- March 28 - April 3
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.
Bishop of Gibraltar
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:|
|IBAN. INTERNATIONAL BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER||BIC. BANK IDENTIFIER CODE|
|GI64 GIBK 0000 0008 1200 001||GIBKGIGIXXX|
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Parish Churches and Chapels may remain open daily as normal, but solely for personal prayer and visits to the Blessed Sacrament.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Baptisms: the person being baptized, the parents and 2 Godparents.
Weddings: the couple, their parents, 2 witnesses and a photographer.
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.
Please click the link below, to read the Bishop’s Press Release, which explains the emergency measures that are in place in an effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19
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)
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.
“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.”