Prayer of Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of the New Evangelisation

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On 7 October 2014, on the Feast of our Lady of the Rosary, His Excellency Archbishop William Goh Seng Chye, the Archbishop of Singapore dedicated and consecrated the Archdiocese of Singapore and all the efforts of the New Evangelisation in Singapore to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Star of the New Evangelisation.

Although this refers to the Archdiocese of Singapore, I believe that everyone else in the world, within the Church of God may also pray the same prayer for the sake of evangelisation of the Good News everywhere in this world.

 

Here is the text of the prayer, to be prayed daily from 7 October 2014 to 7 October 2015, the Feast of our Lady of the Rosary.

 

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Most Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ.

We praise and thank God for His mighty works in you. O Blessed Mother, Star of the New Evangelisation; we consecrate the New Evangelisation for Singapore to your Most Immaculate Heart and implore your intercession for a mighty renewal of the Catholic Church in Singapore. We entrust to you all priests, Religious and laity. Guide our leaders to imitate your humility and obedience to God and to be docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

May all hearts be converted and re-ignited with love for Christ and inflamed with evangelical zeal, so as to bear witness to God’s loving salvation. Mary, Mother of the Church, unite us with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to be a people of communion in mission.

May your constant love and guidance be the light of refuge that leads us to your son, Jesus. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Fifth Sunday after Pentecost (II Classis) – Sunday, 13 July 2014 : Epistle

Lectio Epistolae beati Petri Apostoli – Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Peter the Apostle

1 Peter 3 : 8-15

Carissimi : Omnes unanimes in oratione estote, compatientes, fraternitatis amatores, misericordes, modesti, humiles : non reddentes malum pro malo, nec maledictum pro maledicto, sed e contrario benedicentes, quia in hoc vocati estis, ut benedictionem hereditate possideatis.

Qui enim vult vitam diligere et dies videre bonos, coerceat linguam suam a malo, et labia ejus ne loquantur dolum. Declinet a malo, et faciat bonum : inquirat pacem, et sequatur eam. Quia oculi Domini super justos, et aures ejus in preces eorum : vultus autem Domini super facientes mala.

Et quis est, qui vobis noceat, si boni aemulatores fueritis? Sed et si quid patimini propter justitiam, beati. Timorem autem eorum ne timueritis : et non conturbemini. Dominum autem Christum sanctificate in cordibus vestris.

English translation

Dearly beloved, may all of you be one mind, having compassion for one another, being lovers of the brotherhood, merciful, modest, humble; not rendering evil for evil, nor railing for railing, but on the opposite, blessing. For unto this you are called, that you may inherit a blessing.

For he who will love life, and see good days may let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile. Let him distance himself away from evil and do good; let him seek after peace, and pursue it, because the eyes of the Lord are upon the just, and His ears unto their prayers, but the countenance of the Lord is against those who do evil things.

And who is he that can hurt you, if you are zealous for the sake of good? But if you also suffer anything for justice’s sake, you are blessed. And do not be afraid of their fear, and do not be troubled. Sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014 : 10th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Barnabas, Apostle (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate the feast of St. Barnabas, one of the Apostles of Christ, and an important messenger of the Lord, although he was not among the Twelve Apostles. St. Barnabas was renowned especially for his works and his mission activities together with St. Paul the Apostle, the other great Apostle who was known for his extensive works to bring the Good News to the Gentiles and pagans.

St. Barnabas was one of the first teachers of the faith, and he preached the Good News to many people since the beginning of the Church, travelling to many places with St. Paul and the other Apostles to bring the teachings of Christ to many people. St. Barnabas was one of the principal workers of the evangelisation, and through him, the early Christian communities were strengthened and empowered.

He went on from place to place, and having been set aside by the Lord, as we witnessed in the first reading today, he brought the message of salvation just as we heard it in the Gospel today. To the people who still live in darkness and the ignorance of the world at that time, the words and preachings of St. Barnabas must have been a refreshing stream of water which enlightens the eyes and minds of the people, and bring them to realisation of the truths in Christ.

