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Wishing you a HOLY and BLESSED EASTER HOLIDAY

I Make ALL things new!

HOLY WEEK

During Holy Week, Christians commemorate the Passion of Christ, Who died on Good Friday in reparation for the sins of mankind, and rose on Easter Sunday to give new life to the world and all who believe. Holy Week is solemn and sorrowful, but it also anticipates the joy of the Resurrection of the Only Begotten Son of God, Jesus the Christ, who redeems the world and offers us our salvation.

Palm Sunday is a Sunday of the highest rank within the Church year commemorating the triumphal entrance of Jesus the Christ into Jerusalem. Jesus knew His hour had come and that He would fulfill His Father’s plan for the redemption of the world and all mankind.

Palm branches were placed in Jesus’ path by the people as he rode through the city on the back of a donkey. Riding on a donkey was very significant in those days. Kings would ride warhorses into battle, but would ride a donkey if they came in peace.

The principal ceremonies of Palm Sunday are the benediction of the palms, the procession, and the Mass. The branches are then taken home by the faithful and used as a sacramental. They were preserved in prominent places in the house, in the barns, and in the fields, and thrown into the fire during storms. It thus marks the beginning of Holy Week, the final week of Lent.

Holy Thursday is the day on which Christ celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples. It is the oldest of the celebrations of Holy Week. And with good reason: Holy Thursday is the day on which Catholics commemorate the institution of three pillars of the Catholic Faith: The Sacrament of the Eucharist, the priesthood, and the Mass. During the Last Supper, Christ blessed the bread and wine with the very words that Catholic and Orthodox priests use today in the transubstantiation (the changing of the substance of) bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. In telling His disciples at the Last Supper to “Do this in remembrance of Me,” Jesus instituted the Eucharist. Only hours after the Last Supper, Judas would betray Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, setting the stage for Christ’s Crucifixion on Good Friday.

I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the desert and have died. This is the bred that comes down from heaven, so that if anyone eat of it he will not die. I am the living bread that has come down from heaven. If anyone eat of this bread he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world…Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life everlasting and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood, abides in me and I in him. John 6: 48-52, 54-57

Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday, commemorates the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Having carried His Cross through the streets of Jerusalem to the hill called Golgotha (place of the skull), Jesus lay down upon the Cross, stretching out His arms and allowed Himself to be nailed hands and feet to that part of the created world, set before all of time, to be the final mechanism of His death.

Holy Saturday is the final day of Lent and is also known as the Easter Vigil. In the early Church, Christians gathered on the afternoon of Holy Saturday to pray and to confer the Sacrament of Baptism on catechumens—converts to Christianity who had spent Lent preparing to be received into the Church. This practice has returned today and is called the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, bringing converts into the Roman Catholic Church. It is this day that the Paschal Candle is lit representing Christ, The Light of the World. The pure beeswax of which the candle is made represents the sinless Christ who was formed in the womb of His Mother. The wick signifies His humanity, the flame, His Divine Nature, both soul and body. During the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night the priest or deacon carries the candle in procession into the dark church. A new fire, symbolizing our eternal life in Christ, is kindled which lights the candle.

EASTER SUNDAY…coming April 5th. We celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. THe Resurrection shows the justice of God who exalted Christ to a life of glory, as Christ had humbled Himself unto death. The Resurrection completed the mystery of our salvation and redemption; by His death Christ freed us from sin, and by His Resurrection He restored to us the most important privileges lost by sin. By His Resurrection we acknowledge Christ as the immortal God, the efficient and exemplary cause of our own resurrection and as the model and the support of our new life of grace.

Picture of the Week

The Via Dolorosa (Way of Grief, Way of Sorrows, Way of Suffering or simply Painful Way) is a street, in two parts, within the Old City of Jerusalem, held to be the path that Jesus walked, carrying his cross. The winding route from the Antonia Fortress west to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre—a distance of about 2,000 feet—is a celebrated place of Christian pilgrimage. For many Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem, the most important and meaningful thing they will do while in the city is walk the Via Dolorosa. The Via Dolorosa pilgrimage is followed by Christians of many denominations, but especially Catholics and Orthodox.

Ask Susi

Pope Francis has been in the news lately, as global media wipes the egg off their face crediting him with a remark given by Pope Paul VI regarding animals in heaven. TV morning shows marveled at the fact that any Pope would even believe such, stating that Catholic theology doesn’t believe animals go to heaven. I know that I’ve been told by my priest that animals don’t go to heaven. Does our Catholic faith teach that animals don’t go to heaven?

Susi answers with a special column on, Of Popes And Animals

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Susi Weekly Column

REDEEMER OF THE WORLD

~by Susi Pittman

REDEEM–retrieve, regain, recover, get back, reclaim, repossess, buy back. Jesus has done all this for the whole of the world, proclaiming, Behold, I make all things new! Come and follow Jesus and believe in Him. Be redeemed.

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Catholic Journeyman

What follows me?

