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*Jeremiah 33:14-16; Psalm 24:4-5,8-9,10,14; 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2; Luke 21:25-28,34-36.

 

** Gospel Reading

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamour of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.

‘Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.’

 

** Further Reading

The Evangelist Luke, in this first Advent Sunday, speaks about Jesus exhorting his disciples to “… stay awake, praying …” When we speak about the Servant of God Joseph De Piro, it is easier for us to speak about the apostolic aspect of his life rather than his spirituality. Prayer was central to the Servant of God:

De Piro’s union with God experienced through prayer

“Prayer is the lifting up of the soul towards God-

to know him well,

to adore him and

thank him and

to ask him what you need.”

 

These words of De Piro show quite clearly what was another most efficient means with which he lived his intimate union with God. For De Piro prayer was:

that which first and foremost helped the individual come to the knowledge of God. But here it is quite clear that by knowledge De Piro was not implying only intellectual understanding; he even meant experiential awareness.

Then as a result of this type of knowledge the individual finds out that he has to adore and

thank God.

The individual’s experience of God through prayer also encourages the former even to seek the divine help.

 

There were several witnesses in the Diocesan Process of the Cause of Canonisation of the Servant of God who referred to the prayerful life of De Piro. Putting these testimonies together one can conclude that Monsignor prayed a lot, whenever and wherever it was possible for him to do it:

Fr Telesphoro Farrugia O. Carm., said that he used to see De Piro praying while going to Fra Diegu Institue or when coming back from St Joseph’s, Malta.

Mr Louis Galea, who hailed from Qrendi, said that he used to see Fr Joseph going from one side of the parish to the other, praying.

Benedetta Farrugia, an Mdina spinster, testified that when she met Monsignor passing by, he often had the Breviary open and he prayed on it.

Srs Teresa Degabriele and Pia Caruana said that after visiting the Jesus of Nazareth Institute, De Piro used to go back to St Joseph’s, Malta, by cab, accompanied by Degabriele herself who lived in the Home for babies and small children near St Joseph’s. This must have therefore been after 1925 because the Home was opened during that year. Therefore this was the time when the Servant of God could have taken the opportunity of these trips and talked to Sr Degabriele about her nascent Congregation, the building of the new Institute at Zejtun, or the Home for babies. De Piro did nothing of this. While on the cab, he used to stay quiet, all the time praying.

Fr Augustine Grech, a member-priest of De Piro’s Society almost summerised all the above when he said that the Founder was rarely seen if not praying, even when walking in the public streets.

Br Emmanuel Gafa, one of the first members of the Society, testified that when at St Joseph’s, the Director used to pass through the corridors, praying.

Another Brother of the Society, Felix Muscat, said almost the same thing.

Srs Consiglia Vassallo and Felice Vella of Fra Diegu Institute testified that the first thing De Piro did whenever he entered the Institute was that he spent some time in prayer.

Sr Pauline Cilia repeated the same thing.

Fr Michael Camilleri, another exmember of the Society, said that whenever the Founder could not sleep at night, he used to stay praying.

Br Felix Muscat synthesised all the above with these few words, “Mgr De Piro was a man of continuous prayer.”

De Piro cultivated his union with God through prayer all along his life, but then there were particular occasions when prayer helped him in a particular way in order to keep alive this union with the Divine:

As he did in Davos where he was because of his sickness “… I felt sick and for the second time (the first was 19 July 1900) I saw vanishing in thin air all my good intentions” In Switzerland he could not start that congregation which he intended to found in Malta. He could only pray, “…and I prayed,  prayed and prayed.”

