Friday, March 31, 2006

Reflections: Fifth Sunday (B) of Lent

Reflections for the fifth Sunday (B) of Lent

FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT (B) - Rev. Fr. Robert Crasta

Nothing generates in nature without first passing through death. Death is like a cloud that hides the sun. A grain of wheat, for example, first disappears under the soil before turning into a wheat stalk. Fullness of life is to be attained first by dying to self that consists in:

    (1) Sacrificing one’s self-seeking ambitions and,

    (2) Sacrificing one’s self-will for God’s will. If one does not want to serve others, live for others, do good for others like Christ then life in this world for him/her is meaningless and not worth living.
Losing one’s life means working for others, washing the feet of others without expecting anything in return. Christ gave Himself up to death for our sake. If He had not died then we would not have been saved from the bondage of sin. Humankind’s highest life consists in giving and self-sacrificing.

Rev. Fr. Robert Crasta, a Roman Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Mangalore in India and currently serving as the Parochial Vicar at the Church of Our Lady of Victory, 60 William Street, New York, NY 10005, is the founder of America's Mangalorean Konkan Catholic Prayer Society (AMKCPS), an online prayer society of free membership, dedicated to strengthening the spiritual life of Mangalorean Christians abroad. To know more, visit

FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT (B) - Rev. P. J. Sexton

Talking and Laughing

One of the major goals of Lent is to force us to reflect on our own death and to see our way through it. We all must die, as much as we don't like the fact. We try to hide it, dodge it, and deny it. Has death replaced sex as a taboo subject? Even if it has, we cannot escape it. Jesus came into the world, not so much to do away with death (not immediately), but to teach us how to die - by his example - and then to assure us that death does not say the last word. Jesus talked openly to his friends about his death. Open conversation and discussion about our own death is a wonderful way of preparing ourselves, it also helps our family and friends. It eases the grieving process for all. Do we discuss death in our family? When we walk into the valley of death we do not walk alone. Jesus is with us because he's been there before and knows what it is like. Moreover he promises us that just as he rose from the dead so will we. We will all be young again. We will all laugh again.

Happy talking, happy laughing!

Posted by Rev. Fr. Robert Crasta


Thursday, March 30, 2006

Mangalorean Recipes - Konkani Cuisines from Mangalore

Mangalorean Recipes - Delicious Konkani Dishes from Mangalore

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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Meditation: Love in Marriage and the Family

Reflection on love in marriage and the family

Konkani Catholics member, Savio Noronha from Dubai (UAE), shares a personal reflection on love in marriage and the family following the example of Christ's love for his bride, the Church.

Love is both a motive and an action. Jesus Christ's love for the Church led to action: His sacrificial death on the cross. It will result in the wonderful fellowship of heaven (Rev.19)

What love does in marriage

In marriage where the promise is fading, love translated into action can bring the brightness back into the promise.

This brings us to 1 Corinthians 13. This chapter about love has no greater application than within the context of marriage. Verses 4-8 tell us what love does.As you read these verses, consider how they apply to your marriage.

"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believe all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails".
Remember that Jesus Never Fails. Do ask Him To be with you and your family always. Make it a habbit to pray together before going to bed and upon rising. I'm sure God will bless each one of us constantly.


Dear Lord Jesus, we invite You in our family. Help us always to understand, love, forgive and to be faithful to each other and to spend time with our children. Mother Mary Guide us and protect us wherever we go through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Posted by Savio Noronha


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Kuwait: The Holy Spirit and Bible in Familes - Talk

The Young Adults in Christ Fellowship (YAFC) Kuwait

"The Family Talks - March & April 2006"

The Young Adults in Christ Fellowship group of the Catholic Holy Family Cathedral Church, Kuwait City

Talk IV

The Importance of the Holy Spirit and the Bible in our Families

The following is the summary of the fourth of a series of family talks organized by the Young Adults in Christ Fellowship (YAFC) at the Holy Family Cathedral Premises, Kuwait. This talk was given on 24th March, 2006 by Rev. Fr. Teodosio F. OCD on the topic of "The Importance of the Holy Spirit and the Bible in our Families".

A Spirit-Led Marriage

What do young people look forward to when they get married? A union of bodies, minds and hearts. What happens when they actually begin to live together as husband and wife and get to know the other person as he or she really is? Such a union of man person and woman person is more than sexual acrobatics, experience, practice of counselling or astuteness in understanding. Does heart speak to heart? There is a certain amount of disillusionment and frustration in the gap between the romance and reality, between expectation and the actual situation. Some of you decided to make the marriage a success by adjusting to each other and giving in, giving up or modifying some of your expectations, so that each of you could give to and receive from your spouse what was necessary for equilibrium and peace in your home? There was a partial peace, insofar as there was no constant quarrelling or disturbance of each other.

The years went by and you became parents or focused on your careers or got involved in some pastimes that brought you satisfaction and fulfilment as an individual. Maybe you got used to each other and used each other, losing sight of why you got married in the first place? Maybe you were never unfaithful to each other and were practising Catholics with a nice home, children and friends. Your spirituality was perhaps an individual one made up of prayers, sacrifices and obligations that made you feel self-righteous. But was there a union of hearts? Were you of one heart and led by the same Spirit to witness to Jesus like the early Christians we read about in Acts 4 verse 32? Was Jesus' prayer in John 17:21 true of you? Before God who are you? God who knows your innermost being loves you as you are. Do you love yourself in this transparency before God? Does your spouse know you in this transparency? Will he/she love you as you are? That is what is meant by a spirit-filled marriage. A communion of his spirit and her spirit made possible by the Holy Spirit. We can share our thoughts with each other. We can share our feelings with each other. We can share vulnerably and listen with love, understanding and a desire to know, love and accept the other as other. A deeper level is sharing our spirits with each other. How can this be possible?

Union with God is called contemplation when our spirit enters into the Divine presence. The Holy Spirit within us prays: Abba Abba Father. "I want to do your will". I want to be one with you. The Holy Spirit also enables a husband and wife who die to selfishness, self-centredness and self-focus to be one, in a union that goes beyond a union of bodies, minds or emotions. They become "one in the Spirit and one in the Lord."

