Reading challenge for 2020

I stumbled upon this cool thing on Popsugar.co.uk, and I just wanted to share it for all the book enthusiasts out there. It is a reading challenge. The more books corresponding to the requirements from this list you can read, the better.

In the comments section, let me know what you think about this challenge. Feel free to share your thoughts and list some of the books you have in mind.

Merry Christmas, 2019!

It’s Christmas once again, and I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! I hope God blesses you, your family, your friends and everything you love.

Let us take a few minutes to remember what Christmas is all about — namely, the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Birth of Jesus – Gospel of Luke, Chapters 1 and 2

The Child Christ: A Nativity Story – short film

With Christmas right around the corner, I wanted to share this short movie I recently discovered while browsing YouTube. This new depiction of the Nativity story, made by LightOfTheWorld.com, recounts in beautiful detail the sacred events found in the Bible about Jesus’s birth over 2,000 years ago.

Journey with Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Witness the awe of the shepherds in the plains of Judea. Feel the joy of the wise men as they kneel before the Light of the World – our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Visit http://www.LightTheWorld.org to learn more about the significance of this special first Christmas.

The Child Christ: A Nativity Story

#LightTheWorld: Since 2016, #LightTheWorld has grown into a global initiative each Christmas, with millions of participants. Throughout the Christmas season, individuals perform acts of service and kindness to demonstrate Jesus’s love one by one.

Want to join in? Go to http://www.LightTheWorld.org for daily service challenges, prompts, resources, and more. Follow them on social media:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ComeUntoChrist
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/comeuntochrist
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ComeUntoChrist

STRIVE – a Christian recovery program that’s proven to help men break free

I’ve recently come across a very promising and unique project developed by Matt Fradd and the team behind Cardinal Studios (a Philadelphia-based Ministry), aimed to help people break free from pornography addiction. It is called STRIVE and it is a program that combines religious and secular approaches to empower both men and women with the tools needed to battle porn addiction and win the war against pornography. I invite you to check it out and support the project by clicking the links in this post.

STRIVE Parish Resources

What is STRIVE? 
STRIVE is a powerful 21-Day Challenge (videos, written content, worksheets) by Matt Fradd that helps men understand why they go to porn in the first place, why they should break-free, and how to do so. It’s not a silver bullet, but a highly effective resource that equips men with the knowledge, tools, and accountability needed to quit porn and begin to live the life to which God is calling them.

Does it work?

Yes! We’ve received over 6,000 comments from men already whose lives are being transformed in ways they never thought possible. See reviews below.

What Does it Cost?

FREE. 
For a limited time, the cost of STRIVE has been underwritten, so it is FREE for your men to register! STRIVE usually costs $49 for each individual. If 100 men at your parish sign-up, that’s a savings of almost $5,000!

How best to share STRIVE? 
We have several resources below to help you spread the word. The best way is through STRIVE Cards to hand out to men, and for your team to have on-hand. You can order those above in boxes of 250.

The Feast of Saint Lucia, 2019

Saint Lucia (or Saint Lucy) is a virgin saint who lived at the end of the third century A.C., during the reign of Emperor Diocletian. Her feast day is celebrated on December 13.

The General Roman Calendar formerly had a commemoration of Saints Lucy and Geminianus on 16 September. This was removed in 1969, as a duplication of the feast of her dies natalis on 13 December and because the Geminianus in question, mentioned in the Passio of Saint Lucy, seems to be a fictitious figure, unrelated to the Geminianus whose feast is on 31 January.

She was from Syracuse in Sicily, a virgin betrothed to a certain pagan. Since her mother suffered from an issue of blood, she went with her to the shrine of Saint Agatha at Catania to seek healing (see Feb. 5). There Saint Agatha appeared to Lucia in a dream, assuring her of her mother’s healing, and foretelling Lucia’s martyrdom. When her mother had been healed, Lucia gladly distributed her goods to the poor, preparing herself for her coming confession of Christ. Betrayed as a Christian by her betrothed to Paschasius the Governor, she was put in a brothel to be abased, but was preserved in purity by the grace of God. Saint Lucia was beheaded in the year 304, during the reign of Diocletian.

A tradition says her eyes were gouged out in torture, so she is considered by some as the patron saint of the blind. She is also the patron saint of authors, cutlers, glaziers, laborers, martyrs, peasants, Perugia, Italy; saddlers, salesmen, and stained glass workers. She is invoked against hemorraghes, dysentery, diseases of the eye, and throat infections.

Happy Saint Lucy’s Day, 2019!

Saint Nicholas Day, 2019

Every year on December the 6th, the Orthodox Church commemorates Saint Nicholas of Myra (known as “the Wonder-worker”). While widely honored and venerated, not only in the Orthodox Church, but throughout most Christian groups, not much is known of the life of Nicholas.

From what is known, he was archbishop of Myra and he may have participated in the Council of Nicea in 325, although the latter fact is uncertain. In addition to being honored as the patron saint of many countries, notably Greece and Russia, and of cities, he is the patron of many occupational groups, most notably of sea-farers. He is also the basis for the Santa Claus legends and imagery which accompany Christmas celebrations in some parts of the world.

St. Nicholas is commemorated by the Church on December 6, and also on May 9 (the transfer of his relics) and on July 29 (his nativity).

After he inherited his parents’ estate, he became known for his generous gifts to those in need. As a youth, he made pilgrimages to Palestine and Egypt.

In time his fame in northern Europe as a saintly bishop began changing to that of a giver of gifts to children, usually done on December 6. As immigrants from the Germanic and Nordic lands settled in the United States the image of St. Nicholas, or “Sinterklaas,” as he is known among the Dutch, slowly changed to that of “Santa Claus” with little tie to the spirituality of Christianity.

Find out more about Saint Nicholas by visiting the sites linked below:

https://orthodoxwiki.org/Nicholas_of_Myra
https://www.oca.org/saints/lives/2007/12/06/103484-saint-nicholas-the-wonderworker-archbishop-of-myra-in-lycia
https://www.sngoc.org/content/about-st-nicholas
http://saintnicholas.ucoz.com/stnich-page.html

Saint Nicholas, pray for us.

Happy 101th Anniversary, Romania!

On December the 1st 2019, Romania celebrates its National Day, marking 101 years since the Great Union.

In 1859, the southern region of Wallachia and the eastern region of Moldavia banded together as the Kingdom of Romania, and declared independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1877. The Resolution of the National Assembly joined Transylvania, Banat, Crişana, and Maramureş, with the Kingdom of Romania, further expanding the size of the nation.

In 1918, an accord making the union official passed without objection, having been ratified in the historic city of Alba Iulia, in the presence of over 100,000 people. The accord contained clauses that protected religious freedom, codified universal suffrage, and freedom of the press, it stood as a testament to the path Romania hoped to pursue.

Find out more about Romanian’s National Day and about the festivities that took place, by clicking the following links:

https://www.romania-insider.com/romania-national-day-parade-2019
https://www.rri.ro/en_gb/november_30_2019-2608147
https://www.stiripesurse.ro/royal-visit-to-iasi-to-celebrate-national-day_1408581.html

Happy 101st Anniversary, Romania! La mulți ani, România pentru aniversarea a 101 ani de la Marea Unire!