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From the Desk of the Pastor: March 12, 2021

March 12, 2021

Good morning everyone.

Who would have thought one year ago today that we would still be dealing with the Covid 19 virus and that our lives would revolve around grey, red, orange, yellow and green zones, and masks, sanitizing, isolation and social distancing were to become a normal experience and a regular part of daily life.  Our last Mass in the parish was celebrated on this weekend last year for almost three months.  We were reminded by Halton Region and the diocese this week that we must continue to be vigilant and parishes who were not registering parishioners for Mass must do so immediately.  We have been following this practice since we re-opened in February. This weekend at Mass you will have the opportunity to register for Mass for Palm Sunday and for the liturgies for Holy Week and Easter by filling out a form that the ushers will distribute.  You can also call or email the office and Sharon will email one to you.  As we have done for almost a year, all liturgies will be available on our website or livestreamed.  A card with a schedule and all of the information that you might need will be in the mail later next week.

The One Heart, One Soul Campaign is gathering steam.  By now most parishioners have received their packages.  As of today, our total raised is $551,875 which is 35.6% of our goal to raise $1,550.000.  We are off to a remarkable start and are very appreciative of the supportive comments and serious questions which I and the telephone committee who have called fellow parishioners have received.  Attached you will find a copy of a handout that we will distribute at Mass this weekend on the progress of the Campaign to date in the diocese and the parishes that have completed it.  Ken Coulter, co-chair of the campaign with Loraine Fedurco, will speak briefly to update everyone at the end of Mass this weekend. The video created by the parish for the campaign can be found here: https://www.oneheartonesoul.ca/standrewoakville

 

Our Lenten journey towards Easter continues.  This week, Fr. Rolheiser OMI invites us to look a little more deeply on our relationship with God and the faith we believe.  He begins with Fr. Henri Nouwen’s book In Memoriam which, if my memory serves me correctly, was written while he was a guest in the home of a family friend here in St. Andrews Parish.  This is a fine reflection on the spiritual ‘dark night of the soul’ and could be especially helpful if anyone struggles with doubt.  Please remember that we will have a Zoom conversation about this series on Thursday, March 26 at 7.00.  Information on how to connect will be available next week.  The series with Bishop Barron also continues each week its study of the Seven Deadly Sins, Seven Lively Virtues.  Tony Cestra does a fine job setting the context for each session.  The online retreat with the English spiritual writer Margaret Silf  is still available (and very good).  The first four sessions are available now and the others will follow each Monday until the second week of Easter. The link is here at the Pray as you Go website:  https://pray-as-you-go.org/article/growing-back-better-a-lent-retreat-2021  Parishioners who would like something a little more challenging should join the Lectures in Catholic Experience at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo on March 17th  at 4.00 pm. for a timely lecture that will look at how we have been faring spiritually during the pandemic and the impact of closing down so many of the ways we socialize. Fr. David Perrin, Ph.D. was a visitor here in the parish during Advent of 2019 and is a specialist in spirituality.  His talk is entitled The Collapse of Self-Transcendence: COVID-19 and Meaning-Making in Everyday Life.  Click on the link here to connect: https://www.sju.ca/event/lce-returns-online-lecture-featuring-david-perrin

 

The tradition of fulfilling your Easter Duty requires all the faithful to Receive Holy Communion once a year during the Easter Season. It does not require the reception of Penance once a year unless a person is in grave sin (Code of Canon Law1457, 2042). During the present pandemic it may not be possible for parishioners to avail themselves of the Sacrament of Penance. Bishop Crosby wishes to assure everyone that a perfect Act of Contrition, and the resolve to confess their sins (even mortal sins) as soon as it is possible in the Sacrament of Reconciliation suffices to assure them of God’s forgiveness. The Church does not require the impossible. Therefore, those who are unable to receive Holy Communion either because they cannot attend church or because of a delicate conscience relative to receiving Communion in the hand, are dispensed from the Easter Duty obligation this year. 

 

Next week we have two major feasts:  St. Patrick’s Day on Wednesday and the Feast of Saint Joseph on Friday.  Mass on both days is celebrated at 9.00 am.  Because this is the year of Saint Joseph, the Mass on Friday will include the usual prayers for the church and the world and prayers especially for fathers and grandfathers.  Fr. Felix and I will not be drinking green beer on Wednesday but in honour of St. Joseph, couscous, tabouli salad and falafel will replace our usual fish supper.  We both received an email on Tuesday that invited us to make an appointment to receive the vaccine for the covid virus.  This is our week to be on call for emergencies at the hospital, nursing homes and hospice so, on Wednesday afternoon we rolled up our sleeves.  As I sat while the last information was collected, I was thinking that I had never been so happy to see a sharp needle in my life.  Apart from a little tenderness where the needle pierced the shoulder there were no problems.  We were very impressed at how everything is organised at the hospital and how quickly people flowed through the process.  Our prayer every day should include a special petition that everything goes as smoothly for the next few months as every Canadian is given the same opportunity.

 

Adriana Rerecich, chaplain at St Thomas Aquinas High School and I continue our conversation about prayer and also talked about the visit of Pope Francis to Iraq in the latest video.  The link is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muwDGpYgHiQ     Mass for the fourth Sunday of Lent this weekend is found here:  https://www.standrewoakville.com/sunday-masses-online   Please check the website for the Stations of the Cross and other activities.

 

Finally, the soothing sound of an instrument that the Psalms often speak of, the lute. The Allegro in  D for two lutes was composed and performed by Konstantin R. Bozhinov.  It is a perfect background to this timely poem by William Blake from The Divine Imagehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qv3bXLOJxNc

 

To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love

All pray in their distress;

And to these virtues of delight

Return their thankfulness.

 

For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love

Is God, our father dear,

And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love

Is Man, his child and care.

 

For Mercy has a human heart,

Pity a human face,

And Love, the human form divine,

And Peace, the human dress.

 

Then every man, of every clime,

That prays in his distress,

Prays to the human form divine,

Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

 

And all must love the human form,

In heathen, Turk, or Jew;

Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell

There God is dwelling too.

 

Be well and may mercy, peace and love travel well with you during the next week.

 

Fr. Con