Each one of us faces brokenness in our lives as we are led by self-interest to control, manipulate, dominate or use others to enhance our own egos. Call it pride, laziness, greed, lies, jealousy, lust, hatred, anger or indifference that imprisons us and prevents us from being life-giving and loving to our spouse and children, in word and deed. Do we recognise how we have been seduced, led captive or ensnared by the evil one so that we no longer are free to love, to serve and to lose ourselves in love? Repentance means recognition of our sinfulness and allowing the precious blood of Jesus to wash away our sins. The Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us and unite us with God and with each other.

Jesus tells us in Jn 12:24 " Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies it remains alone. But if it dies, it bears fruit." In a marriage that is "Spirit-filled" or "led by the Spirit", both partners have to be open to the prompting of the Spirit of God, as to how they answer the call and fulfil the mission God gives them as spouse and parent. One cannot hear the voice of the Holy Spirit as long as one's heart is proud, self-sufficient, thinks one has arrived, stops listening, acts superior or becomes complacent. When the shell of the wheat grain is split open, through the temperature and humidity in the soil, new life sprouts.

All of us are broken at times by situations and circumstances in our life through which the Father prunes us. Sometimes He allows us to fall flat on our face and experience our own frailty.

When the alabaster jar was broken by the repentant woman, the perfumed ointment was released to anoint the feet of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is like that fragrant ointment that is released in our lives when with a contrite and humbled heart we can recognise and rejoice in our brokenness. The earthen vessel holds a treasure that cannot be given to others unless it is broken. Brokenness is a way of sharing fragrance, being led by the Spirit to be life-giving and fruitful. But brokenness means shedding our blood on the cross of life.

A man and woman who live together in holy matrimony attract each other by their differences that complement each other. But their differences can also at times cause misunderstandings, hurts and pain. So it is with parents and children at times when there is a strong contest of wills. Has one to win and the other to lose? God works through human situations and one needs faith to recognise his hand. In humble prayer one has to open one's mind, heart and life to the Divine Teacher. Our pride, self-love, complacency, false superiority, hypocrisy, control or manipulation of others, use and abuse of others will be smashed again and again to release the fragrant love of the Holy Spirit in gentle, kind, loving understanding and service. In God's plan, a marriage is for a life-time. A couple grows old together in mutual love and understanding. When their children have left the nest and their energies spent in parenthood seek new outlets to be life-giving, they still have to bring each other into God's presence through their love and life-giving words and actions.

The Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead gives life to us in our brokenness and enables us to be life-giving to each other in turn. Husbands and wives can then love each other as Jesus loves his Church and bear witness to that death-resurrection love in the power of the Spirit.

We are struck by the words of Paul. "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." [Galatians 5:22-23] It seems to us that these nine fruits of the Spirit are precisely what every marriage needs to move out of ordinariness into divine excellence. A woman who was offered a man full of those nine beautiful fruits could hardly ask for more. Love is not a craft, or a technique that can be learned, or like painting by numbers. God is love, and loving the way God loves is the greatest art of all. Painting, composing symphonies, and creative writing can be forced, dull, unappealing. And all great artists know that receiving inspiration from outside themselves is what can suddenly move them into the unexpectedly beautiful. How then do we look to the Holy Spirit to work this miracle in our marriage?

Paul calls it a mind set. "Those who live according to the flesh keep setting their mind on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit keep setting their mind on the things of the Spirit." [Romans 8:5] We are using a literal translation to emphasize the Greek present continuous tense. Instead of clarifying how this mind set is achieved, preachers often read this contrast in a legalistic way. They tell us to avoid what they call fleshly behavior, and try a bit harder to do what they define as spiritual things. They fail to grasp the radical nature of the model change from one way of living to the other. Obviously nobody is totally devoid of good qualities. Some people are by nature kinder, more optimistic, and self-controlled in some areas than others. Paul's point is that if we find a lack of fruit in our lives we cannot conjure it up by the flesh. For genuine long term love in marriage we need the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Setting our mind on the flesh as opposed to setting our mind on the Spirit is however not a question of what we are thinking about, as if some topics were fleshly and some spiritual. The contrast is between two ways of transforming our behavior or character. Say we have a bad habit, or a fixation on another person, or an unloving or unforgiving attitude that is adulterating our marriage. We can set our mind to change by our own will power, and there is no doubt that some people have immense strength to change themselves. We all know that such people are not the easiest people to live with. That is what Paul seems to call setting the mind on the flesh.
Instead of these futile, frustrating, and even deadly efforts, the apostle invites us into the model shift which has changed his life. He suggests we set our minds on supernatural inspiration. Paul's secret seems to be first bringing the unacceptable behavior or character trait as is in all its starkness to the Holy Spirit. Then listening to hear the Spirit's response, especially as he clarifies what is good and bad and indifferent in what we are doing. Thirdly asking the Spirit to deal specifically with what needs changing. Fourthly leaving the changing to occur in his own time and in his own way. And most important of all watching what happens and giving thanks as changes in attitude begin to occur.

The Holy Spirit gives us a new life in Christ

The Holy Spirit opens up one’s heart in a sublime way to have a personal relationship with God the Father and the Son. In other words, a believer experiences God's Trinitarian life within himself.

  • As a result one will find reasons galore for thanking God and praising the Father and the Son always for every event in one’s life.

  • With the inflow of the Spirit one will begin to appreciate more and more the power of the sacraments and will live in them with personal experience.

  • The Spirit will enable one to enter into fellowship with other Christians, displaying great regard and respect for the Church and its authorities.

  • The Spirit will instil in one a great desire for the Word of God, the Holy Scripture. Reading the Bible becomes quite meaningful and lively, opening one’s vision to God’s plan.

  • By the infilling of the Spirit one will be more aware of satan’s activity and how to withstand it. The power of the Spirit will guard one in resisting the attacks of evil powers.