~by Louis Templeman

In girding ones self for the negativity and unknowns in life, help comes in ONE form…

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A Poet’s Voice

THEATER

~by Paula Veloso Babadi

Each soul that walks this earth is a story, a journey in choices and actions upon the world’s stage.

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Book of the Month

I Will See You in Heaven: Cat Lover’s Edition! By Friar Jack Wintz

~review by Michele Gregoire

It’s a book for every cat person and their feline, one that makes a bold statement and tells you why.

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Meandering Along the River’s Edge

Saunters with God in Nature

~by Virginia Anson-Rhys

A loving father begets a daughter who loves her Father.

READ MORE…

This Week’s Top Global Weather News

The Darkness That Fell Upon the Crucifixion–It really happened


The Crucifixion darkness is an episode in three of the Canonical Gospels in which the sky becomes dark in daytime during the crucifixion of Jesus. Ancient and medieval Christian writers treated this as a miracle, and believed it to be one of the few episodes from the New Testament which were confirmed by non-Christian sources. Pagan commentators of the Roman era explained it as an eclipse, although Christian writers pointed out that an eclipse during Passover, when the crucifixion took place, would have been impossible; an eclipse cannot occur during a full moon.

Because it was known in ancient and medieval times that a solar eclipse could not take place during Passover (solar eclipses require a new moon while Passover only takes place during a full moon) it was considered a miraculous sign rather than a naturally occurring event. The astronomer and Catholic monk,  Johannes de Sacrobosco wrote, in his The Sphere of the World, “the eclipse was not natural, but, rather, miraculous and contrary to nature”. Modern writers who regard this as a miraculous event tend either to see it as operating through a natural phenomenon—such as volcanic dust or heavy cloud cover—or avoid explanation completely. The Reformation Study Bible, for instance, simply states “This was a supernatural darkness.”

The event was real. It was not a metaphor. It is rooted in REAL recorded history.

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Weekly Commentary

The Passion accounts describe You & Me–Msgr. Charles Pope


The Passion accounts do not merely describe people long since gone; they are portraits of you and me. We do these things. The usual villains, such as the temple leaders, Judas, and the recruited crowd shouting “Crucify him!” are fairly obvious. They openly display their sinfulness and are unambiguously wicked. But there are other participants in the Passion accounts whose sinfulness, struggles, and neglect are more subtle yet still contribute significantly to the Lord’s sufferings on Good Friday. It is perhaps in these figures that we can learn a great deal about ourselves.

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Affiliate Shopping

AFFILIATE SHOPPING for YOU! We continue to build a small but, well focused group of vendors, offering products in line with stewardship of the earth and its creatures. By visiting these product sites from our page, you are helping to support our mission.

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CLICK HERE TO VISIT FARMTEK

Geology and Archaeology

Earthquake Study Reveals Date that Jesus Died


Geologists investigated the 4,000-year chronology of earthquake disturbances within the uppermost 19 feet of laminated sediment of the Dead Sea to determine the exact date of Jesus’ crucifixion.

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Discovering Catholic Writers

MATTHEW—MARK—LUKE—JOHN


What did the Gospel Writers Know?—by Jimmy Akin, National Catholic Register

In Christian tradition, the Four Evangelists are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the authors attributed with the creation of the four Gospel accounts in the New Testament. The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are known as the Synoptic Gospels, because they include many of the same stories, often in the same sequence. Convention has traditionally held that the authors have been two of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus; John and Matthew, who both were eyewitnesses to the life, death and Resurrection of Jesus, as well as two “apostolic men,” Mark being a disciple of Peter and Luke who was a companion of Paul.

Some biblical scholars are too quick to say that, because a particular Gospel doesn’t include a given story or saying of Jesus, the Evangelist who wrote it must not have known about it.

Really?

What would cause a person to think this?

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Quote of the Week

Peace be with you!

~Jesus~

Discovering Our Catholic Saints

Mary of Nazareth

This full length feature film about Our Lady, shot in English in High Definition, was filmed in Europe in very authentic locales with outstanding cinematography, a strong cast, and a majestic music score. Actress Alissa Jung gives a very beautiful, compelling and inspired portrayal of Mary. Pope Benedict XVI had the opportunity to screen this film in the Apostolic Palace, and was touched by the portrayal of Mary so vividly captured on film. MARY OF NAZARETH available  on DVD through Ignatius Press and Carmel Communications.

BUY NOW…

Climate

Climate and the Fall of the Roman Empire


Even in our modern age, humans are incredibly vulnerable to changes in weather and climate. And earlier in human history, we were even more so. Even the Romans, who managed to build monuments, roads and aqueducts that still stand today, weren’t immune, according to a new study published last week by Science.

Scientists in Germany and Switzerland created a 2,500-year-long record of Central European summer precipitation and temperature variability from nearly 9,000 samples of larch, pine and oak tree rings. They found that the region experienced above average precipitation and little temperature fluctuation up until about A.D. 250, with a couple of colder periods around 350 B.C.—when the Celtic peoples began to expand across the continent—and 50 B.C., which was when the Romans were conquering Britain.

