April 2, 2022
Good morning everyone.
The images during the week from Rome of the visit by the Indigenous delegations and accompanying Canadian bishops were moving and instructive. We must wait a little longer to hear a more complete report of the private conversations between the three groups who spent between and hour and two hours with Pope Francis. Early reports describe deep listening and an opportunity to hear stories of hurt, loss, confusion and despair. This was evident in Pope Francis address yesterday to the full delegation that reflected back some of what he heard. It is also clear from that address the encounter has left him with much to think about and will probably be addressed more fully when he visits Canada at the end of July. The meeting is found here and his remarks begin at the fifteen minutes mark: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2022-04/pope-francis-meets-with-canadian-indigenous-peoples.html His references to the noble traditions of the peoples, their respect for the land and their custody of the wisdom of the generations set the tone for the apology which he offered. Reading the text (the full text is found in todays Globe and Mail), his language is strong and emotional. His commitment to engage in moving beyond words on a page to true sorrow for generations of trauma and neglect, is a powerful agenda for the Canadian church to now embrace and set clearly as an agenda to move forward on the path of truth, healing and reconciliation.
We are in the final stage of Lent for 2022. Next weekend, we celebrate Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. At the parish we are all set for each of these unique celebrations and are preparing to greet our parishioners who are venturing back after a long time away. The following is the complete schedule beginning with Palm Sunday and ending with Easter Sunday.
Palm Sunday: Mass at 5.00 pm on Saturday and Sunday at 9.00, 10.30 am, and 12 noon. Palm is blessed at the beginning of each Mass. Mass will be available online all day on Sunday.
Holy Thursday: The Mass of the Lord’s Supper is at 8.00 pm. Gifts for the poor are brought forward during the offertory procession for our parish St. Vincent DePaul Society. The Mass will be livestreamed beginning at 7.55 pm.
Good Friday: The day begins with a shorter Liturgy of the Word at 9.30. It is an opportunity for seniors and persons who may have health issues especially, to celebrate in church on Good Friday. The Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion is at 12.00 noon, and 3.00 pm. The Evening Service for Good Friday is at 7.00 pm. This is an opportunity for those who are not comfortable with large numbers of people, to spend some time with the Cross on this sacred day in the church. For those who wish to celebrate from home, the service at 3.00 pm. will be live-streamed.
Easter Vigil: The Easter Vigil on Saturday is celebrated at 8.00 in the church.
Easter Sunday: Mass at 7.30, 9.00, 10.30 am. and 12.00 Noon. Mass at 10.30 am. is livestreamed and Mass for Easter Sunday will be available online all day.
Over the last several weeks we have noticed a gradual increase of parishioners returning to regular attendance at Mass on Sunday. We also note that significant numbers of parishioners continue to wear masks which we encourage especially with the news this week that infections are increasing in the community. We believe that we have created a safe environment for everyone in the church and are hopeful that over the next number of weeks and months more parishioners will come back to celebrate with us.
During the last two weeks, we have installed a new sound system, cameras to livestream Mass and lighting to brighten up the sanctuary. Most of the work is complete but we are awaiting some pieces that are stuck in the supply chain that has challenged many industries. I am very grateful to Brian Barry from the Finance Committee who has gone above and beyond the normal requirements of a volunteer for his negotiation skills and ability to uncomplicate complex plans and systems. The work was completed by Horizon Systems from London Ontario who have been very professional and respectful of our space and schedule. [Last evening, those watching the Stations of the Cross online did not have sound for the first twenty minutes because of a technical issue which we have solved. However, anyone who joined or will join this weekend will notice some new camera angles and a much crisper image] Later this month, a new security system is being installed that will also upgrade our fire protection. This work is long overdue, and the costs for the security system have been lowered by a generous grant from the federal government to upgrade security for historic buildings.
On Tuesday evening, the parish Pastoral Advisory Committee and the Parish Finance Committee come together to spend the evening with Msgr. Murray Kroetsch, Vicar General and Chancellor for the Diocese of Hamilton to look at how these committees assist in developing a spiritual and pastoral vision and plan for its present and future needs. The meeting will be a hybrid of in-person and zoom for those attending. Also on Tuesday evening, the CWL will have their first in-person and live-streamed meeting in over two years. All ladies in the parish are welcome to attend. Don’t forget their initiative to get your garden growing with Plantables.ca. Please use code STANDREW as they will receive a 10% commission for each order. The Mite Bag campaign for Lent is also proceeding well. You can drop your full bags off in the special baskets at the entrances to the church. Our parish St. Vincent DePaul Society is busy collecting non-perishable goods which they distribute when they make calls during the year. They also have baskets in the church for any donations. The invitation to participate in the Synodal Process is now closed. St. Andrew’s parish uploaded seventeen pages of notes and several individual contributions to the Hamilton website which coordinated the diocesan phase and will prepare it for the journey to Ottawa and Rome. Thank you to everyone who participated. We look forward to what will come of these opportunities to talk together next year when the synod begins its process in Rome in September.
Finally, during these last days of Lent, I hope that you will have some time to prepare for the great festival that is Holy Week. There is an old European custom that it is a week to walk tenderly and speak softly for at the end of the week, the King will sleep to rise with dawn on Easter Sunday morning.