Parish & Your Pastor 

Father William Brennan

Saint John Chrysostom (c.347-407)
Patron of Lecturers, public speakers & preachers

posted February 23, 2024

Saint John Chrysostom was born in Antioch, he studied the Greek classics and was trained as an orator. He left his studies and began to study the ascetic live, prayer and scripture. He was baptized and underwent a profound conversion which led him to a life of great solitude and prayer.


He joined a community of hermits in 374 and began rigorous fasting, penance and a continual study of the Bible to the point of having memorized a good portion of it. Because of this he became well versed in the Bible. After several years his health began to deteriorate and he returned to Antioch to regain his health back.


Ordained in 386, he wrote many sermons and commentaries and was famous for his eloquent sermons. These contained dogmatic, moral and historical teachings from the early church. Appointed Archbishop of Constantinople in 398. Even though his position gave him power and wealth he lived a simple life and cared for the poor.


He preached on moral and spiritual guidance and against materialism of the imperial court and against pagan activities. Because of his preaching he made enemies in very high places and was exiled on more that one occasion. The last was complete banishment from the Roman Empire.


After his death because of his powerful preaching, he received the title “Chrysostomos” (golden mouth). He also left behind around 700 sermons, close to 250 letters, as well as commentaries on Scripture and important teachings on the Eucharist. His homilies, for the most part, held emphasis on care for the poor. His best-known homily, though quite short, was the Paschal Homily.


Prayer
Saint John Chrysostom, we pray for the strength to follow the example of your unwavering faith. Please intercede for us and guide us in our spiritual journeys and may we be filled with your compassion and your love. Saint John Chrysostom, pray for us. Jesus, we trust in you. Amen.


Fasting
Try giving up social media on Fridays in Lent or maybe make a point on Fridays to watch YouTube videos created by Fr. Mike Schmitz, Fr. Mark Goring, Fr. Columba Jordan and Catholic Women Preach. They are not long videos but are very informative about the Catholic faith in a relaxed manner.


Almsgiving
Saint John Chrysostom constantly preached about helping the poor and needy. Try donating food, clothing or time to organizations who help clothe feed and assist those in need and if that is beyond your ability at this time then say a special prayer that they will receive what they need to sustain them.


Saint Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680) Patroness of Ecology & The Environment

posted February 16, 2024

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha was the first North American Indigenous woman to be canonized. She is often called the “Lily of the Mohawks”. She is the patron saint of ecology, those who have lost their parents and World Youth Day.


Born in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon, on the south side of the Mohawk River in present-day New York State, she contracted smallpox in an epidemic; her family died and her face was scarred. She converted to Catholicism at age nineteen, when she was baptized and given the Christian name Kateri in honor of Catherine of Siena. Refusing to marry, she left her village and moved for the remaining five years of her life to the Jesuit mission village of Kahnawake, south of Montreal on the St. Lawrence River in New France, now Canada.


Upon her death at the age of 24, witnesses said that her scars vanished minutes later, and her face appeared radiant and beautiful. She is the fourth Indigenous person of this land to be venerated in the Catholic Church and the first to be canonized. Under the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, she was beatified in 1980 and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at Saint Peter’s Basilica on 21 October 2012. Various miracles and supernatural events are attributed to her intercession.

Prayer

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, our elder sister in the Lord, discreetly, you watch over us. May your love for Jesus and Mary inspire in us words and deeds of friendship, of forgiveness and of reconciliation. Pray that God will give us the courage, the boldness, and the strength to build a world of justice and peace among ourselves and among all nations. Help us, as you did, to encounter the Creator God present in the very depths of nature, and so become witnesses of Life. With you, we praise the Father, the Son and the Spirit, Amen.

Development and Peace Share Lent Campaign

posted February 9, 2024

This year, Development and Peace — Caritas Canada’s Create Hope: Reaping our Rights campaign calls you to stand with small-scale farmers and peasant communities who feed the world while caring for the Earth.


Climate change, land grabbing, resource theft, soil contamination, armed conflicts, forced displacements. Everywhere on Earth, and especially in the Global South, impoverished peoples are facing growing challenges. Rural populations are particularly hard-hit.


This year, we will meet the farmers who feed and protect the planet. That is why it is imperative to defend rural communities’ such as in Nigeria where farmers are denouncing oil pollution; Indonesia, in training next-generation farmers; and in Bolivia supporting Indigenous and farming communities. We need to protect their rights to life, land, water, biodiversity, justice, health, participation, decent livelihoods, a healthy environment and more.


We know that we reap what we sow. So, let’s sow love, dignity, peace, and justice together every day, to create hope and reaping a better world. Pope Francis once said, “Each generation must make the struggles and achievements of past generations, while setting its own sights even higher. This is the path. Goodness, together with love, justice and solidarity are not achieved once and for all; they must be realized each day.”


Over the next six weeks of Lent, you will be introduced to farmers in the Global South who are struggling and how we can help them.


Peace and Peacemaking

posted February 2, 2024

With so much of our world in turmoil, with so much distrust, anger, and division, all of which is so readily visible through social media, let us take some time today, tomorrow or in the days ahead to contemplate on where in our daily lives can we be instruments of peace. Henri Nouwen a Dutch Catholic priest, professor, and influential spiritual writer offers some thought-provoking reflections on peace and peacemaking:


● “Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone's face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I      forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.


● We cannot love issues, but we can love people, and the love of people reveals to us the way to deal with issues.


● When peacemaking is based on fear it is not much different from warmaking.


● Only those who deeply know that they are loved and rejoice in that love can be true peacemakers.


● Prayer—living in the presence of God—is the most radical peace action we can imagine. Prayer is peacemaking and not simply the preparation before, the support during, and the thanksgiving after.


● Prayer is not primarily a way to get something done. In prayer we undo the fear of death and therefore the basis of all human destruction.


● Peacemaking begins and ends with Jesus. Jesus embodies peace, makes peace, shares peace, and blesses peacemakers. We must, therefore, become more and more like him -- ourselves embodying peace, creating peace, sharing peace.


● For Jesus, there are no countries to be conquered. No ideologies to be imposed. No people to be dominated. There are only children, women, and men to be loved.


Christ is the first peacemaker since he opened the house of God to all people and thus made the old creation new. We are sent to this world to be peacemakers in his name.” (excerpts from Peacework)

A Prayer for Stillness

by Fr. Ron Rolheiser posted January 28, 2024

Be still and know that I am God. Scripture assures us that if we are still, we will come to know God, but arriving at stillness is easier said than done. As Blaise Pascal once stated, “All the miseries of the human person come from the fact that no one can sit still for one hour.” Achieving stillness seems beyond us and this leaves us with a certain dilemma, we need stillness to find God, but we need God’s help to find stillness. With this in mind, I offer a prayer for stillness.


God of stillness and of quiet…


• Still my anxiety, my heartaches, my worries, and stop me from always being outside the present moment. Let each day’s worries be sufficient onto themselves. Give me the grace to know that you have pronounced my name in love, that my name is written in heaven, that I am free to live without anxiety.


• Still the fever I inhale from all the energy that surrounds me, that makes my life feel small. Let me know that my own life is enough, that I need not make an assertion of myself, even as the whole world beckons this of me from a million electronic screens. Give me the grace to sit at peace inside my own life.


• Still the restlessness of my youth: still that hunger that would have me be everywhere, that hunger to be connected to everyone, that wants to see and taste all that is, that robs me of peace on a Friday night.


• Quiet those grandiose dreams that want me to stand out, to be special. Give me the grace to live more contentedly inside my own skin.


• Still me in the congenital fear that I’m unloved, that I’m unlovable, that love has to be earned, that I need to be more worthy. Silence in me the nagging suspicion that I’m forever missing out, that I’m odd, an outsider, that things are unfair, and that I’m not being respected and recognized for who I am. Give me grace to know that I’m a beloved child of a God whose love need not be earned.


• Still my unforgiving thoughts, the grudges I nurse from my past, from the betrayals I’ve suffered, from the negativity and abuses I’ve been subject to. Quiet in me the guilt I carry from my own betrayals. Still in me all that’s wounded, unresolved, bitter, and unforgiving. Give the quiet that comes from forgiveness.


• Still my heart so that I may know that you are God, that I may know that you created and sustain my every breath, that you breathe the whole universe into existence every second, that everyone, myself no less that everyone else, is your beloved, that you want our lives to flourish, that you desire our happiness, that nothing falls outside your love and care, and that everything and everybody is safe in your gentle, caring hands, in this world and the next.

(Excerpt – September 25, 2017)


Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
(Jan 18th to 25th)

posted January 19. 2024

For your reflections on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, we offer the following wisdom from Fr. Ron Rolheiser on “The Path Forward”.


Ecumenism - The Path Forward (Excerpt)

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI


“I was very blessed during my theological formation to have had the privilege of taking classes from two very renowned Catholic scholars, Avery Dulles and Raymond E. Brown.


And what these two shared in their vision for ecumenism was this: The path towards Christian Unity, the road that will eventually bring all sincere Christians together into one community, around one altar, is not the way of somehow winning the other over to our own particular denomination, of getting others to admit that they are wrong and that we are right and of them returning to the true flock, namely, our particular denomination.


It begins with the honest admission by each of us that none of us, no one denomination, has the full truth, incarnates the full expression of church, and is fully faithful to the Gospel. We are all deficient in some ways and each of us in some ways is selective in terms of which parts of the Gospels we value and incarnate and which parts we ignore. And so, the path forward is the path of conversion, personal and ecclesial, of admitting our selectiveness, or recognizing and valuing what other churches has incarnated, of reading scripture more deeply in search of what we have ignored and absented ourselves from and of individually and collectively trying to live lives that are truer to Jesus Christ.

