- January 15 @ 6:30 pm - March 11 @ 6:30 pm at Catholic Community Centre
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.”
Hurry, ask for your copy whilst stocks last!!!
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.
Bishop of Gibraltar
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.
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:
The Feast of the Holy Family
Saturday 28th December:
Sunday 29th December:
Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
(Holy Day of Obligation)
Tuesday 31st December: 6.30 p.m.
Mass and Te Deum
Wednesday 1st January:
2nd Sunday of Christmas
Saturday 4th January:
Sunday 5th January:
Solemnity of the Epiphany of Our Lord
(Holy Day of Obligation)
Sunday 5th January:
Monday 6th January:
Weekday Mass times
(except for above Solemnities)
Monday – Friday:
9.15, 12.25, 18.30
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
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
Apologies for any inconvenience.
Apart from our Sunday Mass commitment, the Church asks us to honour these three special days during the Christmas Liturgical season:
Wednesday 25th December: CHRISTMAS DAY
Wednesday 1st January: MARY, MOTHER of GOD
Monday 6th January: THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD
Advent marks a time of spiritual preparation before Christmas
It begins on the Sunday closest to the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle (Nov. 30) and spans four Sundays or four weeks unless Christmas falls early.
The historical origins of Advent are hard to determine with great precision. From its earliest form in the 4th century, Advent has always been similar to Lent, with an emphasis on prayer and fasting.
The Gelasian Sacramentary, traditionally attributed to Pope St. Gelasius I (d. 496), was the first to provide Advent liturgies for five Sundays. Later, Pope St. Gregory I (d. 604) enhanced these liturgies composing prayers, antiphons, readings, and responses. Pope St. Gregory VII (d. 1095) later reduced the number of Sundays in Advent to four. Finally, about the ninth century, the Church designated the first Sunday of Advent as the beginning of the Church’s Liturgical Year.
The Catechism stresses the two-fold meaning of this coming : When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Saviour’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for His second coming (No. 524).
The importance of this season is therefore to focus on the coming of our Lord. Advent comes from the Latin adventus, meaning coming:
- We REFLECT BACK and are encouraged to celebrate the anniversary of the Lords first coming into this world. We are invited to ponder more deeply into the great mystery of the incarnation when our Lord humbled Himself, taking on our humanity, and entered our time and space to free us from sin.
- We LOOK FORWARD as we recall in the Creed that our Lord will come again to judge the living and the dead and that we must be ready to meet Him.
Our use of the Advent wreathe was inspired by the German Lutherans in the early 1500’s. The wreathe is a circle, which has no beginning or end: In this way, we call to mind how our lives, here and now, participate in the eternity of Gods plan of salvation and how we hope to share eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. The wreathe is made of fresh plant material, because Christ came to give us new life through His passion, death, and resurrection. Three candles are purple (the same colour as the Priest’s vestments in Advent), symbolizing penance, preparation, and sacrifice; the pink candle symbolizes the same but highlights the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, when we rejoice because our preparation is now half-way finished.
The light represents Christ, who entered this world to scatter the darkness of evil and show us the way of righteousness. The progression of lighting candles shows our increasing readiness to meet our Lord. Each family ought to have an Advent wreathe, light it at dinner time, and say the special prayers. This tradition will help each family keep its focus on the true meaning of Christmas. In all, during Advent we strive to fulfil the opening prayer for the Mass of the First Sunday of Advent:
Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Beginning on St. Andrew the Apostle’s feast day, November 30…
The following beautiful prayer is traditionally recited fifteen times a day until Christmas. This is a very meditative prayer that helps us increase our awareness of the real focus of Christmas and helps us prepare ourselves spiritually for His coming.
Hail and blessed
be the hour and moment
in which the Son of God was born
of the most pure Virgin Mary,
at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold.
In that hour vouchsafe, O my God,
to hear my prayer and grant my desires,
[here mention your request]
through the merits of
our Saviour Jesus Christ,
and of His blessed Mother.
NOVEMBER is traditionally the month when Catholics everywhere remember those who have gone to God.
NOVEMBER is traditionally the month when Catholics everywhere remember those who have gone to God.
Our Faith teaches that through their lifetime journey, every person has a moral freedom to choose, with three possible ultimate outcomes:
we attain beatitude, which expresses the joy and peace of being eternally with God in Heaven;
that journey had not completely resulted, at the time of their departure from this life, in the total conversion and renewal of the person and so, by an act of sheer Divine compassion, they are held in God’s love and ‘purified’ of their defects, so as to enter eventually into Heaven, where no imperfection can coexist;
- or, they freely and willingly, as witnessed by their moral actions on earth, reject God and are therefore destined for Hell. God accepts that this is their sovereign decision and so, Hell is where those who wish to have no relationship, nothing to do with God, will go. For the damned, there is no possible alternative afterwards. It is an eternal state.
Holy Souls in Purgatory
The Church has always taught us to pray for those who have gone to eternity. Even in the late Old Testament book of Maccabees (2 Maccabees 12:38-46), prayers and alms were offered for the souls of the dead by those who thought “well and religiously concerning the resurrection.” It was believed that “they who had fallen asleep with godliness had great grace laid up for them” and that “it is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.” We know that a defiled soul cannot enter into Heaven. We are all in need of grace to come into the perfection of charity. We cannot enter Heaven if we have not been completely cleansed of sin and all punishment due to sin, c.f. Catechism of the Catholic Church 1031 and 1472.
Purgatory is not eternal. Its duration depends upon the particular judgment each have received from Christ. By Divine Mercy, they have not merited hell, because in their lives, they honoured God and developed their relationship with him, despite any limitations and failures. It is difficult to speak in terms of earthly time, since Purgatory is a temporary state, not a place as such. It is therefore not bound by space and time in the same way we are, but it is connected; and certainly it is connected with the definitive Second Coming of the Son of Man at the end of time, when Purgatory will also cease to exist.
The Church has always taught that we can pray for the dead and assist them in their purification. We can shorten therefore their time in Purgatory, because our prayers of love supplicate for them before the Mercy of God. The most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is THE WAY to help the dead in Purgatory, because it is the Altar of hope and consolation for us all. That is why it is a most honourable act of charity to have a Priest offer a Mass for the Dead, or as an intention for a given Mass offered for a dearly departed person. Please be aware that sometimes people confuse offering a Mass themselves in person, as in going specially to one for someone or having in mind some intention of our own, and the actual application of the Mass by the Priest for the specific intention requested as he does so in persona Christi.
The ancient practice of Indulgences is also to be recommended for the Faithful Departed. You can read more on this in the Catechism, paragraphs 1471 to 1479.