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From the Desk of the Pastor: October 29

 October 29, 2022

Good morning everyone.

This weekend we will say a special thank you to Charles Demuynck who steps down as director of music at St. Andrew’s after seventeen years of faithful service.  After the 9.30 and 11.30 Mass we will have an opportunity to formally thank him and wish him well as he pursues new paths in music and as a composer.  The task of finding someone to replace him begins in earnest now as a Search Committee prepares to advertise for the position.  The members of that committee are:  Loraine Fedurco and Darren Parent, Pastoral Advisory Committee, Sarah Zbogar, Children’s Choir, and Andree Masse from the Senior Choir.  I will also sit on the committee.  It is our hope that we will be in a position to announce a new director by mid December.  In the meantime, Sarah Zbogar will work with the senior choir and continue with her responsibilities for the children’s choir.  We have asked the contemporary choir to take a brief pause for two or three weeks.  To those who took the time to complete the music survey which we distributed a few weeks ago we say a big thank you.  We have received some very serious reflections on music at Mass (and some criticism) which we take seriously and will be helpful over the next few weeks as the search committee does its work.

The two workshops with Fr. Rosica on the visit of Pope Francis to Canada in July were well attended and provided good information and points to ponder.  The talk and discussion on the visit to the Indigenous peoples of Canada was as expected, difficult, troubling, confusing and at times insightful.  I think that all who were present would agree that there is much to continue to explore on this topic especially with the Indigenous community.  We will have an opportunity to precisely that on December 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the National Day of Prayer and Solidarity with Indigenous Persons.  The Diocese of Hamilton has invited the Honourable Graydon Nicholas, Chancellor of Saint Thomas University and former Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick to two events in the diocese including a public lecture.  Dr. Nicholas is a member of the Tobique First Nation his message will encourage our efforts as a community of faith toward reconciliation with our Indigenous brothers and sisters.  This presentation will take place in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Hamilton at 7.00 pm. and will also be available live streamed via the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King YouTube page.

Fr. Rosica will return to St Andrew’s on December 13th for an Evening of Reflection for Advent co-sponsored by the parish and the parish CWL.  This year we begin a new Liturgical Year with the gospel of Matthew and the evening will look at the infancy narrative found in his gospel text.  In an email earlier this week, Fr. Tom wrote this description of his intention for the evening:  “The Advent season this year invites us to lift up our eyes toward the ends of the earth and to embrace the universalism that Matthew’s Gospel subtly introduces in his genealogy. Matthew’s story of Jesus’ origins is told from Joseph’s point of view, while the more familiar infancy account from Luke is told from the perspective of Mary. Matthew’s Infancy story of Jesus reminds us to make Advent a time of peaceful trust in God’s providence and to make Christmas a celebration in which we open our eyes, minds and hearts to the universal call of the newborn Lord.”  We look forward to welcoming you to a gentle time to pause on the way to Christmas and nurture your heart and soul during a very busy season.

Parents, grandparents, and anyone seeking words of wisdom and hope, here is an opportunity for you.  The Diocese of Hamilton is delighted to welcomes David Wells back to Canada from his native England for a series of workshops with the Catholic education community.  The public have an opportunity to hear him in the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King on Tuesday evening, November 8, 2022, from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. David peaks from the heart with enthusiasm and great love for the Church and brings a wealth of experience as a husband, father, educator, catechist and leader. The title of his presentation: “IS THIS SPOT TAKEN?” The Church’s Call to Radical Hospitality in a Post-Pandemic World.Parishioners who heard him during his last visit in 2019 were thrilled by the clarity and positivity of his message and expressed a desire to hear him again.

During the week, the Canadian Census Data for 2021 on religion Canada was published. The data confirms that the ethnocultural and religious diversity of the country continues to grow and is seen as an important characteristic of the country and is valued by the vast majority of Canadians. The origins and religions of the population have been measured by the Canadian census since 1871 and the cultural “mosaic” has been evolving since it was first captured. To reflect the changing and complex nature of diversity in the country, Statistics Canada has conducted extensive engagement and research to improve the collection and measurement of the ethnocultural and religious diversity of the population as well as the terminology used to describe it.  You can read full report here:

The following are some highlights:

The total population that self-identifies as Roman Catholic in Canada in 2021 sits at 10,880,360. This is compared to 12,810,705 from the National Household Survey in 2011. This represents a drop of 15% in 10 years.

The total population in Canada rose from 32,852,320 to 36,328,480 in 10 years. This means that the Catholic proportion of Canadian society dropped from 39% to 30% in 10 years.

The number of people identifying as “No religious affiliation” was 7,850,605 in 2011. In 2021, it was 12,557,475. In other words, in 2011 there were 4,960,100 more Catholics than Nones. In 2021, there are 1,677,115 more Nones than Catholics. We are no longer the largest denomination in Canada.

Here are similar statistics for the Province of Ontario:

 2011: Total pop – 12,651,790 / Total Catholic – 3,976,605 / Total None – 2,927,795

2021: Total pop – 14,031,755 / Total Catholic – 3,654,825 / Total None – 4,433,675

Increase in total pop: +10.9%

Decrease in Catholic pop: -8.1%

Decrease in Catholic percentage of population: 31.4% to 26.0%Increase in Nones: growth of 51.4%, now the largest denomination in Ontario (in 2011, there were approximately 1 million more Catholics than Nones; now there are approximately 800,000 more Nones than Catholics)

There is much to ponder from this report, and it is important to avoid jumping to a conclusion about decline and fall until we have spent some more time with the data.  It certainly presents the church nationally and at a local level with a challenge.  The emergence of the Nones in such large numbers demand further study and creative pastoral attention.  Please take a look at the study as it does present us at a local level with some interesting questions and opportunities.

A possible resource to help with the data in this review of the church in Canada could be the report issued by the Vatican mid-week on the worldwide opportunity for parishioners in parishes to participate in the consultation phase in preparation for the Synod on Synodality in 2023 and 2024 in Rome.  Titled “Enlarge the space of your tent” it contains a synthesis of the dialogue so far and introduces the second phase that will continue to engage the people of God in each diocese in the world.  I found it to be a fascinating document and I could clearly hear some of the concerns, thoughts, ideas, and questions that were surfaced during our meetings and in the individual submissions at St. Andrew’s.  It is an exciting process and it is becoming clear, that the Spirit is moving the church in an exciting direction.  The full document is attached, and I highly recommend it to everyone.  We also look forward to participating in the next phase of this project.

Please note:

1. Next weekend we will hear from the St. Vincent De Paul Society in preparation for the World Day of the Poor on November on November 13.

2. We met with the school principals this week and have finalised the schedule for First Communion, First Reconciliation and Confirmation during 2023.  Parents and grandparents can access the schedule for First Communion here and Confirmation here.

Finally, this week we celebrate All Saints and All Souls on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Mass for All Saints is at 12.05 and 7.00 pm.  Mass for All Souls is at 9.00 am. and 12.05 pm.  The Book of the Names of the Dead will be available for parishioners to add the names of family and friends who have died during the past year.

Be well, and let us pray each day for each other and during the month of November, those whom we have loved and are now with God.

Fr. Con