The path to unity then lies not in converting each other over, but in each of us living the Gospel more faithfully so as to grow closer to each other in Christ.


Raymond E. Brown contends, “that in a divided Christianity, instead of reading the Bible to assure ourselves that we are right, we would do better to read it to discover where we have not been listening. As we Christians of different churches try to give hearing to the previously muffled voices, our views of the church will grow larger; and we will come closer to sharing common views. Then the Bible will be doing for us what Jesus did in his time, namely convincing those who have ears to hear that all is not right, for God is asking of them more than they thought.”


Indeed: God is asking more of us than we think.”


Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
(Jan 18th to 25th)

posted January 12, 2024

With more than 100 years of history, this annual observation involves Christian communities throughout the world. The theme for 2024 is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10.27).


The celebration for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was prepared by an ecumenical team from Burkina Faso located in West Africa which includes the neighboring countries of Mali and Niger. Burkina Faso is currently experiencing a serious security crisis, which affects all the communities of faith and Christian churches have been especially targeted.


Christians are called to act like Christ in loving the Good Samaritan, showing mercy and compassion to those in need, regardless of their religious, ethnic, or social identity. It is not shared identities that should prompt us to come to the aid of the other but love of our “neighbor”.


It is by learning to love one another regardless of our differences that Christians can become neighbors like the Samaritan in the Gospel.

Prayer for the Unity of Christians
Lord Jesus, who prayed that we might all be one, we pray to you for the unity of Christians, according to your will, according to your means. May your Spirit enable us to experience the suffering caused by division, to recognize our failures, and to hope beyond all hope. Amen. (excerpts from the WCC and Living with Christ)

Ecumenical Service & Prayer for the Week of Christian Unity January 18th to 25th.


To begin the Week there will be a service at Holy Family Church (1500 Hanwell Road) on Thursday, January 18th at 12 noon. This is an opportunity to bring a friend of another Christian denomination with you and for Christians to come together to pray for unity. Following the service there will be a time to get together with a light luncheon of sandwiches, sweets and coffee in the Church Hall. Everyone is welcome!

Epiphany of the Lord

posted January 5, 2024

This weekend is the Feast of the Epiphany and the end of the Christmas Season and one last opportunity to see all the Christmas decorations, trees, flowers, and our Mangers. With the Season of Ordinary Time just around the corner, it is also a signal to all Christians that the ‘work of Christmas’ begins. This work is best reflected in a poem by Howard Thurman, an African American theologian, educator, and civil rights leader:

The Work of Christmas
When the song of the angels is stilled. When the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with the flock, ‘The Work of Christmas’ begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among others,
To make music in the heart.

As we step into this new year let us do so with the same prayerful and open hearts of Mary and Joseph and may this ‘work of Christmas’ become present in our hearts, in our prayer and through our actions. We offer the following verse from the song, ‘A Welsh Prayer’ as inspiration in the days and weeks ahead: “...grant us a spirit of thanksgiving and give us strength to serve. That when you call on us, we shall be ready, to answer for this corner of the earth.”

Peace and Joy.

World Day of Peace

posted December 29, 2023

Since 1967 World Day of Peace has been celebrated each year on January 1st. This year’s theme is ‘Artificial Intelligence and Peace’.


This week we offer you an excerpt from Pope Francis’ message for World Day of Peace, “It is my prayer at the start of the New Year that the rapid development of forms of artificial intelligence will not increase cases of inequality and injustice all too present in today’s world but will help put an end to wars and conflicts and alleviate many forms of suffering that afflict our human family. May Christian believers, followers of various religions and women and men of good will work together in harmony to embrace the opportunities and confront the challenges posed by the digital revolution and thus hand on to future generations a world of greater solidarity, justice, and peace.”


On this World Day of Peace let each one of us take a moment in our day to reflect the following message of hope for peace by Pope Francis:

“Let us implore from on high the gift of commitment to the cause of peace. Peace in our homes, our families, our schools, and our communities. Peace in all those places where war never seems to end. Peace for those faces which have known nothing but pain. Peace throughout this world which God has given us as the home of all and a home for all. Simply PEACE… In this way, the lives of our dear ones will not be lives which will one day be forgotten. Instead, they will be present whenever we strive to be prophets not of tearing down but of building up, prophets of reconciliation, prophets of peace.”
–Pope Francis

Christmas Message from Fr. Bill

posted December 23, 2023


There is an old legend about a conversation between Jesus and the Angel Gabriel after Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. It goes like this:


Gabriel says to Jesus, “Does everyone on earth know about God’s love and your love for them?”

“No”, Jesus says, “Only a handful”

Then Gabriel asks Jesus, “So how will the others know?”

And Jesus says, “The handful will tell another handful.”


The Gospels point out who the handful were in Jesus’ life. Sometimes it was a small handful like around the manger at his birth. Sometimes it was one person. Sometimes it was a crowd like when he fed the multitudes of 5000. Sometimes his ‘handful’ was himself, when he was alone.


This is the way of our lives. We have the same kinds of ‘handfuls’ through which we are invited to give and receive God’s love and care. Like Jesus, there are ‘handfuls’ that are naturally part of our life through family and communities where we live and the relationships that evolve and deepen in this context. However, it is important to point out that Jesus went to the margins of society to those alienated, homeless, ill, and struggling and included them in his ‘handful’.


As we celebrate Christmas this year, may the ‘handful’ you celebrate with and connect with at table, through technology, at social gatherings, time alone, at liturgies, community kitchens, hospitals and many other places and ways, bless you with the gift of Jesus Christ in the midst of it all. May your ‘handful’ continue to grow in familiar places and in the margins. May the blessings and grace of this be experienced by a deeper knowing of God’s love for you and those in your ‘handful’.


Merry Christmas and Many Blessings for 2024!


The Christmas Tree and Lights

posted December 16, 2023

An evergreen tree represents life and symbolizes God’s constant faithfulness and eternal life. As we anticipate lighting the Christmas Tree lights this year, we offer the following reflection from Fr. Ron Rolheiser on the Christmas Tree and Christmas Lights:


The Christmas Tree.
Its job is to join heaven and earth, to be a ladder for the incarnation, a vehicle God can use to climb down to earth. That is why there should always be either an angel or a star on top it (for what else do you find in the sky than stars and angels?).


The Christmas Lights.
They represent the light and warmth of God, but in a special way. The custom of putting up Christmas lights originates in the Northern Hemisphere. Here Christmas comes just after the winter solstice, that is, pretty well on the coldest, darkest day of the year. Originally, before electricity, lights were real fire, bring both heat and light. The idea then is that, just when it’s darkest and coldest, God’s light and warmth break into the world. The custom of having midnight Mass, which some trace to Francis of Assisi, has the same rational. At the coldest darkest hour on the coldest, darkest day of the year, the warmth and light of God breaks through.”


As you prepare your tree this year give thanks for its beauty. May its evergreen branches remind us of God’s unending care for all people; may its lights illuminate our way and may its presence bring joy and hope for all people.

Blessing the Family Christmas Tree


Bless this tree, this sign of life and freshness and perseverance in our midst. It stands as a reminder that you are born anew in us each day. Bless our family and friends as we celebrate this joyous season. Keep us safe in our travels, kind in our conversations, and gracious in our giving and receiving. We ask you this in confidence because we know you love us.

Advent
Nativity Scene

posted December 1, 2023

To identify with Mary in faith during this season of Advent is to be open to receive what she received. The first gift was that of a sense of gratitude for the warmth of God’s love given to her in Christ. Mary and her cousin Elizabeth also lived in a time of advent, of waiting and preparation for their promised sons to be born. This year marks the 800th Anniversary of the first Nativity scene attributed to St. Francis of Assisi in Greccio. He wanted to do something that would recall the memory of the child born and display the inconveniences he had as he lay in the manger, surrounded by animals. As we wait in hope and anticipation during this Season of Advent, let us take a closer look at some of the Christmas symbols attributed to the Nativity scene and what they represent as provided by Fr. Ron Rolheiser.


“The Creche”

It’s an image of heaven. Everything about it radiates peace, love, fulfilment, the end of longing, the lack of tears. It’s an icon of Isaiah’s vision of

the lion lying down with the lamb, of God wiping away every tear. The baby, appropriately enough, is always asleep because the whole scene depicts eternal rest, namely, what it means to sleep “in heavenly peace.” Silent Night, combined with a creche is as good a holy picture of heaven as you’ll get this side of eternity.


“The Crib”

The crib is a trough, a place where cows, sheep, oxen, and horses come to eat. It’s appropriate that Jesus – who is food for the life of the world – should be lying in a trough, a wooden one too. The wood of the crib will later on become the wood of the cross, that place where Jesus gives himself completely as food for the life of the world.” As for Mary and Elizabeth, Advent can be a time of preparation for us. A time to be in God’s Word, to ponder again the precious gift of Jesus.


As you set your intentions for each day throughout the season of Advent, the following prayer may help guide you on our journey:


Radiant creator, awaken me to your presence. Jesus, light of all lights, kindle love in my heart. Spirit of illumination, guide my path today.


The Holy Season of Advent

Advent is a time of waiting and of hope. Next weekend we will begin our Advent season with the lighting of the first candle on our Advent Wreath. As we move further into Advent the Nativity scene will be gradually built beginning with an empty stable, followed by the shepherds and animals and finally for the Christmas Masses, Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus.