Returning from Switzerland to Malta, Fr Joseph was determined to put into practice the “… old ideas”. In less than 12 months, on 9 January of the following year, he started sharing his plans with those whom he thought would be of some help to him. But not only this! He continued praying: “18 November (1906): Being in Rome and being today the dedication of the Basilica of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, I celebrated mass at St. Peter’s in the Vatican, and precisely upon the altar of St. Peter.  I celebrated in honour of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, praying to them …”

After facing many difficulties of all sorts, De Piro started his Society on 30 June 1910. If he had prayed before founding his Congregation, he prayed as much after its beginning:

In 1923, John Vella, in whom the Founder had put so many hopes, because he was the first priest of the Society, abandoned him to become diocesan. It was De Piro himself who brought Vella the news of his incardination to the Maltese Archdiocese. Fr John himself testified how the Servant of God handled the case, “… the Bishop informed me through Monsignor that he was accepting me in the Diocese. As soon as the Founder returned home, he went straight to the chapel, stayed there for a while and afterwards came to me with the Bishop’s answer.”  Some time after Vella added, “He approached me, looking downwards, and told me, ‘The Bishop accepts you in the Diocese.’ ‘What are you saying?’ I asked him. This was a lightning in August. He left me alone and went to the chapel, knelt down and remained there praying, with his head in his hands.”

The acquisition of the land on which he had thought to build the Society’s Motherhouse meant a lot of fatigue for the Founder. According to Mr John Buhagiar, an employee at St Joseph’s, Malta, and Fr Beninju Azzopardi, one of the first members of the Society, the Servant of God prayed a lot on that occasion.

Mr John Balzan of Qrendi testified that Monsignor was very regular in his prayers:

He used to be daily at church for the rosary and the Blessed Sacrament Benediction.

Fr John Vella, the first priest of the Society, said that even after a hard days’ work, he never slept without reciting the Breviary. And in order not to drowse while reciting the Liturgy of the Hours, he used to say it while walking.

Anton Muscat Azzopardi, a St Joseph’s oldboy, said that in order to remain awake he wanted one of the members, Fr Joseph Spiteri, to remain near him.

Several witnesses emphasised the fact that the Servant of God was very concentrated, recollected and devout during his personal prayers or the liturgical celebrations. And he did not want anyone to disturb him:

Fr Michael Camilleri said that, “During prayers he did not talk to anyone. Once there came the Bishop to talk to him. Since we knew that he did not want to be disturbed when praying we did not want to tell him. At last one of us informed Monsignor. After the Founder went out of the chapel he told us, ‘The one with whom I was is more important than the Bishop.’”

Camillo Aquilina, another of the first members of the Society, emphasised the same thing as regards the Founder.

Sr Eletta Sant of Fra Diegu, noticed the Director’s recollection while in the chapel of the Institute.

Carmena Mallia referred to De Piro’s devoutness during mass.

As did Fr Augustine Grech, a priest of De Piro’s Society, and Joseph Vella and Br Felix Muscat, two old boys of St Joseph’s.

 

The latter also noticed the Director’s great recollection when praying in front of the Holy Eucharist.

Fr Ugolino Gatt OSA related Monsignor’s devoutness to God’s presence in him especially in his participation in the Liturgy at the Mdina Cathedral, “In liturgical acts and in the sacristy he showed the same seriousness. And here one could observe the solemnity of his comportment. He showed most clearly that there was something in him which he really lived and showed externally.”

Sr Pauline Formosa, who was a child in Mdina at the time of Monsignor, confirmed Gatt’s testimony.

As did Fr Seraphim Fenech OfmConv., Mr Biagio GaleaMr Peter Paul Cutajar Fr Alphonse Maria Camilleri Ofm., and one of De Piro’s nieces, Sr Marie De Piro.

In the above paragraphs there has already been mentioning of some types of prayer of Monsignor, but there can be more references to De Piro’s particular prayers:

Fr Augustine Grech referred to the Founder’s meditation: “He made his daily meditation. He used the book “Meditazioni per Religiosi” written by a Jesuit father. From a note written in his meditation book by the late Fr. Joseph Spiteri MSSP, we know that his last meditation, on the very day of his death, was ‘The unfaithful religious in front of God’s Tribunal.’ Whenever he was in our House, he made his meditation with us. Our meditation used to last for half an hour.”