  • With the Spirit one becomes more prayerful. The Holy Spirit in him will arouse his heart towards God and enable him to get rid of his weakness in prayer.

  • The Spirit gives Wisdom to know more about God, ourselves and others. Various mysteries will be revealed.

  • The Spirit lifts one up to a spiritual realm where he experiences his Christian life more powerfully, more effectively without compromises.

  • The Spirit of love enables one to recognise Jesus in others, and encourages him to dedicate his life to care for others.

  • The power of the Spirit strengthens one to speak about Jesus to others in such a way as to cause them to become believers. There will be a genuine enthusiasm for evangelisation.

  • The Spirit empowers and equips one with various gifts and charisms. The Spirit helps one to form prayer-groups, to attend prayer-groups, to visit the sick at home or in hospitals and to pray for them for their healings.

  • From the experience of the fruits of the Spirit through baptism in the Spirit one will become more joyful, peaceful and powerful. Even in times of sufferings and rejections he will be strengthened to follow Jesus in a closer way.

  • With the power of the Spirit, Jesus becomes central to one’s life with the consequence that he lives a life in, with, through Christ and for Christ. A Christo-centric life will enable him to grow in Christ and to become like Christ with a real transformation by the action of the Spirit that one will be able to say it is no longer I that live but Christ lives in me.

  • The Holy Spirit urges one to live a holy life. It is the real Christian vocation. The indwelling Spirit enables one to overcome flesh, the world and satan so that having experienced holiness deep within, he will radiate it to others through his words and actions. The Spirit of holiness in a believer will give power and light to others.

What Is the Purpose of the Family Bible?

To honor God's Word, develop respect for it, and to live by it. James says, "But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves" (James 1:22). Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). Home is a good place to practice the exhortation, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord" (Col. 3:16). In these days when we have put the Bible out of our schools, we need to put it back in our homes and teach our children from it.

There are as many reasons for not reading and studying the Bible as there are people. To some, the Bible is a big, intimidating, dry and boring book. Others believe you must be a great “scholar” or “theologian” before they can undertake a Bible study. The list of excuses goes on. However, the Bible is anything but boring! It is filled with stories of heroes, villains, adventure, romance, of courage and cowardice, powerful leaders and ordinary people. More importantly, the Bible has the answers to life’s most important questions. There is simply no book like it! A book that remains alive and fresh each time you read it!

The whole purpose of reading the Bible is to communicate with God and to show our dedication and love for Him. Christ came to the earth and was tempted in all points as we were, yet without sin. The way He was able to avoid falling to temptation was by quoting scripture. To quote it you have to know it, to know it you would have had to study it. The Bible study is a weapon to defend not only our faith, but our very soul. After consistent Bible Study, prayer, and dependence on Christ, we are better prepared and equipped to fight the devil and his what ever he may throw our way. This is specially true in the Family where there are numerous instances or openings for temptations both for the husband and wife and for the children. Reading the Bible should be a major part of our daily family life. It helps us to die daily to self, it helps us remember what Christ did for us and why, it tells us of the Love of God, and it tells us how to treat our family members and community. Knowing the word of God will lead our heart to follow the will of God and reach out to our family members. God created mankind out of love. He brought Israel into existence to be the folk through whom his redemption would be brought to all nations. He sent his son to earth to show us the way to heaven. The goal of history is the restoration of fellowship between all people and their creator. God has shown us these truths in his word. His will is that we discover these truths and share them.

Planning a Family Bible Time

Reserve a specific time for Family Bible Time.

The reality of today is that families are very busy. A variety of activities pull families in many directions. Unless you reserve a specific, agreed upon time for Family Bible Time you will find your family having a very difficult time finding any time in common. Reserve the time, ask your family to protect the time as well as is possible. You will have to adjust at times, but you will be adjusting from a set priority rather than having to search for a time to get together.

Gather at a designated place.

Family traditions are wonderful and memorable. Find a specific place you will gather every time you have Family Bible Time. At times due to the activities of your Family Bible Time you may move from that place to another place, but reach a designated place to gather.

Don't begin at the beginning or end.

Begin with the familiar. The New Testament is a better place to start than the Old Testament. Perhaps begin with Mark, the shortest Gospel, or the letters of Paul. Do not start with the Book of Revelation, a complex and symbolic book.

Read sections rather than sentences.

The Bible will make more sense if you pay attention to sections that are grouped together.

Read aloud.

Everyone used to do it, especially when the books of the Bible were written. The Bible was meant to be heard—it originated as an oral tradition. Reading aloud involves you more completely than reading silently.

Read the introductions.

Most Bibles have introductions added by the editors, and they will prepare you for what comes next. Read the introduction first!

Read the footnotes.

The Bible often contains material that is very foreign to our world. Customs, terms, symbolic names, etc., often require explanation. The footnotes are there for everyone, not just for scholars.

Use the cross-references.

Most Bibles place these references to other biblical passages in the footnotes or on the side of the page. Often New Testament passages contain quotations or allusions to Old Testament passages. These cross-references will help you further understand what you are studying. This takes some time, but your reward will be a richer understanding of the text.

Be flexible in your interpretations.

You don't need to be afraid of misinterpreting the Bible if you remember that your interpretation is not necessarily the interpretation. This is especially good in a family setting: Sharing ideas about Bible passages is a wonderful way of studying the Bible, especially when you remain open to further guidance about your views.
Read Bible stories from the Bible. They supply answers to different family needs and give a challenge to spiritual living.

Go through the miracles of Christ.

You could do one a night and learn something about Christ from each miracle and especially let each one learn something for himself. Study the miracle as to where it was, the occasion, what happened, who was involved, and then personal lessons.

Study Bible characters.

This can be good for a different kind of study for the sake of variety. Read about the character in the Bible and study his weak and strong points and discuss how you may learn something from him or her. Every family member can see himself/herself in a Bible character and learn many precious lessons.

Study Bible doctrine.

Everyone should know the basic doctrines of the Bible. All the family should be grounded in the truth. The book of Sirach is a good place to start for the family.

Bible games.

