THE LITURGICAL SEASON OF LENT DURING A PANDEMIC

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LENT IS HERE

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the liturgical season of Lent. The celebration of Easter, of being reborn in the Risen Lord to a new life, will only have meaning to the degree that we ‘die to the old self”. Thus, the Church asks us to live this period of Lent, with Christ in the desert, as a period of forty days devoted to inward renewal through prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Let us prayerfully consider before Lent how we might make best use of this time to imitate the Lord in His dedication to the Father so that His resurrection may take deep root in our thoughts, words and actions throughout Lent and forever.

  • Lenten Confessions: Fr. Michael is in the church Monday to Friday from 7:30 to 9:00 A.M., Saturday from 4:00 to 6:00 P.M., and Sunday from 8:30 to 11:30 A.M. Confession can be celebrated at those times by simply asking him to hear your confession.
  • Stations of the Cross: A great Lenten spiritual exercise that can be prayed privately in the church. The church is open every Friday from 7:30 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.—maximum 10 persons at a time.
    Helpful Resources for Stations of the Cross

    1. Stations from St. Alphonsus Liguorihttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEIvGC1WsbM(traditional)
    2. Stations of Cross – prayers- Catholic online www.catholic.org prayers – stations (video presentation -taken in Holy Land)

    This spiritual exercise is encouraged especially on Fridays during Lent but can be prayed daily as desired.

  • Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast (one full meal, and two lighter meals a day with no eating between meals), and abstinence (no eating of meat). The law of abstinence obliges those 14 years of age and older, and the law of fast obliges all those from ages 18 through 59 years of age.
  • Lenten Retreat: This year, due to the pandemic, there is no parish retreat in the church. You may find many excellent virtual retreats online. Sister Gabriel is recommending A Lenten Retreat called Journey into the Wilderness by the Irish Jesuits– an 8-session audio presentation of 15 minutes each, with time for personal prayer and reflection. It can be found at:  www.pathwaystogod.org/resources/wilderness-lent-retreat. The following schedule is suggested: start first session on Ash Wed; 2nd session on First Sunday of Lent; 3rd session on Second Sunday of Lent and continue each Sunday of Lent and then conclude on Good Friday. (If you start late then adjust to your own pace.) Sister Gabriel will make herself available to discuss the sessions with those interested on parish phone on Mondays – leave message at 416-534-4219 ext. 231 or by email: gabrielriddle66@gmail.com.
  • The Church recommends that we observe not only Good Friday, but the other Fridays of Lent as days of abstinence, or that we perform some act of charity as an alternative – the choice is yours. Lenten penance should be external and social, as well as internal and individual.

The highest point in the Church’s year of prayer is the Easter Triduum of the dying and rising of the Lord Jesus. We prepare for this three-day period by the season of Lent, and prolong it for the great 50 days of the Easter season. Arrangements for the celebration of the Easter Triduum will be announced closer to the date according to the Provincial Pandemic Protocols.

LENTEN RECONCILIATION SERVICES

  • Fr. Michael is in the church every day to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation and distribute the Eucharist (Monday to Friday from 7:30 to 9:00 A.M., Saturday from 4:00 to 6:00 P.M. and Sunday from 8:30 to 11:30 A.M.). To celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation any day, simply ask to celebrate it. If you desire a longer discussion, please consider booking an appointment for a longer period of time. These times will change if we are permitted to once again celebrate Mass as a community.

“Brothers and sisters: If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will He not with Him also give us everything else?” (Romans 8: 31)

Every year, on the Second Sunday of Lent, we hear the story of the Transfiguration of Christ. This year, we hear the account from the Gospel of Mark. In Mark’s Gospel, the Transfiguration takes place after Peter acknowledges Jesus to be the Christ of God and just as Jesus begins His journey up to Jerusalem, where He will be crucified and die.

