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Easter Vigil: The Light of Christ


Myself

By T.V. Antony Raj

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Pope Francisattends Easter Vigil 2014 (Source: sacredspace102.blogspot.in)
Pope Francisattends Easter Vigil 2014 (Source: sacredspace102.blogspot.in)

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Easter is a joyful and happy occasion for all Christians. They decorate their churches with flowers and attend church on this day.

In some Christian churches, Easter worship begins at about 11:30 pm on Holy Saturday. At midnight, they ring the bells to tell the world that Christ has risen from the dead.

Roman Catholic monks of the Order of Saint Benedict preparing to light the Christ candle prior to Easter Vigil mass at St. Mary's Abbey in Morristown, New Jersey. (Photo: John Stephen Dwyer)
Roman Catholic monks of the Order of Saint Benedict preparing to light the Christ candle prior to Easter Vigil mass at St. Mary’s Abbey in Morristown, New Jersey. (Photo: John Stephen Dwyer)

In some churches of the Roman Catholics and the Church of England, people will hold a vigil. They will gather outside the church around a bonfire.

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Paschal Candles
Paschal Candles

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The church being in darkness, one of the Deacons or Acolytes (servers) will carry a large unlit candle called the Paschal candle marked with a cross and the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet Alpha (Α) and Omega (Ω).

The Celebrant after blessing the fire will turn towards the person carrying the large candle and prepare the Paschal candle by drawing with his finger or incising in the wax with a stylus a Cross while reciting these words:

Christ yesterday and today, (the vertical beam)
the beginning and the end, (the transverse beam)
Alpha (the Greek letter Α above the vertical beam of the cross)
and Omega, (the Greek letter Ω below the vertical beam of the cross)

Year
all time belongs to Him, (the first numeral of the current year in the upper left-hand angle of the Cross)
and all ages; (the second number of the current year in the upper right-hand angle of the cross)
to Him be glory and power, (the third numeral of the current year in the lower left-hand angle of the Cross)
through every age and for ever. (the fourth numeral of the current year in the lower right-hand angle of the Cross)
Amen.

Next, one of the Acolytes (servers) gives the grains of incense symbolizing the five wounds Christ received at the crucifixion one by one to the Celebrant who inserts them into the candle, saying:

Grains

By his holy (1)
and glorious wounds (2)
may Christ our Lord guard (3)
and keep us. (4)
Amen. (5)

Lighting the Paschal Candle (Source: catholiccourier.com)
Lighting the Paschal Candle (Source: catholiccourier.com)

The Celebrant lights the Paschal candle saying:

May the light of Christ, rising in glory,
banish all darkness from our hearts and minds.

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The Paschal candle is then taken through the church, with the deacon lifting it at three different times, singing: “The Light of Christ” (or Lumen Christi) and the congregation sings in reply: “Thanks be to God” (or Deo Gratias).

Everyone lights their candle from the Paschal candle and join the procession. The Paschal candle symbolizes Christ, the Light of the World.

After the procession with the paschal candle, before the beginning of the Liturgy of the Word, follows the glorious Easter song of the Catholic Church: the Exsultet (spelled in pre-1920 editions of the Roman Missal as Exultet) or Easter Proclamation (Latin: Praeconium Paschale).

The Exsultet is a magnificent hymn of praise sung, by a deacon, before the paschal candle during the Easter Vigil in the Roman Rite of Mass. Exsultet is also used in Anglican and various Lutheran churches, as well as other western Christian denominations.

In the absence of a deacon, a priest or by a cantor may sing the Exsultet.

The lyrics of Exsultet are beautiful and has profound symbolism. It describes the dignity and meaning of the mystery of Easter. It tells of man’s sin, of God’s mercy, and of the great love the Redeemer has for humanity. It admonishes the faithful to thank the Trinity for all the graces lavished upon them.

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Exsultet (Roman Catholic English text)

Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,
exult, let Angel ministers of God exult,
let the trumpet of salvation
sound aloud our mighty King’s triumph!

Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her,
ablaze with light from her eternal King,
let all corners of the earth be glad,
knowing an end to gloom and darkness.

Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice,
arrayed with the lightning of his glory,
let this holy building shake with joy,
filled with the mighty voices of the peoples.

(Therefore, dearest friends,
standing in the awesome glory of this holy light,
invoke with me, I ask you,
the mercy of God almighty,
that he, who has been pleased to number me,
though unworthy, among the Levites,
may pour into me his light unshadowed,
that I may sing this candle’s perfect praises).

(Deacon: The Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.)
Deacon: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Deacon: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right and just.

It is truly right and just,
with ardent love of mind and heart
and with devoted service of our voice,
to acclaim our God invisible, the almighty Father,
and Jesus Christ, our Lord, his Son, his Only Begotten.