Here Fr Grech was referring to the days when De Piro had already founded the Society. But the Servant of God himself indicated that he had been doing the meditation much before 1910. In the pros and cons exercise with which he discerned his vocation, Joseph, although he was not even a seminarian, mentioned the meditation.

De Piro could not act otherwise. He was so much convinced of the necessity of the meditation in the life of consecrated persons:

To the 1929-1930 Brother novices he said this, “Meditation is very much necessary … The meditation is that we think of God in his virtue. Meditation is half an hour’s retreat. Therefore we should leave everything behind and think of God.”

Fr Augustine said also that De Piro, “… was faithful to the Divine Office.” The same witness testified that,“At midday he made the particular examen, and before going to rest in the evening, the general examen of conscience.”

Two Brothers of the Society, Felix Muscat and Venanz Galea, and Fr Dominic Coppola Ofm, an exmember, said almost the same words about the Founder’s meditation, the Divine Office and the examinations of conscience.

Srs Vassallo and Vella said that the Director visited the Institute three times each week, Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. On Thursday, at about 3.00 pm., he used to make the one hour adoration with the girls of the Institute.

The same was said by Carmena Mallia, an oldgirl of the Orphanage.

Michael Vella Haber, another ex-member of the Society, mentioned two invocations repeated frequently by the Founder: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of Jews, have mercy of us,” and “Ecce crucem Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, fugite partes adversae, vicit leo de Tribu Iudeae, radix David, Hallelujah!”

In the pros and cons exercise for the choice of his vocation, young Joseph De Piro mentioned the reading of the lives of the saints.

Fr Augustine Grech testified that he could notice that the Founder, because he was a man of prayer, was continuously in the presence of God.

 

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St James Vintage Group

A social group for all Parishioners over 55 and Young at Heart.

No joining fee, just come when you can.

After a long break due to covid, the St James Vintage Group are once more organising to gather again.

Tues 14 Dec at 10:30am: Denis Walter’s Very Special Christmas Show at Encore Events Centre on Derrimut Rd.

If you would like to attend, simply purchase your own ticket for $12 which includes a Christmas themed Morning Tea, and let the Parish Office know by calling 9401 6367.

 

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Masses at St James – Updated 20/21 Nov

Weekend Masses

From 27/28 Nov, Mass times will revert to the original 4 Mass times:
Sat 6:00pm, Sun 8:30am, Sun 10:30am and Sun 5:00pm.

  • No prebookings required
  • QR Code sign in upon entry
  • Require proof of double vaccination or valid medical exemption for all people aged 12 years and over (previously 16+). Parishioners should upload their digital certificate to their “Services VIC app” or if they don’t have a smart phone, please bring a hardcopy certificate.
  • Covid Marshalls will be at Masses to check and assist you. Please ensure you treat our volunteer Covid Marshalls with respect and courtesy.
  • Mask wearing is strongly encouraged due to inability to socially distance at large Masses
  • Sat 6:00pm Mass will continue to be live streamed.

Weekday Mass Times

Bookings are no longer required to attend the 9:00am weekday Masses (Tuesdays-Fridays) and the Liturgy of the Word with Holy Communion on Mondays. Proof of full vaccination is required and masks are recommended.

Mass for those with Undeclared Vaccination Status

Masses for undeclared vaccination status will be weekly at the 9:00am Saturday morning Mass.  Bookings required (https://trybooking.com/BJPOT) and open on Tuesdays at 7pm. QR Sign in and masks required. Limit of 50 people.

Other Services:

Parish Office open from Mon-Fri, 9:30am-2:30pm.

Reconciliation on Saturdays 9:30am-10:00am by appointment.

Baptisms through online application via parish website.