As Christmas approaches, the church wreaths and trees will appear, ready to be illuminated with the birth of Jesus, reminding us of the Light of Christ.

This Advent, with Mary as our model, may we all experience a special time of waiting, hope and peace. Be sure to watch for the three wise men as they journey towards the stable arriving on the Feast of the Epiphany!  

An Accumulation of Losses

By Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM posted November 17, 2023

Psychotherapist and author Francis Weller has studied grief for decades and explores how we often attempt to keep grief separate from our lives. Weller writes: “No one escapes suffering in this life. None of us is exempt from loss, pain, illness, and death.” How is it that we have so little understanding of these essential experiences? How is it that we have attempted to keep grief separated from our lives and only begrudgingly acknowledge its presence at the most obvious of times, such as a funeral? “If sequestered pain made a sound,” Stephen Levine says, “the atmosphere would be humming all the time.”


It is the accumulated losses of a lifetime that slowly weigh us down—the times of rejection, the moments of isolation when we felt cut off from the sustaining touch of comfort and love. It is an ache that resides in the heart, the faint echo calling us back to the times of loss. We are called back, not so much to make things right, but to acknowledge what happened to us. Grief asks that we honor the loss and, in doing so, deepen our capacity for compassion. When grief remains unexpressed, however, it hardens, becomes as solid as a stone. We, in turn, become rigid and stop moving in rhythm with the soul. . . . When our grief stagnates, we become fixed in place, unable to move and dance with the flow of life. Grief is part of the dance.


As we begin to pay attention, we notice that grief is never far from our awareness. We become aware of the many ways it arrives in our daily lives. It is the blue mood that greets us upon waking. It is the melancholy that shades the day in muted tones.


It is the recognition of time’s passing, the slow emptying of our days. It is the searing pain that erupts when someone close to us dies—a parent, a partner, a child, a beloved pet. It is the confounding grief when our life circumstances are shattered by the unexpected—the phone rings with news of a biopsy; we find ourselves suddenly without work, uncertain as to how we will support our family; our partner decides one day that the marriage is over. We tumble and fall as the ground beneath us opens, shaken by violent rumblings. Grief enfolds our lives, drops us close to the earth, reminding us of our inevitable return to the dark soil. . . .


It is essential for us to welcome our grief, whatever form it takes. When we do, we open ourselves to our shared experiences in life. Grief is our common bond. Opening to our sorrow connects us with everyone, everywhere. There is no gesture of kindness that is wasted, no offering of compassion that is useless. We can be generous to every sorrow we see. It is sacred work.


Reflection on Hope and Peace

posted November 11. 2023

This Saturday we celebrate Remembrance Day and on Thursday, November 16th we have a Service of Remembrance in our parish to remember and honor those loved ones who have died this past year. At this Service of Remembrance we will be lighting a candle for each person. This is a gesture of hope and comes from a deep belief that the light our loved one gave to the world continues to remain in and among us as a core part of our lives. The candle lighting is the symbol of the deep reality that we continue to lean into and take inspiration from the light of our loved one’s life. It also is tied to the belief that there is nothing that can take ‘the light’ of our loved one from us, not even death. Through resurrection they continue to live their light and shine the gift of love eternally through their full union with God.


The following is a quote from Fr. Ron Rolheiser about lighting candles. It is especially appropriate as we live Remembrance Day (s) with a renewed commitment to address violence with non-violence and peace making.

To light a candle is an act of hope.
In the days of apartheid in South Africa, Christians there used to light candles and place them in windows as a sign to themselves and to others that they believed that some day this injustice would end. A candle burning in a window was a sign of hope and a political statement. The government didn’t miss the message. It passed a law making it illegal to place a lit candle in a window, the offense being equal to owning a firearm, both considered equally dangerous. This eventually became a joke among the kids: “Our government is afraid of lit candles!"

They had reason to be! Lit candles, more than firearms, overthrew apartheid. Hope, not guns, is what ultimately transforms things. To light a candle as an act of hope is to say to yourself and to others that, despite anything that might be happening in the world, you are still nursing a vision of peace and unity based upon something beyond the present state of things and this hope is based upon deeper realities and powers than the world admits.


Fr. Ron Rolheiser


Meet Breiner Osbeli Vail Morales

posted November 3, 2023

For a number of years, Fr. Monte sponsored a child through Chalice, a Catholic Sponsorship Program. It has been decided to continue this sponsorship through our Parish. Breiner is seven years old and lives in Guatemala. He loves to draw and play soccer. Brenier has finished his pre-school studies and is now in first grade. His favorite subjects are language arts and math. He hopes to be a police officer when he grows up. Breiner’s brother is also attending school and they like studying together.

Breiner’s mother Delfina extends a special thank you for our support which gives him the opportunity to continue with his studies. Breiner and his brother are a blessing to her.

When you have a chance, look at our bulletin board in the lobby for a photo of Breiner, a picture which he drew and a letter from his mom. As we receive updates from the family, we will continue to provide you with Breiner’s progress.

For more information on Chalice go to www.chalice.ca or call 1-800-776-6855.

Prayer for World Peace

posted October 27, 2023


Great God, who has told us “Vengeance is mine,” save us from ourselves, save us from the vengeance in our hearts and the acid in our souls.


Save us from our desire to hurt as we have been hurt, to punish as we have been punished, to terrorize as we have been terrorized.


Give us the strength it takes to listen rather than to judge, to trust rather than to fear, to try again and again to make peace even when peace eludes us.


We ask, O God, for the grace to be our best selves. We ask for the vision to be builders of the human community rather than its destroyers. We ask for the humility as a people to understand the fears and hopes of other people.


We ask for the love it takes to bequeath to the children of the world to come more than the failures of our own making. We ask for the heart it takes to care for all the people as well as for ourselves.


Give us the depth of soul, O God, to constrain our might, to resist the temptations of power, to refuse to attack the attackable, to understand that vengeance begets violence, and to bring peace—not war—wherever we go.


For you, O God, have been merciful to us.

For you, O God, have been patient with us.
For you, O God, have been gracious to us.


And so may we be merciful and patient and gracious and trusting with these others whom you also love.


This we ask through Jesus, the one without vengeance in his heart. This we ask forever and ever. Amen.

— Joan Chittister


World Mission Sunday – October 22nd, 2023

posted October 21, 2023

Today is World Mission Sunday. Inspired by this year’s theme “hearts on fire, feet on the move” this Sunday is an opportunity to renew our baptismal call to be disciple-missionaries.


Sr. Mary’s Mission (Part 2): Sr. Mary’s mission in Kibera, Kenya, begins by befriending. “I began with Christians I met in the church. Slowly I gained their confidence, and they welcome me to their houses. They share their problems. When the stories are painful, even if I have nothing to offer, it’s possible to find someone who can help. That makes me create friendships with other people who are able to help. So, its friendship, but a friendship that means you can’t just sit and watch; that something has to be done.”


Nobody is quite sure how many people live in Kibera, but it could be anywhere up to 1.2 million. There is widespread poverty; many people live hand-to-mouth, doing whatever work they can find to bring home income for their families. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the work available has dried up, and the cost of food is rising.


‘As human beings, we are already social beings. So, we cannot do without each other,’ says Fr. Firmin, a missionary Priest serving in Kibera.

‘And our ministry is the Ministry of Christ. As a missionary, this is also to care for the poor people around us. On World Mission Sunday, we have a chance to come together as a global family, in support of mission and missionaries – and all of our sisters and brothers in need.’


This year, Sister Mary needs our support to ensure her work continues to make a difference for many more vulnerable children. We all have a part to play in igniting God’s love. This World Mission Sunday let us set hearts ablaze with Christ’s love through missionaries, like Sister Mary, and the inspiring people they walk alongside.


Special donation envelopes are available in the lobby of the church or donate online at https://missio.org.uk/donate/

(Excerpt from the Missio)


World Mission Sunday – October 22nd, 2023

posted October 13, 2023

For this year, Pope Francis has chosen a theme inspired by the story of the disciples on the way to Emmaus, in the Gospel of Luke 24:13-35: “hearts on fire, feet on the move”. World Mission Sunday is an opportunity to renew our baptismal call to be disciple-missionaries. This is not easy in today’s world. This day is celebrated in every Catholic community in the world. It’s a moment of grace to express solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Christ who are living in situations of poverty, violence, and oppression.


Sr. Mary’s Mission (Part 1): Kibera, Kenya, is the biggest urban slum in Africa. It’s rife with all the problems poverty brings – malnourishment; addiction; abuse. But missionary Sr. Mary meets the challenges of life in Kibera with faith and friendship. ‘Our charism is “be one with the people”, go where people are”, says Sr. Mary. ‘It’s from St. Paul, but our foundress, Sister Magdalene, also took it from St. Charles de Foucauld: to be there with them from the grassroots, discover what is happening, and together learn what to do.’


That is why Sr. Mary and her fellow Little Sisters of Jesus choose to live in the heart of Kibera, alongside the people they serve. That way, she can better understand the daily challenges, and reach all who are in need.


Among the many people Sr. Mary works alongside is Linet, who courageously lives out her faith by rescuing and fostering children who are at risk from harm. Linet shares: ‘We have so many challenges…it’s a challenge to find all of it. I need clothes. I need to pay for school. It’s difficult.’ Thankfully, Linet has people like Sr. Mary who support her mission.