This can be very interesting and add challenge to the family and can be very appealing to the young folks and keep the family bible time from being boring. Use Bible games that teach a lesson and from which you may learn something helpful for Christian living.

Have a map study.

After all, salvation is also geographical and children might learn where certain countries, rivers, and mountains are and what happened there such as the law on Mt. Sinai, crossing the Red Sea, and Christ walking on the water. Show them where it took place and draw some lessons from it.

Use pictures.

This is a wonderful way to interest children. Many Bible story books have many pictures in them that tell a story for the child.

Object lessons.

Visual aids of all kinds can be used. Be creative and use whatever object you may have handy to teach a Bible truth. Christ readily used object lessons such as the sheep and goats, the rock, water in the well of Samaria, etc. There is no end to object lessons.

Children and young people need convictions to stand up against their peers. They must understand their faith and know something of good Bible doctrine so they know what they believe and why. The home makes a good Bible school where the children can be grounded as they face the humanistic, evolutionary philosophy of our modern society.

What makes the difference in some homes is the depth of commitment to living out God's principles and teachings. The home should be the university in which biblical instruction and guidance take place. As a Christian parent, you are responsible for the biblical teaching, understanding and guidance within the home. Let the home become the Christian Home University. Let it be the place in which relationships grow and develop and then build character. Let the home be the place where family members learn and model. Moses wanted to make sure the Israelites did not forget this either. He did not want them to forget that God had delivered them from bondage and provided for them during the 40 years in the wilderness. It was, and still is, important to share about the miracles and provision God gives. Moses didn't want the people to forget but to tell and retell it to their children. Let the memories and experiences serve as teachable moments while teaching biblical truths. It is always easier to learn and understand a principle when accompanied with a story.

Families that do not teach and help children understand God's laws will in turn face consequences. We all do, no exceptions.Just think if we all made biblical instruction a part of all aspects of our daily life--play, school, work, leisure and family time. Imagine if your family actually displayed a different Bible verse in your home each month to learn, understand and apply. Imagine the practice of telling Bible stories to each other and how to apply the bible truths in today's time. What kind of family is that?

A God-honoring family!


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Monday, March 27, 2006

Bahrain: John Rebello - Papal Honour Recipient

Pictures of John Rebello (Bahrain) Receiving the Papal Honour 'Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice' in the Jubilee Year 2000

It was a privileged moment for John Rebello, a Konkani Catholic Lay Eucharistic Minister in Bahrain, when he was chosen to receive from the late Pope John Paul II, the prestigious Papal Honour - 'Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice' in the Jubilee Year 2000.

John Rebello, Bahrain, receiving the Papal Honour - 'Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice' from Archbishop Giuseppe De Andrea, the former Nuncio to Bahrain, on 12th May, 2000, at the Sacred Heart Church in Manama, Bahrain
Seen in the photo is Archbishop Giuseppe De Andrea, the former Nuncio to Bahrain, handing the Papal Honour to John on Friday, 12th May, 2000 at the Sacred Heart Church in Manama, Bahrain.

John, who is also a Konkani Catholics member, was chosen for this award through the recommendation of his former Parish Priest, Rev. Fr. Felicio Diniz.

We join John Rebello in celebrating this great gift of grace in his life.

View more photos of this rare moment at the Konkani Catholics Gallery.


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Reflections: Lent - Week 4

Points for reflection for the fourth week of Lent


After the collapse of WTC on 9/11 much analysis was done about the incident. Everyone wanted to find out what went wrong and where. As a result national security came to be given the utmost importance.

In our lives too we normally look back to find out the reasons of particular problems that disturb our peace or security. In the first reading of today the author of the chronicles tries to rationalize the reasons, after the Babylonian exile, why God allowed his own people to suffer humiliation in the hands of a pagan king. It was because the people, both, their rulers and their religious leaders, were not faithful to the precepts of God. God out of love for his people sent messengers to lead them in the right path, but they ridiculed them and their warnings.

We may ask ourselves: will God, who is all loving, punish his people for their disobedience? It is not God who punishes people for their sins. It is what sin brings along with itself as its wages; the person himself causes the ruin of self and others.

In the Gospel, Jesus clearly gives us the reason why he came to the world: it was to save the people from their sins and to bring them to life everlasting with God. God loves everyone and does not want to lose even one of his people.

Therefore, let us look back into the aspects of our own lives and see how we have responded to God's love and in what way we need to rectify problems created through our own sinfulness. Let us look at Jesus on the cross, who sacrificed himself for us, and realize that in order to save ourselves we need to give our lives to this love of Christ. By

LENT: WEEK 4, MONDAY: Jn 4:43-54

(.) The persecutions of ancient Rome have been extensively covered by the movie 'Quo Vadis?'

(.) One day, a filming session a news reporter asked the actress Deborah, "Weren't you afraid when the lions rushed at you in the arena?"

(.) Actress Deborah replied, "Not at all. I had read the script and I knew that I would be rescued".

(.) Actress Deborah had strong trust and belief in being rescued

(.) Our trust and faith in the promises of Jesus should be strong

(.) The promises of Jesus are: (a) "Ask, and you will receive" (b) "Heaven and earth will pass away but not my words" (c) "He who eats My flesh and drinks My Blood, will have eternal life" (d) "He who believes in Me will have eternal life".

LENT: WEEK 4, TUESDAY: Jon 5:1-16

(.) 'A brother helping his brother' is a good principle to follow in life

(.) A brother who does not know how to write cannot affix his signature unless someone who knows how to write teaches him

(.) The lame man in today's Gospel could not be healed unless someone helped him

(.) People will not come to know Jesus unless someone shares the Good News with them

(.) Teaching, helping and sharing with others should be the way of our daily life.

LENT: WEEK 4, WEDNESDAY: Jon 5:17-30

(.) The Israelites during their exile in Babylon felt that God had abandoned them

(.) They, therefore, with one voice cried out, "The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me" (Is 49:14)

(.) God sent His prophet to tell them that it was not so. God replied to the people through His prophet, "Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you" (Is 49:15)

(.) There may be situations when we too may be tempted to doubt and question about God's concern for us

(.) God will never forget us

(.) However, He will test us like gold in fire

(.) We must withstand the test and shine and glitter like gold.