He went around many cities, towns and places throughout the Roman Empire, many of the journeys together with St. Paul, and in many places he was welcomed cordially, and the people eagerly welcomed his teachings, and listened to them. There were many who became believers of Christ after they heard the testimony of St. Barnabas and St. Paul, the pair who became the greatest tool of evangelisation of the early Church.

However, as many as there were those who accepted and welcomed St. Barnabas, there were also equally many those who rejected his preachings and his testimonies, if not even more than those who accepted him and St. Paul. And if we read the entirety of the Acts of the Apostles, we can see how difficult it was for these two Apostles, and the other Apostles in general, in carrying out their missions.

There were always those who stubbornly refused to listen to reason, and refused to listen to the word of truth, as spoken by the Apostles, and many of these people were the fanatical Jews and Pharisees who were spread widely in the Jewish Diaspora in the Greek cities, where they often fiercely contested the teachings of the Apostles in the synagogues and among the people, inciting the people to rise up against them.

And eventually, St. Barnabas also met his end in violent death through martyrdom, in the defense of his faith while ministering to the people of God and preaching the faith, commonly agreed to have happened in the island of Cyprus, where his tomb can now be found at. This faithful man of God had dedicated much of his life to the faith and to God, and even though he met his end, but through his works, he brought many people to salvation in God.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, therefore we are once again presented with the life of this dedicated saint, who worked hard for the sake of the Lord and His people without fear and full of courage, despite all of the oppositions against him and all the persecutions that he had to endure. St. Barnabas showed us all how to be zealous and faithful servants of the Lord, and his example can indeed help us to find our own purpose in life, as children of God and members of His Church.

Let us ask for the intercession and prayer from St. Barnabas, that he will constantly pray for us, that we may find our way and purpose in this life, and that we may serve the Lord in the way that St. Barnabas himself had done in the past, to proclaim the Lord and His truth to others without fear, and filled with zeal and encouragement of the Holy Spirit.

May God guide our path at all times, and help us to carry out the mission that He has entrusted to all of us, that is to become the modern day Apostles and disciples, to bring the light of God to all peoples of all nations. God bless us all. Amen.

Saturday, 8 February 2014 : 4th Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Jerome Emiliani, and St. Josephine Bakhita, Virgin (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Virgins and Saints, or Saturday Mass of our Lady)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, our Lord had always loved us and He always cares for us, no matter what. That was why Jesus was so moved with compassion, that despite His fatigue after preaching to the people for so long, being confronted with even more of the faithful people, He continued on serving them and preaching to them.

Lord Jesus and His love for His people is the example of how much God loves us and cares for us, and despite our constant rebellion and disobedience against His will, He wants us to be with Him again, and that was why He sent His Son Jesus into this world, that through Him, His intentions and love could be made clear, and through Him, we can find a way to reach the Lord who loves us.

We see how people sought Jesus even across mountains and lakes, and across rivers and deserts. They did not mind hunger, thirst, or fatigue, and wanted to hear more from the Lord, the words of the Good News and salvation, the medicine for their soul. And that is how sad the state of our world today, if we can compare it to how it was at the time of Jesus as said in the Gospel today.

Our world is obsessed with all things, everything except God’s love. Many sought wealth and power, and affluence and position in the society. Yet, look at what Solomon in the first reading had sought. He sought none of them. What he sought was wisdom from the Lord, to be able to discern good from evil, and therefore from there, know what ways would please the Lord, that is doing what is good.

The world today was rife with desire and greed. People sought not love but power. People sought not sincerity but wealth. People sought not peace but hatred and violence. We have often forgotten that all of these are obstacles to the true treasures of the world. The true treasures are love, hope, and faith, the fundamental virtues and elements of our belief in the Lord.

God loves us and He is like a Father to us, and indeed, as we pray the Pater Noster, God is indeed our Father, as He had sent His own Son Jesus into this world to be with us, to be one of us, that we too may call the Lord our God Father, just as Jesus called Him Father. And as all fathers do, He will love us and care for us with all the blessings He can give us.

