Volume 5, Issue 9
Monthly Events Monthly Prayer Meeting—
Malankara Catholic Church St. Mary’s Mission Toronto
Kochumol Philip and Daniel Philip residence March 15
St. Eugene’s Chapel-13 Regina Ave., Toronto, ON. M6A 1R2 firstname.lastname@example.org
Women`s Prayer meeting
Alex and Omana`s residence March 28-30
Dear Readers, As we enter the Season of Great Fast otherwise known as Lent we are challenged to grow in our experiences and relationships with others and with God. Many of us will be giving up meat and other food stuffs for the next 50 days but will we be adding to our lives? If we are truly ready to take our faith lives to the next level we must move beyond the traditional rituals that we practice year by year. In addition to them we must ask ourselves deeper questions. In the article, “Loving the Season of Lent” we are challenged to find both an affection and joy for this season of penance. Within this issue we see the examples of both Mary and Joseph and their responses to the will and call of God. Let us use the example of their willing yes to God, especially in the face of the Annunciation to willingly and consistently grow in our spiritual lives. Editorial Team
Table of Editors Editors………
Stephina Alexander & Christopher Thomas
Rev. Fr. John Kuriakose
Got feedback? Please address to Amit Mathews (Chief Editor) at email@example.com Letters will be published in the next issue of the bulletin
Sunday Liturgy 3:00 PM—Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament 3:00 PM—4:00 PM : Catechism 4:00 PM—Holy Mass Contact Information Fr. John Kuriakose 222 Ridley Blvd. Toronto, Ont M5M 3M6 Tel: (416) 485-7781 firstname.lastname@example.org
Inside this issue: Celebrating Annunciation
Loving the season of Lent
Saint of the month
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Celebration of the Announciation On March 25th, we celebrate the Annunciation, the announcement of the birth of Christ to Mary, and the day of His miraculous conception in the Virginâ€™s womb. It is the first event of Christâ€™s life, and I wish we celebrated it as much as His birth. My relationship with the Annunciation is primarily through art, and then through scripture. One of the most effective strategies my spiritual director uses to explain things to me is to analyse stories, art and scripture, and one of the tools he uses most often with me is the Cestello Annunciation by Sandro Botticelli, an Italian Renaissance master. He has a black and white version of it hanging in his office, beautiful and striking, full of movement.
The aesthetics of the painting are so pleasing; it will only do to talk of them before moving on. Botticelli gives an interesting twist to the traditional layout of the Annunciation that is still used is Eastern icons. The Virgin is standing or sitting on the right, with Gabriel on the left, buildings behind them. In Western tradition, she already wears the red of the shared Passion with the Son she has yet to conceive, and the blue of her purity. The presence of lilies to denote the Virgin, in this case within in Gabrielâ€™s hands, is carefully placed as to not distract the viewer from the two persons. Even the contrast of the straight, plain and bare architecture and the lines of the tiles to the dramatic and colourful movement, positions and clothing of Mary and Gabriel draw your eyes in to them and the beauty and grace they possess. The use of the river, buildings and ongoing hills seen through the window add perspective and a secondary interest, should you be able to pull your eyes away from the actual event. But much more interesting are the layers of subtle meaning in the painting. Look at their hands, and the space between them on the floor. A young green tree and all the vegetation and life are on the left with Gabriel, and he reaches to Mary to both reassure her and extend
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the physical life of Christ to her. She shies away in fear of the angelic being, but just as her hands are placed to protect herself, they also look as if they are reaching out. At no point do they touch, neither by their clothes or their shadows, a reflection of how Mary conceived Christ without physical touch.
Whenever I struggle with understanding God’s passionate patience, or how much of a gentleman He is, my spiritual director takes me back to this picture. He tells me to look at the position of Gabriel, to look at the reverence and humility he has in the face of the Mother of God. Gabriel, who is of divine nature and who at his entrance frightens Mary and must reassure her, is both humbled and entranced by her, a mere human with an extraordinary task. He asks me to compare Gabriel’s face and body with the face and bodily position of a man who proposes to a woman, down on one knee and attentive to the response of the woman, as if the entire universe hinges on the very words that come from her mouth at that moment.
