January 8, 2022
Good morning everyone.
Well, here we are, on the other side of the threshold of a new year with a bit of a lingering dread that we have been here before. The daily news and the realization that the freedom that we had become used to, like coffee with a friend in the afternoon, has been take away from us again. It is easy to give into despair. This afternoon, as I was putting the grocery shopping for the weekend into my car, I noticed a harried mum trying desperately to negotiate with two young children to please stop trying to murder each other with bananas. In normal circumstances it would be comical, but for this mum it was a picture of exhaustion and stress. In his weekly letter today, Bishop Crosby quoted the bright and gifted young poet, Amanda Gordon (who read the now-famous poem, “The Hill We Climb” at the 2021 inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden). She has written a new poem to welcome 2022, “New Day’s Lyric” that speaks to the mood of so many of us and at the same time, is filled with hope and possibilities. This excerpt is taken from the opening section of her poem.
May this be the day
We come together. Mourning, we come to mend, Withered, we come to weather, Torn, we come to tend, Battered, we come to better. Tethered by this year of yearning, We are learning That though we weren’t ready for this, We have been readied by it. We steadily vow that no matter How we are weighed down, We must always pave a way forward.
This hope is our door, our portal.
Even if we never get back to normal, Someday we can venture beyond it, To leave the known and take the first steps. So let us not return to what was normal, But reach toward what is next.
Amanda is among the list of most influential persons under twenty-five in the world and an active member of her Roman Catholic parish when she is back home in Los Angeles. You can hear her recite her poem here:
In the parish we have made some slight adjustments to the new restrictions introduced on Wednesday. The 50% capacity has never been an issue for us as our capacity with the required social distance rules has rarely reached 30%. The Office and Parish Centre is closed to the public and for the next few weeks only, the church will be closed after weekend and daily Mass. As soon as we see a decrease in the covid numbers we will be happy to open back up again. In the event that Fr. Felix or I become positive for Covid, the church will be closed for five days or until such time as we have a negative covid test. Parishioners will be informed immediately by email. In the diocese of Hamilton today, a few parishes find themselves in this situation as the parish priest and/or the associate priest have tested positive for the virus.
This weekend, we are delighted to publish the dates for Confirmation and First Eucharist in the parish for 2022. The full schedule is attached and includes the dates for the initial information evening (by Zoom) for parents and students in February. Parents are requested to complete the registration form (separate forms for each child) which will in an email from the parish schools later next week or will be available early next week on our website. Please complete it online, email it or drop it off at the office as soon as possible. For the next few weeks, it may be dropped in the mailbox by the office door as the office is officially closed.
Felix and I did some entertaining over the Christmas holidays in the rectory for the first time since the Covid situation began (we have used the deck or parish centre during the good weather). Some priests from the diocese dropped by including Bishop Crosby and from Rome, Fr. Paul Voisin, Superior General of the Congregation of the Resurrection. He took many photographs in the church and posted them online for his community around the world. Another guest, Fr. Grzegorz Ogorzalek, took the photograph that is on the cover of the bulletin this weekend. Felix has become an accomplished assistant in the kitchen. When Bishop Crosby was with us, we had a special toast for him with Irish Cream for his birthday which was on January 1st. We are very grateful for the many good wishes, goodies and gifts that we received before and during the holidays. On Thursday, I leave for two weeks of holidays with Msgr. Murray Kroetsch, chancellor for the diocese. We have traveled together after the New Year for over thirty years and planned this trip in the summer when we thought that we would have much more freedom to travel. I am sure it will be an adventure and provide some good stories for coffee.
I am delighted to congratulate one of our parishioners, Michael Patrick Collins C.M. who was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada by the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, on December 29th. Michael received this recognition for a distinguished career as an academic and for his pioneering work as an engineer which has focused on the behaviour of concrete. The award will be presented to him personally during the year.
A final word of wisdom. Fr. Timothy Radcliff, former Master of the Dominican Order preached a sermon before Christmas in England as the world was learning more about the new strain of the Corona virus. He was focusing on the word “confidence” in the context of Advent and said this: “I love the word “confidence” — from the Latin con-fidens, “believing together”. In this time of waiting, we should give confidence to each other… We must share our hope. Hope and despair are contagious. And every one of us makes a choice of whether we are going to be a source of hope or a source of despair.”
Fine words to prepare for a new week with. Be well.