Who for our sake paid Adam’s debt to the eternal Father,
and, pouring out his own dear Blood,
wiped clean the record of our ancient sinfulness.

These, then, are the feasts of Passover,
in which is slain the Lamb, the one true Lamb,
whose Blood anoints the doorposts of believers.

This is the night,
when once you led our forebears, Israel’s children,
from slavery in Egypt
and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea.

This is the night
that with a pillar of fire
banished the darkness of sin.

This is the night
that even now throughout the world,
sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices
and from the gloom of sin,
leading them to grace
and joining them to his holy ones.

This is the night
when Christ broke the prison bars of death
and rose victorious from the underworld.

Our birth would have been no gain,
had we not been redeemed.
O wonder of your humble care for us!
O love, O charity beyond all telling,
to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!

O truly necessary sin of Adam,
destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!

O happy fault
that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer!

O truly blessed night,
worthy alone to know the time and hour
when Christ rose from the underworld!

This is the night
of which it is written:
The night shall be as bright as day,
dazzling is the night for me, and full of gladness.

The sanctifying power of this night
dispels wickedness, washes faults away,
restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners,
drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.

On this, your night of grace, O holy Father,
accept this candle, a solemn offering,
the work of bees and of your servants’ hands,
an evening sacrifice of praise,
this gift from your most holy Church.

But now we know the praises of this pillar,
a flame divided but undimmed,
which glowing fire ignites for God’s honour,
a fire into many flames divided,
yet never dimmed by sharing of its light,
for it is fed by melting wax,
drawn out by mother bees
to build a torch so precious.

O truly blessed night,
when things of heaven are wed to those of earth,
and divine to the human.

Therefore, O Lord,
we pray you that this candle,
hallowed to the honour of your name,
may persevere undimmed,
to overcome the darkness of this night.
Receive it as a pleasing fragrance,
and let it mingle with the lights of heaven.
May this flame be found still burning
by the Morning Star:
the one Morning Star who never sets,
Christ your Son,
who, coming back from death’s domain,
has shed his peaceful light on humanity,
and lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Amen.

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What’s in a Name? KFC Still Means Real Chicken


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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In early 1970’s I watched an art-thriller directed by Giulio Questi with a completely ridiculous title “Death Laid an egg ” released in 1968. In this movie, maiming of the chicken is done by “The Machine”, a new device that dispenses feed and whose secret purpose is for creating wingless, headless and largely boneless chickens.

A scene from "Death Laid an Egg".
A scene from “Death Laid an Egg”.

In one scene in this movie, there is a cage filled with mutated poultry. The headless, wingless freak chickens fail to take gory revenge on the heartless world that made them during their two minutes of screen time.

A few days ago I came across the following on Facebook:

Horrible Fact about KFC:

KFC has been a part of American traditions for many years. Many people,
day in and day out, eat at KFC religiously. Do they really know what they
are eating? During a recent study of KFC done at the University of New
Hampshire, they found some very upsetting facts. First of all, has anybody
noticed that just recently, the company has changed their name?

Kentucky Fried Chicken has become KFC. Does anybody know why? We thought
the real reason was because of the “FRIED” food issue.

IT’S NOT!!

The reason why they call it KFC is because they can not use the word
chicken anymore. Why? KFC does not use real chickens. They actually use
genetically manipulated organisms. These so called “chickens” are kept
alive by tubes inserted into their bodies to pump blood and nutrients
throughout their structure. They have no beaks, no feathers, and no feet.
Their bone structure is dramatically shrunk to get more meat out of them.
This is great for KFC.

Because they do not have to pay so much for their production costs. There
is no more plucking of the feathers or the removal of the beaks and feet.
The government has told them to change all of their menus so they do not
say chicken anywhere. If you look closely you will notice this. Listen to
their commercials, I guarantee you will not see or hear the word chicken.
I find this matter to be very disturbing.

I hope people will start to realize this and let other people know ..

Versions of this legend have circulated for several years now as shown by the following e-mail that circulated in 1991 about Kentucky Fried Chicken’s “recent” name change, an event that occurred in 1991.

KFC has been a part of our American traditions for many years. Many people, day in and day out, eat at KFC religiously. Do they really know what they are eating? During a recent study of KFC done at the University of New Hampshire, they found some very upsetting facts.

