Easter Liturgies Online and Covid-19
Above: Archbishop Anthony Fisher celebrating the Easter Mass
It was a very different Easter for everyone this year. With churches closed, especially during the busiest time of the year for Christians, it was very unusual for most of us. When we found out that St Mary’s Cathedral was streaming their services, we reached out to them to see if they wanted Parousia to also share that stream through our platforms. It was agreed that we could share the stream via our Facebook page LIVE and so we did. We also offered, via our YouTube channel, the Extraordinary Form with the Maternal Heart stream and also assisting with the Parramatta Latin Mass society. People around the country tuned in to pray inside their homes, uniting themselves with the many online masses. Of course its not the same thing as being physically present however, if we realise that Mass is celebrated all the time around the world and if we unite our prayers with the heavenly hosts, we are participating in the ongoing sacrifice. There are reports that over 1 million people have participated online for the Easter Masses. That’s great to know that people are doing what they can.
Above: Charbel Raish put up palms at the front of his place
It was great to see people showing their faith on Palm Sunday, putting up palms up at the front of their homes. This was a simple idea from the Facebook group ‘Christian Lives Matter’ and the response was amazing. With over 2000 people putting up palms it was a great witness of the Catholic Faith giving people hope in a very troubled time. This was only one example and so I encourage you to think of other ways that you can be a sign of hope for our world. I was pleased to see crosses put up for Easter Sunday and with so many people in lock down we need to keep thinking of innovative ways to evangelise. The use of online platforms has been great to see. I personally know of so many people turning to online encouraging people to pray more, such as LIVE rosaries, masses, liturgy of the hours and novenas to name a few. What is that extra something you can do to pray for the end of Covid -19? In my family situation, our prayer life has never been better with extra prayers being said as a family and good conversations with the kids about being ready for heaven.
We at Parousia have made it very easy to access lots of free content on the homepage of our website. When you visit www.parousiamedia.com you will see a rotating banner that fills your screen. When you scroll down you will see 12 blocks that promote different initiatives we have. From upcoming events which will be online for a while. Full talks on our youtube channel, short reflections and testimonials on our youtube channel, quick links to our Parousia Podcasts, the Narrow Gate blog articles, information about resource specials, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We have the online store when you click on ‘Store’ from our main site, which not only has the CDs, DVDs and physical books but also digital products like Mp3 talks and Mp4 videos too. Our ‘Parousia on Demand’ platform now has over 75 talks and climbing each month. You can sign up for a free 2 week trial to explore what is available there. All monthly donors contributing $30 of more are getting free access to this now, along with ‘Formed’, so please take advantage of these digital platforms. Get in touch with us if you need assistance.
This month will be the month we remember the full acquittal of Cardinal George Pell. The high court ruled this month 7 – 0 that there was no substantial evidence of the Cardinal committing the alleged crimes of which he was wrongly accused. So many people were praying for him and it was very pleasing to know that he is now officially cleared of the charges filed against him. I have personally known the Cardinal for 19 years – from when he first arrived in Sydney from Melbourne. He did so much for the Sydney Archdiocese and has been an encouraging supporter of Parousia from the very beginning. He is a very humble and down to earth man who always made time for people. Lets continue to pray for him so he can still have a positive impact on the Catholic Church as a whole.
Above: Charbel with Cardinal Pell in 2018. A long time supporter of Parousia
Parousia Podcast has been busy!
With all Catholic events being cancelled all over, we have been taking advantage of the opportunity to interview some of the most dynamic and prominent speakers from around the world, who have been in locked down in their own homes. We had a goal to make sure we lock in as many international presenters as possible to get our recently launched Parousia Podcast off to a strong start. Recently, we have been blessed to have interviewed Fr Donald Calloway, MIC, Dr John Bergsma and Dr Peter Kreeft. Other guest interviews, including Steve Ray, Dr Andrew Wood, Matthew Tague, Andrew Mullins and even Dr Scott Hahn, are scheduled to be released in April and May. Make sure you check out those interviews via our website. We aim to have both videos and audios of our interviews. We currently have the podcasts on Podbean, but are going to be expanding to other platforms, including itunes, spotify and others.
Above: Charbel catching up with Fr Donald Calloway
I was blessed to have caught up with the author of the recently released ‘Consecration to St Joseph’, Fr Donald Calloway, MIC. This book has had a huge impact already! Over 100,000 copies have been sold worldwide. We have been blessed to be granted distribution rights for Australia and New Zealand, which will make this powerful book available for our region. We have personally already distributed hundreds of copies since March 19, the feast of St Joseph. Fr Calloway shared so many amazing stories in this interview, including the trials he faced in getting this book published. A true spiritual soldier of Christ who has dedicated his life to Mary and St Joseph. Father makes an important point that consecration to Jesus through Mary is very important and was popularised by St Louis De Montfort. However, it is also important to consecrate ourselves through St Joseph as well. This way, we can say we are consecrated to both Mary and Joseph. I highly encourage you to get a copy for your home. It is so powerful and insightful with so much research into St Joseph. You will be learning much more than you would have thought about this great saint. This is the most comprehensive study on the foster father of Jesus and ‘Terror of Demons’. The staff at Parousia are in the process of going through the 33 days in preparation for a total consecration of the Parousia apostolate to St Joseph. Please consider doing this consecration for yourself as well! St Joseph, pray for us.
Above: Dr John Bergsma chats with Charbel for the podcast
I also caught up with biblical professor from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Dr John Bergsma, this month. He is the author of the book, ‘Bible Basics for Catholics’, which helps to offer you the big picture of Scripture. It’s famous for the stick figures of each major biblical event, making it easier to remember the stories. Dr Bergsma is scheduled to visit Australia in October and we pray things settle with the virus to allow him to still do that. You will notice there is a collection of letters over the image above, on my side. That is a promo code for his book. For this month only you will get 20% off Bible Basics for Catholics. These will normally be exclusively shared with viewers and listeners of each podcast. We have a special in almost every show, but you must listen to them to know what each promo is. I hope you can catch up on the episodes you’ve missed!
