Portuguese Mass at 11:30 AM on Sunday May 28, 2017

Our Faith

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your
heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second
is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22:36-40
The Mysteries of our Catholic Faith tell us what we know about God, and the Commandments of God and His
Church show us how to love Him. Most of the information below is from Catholic Book of Prayers, stamped with
Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur:

[Jesus' Most Precious Blood]

The Most Precious Body and Blood of Jesus atoning for people's sins. Jesus died as Man; but as God, He has given an infinite value to His sufferings and death. He died for all human beings.

God and His Attributes

God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He alone is independent because He alone exists of Himself. All other things have received existence from Him and thus are dependent upon Him. God is eternal. He has always existed; He has always been and always will be. God is a pure spirit, a sovereign intelligence who has no body and who cannot be perceived by our senses. Present everywhere, He can penetrate our most secret thoughts; all-powerful, He can do all things. He governs all by His love, His mercy, and His justice, and nothing comes about without His command or without His permission. God is infinitely good, infinitely holy, infinitely just; in a word, He is infinitely perfect: He possesses without restriction or measure all perfections.

“It is not power, but love that redeems us! This is God's sign: He Himself is love. How often we wish that God would show himself stronger, that he would strike decisively, defeating evil and creating a better world. All ideologies of power justify themselves in exactly this way, they justify the destruction of whatever would stand in the way of progress and the liberation of humanity. We suffer on account of God's patience. And yet, we need his patience. God, who became a lamb, tells us that the world is saved by the Crucified One, not by those who crucified him. The world is redeemed by the patience of God. It is destroyed by the impatience of man.”

Pope Benedict XVI, April 24, 2005

The Holy Trinity

There is only one God, but there are in Him three distinct Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God. However, these three persons are not three Gods, but only one God. The Son is the Word, or the interior voice of the Father, and begotten by the Father alone; the Holy Spirit is the mutual Love of the Father and the Son, and He proceeds from both. The three Persons of the Blessed Trinity are equal in all things because they have only one nature, the Divine Nature: in this consists the Mystery of the Holy Trinity.

 

“O human, can you be alive without a heart and without blood? Even so it must not be believed that the Father is without the Son or the Holy Spirit, or the Son without the Father and the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Spirit without Them. For the redemption of humanity the Father sent the Son into the world and then took Him back to Himself, the way a person sends out the thoughts of his heart and then recalls them to himself.”

Scivias, the visions of St. Hildegard of Bingen who died 1179 A.D.

Creatures of God

Among the creatures of God, the most perfect are Angels and men. The Angels are pure spirits created to adore God and execute His commands. Many of these Angels revolted against their Creator, Who, in turn, condemned them to hell. These Angels whom we call demons or evil spirits hate God and tempt man on earth to defy the laws of God so as to be condemned to the same tortures that they themselves suffer. The faithful Angels are confirmed in grace and have their abode in heaven for all eternity. We call some Guardian Angels because God has appointed them to keep watch over man on earth. Each one of us has a Guardian Angel.

Adam and Eve

God formed man and gave to him a living and immortal soul, created to His own image. From Adam, the first man, and from Eve, whom God gave to Adam as a companion, has sprung the whole human race. God has created us to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him forever in heaven. God not only gave our first parents an immortal soul: He elevated them to a supernatural life of grace; He called them to enjoy His eternal happiness. In this first state of original justice, He exempted them from the ravages of sickness, ignorance, concupiscence, and death.

Original Sin

Having been tempted by the devil, our first parents disobeyed God. For this reason they lost for themselves and for their posterity that life of grace and holiness. Adam transmitted that same disgrace and degradation to all his descendants, and this is the state of original sin to which we all are born. The gates of heaven were closed to mankind as a result of original sin. Only Mary, in view of the merits of her Divine Son, was exempt from original sin- from the first moment of her conception, i.e., from the moment her soul was created and infused into her body it was free from original sin and filled with sanctifying grace. This privilege is called her Immaculate Conception.

[St. Michael the Archangel]

Saint Michael is given by the Church the highest place among the angels, for she refers to him as the "Prince of the heavenly hosts." Here Saint Michael leads the angels in their heavenly battle against Lucifer and his legions of disobedient angels when Lucifer's pride caused him to rebel against God and seek His throne.

[Shroud of Turin]

The Shroud of Turin, still being examined by scientists for decades. Floral images and pollen grains found in the shroud and the weave of the shroud were found to be from the Holy Land. Using NASA 3D technology, the shroud also has the property of a 3D image unlike any photographs analyzed.

