Covid-19: Special Plenary Indulgences granted

By | News, Vatican

Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary on the granting of special Indulgences to the faithful in the current pandemic, 20.03.2020

 

The gift of special Indulgences is granted to the faithful suffering from COVID-19 disease, commonly known as Coronavirus, as well as to health care workers, family members and all those who in any capacity, including through prayer, care for them.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Rom 12: 12). The words written by Saint Paul to the Church of Rome resonate throughout the entire history of the Church and guide the judgment of the faithful in the face of all suffering, sickness and calamity.

The present moment in which the whole of humanity, threatened by an invisible and insidious disease, which for some time now has become part of all our lives, is marked day after day by anguished fears, new uncertainties and above all widespread physical and moral suffering.

The Church, following the example of her Divine Master, has always had the care of the sick at heart. As Saint John Paul II points out, the value of human suffering is twofold: “It is supernatural because it is rooted in the divine mystery of the Redemption of the world, and it is likewise deeply human, because in it the person discovers himself, his own humanity, his own dignity, his own mission” (Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris, 31).

Pope Francis, too, in these recent days, has shown his paternal closeness and renewed his invitation to pray incessantly for those who are sick with the Coronavirus.

So that all those who suffer because of COVID-19, precisely in the mystery of this suffering, may rediscover “the same redemptive suffering of Christ” (ibid., 30), this Apostolic Penitentiary, ex auctoritate Summi Pontificis, trusting in the word of Christ the Lord and considering with a spirit of faith the epidemic currently underway, to be lived in a spirit of personal conversion, grants the gift of Indulgences in accordance with the following disposition.

The Plenary Indulgence is granted to the faithful suffering from Coronavirus, who are subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in their own homes if, with a spirit detached from any sin, they unite spiritually through the media to the celebration of Holy Mass, the recitation of the Holy Rosary, to the pious practice of the Way of the Cross or other forms of devotion, or if at least they will recite the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters, with the will to fulfil the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father’s intentions), as soon as possible.

Health care workers, family members and all those who, following the example of the Good Samaritan, exposing themselves to the risk of contagion, care for the sick of Coronavirus according to the words of the divine Redeemer: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15: 13), will obtain the same gift of the Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions.

This Apostolic Penitentiary also willingly grants a Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions on the occasion of the current world epidemic, also to those faithful who offer a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, or Eucharistic adoration, or reading the Holy Scriptures for at least half an hour, or the recitation of the Holy Rosary, or the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross, or the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and eternal salvation for those whom the Lord has called to Himself.

The Church prays for those who find themselves unable to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and of the Viaticum, entrusting each and every one to divine Mercy by virtue of the communion of saints and granting the faithful a Plenary Indulgence on the point of death, provided that they are duly disposed and have recited a few prayers during their lifetime (in this case the Church makes up for the three usual conditions required). For the attainment of this indulgence the use of the crucifix or the cross is recommended (cf. Enchiridion indulgentiarum, no.12).

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, Health of the Sick and Help of Christians, our Advocate, help suffering humanity, saving us from the evil of this pandemic and obtaining for us every good necessary for our salvation and sanctification.

The present Decree is valid notwithstanding any provision to the contrary.

Given in Rome, from the seat of the Apostolic Penitentiary, on 19 March 2020.

Mauro Cardinal Piacenza (Major Penitentiary)

Krzysztof Nykiel (Regent)

Epiphany Donation to ACN for the Persecuted Christians

By | News

Each year, the donations receievd during the Masses of the Epiphany are intended for the Persecuted Christians.

This year, we raised £2,138.17. Thank you all for your kind generosity!

Your donations have been sent to Aid to the Church in Need. This year we are supporting their ‘Ethiopia and Eritrea Appeal’ campaign to help our Christian brothers and sister who are suffering there.

We have received this message from the National Director of ACN(UK), Mr. Neville Kyrke-Smith :

 

“Many thanks to you and all the faithful in the Diocese of Gibraltar for this great kindness in offering vital help to suffering and persecuted Christians. We are very pleased to acknowledge your kind Epiphany collection gift of £ 2,138.17 which has just reached us at Aid to the Church in Need and we are assigning this to help in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The work of ACN has had to increase in Africa in recent years, because of the increased attacks on Christian communities and the challenges faced by the faithful. In our latest special report we focussed on what many Christians in Ethiopia and Eritrea endure. However, as Fr Netsanet Yadeta said, there is a wonderful richness of faith. This is true in all the parts of the world where we work thanks to you. For we can all be encouraged this Lent by the words of St Paul (Romans 5:3-5):

We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.'”.

 

For more information on this project, please click here to visit the ACN website.

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.

The Penitential Season of Lent

By | News

Lent, a time for Repentance

Repentance is turning away from sin and back to God. Usually, this includes some form of penance, to express our sorrow and desire to renew our lives (c.f. Jer. 18:11, 25:5; Ez. 18:30, 33:11-15; Joel 2:12; Mt. 3:2; Mt. 4:17; Acts 2:38).

Christ Himself said that His disciples would fast once He had departed (Lk. 5:35). The general law of penance given by the Church, is therefore an expression of the law of God for us.

The Church for her part has specified certain forms of penance, both to ensure that her members will do something, as required by Divine will, while making it easy for them to fulfil their obligation. The 1983 Code of Canon Law specifies the obligations of Latin Rite Catholics [Eastern Rite Catholics have their own penitential practices given in the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches].