Above: Charbel with Dr Peter Kreeft earlier this month
It was a another special moment to finally catch up with professor and author Dr Peter Kreeft. He has left a huge legacy in the Catholic World. In this episode, we discussed his conversion testimony and just how he was able to write 95 books! That’s right – he is the author of that many books, and is not finished yet! He has been around for a long time and shares so much wisdom. We also have a special for his book ‘Your Questions, Gods Answers’ but you must listen to get that promo code. I encourage you to search his name on our site to learn more about his other resources.
Study Groups Go Online
Both Matthew Tague and I are going to launch the popular bible studies from ‘Ascension’, online in Term 2. Since the lock-down we have not been able to have face to face study groups, so we are going to be launching zoom bible study discussions starting the last week of this month. Please see the back of this newsletter to learn more and look out for the details on our website and Facebook page. The four course we are offering are ‘A Biblical Walk with the Blessed Mother’, by Dr Ed Sri, which is an 8 week study on Mary. The second study will be on ‘Altaration’ which is a 5-part study on the Mass, by Mark Hart. Mathew will be conducting the study sessions for those. The next study will be on the famous ‘Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible, by Jeff Cavins,which is an 8 week study on the overview of the bible using the timeline chart. The fourth study will be on the 24 week program called ‘Chosen’, which is a full catechesis on the Catholic faith. I will be conducting the bible discussions on these two programs. Please sign up and join in from wherever you are based.
My conversion testimony is now available not only as a paperback book but also as an e-Book. The filming of my talk is now complete and available as a CD, DVD and via our Parousia on Demand platform. Please pray that this story can have an impact on people’s faith lives and bring them closer to the good Lord. As you can see, even with no LIVE events, we are keeping busy online and ask for your prayers to keep up this important work.
God Bless you,
Charbel Raish – Director
*Featured New Release CD* How Islam Led Me Back to Christ – Charbel Raish – Parousia (CD)
Also available in MP3 & DVD formats along with POD
Charbel Raish was born into a Catholic home. But, in the last 6 years of school, he was influenced and challenged in his faith by Islamic friends. In his final year, he struggled to make a choice. He visited a mosque to give his life to Allah and Muhamed. But God wasn’t done with him yet. Charbel visited a church, begging God for a sign. His life was transformed forever. This conversion story shares what happened that day in the Mosque and the Church! Be moved and inspired by how God worked in Charbel’s life, and how you can access God’s grace – if you only turn to Him!
Liturgy of the Hours for Lay People – Fr. Timothy M. Gallagher, OMV – EWTN (2 DVD SET)
With liturgical participation at an all-time low, Fr. Timothy M. Gallagher, OMV is campaigning to bring Catholics back to an old daily tradition that can be practiced by priests, religious, and lay people alike. Calling on the faithful to enter the life of the Church by “praying always,” Fr. Gallagher teaches Catholics how to engage The Liturgy of the Hours in a thoughtful step-by-step mini-series that draws on the prayer’s historical roots in Sacred Scripture and tradition.
Psalms: The School of Prayer – Jeff Cavins, Sarah Christmyer, & Tim Gray – Ascension Press (Starter Pack)
The Holy Spirit inspired them. Israel sang them. Christ himself prayed them, as did our Blessed Mother. At the heart of the Bible are the Psalms, prayers from God that help us to pray. In the Psalms: The School of Prayer study program, discover how these sacred hymns become our heartfelt response to God’s loving and wondrous deeds for us.
In this 11-session study, presenters Jeff Cavins, Tim Gray, and Sarah Christmyer show you how to establish a deeply personal dialogue with God through the Psalms. Learn how to meditate fruitfully on the captivating words of the Psalms using lectio divina and study the many ways the Psalms foretell the life and mission of Jesus.
How to Pray Like Mary – Sonja Corbitt – Ascension (Paperback)
Listen—and Respond—Like Mary at the Annunciation. Mary has been called the “mother of listening.” She didn’t just hear the Word; she pondered it in light of her own relationships and circumstances and then let it transform her. Sonja Corbitt is a best-selling Catholic author and one of the most dynamic and compelling new voices in the Church today. After years of Bible study, she recognised that the “mother of listening” was providing a model of prayer that has the power to revolutionise your life of prayer. Starting with Mary’s response to the Annunciation, Sonja Corbitt will show you how to pray with Scripture under the guidance of the Blessed Mother. You will learn a powerful practice for daily prayer as Mary models it: Listen, Observe, Verbalise, Entrust. Sonja Corbitt draws from vivid biblical texts to show you the key to loving Scripture and deepening your relationship with God.
‘Conversion’ – 20 Answers – Shaun McAfee – Catholic Answers (Booklet)
Entering into full communion with the Catholic Church is one of the most exciting, rewarding, and often nerve-wracking experiences in life. For some it means adjusting to new teachings and ways of worship, while for others it can include a complete change of lifestyle. 20 Answers: Conversion offers a personal guide to the ins and outs of becoming Catholic, from someone who has been there himself. Whether you’re new to the Church, thinking of becoming Catholic (or know someone who is), or just want to learn more about how Catholicism works, you’ll find the answers you’re looking for right here.
*Featured Parousia On Demand* The Law of Attraction – Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers
Deacon Harold explains why the relationship between a man and a woman is so unique, so special and so unrepeatable. Deacon presents this explanation by looking at the topic from the perspectives of theology, biology and sociology.