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From the Desk of the Pastor: March 20, 2021

March 20, 2021

Good morning everyone.

It is exactly one year ago this weekend since the first From the Pastor’s Desk was emailed and Mass was available online after it was recorded on Deacon Richard’s iPhone.  Looking back at that first letter, I was so optimistic and naïve about when we would be back to normal, even hinting that we might be open again for Easter.   Here we are, one year later, vaccine targets moving down the age ladder but a very real threat that we might be in for more restrictions including another lockdown.  The glass is half full and half empty and which half we are looking at depends on our mood.   To everyone who has helped us over the last year, thank you.  We promise that in this next stage, we will keep everything moving along and continue to develop the skills that we need to keep everyone plugged in and aware of what is going on.

The One heart, One Soul Campaign is now gathering steam and as of yesterday, it has reached $623,215 for our parish which is amazing.  I hope that everyone has received their package by now and have taken the time to view the material and videos that were created for this campaign.  The link is here if you have not: https://www.oneheartonesoul.ca/standrewoakville   Last weekend, Ken Coulter gave an update and answered many of the questions that people may still have.  The link is here:  https://www.standrewoakville.com/news/one-heart-one-soul-campaign-message/  Dominic Felix who is part of the team from the diocese who assists us at St. Andrew’s mentioned that across the diocese, the campaign is going very well and already exceeding expectations.   I hope that all of our parishioners will join us in supporting the bold vision for our future that is laid out in the campaign goal sheet.

We celebrated the feast of St. Joseph yesterday with Mass in the Parish.  The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops have developed a fine resource for the year of Saint Joseph which you will find here: https://www.cccb.ca/evangelization-catechesis-catholic-education/celebrating-the-year-of-saint-joseph/patris-corde-guided-video-reflections/

Last night we recorded the Retreat for Holy Week which will be up next weekend on our website.  Fr. Joseph De Viveriros joined me on the green chair for a wide-ranging discussion which began with the question that Pilate asked Jesus in the gospel reading for Good Friday, ‘what is truth?’  It led us to some places and references.

We continue our journey into Lent and Holy Week with Fr. Ron Rolheiser OMI who this week begins his reflection with Leonard Cohen’s most famous song/poem Hallelujah.  (article is attached)  Understanding ourselves and our behaviors are key to understanding our strengths and weaknesses.  Taking us to Gethsemane again, he asks what does this garden have to teach us today.  Don’t forget that you can join in a conversation on these pieces next Thursday, March 25th from 7.00 to 8.00 in the evening on Zoom.  You can connect here:

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86717459484?pwd=cjhlaWRLaitsK0VrQlVNR1Q0SElRUT09

Meeting ID: 867 1745 9484  Passcode: 697567

For Holy Thursday over the last few years we have collected ‘gifts for the poor’ at the evening Mass.  While we cannot physically do that this year, we can still accept monetary donations or grocery store gift cards that will be used by our parish Saint Vincent DePaul Society for the charitable work that they do in the community.  Please put them in an envelope marked St. Vincent DePaul and drop them in one of the collection boxes at the entrance or exit to the church.  Your name and address is required for tax receipts.

 

Mass for Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter is now almost completely booked.  The Good Friday evening Service at 7.00 pm. still has several openings.  A mailing went out on Thursday to over 1700 homes with all of the information to join us for the Holy Week and Easter liturgies online.  I am very aware that many families and individuals will be disappointed that they cannot attend these very important liturgies in person.  We are required to follow local and provincial guidelines which have been reinforced here in Halton because of the alarming numbers of persons with the covid variant and the steady rise of the numbers of infections in schools in the region.

Felix and I will be available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the church on Thursday, March 25th from 10.30 to 11.30 in the morning and 2.00 to 3.00 in the afternoon and on Friday, March 26, from 7.00 to 8.30 in the evening.  Fr. Felix will be in the sacristy and I will be by the front door of the church.  A mask is required for the duration of the time we are together.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that we had very few funerals earlier in the year.  That respite ended and as of Monday, we will have had six funerals in ten days.  A beloved and long-time active parishioner, Dr. Margaret Swayze died earlier this week.  She was a dedicated teacher who influenced several generations of students in the community and will be greatly missed.  Funeral arrangements are still to be finalized.   Please keep the family and friends of all of the deceased in your prayers.

 

Adriana Rerecich, chaplain at St Thomas Aquinas High School and I continue our conversation about prayer. The link is here: https://youtu.be/WV38Rs4w2DY   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.  Next weekend we will have a full schedule of the services for Holy Week in this letter.

Finally, during this past week many organizations and individuals took time to remember the toll of the Covid 19 pandemic on individuals, families and communities.  This special piece is a new composition  and recording of the traditional In Paradisum by Z Randall Stroope and the Cantus choir.  https://youtu.be/4WnGqdMTD-M Writing about his piece Dr. Stroope had this to say: “During the Covid-19 pandemic, like others, I felt helpless and full of unanswered questions. Most of all, I was profoundly sad for the thousands of families who lost a mother, a father, a grandparent, a child – or a friend. I wrote this work as a gift to honor those who lost their lives in this pandemic. May this smallest of contributions bring some comfort to those left behind.”

Be well during this new week.  “May the Lord be in your sleeping and your waking” and may He walk gently with you every day.

Fr. Con