October 1st 2022
Good morning everyone.
This morning we celebrated the Funeral Mass for Brian Isherwood in his beloved St. Andrew’s Church. He was the first parishioner I met as I was moving the last of my belongings into the rectory on a very wet Sunday afternoon in mid-June 2015. He saw me struggling with boxes and came over to help. His gentle banter helped to move everything very quickly and when we were done, he gave me his card and said that when I officially got to the parish two weeks later, we should go for lunch. We did and I discovered that he had tucked away in his mind, a detailed report on every nook and cranny in the church and parish center. A few months later I spent an afternoon up above the ceiling of the church with him, and when we came down, over a cold drink, got to hear more stories about his life and experiences in the Middle East and a few of his engineering projects in Canada. Dinner at his home with Diana during the summer was always a long evening of good food, some wine, and stories, lots of stories. It was a great joy to hear him read in the church especially during the Easter Vigil. The story of the creation of the world and the children of Israel crossing the Red Sea Brian came alive in the careful and deliberate (and dramatic) way he spoke. Thankfully, we have a few recordings of his reading including his recitation of the great Canadian war poem, In Flanders Fields. Brian had a distinguished career in engineering but those who knew him well, knew that behind the quiet presence you discovered a man with a wide world view and a healthy, practical spirituality. The second reading for his funeral Mass captures him well: “I solemnly urge you: 2proclaim the message; 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” We are so grateful for everything he did for us at St. Andrew’s and pray that the Lord has welcomed him to the place that he had prepared for him. To his family and friends, we offer our deepest sympathy.
Yesterday, Canada from coast to coast celebrated National Reconciliation Day. I was at a function where we heard Grand Chief Cadmus Delorme of the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan who spoke of the ongoing work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It was interesting to hear how the visit of Pope Francis was viewed two months later and I was pleasantly surprised at the positive impression his time and words still have. At the same time, there is still much work to be done and as Pope Francis said as he was leaving Canada, reconciliation and truth are work for every Canadian to make time for.
Several months ago I had mentioned that I would like to have an activity at St. Andrew’s to review the visit of Pope Francis and give some context to what happened as he was among us. I am delighted that we have secured two dates, October 21 and 22 to spend some time taking a deeper dive into the visit. Fr. Thomas Rosica, founder of Salt and Light Catholic Television and a respected commentator on church affairs at home and internationally, will present a lecture on Friday evening (7.00 pm. in the church) on the visit of Pope Francis to the Indigenous peoples of Canada, what he said and what happens now. On Saturday (9.30 am. to 2.00 pm. in the Parish Centre), he will speak on the Pastoral Visit to all Canadians and focus especially on the talk that he gave to the bishops, clergy, religious and lay people in the Cathedral church of Quebec City. We encourage everyone to attend one or both. No need to register for the Friday evening talk but registration is required for the Saturday talks as it will include a light lunch. Please let Sharon know at: email@example.com
We had a grand celebration of the CWL one hundredth anniversary two weeks ago. The Mass was prayerful, and Bishop Crosby certainly honored and praised the work and mission of the CWL in the parish and across the country. The lunch was buzzing with the conversations of friends old and new and the history of the league in the parish with photographs by Terry Murphy was very insightful. We are in the process of having her talk published and made available in the next few weeks. Thank you to everyone who contributed to its success. The CWL still have a few events to bring the year to a conclusion and get on with plotting a direction for the next one hundred years.
We have had two opportunities for hospitality after Mass during September and both were a great success. It has been interesting meeting new parishioners and catching up with those who have been here for years and those coming back after the Covid interruption. More events are planned for October and November. We are grateful to Alastair Gray who has taken on organizing these events and he is looking for volunteers who can assist him. Please let Sharon know if this is something that interests you.
Frank McAuley and Ken Coulter gave an update from the Pastoral Advisory Committee last Sunday and their remarks are attached. The committee has been very busy during the summer and is now engaged a process that will look at how Charles position as music director at St. Andrew’s for many years will be filled. Look out next week for an opportunity to share your thoughts. Charles last weekend in his role will be October 29 and 30. An opportunity to say thank you will take place after the 11.30 am Mass and all are invited. When the Mass times change on October 16 you will notice that most things will be back to normal: all of the books in the seats, introduction to the Mass and the bells at the consecration.
Next Friday we will welcome the teachers, administrators, and support staff from our schools to Mass at 9.00 am. The staff from St. Luke’s will be using the Parish Centre for the day. The usual coffee and chat for the first Friday of the month will be delayed for one week. In the next few weeks, we will announce the dates for the sacraments of Confirmation and First Communion for 2023. Please note that parent information meetings and preparation for these sacraments and will be offered in early February 2023. The parish preparation for the Rites of Initiation for adults seeking baptism and full communion with the church have begun and remains open for another few weeks. Contact Sharon who will give you the information that you need to join.
The Catholic Register newspaper have published a beautiful commemorative edition to remember Pope Francis visit to Canada in July. Penance and Progress: Pope Francis maps a path of hope is a 64-page full colour magazine edition which details this historic voyage in word and text and also provides abundant background stories and personal reflections on the impact, meaning and importance of July 24-29, 2022. The magazine is at once commemorative and contemplative, capturing the vitality of events but ordered to encourage deeper reflection on how to move forward on the reconciliation path. Texts of the Holy Father’s addresses are included along with prompt questions for parishes, schools, lay associations, and individuals to develop over the years ahead their own understanding of this critical historical moment. Copies can be ordered through the office firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a good weekend everyone. This is a season of color and an abundance of the gifts of creation. As we prepare to give thanks, let us do so in the spirit of St. Francis whose feast day we celebrate on Tuesday.