LENT: WEEK 4, THURSDAY: Jn 5:31-47

(.) According to Jewish legal practice, witnessing for oneself, was not accepted as valid

(.) One had to adduce other witnesses to verify the truth of one's testimony

(.) God the Father Himself bore witness to Jesus in three ways: (1) Through John the Baptist who was a burning and shining lamp (Mt 3:11-12), (2) During the Baptism of Jesus, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased"(Mt 3:17) and, (3) During the Transfiguration of Jesus, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him" (Mt 17:5)

(.) Witness and testimony about Jesus as the true Son of God are crystal clear-we can accept or reject it with the inevitable consequences of our choice

(.) If we accept it, we will be with Him for eternity in the life to come; if we reject it, we will be away from Him for eternity in the life to come.

LENT: WEEK 4, FRIDAY: Jn 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

(.) Jesus had striped Himself of His Divine riches to become one with the poor, which the Jews could not accept

(.) Jesus chose to be born poor with demeaning poverty and insignificance which was beyond the comprehension of the Jews

(.) Jesus, in His Divine love, did not take anything for Himself, which the Jews could not comprehend

(.) The Jews could not accept Jesus whose thoughts, deeds and ways of life were totally different from theirs

(.) Therefore, they decided that His death was necessary for their safety and survival

(.) This made them to plot against His death

(.) The thoughts, deeds and way of life of the good are different from those of the bad. What about us?

LENT: WEEK 4, SATURDAY: Jn 7:40-53

(.) Galilee was a backward country

(.) Galilee was the farthest province from Jerusalem

(.) Galilee had little respect compared to other countries

(.) The Pharisees belittled Jesus saying, "What good can come from Galilee?"

(.) The Pharisees believed that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem

(.) The Pharisees, if wanted, could have discovered that Jesus was born in Bethlehem

(.) The Pharisees, therefore, were guilty of rash Judgment

(.) A rash Judgment implies drawing a conclusion before finding out the relevant facts. For example we may hear a rumor that a man had a dinner with a particular woman who is not his wife. After hearing it, if we were to conclude immediately, that he had an affair with that woman it is a rash Judgment

(.) A person should be innocent in our eyes until the just judge has judged him guilty

(.) The Pharisees had judged Jesus falsely and rashly as we see in today's Gospel

(.) Nicodemus had the courage to say, "does our law condemn any man without first hearing him and knowing the facts?"

(.) Like Nicodemus we also should have guts to call 'a spade a spade, and an axe an axe'.

Rev. Fr. Robert Crasta, a Roman Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Mangalore in India and currently serving as the Parochial Vicar at the Church of Our Lady of Victory, 60 William Street, New York, NY 10005, is the founder of America's Mangalorean Konkan Catholic Prayer Society (AMKCPS), an online prayer society of free membership, dedicated to strengthening the spiritual life of Mangalorean Christians abroad. To know more, visit

Posted by Rev. Fr. Robert Crasta


Saturday, March 25, 2006

Kuwait: YACF Special Healing Service on 31 March 2006

Kuwait: Young Adults in Christ Fellowship (YACF) to conduct special healing service for singles and couples on March 31, 2006

The Young Adults in Christ Fellowship (YACF) Kuwait, will be arranging a special healing service for singles and couples at the Cathedral premises on 31st March, 2006. It will be led by Fr. Lionel Braganza, sdb. at 7pm on 31 March at room #9 (Ist Flr), Holy Family Cathedral Premises, Kuwait City.

Special Healing Service for Singles and Couples to be led by Fr. Lionel Braganza, sdb. The service is organized by Young Adults in Christ Fellowship (YACF) at 7pm on 31st March 2006 at Holy Family Cathedral Premises, Kuwait.

YACF has been conducting a series of talks on the family every Friday, since the 3rd of March. The special healing service is part of this series of "Family Talks" which will end on 28th April, 2006.

More Information can be had from :

Contact Person: Dominic D'Souza (Core Leader)
Telephone: 5647704(res)
Mobile: 6265749
Email: OR

Also See:

Friday, March 24, 2006

Margao: "Praise Adonai" Gospel Concert - March 31-April 1, 2006

Two day Gospel Music Concert - "Praise Adonai" - to be held at Margao, Goa on 31st March and 1st April, 2006


To God Through Music

Two evenings of Praise & Worship with Goa's Top POP Bands

31st March with Crimson Tide, Band Wagon & Forefront

1st April with Alcatrazz, Renegade & Big Country Band

Special Attraction: Two scenes from the Gospel musical "Resurrection Song" and spiritual inputs from Aneel Aranha, founder of the Holy Spirit Interactive (HSI) apostolate.

The programme details are as follows:
Venue: Holy Spirit Church grounds, Margao, Goa
Time: 7 pm onwards.
Entrance: Donation passes of Rs.50/- only
Donation Passes available at the following outlets in Margao: Champs, Big G, Vibes and Kitchenette.

One half of the proceeds of this event will go for evangelization and the other half for charity.

One Day Discipleship Programme

A special one-day Discipleship Programme will be conducted by Aneel Aranha at the Holy Spirit Church, on 1st April, from 10 am onwards. The programme will consist of talks, praise & worship, adoration to the Blessed Sacrament, common prayers, and will conclude with a Eucharistic Celebration.

Be there and be Blessed!


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Kuwait: The Roles of Husband and Wife - Talk

The Young Adults in Christ Fellowship (YAFC) Kuwait

"The Family Talks – March & April 2006"

The Young Adults in Christ Fellowship group of the Catholic Holy Family Cathedral Church, Kuwait City

Talk III

The Roles of Husband and Wife

The following is the summary of the third of a series of family talks organized by the Young Adults in Christ Fellowship (YAFC) at the Holy Family Cathedral Premises, Kuwait. This talk was given on 17th March, 2006 by Mr. Ferdy of Couples for Christ (CFC), Kuwait, on the topic of "The Roles of Husband and Wife in a Marriage".