  • Canon 919: One who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain from any food or drink, with the exception of water and medicine, for at least the period of one hour before Holy Communion.
  • Canon 1250: All Fridays through the year and the time of Lent are penitential days and times throughout the entire Church.
  • Canon 1251: Abstinence from eating meat or another food according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year unless they are solemnities; abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Canon 1252: All persons who have completed their fourteenth year are bound by the law of abstinence; all adults are bound by the law of fast up to the beginning of their sixtieth year. Nevertheless, pastors and parents are to see to it that minors who are not bound by the law of fast and abstinence are educated in an authentic sense of penance.
  • Canon 1253: It is for the conference of bishops to determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence and to substitute in whole or in part for fast and abstinence other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety.

Those who are excused from fasting or abstinence

Besides those outside the age limits, those not of good mental health, the sick, the frail, pregnant or nursing women according to need for meat or nourishment, manual labourers according to need, guests at a meal who cannot excuse themselves without giving offense to their host, and other situations of moral or physical impossibility to observe the penitential discipline.

Aside from these minimum penitential requirements, Catholics are encouraged to impose some personal penance on themselves at other times. It could be modelled after abstinence and fasting. A person could, for example, multiply the number of days they abstain. Some people give up meat entirely for religious motives (as opposed to those who give it up for health or other motives). Some religious orders, as a penance, never eat meat. Similarly, one could multiply the number of days that one fasted. The early Church had a practice of a Wednesday and Saturday fast. This fast could be the same as the Church’s law (one main meal and two smaller ones) or stricter, even bread and water. Such freely chosen fasting could also consist in giving up something one enjoys – chocolates, soft drinks, smoking, and so on. This is left to the individual.

Jesus reminds us to: “Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven” (c.f. Matthew 6:1-6,16-18). We should therefore never seek our vainglory, but do everything out of genuine love of God and our neighbour.

 

Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we have sinned

(c.f. Psalm 50(51):3-6,12-14,17)

CORNERSTONE BOOKSHOP: María Vallejo-Nágera’s “Badlands”

By | News

ARRIVAL OF A BESTSELLER!

 

The Cornerstone Bookshop is pleased to announce that we have received approximately 100 copies of María Vallejo-Nágera’s bestseller “Badlands” from a very generous donor and we, in turn, are giving them away to our customers for a donation, which will be given to one of our local charities.

Badlands:

“What I find so touching is that, for a Split second, my heart connects with that baby and its inconsolable crying. Its lament cuts right through my soul! And then I start sobbing, because I feel that little one belongs to me, that he´s mine and that there´s an eternal cord that connects my insides to him, a cord that I couldn´t sever even if I wanted to…”

“Anne Sophie, this book´s real-life protagonist, was not lucky enough to have been blessed with a happy childhood. Born into a difficult family and a home bereft of love, she was the victim of abuse that began at a very young age and would continue into her adolescence, culminating in an unwanted pregnancy: “a being that was conceived out of human violence but who also died for the exact same reason.”

“Yet life curiously and invariably tests our capacity to look at the evil that surrounds us through different eyes, allowing us to conquer and extract the good within it. Life, which can punish us with unexpected misfortune, can also surprise us with an unimaginably greater good, with a love that supersedes all understanding.

“This powerful novel speaks to us of pain and suffering, but it also speaks of how the wounds we harbour in our souls can be healed, expanding our capacity to love and forgive as a result. Anne Sophie currently lives in Texas and is the founder of a society whose mission is to “respect life and is the founder of a society whose mission is to “respect life and protect the family from conception to natural death”.

“Badlands is, in short, a true story of a woman whose experience shows us how facing the bleakest moments of our lives can intensify the good within us and even in the deepest, darkest abyss, light can be found.”

Hurry, ask for your copy whilst stocks last!!!

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

Christmas Season: Holy Masses at the Cathedral

By | Christmas, News

MASS TIMES

 

December 2019/January 2020

 

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

The Nativity of Our Lord

Tuesday 24th December:

5.30 p.m: Family Mass

11.30 p.m: Carols

12.00 a.m. Midnight Mass

 

Wednesday 25th December:

9 a.m.

10.30 a.m.

12 noon

6.30 p.m.

 

The Feast of the Holy Family

Saturday 28th December:

6.30 p.m

 

Sunday 29th December:

9 a.m.

10.30 a.m.

12 noon

6.30 p.m.

 

 

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

(Holy Day of Obligation)

Tuesday 31st December: 6.30 p.m.

Mass and Te Deum

 

Wednesday 1st January:

9 a.m.

10.30 a.m.

12 noon

6.30 p.m.

 

2nd Sunday of Christmas

Saturday 4th January:

6.30 p.m.

 

Sunday 5th January:

9 a.m.

10.30 a.m.

12 noon

 

Solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord

(Holy Day of Obligation)

Sunday 5th January:

6.30 p.m.

 

Monday 6th January:

9 a.m.

10.30 a.m.

12 noon

6.30 p.m.

 

Weekday Mass times

(except for above Solemnities)

 

Monday – Friday:

9.15, 12.25, 18.30

Saturday:

9.15, 12.25

THE CHRISTIAN FAMILY MOVEMENT

By | Events, News

are organizing the annual Diocesan

‘WEDDING ANNIVERSRAY CELEBRATION’ for 21st February

Have you Celebrated or will be Celebrating your

25th, 40th, 50th or 60th Wedding Anniversary

during 2019?

 

THE CHRISTIAN FAMILY MOVEMENT will once again be hosting the annual Diocesan Wedding Anniversary Celebration.

 

Information and a link to the form are provided below. Also in the Upon this Rock Magazine.

 We look forward to celebrating with you and your families!

 

 

N.B. the date on the poster below has been changed to

February 21st

Apologies for any inconvenience.

 

 

BOOKING FORM:  http://catholic.gi/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/2020-CFM-Form-2.jpg