The problem with this world today is that everyone simply had forgotten all of these facts, hidden under layers of the devil’s lies and deceit, and hidden under all the tempting pleasures and happiness offered by the world in wealth, affluence, and power. We have forgotten God’s love and we do not realise that He always has His eyes and His heart aimed at us.

Today we celebrate the feast of two saints of the Church, that is St. Jerome Emiliani, an Italian priest who lived just five centuries ago, and St. Josephine Bakhita, who also lived at about the start of the modern era and was notably a former slave. Both of them were great saints who dedicated their lives to God, and serving mankind with love, reminding them of God’s own love, which was reflected in all of their actions.

St. Jerome Emiliani was a dedicated worker of the faith, who showed his zeal to God through love. He served the sick and the poor, even with his own expense and support, ensuring that these people, considered least in the society might enjoy the love of God as reflected through his own actions. He helped the sick during epidemics and times of difficulties, and his works of love had helped mankind to open their eyes and be touched again by God’s divine love.

St. Josephine Bakhita was a former slave, who was converted into the faith and liberated from her slavery. She chose to join the religious congregation of the Canossian sisters, where she remained and served the people of God with love and zeal, much as St. Jerome Emiliani had done. St. Josephine Bakhita’s love for God and for her fellow mankind was pure and true.

These two saints had shown us how our actions too can bring love to others, and none other than God’s own love whom He had shared with us. We cannot keep the love of God within us but we ought to share them with the world, that many will be reawakened from their slumber and realise once again the love that God has for all of them.

Just as God has awakened the wisdom in Solomon, let us all pray, brethren, that He will also awaken in many, the seed of faith, that combined with our actions of love, they too may heed God’s call to abandon all that is wicked and unworthy, changing their ways and therefore be one of us, worthy of God’s eternal kingdom. God be with us all and all our brethren, all mankind. Amen.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013 : 1st Week of Advent, Feast of St. Francis Xavier, Patron of Missions, Priest (Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White (Priests)

Brothers and sisters in Christ, today we celebrate mission, the work of the servants of God, following what the Lord has commissioned His disciples to do. The Lord has commanded His disciples to spread all over the earth, and spread the Good News, the Good News of Jesus, which come with the Lord Himself as He came incarnate into Man.

The disciples went around many places, telling many people about the Saviour who had come to save them all. The Lord commissioned them to make disciples of all the nations, and baptise them, to mark them in the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, the Most holy God. Only those who have been marked with such sign of baptism will belong to God and be saved.

The disciples of the Lord laboured hard for the conversion and therefore the salvation of many, sharing with them the words and the revelations that they had received from the Lord as witnesses of the Good News. The disciples worked hard and served the people of God without cease and without fear, and they even went through great suffering, persecution, and rejection, eventually suffering death, in the defense of their faith.

Their works did not end there, since the disciples of the Lord appointed their successors, chosen from the people of God, the bishops and the priests, and the countless others who have helped to spread the Good News to the people over many millenia. They persevered for the Lord, accepted in some places but rejected in others. Tortured for their faith but did not recant, and remained faithful even to the end, as the Apostles had done themselves.

These are the realities about the missionaries, who continued the mission given to them by the Lord. They persevered through similar difficulties and challenges as the Apostles and the other disciples of Christ had faced in the past. Even today, thousands and tens of thousands of missionaries spread around the globe toil daily for the salvation of souls.

These missionaries spread the Good News and become its witnesses, by serving the poor, spending time with the lonely and the unloved, as well as reaching out to those who had yet to receive the word of God, and knock at the hearts of those who had turned away from the Lord. Their task is not an easy one, and yet they persevered through, out of their love for the Lord and His people.

Today, we ought to pray for them and give thanks to God for these wonderful missionaries, for the gift of their courage and persistence in the service of God. We celebrate today the feast of St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of missions and missionaries. He was once a great missionary himself, travelling to many countries especially in East and Southeast Asia regions, establishing the foundation for many future missionaries that would follow him.

