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From the Desk of the Pastor: March 27

March 27, 2021
Good morning everyone.

For 2021, the season of Lent is about to come to a conclusion.  This weekend we celebrate the Lord’s Triumphant entry to Jerusalem and on Thursday the great Triduum begins.  We were in lockdown last year and scrambling with new technology to bring some experience of Holy Week to our parishioners at home.  This year, while we are able to welcome a smaller than usual number to church, a very significant number of our parishioners will join us online.  It is our fervent hope that all of this will be behind us next year and our liturgies will be celebrated in full and open to everyone.

The One Heart, One Soul Campaign is moving along nicely.  As of this morning it has raised $732,775 with almost ten percent of parishioners participating so far.  Even with the stress of the pandemic we are doing very well in the amount we’ve raised so far and are very grateful to the parishioners who have made the faithful choice to show their support.  We encourage everyone to join the effort to help us reach our goals and accomplish the projects and programs that will be so helpful to the life of the parish. This is a once in a generation opportunity and we also appreciate your prayers for its success for our parish and for the other parishes who are in the campaign with us.  If you have not received the campaign package, call the office and we will get one to you.  A final reminder to drop by our special webpage if you have not already done so:  http://www.oneheartonesoul.ca/standrewoakville

The final reflection by Fr. Ronald Rolheiser OMI is also attached.  In this one he skillfully weaves together the scene in the gospel for Good Friday where Jesus stands before Pilate and the subject of freedom.  Standing before Pilate, Jesus, bound whipped and despised is the one who is free and Rolheiser asks if today, while we talk a lot about freedom, are we really free?  On Thursday evening we had a fine conversation for approximately seventy five minutes about the series and found that we just began to touch on the many interesting insights and applications that surfaced in the series.  The meeting raised some interesting questions about offering more online experiences to meet and share faith.  We will explore that more thoroughly after Easter.

From this morning, you can also go online anytime for the retreat/reflection that we recorded last week for the end of Lent.  It also takes the scene of Jesus before Pilate as a starting off point and the question ‘What is Truth’ became an hour long conversation between myself and Fr. Joseph De Viveiros that looks at the meaning of the word ‘truth’ and how it is applied in our spiritual lives.  The conversation also touches on prayer, mercy, forgiveness and one of Pope Francis favorite words, encounter.  The link is here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgRiYYtFrow&t=1s

On our website you will find a full list of the liturgies that will be streamed live for Holy Week and Easter.  Following our normal practice, Mass for the weekend is available all day but please remember that on easter Sunday there will be a slight delay getting it online as we cannot record the Mass for Easter until 8.00 am.  please follow this link and scroll down to each day’s celebration:  https://www.standrewoakville.com/live-stream/

On Thursday, I visited Wyndham Manor for the first time in over a year to pray the prayers for the dying for a resident.   The staff are amazing and are heroes in our community for their care, love and compassion for the residents.  As I was leaving, I had the opportunity to spend some time with some of the staff who miss the many volunteers from the community that were such an integral part of the daily life of the community.  Walking back home I was thinking about the residue of the covid experience and how it has affected so many people’s lives.  The simple question “how are you doing” is so important in these situations and a listening ear can be a balm and comfort.  Moving forward from lockdown and restrictions to some semblance of normal we must make this a regular part of our lives because good people, like the staff I met on Thursday, kept it together for the residents and for several months lived in a type of war zone.  We owe every one of them our awe and admiration for a job well done.

Our parish schools are busy this week bringing the experience of Holy Week to staff and students. Each school has taken on projects and initiatives to enter into the spirit of Lent from writing letters to seniors in long term care and reaching out to the poor in the community.  Some of the letters from St. Vincent were posted on Twitter and are so beautiful I had to reach for the Kleenex.  Well done everyone.  Lynette and I will be joining everyone virtually this week to pray with them. At St. Thomas Aquinas, Adrianna and I continue our conversation about prayer.  The latest offering is here:  https://youtu.be/s2LG-6vNIy4

Some parishioners have asked questions and expressed concerns on a statement from the Canadian Bishops on the vaccines for Covid 19 and certain ethical issues relating to their origin.  Two days after the initial statement, a clarification was issued by the bishops that brought their information in line with an earlier instruction on the vaccine from Rome.  The full text of the clarification is attached.  Bottom line: if you are offered the vaccine, for your sake and the sake of others, take it.

Finally, this is a busy week in the parish and our prayer for everyone is that you will find some time, either in church or at home to pray with us.  Wherever you are, you will be in our prayers.  With the week we are about to enter in mind, here is a slightly different musical offering.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIXGfMbw1No“Rain Falling from the Roof” was composed and performed by Yo Yo Ma and his friend Wu Tong who accompanies Ma on a traditional Asian instrument, Sheng in China and Shou in Japanese.

Be well,
Fr. Con