When two people enter into marriage, both are cast into a new role different from any role they have ever been in before and their respective roles are clearly defined and outlined in the Scriptures. Up to this time they have been just a man and woman like all other men and women. But now, that man, is no longer just a man, but he is a husband with certain fixed and clearly defined duties and responsibilities toward that certain woman he has taken to be his wife. That woman, is no longer, just a woman, but she is now a wife with clearly defined duties and responsibilities toward the man she has chosen to be her husband. Below is an outline of the responsibilities and needs of both husbands and wives.

Biblical Responsibilities of the Husband

Responsibility #1: Be a leader

In his commentary on Ephesians, William Hendriksen points out that God "...placed ultimate responsibility with respect to the household on the shoulders of the husband ...” "Head" does not mean male dominance, where a man lords it over a woman and demands her total obedience to his every wish and command. The tendency of men is to flaunt their strength in ways that dominate women, and thus to exploit women's weakness. Such "strength" loses its attractiveness fast. A husband uses his strength as God intended by working for the protection of his wife and children, by shielding them from hardship and harm whether physical, emotional or spiritual, and overall by guiding the home with consideration for them. God never viewed women as second-class citizens. His Word clearly states that we are all equally His children and are of equal value and worth before Him. The teaching of the New Testament clearly shows that women are to be respected, revered, and treated as equals with men. When God presented Eve to Adam in the Garden, Adam received her as a gift of great value to God and him. When husbands, particularly Christian husbands, do not treat their wives as a precious gift from God and helpmate, they can cause those wives to search for a way to find significance and value as persons, often outside God's will.

Are you a leader? Men who are "natural" leaders have no trouble answering: “yes”. They know how to take over, control, guide, and get things done. Some men are not strong or natural leaders. How can they lead in the home? Paul says the same to everyone. God has placed the husband in the position of responsibility. It does not matter what kind of personality a man may have. Your wife may be resisting you, fighting you, and spurning your attempts to lead, but it makes no difference. Wives want husbands and need them to lead. You are not demanding this position; on the contrary, God placed you there. You may not lead her perfectly, but you must ‘lead’ never-the-less.

Scripture does more than assign leadership in a marriage to the husband. The Apostle Paul says that the husband is head of the wife as Christ is head of the church. "This comparison of the husband with Christ reveals the sense in which a man should be his wife's "head." Hendriksen writes, "He is her head as being vitally interested in her welfare. He is her protector. His pattern is Christ Who, as head of the Church, is its Savior!"

Responsibility #2: Love your wife unconditionally

Ephesians 5:25 reads, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her." Your unconditional acceptance of your wife is not based upon her performance, but on her worth as God's gift to you. If you want to love your wife unconditionally, always be sure her emotional tank is full. One of the best ways to do that is to affirm her constantly. Let her know verbally that you value her, respect her, and love her. There is no question that words communicate love, but so do actions. You need to do both. As the Apostle John wrote in one of his letters: "let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth" (1 John 3:18). One of the missing ingredients in male leadership in homes is sacrificial action. When was the last time you gave up something for your wife—something you genuinely valued, like your golf game, a fishing trip, or your hobby? Sometimes you need to give up something you enjoy so your wife can have a break and see your love for her.

Responsibility #3: Serve your wife

According to the New Testament, being head of your wife does not mean being her master, but her servant. Again, Christ is our model for this type of leadership. Jesus did not just talk about serving; He demonstrated it when he washed His disciples' feet (John 13:1-17). Christ, the Head of the Church, took on the very nature of a servant when He was made in human likeness (Philippians 2:7).

One of the best ways to serve your wife is to understand her needs and try to meet them. Do you know what your wife's top three needs are right now? If she is a young mother, she has a certain set of basic needs. If your children are grown and gone and you are in the empty nest, your wife has a different set of needs that you should try to meet. What is she worried about? What troubles her? What type of pressure does she feel? Learn the answers to questions like that, and then do what you can to reduce her worries, her troubles, her pressures. What do you know about your wife's hopes and dreams? I bet she has plenty—do you know what they are? Are you cultivating her gifts? If she has a knack for decorating, do you help her develop that?

Another way to serve your wife is to provide for her. This provision first involves assuming responsibility for meeting the material needs of the family. 1 Timothy 5:8 tells us, "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever." Providing for your wife also means taking the initiative in helping meet her spiritual needs. You do this by modeling godly character, by praying with her, by spending time together in God's Word, and by looking for ways to encourage her spiritually.

To be a leader, a lover, and a servant is to accommodate your life to the life of the gift God has given you—your wife. Give up your life for hers and, at the Judgment Seat of Christ, He will say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

What then are the needs of a wife?

1. A wife needs someone who understands her.

"Likewise ye husbands dwell with them according to knowledge..." (1 Peter 3:7). This Scripture speaks to the tendency of a husband to be preoccupied with interests outside of his home and marriage and to ignore things about his wife which are important to her. Every woman has habits, fears, tendencies, likes, and dislikes. In marriage, she feels the need to be understood, and the husband demonstrates his understanding of her by living with consideration toward her. Spend quality time talking and listening to your wife. Stay focused at all times to what she has to say. This is what your wife wants – your undivided attention.

2. A wife needs someone who accepts her as she is.

This is but an extension of the need to be understood. The Scriptures speak of the intimacy of marriage as "knowing" one another. Marriage is disclosure, letting each other know the heart and mind -- "the real you." Such disclosure can be either painful or wonderful, depending on acceptance. A husband sends clear messages of rejection to his wife by such actions as comparing her negatively with other women, ridiculing her personality, and overloading her with responsibility and then criticizing her for failure. Acceptance does not mean approving of everything a wife does or is, but it recognizes a wife's unique personhood and gives her the support to become all that God intended her to be.

