All Souls Day

Today is All Souls Day, a holy day set aside for honouring and remembering departed loved ones. Parishioners have an opportunity to write the names of relatives in a Book of the Dead, and the names therein are read out from the Altar.

Many people use the day to meaningfully express their sorrow over the loss of a loved one. All of us have, during the course of our lives, lost someone who is dear or near:

  • A Dad
  • A Mom
  • A brother or sister
  • Ouma / Oupa (usually our first encounter with death)
  • An Aunt or Uncle
  • An extended family member
  • A neighbour
  • A friend
  • Or a colleague.

The heartache of losing someone you love is really like no other pain.

Today I will be remembering the following dear departed, as well as their relatives who are still here. Should you wish to add a name to the list, please feel free to do so in the comment section, and I will say a special prayer for you and bring to remembrance that soul.

Names from the Book, we commemorate:

  • Bishop Trevor Rhodes
  • Francis Hammond
  • Joseph Hammond
  • Reynold Hammond
  • Irene Allaman
  • Billy
  • Gordon
  • Edward
  • Xavy David
  • Lois David
  • Ashley David
  • Pierre Brink
  • Martha Ockhuis
  • Martha Meyers
  • Anna Meyers
  • Petrus Meyers
  • Gilbert Meyers
  • Hannes Meyers
  • Errol
  • Eva
  • Moses
  • Sindi
  • Kathy Sass
  • John Sass
  • Peggy Anthony
  • Alec Fortuin
  • Oliver Fortuin
  • Leah Would
  • Louis Would
  • Baby Louis
  • Rae Landman
  • Willem Landman
  • Bernard William Adams


For This World in Suffering

For This World in Suffering:

O God, the Father of all look down in pity on those who suffer, and heal the anguish of the world; release from the prison-house all held in the bondage of fear and set free such as are bound by the fetters of disease, whether of soul or body. Do Thou care for the desolate, give rest to the weary, comfort the sorrowful, watch by the sleepless, and to those who lie untended in their sickness grant the gentle ministry of angels, to supply their needs and relieve their pain. Visit with Thy great compassion all in their last agony and bring them in peace and safety into Thy Paradise of love. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


James Foley Prayed the Rosary in Captivity

The Catholic World Report:

The news broke late yesterday that Islamic State jihadists executed freelance journalist James Foley and posted a video of his beheading. Foley, 40, had been missing for two years while covering the conflict in Syria. I am not going to link to the video or include screen shots from it, but I will share another link that has been circulating since the news of Foley’s brutal death: an article he wrote for the alumni magazine of Marquette University, his alma mater. The piece is about the time Foley spent imprisoned in Libya in 2011:
I began to pray the rosary. It was what my mother and grandmother would have prayed. 
I said 10 Hail Marys between each Our Father. It took a long time, almost an hour to count 100 Hail Marys off on my knuckles. And it helped to keep my mind focused.
Clare and I prayed together out loud. It felt energizing to speak our weaknesses and hopes together, as if in a conversation with God, rather than silently and alone. …
One night, 18 days into our captivity, some guards brought me out of the cell. … Upstairs in the warden’s office, a distinguished man in a suit stood and said, “We felt you might want to call your families.”
I said a final prayer and dialed the number. My mom answered the phone. “Mom, Mom, it’s me, Jim.”
“Jimmy, where are you?”
“I’m still in Libya, Mom. I’m sorry about this. So sorry.” …
“They’re having a prayer vigil for you at Marquette. Don’t you feel our prayers?” she asked.
“I do, Mom, I feel them,” and I thought about this for a second. Maybe it was others’ prayers strengthening me, keeping me afloat.
The official made a motion. I started to say goodbye. Mom started to cry. “Mom, I’m strong. I’m OK. I should be home by Katie’s graduation,” which was a month away.
“We love you, Jim!” she said. Then I hung up.
I replayed that call hundreds of times in my head — my mother’s voice, the names of my friends, her knowledge of our situation, her absolute belief in the power of prayer. She told me my friends had gathered to do anything they could to help. I knew I wasn’t alone.
My last night in Tripoli, I had my first Internet connection in 44 days and was able to listen to a speech Tom Durkin gave for me at the Marquette vigil. To a church full of friends, alums, priests, students and faculty, I watched the best speech a brother could give for another. It felt like a best man speech and a eulogy in one. It showed tremendous heart and was just a glimpse of the efforts and prayers people were pouring forth. If nothing else, prayer was the glue that enabled my freedom, an inner freedom first and later the miracle of being released during a war in which the regime had no real incentive to free us. It didn’t make sense, but faith did.