Join us next weekend on this special occasion, that unites Catholics all over the world in prayer and celebration of our Church's mission to share God's love with all people. Special donation envelopes are available in the lobby of the church or donate online at https://missio.org.uk/donate/  (Excerpt from the Missio)

What Is Love Asking Of Me Now?

posted October 13, 2023

Last weekend in his homily, Fr. Bill referenced this article by Fr. Ron Rolheiser. In the article Fr. Rolheiser quotes, "That is the question we need to ask ourselves every time the circumstances of our lives are shaken (by wound or by grace...)." Please use the link provided below to access this article for your reflection and inspiration. https://ronrolheiser.com/what-is-love-asking-of-me-now/


Happy Thanksgiving

posted October 7, 2023

This Thanksgiving weekend we offer the following reflections from three women who through their own faith filled wisdom may inspire in us a grateful heart. Let our lives be full of both “thanks” and “giving”. Wishing you all a blessed Thanksgiving!

Why Give Thanks - Songs of the Heart, Joan Chittister
“We need to stop and thank God—consciously—for the good things of the day. We spend so much time wanting things to be better that we fail to see our real gifts. There are banquets in our life and we don’t enjoy them because we are always grasping for something more: the perfect schedule, the perfect work, the perfect friend, the perfect community.
We have to realize that God’s gifts are all around us, that joy is an attitude of mind, an awareness that my life is basically good.
Thank you for the new day.
Thank you for this work.
Thank you for this family.
Thank you for our daily bread.
Thank you for the storm and the moisture it brings to a parched earth.
Thank you for the corrections that bring me to growth.
Thank you for the necessities that keep me aware of your bounty in my life.”
An Autumn Blessing by Joyce Rupp and Macrina Wiederkehr
“Blessed are you, Autumn, you draw us away from summer’s hot breath. As your air becomes frosty and cool, you lead us to inner reflection.
Blessed are you, Autumn, season of so much bounty. You invite us to imitate your generosity in giving freely from the goodness of our lives, holding nothing back.
Blessed are you, Autumn, your harvesting time has come. As we gather your riches into our barns, reveal to us our own inner riches waiting to be harvested.
Blessed are you, Autumn, season of surrender, you teach us the wisdom of letting go as you draw us into new ways of living.
Blessed are you, Autumn, season of unpredictability. You inspire us to be flexible, to learn from our shifting moods.
Blessed are you, Autumn, feast of thanksgiving. You change our hearts into fountains of gratitude as we receive your gracious gifts.”

Season of Creation

excerpt from Pope Francis’ Message for the Care of Creation posted October 3, 2023

October 4th, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi will mark the end of the Season of Creation and the opening of the Synod on Synodality a process that began in October 2021.


Pope Francis invites us to “…join the mighty river by transforming our hearts. This is essential for any other transformation to occur; it is that “ecological conversion” which Saint John Paul II encouraged us to embrace: the renewal of our relationship with creation so that we no longer see it as an object to be exploited but cherish it instead as a sacred gift from our Creator. Furthermore, we should realize than an integral approach to respect for the environment involves four relations: with God; with our sisters and brothers of today and tomorrow; with all of nature; and with ourselves.”


As our journey through the synodal process continues, the Pope shared the following reflection on healing and unity: “Lac St. Anne, I learned, is also a place of healing, consolation and love, a place that “reminds us that fraternity is genuine if it unites those who are far apart, and that the message of unity heaven sends down to earth does not fear differences, but invites us to fellowship, a communion of differences, in order to start afresh together, because we are all pilgrims on a journey.”


And as this Season of Creation ends, the Popes asks that “…as followers of Christ on our shared synodal journey, let us live, work and pray that our common home will teem with life once again. May the Holy Spirit once more hover over the waters and guide our efforts to “renew the face of the earth”.”


Orange Shirt Day

posted September 22, 2023



An Invitation to wear Orange: This year at St. Kateri Parish, we offer the invitation to wear Orange at the weekend Masses on September 30th/31st , since Saturday, September 30 is The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It is also called Orange Shirt Day.

Of course, this is simply an invitation and it is important that we gather together gratefully and openly with everyone and without judgment as to whether or not we are wearing Orange:

The following is helpful information on why we offer this invitation to wear Orange at the Masses.

Orange Shirt Day was inspired by Phyllis Jack Webstad, a Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation elder in Williams Lake, B.C. She wore a bright orange shirt to her first day of residential school in 1973 when she was six years old. The shirt was taken from her and since then, the colour orange has reminded her that her feelings did not matter.

Orange Shirt Day was started in Williams Lake in 2013 to commemorate all Residential School Survivors. The orange shirts are a symbol of solidarity. Wearing orange recognizes the many losses experienced by students, their families and communities, over several generations, including loss of family and culture, language, freedom, parenting, self‐esteem and worth, and painful experiences of abuse and neglect.

September 30th falls during the time of year when Indigenous children were taken away to residential schools. This day acknowledges that residential schools are a part of our history. Wearing an orange shirt is a national movement to recognize the experience of those who went to Indian residential schools, to honour them, and show a collective commitment to ensure that Every Child Matters. Wearing orange is not just an act of support, but also a commitment to learn, understand, and vocalize the truth about Indigenous history, experiences, and aspirations.

This year you are invited to join in on wearing orange, delving into the heart of our rich and complex histories, and speaking up to share these truths. Our mission, now more than ever, is to inspire every person to step up, speak up, and act to end racism, helping to forge a culturally safe community where Indigenous peoples can thrive. It's a journey we all need to undertake together - Indigenous community and allies alike – and so we wear Orange together.

Season of Creation 2023, Part 3

posted September 15, 2023

This past Spring, we held a book club featuring the best-selling novel, by Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer's "Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants". Our discussions provided us with a wonderful opportunity to journey together on the path of Truth and Reconciliation with the Indigenous Community. During this Season of Creation, we are granted with yet another wonderful opportunity as we consider our role and responsibility about understanding and caring for creation through the following reflections extracted from the book.

“How in our modern world, can we find our way to understand the earth as a gift again?”
“If we think about the earth bestowing us with a responsibility to harvest her gifts in honorable ways, how might you reimagine the production of natural resources in your area?”
“If we use a plant respectfully, it will flourish. If we ignore it, it will go away.”
“A landscape that once supported some of the world’s highest biodiversity now supports a single crop or has become a parking lot. A true waste of land.”
“Gratitude for all that the earth has given us lends us courage…to refuse to participate in an economy that destroys the beloved earth to line the pockets of the greedy, to demand an economy that is aligned with life, not staked against it. It’s easy to write but harder to do.”
“Gratitude plants the seed for abundance.”

Season of Creation 2023, Part 2

posted September 11, 2023

As we continue our journey in this Season of Creation, this time offers, in the words of Pope Francis, “individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live."


Let us all reflect and act in a significant way to care for Mother Earth, to become better caretakers and give thanks as she sustains us daily.


Education:
“There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions, and it is wonderful how education can bring about real changes in lifestyle. Education in environmental responsibility can encourage ways of acting which directly and significantly affect the world around us, such as avoiding the use of plastic and paper, reducing water consumption, showing care for other living beings, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights. All of these reflect a generous and worthy creativity which brings out the best in human beings.” -Laudato Si’ (no. 211)


Prayer:
Giving thanks for our daily food before each meal of the day is one form of prayer we can practice as individuals, as a family or as a community. “One expression of this attitude of thankfulness is when we stop and give thanks to God before and after meals. That moment of blessing, however brief, reminds us of our dependence on God for life; it strengthens our feeling of gratitude for the gifts of creation; it acknowledges those who by their labours provide us with these goods; and it reaffirms our solidarity with those in greatest need.”-Laudato Si’ (no.227)


Community:
While we can all strive as individuals to take steps to take care of God’s creation, to be good stewards, it must also be done as a community. “…self-improvement on the part of individuals will not by itself remedy the extremely complex situation facing our world today. Social problems must be addressed by community networks and not simply by the sum of individual good deeds. The ecological conversion needed to bring about lasting change is also a community conversion.” -Laudato Si’ (no. 219). Saint Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of Ecology, reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs.” – Canticle of the Creatures, St. Francis of Assisi.


Season of Creation 2023, Part 1

posted September 5, 2023

The Season of Creation starts on September 1st with the Day of Prayer for Creation, and ends October 4th, the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of Ecology. Throughout the month-long celebration Christians around the world come together to care for our common home. The following is an excerpt from the Pope’s message for World Day of Prayer for Creation 2023.

“Let Justice and Peace Flow” is the theme of this year’s ecumenical Season of Creation, inspired by the words of the prophet Amos: “Let justice flow on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream” (5:24).
“On a beautiful summer day in July 2022, during my pilgrimage to Canada, I reflected on this on the shores of Lac Ste. Anne in Alberta. That lake has been a place of pilgrimage for many generations of Indigenous people. Surrounded by the beating of drums, I thought: How many hearts have come here with anxious longing, weighed down by life’s burdens, and found by these waters consolation and strength to carry on! Here, immersed in creation, we can also sense another beating: the maternal heartbeat of the earth. Just as the hearts of babies in the womb beat in harmony with those of their mothers, so in order to grow as people, we need to harmonize our own rhythms of life with those of creation, which gives us life”.
“During this Season of Creation, let us dwell on those heartbeats: our own and those of our mothers and grandmothers, the heartbeat of creation and the heartbeat of God. Today they do not beat in harmony; they are not harmonized in justice and peace. Too many of our brothers and sisters are prevented from drinking from that mighty river. Let us heed our call to stand with the victims of environmental and climate injustice, and to put an end to the senseless war against creation.”

