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From the Desk of the Pastor: September 11

September 11, 2021

Good morning everyone.

It is hard to believe that we are at the beginning of September, school has returned, and a new pastoral year has begun the process of revealing itself.  It seems like a very short period of time has passed since we were recording an end of the school year message and this weekend we are invoking God’s blessing for a successful and healthy year ahead.

The last week of August and first days of September brought the happy laughter and angelic voices of children to the green space between the church and the deck of the parish centre.  Sarah Zbogar and her volunteers led the children through music practice and games for five days and parents, grandparents and a few others were treated to a concert on the deck to showcase the work that was done.  It was amazing to see the results and the stories of Peter Rabbit and Dorothy and her friends from OZ, leapt off the page to be presented to the enthusiastic audience in perfectly enunciated narrative and music.  Thank you Sarah and company for such a wonderful experience.  The children’s choir has resumed practice on the deck each Thursday and follow the guidelines from the Ministry of Education and local school boards to make sure that we have a safe environment for this activity.  If you would like your child to participate, please contact Sarah at: 905-257-5046.

In the parish we continue to develop plans for the new pastoral year and will reveal them in the coming weeks.  We are taking things a little slow as many (who have access to more up to date information) have expressed concerns with what happens with the dreaded daily numbers of covid infections.  In Halton we seem to be doing very well but as of this afternoon, the number of infections being reported in school districts across the province is a bit of a worry.  Let us pray that they will level off in the next week or two.  The regular schedule is in place for Mass during the week and on Wednesday’s we have returned to the practice of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament after the 9.00 am. Mass for one hour.  During this time, we pray for the needs of our parishioners and in these weeks especially, for students in grade school, high school and in our colleges and universities.   We look forward to celebrating the sacraments of Confirmation and First Eucharist with the children who missed these celebrations in the late spring because of lockdowns and restrictions.  Parents should have received a letter by email with all of the information by now.  If you did not, please contact Sharon at:  office@standrewoakville.com  At each Mass this weekend, we offer a blessing for the new school year and for all who are engaged in the good work of education at each level.  This blessing will also be shared with the school for their classrooms during next week.

For the first time since it was established, St. Andrew’s parish centre will not be available as a voting centre for the upcoming federal election.  We did not have enough space to accommodate the needs of Elections Canada this time but they have assured us that we are on their list next time around.  Speaking of elections and the ongoing question of the Catholic voice in the political and social life of Canada, a very interesting excerpt from a new book was published in the National Post on Wednesday. Politics and Faith in a Polarized World: A Challenge for Catholics is written by Dr. John Malloy who teaches at Laurier University in Waterloo and is a former minister of Education for the province of Ontario.  I have known John for many years and have enjoyed many long conversations about theology, philosophy, books and politics over coffee and the occasional drop of Irish whiskey.   He has always been interested in the intersection between religion and politics and this new book from him is not a surprise.  The link is here:  https://nationalpost.com/opinion/john-milloy-catholicism-has-become-a-punchline-in-canadian-politics-it-need-not-be-this-way  The book is published by Novalis in Canada.

Looking forward through the next few weeks you will notice that we will return to singing a few more parts of the Mass on Sunday.  It is our intention to gradually introduce hymn singing beginning with   Mass on Thanksgiving weekend.  At the moment the proof of vaccination certificate that is being rolled out for Ontario on September 22 (to be implemented in early October) will not be required for attending Mass but we understand that it will have implications for any activity in the parish centre.  More information on this will be coming out next week.  Parishioners have been asking if the ministers for communion in the parish have received the vaccine.  When we expanded this list in July, that was a requirement.   You will also notice that at the noon Mass on Sunday we are being a little more directive for seating for Mass. This is a response to the large number that attend this Mass and we ask for your patience so that as the front half of the church is filled, we begin seating parishioners through the main doors on Reynolds Street for the back half and for the balcony.  It has been working well for the last few weeks and we have not had to turn anyone away.  A final piece of news is that we plan to revive the parish bulletin for Thanksgiving weekend in October.  It will probably come in both a print (Sunday) and online (Friday) format.

Finally, this weekend we remember that it is exactly twenty years since the terrible events in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001.  That awful day marked a significant shift in world affairs and shaped the political landscape and conversation right down to today.  Let us pray for peace and understanding among nations, religions and peoples and a resolve to do the hard work of building relationships and tearing down the walls of suspicion, hatred and poverty that still divide too many.  Pope Francis is at the conclusion of the Eucharistic Congress in Budapest, Hungary this weekend and will probably have something significant to say as he also remembers this event.

Have a good week.

Fr. Con