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JOYFUL GIFT Your weekly newsletter from the Catholic English Mass in Funchal

Edition Edition#27 #1 #2 Edition #2 st th th Sunday, 1 January 2012 Sunday Sunday June2011 2011 Sunday 12125 June

Welcome to the Chapel of Penha de França, founded by António Dantas in 1622 and built on a “penha” or peak, by the sea. This soon became so famous a shrine that people came to it on pilgrimage from all parts of the Island, and in 1721 the chapel was restored and enlarged. When the Diocese of Funchal took possession of the chapel it was used for the bishops as a Country House or Summer Residence for many years. In the meantime, the Franciscans had been coming to Madeira to carry out apostolic duties however it was only in 1935, on Easter Sunday, that they founded the Franciscan Residence of Our Lady of Penha de França, at the request of Bishop D. António Ribeiro.

Capela da Penha de França Funchal, Madeira

The English Mass is a tradition that dates back to 1966, when Fr Rafael Andrade, having just returned from his first visit to England, complied with the Bishop´s request to start an English celebration. Fr Rafael presided this mass for over 30 years, when he had to stop in 1999 due to overlapping duties. For eight years there was no Mass in English in Madeira, until it began again on the first Sunday of Lent in 2007.

Have a lovely time in Madeira Island and we hope to receive your visit again soon…


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Thoughts on the Scripture Readings Brought to you by Chris Oliver, UK 1st January – Mary the Mother of God


Israelites were formed as a people during the Exodus. To prepare to conquer the land they had been promised they made themselves holy. Then Aaron gave them the ancient priestly blessing in our first reading, confirming that God’s name was placed on them - they were owned and protected by God. The image of God uncovering his face and smiling on us reminds us of God’s affection and love for us. To ask God to “bless” is to ask him to pour out the continual sustaining power of life that is manifested as growth, fertility and prosperity. The “peace” God brings is the state of being whole, complete and in harmony with God’s will. Our second reading is from Paul’s letter to the Galatians - a mixed people of Celts or Gauls who

migrated from central Europe to central Turkey, and Jews who had been transported from Syria, then later overlaid with Greek culture. “Born of a woman” is not a reference to Mary, but simply an affirmation that Jesus was truly man and a Jew, who enabled us to be adopted as sons, entitled to inherit the kingdom. Luke’s Gospel brings us to Mary and to Jesus, who was circumcised into Judaism according to the Jewish Law, and given the name God had ordained. Num 6:22-27

Ps 66: 2–3. 5. 6. 8. r. 2 4:4-7 Luke 2:16-21


Psalm response: O God, be gracious and bless us. Further Information,


From My Heart to Your Heart Brought to you by Fr. Bernardino, Madeira An «Ugly» Christmas Play

I was invited by my good friend Fr. Bonifácio to say the Midnight Mass at Our Lady of the Carmel Parish where he is a Pastor. A Christmas play was included in the proclamation of the Gospel. After so many years, after so many Midnight Masses and many Christmas plays this was the first time in my life when tears filled my eyes. This happened because the Christmas Play was very «ugly».

Crucifix has to do with Christmas? That should be for Lent or Holy Week but not for Christmas. That looked so «ugly».

I counted around twenty five proud children dressed as angels inside the huge sanctuary of the Parish Church. The play started with the Annunciation. When the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was going to have a baby she (Michaela) jumped and stood up. Mary looked surprised, confused and scared. I think she portrayed very well what happened with Mary in real life. Mary became pregnant, had to journey with Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem. «While they were in Bethlehem, the time came to have her baby. She gave birth to her first son, wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger – there was no room for them to stay in the inn.» (Lk 2: 6-7). Until this part the play was beautiful except the part when Joseph and Mary knocked at so many doors looking for a place to stay and they were refused at every door. It looked so real to me. Mother Teresa always mentioned the excruciating pain of being rejected. And my mind started wandering around and I saw, like in a movie, so many «Marys» and «Josephs» looking for a place to stay without any success and babies being aborted because there is no room for them at the inn. This was one of the «ugly» parts that brought tears to my eyes. How could I feel so much pain just watching a «beautiful» Christmas Play? But then the «worst» part came. The Baby Jesus was born and imagine what I saw. Mary, with her Baby, was seated on the priest's chair with Joseph at her side. Mary looked so beautiful and happy. The Baby (a real baby) was gorgeous. But all of a sudden I saw this detail that shocked me. Right above the head of Mary, with her precious Baby on her arms, there was this huge Crucifix (Jesus’ dead body) with exaggerated dimensions. What a

Again tears came to my eyes and I thought that if it was planned it couldn’t express better the meaning and the mystery of Christmas. Did Mary have any idea that her precious Baby was going to «end» or to pass through such cruelty and ugliness? I don’t know. But there is one thing that I know. All of those who take the risk of following that Baby and feel passionate about his project, need to be sure that the cross is waiting for him/her. Helping the poor is the riskiest way of following the Baby. They will always, always be persecuted and the cross is going to be their life that sometimes will be very, very ugly. The cross is not funny. The cross is cruel and has no meaning. But brings so much meaning to our lives. Now I want to correct. The Christmas Play at the Our Lady of the Carmel Church was the most beautiful Play I have ever seen until this day. That’s where I got the meaning for my cross. Fr. Bernardino Andrade []


The World Seen from Rome Brought to you by ZENIT, the Catholic Church news agency Pope Speaks of Christmas Child as God Who Saves prideful presumption of being self-sufficient, of trying to compete with God and to take his place, to decide what is good and evil, to be the master of life and death," the Pope said in his address, following the morning's Christmas Mass.