 

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Victoria is open and we are all getting back to the swing of things…and what better way to celebrate than partaking in a St James favourite: a YP Trivia! This time, it’s in real life, in the Paulist Centre at St James on Sat 04 Dec, for all those aged 18+ years, doors open at 7:00pm. Join us for 2 hours of brain-wracking fun that is sure to get you all excited! Entry is $5 with all proceeds going towards the church extensions. So grab a mate, or two, or come with your family for a night of fun!

Register by filling in this FORM.

We also have prizes, and you can be a part of the fun as well! If you have any lockdown goodies that you bought at an impulse and would love to donate it, please email the parish office at [email protected]; or if you have any ideas for prizes that you would be willing to sponsor: we accept them all!

We hope to see a lot of you on the night as we join together with our fellow parishioners for a night of fun.

 

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Introduction:

The Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, brings the Church’s year to a close, and calls us to celebrate again Jesus’s victory over suffering and death.

As servants, we offer all that we are, and invite him to reign within our hearts, so that we can play our part in bringing God’s truth, love, justice and peace to the world.

This week, we ask God for the grace to open our hearts and minds to the needs of those who do not yet know his voice. We pray that by the service of our lives we will draw others to his loving embrace.

Prayers of the Faithful:

Celebrant:   Dear friends, by his dying and rising Jesus has made us a priestly people. In union with him let us pray for the life of the world.

Lector:   We pray for Pope Francis and all the bishops of the church, that they will boldly proclaim the truth that sets us free.

                            (pause………………………we pray to the Lord)

Lector:   We pray for all who risk their lives giving faithful witness to Jesus, that they will stay strong and steadfast in their convictions.

                            (pause………………………we pray to the Lord)

Lector:   We pray for the whole human family, that all will unite in bringing to birth a new world order of love, goodness and truth.

                            (pause………………………we pray to the Lord)

Lector:   We pray for women everywhere, that this week’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on the 25th of November, will help make the world a safer place for them.

                            (pause………………………we pray to the Lord)

Celebrant:   We pray for the ancestors of the Wurundjeri people on whose land we stand, and in this month of November for all our loved ones who have died, as well as for the recently deceased; Angie Juwita, Amelita Santos and Victor Galea, and for those whose anniversary of death occurs around this time especially Bernard Evans, Connie and Noel Grasso, D’amico Family, Michael Papavero, Don Campbell, Eileen Grichting, Vasalliki Hili, Manika Hooley, Emy Saffarese, Natu Portelli, Jeff Ruthvern, Ron and Kris Gamble and all those in our Mass Intentions today, that they join Jesus, the First-born from the dead, in the glory of heaven.

                            (pause………………………we pray to the Lord)

Celebrant:    Holy God and Father of Jesus, you Son has washed away our sins with his blood. Keep us true to his name. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

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The joint parishes of St James & St Peters have been running an Alpha program which ends on Mon 29 Nov. If you are interested in joining the next Alpha Program which commences in Feb 2022, we would like to invite you to our final Pizza n Coke night session at St Peters Church Hall 38 Guinane Avenue, Hoppers Crossing at 7pm. The session will showcase the Alpha Program where we explore life, faith and meaning in a fun, friendly and welcoming atmosphere. There will also be testimonies from participants of how Alpha has impacted them. There are limited places available so please register early. For enquiries email Felix on [email protected] or call 0431 008 563. To register please fill in the form at https://bit.ly/3mvElli.

 

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Exemple

Advent Angels are Back

Advent Angels are back! Only $3 each. We have an exciting new collection of handcrafted Advent Angels for Christmas 2021.

To view a video of this year’s unique range click HERE and to purchase your Advent Angels online from Saturday 20th Nov, click HERE.

Advent Angels will be on sale at St James church on Sat 27 Nov between 1:00pm and 3:00pm and at all weekend masses 27th/28th November.  Please note: We can only accept cash for purchases at St James church.

All money raised will help support children’s education through mssp missions. Please come along and help make a difference.