A Litany of Women for the Church

Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB, posted August 24, 2023

“Dear God, creator of women in your own image, born of a woman in the midst of a world half women, carried by women to mission fields around the globe, made known by women to all the children of the earth.


Give to the women of our time the strength to persevere, the courage to speak out, the faith to believe in you beyond all systems and institutions, so that your face on earth may be seen in all its beauty, so that the church may be converted to your will in everything and in all ways.


We call on the holy women who went before us, channels of Your Word in testaments old and new, to intercede for us so that we might be given the grace to become what they have been for the honor and glory of God.


Saint Mary Magdalene, minister of Jesus, first evangelist of the Christ; pray for us.

Saint Scholastica, who taught her brother Benedict to honor the spirit above the system; pray for us.

Saint Hildegard, who suffered interdict for the doing of right; pray for us.

Saint Joan of Arc, who put no law above the law of God; pray for us.

Saint Clare of Assisi, who confronted the Pope with the image of woman as equal; pray for us.

Saint Julian of Norwich, who proclaimed for all of us the motherhood of God; pray for us.

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, who knew the call to priesthood in herself; pray for us.

Saint Catherine of Siena, to whom the Pope listened; pray for us.

Saint Teresa of Avila, who brought women’s gifts to the reform of the church; pray for us.

Saint Edith Stein, who brought fearlessness to faith; pray for us.

Saint Elizabeth Seton, who broke down boundaries between lay women and religious; pray for us.

Saint Dorothy Day, who led the church in a new sense of justice; pray for us.


Mary, mother of Jesus, who heard the call of God and answered; pray for us.

Mary, mother of Jesus, who drew strength from the woman Elizabeth; pray for us.

Mary, mother of Jesus, who underwent hardship bearing Christ; pray for us.

Mary, mother of Jesus, who ministered at Cana; pray for us.

Mary, mother of Jesus, inspirited at Pentecost; pray for us.

Mary, mother of Jesus, who turned the Spirit of God into the body and blood of Christ, pray for us, Amen.”


Reflection from Fr. Bill

posted August 19, 2023

Our world today has many wise, faith filled, courageous and loving people whose actions and words inspire us. In addition to the wisdom you carry yourself and the wisdom of hundreds of other inspiring folks that you have interacted with this past week, the following three women might carry some inspiration for you in these quotes and some further reading of their work.

From Sr. Helen Prejean, C.S.J. who is a Roman Catholic nun, a member of the Congregation of St. Joseph based in New Orleans, who through her ministry in prisons has accompanied prisoners on death row and has given them a loving face and presence in their dying moments. Author of Dead Man Walking:

“I saw the suffering and I let myself feel it…I saw the injustice and was compelled to do something about it. I changed from being a nun who only prayed for the suffering world to a woman with my sleeves rolled up, living my prayer.”
“The important thing is that when you come to understand something you act on it, no matter how small that act is. Eventually it will take you where you need to go.”
“I want the last face you see in this world to be the face of love, so you look at me when they do this thing. I’ll be the face of love for you.” (To a death row prisoner before his execution.)

From Sister of Mercy theologian and professor of spirituality, Sr. Janet Ruffing, R.S.M., Ph. D, who teaches graduate courses on Christian spirituality, mystics and mysticism, and meditation at Yale Divinity School.

“If we are as busy as we pretend to be, then we are too busy to allow ourselves to be affected by the pain and suffering of our world. We are too busy to be addressed personally by the social, political, or ecological disasters occurring in our relationships. We are too busy to listen to our own feelings or those of others. Our busyness insulates us from care and from compassion.” Janet Ruffing.

From Cynthia Bourgeault, Ph.D., who is an Episcopal priest, teacher, and retreat and conference leader. The author of several books, she lectures and gives workshops throughout North America and the world. Excerpts from her book The Wisdom Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind.

“As we enter the path of transformation, the most valuable thing we have working in our favor is our yearning.”
“Philippians 2:5: “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” The words call us up short as to what we are actually supposed to be doing on this path: not just admiring Jesus, but acquiring his consciousness.”
“Somewhere in those depths of silence I came upon my first experiences of God as a loving presence that was always near, and prayer as a simple trust in that presence.” The Wisdom of Jesus: Transforming Heart and Mind.
“One can only imagine how greatly the political and religious culture wars of our era could be eased by this simple courtesy of the Law of Three: (1) the enemy is never the problem but the opportunity; (2) the problem will never be solved through eliminating or silencing the opposition but only through creating a new field of possibility large enough to hold the tension of the opposites and launch them in a new direction. Imagine what a different world it would be if these two simple precepts were internalized and enacted.” Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three: Discovering the Radical Truth at the Heart of Christianity.


When God Says No

Excerpt from “A Moment to Breathe" by Kelly Balarie posted August 11, 2023

But as it is written, “What no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human heart has conceived—God has prepared these things for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians2:9

“I was excited for this big opportunity. I was going to be used by God for something magnificent, something meaningful. I could feel it. I could see it. And I could almost smell it…until, it happened. The phone rang and I heard, “There has been a change of plans.” Have you ever received one of those calls? The type of call that takes away the good you were supposed to unwrap, hold, and then jump up and down over?


There was another woman, and I was asked to hand over the near once-in-a-lifetime dream. I didn’t want to, but I relented. Nearly every part of me felt like kicking and screaming, but the other part of me trusted God would use this to speak to my heart. So, I listened. And remembered the words of 1 Corinthians 2:9: We cannot fathom the thing God has prepared for those who love him. God loves me. God also loves her. He has plans for us both.


It's in moments like these we have to choose. We can choose to wallow in the idea of limited opportunity, or we can choose to see the unlimited God we follow.


Not too long after I was passed over, I got word about the other woman. She was diagnosed with severe cancer. She noted how vital and encouraging this special event was in her life. How God had carved it out just for her soul. How others had blessed her in a way she would never forget.


To her, it was a cherished honor she could hold through hard times. She received her “something magnificent, something meaningful,” but the thing is—so did I. He made my sacrifice count for her. And that is worth something.”

A Moment to Breathe…
“Picture the face of a friend who received something you really, really wanted. Ask God to fill your heart with gladness for her. Then send her a note, telling her how happy you are for her.”

Feed the Hungry

Excerpt from “How Do We Feed the Poor”
by Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI posted August 4, 2023

“How can you and how can I feed the hungry?

There are a couple of possible approaches: Mother Theresa takes one approach. For her, Jesus’ command is simple and clear. Each of us should personally, beyond government and other agencies, reach out concretely and touch some poor person or persons. There should be times when we are, literally, taking food to hungry people, working in soup kitchens, giving aid to individual street people, and having a poor person eat at our table. This approach is individual, personal, and concrete. Each poor person has a face, and one does not, at least not all the time, ask questions regarding where this person will eat tomorrow or what social problems are causing this hunger. In this view, the demand that we feed the hungry challenges us precisely to reach out beyond ideologies and social theories and irrespective of social structures, like the Good Samaritan, person-to-person, take food to the hungry.

But there is another approach, more abstract though not less critical. In this view, it is less important to feed this or that individual person on a given day than it is to change the social, political, and economic structures that are responsible for that particular person being hungry. This approach is less personal and slower, but can, at the end of the day, be more far-reaching. In it, one attempts to feed the hungry by involving oneself in social justice groups that are trying to change the conditions that produce poverty.

Both of these approaches, in their best expressions, are predicated on some other things: Feeding the hungry, as Jesus asks us to do it, involves a reduction
in our own standard of living. To feed the hungry means to consume less ourselves, to do some fasting,
and to live in a simplicity that puts us in more solidarity with the poor. Feeding the hungry also means prayer. We have some bad habits that only God can cure and thus only the outside power of God can ultimately transform our world.

So, which is the best approach? As Christians, our task is not to pick between being a Mother Theresa or a social justice advocate. The Gospel asks us to be both. We need to work at transforming the conditions that create poverty even as we, like Mother Theresa, reach out personally, beyond the economics and social issues involved, to feed very individual poor people.

Jesus’ command to feed the hungry asks to become a Dorothy Day.”

Climate Change

posted July 28, 2023

As we continue to enjoy the long days of summer, it is not uncommon to hear remarks such as “what is happening with the weather?”. An almost daily topic on the news are reports on global warming and just last week we recorded the earth’s hottest temperatures. Countries all around the world are struggling with the effects of climate change and environmental injustices. In some places the results are devasting—with deforestation, droughts, fires, torrential rains, floods, and tornadoes. As we each try in our own way as individuals and as a community to care for and become better stewards of God’s gift—Mother Earth, we offer the following reflections:

“Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair. Not because I have my head in the sand, but because joy is what the Earth gives me daily and I must return the gift.” — Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass

"The function of one generation is to make change possible for the next. The real function of each generation is to sow the seeds that will make a better world possible in the future."—Sr. Joan Chittister

“The Eucharist joins heaven and earth; it embraces and penetrates all creation. Thus, the Eucharist is also a source of light and motivation for our concerns for the environment, directing us to be stewards of all creation.”—Laudato Si’, Para. 236

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

— Albert Einstein

“Here we are, the most clever species ever to have lived. So how is it we can destroy the only planet we have?” – Jane Goodall

“We are all part of Mother Earth. She sustains us and we must sustain her in return.” —Chief Dan George

“When enough people come together, then change will come, and we can achieve almost anything. So instead of looking for hope — start creating it.”— Greta Thunberg

“Together we can preserve the forest, securing this immense treasure for the future of all these our children.”— Chico Mendes

“I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things we could use.”
— Mother Teresa

A Prayer for the Earth
O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes. Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction. Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth. Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey toward your infinite light. We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace. (Excerpt from Laudato Si’)

Moments of Enlightenment
The Monastic Way

By Sr. Joan Chittister posted July 22, 2023

There are moments in life—both spiritual and intellectual—that are like no other. They change us. They redirect us. They complete us. Between these moments of enlightenment—all of which are relatively rare—we simply go from one life event, one change point to another. But after such times of acute insight, life takes on a different hue.