The Promise of a Redeemer

God had pity upon man whom He had created with such love; and having subjected man from the time of Adam's fall to sickness, ignorance, concupiscence and death, He promised a Redeemer who would make reparation for the sin of Adam and Eve and reopen the gates of heaven. The human race never did completely forget this divine promise, although for many centuries before the coming of the Redeemer, it languished in the ways of corruption. The hope for a Redeemer was kept alive among the Hebrew people, through the successive missions which God gave to the Patriarchs, Moses, and the Prophets. These extraordinary men were not raised up for the sole purpose of reminding the Jews of their obligation to the moral law, but also to keep alive their hope and to foretell the character and redeeming works of the future Messiah.

The Coming of the Savior

When the time appointed by the wisdom of God had come, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, became Man in the womb of the Virgin Mary. The Church celebrates the birth of our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ on Christmas Day. He received the name Jesus, meaning Savior because He came to save the world. Christ, meaning Anointed One, was the name given by the Chosen People of God to their Priests, Kings and Prophets by reason of the holy unction with which they were consecrated. This name is eminently adapted to the Son of God made Man Who was anointed not by means of an exterior and material unction but by the fullness of the divinity which resides in Him.

The Incarnation of Jesus

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, equal and consubstantial with the Father in all things. Jesus Christ is Man because He possesses all that which constitutes human nature: a body, and a soul. This union of Divine nature and human nature in Jesus Christ is called the Mystery of the Incarnation. There are, then, in Jesus Christ, two natures (the nature of God and the nature of man) and one Person (the Person of the Son of God).

Jesus Christ - Our Lord and Savior

Jesus Christ came upon earth to destroy the reign of sin. He fought sin by His example, prophecies, and miracles; but above all He triumphed over sin by the merits of His Passion and death. He delivered Himself up to the malice of His enemies; He allowed Himself to be condemned to cruel punishment and to be crucified. He shed all His Blood while praying for His persecutors: taking the place of the guilty, He suffered and died for them. He made satisfaction for the sins of all human beings: for those who preceded His coming as well as those who followed Him, meriting graces without number and without measure for their sanctification and salvation.

The Redemption

Jesus Christ did not suffer and die as God, for a Divine Nature can neither suffer nor die. He died as Man; but as God, He has given an infinite value to His sufferings and death. He died for all human beings, including those who do not take advantage of His saving merits. The day in which the Church, in a special manner, commemorates the death of Jesus Christ is called Good Friday.

This death of the Son of God made Man, offering His very life on the Cross as a sacrifice for the salvation of humankind, is called the Mystery of the Redemption of the human race: a mystery of love in which God has united His mercy and justice, in pardoning sinful human beings in view of the sacrifice and merits of His innocent Son.

Immediately after the death of Jesus Christ, His body was placed in a tomb. He then descended into hell, that is, the place of the dead, to free all the souls of the just, the Patriarchs, and Prophets who were detained there awaiting the coming of the Messiah and the Redemption of the world.

The Resurrection

The third day after His death, Jesus Christ rose from the dead. This signal of His mission and of His divinity has confirmed His work, and has given us a solid foundation for our Faith and an infallible assurance of our hope. The Church commemorates this great miracle on Easter Sunday.

[Our Lady of Guadalupe]

The imprint of the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared on the tilma of an Aztec peasant Juan Diego in 1531. A microscopic examination revealed that there are no brush strokes, indicating that the tilma is not a painting. Her eyes contain images visible only through modern technology, the stars on her robe are accurate to constellations that would've appeared on 12.12.1531 and its flower clusters are glyphs of the native language containing various intricate messages. The tilma has maintained its structural integrity over nearly 500 years, and survived a bomb explosion in 1921 intended for its destruction. The bomb damaged the altar, but left the icon unharmed.

[Golgotha]

Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. The Cross stands on Golgotha where Jesus was crucified.

Peter the Rock, explained by Catholic Answers

The Primitive Church and Now

Jesus Christ has left upon earth a Church, a holy people and society which unites in one body the children of God all over the world. He Himself gathered together the first members, His disciples, from among whom He chose His twelve Apostles. To them especially, He entrusted His mission to teach all nations, to administer the Sacraments, to offer the sacrifice of His Body and Blood, and to govern the Church.

“And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”

Matthew 16:18

He chose particularly one of them, to whom He gave the name of Peter (the Rock), indicating by his name that He wanted to make him the foundation stone upon which His Church would be built. He appointed Peter Prince of the Apostles, Pastor of Pastors, and designated him to be His Vicar on earth after His Ascension into Heaven. St. Peter, the other Apostles, and the disciples made up the membership of the Church after Jesus ascended into Heaven. The advent of the Holy Spirit fertilized its beginnings and gave the Apostles the gift of prophecy.

The Apostles have had as their successors Bishops, whom they consecrated and who in turn consecrated others so that the apostolic ministry has never been interrupted. St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, was the first Bishop of Rome, where he ended his apostolate in glorious martyrdom. His successors in the See of Rome will always preserve the primacy of honor and of jurisdiction which Jesus gave to St. Peter.