3. A wife needs someone who cherishes her.

This is again a step beyond accepting. Both accepting a wife and cherishing her depend upon understanding her. Cherishing is but another way of saying a wife needs to be loved. Love is probably the most basic need of a wife in marriage. And certainly it is no accident that repeatedly in the New Testament the instruction to the husband is "Love your wife." Your wife needs also to experience the tender affection of her husband. She needs the security of being held close to the heart of her husband, not as a mere plaything, but because she is counted dear and priceless.

We should note here that meeting these first three needs is a cumulative process. Each depends on the former. A husband cannot accept his wife if he does not understand her, and he cannot cherish her if he does not understand and accept her.

4. A wife needs someone who is faithful.

Intimate love calls for the exclusion of all others. Thus, there is a very proper jealousy in love which says, "I belong to you, and you belong to me." A wife needs the security not only that her husband loves her, but that he loves no one else in the same way. Of course, there is an improper jealousy rooted in selfishness. This jealousy demonstrates itself in suspicion and fear, and in effect, puts a stranglehold on a husband. But nonetheless, a wife needs a faithful husband, and a husband who understands this need in his wife carefully guards her trust. He does not flirt with other women nor look at raunchy magazines. He guards his eyes, his humor, his heart. And he focuses his love faithfully upon the ONE woman in the world who is his wife.

The Role of the wife

Responsibility #1: Be Helpers to your Husbands

While all of us are called to be helpers to others, the Bible places a special emphasis on this responsibility for wives. Genesis tells us that God realized it wasn't good for man to be alone, and that He decided to make a "helper suitable for him" (Gen. 2:18). It is interesting to note that the Hebrew meaning of the word helper in this passage is found hereafter in the Bible to refer only to God as He helps us. The fact that this same word is applied to a wife signifies that we women have been given tremendous power for good in our husbands' lives. God has designed wives to help their husbands become all that God intends for them to be.

This does not mean the wife is a tagalong, someone who comes in handy at times, but that she was designed to fill a necessary role as man's mainstay. Her mind, her will, her energies are hers to use, not in competition with him, but in union with him to complement his mind, his will, and his energies. Certainly, much of the wife's potential to encourage and support depends upon the husband's willingness to talk and work together. But a wise wife will recognize that every husband has weaknesses, and she will not allow her support and encouragement to mope continually at the foot of his failures. She will instead clearly ally herself with him so that both his strengths and his weaknesses are improved by her presence in his life. A very practical way in which a wife can encourage her husband is by her gratitude. Her smile, her expressions of thanks, her willingness to find joy even in difficult circumstances will fill one of the most basic needs in his life. Every husband wants his wife to be on his team, to coach him when necessary, but most of all to be his cheer-leader. A husband needs a wife who is behind him, believing in him, appreciating him, and cheering him on as he goes out into the world every day.

Responsibility #2: Respect your Husbands

In Ephesians 5:33, Paul says, "…the wife must respect her husband." When you respect your husband you reverence him, regard him, honor him, prefer him, and esteem him. When you need your husband’s help on some issue or chore, ask for it lovingly.

Respect also means valuing his opinion and, admiring his wisdom and character and, appreciating his commitment to you.

Responsibility #3: Intimately Love your Husbands

Wives love your husbands unconditionally, understanding fully well that he is an imperfect person. Love also means being committed to a mutually fulfilling sexual relationship. We are looking at how to fulfill God's command to love our husbands. Therefore, we must look at love from their (husband’s) perspective, not just our own. When a wife resists intimacy, is uninterested, or is only passively interested, her husband may feel rejection. It will cut at his self-image, tear at him to the very center of his being, and create isolation. It means I save some of my energy for him. It keeps me from being selfish and living only for my own needs and wants. Maintaining that focus helps me defeat isolation in our marriage.

Responsibility #4: "Submit" To the Leadership of your Husbands

Just mention the word "submission," and many women immediately become angry and even hostile. This controversial concept has been highly debated and misunderstood. Some husbands and wives actually believe submission indicates that women are inferior to men in some way. Some women think that if they submit they will lose their identity and become "non-persons." Others fear (some with good reason) that submission leads to being used or abused. Another misconception is that submission means blind obedience on the part of the woman. She can give no input to her husband, question nothing, and only stay obediently barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. What does God have in mind? The Scriptures make it clear that a wife should submit voluntarily to her husband's sensitive and loving leadership. Therefore, as I voluntarily submit to my husband, I am completing him. I am helping him fulfill his responsibilities, and I am helping him become the man, the husband, and the leader God intended him to be.

Building oneness in marriage works best when both partners choose to fulfill their responsibilities voluntarily, with no pressure or coercion. To become the servant-leader God has commanded him to be, my husband needs my gracious respect and submission. And when my husband loves me the way he is commanded to, I can more easily submit myself to that leadership. I do this with an attitude of entrusting myself to God. Husbands, remember that when your wife sees you submitting to Christ in all situations, her submission to you will come naturally. In one of his letters, Peter told us that even though Jesus suffered terrible pain and insults, He did not retaliate "but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously" (1 Peter 2:23). When you entrust your life to the Father, it's much easier to be the wife of an imperfect man, particularly when you may have disagreements.

A Special Note: Some of you may live with abuse or in excessively unhealthy and destructive conditions in your marriage. At times, it may be inappropriate or even life-threatening for you to apply unquestioningly the principles of submission. For example, if you are being physically or verbally abused. If you are in that situation, please discerningly seek out your pastor or someone wise who has been trained to help with your specific issue.

The Basic Needs of a Husband

In many ways, the needs of a husband are the counterpart to the needs of his wife. God made the woman with a view to male needs and thus He equipped her with just the proper resources for meeting those needs. So just what are the needs of a husband?

1. A husband needs someone who depends on him.

God has given to the man the responsibility of leadership in the home. There is something about the dependence of a wife which calls to the manliness of her husband. His very malehood wants to provide, to nurture, to care for, and to protect; and he finds satisfaction and fulfillment in meeting the needs of his wife. Even as the husband can misuse his strength to dominate, so the woman can misuse her weakness and dependence to manipulate. Many are the women who have used their tears, their headaches, and their whining to play upon the malehood of their husbands in order to get their own way. Such "weakness" gets old fast. A wise wife allows her husband to be her provider, but does not control him from beneath.