Enlightenment is a matter of coming to see life—to see ourselves—differently. It transforms us from average, everyday kind of people to people with a purpose in life.


Sometimes it is the moment in life when we simply know, absolutely know, that the person we have just met is the person we are going to marry. Or sometimes it is the awareness that what we studied so hard to become is not what we are going to be. Or it might be the awareness that where I am is not where I belong. For me, it had to do with coming to understand that I would spend my entire life simply following the Presence of God that consumed me more than anything else I could imagine in life. I dedicated my life to trying to unravel what that entailed in the present world and passing on those thoughts to others.


Where these Moments of Enlightenment come from are seldom able to be identified with any kind of certainty. They just are. They are within us, unspoken and often unseen, but never unknown. They strike us like lightning and burn within us all our lives.

We recognize them when they happen to us, but we would never have planned them.


Perhaps it is exactly a new vision that is true of all enlightenment: it drives us beyond the obvious and reveals itself to us slowly. It is something to be developed in us, not something that evaporates on the spot.


Enlightenment comes from outside ourselves. It is not a plan; it’s a happening. It fills us with new light. It astounds those around us to see us change our lives so suddenly, so totally. And in the end, it changes the focus, the direction, the very center of our lives.


The View from My Window

By Hannah Van Dyk (Excerpt from the Book A Moment to Breathe) posted July 15, 2023

“Provide justice for the needy and the fatherless; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and needy; save them from the power of the wicked.” Psalm 82:3-4

I like being comfortable. My favorite spot in my house is where my white chair sits by a window that overlooks my street. On sunshine-filled days, sitting in that spot with my coffee, my favorite quilt, and a good book is the best way for me to get outside of my head for a little while.


My setup at work is similar. My chair sits in front of a large window, overlooking our street, and the sunshine streams in, always with a cup of coffee beside me. But my work window seat leaves me feeling anything but comfortable.


I work and live in the inner city, and the reflective windows—the same windows that allow the sun’s rays to stream through—are what people use as their mirror. There’s a tent outside my window, too, made of yellow and blue tarps haphazardly thrown together for someone to sleep on the street. My heart becomes uncomfortably knotted every day, and the world’s pain seems too overwhelming for any one person to make a difference to those people the world has deemed the least among us, to those among us hurting the most.


How do we serve, even when it seems too hard, even when it feels too uncomfortable, too inadequate? How de we move both individually and collectively, so our acts of service make the most difference for those whom Christ has created in His image?


We tune in so we don’t avoid what makes us uncomfortable. We pray for our neighbors in Christ and also for our hearts to be moved to service. We listen to the needs of those in our community who are crying for justice. And we begin today, standing up for what is true and right, demonstrating Christ’s love in action.

A Moment to Breathe…
It doesn’t have to be big or grandiose. Just one small gesture. One simple act of kindness. Pray for the eyes of your heart to see the hurting around you and to know the one thing you can do today.

Reflection from Fr. Bill

posted July 15, 2023

St. Ignatius of Loyola prayed and taught others a daily prayer called "The Examen' or 'The Awareness Examen'. It is a prayer that facilitates our deeper awareness of God's activity in our life and it fosters gratitude and deepening in our closeness to God and others.


Our lives are filled with daily blessings and gifts given by God. We experience these gifts in nature, relationships, activities and events. Some of these blessings come in the midst of challenges. It is a very common experience to move from one thing to another, to another, to another throughout the day without much reflecting on or savoring the gifts of God in it all.


This ‘Examen Prayer’ is a simple 10 to 15 minutes at the end of a 24 hour period to go back over this past day with God. It is a time to let God point out gifts and blessings that have been given and to become aware of them, savor them and acknowledge God as the giver of them. It can be a time for God to affirm how you have embraced and used these gifts well or failed to use them in some way. Then you simply express gratitude to God and ask God to assist you in the next day ahead with living and acting on the awarenesses that have come up in this prayer time.


I invite you to give it a try. Take 10 minutes and follow these steps:

Step 1: Preparation: I allow my spirit to rest awhile. I consider where I am going and for what purpose. I make a gesture of reverence and humility such as the ‘Sign of The Cross’.
Step 2: I Give thanks in General: I thank God for all of the goodness and gifts that are mine and in the world.
Step 3: I Ask for Help: I ask the Holy Spirit to help me notice particular moments for which I am grateful.

Step 4: I Review: I review my day and notice what stands out… especially those thoughts, words and actions which moved my mind or heart ‘upward and forward’ towards positive ‘energy’. That is…
I Notice – and lovingly contemplate with God …
• the good thoughts, ideas and inspirations (my own and others) … and give thanks
• the good words spoken, heard or written (my own and others)… and give thanks

• the good deeds and actions (my own or those of others)… and give thanks
I ponder how God was coming to me – or with me – in these experiences …

Step 5: I Respond: I respond to what the Spirit showed me and speak with God
Step 6: I Resolve: I move into tomorrow (the next 24 hours) asking for with even more attentiveness to what invites me to become more loving, more giving, more compassionate… more thankful… and in that spirit of gratitude, to make my own unique contribution to the building up of the body of Christ.

A Summer of Centering

Quotes from Ron Rolheiser, OMI, posted July 1, 2023

One summer I took up the Exercises of Ignatius for a typical reason. I was tired, felt dissipated, uncentred, emotionally and physically I needed a vacation. I looked for it in a prolonged prayer experience. I entered a retreat house for 40 days of withdrawal and Ignatian prayer. The overriding experience is one of being slowly, painfully, though surely, centered. I want to share a bit of that experience of centering in the hope that it might help some of you in your own struggles to find a center.

• Through the Ignatian Exercises one thing becomes clear: All rest, all freedom, all peace depends upon focusing upon God as center. It does not take many days in the desert before a mirror starts revealing more.
• I saw some habitual patterns – tired, overextended, distracted in my work, worried I will disappoint, too busy to pray properly, too preoccupied to appreciate properly.
• When you see those patterns, you become frightened, frightened by your attachments, frightened that you are not free, frightened that you cannot relax and frightened at how badly you are uncentered and how badly you need certain things and persons.
• After a few days of withdrawal with St. Ignatius, a realization of the patterns is clear and with that realization comes the beginning of healing because that brings the desire to change.

What is needed? The solution that God himself proposes to Israel, the SHEMA, the prayer which every pious Jew has nailed to his or her doorpost and which is said three times daily: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord, and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your might…”And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart and you shall teach them to your children..” (Deut. 6:4-9)


Under Ignatius’ influence, I wrote my own SHEMA. “Hear, O Rolheiser: The Lord our God is one Lord; you must put him before all else, then all else will fall into place. Brand that into your heart and into your mind. Teach it to your students; write it in your column and talk about it at the table and to your friends. Put it on a sign by your mirror, and pray it daily, and mean it! Then and only then, will your tiredness turn to peaceful solitude, your compulsiveness to freedom and your restlessness to restfulness.” When I pray that three times daily, there is a lot less compulsiveness.”

For your Reflection from Fr. Bill

posted June 22, 2023

Fr. Henri Nouwen, (1932 – 1996) was a Dutch Catholic priest, professor, writer and theologian. His interests were rooted primarily in psychology, pastoral ministry, spirituality, social justice and community. Over the course of his life, Nouwen was heavily influenced by the work of Anton Boisen, Thomas Merton, Rembrandt, Vincent van Gogh and Jean Vanier. His writings reflect a deep relationship with the Holy Trinity in the lived experiences of our lives. These are a few quotes to give you a taste of his wisdom:

“The real enemies of our life are the 'oughts' and the 'ifs.' They pull us backward into the unalterable past and forward into the unpredictable future. But real life takes place in the here and now.”
“Discipline means to prevent everything in your life from being filled up. Discipline means that somewhere you're not occupied, and certainly not preoccupied. In the spiritual life, discipline means to create that space in which something can happen that you hadn't planned or counted on.”
“God is a God of the present. God is always in the moment, be that moment hard or easy, joyful and painful.”
“Peacemaking is a full-time vocation that includes each member of God's people.”
“Perhaps nothing helps us make the movement from our little selves to a larger world than remembering God in gratitude. Such a perspective puts God in view in all of life, not just in the moments we set aside for worship or spiritual disciplines. Not just in the moments when life seems easy.”
“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”
“Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, "Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody." ... [My dark side says,] I am no good... I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the "Beloved." Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.” Henri J.M. Nouwen
"Dear God,
I am so afraid to open my clenched fists!
Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?
Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?
Please help me to gradually open my hands and to discover that I am not what I own, but what you want to give me."

J.M. Nouwen, The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life

Month of Mary Reflections, Week 4

posted May 26, 2023

Mary’s “Yes”


Mary is an incredible example of someone who embraced and lived God’s dream for her. Her “yes” changed the world. Mary can give us the courage and hope to say “yes” to God’s dream for our own lives and our world

.

• We can say yes to helping the poor and homeless or say no and deny the need exists.