First of all, has anybody noticed that just recently, the company has changed their name? Kentucky Fried Chicken has become KFC. Does anybody know why? We thought the real reason was because of the “FRIED” food issue. It’s not. The reason why they call it KFC is because they can not use the word chicken anymore. Why? KFC does not use real chickens. They actually use genetically manipulated organisms. These so called “chickens” are kept alive by tubes inserted into their bodies to pump blood and nutrients throughout their structure. They have no beaks, no feathers, and no feet. Their bone structure is dramatically shrunk to get more meat out of them. This is great for KFC because they do not have to pay so much for their production costs. There is no more plucking of the feathers or the removal of the beaks and feet. The government has told them to change all of their menus so they do not say chicken anywhere. If you look closely you will notice this. Listen to their commercials, I guarantee you will not see or hear the word chicken. I find this matter to be very disturbing. I hope people will start to realize this and let other people know. Please forward this message to as many people as you can. Together we make KFC start using real chicken again.

The article: Tastes Like Chicken in snopes.com debunks the above as hoax.

The fast-food chain known today as “KFC” was founded by Harland Sanders. He was not born in Kentucky but was born in September 9, 1980 in Henryville, Indiana.

In the 1930s Sanders began serving chicken to the patrons of his service station in Corbin, Kentucky. Not having a restaurant then Sanders served people on his own dining table in the living quarters of his service station. Eventually, his fame grew and he moved his fried chicken operation across the street to a motel and restaurant. In 1935, recognizing his contributions to the state’s cuisine Governor Ruby Laffoon made him a Kentucky Colonel.

In 1952, Pete Harman with a store in Salt Lake City became the first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchisee. PepsiCo, Inc., acquired the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain in 1986.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky, apparently mired in debt, trademarked their name in 1990 and anyone using the word “Kentucky” for business reasons have to pay licensing fees to the state. As a matter of principle, Kentucky Fried Chicken refused to pay royalties on a name it had used since 1953. In 1991, after a year of futile negotiations with he Commonwealth of Kentucky, the company to save money opted to change its name to KFC to avoid paying the license fees. So, changing the name and logo to KFC has nothing to do with the myth of the chicken not being real chicken.

On July 5, 2013, Eric Kuns published  a post titled: Mutant chickens raised from stolen KFC “chicken factory” eggs?!” with the following picture:

Mutant chickens raised by Yang Pei in Shaanxi, China, after she stole a few eggs from the chicken farm where she worked, and which supplied chickens to  KFC. She transferred the eggs to hens at her family’s own chicken farm and these birds hatched. (Photo: Eric Kuns)
Mutant chickens raised by Yang Pei in Shaanxi, China, after she stole a few eggs from the chicken farm where she worked, and which supplied chickens to KFC. She transferred the eggs to hens at her family’s own chicken farm and these birds hatched. (Photo: Eric Kuns)

After telling his story, Eric added the following postscript:

I threw this together myself when I was teaching English in China as part of a lesson revolving around the most popular restaurant in the city = KFC. I wanted the students to be more wary of hoaxes, and after presenting the photo along with the original KFC mutant chicken hoax to the students, l helped them figure out ways to identify hoaxes. PS by yours truly, of course. I’ve altered the content to make it more convincing to a different audience. So, this variant on the story is mine, as is the pic.

Earlier versions of the tale featured six-legged chickens. So, Is this story from China a hoax, a conspiracy, or a strange but true story?

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Several States in the USA now Want To Leave The Union


“My administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in government.”— President Barack Obama

The petition submitted on Friday November 9, 2012 from the State of Texas requests the Obama administration to “Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government.”

The petition appeared in the White House website “We the People” that invites users with a U.S. zip code to submit or sign petitions about policy changes they would like to see with the condition that such a petition must reach 25,000 signatures within 30 days, by December 9th, 2012, for the Obama administration to comment on it.

Surprisingly, today at 3:22 p.m., the number of signatures zoomed past the needed 25,000 mark.

When I last checked the page on the White House website “We the People” at 11:00 pm the total signatures on the petition was 50,885.

Here is the text of the petition as displayed in the White House website “We the People”:

WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government.

The US continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government’s neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending. The citizens of the US suffer from blatant abuses of their rights such as the NDAA, the TSA, etc. Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect it’s citizens’ standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government.

Created: Nov 09, 2012

So far, the president has not commented on the petition and there is no guarantee that he will. The terms of participation give the president some loopholes.

“To avoid the appearance of improper influence, the White House may decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies, federal courts, or state and local government in its response to a petition,” the site says.

At least, 19 other states have submitted similar petitions requesting secession on the “We the People” forum, including Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Click the name of the State to know the current number of signatories to their petition:

  1. Alabama
  2. Arkansas
  3. Colorado
  4. Florida
  5. Georgia
  6. Indiana
  7. Kentucky
  8. Louisiana
  9. Michigan
  10. Mississippi
  11. Missouri
  12. Montana 
  13. New Jersey
  14. New York
  15. North Carolina
  16. North Dakota
  17. Oregon
  18. South Carolina
  19. Tennessee
  20. Texas
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