The Transfiguration is an event that takes place with Jesus’ closest disciples: Peter, James and John. Jesus takes them up a mountain and there they see Him transfigured before them. As He appears radiantly transfigured, He is also seen in conversation with the great prophets of God—Elijah and Moses. Peter is so overwhelmed by this experience, that he wishes to preserve it and ensure that it continues by building a house for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. He does not want the experience to end. And yet, no sooner does he propose this project and Moses and Elijah disappear and Jesus returns to His usual appearance. However, before the experience is over an another extraordinary event takes place. God the Father can be heard proclaiming from the cloud: “This is my Son, the beloved.” Continue reading

Lent 2021

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news” (Mark 1:15).

There is a stained-glass window in our church that has a little bit of interesting local history connected to it. It is the window in the choir-loft. This window is dedicated to the memory of John Wilson Murray. He was the first detective in the province of Ontario and was a member of our parish community who lived on Brunswick Avenue. He died in 1906. After he retired as the province’s first detective, he wrote his memoirs and they were published with the title, “Memoirs of a Great Detective: Incidents in the Life of John Wilson Murray.” The television show, The Murdoch Mysteries, is based upon his journals and the life of this early parishioner of St. Peter’s Parish.

Now the reason I am mentioning this at the beginning of Lent is not to tell you about The Murdoch Mysteries, but about the scene that is depicted in this window that is dedicated to the memory of John Wilson Murray. The scene in the window depicts the apostles John and Peter as they arrive at Jesus’ tomb, on the morning of the Resurrection, and discover that He is not to be found there. As John and Peter arrive at Jesus’ tomb after the Resurrection, this window shows them staring into a tomb that is pitch black. Even though Jesus had already risen to share eternal life with them, they do not know this. When they look into the tomb, which announces the Good News that Jesus has risen and destroyed death, Jesus himself is not there and the tomb is dark. The darkness within the tomb represents the reality that because they did not know what to expect of the Resurrection, they did not know where to look for Christ, and could not find Him where they expected Him to be—among the dead. As they were looking for Christ where He was not to be found, they saw only darkness and uncertainty in the empty tomb. The reality was, that something far exceeding their expectations was ahead of them. Continue reading

Letter from Cardinal Thomas Collins for Marriage Sunday 2021

February 14, 2021

To Married Couples throughout the Archdiocese of Toronto,

As we celebrate Marriage Sunday in the Archdiocese of Toronto, I wish to congratulate and thank married couples who strengthen our community through their daily witness of love, commitment and selflessness. Your ongoing “yes” provides hope and inspiration for the community, strengthened by God’s grace and the love and prayers of family and friends.

We also extend our loving support to those who have lost a spouse or have experienced the pain and suffering of a broken relationship. If you are in need of assistance during these difficult days, I encourage you to seek out programs and resources in your own parish or throughout our diocese so that we may accompany you through the healing process.

To those assisting couples as they prepare for marriage and for those engaged in marriage enrichment programs or movements to support the sacrament of matrimony, be assured of my gratitude. Your ministry is essential in laying a foundation for healthy relationships and loving families, something so urgently needed in our world today.

A host of resources and additional information on Marriage Sunday can be found by visiting:  www.archtoronto.org/marriage or feel free to connect with your own parish community.

Thank you for all that you continue to do to value and enrich the sacrament of marriage in our homes and parishes, extending our love for one another to all those we encounter each and every day. May God continue to bless you now and always!  

Sincerely in Christ, 

Thomas Cardinal Collins
Archbishop of Toronto

Bereavement Support Group Virtual Sessions

During this time of pandemic and grief, we are pleased to be sponsoring Bereavement Support Group virtual sessions on Tuesdays, March 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. “Grieving with Great HOPE” is a Catholic faith-based program that consists of a five-week grief support workshop using an on-demand video format that is available on Formed. It offers a prayerful, practical and personal approach for anyone who is grieving the loss of a loved one. These sessions will be facilitated by Sr. Gabriel Mary Riddle, CPS, pastoral assistant at St. Peter’s Parish in Toronto, and assisted by seminarians from St. Augustine’s Seminary of Toronto. There is no cost to attend, but online registration is required. To those interested, please register by Tuesday, February 23 at: http://bit.ly/BS-RegisterMar20.