• We can say yes to taking better care of Mother Earth who sustains us each day or say no and continue to destroy her life nurturing gifts to us.

• We can say yes to welcoming the stranger or say no and simply dismiss them.

• We can say yes to silencing social media throughout our day and spend some quiet time in prayer or say no and let the distractions                     overwhelm us.

• We can say yes and be thankful for the gift of each new day or begrudgingly go about our daily tasks.

• We can say yes without hesitation when someone asks for help or a listening ear or we can make excuses and be on our way.

• We can say yes and embrace the diverse cultures that surround us or remain indifferent and dismissive.


Mary our Mother, give us a heart like yours, a heart that says yes to whatever God asks and to whomever God sends us. Expand our hearts with your love so we will always say YES!


Month of Mary Reflections, Week 3

posted May 23, 2023

Thoughts on Mary from “A Monastery Almanac”

Sr. Joan Chittister


Gerard Manley Hopkins, the great Jesuit poet, said in his poem, “The May Magnificat,” that the reason May is Mary’s month is that it is the season of growth. In Mary grew the visit that made her open to the Incarnation; in Mary grew the image of the strong and independent woman; in Mary grew the Christ who changed the lives of all of us. Mary is not a plaster statue. Mary is the woman whose commitment and courage saved the world from self-centeredness.


One of my favorite remembrances of grade school is the memory of the May altar. Everyday we said our prayers in front of it; every day we loaded it down with fresh flowers picked from yards along the way to school. It was a child’s way of growing into the idea that heaven was not without a mother’s protection and a woman’s care. Maybe that’s why all the violence of our time is still such a shock to our systems. It is clearly a time for May altars again!


Mary, our mother is one of Mary’s most common titles. We cling to it all our lives. Why? Because “mothering,” the sense of being cared for and protected, supported, and understood, is the human being’s most primal need. We are all called to remember the women in our lives who have “mothered” us in life and then let that be our call to mother those around us, as well.


It is not insignificant that Mary, is also Mary of Nazareth and not Mary of Jerusalem, or Mary of Caesarea. The most significant woman of all time came from one of the area’s most insignificant of places. Mary made nothingness visible. It takes a lot of human growing to find value in the valueless – in small places and simple things. But that is the basis for peace, both inside of us and in the world around us.


In the Rosary, when we pray the mystery of the Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven, we see a woman raised to the feminine counterpoint of the Divine. It is a call to see equality as the fullness of the Will of God. Are we missing our own message? May is woman’s month. Do something to make the life of women better.


Month of Mary Reflections, Week 2

posted May 12, 2023

Mary - at One with Mother Earth


Let us reflect on the many ways Jesus pointed people to seeds and birds and rocks and the gifts of nature that were such a part of his spirituality. We can imagine how Mary fostered this connection of Jesus as they shared the coming and going of seasons, the gift of seeds becoming grain and then bread, the fish not only multiplying in his miracle stories but also in the Lakes and rivers where he lived and ministered. Being a mother who carried the seed of Jesus into life, Mary, like the earth received life and nurtured it into new life. We call Him our ‘Bread of Life’. May we let Mary connect us more deeply to the natural world around us and call us to be care givers and protectors of all of creation.

Let us Offer to our Mother Mary today a moment in which we pause to appreciate and delight in one gift of creation such as a flower, tree, person or even a mosquito.

Mary, who on Mother’s day is an inspiration for Mothers, Grandmothers, Great Grandmothers, Godmothers, Step Mothers and Mothers-in-laws.


How many of the women in our lives and world, who have a mothering role have felt inadequate, overwhelmed, and fearful in light of the responsibility and tasks that have been theirs? Mary’s first response to being asked to be Jesus’ mother, was inadequacy and fear. In this moment of her life she heard God’s voice of encouragement saying, ‘Mary, do not be afraid! I am with you!’ May all of us find a way to voice our gratitude and support for those who bring mothering gifts to our world, especially in threatening and challenging situations.

Let us offer to Mother Mar today a word of encouragement and gratitude to a Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother, Godmother, Step Mother or Mother-in-law we see.

Mary, who leads us to her Son, Jesus


During Jesus’ life, Mary would have introduced her son, Jesus, to many, many people. She introduced them to his openness, humor, listening heart, light-heartedness, vision, inclusion, patience, guidance, wisdom and a personal relationship with Him. She has continued to do this throughout the ages for billions of people. A prayer we can make could be:

Mother Mary, would you take me to a quiet place where I can speak with your Son about what is happening in my life. I so need his listening ear and compassionate heart and wise guidance.

Mary and the Mothering Gifts of God


As much as God is a Father, so is God a Mother. Think of the rich gifts of love, care, guidance, joy, encouragement, outreach and healing that God brought the world through Mary. In every mothering action in our world, we are given and we receive the mothering graces of God.

Let us offer to Mother Mary today our acknowledgement of the many ways God Mothers us and our world.

Month of Mary Reflections, Week 1

posted May 5, 2023

For the next two weeks we offer you these reflections on Mary in a litany form. May these that follow be a blessing in your life and we look forward to next week’s reflection on Mother’s Day being focused on Mary’s connection to the Mothering gifts of God, Mother Earth, Mothers, Grandmothers, Godmothers, Mothers-in-law and Motherhood in all species of creation. As well as a special focus on Mary connecting us more deeply with her son, Jesus.

Mary: Our Model in Ordinary Life
Let us not forget that Mary spent nearly every day of her life just like millions of other women who look after their families, bring up their children, and take care of their homes. Mary sanctifies the ordinary, everyday things—what some people regard as unimportant and insignificant: everyday work, looking after those closest to us, visits to friends and relatives. What a blessed ordinariness, that can be so full of the love of God.
Let us offer to our Mother Mary today:
A kind word, a friendly conversation, a helping hand to those in our community.
Mary’s Prayer
Let us ask Mary to make us contemplatives, to teach us to recognize the constant calls from God at the door of our heart. Let us ask her now: Our Mother, you brought to earth Jesus, who reveals the love of God. Help us to recognize him in the midst of the cares of each day. Stir up our mind and will so that we may listen to the voice of God, to the calls of grace.
Let us offer to Mother Mary today:
A smile when someone corrects us or misjudges us.
Mary: Mother of Fair Love
This is what explains Mary’s life—her love. A complete love, so complete that she forgets herself and is happy just to be there where God wants her, fulfilling with care what God wants her to do. That is why even her slightest action is never routine or vain, rather, full of meaning. Mary, our Mother, is for us both an example and a way. In the ordinary circumstances in which God want us to live.
Let us offer to Mother Mary today:
The joy of doing our ordinary work well.

Mary: Our Mother


Find out for yourself by personal experience the meaning of Mary’s maternal love. It is not enough just to know that she is our Mother. Tell her about everything that happens to you, honor her and love her. No one will do it for you or as well as you.


Let us offer to Mother Mary today:

A smile when we do not feel like smiling.

Easter Season Reflections

posted April 28, 2023

So, the women left the tomb quickly with great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.

• Risen One, bringer of Joy, may we enjoy life again, begin each day with enthusiasm, and become ever more aware of you, even in these unprecedented times.


The women came to Jesus, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him.

• Risen One, draw us ever nearer to you. We embrace you and offer you our devotion and know you are with us in good and trying times.


Mary Magdalene went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord. But they would not believe her.

• Risen One, open our hearts to hear your voice. Take away our resistance to the surprising ways you choose to enter our lives. May we know your comfort and strength.


Some of the disciples went to the tomb and found the stone rolled away.

• Risen One, you are the power that we need. Push back the rocks of our

unhappiness and shove aside the boulders of our worry. Remove our fears and worries and bring us peace.


Jesus himself came near to the disciples and he walked along with them.

• Risen One, you walk with us on the road of sorrow. You fill us with the strength of your loving nearness. Be with us especially this Easter Season.


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Easter Season Reflection: The Triumph of Goodness

By Fr. Ron Rolheiser posted April 21, 2023

The stone which rolled away from the tomb of Jesus continues to roll away from every sort of grave. Goodness cannot be held, captured, or put to death. It evades its pursuers, escapes capture, slips away, hides out, even leaves the churches sometimes, but forever rises, again and again, all over the world. Such is the meaning of the resurrection.


It springs up everywhere because God’s goodness and power lie at the source of all being and life. This is what is revealed in the resurrection of Jesus. What the resurrection reveals is that the ultimate source of all that is, of all being and life, is gracious, good, and loving. Moreover, it also reveals that graciousness, goodness, and love are the ultimate power inside reality. They will have the final word and they will never be captured, derailed, killed, or ultimately ignored. They will break through, ceaselessly, forever.


And so, we are in safe hands. No matter how bad the news on a given day, no matter how threatened our lives are on a given day, no matter how intimidating the neighborhood or global bully, no matter how unjust and cruel a situation, and no matter how powerful anger and hatred are, love and goodness will reappear and ultimately triumph.


Jesus promised too that our end will be benign and loving. In the resurrection of Jesus, God

showed that God has the power to deliver on that promise.


Goodness and love will triumph! The ending of our story, both that of our world and that of our individual lives, is already written – and it is a happy ending! We are already saved. Goodness is guaranteed. Kindness will meet us. We only need to live in the face of that wonderful truth.


Feast of St. Kateri Tekakwitha

posted April 14, 2023

Feast of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. Monday, April 17th is designated as the Feast of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. The first North American Indigenous woman to be canonized, St. Kateri is often called the Lily of the Mohawks. She is the patron saint of ecology, those who have lost their parents and World Youth Day.


