Liturgy

As the Referendum on abortion of 19th March drew near, there were several initiatives to pray for the protection of the baby in the womb, including a Novena to St. Joseph, concluding with his Feast day, also the 19th March. The Referendum was recently postponed due to the onslaught of the Covid-19 virus.

In the Gospel of St. Luke (1:26–38), we hear how Mary received the wonderful news that she was to be the Mother of God. Her humble, trusting, reply to the Archangel Gabriel is forever engraved in our hearts:

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord;

let it be to me according to your word.” (v. 38)

 

and immediately, she conceived Jesus in her womb through the action of the Holy Spirit.

Mary said ‘Yes’ to Life. We, who follow Jesus, also say a resounding ‘yes’ to Life, to Him.

The 25th March, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, therefore, presents an unexpected opportunity to continue to pray for the protection and dignity of unborn human life.

Sadly, this need to pray for life has taken on further urgency: we have been forewarned to expect Covid-19 to be a serious threat to the lives of many, primarily the elderly, in our community.

The Cathedral has organized a Rosary Novena for Life, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which begins Tuesday 17th (Rosary followed by Holy Mass presided by Bishop Zammit) and ends on the Solemnity of the Annunciation, 25th March. On that day, Bishop Zammit will officially consecrate Gibraltar to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in a solemn act during the live-streamed Mass of the Annunciation.

We pray that as we face these evils threatening Gibraltar, God may guide, protect and convert our hearts to His.

Please pray with us this special Novena, live-streamed daily from the Cathedral:

Rosary at 10:30

followed by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at 11:00

 

Please spread the word around! Thank you.

Spiritual Communion

By | Adoration, Bishop Carmel, Liturgy

An Act of Spiritual Communion

As we cannot receive Holy Communion while the Covid-19 emergency measures are in place, the Bishop is encouraging us to follow the celebration of Holy Mass online and to make an act of ‘Spiritual Communion’ instead, by reciting the suggested prayer below.

Live streaming of the Sacred Sacrifice of the Mass is available daily from the Shrine.

 

 

My Jesus,
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment
receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.

I embrace You as if You were already there

and unite myself wholly to You.

Never permit me to be separated from You.

Amen.

MORE DETAILS OF THE BISHOP’S MEASURES REGARDING COVID-19

By | Bishop Carmel, Liturgy, News

Bishop Zammit’s Press release yesterday, summarises in a statement for the general public, the Church’s response to the Health authorities’ instructions on reducing the transmission of the dreaded Covid-19. The Bishop had issued a Decree suspending all public religious events within the Diocese.

The Decree also referred to other matters which are more specific or relevant to the Faithful. Here, we offer you the full text of the measures issued through the Decree:

 

 

  1. All Churches and Chapels and other places of the Diocese of Gibraltar, where Masses are celebrated or other public religious services are held, are to be suspended as from Saturday 14th.

  2. Parish Churches and Chapels may remain open daily as normal, but solely for personal prayer and visits to the Blessed Sacrament.

  3. All prayer groups and other groups of apostolate are to cease all their regular meetings and other events organized by them, as from Saturday 14th March, until further notice.

  4. In accordance with the instructions issued by the Health authorities, funerals are to be held at the Cemetery or Crematorium, with only immediate family members present.

  5. Confessionals are not to be used. Instead, the Sacrament of Reconciliation may be celebrated in a larger space where there is a sufficient gap between the priest and the penitent.

  6. With regard to concerns over fulfilling the Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation: The demands and challenges of this emergency, as for other situations when there is a genuine health crisis, pastorally overrides and mitigates the obligation to attend Mass. Instead, the Faithful are encouraged to use these times for private prayer and Spiritual Communion, for example, by reflecting on the Sunday’s readings and Gospel, reading the Bible, or saying the Rosary.

  7. Baptisms and weddings may not be held in public, but only, if the Parish Priest judges that the sacrament cannot be postponed for genuine pastoral reasons, with a maximum of persons present as follows:

    1. Baptisms: the person being baptized, the parents and 2 Godparents.

    2. Weddings: the couple, their parents, 2 witnesses and a photographer.

  8. First Holy Communions will not be held for as long as these measures are in force.

 

The Bishop concludes:

Since this is an evolving pandemic situation, further updates will be issued through our Diocesan website and on our Twitter account: catholic.gi and @CatholicGi

Sadly, these exceptional, emergency measures are essential. The Catholic community remains committed to cooperating with the efforts being made to reduce the impact of Covid-19 in Gibraltar.

Bishop’s New Year Message for 2020

By | Bishop Carmel, News

My Dear People,

We have celebrated the end of 2019, and ushered in 2020.