And President Obama speaks about the death of James Foley, and the evils of ISIS:



Rumors Abound but God’s Protection of Israel is No Fable

“A land that the Lord your God cares for. The eyes of the Lord your God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.” (Deuteronomy 11:12)

IDF soldiers conduct training in a field near the border with Gaza in Southern Israel, on July 22, 2014. (Photo: Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Breaking Israel News:

Over the more than month long Operation Protective Edge conflict between Hamas terrorists and the IDF, a strikingly few number of civilian casualties have been suffered on the Israeli side.
Over 3,356 rockets have been fired at Israel, with that number rising everyday, and only four people have been killed as a result of rocket fire. While Israel’s Iron Dome is a wonder to behold and responsible for maintaining the safety of Israeli civilians from rocket fire, the numbers show that only 578 rockets were destroyed by Iron Dome Interceptions, or roughly 17 percent of all rockets fired at Israel.
Simple statistics show that there is something extraordinary occurring here.
Whether one chooses to believe that providence is behind the overwhelming number of misfired rockets or not, one must admit that the number of casualties should in theory be higher. After all, Hamas is quite experienced when it comes to rocket fire at Israel, having more than 14 years of experience.
Combine the above observation with the somewhat historical and biblical outlook of the Israeli public and military, and one is bound to come away with a viewpoint that at the very least recognizes the possibility of divine protection or intervention, thus setting the stage for the myriad of ‘bonafide’ stories telling of divine intervention sprouting forth like wildfire on social media networks in Israel…

More here.



Churches in West Africa Call for Prayer as Ebola Virus Spreads

Ebola virusChurch leaders in West Africa have asked for our prayers as the Ebola virus continues to spread, with 932 reported deaths as we go to press.

Please make use of the prayer we have written – see below.

Ebola is spreading in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and threatening other countries in West Africa.

The people of Ghana are becoming increasingly aware of the epidemic.

We are in contact with our Anglican partners throughout the Church of the Province of West Africa (CPWA), which includes The Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Cameroon and Ghana.

Janette O’Neill, Us Chief Executive, said: ‘This is the worst Ebola outbreak in history. When communities face such terrible suffering the church must be there to combat fear and hopelessness with both love and tangible support.

‘The church can also be a source of knowledge to help families understand the situation, and the church can help to make sure governments are fully aware of what is happening at community level.’

Read on here. There are prayers too:

Prayers for West Africa:

God of our anguish, we cry to you
For all who wrestle with Ebola.
Grant we pray, peace to the afraid,
Your welcome to the dying and
Your comfort to those living with loss.
And, merciful Father,
bless those many loving hands
That bravely offer care and hope.

God of healing,
whose Son healed those who were brought to him.
Hear our prayer for the peoples of West Africa
suffering from the Ebola outbreak.
Inspire and enable your church
to be a source of healing, comfort and hope to those affected,
and an agent for the education
and equipping of communities
to stop the spread of this disease.
For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.



Praying for Peace, Prepared for War

(Photo: flickr/IDF)

In light of the collapsed truce in Gaza, and Hamas’ kidnapping of an IDF soldier, Rabbi Eckstein recalls Psalm 120 when he looks at the reality of an enemy committed to war, even while Israel longs and prays for peace:

While the collapse of yet another ceasefire agreement is a bitter blow to war-weary Israel, it comes as no surprise. During Operation Protective Edge, Hamas has consistently refused to honor ceasefire terms, even as Israel has consistently accepted and tried to maintain them. History has shown us that terrorists will use any tactic to sow death and destruction and prolong conflict. The sad, but realistic attitude all Israelis must take is to be prepared for continued war – even while praying fervently for peace.

The psalmist wrote, “Too long have I lived among those who hate peace. I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war” (Psalm 120: 6-7). This is the situation Israel finds itself in today – longing for peace, and willing to make painful concessions to achieve it, but facing an enemy committed to hatred, war, and bloodshed. I ask you to pray for the bereaved loved ones of the soldiers who have lost their lives fighting this ruthless enemy, for protection for all the men and women of the IDF, and for the safe return of Lt. Goldin. And pray, too, for the day when Israel’s dreams of peace will be realized.