Born in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon, on the south side of the Mohawk River in present-day New York State, she contracted smallpox in an epidemic; her family died and her face was scarred. She converted to Catholicism at age nineteen, when she was baptized and given the Christian name Kateri in honor of Catherine of Siena. Refusing to marry, she left her village and moved for the remaining five years of her life to the Jesuit mission village of Kahnawake, south of Montreal on the St. Lawrence River in New France, now Canada.


Upon her death at the age of 24, witnesses said that her scars vanished minutes later, and her face appeared radiant and beautiful. She is the fourth Native American to be venerated in the Catholic Church and the first to be canonized.


Under the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, she was beatified in 1980 and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at Saint Peter's Basilica on 21 October 2012. Various miracles and supernatural events are attributed to her intercession.

Prayer to Saint Kateri Tekakwitha


Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, our elder sister in the Lord, discreetly, you watch over us. May your love for Jesus and Mary inspire in us words and deeds of friendship, of forgiveness and of reconciliation. Pray that God will give us the courage, the boldness, and the strength to build a world of justice and peace among ourselves and among all nations.

Help us, as you did, to encounter the Creator God present in the very depths of nature, and so become witnesses of Life. With you, we praise the Father, the Son and the Spirit, Amen.

A Place Called Home

excerpt from The Monastic Way by Sr. Joan Chittister posted April 14, 2023


In each of us there is a place where we go in the middle of chaos to escape from the fray. It is that “home” place, that hiding place, that soft place where no memories of it come with ragged edges and no thought of it is tinged with fear. It’s an empty beach, perhaps. Or a hidden place on the bluff above town where we remember being able to see everything while no one could see us.


For some it is the thought of the first blooming of a first garden. For others it is a secret spot under the back porch that smelled of clean earth. For many it’s a hiding place in the basement or the shed or in a copse of trees along the road. It’s that place to which we return in our minds to change life in the middle of too much life for us to take just then.


It is the place of our dreams and the hope of our hopes. It’s that natural place within us where the roar of the water or the silence of the mountains or the warmth of the desert or the moss of the swamp soothes our souls and makes us feel human again, at one with the universe again, in control again.


Whatever it is, wherever it is, it calms us and makes us new. It was the place where we and nature became one.


For me, ironically, that special place was right in the center of the city. In the very shadows of the city buildings lay a world beyond the world. It was the public dock on the bay of one of the Great Lakes, where tourists came to fish and sail and ride on a water taxi from the mainland over to the peninsula. Nothing more than a hotdog was ever sold there. There were no bands, no arcade games, no skate-board parks. It was commercially non- commercial.


And yet it was my own small planet. There in that place everyone walked more slowly than usual, talked in more measured tones, dared to sit alone on the break wall in total silence. There you could simply be yourself, no airs, no deadlines, no pressure, nothing false to serve or adore. Nothing that required us to bow down before it. There we just all melted into nature.


In our own “technological “day, we would do well to realize that those “home” places we all need and seek out in a time of the mechanical, the digital, the virtual and the plastic are calling us to the center of our real selves. We must remember that it is the self for which we are seeking when we leave our worlds of glitz and glamour and sink into the real world. It is environment that shapes us, and it is the natural to which we must cling when everyone else abandons it or we lose the very soul of our lives.

PRAYER
Sing to Life a new song! Sing to Life, all creation! Let your worship be acts of beauty and holiness, let all the world stand together in awe. Declare among the nations, “All is God! Maintain the world with justice!” The heavens rejoice and the earth is glad, the seas roar their praise. The fields exult, the forests sing, for all the world is rooted in righteousness.
–Rabbi Rami Shapiro

Title with Solid Background Color

By John Smith posted July 20, 2016

Easter is a ‘grace’. A gift that is ‘given’ into our lives. We often do not recognize it immediately. It is

more subtle and enters quietly. Over time we notice it and name it is as Jesus – Emmanuel/God is with

us/Christ/Risen One.


We get a glimpse of this happening in the Easter (Resurrection) stories of the Gospels and how Jesus,

the Risen Christ came into the lives of the women and men disciples and loved ones of Jesus during

their experience of living the devastating aftermath of his crucifixion and death. How over the days and

weeks, and much longer, the following happened:

They began to simply cope with their lives and just put one foot ahead of the other. To just cope with life at times is a deep grace. This is so true in our lives as we come to terms with loss and devastation and get our lives steadied bit by bit over time, whatever time it takes. This is Amazing Easter grace.
They began to hear deeper within their being and place where ‘confidence’ and ‘courage’ dwell, that what they thought was the ‘end’ was not the ‘end’ at all. They had thought that purpose, joy and intimacy in their lives had ended, like it sometimes happens for us. And then they found themselves hopeful that Jesus was Risen and they felt some small or great sense of hope, purpose, love and joy again. This is an Amazing Easter grace.
Most of all, Easter Grace is an initiative of God. In the Gospels and in our lives, it is the Risen Christ who seeks out and comes to them all. As the Risen One

Jesus has no limitations, boundaries or barriers and intentionally comes into whatever situation we are in. If we find ourselves simply coping, a bit more hopeful, finding a bit more purpose and value in our lives, desiring to reach out to others, or have a quiet joy or bursting delight within us, how about we name it as Easter grace, the gift of Jesus, The Christ, Risen and among us. Easter doesn’t come all at once. This is why we celebrate it for 50 Days. May we all know much Easter grace in the 50 days ahead! Happy Easter!

Holy Week Message from Fr. Bill

posted April 1, 2023

This week we move into the celebration of Holy Week. This is considered the ‘Greatest Week’ of our liturgical year. It encompasses the end of Lent and the Easter Triduum. This week provides us with a graphic remembering of God’s love for us in Jesus’ total giving of himself in love through his dying and rising in glory.  In our remembering, we are inspired by Jesus’ presence in our world and personal lives. We are touched deeply by his unwavering commitment to be with us in the delights, ordinary moments and suffering experiences of our lives and bringing all of us into the glory of Easter with Him.

The Easter Triduum, which is the three days from Holy Thursday evening to Easter Sunday evening, is celebrated as one great feast. This is why we are strongly encouraged to participate in the three main celebrations: Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Thursday evening, The Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday evening or Easter Sunday Mass.

I would invite you to see these three days as a retreat time for yourselves and your families by attending these liturgies and taking some reflective time between these celebrations to let them speak more deeply into your lives.


Special note about Holy Saturday and the ‘Sacred Fire’ connected to the Easter Vigil:

The Easter Vigil always begins with lighting a new fire recognizing the gift of God’s fire within the universe, the center of the earth, on the earth, within each of us and Christ as Light for the World. This year Wolastoqey Fire Keeper and Parishioner Mike Solomon will make and attend a ‘Sacred Fire’ in an area in front of Holy Family Church (parking area) for us to gather, be in a circle of community and prayer before the Vigil. The Fire will be there by 6 pm and the Easter Vigil begins at 8 pm with Fire being taken from this Sacred Fire to light our New Pascal Candle. You are invited to spend a bit or an extended period at the Sacred Fire during this time. Even if you gather there for a moment or two as you arrive for the Vigil will be a gift.

You are invited to a book club!

posted March 25, 2023

St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish (Holy Family Church Site) will be the location for a book club for anyone interested in reading and discussing the best-selling novel by Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer's "Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants." Braiding Sweetgrass is a "... beautiful and thoughtful gift to those of us, even the least bit curious, about understanding the land and living in healthy reciprocity with the environment that cares for us each day." The book club is a wonderful opportunity for us to journey together on the path of Truth and Reconciliation with the Indigenous community.


The book club will meet every Wednesday from 10 am to 11:30am for 7 weeks beginning Wednesday March 22 (you can still register after March 22nd). At the introductory session you will be provided with an overview of the sessions, this will include a handout of reflection/discussion questions to guide us on our journey. Novels will be provided if you don't have access to your own. Please note: the adapted version "Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults" by Monique Gray Smith can also be used. Facilitator: Katie Crawford can be reached at catherinecrawford10@hotmail.com/cell 506 442 2426


Becoming Treaty Partners

posted February 25, 2023

What might I do to become a more informed Ally and Treaty Partner with the Indigenous Community as we strive to live more deeply our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation?


There are copies of a handout titled, Becoming Treaty Partners, available for you to pick up at the Entrance(s) of each Church Site in the Parish.  It is also available by clicking here.


It offers suggested books, links, television (APTN and Gem CBC) and other means that you can assist your learning and deepening awareness as an individual as well as suggestions for initiating and engaging in activities in the Parish. Woliwon - Thank you

Season of Lent

posted February 18, 2023

Next week, on Ash Wednesday, we begin the Season of Lent. Lent is a time for us to stop and remember who we are, who we are meant to become and how we have fallen short of this destiny.


“Why put off till tomorrow what you can put off till next week?”, an old adage says. Most of us can relate. But the Lord wants us to act now. Today is the day of salvation. Today is the day that we are called to return to the Lord with all our heart.


Is there someone with whom we must be reconciled? Let us reconcile today.

Is there something in our hearts that must be purified? Let us pray for and work for a clean heart today.

Do we need to stop doing something that keeps us from God? Let us begin fasting from that today.

Do we long for a deeper connection to the source of our goodness? Let us engage in prayer today.

Is there someone in our life who is in need? Let us offer alms to our neighbour today.


See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! (2 Corinthians 6.2)


Christine Way Skinner, Pastoral Minister

Excerpt-Sacred Journey