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From the Desk of the Pastor: September 25, 2021

September 25, 2021

Good morning everyone.

It was a lovely surprise this morning (Friday) to greet Chichi Nkem Amangbo, one of our parishioners and a resident in Oakville and also in Lagos, Nigeria.  On September 14th, Chichi received the Cross pro Ecclesisa et Pontifice from Pope Francis at a special service in the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Nigeria presided over by the Archbishop, Alfred Adewale Martins.  This is a very important award and we are thrilled for her and for her family.  She is a keen learner and several graduate degrees later, she is still taking courses in theology and pastoral counselling in Toronto.  I was so surprised to see her in church that I found myself bowing and curtsying at the same time.  We are delighted that she is back in the parish as we are thrilled that she will be involved in the consultation for our parish advisory committee which we have planned for mid-October.

Chichi Cross
Chichi Nkem Amangbo wearing the Cross pro Ecclesisa et Pontifice with Archbishop, Alfred Adewale Martins in Nigeria

The Canadian Bishops met this week by Zoom and issued a statement and an apology on the residential schools issue and have pledged to raise the monies that were committed as a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report.  The statement is attached and the details on the financial settlement will be forthcoming.  This weekend at Saint Andrew’s, in preparation for the first Statutory Holiday for Truth and Reconciliation on Thursday, we are showing a short video prepared by the Halton Catholic District School Board on  Land Acknowledgments through a Catholic lens.  Kudos to the team that put it together.  The very positive responses that it has received wherever it has been shown is a tribute to their creativity and hard work.   On Thursday, we will celebrate Mass at 9.00 am. and join with Canadian church and with faith leaders from coast to coast who will pray for the work of truth and reconciliation and for ears to listen and friendships to grow.  A parishioner recommended 21 Things that you may not know about the Indian Act by Bob Joseph during the summer which I have found very helpful and highly recommend.  The text itself is just over one hundred pages with an additional seventy eight pages of resources, including the calls to action from the TRC report.  After Mass, please join us on the deck for coffee and a chat.

To encourage more people to participate in the vaccine program, faith leaders in Hamilton including Bishop Crosby, have joined in an initiative by the city and the health department to encourage their members to get out and get the vaccine.  In each parish in the diocese this weekend Bishop Crosby has asked that the following statement be made available to parishioners:

COVID Vaccines:  The official position of the Catholic Church is that all available COVID vaccines are ethical and all Catholics who are able are encouraged to receive the vaccine.  All employees serving in the Diocese of Hamilton are encouraged to be fully vaccinated or to submit to a COVID rapid test every Monday and Thursday in order to carry out their responsibilities.  Volunteer liturgical ministers are required to be fully vaccinated.  Bishop Douglas Crosby, OMI, encourages every member of the Catholic Church within our Diocese of Hamilton to be fully vaccinated.

The introduction of the provincial mandate to produce a certificate of vaccination does not affect attendance at church for now but it has an impact on who may attend meetings or events in any of our indoor meeting spaces.  Proof of vaccine is required as well as name and telephone number.  Guidelines were also issued by the diocese this week to assist parishes with the new requirements.  At Saint Andrew’s we had anticipated most of them and are now in the process of following up where we need to do so.  The full document is available from the office by email if you would like a copy.

If you are attending Mass this weekend, you will notice an electric construction lift at the side entrance to the church.  On Monday morning it is being used in the sanctuary to insert an airflow vent to complete work begun earlier in the summer to assist with air flow in the church.  During the winter this will assist with the flow of air through the church and is similar to work that was done in many classrooms during the summer for the same purpose.  On Tuesday, some repair and painting on the celling in the sanctuary will be attended to.  It will not affect the regularly scheduled Mass at 12.05.

Next weekend will be busy at the parish with First Communion and a few days later we begin the Sacrament of Confirmation which will last for most of the week.  Please pray for these young people and for their families.  Parents wondering about these sacraments for their children next year will receive information for preparation and dates in late January of 2022.  With God’s help, all will be back to normal for those celebrations.  Any adults (high school and up) who may not have completed their sacraments or may be interested in learning more about the faith to prepare for baptism or to be received into the church may be interested to know that we will begin a program to prepare for the sacraments in November online and (hopefully) in person in late January.  Please let us know and Michael Johnson will follow up with you.

And on that happy note, have a good weekend everyone.

Be well.

Fr. Con