Before giving the traditional Christmas blessing to the City of Rome and the world ("urbi et orbi"), Benedict XVI reflected on the Child of Bethlehem as Savior. "He was sent by God the Father to save us above all from the evil deeply rooted in man and in history: the evil of separation from God, the

"Jesus Christ is the proof that God has heard our cry," the Pope declared. "And not only this! God's love for us is so strong that he cannot remain aloof; he comes out of himself to enter into our midst and to share fully in our human condition. The answer to our cry which God gave in Jesus infinitely transcends our expectations, achieving a solidarity which cannot be human alone, but divine. Only the God who is love, and the love which is God, could choose to save us in this way, which is certainly the lengthiest way, yet the way which respects the truth about him and about us: the way of reconciliation, dialogue and cooperation." Further Information,

From Father Aires’ Desk Brought to you by Fr. A Gameiro, Pombal Mini-story of Christmas


had just been admitted to one of St. John of God’s hospitals. Face burned by the cold wind, rather thin, middle aged, he showed some anxiety, feeling strange but speaking easily. He complained that he had no money. Where did he live? On the street. Nowhere to go. And he added in a very sad mood: today I have to sleep on the street again, I cannot afford to pay the bed. When he knew that he didn’t have to sleep on the street, that he was in a St. John of God’s house, he felt relieved. It was just two days before Christmas and he was in a house of a holy man transformed by Jesus Christ who spent his life caring for the poor and sick people taken from the street into his hospital. Since two thousand years ago millions of people like this saint accepted to be transformed by Jesus, the Son of God and became saints to be happier and to love and care for their fellow men.

Jesus with his divinity in flesh is unceasingly humanizingdivinizing this world. This is the meaning of Christmas. So I became quite angry with that “greetings of the season” card I received as if somebody wanted to conceal Jesus and his birth celebration from calendar and from the world. What kind of season? How dare anybody crazily pretend to put out the Sun? It is really an irrational goal to deny reality. What a blindness pretending to cover the Sun of Men with a sieve; and you can wonder: right in Jesus Christ’s Christmas of 2011!? Fr. Aires Gameiro []


Music for Everyone Brought to you by Os Clave de Fá, Funchal

Every first Sunday of the Month we are proud to welcome a Portuguese choir to the English Mass. In January we start the New year with the Choir Clave de Fá (meaning Bass Clef). This Choir started back in 2006 with only male voices, but nowadays its 10 members are both male and female. They perform also in Weddings and Baptism ceremonies, and since they’ve started they have been playing in 27 Churches around the Island. Their music director is Plácido Pereira. []

People Helping People A small project founded in the Chapel of Penha de França to help those in need

After 18 months, and only because of the never-wavering and never-ending support of Portuguese, English and American supporters, we were able to launch two original programs (never done before in Madeira by any other organization) to help those, particularly those that don’t qualify for other official institutions. Here we give you a sneak peek of what has been achieved… A very special restaurant (FIGOS, in Garajau) A partnership with a Portuguese supermarket chain to print food vouchers, not only at Christmas time… Pioneer vouchers in the island to help those struggling with something we so often take for granted. Pingo Doce (the name of the store) means “Sweet Drop”. If you wish to DONATE, please find bellow the details for PHP Bank Account, NIB: 0038 0000 39527051771 85 IBAN: PT50 0038 0000 39527051771 85 BIC: BNIFPTPL To send CHECKS or any correspondence, here is our Address Book, (Europe) Pe Bernardino Andrade Rua das Murteiras, 28 – 1E 9060-199 Funchal, Madeira (USA) Janice Contreras 60 Meeks Ln. Oakley, CA 94561 Editor: Laura Machado © Funchal, 2011 []

offered to cook a meal for a family of eight, twice a month! With this initiative we hope many more restaurants also feel that the joy of living, is giving. It works like this…

1 At 6pm a lovely cook is making a homemade meal for a needy family.

2 At 6h30 one of our volunteers is picking up the meal and getting ready to deliver it.

3 At 7pm a family receives a wonderful special meal, full of warmth and love.

If you wish to know more, don’t hesitate to contacts us, and if you too believe that help has many forms (a birthday cake, a lift to the hospital) start your own People Helping People and lets create and international community that looks after one another. We would also like to express our gratitude to Fr Rafael for all the information on the English Mass, Fr Nélio for kindly giving the booklet on the story of Penha de França, Sir Ronnie for all his dedication and friendship, Fr Bonifácio, Pablo & Ligia for all the help printing this newsletter, restaurant FIGOS for always providing a fabulous meeting point and all of you that, with your endless generosity, support this cause. 4

Joyful Gift #27  
Joyful Gift #27  

Edition no.27 of Joyful Gift (01-01-2012) - Your weekly newsletter from the Catholic English Mass in Madeira Island