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From the Desk of the Pastor: May 8

May 8, 2021

Good morning everyone.

May is the month of Mary and the month of the Rosary.  One of the most moving events during the month of May since I have been here, is the procession with flowers for Mary by the Children’s Choir to the statue of Mary where a young child places a crown of fresh flowers on her head.  For older parishioners it is a moment to remember, for the children it is sowing the seed of a new memory and for those for whom this is something new, it is an opportunity to learn about a new tradition.  Pope Francis has a very deep devotion to Mary and at the beginning and end of each trip he takes time to invoke her intercession in the church of St. John Lateran in Rome.  He is especially devoted to an image of Mary that he discovered in Germany when he was a post-grad student titled Mary, un-doer of knots.

A picture of Mary surrounded by angels while untying knots
Mary, Un-doer of Knots

He has written many times about this image of Mary who happily helps us to ‘untie’ the difficulties and trials that we might encounter on life’s journey.  All we have to do is ask her.

Prayer to Our Lady, Undoer of Knots

Holy Mary, full of God’s presence, during your life you accepted the Father’s will with full humility, and the evil one was never able to tie you up with his confusion.  Since then, you have interceded for all our difficulties, as you did at the wedding feast of Cana. Full of kindness and patience, you show us how to untie the knots of our lives. By always being our mother, you arrange and clarify the ties that link us to the Lord.

Holy Mary, Mother of God and of us all, you untie the knots of our lives with a mother’s heart. We place our intentions in your hands [mention your prayer request], and we ask you to disentangle every knot and confusion.  Through your grace, intercession, and example, protect us from all evil, and untie the knots that keep us from being united to God. Free from confusion and error, may we find him in all things, keep our hearts in him, and serve him always in our brothers and sisters.

Pope Francis has launched a Marathon of Prayer this year for the month of May.  “Guided by Shrines around the world during this month of May, we recite the Rosary to invoke an end to the pandemic and the resumption of social and work-related activities.” (Pope Francis, General Audience, 5 May 2021) Father Ian Duffy, Rector of the Basilica of Our Lady in Guelph, is joining the Pope’s prayer marathon by praying the Rosary at noon each day.  You can participate in the daily prayer with the Pope by checking the Vatican website www.vatican.va for a listing of Shrines or pray the Rosary in union with Father Duffy at the Basilica in Guelph.

At the parish this week Lynette and I were delighted to meet the students and parents of the children preparing for the sacrament of Confirmation.  It was wonderful to catch up with everyone on Zoom and we were pleasantly surprised to find that it enabled us to have some personal conversations that allowed us to catch up on how parents and students are doing and how they have found creative and fun ways to deal with school at home and the lockdown.  It was amusing to see the frowns on students faces when parents were slow to find the unmute button or search for the question link.  Next week we meet with the children who are celebrating First Communion.  The Zoom link went out on Friday.  If parents have not received it, please contact lynette at: lbrown@hamiltondiocese.com

The One Heart, One Soul Campaign moves along and yesterday reached $1,254,312. Thank you to everyone for your participation.   As I mentioned last week, we are in the winding down phase for the next few weeks.  For St. Andrew’s this has been a glorious achievement and in the diocese we rank at the top of the list for donations and pledges received.  The ‘little’ church by the lake is punching above its weight again.

Bugles will play and drums will roll on Monday morning when Gerry Tata returns to his caretaking duties.  How we have missed him and come to realize that he truly is the one who keeps the whole complex together and in good shape.  A run to Cobbs is in order first thing in the morning for a treat to share over coffee and catch up.  A big thank you to Bob Fedurco who diligently came by on Thursday and Friday to take on the garbage and put things together as we needed them.  We had the fans and cooling and heating system checked on recently and will be following up on some suggested replacements and maintenance over the next few weeks.  Air flow has become a big issue in buildings small and large over the last year and you will notice that an adjustment will be made to the large windows on the Reynolds Street side of the church.  A new insert will allow a section of the window to open which will allow air to flow through the church and assist the existing air flow system.  A fan will also be installed on the ceiling, close to the sanctuary light in the sanctuary to assist with air flow especially in that part of the church.   We have secured the services of a new maintenance person for the grounds and are noticing a nice attention to detail everywhere.  The next job for them will be to do a thorough pruning and taming of some of the shrubs and hedges around the parking lot.

Catholic Education Week concludes this weekend.  Despite the lockdown and restrictions, children, parents and teachers filled social media with creative activities to celebrate the week and for the Walk with Jesus, many beautiful homemade crosses appeared.  At Saint Thomas Aquinas, the chaplain Adrianna and I did a special recording for Catholic Education week which is here: https://youtu.be/vJR0khKtDi8

I have been on call at the hospital this week.  It has been busy especially with patients who are preparing for death.  As you are aware, every hospital is under pressure including our own, and each time I am there, the staff go out of their way to be attentive and make this difficult passage calm and comforting for the patient and family.  I was reminded a few times during these days that I needed to remind parishioners that the Sacrament of the Sick is available at any time and if a loved one is seriously ill, please call the priest before it is too late.  Here in Oakville, we have an emergency on-call system that works well.  We are happy to offer the sacrament anytime and if you are preparing for surgery or feel that you would benefit from the sacrament, email or leave a message and we will be happy to make arrangements to make it happen.  Another observation from my time at the hospital is to observe the encouraging lineup of people for the covid vaccine.  Again, kudos to the staff and volunteers who are always smiling and helpful.  Felix and I are signed up for our second appointment for the vaccine for the afternoon of Canada Day.  Keep in your prayers three “young” men from the parish.  One is recovering from a serious hiking accident and two are awaiting the results of tests for cancer.  Pray also for the repose of the soul of Petre Cornel Ionescue and his family.  His funeral is on Monday with only nine people present plus myself.

Finally, to all of the mothers, grandmothers, mothers-to-be, a very happy Mother’s Day.  At Mass this weekend, we will pray a special blessing for mothers after the homily. Join us from the comfort of your own home.  The link is here: https://www.standrewoakville.com/sunday-masses-online/

Be well and let us walk with Mary this week and allow her to untie the burdens that have become knots in us.

Con