 

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Urgent Help Needed – Working Bees

Fr Jude is seeking people who can assist at the following Working Bees.

Mon 22 Nov at 10:00am—Working Bee to clear out shed at school to make room for Parish items. 3-4 people needed.

Sat 27 Nov at 9:30am—Working Bee to move Church Pews to shed. As many people possible.

Please email the Parish Office to advise that you wish to help: [email protected] so we can ensure we have enough helpers.

 

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Daniel 7:13-14; Psalm 92:1-2,5; Revelations 1:5-8; John 18:33-37.

 

** Gospel Reading

‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ Pilate asked. Jesus replied, ‘Do you ask this of your own accord, or have others spoken to you about me?’ Pilate answered, ‘Am I a Jew? It is your own people and the chief priests who have handed you over to me: what have you done?’ Jesus replied, ‘Mine is not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews. But my kingdom is not of this kind.’ ‘So you are a king then?’ said Pilate. ‘It is you who say it’ answered Jesus. ‘Yes, I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.’

 

** Further Reading

 

Pope Pius XII nstituted the Feast of Christ the King in his 1925 encyclical letter Quas Primas, in response to growing nationalism and secularism. The title of the feast was ‘D. N. Jesu Christi Regis’ (Our Lord Jesus Christ the King), and the date was ‘the last Sunday of the month of October – the Sunday, that is, which immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints.’ In Pope John XXIII’s 1960 revision of the Calendar, the date and title remained the same and, in the new simpler ranking of feasts, it was classified as a feast of the first class.

In his 1969 motu proprio Mysterii Paschalis, Pope Paul VI gave the celebration a new title: ‘D. N. Iesu Christi universorum Regis’ (Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe). He also gave it a new date: the last Sunday in the liturgical year, before a new year begins with the First Sunday in Advent, the earliest date for which is 27 November. Through this choice of date ‘the eschatological importance of this Sunday is made clearer.’ He assigned to it the highest rank, that of ‘Solemnity.’

Two years after the institution of the Solemnity, our Founder published an article about Christ the King in his Saint Paul: Almanac of the Institute of the Missions. The immediate context in which this article was published was that:

Even in Malta there was some secularism during the first years of the 20th century. Malta’s Bishop, Peter Pace referred to it more than once in his pastoral letters.

Even nationalism could be felt. After his two year of rectorship at the Major Seminary, De Piro referred to the revolutionary spirit that could be felt among the seminarians!

During the First World War, and immediately after it, Malta experienced some economic prosperity, but this did not last long. In 1919 Malta experienced the Sette Giugno Riots where the Maltese protested against the extravagant prices of food especially bread.

The feast of Christ the King

Who does not recognize the present upheavals? After the war, the whole world remained in utter confusion. A great disorder was the consequence of this terrible Scourge. All the peoples were set against each other, trying to destroy one another. Society is corrupted and infected with so many false and deceptive doctrines, seeking to eliminate all good Religious feeling, promising peace and peace is never achieved.

The Pope recognizes very well the present state of the world; he wishes to see all the nations together, united, in the love of Jesus Christ. For this purpose he instituted the feast of Christ king of all nations, in this way all the peoples who are separated from each other, unite together under one reign and recognize Jesus as their King. Yes, Jesus is the true King as God and as man. As God he is one with the Heavenly Father; as man He has all power given Him by the Eternal Father. Yes Jesus must be the King of the world and extend his reign over all the nations. The world can find peace only in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and it is in vain to seek it away from its divine King.

Yes, was not this feast of great importance and really necessary! It shook the world from its ugly state of drowsiness; it opened in front of it the true way which leads to peace. It confounded the wicked to the great consolation of the just. It encouraged many missionaries to enlarge the kingdom of Christ always.

Adveniat regnuni tuum. Yes, may the kingdom of this Jesus grow and attract to his bosom the whole world which casts itself to adore the Divine King and sing praises due to Him, united in love.

 

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