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From the Desk of the Pastor: September 18

September 18, 2021

Good Saturday everyone.

This weekend, the usual letter is more of an announcement type note to draw your attention to activities local and diocesan. So, to begin with the most obvious…please get out to vote. I was in Australia several years ago when the federal election was taking place and, keen as I am on things political, was astonished to discover that it is always held on a weekend and if you do not exercise your civic duty to vote, you are fined and may even be called to appear in court. The day took on a festive atmosphere (not too hard for Australians to get into a party mood) and going out to vote was a very civil and social event. On Monday, despite all the obstacles, lets make it a day to celebrate our freedom to exercise this important civic duty.

The issue of the Residential Schools has moved off the front pages for now but much work continues behind the scene at many levels. On September 30th, parishes in the Diocese of Hamilton will join churches and places of worship all across Canada in prayer on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This is a new national statutory holiday and at St. Andrew’s, we will commemorate it with a special Mass at 9.00 am. Two other events are taking place later in the year, Indigenous groups from each region in Canada will join Pope Francis in Rome for three days of prayer and talks in mid December. These days were planned to have taken place last Fall also in Rome. The Canadian and provincial bishops will be meeting at the end of this month and the beginning of October and will discuss a solution to the controversial financial settlement and its resolution.

Plans are underway for the sacraments of Confirmation and First Eucharist in early October. Parents have received the latest information this week. Unfortunately, each celebration will have to keep to keep a tight lid on who can celebrate with the children because of limited seating capacity. We hope that family and friends understand and will join us online as each celebration will be live streamed.

This weekend we will have a chance to exercise our vocal skills by singing the entrance and recessional hymns at Mass. For the next two weeks, the hymn texts will appear on the screen and one of the hymnals will be back in the pew for Thanksgiving weekend. Ever so slowly, we are moving back to a taste of life before covid. Next week we get to figure out what life with vaccine passports will look like. For now, we are not obliged to check passports for attendance at Mass but any activity in the parish centre (because it is a public meeting place) comes under the new rules. In the church, all ministers who assist the priest and community must provide proof of vaccine. All of the diocese in Ontario are working through a document for parishes on these new regulations which we should receive at any moment.

Our journey with the Bishop Baron Word on Fire Program is winding down with a superb series on the creed. Thank you to Tony Cestra for his piloting of the series for over a year and his astute choices and relevant notes each week. From the comments I have received, many people have found it helpful and it has led to a deeper dive into the vast library in the Word on Fire website.

For those looking for some stimulation and a spiritual “September tonic” why not sign up for WHY@Breakfast which is a ministry that developed out of the parishes in Waterloo, Ontario. This session is an invitation to A Day of Healing with Sister Barbara Paleczny, SSND, on Saturday, September 25th, 2021. The description of the day reads: Grief, resentment, fear, stress, anger may enfold us, but it is up to us to transform those experiences and heal from them. Sister Barbara has a doctorate in systematic theology and theological ethics. For the twelve years until the pandemic, Sister Barbara trained leaders and led programs on healing from trauma in South Sudan. On Sept 25th, Sister Barbara will address healthy and unhealthy uses of anger and grief, method on healing from stress and trauma, and why the method works. This online event will be delivered via Zoom. Morning sessions will begin at 9:30AM and end at 11 AM. Afternoon sessions start at 1:30 AM and end around 3 PM. Please see https://whyatbreakfast.com for the complete schedule and free registration.

And staying in Waterloo for another opportunity to exercise the brain, you are invited to St. Jerome’s University for a lecture Apocalypse and Salvation: Faith in Catholic Miracles in Twentieth-Century Germany on Friday, September 24, 2021, 7:30 p.m. Dr. Michael E. O’Sullivan is Professor of History at Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY. where he teaches courses about Modern Europe. He received his PhD from the University of North Carolina and has authored several articles and book chapters about twentieth-century Catholicism. From World War I until the late 1950s, Catholics in Germany reported more instances of stigmata and visions of the Virgin Mary than at any time in modern history. This lecture emphasizes the stigmata of the charismatic Therese Neumann of Bavaria and the Cold War apparitions of the Virgin Mary in the small town of Heroldsbach. Neumann’s story in particular reveals much about the fall of German democracy in the 1920s and the relation of Catholics to the Third Reich. These case studies will illuminate why the Catholic minority in Germany is significant to the country’s social and political history. They will also highlight how women could accumulate power within orthodox Catholic communities. Please use this to attend the lecture. https://www.sju.ca/LCE

For those interested in thttps://www.sju.ca/LCEhe intersection between faith and religion, a very rare opportunity is presented to join Brother Guy Consolmagno, SJ, who is the Director of the Vatican Observatory. On Thursday, October 14th, at 7:30 p.m. EST, he will conduct an interactive webinar on the work of a number of Jesuit scientists through history, and how their work was influenced by the Spirituality of St. Ignatius. It promises to be very informative lecture and insight into this very interesting mission of the church. https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_tVWc1RBqTkOIjXT3rstEzw

Closer to home, October is an important month for the pro-life movement. We are invited to join the annual (33rd) Life Chain Sunday, Oct. 3rd, 2021. This is a peaceful, prayerful, silent pro-life one hour long witness for the unborn in our community. Local participants will be joining thousands of pro-life supporters across North America who will make a one hour visual statement of solidarity to end abortion and honour the lives of over 54 million children lost to abortion. Meet at Trafalgar Rd and Dundas St (SE corner) in Oakville from 2:30 – 3:30pm on Sunday, Oct. 3rd. For more info. contact Anthony Danko at 289-772-8822. Terry Murphy has kindly agreed to be our parish delegate to the Halton Alive organisation. She has compiled a list of activities that include:

  • 40 Days for Life: the 40-day, non-stop prayer vigil is being held in Oakville, at Proudfoot Trail and Dundas Street West, from Wednesday, September 22, 2021 to Sunday, October 31, 2021. You can sign up for a timeslot at https://www.40daysforlife.com/en/oakville .
  • “The Gathering” on Saturday, October 02, 2021, 9:30-10:30 am, at St. George’s Church, 4691 Palladium Way, Burlington: This hour of prayer provides an opportunity to refocus on the power of prayer to change our culture.
  • “A Night under the Stars” Gala, Saturday, October 16, 2021 – Individual tickets, $50; Couple tickets, $75. Available at https://www.haltonalive.ca/gala . Tickets include: access to the virtual event and silent auction, a guide to the evening’s activities from 6:30 to 10 pm, and a Gala gift bag with special treats, activities and surprise door prizes which can be picked up on Oct. 16 any time between 1pm- 8pm. The drop-in will offer fresh hot apple cider, custom treats and a chance to say hello to the staff and team in person! Be sure to indicate if you have children in the form so we can include fun activities for them.

Marie is back from her holidays and Mass from St. Andrew’s resumes online this weekend. You can catch it here: https://www.standrewoakville.com/sunday-masses-online/ Last week we recorded the blessing for the new academic year for each of the schools. You can find it here: https://www.standrewoakville.com/news/2021-2022-back-to-school-blessing/ As I mentioned last week, the bulletin will return in print and in an online format thanksgiving weekend. For now, have a good week everyone and find the joy on your way to and from the voting station.

Fr. Con