In virtue of this succession, the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, is the Vicar of Jesus Christ, the Head of all the Church, the Father of all Christians. To him, in the person of St. Peter, has been given the power to shepherd, to reign, and to rule the universal Church: so that the Pope and all the Bishops in communion with him continually represent on earth the Apostolic college established by our Savior.

By the legitimate succession of its pastors, principally of its Roman Pontiffs, from the Apostles down to our own times, and until the end of the world, the Church can and will always be able to trace its origin to the Apostles and from them to Jesus Christ.

 

The Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church is the only flock of which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the only Shepherd. To hear the teachings of the Church and to submit oneself to its laws is to hear Jesus Christ and to obey Him. To refuse to submit to the decisions and laws of the Church is to refuse to submit to Jesus Christ. He Himself has expressly said to His Apostles: "He who hears you, hears Me; and he who rejects you, rejects Me; and he who rejects Me, rejects Him Who sent Me. (Luke 10:16)" One cannot separate oneself from the Church without at the same time rejecting Jesus Christ; for "there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)"

When one willfully remains outside the true Church there is no hope for salvation. The Church teaches that all men who by no fault of their own do not know Christ and his Church but sincerely seek God and follow the voice of their conscience can attain eternal salvation. However, anyone who has recognized that Jesus Christ is "the way, and the truth, and the life" but is unwilling to follow him cannot find salvation by other paths. [1]

[1] YOUCAT, Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Catholic Popes tracing back to
Saint Peter the Apostle

[St. Padre Pio]

Saint Padre Pio

The Mystical Body of Christ

The faithful who make up the Church represent one body, of which Jesus Christ is the Head. In their capacity as members of this Mystical Body, all are called to participate in the merits of its Divine Head; all are united through participation in the same spiritual benefits: faith, the Sacraments, good works, and prayers. This union continues even after death and is called the Communion of Saints, which means the union of the faithful on earth, the blessed in heaven, and the souls in Purgatory, with Christ as their Head.

The Saints who are already in heaven pray for us, and we obtain from God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, powerful assistance in order to attain the happiness which they already enjoy. Accordingly, we on earth, who are battling against the enemy of our salvation, can help by our prayers and other good works of mercy those souls who suffer in Purgatory to expiate their faults and discharge their debts to divine justice.

“Humility caused the Son of God to be born of the Virgin, in whom was found humility, not eager embraces or beauty of flesh or earthly riches or earthly honors. But the Son of God lay in a manger, because His Mother was a poor maiden. Humility always groans, weeps, and destroys all offenses, for this is its work. So let anyone who wishes to conquer the Devil arm himself with humility, since Lucifer fervently flees it and hides in its presence like a snake in a hole; for wherever it finds him, it quickly snaps him like a fragile thread.

And charity took the Only-Begotten God, who was in the bosom of the Father in Heaven, and placed Him in the womb of a mother on earth, for it does not spurn sinners or publicans but seeks to save all. Therefore it often brings forth a fountain of tears from the eyes of the faithful, thus softening hardness of heart. In this, humility and charity are brighter than the other virtues.”

Scivias, the visions of St. Hildegard of Bingen who died 1179 A.D.

The Last Judgement

At the end of time, Jesus Christ will again come with great power and majesty to judge all men and to render to each according to each one's works. This general judgement will be a manifestation and confirmation of the particular judgement to which each one of us must submit immediately after death. But before the last judgement, all men will be resurrected with the same bodies they had during life on earth, so that their bodies will share the same punishment as their souls. God wants also, by this resurrection, to render more complete the triumph of Jesus Christ over death and sin. Impenitent sinners will suffer eternal punishment; the just, on the other hand, will enjoy the vision and possession of God, eternal happiness.

Prayer is necessary

Prayer is a means as efficacious as it is necessary for obtaining help from God. Our blessed Lord has urged us often to have recourse to it, and has given us the model of a perfect prayer- The Lord's Prayer. To this prayer, the Church usually joins the Angelical Salutation, or the Hail Mary, so as to render homage to the Blessed Virgin.

Prayer is necessary for salvation, victory over temptation, the practice of virtue, and perseverance in grace. If the proper things are asked for, and the prayer is made with attention, humility, confidence, sincerity, and perseverance, God will certainly grant our petitions. We do not always obtain what we pray for, either because we have not prayed properly or because God sees that what we are asking would not be for our good.

