June 25, 2022
Good morning everyone.
There is a reason that this letter arrived in your inbox early this morning. I have been in Ireland and England since June 14th. Tomorrow afternoon I will be in Rome and back home to celebrate Canada Day on July 1st. Last Sunday, June 19th I celebrated my fortieth anniversary of priesthood with my family. The days before and since have been filled with a reminder that, as the wheel of time slows to remember important events, the past, present and future each reveal aspects of themselves that are worth taking some time to linger with. There was time to visit the final resting place of family and friends who celebrated with me forty years ago and there was also time to celebrated with a new generation who are staking their place and embarking on their own journeys. It was a great blessing to do it with my family. A wonderful surprise was the discovery of a video of my ordination surfaced in an old box recently in my sister’s home. I thought that it had been lost many years ago and is now being transferred to a digital copy which I will have very soon.
Fr. Felix has kept everything together while I am away and is preparing to take his first trip since 2019 on July fifth for ten days. He will accompany Richard and Marie to Halifax and will I am sure enjoy the fresh crisp air of the ocean and the plentiful, freshly caught fish. Next week we will see the final work on the new sound and streaming ability completed. It will not cause any disruption to our weekday schedule. The alarm and camera system will also be completed next week. The drama between the two early morning Masses June 12 that brought two fire department trucks (and a fire officer with two very large and intimidating axes) to the church was caused by a defective sensor. It has been changed and all is well again. Our next big repair event will be the work on the tower which should begin in a few weeks.
Early last year, Pope Francis created a World Day for Grandparents which is celebrated this year on July 24. His goal of creating this yearly world day was to bring attention to our need to care for our elderly. The Vatican Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life has prepared some excellent material for the day and can be found below. The Office for Family Ministry in Hamilton has also created a Family Memory Book which might be a great activity for families to undertake on this special day, or at some other time to remember their family roots. It is a great book to fill in with grandparents. The document is also below and looks best when printed in colour and is meant to be printed using the two-sided feature on printers. Speaking during the General Audience in Rome on June 15, Pope Francis shared this wisdom: “A society truly welcomes life when it recognizes that it is also precious in old age, in disability, in serious illness and even when it is fading.” (Pope Francis at General Audience, June 15)
The first weeks of June were busy in the parish with First Communion and Confirmation. Thank you to the teachers, catechists, coordinators and volunteers who helped to make sure that everything ran smoothly. We discovered that the steps in front of the Parish Centre are the perfect location for group photographs. It was wonderful to see the church full again and to see the happy faces of children and parents engaged in the liturgical life of the church. For 2023 we are going to do a review of the materials for preparation for the sacraments early in the fall. There was a consensus that the dates this year for the sacraments seemed to work for everyone and we will probably follow them again next year. We will confirm all of these details by early October.
Before I left on holidays, I had several emails and conversations with parishioners and residents about the barriers to the parking lot and having only one entrance and exit during the week. The general concern was that we were being bad neighbours and not very welcoming. After I explained our difficulties managing the parking lot and our deliberations with the Town of Oakville (including a meeting onsite with the mayor) before we took this approach in the spring of 2021, some were satisfied but others were not. Coincidentally, after a large funeral one Saturday morning in late May when the gates were open, the parking lot was again almost full before the 5.00 pm. Mass. We try to be good neighbours and welcome parishioners during the week and on the weekend after Mass, to park facing the church and parish centre at any time but avoiding parking spaces along the edge of the parking lot facing the streets. We are also happy to accommodate other community events by prior arrangement (as we did on June 11 with Knox Presbyterian Church).
The Parish Pastoral Advisory Committee continues to meet into the summer with three projects for the fall and longer term. We will be working in smaller groups and draw some members of the Finance Committee into the conversations as well. Summer is a time for a bit of a slower pace and we look forward to the opportunity this year to prepare for a pastoral year without restrictions. The schedule for the visit of Pope Francis to Canada has been published and in the next letter we will send information on how to follow his meetings and celebrations. It is a great opportunity for the church in Canada and for the honest dialogue and journey to reconciliation to be supported and encourages.
Have a great celebration of Canada Day. Take a moment to pray for God’s blessing on our country and for good health and strength for Pope Francis as he comes to visit and draws the eyes of the world on us. Be well.
PRAYER FOR THE SECOND WORLD DAY FOR Grandparents and Elderly
Message of His Holiness Pope Francis
Family Memory Book (2)