This, he tells me, is how every man truly in love with a woman acts, but it also how God Himself acts in the presence of each of His people. Here is the God of the universe, capable of anything He wants, who doesn’t need permission to do anything, whose greatness is so vast every human is like a grain of sand, and yet He waits for Mary’s words in rapture. Mary was prepared from her own conception and throughout her whole life for this task from God, but He does not push it on her in any way. Unlike the stories of the pagan gods, our God is not a forceful or violent god, but He invites Mary to participate in salvation with Him, and then respects and waits on her free will, just as a man invites a woman to the sacrament of marriage, and then wants on her answer. If Mary did not answer, God would have waited for as long as she took.
To each of His people, the Lord proposes His will, but waits for cooperation. He is not a selfish God who insists on His will despite the wants of others, but He is a God of love, and love allows choice. For each of us, God has a plan of greatness, beyond what we could ever imagine. But He will not act unless we allow Him to. Just as Gabriel proposes the conception of Christ to Mary, God proposes and offers freedom and forgiveness and love, but He waits for us to take it. Even from the moment of our conception, He knows that will make us happiest in this world, what our vocations are, but at no point will He force it on us. He wants us to choose it with Him, and He will wait all our lives for that yes. For every vocation, every decision we make as Christians. God proposes, and then waits. If we say yes, He moves forward with His plan with our cooperation. If we say no and choose otherwise, He will find another way, another path to the same end. But at one time or another, we must say yes.
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In Botticelli’s painting, Mary is listening closely to the words of Gabriel. In His message he tells her all she needs to know, but God does not tell her everything. Mary is not a stupid woman, and nor is she naïve. She knows that carrying a child before she is married is punishable by death. She knows the social disgrace she is opening up for herself if she says yes. But she does not ask how God will take care of these things, but only how the act of conception will take place, and upon hearing that nothing is impossible for God, she is satisfied.
In the same way, my spiritual director reminds me that although I try to make logical sense out of every decision before I make it, faith does not need me to be so distrusting. I can ask all the questions I want and wait until I get answer, or I can come to a point where simply jump like Mary did, and trust that God will take care of me and lead the rest of the way, so long as I stay close to Him. To hear a priest say that to you in probably one of the most frightening things for a person to hear, but faith by its nature is frightening. The comfort comes from knowing that it is my choice to say yes to God, and the pain and uncertainty is not forced on me, but is lovingly proposed to me.
Mary did not know the extent of the pain she would be going through, nor if she will survive, or exactly how Christ will establish His reign, but it is her truly extraordinary and heroic faith and trust that allows for the salvation of us all. She took her life day by day, saying yes to God’s proposals each moment, and that was her heroism. May all of us take from the Annunciation both the courage and love of Mary, and the understanding of God’s passionate, patient, loving proposals. Nisha Mary Thomas
Malankara Catholic Church
Loving the season of Lent I hope you have read the title of this article and if not, do that now. Now let me ask the question. When was the last time you have ever thought of or said that you loved the season of Lent? Everyone can relate to the joy felt during Christmas or the deep emotions felt during Easter. But have you experienced Lent the same way? At its basis, we all know that Lent is a period of preparation for the celebration of our Lord’s Passion, Death and Resurrection. It is through this period that we offer alms and sacrifice in order to ready our minds and souls for the events to come. In light of this, we decide to give something up such as food, a hobby or a bad habit. Maybe we try to improve ourselves by praying more or learning more about the Church’s teachings. All of this happens because for 40 days we are called to do something, or perhaps, we are obligated to participate. Before the season begins, we have fallen into a robotic mindset. What is it that we subconsciously do during Christmas and Easter that makes us more attuned to its divine grace? I believe the answer lies in remembrance and meditation of God. I often find that when I talk to some people about Lent, the first question that comes up is “What are you giving up?” Although there is nothing wrong with this question at all, rephrase the question to “Why are you giving something up?” When you think about Lent in this way, it makes the focus on God