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From the Desk of the Pastor: April 3

April 3, 2021

Good morning everyone.

Last night at the Evening Service for Good Friday, a section in the meditation for the second station leapt out at me as the perfect words to bring Good Friday to a close:  “The scandal of the death of God’s Son, a sinner’s death, a criminal’s death, grants us the grace to discover amid sorrow your resurrection, amid suffering your glory, amid anguish your salvation. And the cross itself, which speaks to us of humiliation and pain, is now revealed, thanks to your sacrifice, as a promise that from every death new life will arise, and in every dark place light will shine. And so we can cry out: “Hail, holy cross, our one hope!”   What a wonderful insight and a powerful image to bring us to the joy of Easter and beyond.

We need that image of new life and light to inspire us for the next few weeks as we again grapple with inconvenience and the sound of alarm as the infections from the Corona virus increase.  News is reaching us of families in the parish who have been impacted by the new strain of the virus.  We are also hearing the good news that more and more of our parishioners have received the first dose of the vaccine which is good news indeed.  If we all “pull together” for everyone’s sake during these next few weeks and get those numbers down, the light and freedom we so desperately seek will become clearer.

The restrictions on large gatherings have an impact on us for the next few weeks as well.  We have been able to accommodate everyone who signed up for the Easter Vigil this evening and for each Mass on Easter Sunday.  Yvette worked miracles to find everyone on the list a place and we are grateful to those who were willing to worship with us from the Parish Centre.  Beginning next weekend, an usher will count off seventy-eight people who can enter the building for Mass.  Registration at the door is still required.  If you are number seventy-nine or higher, please accept our apologies and worship with us online.  Arguing and/or shouting at our ushers will not help and is the kind of activity that is not helpful as we try our best in difficult circumstances.

Now for some good news:  Our One Heart, One Soul Campaign is going very well. This week we have reached an incredible milestone with pledges totaling $870,956.  On Thursday morning I had a note from the members of a family in the parish who are going to pledge $100,000 to the campaign next week.  This is an amazing achievement for the parish and we are grateful to everyone who has made a pledge and to those who are still prayerfully considering it.  For St. Andrew’s parish, this generous support, at this time, is a vote of confidence for the future and lays a secure financial foundation for a generation.  A sincere thank you to everyone for your support and enthusiasm for the campaign.  The next few weeks will bring us closer to our $1,500,000 target.

Last weekend I messed up again and forgot to attach the last Fr. Ron Rolheiser article for our Lenten reading series.  To add to the confusion, I sent an email on Sunday to half of our regular list. It is attached finally.  The retreat for Holy Week is still available online.  Beginning with the scene of Jesus before Pilate Fr. Joseph De Viveiros and I look at the meaning of the word ‘truth’ and how it is applied in our spiritual lives.  The conversation also touches on prayer, mercy, forgiveness and one of Pope Francis favorite words, encounter.  The link is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgRiYYtFrow&t=1s

Adrianna at St. Thomas Aquinas and I continue our Lenten conversation which looked at the first days of the Triduum last week.  The latest offering is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbN3eRJgj4o

The Easter Vigil and Mass for Easter Sunday are livestreamed and Mass for Easter will be available all day tomorrow and Monday after 9.30 am.  Please follow this link and scroll down to each celebration:  https://www.standrewoakville.com/live-stream/

Another piece of Good news.  We have acquired a rare piece of art by the German-Canadian wood carver, Karl Rothhammer who lived in the Kitchener-Waterloo area for many years before moving to Owen Sound.  The Last Supper is a copy of the original piece that was commissioned for St. Aloysius Church in Kitchener in the mid 1960’s.  Last summer I discovered it in a list of items from an estate sale and contacted the owner who was willing to part with it for a much smaller fee because it was going to be used in a church.  Kevin Gleason and his tool kit finally got it to fit snugly into the frame on the front of the credence table in the sanctuary.  Please take a look at it.  It completes the series of carving in the sanctuary furniture.

 The Last Supper Karl Rothammer
1970’s Vintage The Last Supper Karl Rothammer

Finally, the Easter Letter from Bishop Crosby to the people of the Diocese of Hamilton is also attached.  The musical treat this morning comes to us from a Toronto choir that likes to make music beyond their Sunday obligation at church.  https://youtu.be/EVx_tQ5Wnoc    This music was composed by Rachel Kroh, a member of Music that Makes Community, and was inspired by a passage from Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Sonnets to Orpheus”:

“Fear not the pain,

let its weight fall back into the earth.

For heavy are the mountains,

heavy are the seas.”

It is a beautiful piece to travel with us as we tread softly on the world today while we wait for our King to rise from his sleep.

On behalf of all of us, we wish you a happy, safe and peaceful Easter.  May the words, “Hail, holy cross, our one hope rest on our lips each day during the season of Easter.

Fr. Con

Letter From Bishop Crosby