My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
I hope and pray that you are all well and safe!
As a result of the COVID 19 Lockdown that has been ordered for the City of Toronto, beginning on Monday, November 23, 2020, and lasting for at least 28 days, there will be no public Masses celebrated in Toronto. Under this lockdown order, churches may only admit 10 persons, including clergy, at a time. All publicly celebrated Masses during this time have been cancelled.
During the lockdown, the parish offices are also closed and all meetings in the parish have been cancelled.
Each morning, I will be celebrating Mass at 7:00 a.m. privately in our Church for the intentions of the parishioners. If you have any need that you would like me to remember at Mass, you may call and leave a message at the parish office: 416-534-4219. I am still living and working at the parish. If you wish to speak with me, please call. Although the parish offices are closed, if I do not answer when you call, I will call you back as soon as possible.
The church will be open from Monday to Friday at 7:30 a.m. and I will be available in the church from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. Monday to Friday. On Saturdays, the church will be open from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and I will be available in the church at this time. This will also be the case on Sunday mornings from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. During these times, no more than 10 persons will be permitted in the church at a time.
Each morning at 7:30 a.m., Cardinal Collins is livestreaming the celebration of Mass, the Rosary and the Angelus for the day. You can access these events live, or watch them at your own convenience, by visiting the Archdiocesan website at: www.archtoronto.org.
There are many other spiritual resources that you can find on television or online. The Canadian Catholic network, Salt and Light, has Mass and many other devotions each day. Vision Television also has many Catholic and Christian broadcasts. Some may also wish to access the American Catholic television station EWTN—the Eternal Word Television Network. All of these provide excellent Catholic resources to feed us at this time when we are unable to visit our parish church and celebrate the Eucharist with our faith community.
I will post my Sunday homily each week on the website. The parish will not be livestreaming our Sunday Masses, as I believe that this is best done by the Cardinal each day.
Please, also, if your situation allows it, remember the financial needs of your parish during this difficult and challenging time. Contributions can be mailed to the parish, left in the mailbox of the Sister of Life door, or made online through “Donate Now” at the website of the Archdiocese of Toronto—www.archtoronto.org. If you donate through the Archdiocesan website, please be sure to select your parish for the donation—St. Peter’s Church – Toronto.
During this time, let us pray for all those who have contracted the coronavirus and their loved ones, that they may have a speedy recovery and know God’s presence in their suffering. Let us also keep in our prayers all those health care professionals who care for them.
Let us all keep before us the central reality of our faith in these uncertain times—Jesus is our Savior.
Please do not hesitate to be in touch with me if you wish. Be assured of my prayers for you and your families and I ask you to keep me in your prayers.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Rev. Michael McGourty
P.S. I would like to leave you with Pope’s Francis prayer to Mary for the people of Rome during the CONVID 19 pandemic. In his version, the prayer was offered for the Roman people. Where he had said “Roman people,” I have changed the prayer to read “all people.” I hope the Holy Father will forgive me this change to his prayer.
you always shine on our path
as a sign of salvation and of hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,
who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm.
You, Salvation of [All] People,
know what we need,
and we are sure you will provide
so that, as in Cana of Galilee,
we may return to joy and to feasting
after this time of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform to the will of the Father
and to do as we are told by Jesus,
who has taken upon himself our sufferings
and carried our sorrows
to lead us, through the cross,
to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.
Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God. Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.
As we celebrate the Second Sunday of Advent, we hear this Sunday the beginning of the Gospel of Mark. This is the Gospel that we will hear proclaimed throughout the coming liturgical year, which began last Sunday.
The Gospel of Mark has a message that is particularly important in these difficult times.
Many scholars believe that the Gospel of Mark was written around the year 70 A.D. Mark himself was believed to have been a disciple of St. Peter. When he writes his Gospel, many of the early followers of Jesus are struggling with the problem of suffering. They cannot understand how they have left everything to follow Christ and yet despite being followers of Christ, find themselves experiencing suffering and difficulties. The trials that these early disciples are facing are not agreed upon. Some speculate that Mark’s Gospel may have been written in Rome during the persecutions that the Church experienced there during the time when the great Apostles Peter and Paul were put to death. Others have speculated that the Gospel may have been written in Jerusalem around the same time, when the Temple was destroyed and Christians were no longer granted the protection of worship in the Temple. Regardless of the exact origin of the Gospel, one of its great themes is that of persevering through suffering and hardship. It is written to bring the Good News of Christ’s resurrection to Christians who cannot understand how they can be experiencing suffering when they are disciples of a loving Saviour. They are struggling to see Christ’s face in the midst of their trials. Continue reading
Bulletin for week of December 6, 2020
Offering Envelopes for 2021 are available at the back of the church along with the Pre-Authorized Giving Plan Form (PAG). Instructions are on the form. The boxed sets are organized alphabetically. Please make sure to pick up only the box with your name on it and kindly refrain from touching boxes belonging to others. Please practice social distancing and sanitize your hands before reaching for your envelopes
PLEASE DO NOT USE THE 2021 ENVELOPES UNTIL THE NEW YEAR BEGINS
The live Christmas trees are now on sale until December 24, the same company as in years past will be selling Christmas trees on the Markham Street lot of our church. Please consider getting your tree (or trees) from them. You would be helping St. Peter’s operating budget by purchasing your live trees from our Markham Street lot. There are many beautiful trees available and your purchase of a Christmas tree helps to financially support the Winter Welcome table’s outreach efforts. The lot will be open every day from 10 AM to 8 PM.
It is not too difficult to believe that the words that we hear in this Sunday’s first reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,” are words that have been spoken by women and men of many generations in the face of tragedy and difficulty. These words are certainly not very different from those that I found myself praying at the time of the first lockdown here in Toronto due to the COVID 19 pandemic. As the first shutdown got underway, I, like many, was frightened about the future and about what might be coming. I feared for the parish and how I would be able to serve the needs of the parishioners; I was frightened that we might have to lay off our parish staff; I wondered how I would visit the many seniors isolated in senior’s homes; and I feared that many might get sick and die as a result of the pandemic. The tone of many of my prayers was “Lord, O that you would tear open the heavens and come down and help us in these difficult times.” Continue reading
On the last Sunday of every liturgical year, which this Sunday is, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Christ the King—King of the Universe. Next Sunday, we will begin a new liturgical year as we celebrate the First Sunday of Advent.
The Solemnity of Christ the King takes place on the last Sunday of the liturgical year to remind us that at the end of time, Christ will come to judge the living and the dead. The solemnity is intended to remind us that we are to be ready to meet Christ when He comes by being ready to meet Him today and always. While Christians have always believed that Jesus was their king, this liturgical feast was established in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. He instituted it in troubled times to remind Catholics that the worldly powers that were causing such political turmoil at the time were only temporary and passing. The true Kingship over humanity belonged to Christ and Christians ought to be more concerned with following Christ than those passing worldly powers. At the same time that Pius XI instituted the feast, he suggested that as it was celebrated all Catholics ought to renew their consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Pius XI’s motto as Pope was: “Christ’s Peace through Christ’s reign.” Continue reading