and yourself, rather than just your efforts. Abstinence is meant to lead us to God. Yes we are sinners. Yes we are broken. “I don’t have anything to offer Lord, but here I am. I’m giving it up for you”. Many people stop at “I’m giving it up”. By taking it one step further, we are truly embracing the season of Lent. 40 days of meditation and reflecting might seem like a lot, but you are not alone when you do it. Talk to your priest on how to fully embrace the Lenten season. Ask him about spiritual reflection, self-reflection, Lenten prayers, confessions, associated Bible readings, the Lenten traditions of the church and Pope Francis’ homilies about Lent. That alone can take you through the 40 days I’m sure! Do you have a smartphone, tablet or computer? Perfect. Bookmark this site and visit it everyday: http://www.ewtn.com/faith/lent/index.asp. It’s a site full of Lenten reflections for every day along with challenges and Bible readings. Do you have email? Beautiful. Take this site down: http://www.lentreflections.com/. You will get a reflection every day of the season. Are you into books? Amazing. Read “Jesus of Nazareth” by Pope Benedict XVI. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I call you to meditate this Lenten season. Dig deep into the season of Lent. Make sacrifices, but make them with purpose. Grow towards God and I assure you that you will come to love Lent. Jonathan Mani
Malankara Catholic Church
Altar Serving Schedule Altar Severs Schedule March 2014 Date
Marbahasa 1 Marbahasa 2 Bell
Letter to the Chief Editor It is with great joy we read the newsletter from Malankara parish, Toronto every month and keep ourselves well informed about our parish activities. Under the watchful eyes of Kuriakose Achen, this is a well thought out, well laid out and very informative newsletter, to say the least. Our sincere congratulation and appreciation is in order to Jonathan, Sebin, Lynn, Amit and the entire team for their dedication and hard work. Look forward to reading the next issue of our news bulletin. Thank you and may God bless you all ! Benjamin Panicker & Mrs. Panicker Ottawa Week
March 2 I Sunday of the Great Fast (Saumo Rabo) March 9 II Sunday of the Great Fast
John 2: 1 – 11 Wedding Feast at Cana
March 16 III Sunday of the Great Fast
Matthew 9: 1 – 8 Curing of the Paralytic
1 Jn. 4: 13 – 21 Rom. 12: 16 21 James 1: 12 18 Titus 2: 1 - 10 James 3: 1 - 12 Rom. 6: 15 - 23
March 23 IV Sunday of the Great Fast
Matthew 15: 21 – 28 Curing of the Daughter of the Cananite Woman Luke 13: 10 – 17 Curing of the Crippled Woman
March 30 V Sunday of the Great Fast
Mark 1: 40 – 45 Curing of the Leper
1 Jn. 2: 1 - 6 Rom. 7: 13 - 25 1 Pet. 3: 18 22 Gal. 5: 16 - 26
Old Testament Readings & Reader Gen. 3: 1 – 13 Valsa MaSir. 2: 1 -11 mootil Isa. 58: 1 - 14 Num. 12: 1 – 16 Raju Ma2 Kings 5: 1 – 14 mootil Isa. 59: 1 – 8 Deut. 30: 15 – 20 Pinju Sir. 9: 10 – 18 Isa. 30: 19 – 26 1 Sam. 7: 2 – 11 Honey Sir. 10: 6 – 18 Manoj Isa. 55: 1 – 9 Num. 14: 11 – 25 Rajesh Jacob Sir. 11: 7 – 19 Hos. 11: 1 - 6
Malankara Catholic Church
Saint of the Month - St. Joseph Venerated as a saint in many Christian sects, St. Joseph is a biblical figure who is the father of Jesus Christ. Joseph first appears in the Bible in the gospels of Matthew and Luke; in Matthew, Joseph's lineage is traced back to King David. According to the Bible, Joseph was born circa 100 B.C.E. and later wedded Virgin Mary. He died in Israel circa 1 A.D. The Gospels describe Joseph as a "tekton," which traditionally has meant "carpenter," and it is assumed that Joseph taught his craft to Jesus in Nazareth. Despite his humble work and means, Joseph came from a royal lineage. Indeed the angel who first tells Joseph about Jesus greets him as "son of David," a royal title used also for Jesus. We know Joseph was a compassionate, caring man. When he discovered Mary was pregnant after they had been betrothed, he knew the child was not his but was as yet unaware that she was carrying the Son of God. He planned to divorce Mary according to the law but he was concerned for her suffering and safety. He knew that women accused to adultery could be stoned to death, so he decided to divorce her quietly and not expose her to shame or cruelty (Matthew 1:19-25). We know Joseph was a man of faith, obedient to whatever God asked of him without knowing the outcome. When the angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him the truth about the child Mary was carrying, Joseph immediately and without question or concern for gossip, took Mary as his wife. When the angel came again to tell him that his family was in danger, he left everything he owned, all his family and friends, and fled to a strange country with his young wife and the baby. He waited patiently in Egypt until the angel told him it was safe to go back (Matthew 2:13-23). St. Joseph is the patron of the universal Church, fathers, carpenters, and social justice. We celebrate two feast days for St. Joseph: March 19th for Joseph the Husband of Mary and May 1st for Joseph the Worker. Christine Jaison
Malankara Catholic Church
Published on Mar 5, 2014