Tone Down The Peace

In an effort to insure a more sober ritual, the Vatican has urged bishops to clamp down on singing, moving around and other casual expressions of affection when the sign of peace is exchanged during Mass.

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments led by Spanish Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, has sent a letter to bishops around the world expressing concern about what it considers to be ritual abuses.

Among them, he said, were turning the sign of peace into a “song of peace,” the priest leaving the altar during the interlude, or use of the ritual to offer congratulations at weddings or condolences at funerals…

Read on here.



Pentecost 2014

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues   as the Spirit enabled them.

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 “‘In the last days, God says,
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
    your young men will see visions,
    your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
    I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
    and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
    and signs on the earth below,
    blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved.’



Council Acts on Noisy Church

iol: IOL gavel justice [1]

The City of Joburg has successfully obtained a court order to stop a church, Winners Chapel International, from operating illegally in Rouxville.

The council says this action shows it is serious about taking action against people who run illegal businesses in the city – and that the flouting of by-laws will not be tolerated.

Winners is a church where Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has preached in his capacity as a pastor.

The church started out in a shop in Louis Botha Avenue, but soon expanded illegally, converting outbuildings into extensions.

Noise emanating from music sessions and loudspeakers at the church has disturbed neighbouring residents for the past few years. They have complained bitterly about the noise, which continues into the early hours of the morning, especially during religious holidays.

The church attempted to install sound barriers, but this did not help. Some neighbouring property owners have sold up, at a loss, because they couldn’t take the noise and traffic anymore.

On Sunday mornings and religious holidays, buses and taxis stop illegally along Louis Botha Avenue, often blocking the road, which is a main thoroughfare from Alexandra to the CBD.

Two issues were taken to court by the council and determined residents. The first was an application to close the church down for breaches of the National Planning Act and by-laws such as parking, blocking Louis Botha Avenue, failing to comply with fire regulations, and building without a permit. This related to the conversion of a warehouse to their main church building.

A hearing took place in March last year and an order was given to close the church and demolish the illegal buildings.

The church then applied for rescission of the judgment on the grounds that they had not been present at the hearing because of a mix-up with their legal team.

On September 5, the judgment was rescinded. The matter was then set down for hearing again on October 28. The matter went before Judge AJ Mahalelo, and the city again won the case. A second application related to noise at the church. The City of Joburg took measurements and found it to be above permissible and legal limits.

City of Joburg spokesman Gabu Tugwana said the council was pleased to have secured a judgment against the operations of the church “following the appropriate legal action”.

A process was now under way to serve them with the court order via attorneys. “This process takes a long time and needs the perseverance of residents and officials. But in the end, results of the case have demonstrated that the city is serious about terminating illegal activities and the illegal conversion of buildings,” Tugwana said.

“The city wants to advise residents and all interested groups that it will continue to put pressure on property owners or landlords who alter structures contrary to official guidelines and town planning requirements.”

Roger Chadwick, of the Orange Grove Residents’ Association, said he was delighted by the court order. “We have numerous churches popping up all over this area. We will be using this order to get all illegal business out once and for all. This will send a positive message that these activities will not be tolerated.”

Several attempts by The Star  to obtain comment from Winners International were unsuccessful.

However, a person who answered the phone, but who declined to give a name, said: “We are moving.”



Why is Christmas Celebrated Mainly at Night?

Msgr. Pope shares some thoughts.

O Holy night! Yes, a silent night! and, it came upon a midnight clear. Christmas, it would seem, is a festival of the mid night. Jesus is born when it is dark, dark midnight. We are sure of it. And why not?

Even though we are not told the exact hour of his birth we are sure it must have been night. Scripture does say that the Shepherds who heard the glad tidings were keeping watch over their flock “by night” (cf Luke 2:9). Further the Magi sought him by the light of a star, and stars are seen at night, deep midnight. None of this is evidence that Jesus was born at 11:59 PM, but it sets our clocks for night, deep midnight.

Add to this the fact that Christmas is celebrated at the Winter solstice, the very darkest time of the year in the northern hemisphere. More specifically Christmas breaks in on the very days that the light begins its subtle return. The darkest and shortest days of the year make their impression on December 21 and 22. But by December 23 and 24 we notice a definite, but subtle trend, the days are getting longer, the light is returning! Time to celebrate the return of the light, it is going to be alright!

How fitting now, to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the true Light of the World, in a deep and dark December. Jesus our light, kindles a light and a fire that never dies away. Indeed, in the dark hours of December, we have noticed a trend. The light is returning, the darkness is abating, the days are growing longer from here on out. It is subtle now! But it will grow. And with the return of light, we celebrate our True Light: Jesus.

But light is best appreciated in contrast. We think most, and appreciate most, the glory of light when the darkness assails. There’s just something about Christmas Eve…

Read it all here.