Prayer and reflection should be part of our daily routine, just as we drink, eat and sleep. Here are a few prayer resources to start, compiled by St. Joseph parishioners:

Irish Jesuits' Sacred Space
Word Among Us
Apostleship of Prayer
Presentation Ministries
The Holy Rosary
Magnificat
Life Teen

 

Holy Mass

On the Cross Jesus offered His Body and Blood to God the Father for us. In the Mass this great act is renewed for our benefit. We offer Jesus to God the Father in adoration, thanksgiving, reparation, and petition. We receive Jesus back from the Father as our Bread for eternal life. We sing hymns to praise God and to show our joy in Mass.

[Pope Francis holding the Eucharist]

Pope Francis leads Benediction during the World Youth Day vigil in Rio de Janeiro July 2013. © Catholic News Service

“Jesus said to them, 'Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.'”

John 6:53-58

“Then many of his disciples who were listening said, 'This saying is hard; who can accept it?' Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, 'Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.' Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.”

John 6:60-64

Saint Justin, who died in 165, tells us the belief of the Christians only a few years after the Gospels were written:

“No one may share the Eucharist with us unless he believes that what we teach is true, unless he is washed in the regenerating waters of baptism for the remission of his sins, and unless he lives in accordance with the principles given us by Christ.

We do not consume the Eucharistic bread and wine as if it were ordinary food and drink, for we have been taught that as Jesus Christ our Savior became a man of flesh and blood by the power of the Word of God, so also the food that our flesh and blood assimilates for its nourishment becomes the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus by the power of his own words contained in the prayer of thanksgiving.

The apostles, in their recollections, which are called gospels, handed down to us what Jesus commanded them to do. They tell us that he took bread, gave thanks and said: Do this in memory of me. This is my body. In the same way he took the cup, he gave thanks and said: This is my blood. The Lord gave this command to them alone. Ever since then we have constantly reminded one another of these things. The rich among us help the poor and we are always united. For all that we receive we praise the Creator of the universe through his Son Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.”

First apology in defense of the Christians, by St. Justin, martyr who died circa 165 A.D.

Saint Justin continues, indicating the different parts of this gathering – an outstanding document to prove the similarity of our celebration with the celebration of the first Christians: [2]

“On Sunday we have a common assembly of all our members, whether they live in the city or the outlying districts. The recollections of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as there is time. When the reader has finished, the president of the assembly speaks to us; he urges everyone to imitate the examples of virtue we have heard in the readings. Then we all stand up together and pray.

On the conclusion of our prayer, bread and wine and water are brought forward. The president offers prayers and gives thanks to the best of his ability, and the people give assent by saying, 'Amen'. The Eucharist is distributed, everyone present communicates, and the deacons take it to those who are absent.

The wealthy, if they wish, may make a contribution, and they themselves decide the amount. The collection is placed in the custody of the president, who uses it to help the orphans and widows and all who for any reason are in distress, whether because they are sick, in prison, or away from home. In a word, he takes care of all who are in need.

We hold our common assembly on Sunday because it is the first day of the week, the day on which God put darkness and chaos to flight and created the world, and because on that same day our savior Jesus Christ rose from the dead. For he was crucified on Friday and on Sunday he appeared to his apostles and disciples and taught them the things that we have passed on for your consideration.”

First apology in defense of the Christians, by St. Justin, martyr who died circa 165 A.D.

Do we not feel united to the first Christians in celebrating the same mysteries? Can we doubt that what we do today at Mass it was transmitted to us from the apostles? [2]

[2] Our Lady of Peace bulletin, August 12, 2012.

The Bible & Sacred Tradition

God revealed himself in time. He intervened in history and communicated to human beings His merciful plans. The Bible (Word of God) is the record of this self-revelation of God which was set forth in a message as well as in events. God spoke and acted- word and event went together. Human beings left to themselves cannot discover all the mysteries of God or His creatures. In His goodness, God has revealed to us many truths which He wants us to know. God's Revelation is contained in the Bible and Sacred Tradition.

The Bible is a collection of sacred books, which were composed under the positive influence of the Holy Spirit by men chosen by God, and which have been accepted by the Church as inspired. It is the most authorized, most admirable, and most important book in the world because it is the only "divine book," the word of God in the language of man. The two main parts of the Bible are the Old Testament and the New Testament. The word "testament" is used here in the sense of "agreement" or "covenant". The Old Testament is a record of the old agreement between God (Yahweh) and His chosen people, the Hebrews. It describes the remote preparation for the coming of the Messiah. The New Testament is a record of the new agreement made by God with the whole human race through the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God made Man.

Sacred Tradition is the Word of God given to the Apostles by Christ and the Holy Spirit and handed down to their successors through the Church by means of prayer and Creeds, liturgical practices, and authoritative writings (Popes, bishops, and theologians). Tradition can be defined as the way the Church understands and lives the teachings of Jesus at any particular moment in time. Tradition and Sacred Scripture form one deposit of the Word of God. Thus, Scripture, Traditions, and the Catholic Church combine to bring us God's revelation.