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From the Desk of the Pastor: November 27

November 27, 2021

Good morning everyone.

Sitting by the window writing this, the scene of winter stillness (even though winter is still a few weeks away) and nature bracing for its months of rest is all around.  Earlier, an elegant fox strolled by as if it was master of the street and three grey squirrels are engaged in a vigorous workout up and down the trees.  It is the perfect scene as we count the hours down to celebrate the first Sunday of Advent.

For families celebrating Advent in the church or at home, you might like to look up some resources that have been pulled together by the pastoral offices for the diocese at this link:  https://hamiltondiocese.com/advent2021/ In it you will find practical suggestions and prayers for the season.  For the adults, here is a link to a series of Reflections for Advent from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops office in Ottawa featuring Archbishop Don Bolen.  For this series, the archbishop has chosen to weave together themes from the scriptures for Advent into a preparation for the meeting beginning on December 17th in Rome between Pope Francis and Indigenous leaders to listen to each other and to pray.  In a recent article in the Catholic Register, those organising the meeting have said that those who will travel to Rome will have unprecedented access to Pope Francis and some clarity will come about his visit to Canada.   The link is here and will be updated each Wednesday:  https://www.cccb.ca/evangelization-catechesis-catholic-education/video-resources/journey-through-advent/

The work of catching up on the sacraments that were delayed during the year continues.  This afternoon, a small group of children are celebrating First Communion with their families.  Fr. Felix, Deacon Richard and I will have cleared up the backlog of baptisms in the next few weeks.  Since August we have welcomed families most weekends on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and look forward to a short break for the Christmas season and await new families seeking baptism who will not have to wait because of a backlog.  We have received great news that it is now possible to visit the children in the parish schools and I am looking forward to visiting each classroom in the coming weeks.   I am recording an advent message for St. Thomas Aquinas High School in the church tomorrow on my own as Marie is on a well-deserved holiday.  It will be a test to see how well I have observed and learned from her how to do this.

The first meeting in the parish to participate in the Synod Process that Pope Francis has asked the church around the world to participate in took place on Tuesday evening.  A small group of us had a wide ranging conversation for approximately eighty minutes that flowed from the suggested questions.  By the time we were finished, I had two and a half pages of notes and a sore hand by the time it was entered on the online platform collecting the notes from each session.  The Vatican has extended the time for these meetings to take place and we are going to set some other dates for February and Early March soon.  More information and the opportunity to complete the survey personally can be found here:  https://hamiltondiocese.com/news/2021/November/important-update-on-the-diocesan-synodal-process  The session scheduled for Tuesday, November 30 will also be rescheduled to a new date.  The evening of dialogue about the background to the synod and Pope Francis intentions for a worldwide conversation with Fr. Joseph De Viveiros CR takes place on December 7th at 7.00 pm. in the church and will be livestreamed through the livestream link on our website.  This promises to be a very interesting conversation as last week Fr. Joseph did a similar event for over a thousand educators online.

At Mass this weekend, the Catholic Calendar for 2022 will be available to take home.  We are in the process of completing the final preparations for the liturgies for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the parish. Unfortunately, this year we must repeat the registration for Mass for Christmas that we put in place last year as we can only accommodate people following the provincial social distancing guidelines.    Next weekend we will begin to distribute the forms that you will need to secure a place at the desired Mass time.  Mass on Christmas Eve will be at:  4:00-6:00-8:00-10:00 and on Christmas Day:  8:00-9:00-10:30-12:00 (note the additional Mass at 8:00 am. will have no music).  Please do not call the office to reserve a place until after next weekend.

Finally, a music treat to set the scene for our movement into the Advent and Christmas Season from Amy Grant.  Breath of Heaven (Mary’s Song) is a stirring anthem that captures perfectly what I am observing in the street on this cold winter morning and anticipating when we gather to light the first candle on the advent wreath this evening.  May you find peace and stillness during the advent season.

Be well,

Fr. Con