St. Francis Xavier was the co-founder of the Society of Jesus or the Jesuits, today the largest religious congregation in the world, he founded it with St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order. He was once a man who dedicated his life to pleasures of the world and other debaucheries, and yet, after an encounter with St. Ignatius, he found his life’s meaning in Jesus, seeking to serve Him with zeal.

St. Francis Xavier is particularly interested in spreading the word of God and the news of salvation to far off lands, and to the lands of pagans. At that time, the new discoveries of the wider world beyond the world the people had once known, opened massive opportunity for evangelisation and conversion of many to the true faith. Many people and cultures whom the faith had not touched before, then had the opportunity through the wider exploration of the world. Following along these explorations were the missionaries, many of them Jesuits, including St. Francis Xavier himself.

St. Francis Xavier went as a missionary, firstly to India, where he accomplished much in establishing the works of God in that land, converting many to the faith in God. Then he went on to spread the Good News to many lands, all over the Far East, establishing communities of the faithful and sending missionaries to these lands. He himself led the effort as a vanguard for the faith.

St. Francis Xavier followed in the footsteps of the Apostles and laboured through rejections and even storms at sea to spread the Good News to many souls which he laboured to save. St. Francis Xavier persevered through all of them and went on undeterred to save even more souls. He travelled far to Malacca, to the islands of the Moluccas, to Macau, and even to Japan. He did not get as much success as the works he had done in India, because of oppositions from local rulers, but nevertheless he continued his works.

It was St. Francis Xavier’s dream to be able to preach and spread the Good News in China. But before he managed to do that, he passed away along the way. He had indeed passed before us, but until today, his spirit, the spirit of zealous and courageous missionary, never died, and continues to burn in the many missionaries that followed after St. Francis Xavier.

Therefore, brethren, today, let us commemorate our missionaries, past and present. Do not forget to pray for them, that they will continue to persevere in the mission they had embarked on. Let us pray that God will continue to guide them, watch over them, and empower them. And finally, we too, brothers and sisters in Christ, we too are called to be missionaries. The mission that Jesus had given to His disciples also applies to us.

We do not have to make difficult journeys and hard works in the way the missionaries had done. We can do things even as simple as making our own homes, our own families, and our own societies, the people around us, to make. God the centre of our own lives, and through our own actions, words, and deeds, we too can be missionaries, the living witnesses of the faith in God.

May the Lord continue to bless us, empower us, and strengthen us with a burning zeal, in order to continue to proclaim Him in the world, to be witnesses of God’s Good News to the world. Amen.

Friday, 22 November 2013 : 33rd Week of Ordinary Time, Memorial of St. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Red

Luke 19 : 45-48

Then Jesus entered the Temple area and began to drive out the merchants. And He said to them, “God says in the Scriptures, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have turned it into a den of robbers!'”

Jesus was teaching every day in the Temple. The chief priests and teachers of the Law wanted to kill Him, and the elders of the Jews as well, but they were unable to do anything, for all the people were listening to Him and hanging on His words.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013 : 31st Week of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Romans 12 : 5-16a

The same with us, being many, we are one body in Christ, depending on one another. Let each one of us, therefore, serve according to our different gifts. Are you a prophet? Then give the insights of faith. Let the minister fulfill his office; let the teacher teach, the one who encourages, convince.

You must, likewise, give with an open hand, preside with dedication, and be cheerful in your works of charity. Let love be sincere. Hate what is evil and hold to whatever is good. Love one another and be considerate. Outdo one another in mutual respect. Be zealous in fulfilling your duties. Be fervent in the Spirit and serve God.

Have hope and be cheerful. Be patient in trials and pray constantly. Share with other Christians in need. With those passing by, be ready to receive them. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not wish evil on anyone. Rejoice with those who are joyful, and weep with those who weep. Live in peace with one another.