Celtic Caim Prayer
Circle me O God
Keep hope within
Circle me O God
Keep peace within
Keep turmoil without.
Circle me O God
Keep calm within
Keep storms without.
Circle me O god
Keep strength within
Keep distress out.
A few reminders as the COVID-19 case numbers are surging:
~If you are not feeling well or have recently been exposed to the virus and are awaiting
test results, please stay at home!
~Face coverings must be worn while inside the church and other parish buildings. The
mouth and nose must be covered.
~Please maintain a minimum of six feet of distance between you and other parishioners.
Folks should not gather to visit after Mass.
God bless you all!
Feast of Saint Thomas,
First Reading: Eph 2:19-22
Brothers and sisters:
You are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets,
with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together
and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 117:1bc, 2
R. Go out to all the world
and tell the Good News.
Praise the LORD, all you nations;
glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
For steadfast is his kindness for us,
and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
Gospel: Jn 20:24-29
Thomas, called Didymus, one of the
Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But Thomas said to them,
“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
Then [Jesus] said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
In her journal Fumbling: A Pilgrimage Tale of Love, Grief, and Spiritual Renewal on the Camino de Santiago, hospice chaplain and mom Kerry Eagan writes:
“A friend of mine once said, as he held up a tangerine, that the only thing that allowed him to believe in God when he had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis was fruit. It was the most perfect thing in the world, he said, beautiful and delicious, and healthy for you at the same time … And it came in its own perfect packaging. Not even the most brilliant human mind could think up such a thing, he thought. He could not give up all belief in a good and wise and creative God because he had fruit …
“I think sometimes you have to hang on to whatever you can when it comes to faith. And if that’s fruit, so be it. There are times in at least some people’s lives — maybe many people — when belief in any compassionate or kind or even benign force in the universe is almost impossible. But if you can just hold on to something — or perhaps more likely, if something holds on to you — it can be the beginning of a new way of seeing, a new life.”
Today the Church remembers the Apostle Thomas – “doubting Thomas,” as he’s come to be known. But that might be an unfair tag. Thomas struggles to find reason to have faith, wants a sense of hope that can he hold on to – and in that, he’s no difference from most of us.
The story of Thomas challenges us to look around our own lives with an open heart to recognize the many signs of God’s love in our midst. We can find God in the love of family and friends, in the “nail marks” of suffering and brokenness, in the “peace” of forgiveness and mercy – and, yes, even in the perfect apple or orange.
Help us, O Lord, to continue to seek you despite our doubts; show us your way of justice and peace when we are most pessimistic and skeptical. Like Thomas, may we realize your risen presence in our midst in every moment of compassion and act of selfless generosity we experience.
An Act of Spiritual Communion
My Jesus, I believe that You are present
in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
I ask You to come spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You, trusting that you are already there and I unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
Thomas the Apostle
St. Thomas was born a Jew and was called to be one of the twelve Apostles. His birth and death dates are unknown, but his feast day is celebrated July 3. He lived before the formal establishment of the Catholic Church but is recognized as the patron saint of architects.
He was a dedicated but impetuous follower of Christ. When Jesus said He was returning to Judea to visit His sick friend Lazarus, Thomas immediately exhorted the other Apostles to accompany Him on the trip which involved certain danger and possible death because of the mounting hostility of the authorities.
At the Last Supper, when Christ told His disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them to which they also might come because they knew both the place and the way, Thomas pleaded that they did not understand and received the beautiful assurance that Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
St. Thomas is best known for his role in verifying the Resurrection of his Master. Thomas’ unwillingness to believe that the other Apostles had seen their risen Lord on the first Easter Sunday earned him the title of “doubting Thomas.”
Eight days later, on Christ’s second apparition, Thomas was gently rebuked for his skepticism and furnished with the evidence he had demanded – seeing in Christ’s hands the point of the nails. Thomas even put his fingers in the nail holes and his hand into Christ’s side. After verifying the wounds were true, St. Thomas became convinced of the reality of the Resurrection and exclaimed, “My Lord and My God,” thus making a public Profession of Faith in the Divinity of Jesus.
Nothing is known about Thomas later career. A well-known apocryphal document called the Acts of Thomas relates his missionary journey to Persia and India. The Christians at Kerala (India) have called themselves for centuries St. Thomas Christians. There are relics of Thomas that can be found within the San Thome Basilica in Chennai, Mylapore, India.
