Faith Facts - Term 4 2021
On Monday we celebrated the Feast of St Luke the Evangelist. Luke, the writer of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, has been identified with St. Paul's "Luke, the beloved physician" (Colossians 4:14). It is believed that Luke was born a Greek and a Gentile. Luke's gospel shows special sensitivity to evangelising Gentiles. It is only in his gospel that we hear the parable of the Good Samaritan, that we hear Jesus praising the faith of Gentiles such as the widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian (Lk.4:25-27), and that we hear the story of the one grateful leper who is a Samaritan (Lk.17:11-19).
November 1st is All Saints' Day. It is a solemn holy day of the Catholic Church. The day is dedicated to the saints of the Church, that is, all those who have attained heaven. It should not be confused with All Souls' Day, which is observed on November 2, and is dedicated to those who have died and not yet reached heaven. All Saints' Day was formally started by Pope Boniface IV, who consecrated the Pantheon at Rome to the Virgin Mary and all the Martyrs on May 13 in 609 AD. Boniface IV also established All Souls' Day, which follows All Saints.
All Souls Day is a holy day set aside for honoring the dead. The day is primarily celebrated in the Catholic Church, but it is also celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church and a few other denominations of Christianity. Purgatory is necessary so that souls can be cleansed and perfected before they enter into heaven. There is a scriptural basis for the belief of purgatory. The primary reference is in 2 Maccabees, 12:46; “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.”
On November 5th many celebrate Guy Fawkes Night. Perhaps this year, here in Aotearoa New Zealand we can remember the people of Parihaka and their non-violent resistance to invasion. This happened on November 5th 1881. Tohu, Te Whiti and all of Parihaka’s men were arrested, houses and cultivations destroyed and livestock
slaughtered or confiscated. Remembering Parihaka is a great resource to read and find out more.
Who was St Martin of Tours? Martin of Tours (Latin: Sanctus Martinus Turonensis; 316 – 8 November 397) was the third bishop of Tours. He has become one of the most familiar and recognisable Christian saints in France. He is best known for the account of his using his military sword to cut his cloak in two, to give half to a beggar clad only in rags in the depth of winter. His shrine in Tours became a famous stopping-point for pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
Elizabeth was born in the Kingdom of Hungary to King Andrew II of Hungary and Gertrude of Merania on July 7, 1207; she died in Thuringia (in modern-day Germany) on November 17, 1231 at the age of 24. St. Francis lived around the same time (1182-1226). Elizabeth made many private vows to God and became a Third Order Secular Franciscan. She is the patron saint of hospitals, nurses, bakers, brides, countesses, dying children, exiles, homeless people, lace-makers, widows and the Third Order of Saint Francis!!!
The Church’s liturgical year concludes with this feast of Christ the King, instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925 to celebrate the Jubilee Year and the 16th centenary of the Council of Nicaea. Instituting this feast, Pope Pius XI proclaimed: “Pax Christi in regno Christi” (“The peace of Christ in the reign of Christ”).
Sunday the 28th November is the first Sunday of Advent. So set up your Advent wreath . The Advent wreath is part of our long-standing Catholic tradition. Traditionally, Advent wreaths hold four coloured candles, lit one by one through the four weeks of the season. These candles represent in order: hope, love, joy, and peace. Each is purple except the pink, which represents joy. A fifth candle, the white Christ candle, is first lit on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day.
Advent wreaths are a great way to mark the Advent season and involve your household in the process. Make yours now!
29 Nov - 3 Dec
Perhaps in the coming Advent weeks you could pray this prayer each day in your home.
Light up our lives
Christ, come into our world of darkness
Light up our lives with your coming.
Fulfil all our longings with the joy of your birth
Strengthen our resolve to work for change in our world
And to share the hope of your birth that each Advent brings.
Sr Bridgetta Rooney/CAFOD
What is the Immaculate Conception?
The Immaculate Conception, the solemnity celebrated on December 8th is a Catholic dogma that states that Mary, whose conception was brought about the normal way, was conceived without original sin or its stain. That’s what “immaculate” means: without stain.
Enjoy the summer holidays. Until we see you again in 2022 perhaps you and your family could make an effort to pray this prayer for the Synod 2021-2023.