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From The Desk of the Pastor: August 24

August 24, 2021.

Good  morning everyone.

I am sorry for the interruption into your week.  Tomorrow morning I am leaving for some time away before the busy schedule of a new pastoral year and wanted to share some information with you.

First, thank you to those who have contacted Sarah Zbogar for the Music Camp for children which begins on August 30th and runs until September 3rd.  Camp hours are 4-6 pm each day.  Drop off will be at the parish centre deck.  Children are asked to arrive with comfortable clothing as most of the camp will take place outside on the lawn and on the deck.  In case of inclement or really hot weather, children will come inside the Marian Room and will be seated in chairs observing the required social distancing rules.  Masks will be worn at all times indoors.  Sarah, with help from some older choristers, will lead the children in outdoor games, singing and acting activities.  On Friday at 5 pm, parents will be invited for a little social gathering and demonstration of what the children have learned during the week.  For those who have not yet registered, please contact Sarah Zbogar directly at 905-257-5046 or sezbogar@gmail.com.  She will need the child’s name, age and parent/guardian contact information.  We are all looking forward to hearing the sound of children’s voices once again around the church.

It is wonderful to see people returning to church but please be patient with us as we make adjustments to accommodate people in the building that follow the social distancing requirements.   At 10.00 am and 12 noon especially, we have to pause seating people for a few moments so that we can find room for everyone.  You will notice that at both of these Masses, as the front seats fill up, we will ask those waiting to flow through to the main Reynolds Street entrance to fill up the back and the balcony.

We are also happy to announce that beginning on September 1st, the Hour of Prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament will resume after the 9.00 am. Mass.  This is a gentle time to pray for the needs of parishioners and during September especially, to pray for the needs of our local school communities and students attending college and university as they prepare to begin the new academic year.

At Mass on September 11 and 12 we will offer a special blessing for students, teachers, administration and support staff for the new academic year.  We will also send a similar blessing to all of our schools for the first days of school and pray that all will be well.

Thank you to the CWL and the “honorary CWL members”, female and male, who setup, served, made cool lemonade and cleaned up on one of the hottest Sundays of the year.  All of this was for a reception on Sunday after the noon Mass to say thank you to Lynette Brown for her service to the parish.  It was a lovely gathering and many of those present seemed slightly giddy as it was a first social engagement since early last Spring.  The parish presented Lynette with two reproduction volumes of the St. John’s Bible (Gospels and Acts and the Psalms).  The CWL presented her with a Timothy Schmaltz reproduction titled Maternal Bond.

In my letter two weeks ago I made a big mistake with the date and time for First Communion.  The correct date and time are:

St. Luke, Saturday, October 2 at 10.00 am.

St Vincent, Sunday, October 3, at 1.30 pm.

Parish Program (children in public and private school), Sunday, October 3, at 3.00 pm.

For Confirmation, the date and time are:

St. Luke, Tuesday, October 5 at 7.30 pm.

St. Vincent, Wednesday, October 6, at 7.30 pm.

Parish Program (children in public and private school), Thursday, October 7, at 7.30 pm.

A letter with more information about these celebrations will reach parents within the next week to ten days.  The First Communion and Confirmation details for 2022 will be available in early January.

The controversy about vaccines seems to be entering a phase where sometimes, harsh and hurtful words are the response among family and friends when the subject comes up.  It is not helped by some of the “for and against” talking heads on social media and regular media.  We have received emails and correspondence from known and anonymous sources that are often outrageous and hysterical in their claims and sometimes, are filled with vitriol towards Pope Francis and the Bishops.  The same tone and outrage can be heard from some of those who promote the vaccine and have little regard for personal freedom of conscience and would demand restrictions that isolate and punish.  Last week, Pope Francis again appealed to all people of faith to consider the vaccine as a gesture of solidarity with others and the promotion of the common good.  The link to his video is here with translation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWf3Ji11EaU   During the last week, Sharon and I have received requests from parishioners for a “Religious Exemption Letter” from taking the vaccine.  The source of this request comes from a few Catholic sources from the US where to date several US bishops have responded by instructing their clergy that this should not be given for several good reasons.  The Diocese of Hamilton has issued a similar instruction to the priests of the Diocese in a letter which we received late last week and is attached for your information.  Passports, vaccination cards and the final push to get the vaccine rate up to 90% will be the subject of many commentaries and conversations in the coming weeks as we return to school and watch infection numbers climb.  Please, let us be respectful and speak to each-other as Jesus would want us to.

Finally, the church gets its annual “spa treatment” this morning. The walls and windows are being gently washed on all of the buildings.  The church was also the subject of scrutiny by a photographer from the town and the historic society for a visual history of old Oakville yesterday.  Terry Murphy was a very capable guide and has done a wonderful job weaving a written and visual history together for the project.

I am off to Ottawa for an encounter with Rembrandt at the National Gallery on Friday and catching up with friends along the way.  Fr. Felix is in charge.  We hope that everyone has a chance to enjoy these last days of our glorious summer.

Be well,

Fr. Con

Vaccine Exemptions – Letter from the Diocese

Note of the Vatican Covid-19 Commission in collaboration with the Pontifical Academy for Life