But around A.D. 250 began a 300-year period of extreme climate variability, when there were wild shifts in precipitation and temperature from one decade to the next.

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Looking for Sustainability

Sustainable Agriculture in Jerusalem

As one of the leading Faculties of sustainable agriculture and environmental conservation – and the only one of its kind in Israel – the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment stands at the front lines of the “Green Revolution.”  The Faculty addresses the critical need for a combination of sustainable agriculture and environmental protection by bringing together outstanding teams of scientists to work on crucial environmental and agricultural problems.  Their interdisciplinary research is being enhanced by new state-of-the-art and renovated facilities, including laboratories, classrooms and climate-controlled greenhouses.

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God’s Green Earth

HALLELUJAH

Farm News

Agriculture in the Middle East

Agriculture plays an important role in the economies of most of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa region.  Despite the fact that MENA is the most water-scarce and dry region in the world, many countries in the region, especially those around the Mediterranean Sea, are highly dependent on agriculture.  The contribution of the agricultural sector to the overall economy varies significantly among countries in the region, ranging, for example, from about 3.2 percent in Saudi Arabia to 13.4 percent in Egypt.  Large scale irrigation coupled with mechanization has enabled entensive production of high-value cash crops, including fruits, vegetables, cereals, and sugar in the Middle East.

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Steward Alerts

What Pope Francis Is Doing This Week

One of the busiest times of the year for the Pope is about to begin: Holy Week. Since his schedule is so packed this week, the Pope will not preside over his usual morning mass at Casa Santa Marta.

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Steward Activities

MOVIE REVIEW


A.D.:The Bible Continues–by The Catholic Review

Indeed, it’s precisely the least garish moments that are most effective: Mary Magdalene’s almost wordless reunion with the risen Lord is simply stunning; Peter’s inner battles are conveyed beautifully in Levy’s pained face; and Ceesay’s representation of John’s quiet indignation provides some of the series’ most memorable scenes. In these moments, “A.D.” will truly resonate with audiences. The series, to its credit, encourages us to consider the sheer gravity of Jesus’ sacrifice – which is a powerful tool for Lenten reflection. Similarly, as the risen Jesus appeals to his brothers to go out into the world and risk death to share the Good News, viewers are likely to feel an inner spiritual urge to apply this missionary command to the circumstances of their own lives.

Burnett and Downey’s project is, in sum, an admirable – though flawed – glimpse into fledgling Christianity as…

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Environmental Education

A Gigantic Sandstorm Batters Israel This Past February

A sandstorm roared through the Levant on Wednesday, sending powerful waves tearing into Beirut’s famed Corniche along the Mediterranean Sea. The sandstorm, made up of accumulated dust carried from the far reaches of the Sahara Desert in North Africa, also engulfed Cairo for a second day. High winds lashed those on the streets, causing some to walk In Beirut, strong waves broke fences, tiles and tore away part of its corniche overlooking the Mediterranean. The storm also brought heavy winds, rain and snow to the mountains. Lebanese weather forecasters said the wind reached speeds of 100 kilometres per hour.

SEE THE PICTURES…

Youth Stewardship

Western Maryland Youths Begin Holy Week Reaching Out To Poor

A man with gray, unkempt hair and a grizzled beard sat on a low stone wall in downtown Cumberland March 28 when a pair of smiling Catholic youths approached. Extending a hand, a teenage girl offered the stranger a plastic bag she had stuffed with adhesive bandages, lip balm, granola bars, tissues, cleaning wipes and a cross. As an icy wind rattled a no loitering sign hanging on a green dumpster behind him, the man accepted the gift.

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Gardening

The Garden of Gethsemane–Mount of Olives


The “Mount of Olives”, rising to the east of Jerusalem, separates the Holy City from the Judean Desert which from here begins its descent to the Dead Sea.  The Kidron Valley, which surrounds Jerusalem to the east, separates the Mount of Olives from the city and from the nearby Mount Zion, located further to the south, from where Jesus set off on foot after the Last Supper, crossing the Valley to reach Gethsemane.

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Wellness & Nutrition

Biblical Meals–Nazareth Village


Martha would have served this combination of flavors anytime a guest such as Jesus stopped by. As our guest you will smell the fresh bread as it is being baked right before your eyes. Use it to taste our dips of Za’atar and Hummus. And don’t forget to try our home-grown olives and herbal tea. Two thousand years after the birth of Jesus, Nazareth Village opened its doors to visitors. Nazareth Village is located on a site that was remarkably untouched and unchanged since Jesus time. In fact, Nazareth Village preserves the last remaining fields worked by Jesus’ friends, family and fellow villagers.

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Stargazing

The Star of Bethlehem–Dating the Crucifixion

Peter used the sky as a proof that Messiah had come, but which sky did he use? A body of scholarly work addresses the date of the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. This body of work, together with Roman and Jewish histories, archaeoastronomy and the words of the Bible allow us to identify the day and almost the moment of his death. That is an extraordinary claim. You must judge it for yourself. Consider the evidence.

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Smile

HAPPY EASTER–Peace be with you

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