2019 has been a very eventful year for Gibraltar, with elections taking place here, in England and in Spain, all of which will have a bearing on us as a people. The prospects of 2020 are no less daunting, with very important issues coming to a head and praying that things go well for the good of all of us.

In the liturgical calendar of the Church, the first day of the New Year is dedicated to the Solemnity of the Mother of God, which commemorates Mary’s role in the mystery of salvation.

The feast of Mary, the Mother of God, underscores that her son, Jesus, is one person, truly God and truly Man. In Jesus, God has assumed our humanity. He knows our pains and struggles and temptations. He is the throne of mercy to which we can turn as He is our Leader in salvation.

Hence, the ushering of the New Year should not just be focused on merriment and festivity, but as Catholics, the New Year should be rich with spiritual meaning for us; one that gives us much gratitude and thankfulness for the past, hope and courage to face the future ahead.   We face the future not alone but with Jesus and the assistance of our Blessed Mother

Today, we also mark the World Day of Peace. Faith in Jesus as the Good News, the light of humanity is also the guarantee to world peace in this troubled and divisive world.   He is the source of peace.   Unless we are reconciled with God, we cannot find peace within us. The source of division lies in the divided and selfish hearts of humanity.

May Jesus be our future. Let Him be the center of our lives and our relationships. Let us ground our faith and life in Jesus and on the Word of God as the path to truth, love and life. Let us also do our part for a peaceful tomorrow by righting our relationships through love, patience and dialogue.

May Mary, the Mother of God, inspire us to a deeper faith and humility. May we learn to be discerning and contemplative in prayer as we seek to be instruments and channels of unity and peace in the world, beginning in our family, in the workplace and society.

I wish you a Blessed 2020, and pray that God will always be our rock and our salvation.

+Carmel

Bishop of Gibraltar

BISHOP’S MESSAGE FOR CHRISTMAS DAY

By | Bishop Carmel, Christmas

Bishop Zammit sends greetings to everyone this Christmas

 

Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” (Lk 2:11)  

This is the news of great joy that we, as Christians, are called to share with all of humanity.  This is what Christmas is all about, the birth of Christ, our Saviour and Lord.   We are celebrating the Incarnation of God as a reality and not as a mythological story.

We have spent the last two months witnessing the attractions that commercial venues present to us to entice us to shop and prepare for all that is culturally and socially expected of us during this period. For some time, many would have been buying food and drinks, together with all other sorts of Christmas attractions and presents.

All this is commendable, since there is always in this preoccupation to prepare for Christmas that element of good will towards others. This, thank God, has remained as the main feeling during this period even for those who are not Christians, or who do not practice their Christian religion. There are those who have taken Christ out of Christmas, but there is no taking away from us that Christmas is about loving, wishing well to each other and advocating peace. Even in our secularist society, which unfortunately have lost the sense of God and of the sacred, such sentiments are still felt during this period.

The key words that are often repeated at Christmas time are love and peace.

The ultimate truth that we celebrate at Christmas is summarized in one of the most often quoted verses from St John’s Gospel: “For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life” (Jn 3: 16).

God’s love for us, with all our deficiencies and failures, remains the central message, as we reflect on the events around the birth of Jesus.

For those who celebrate the birth of Christ as the coming of the Saviour, and embrace the Gospel, this annual observance provides the opportunity to be grounded once again at the very core of our being, to understand that the purpose of all humanity is to live in the knowledge of the love of God and thus to live peaceably with all men and women.

It is important that we remember those who are suffering during this Christmas, and try to show our solidarity with them. The love that God has shown us by becoming one of us should be shared amongst us.

The Angels sang, when they appeared to the shepherds, peace on earth on those of good will. If we want peace to reign in the world, that peace has to start existing within us. Unless we feel at peace, we cannot make peace a possible reality around us. Places of conflict are all around us. Achieving world peace seems to be a far-fetched dream, but however impossible it may seem we need to pray and hope that the peace that Christ came to bring on earth may one day be achieved.

To live the love and peace that Christmas announces, here in Gibraltar, we have to learn to concretely show respect towards each other in the way we talk about each other and what we write on the social media, which may be detrimental to the wellbeing of others. When there is disagreement, it is time that we show respect in the way we argue what we believe in. Hiding behind the social media to vent hatred and insults against others is certainly not the best way to behave in a civilized society.

Let us enjoy ourselves this Christmas, let us strengthen the ties that bind families together, but let us also find some time to reflect on our lives and see whether there are areas where we need to revise and change our behaviour so that the love and peace which Christmas is meant to bring with it is realized in the way we live.

I wish you all a very joyful Christmas and a blessed New Year.