2. A husband needs someone who accepts him as he is.

Everyone has a basic need for acceptance, and inasmuch as marriage is the deepest level of human friendship, it has the most potential for meeting that need. It likewise has the greatest potential for rejection. Nagging, criticism and discussing a husband's failures with others are probably the two most common ways a wife signals rejection of her husband. Acceptance, as noted earlier, does not necessarily mean complete approval. It does mean recognizing a person for who he is, as opposed to fighting that reality, and supporting him in becoming all that God intends him to be.

3. A husband needs his wife's womanhood in the home atmosphere.

"Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands" (Proverbs 14:1). "The aged women likewise . . that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home..." (Titus 2:3-5). While the husband is responsible for leadership in the home, he is inadequate by himself to build the home. He needs the womanhood of his wife to establish an atmosphere of order, beauty, cleanliness, and care. Contrary to modern thought, homemaking is not a dull, servile work for lower-intelligence women; it is a full-time, lifetime responsibility which demands creativity, intelligence, and management skills of the highest caliber. The womanhood of a wife is in many ways the heart of the home and, as such, is the fulfillment of her husband; and the career-minded wife leaves a void both in her home and in her husband which nothing can replace.

4. A husband also needs someone who is faithful.

Fidelity is imperative on both sides of the marriage relationship. Even as faithful love stirs the sweetest emotions in human relationships, so unfaithfulness stirs the bitterest emotions. There is probably nothing so devastating to a marriage as the realization that a third party has invaded the sacrosanct realm of intimacy. Wives need faithful husbands; husbands need faithful wives. A godly wife will guard her manners, her speech, and her appearance, reserving her womanly charm and beauty for her husband alone. "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works" (1 Timothy 2:9,10).

Understanding one another's needs in marriage is the first step love takes toward meeting those needs. If we focus on our needs rather than on those of our partner, we may easily stumble in self-pity rather than move ahead in love. Much of the success in marriage depends upon the willingness to give ourselves to meeting the deepest needs of one another.

This is the exercise of love, and love is the cement of marriage.


Also See:

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Maryland: Family Renewal Retreat by Fr. Augustine Vallooran

An Invitation to attend and Experience Spiritual Renewal during Lent

"Family Renewal Retreat"

Preached By

Rev. Dr. Fr. Augustine Vallooran, V.C.

Director, Divine Retreat Center, Muringoor, Kerala, India

Saturday April 1st - Sunday April 2nd, 2006

9:00 am to 6:00 pm

Montgomery College, Globe Hall, 20200 Observation Drive, Germantown, MD 20876-4067, USA

Take 495 to 270 going north. Take Exit 15 A (Montgomery College) on make right onto Observation Drive. Go about a mile and park on the right side near the big globe in the visitors lot.

See Map

Registration FREE

Lunch tickets will be sold at the reception counter.

Saturday Mass at 4:30 pm celebrated by:

Most Rev. Leonard J. Olivier, S.V.D., D.D.

Auxiliary Bishop of Archdiocese of Washington DC

For Registration and Further Assistance Contact:
Dr. Ann Verghese (301) 475-5704
Faustina Archer (301) 221-0010
May Whittle (301) 770-6087
Glenda Bastian (301) 556-9754
Jacinta Mascarenhas (703) 830-2327
The Indian American Catholic Association of Washington DC and
Servants of Jesus prayer groups

Kindly Inform all Friends and Relatives

Also See:

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Complete Catholic Handbook

The Complete Catholic Handbook

Who made you? Has God a body? Is Jesus Christ truly God? Why do we make the sign of the cross? What does the word Catholic mean? How is the Church Apostolic? It is the aim of this handbook to answer these and other questions pertaining to Catholic doctrine as well as offer a compendium of all other important information relating to Catholic Faith and Liturgy and a summary of the most important elements of Holy Scripture. Though this is specially suited for Catechists, the handbook will be useful for all Catholics whatever their ages, intellects and circumstances.


Chapter I

Chapter II

The Apostles Creed
First Article of the Creed : I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth
Second Article of the Creed : And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord
Third Article of the Creed : Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary
Fourth Article of the Creed : Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried
Fifth Article of the Creed : He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead
Sixth Article of the Creed : He ascended into heaven; sitteth at the right hand of the Father Almighty
Seventh Article of the Creed : From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead
Eighth Article of the Creed : I believe in the Holy Spirit
Ninth Article of the Creed : The Holy Catholic Church; the Communion of Saints
Tenth Article of the Creed : The forgiveness of sins
Eleventh Article of the Creed : The resurrection of the body
Twelfth Article of the Creed : Life everlasting


Chapter III


Chapter IV: The Commandments of God

The First Commandment : I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, and out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt not have strange gods before Me. Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven thing, nor the likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not adore them nor serve them.
The Second Commandment : Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
The Third Commandment : Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day
The Fourth Commandment : Honour thy father and thy mother
The Fifth Commandment : Thou shalt not kill
The Sixth Commandment : Thou shalt not commit adultery
The Seventh Commandment : Thou shalt not steal
The Eighth Commandment : Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour
The Ninth Commandment : Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife
The Tenth Commandment : Thou shalt not covet they neighbour’s goods

Chapter V: The Commandments of the Church

Chapter VI: The Sacraments

Holy Eucharist
Anointing of the Sick
Holy Order

Chapter VII - Of Virtues and Vices

Chapter VIII - The Christian's Rule of Life

Chapter IX - The Christian's Daily Exercise

Compiled from the Penny Catechism published as The Explanatory Catechism of Christian Doctrine by Burns and Oates,1921; with additions taken from the Catechism of Christian Doctrine, approved by the Archbishops and Bishops of England and Wales,1921; further additions taken from the traditional (St. Joseph’s) Missal and other orthodox catechisms bearing Imprimaturs; and incorporating the Ordinary and Proper of the Tridentine Mass. No copyright reserved This handbook may be reproduced in whole or in part.