It is believed that Thomas was stabbed with a spear c.72 in India
Feast Day – July 3rd
Patron Saint of the blind (due to occasional spiritual blindness); Craftsmen (e.g., architects, carpenters & masons); Geometricians; and Theologians
Little is recorded of St. Thomas the Apostle. Thomas was probably born in Galilee to a humble family, but there is no indication that he was a fisherman. He was a Jew, but there is no account of how he became an apostle to Christ. Nevertheless, thanks to the fourth Gospel his personality is clearer to us than some of the other Twelve. Thomas’ name occurs in Matthew (10:3), Mark (3:18), Luke (6) and Acts of the Apostles (1:13), but in the Gospel of John he plays a particularly distinctive part. Thomas is often condemned for his lack of belief, but Thomas was equally courageous, willing to stand by Jesus in dangerous times. He also relentlessly sought the Truth. Like an inquisitive child, he constantly asked questions. And, his wonderful profession, “My Lord and my God,” is the clearest declaration of Jesus’ divinity in Holy Scripture.
Accounts of Thomas’ missionary activities are unreliable, but the most widely accepted report holds that he preached in India, although he was reluctant to start the mission. According to the Acta Thomae, the apostles divided up the world for their missionary labors, and India fell to Thomas. However, Thomas claimed that he was not healthy enough and that a Hebrew could not teach Indians; even a vision of Christ could not change his mind. Christ then appeared to a merchant and sold Thomas to him as a slave for his master, a king who ruled over part of India. One story suggests that Thomas offered to build a palace for the Indian king that would last forever. The king gave him money, which Thomas gave to the poor. Asked to show his progress, St. Thomas explained that the palace he was building was in heaven, not on earth. Ultimately, after giving into God’s will, Thomas was freed from slavery. He planted seeds for the new Church, forming many parishes and building many churches along the way.
To this day, Saint Thomas is venerated as the Apostle of India. In fact, there exists a population of Christians along the Malabar Coast, on the western coast of India, who lay claim to conversion by St. Thomas. Their tradition holds that he built seven churches, was martyred during prayer by a spearing on the “Big Hill” near Madras, and was buried in Mylapore, on the east coast of India. Ultimately, St. Thomas’ remains were transported to Ortona, Italy, where they reside today.
Sources: Catholic Encyclopedia, by Herbert Thurston; For All The Saints, by Katherine Rabenstein
The Syro-Malabar Rite in Catholic Church
the universal Church, the Churches of the East and the West not only have
distinct liturgical rites, but they also have characteristic theologies,
spiritualities, disciplines and law, and customs to distinguish them. Each has
its own heritage and tradition, its own distinct identity as a particular
Church within the communion of Churches. Each tradition refers to a specific
patristic heritage and origin.
The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church stems from the Syriac spiritual tradition following the East Syrian liturgical rite rooted in the ancient Christian community of Edessa (Syria).
This particular Church traces its origin to St. Thomas the Apostle, who, according to tradition, came to the Malabar coast of southern India (Kerala state today), landed at Cranganore about 52 A.D., and founded seven Christian communities. The early Christians of southern India became known as St. Thomas Christians, and this name persists today.
Vatican assigned the name Syro-Malabar Church to this particular Christian
community in the 19th century. It is governed by a Major Archbishop (somewhat
similar to a patriarch), who is head of the Major Archdiocese of
Eranakulam-Angamaly in Kerala, India.
The Syro-Malabar Catholics number 3.8 million faithful worldwide, with five archdioceses and 21 dioceses. The St. Thomas Diocese of Chicago, established in 2001, comprises 33 parishes across the United States and Canada, with its pastoral center in Cicero, Illinois. (web site: www.stthomasdiocese.org)
The original liturgical language of the Syro-Malabar faithful is Syriac (a form of Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus). The vernacular languages of Malayalam and English are now commonly used.
Since St. Thomas and his followers preached to Hindus in India, the Christian communities adapted to the local culture and many Malabar churches are designed in Indian or Hindu architectural style. Their churches have no pews or chairs or kneelers. People stand with the priest in prayer for the entire length of the Mass. Kneeling and genuflection are not part of the Indian culture. The Eucharistic liturgy is understood as walking in the path of Christ, so all stand.
Repetition is an essential element of Indian prayer, and it is evident in the Syro-Malabar liturgy to induce union with God.