Sunday, February 2nd is the World Day for Consecrated Life. On this day, the Church celebrates and gives thanks to all who have responded to God’s call and embraced the vocation to religious life. We ask God to continue to strengthen those who have been called and ask him to call more women and men to the religious life. As we celebrate this day, and those in consecrated religious life, the parish’s Vocation Committee would like to once again share with you the witness stories of many who have shared their gifts with our parish community.
As Christians our first experience of this comes at baptism when we become a member of the Christian community.
Then throughout our Christian life we receive other calls or invitations as ways to live or serve.
One of the first activities of the committee has been to invite parishioners to witness to the ways they have experienced a call or invitation to serve in the parish and how this has informed their life in the parish and given them joy and enrichment.
We hope you recognize yourself in their witness stories and realize that you could write a similar piece and share how your service has enriched your life and spiritual journey. The committee hopes to receive many more such witness stories from others in the parish.
Sister Gabriel for Bereavement group
“We’ve run about six bereavement groups since I’ve been at St Peter’s. We’ve had some very positive results from that experience. People have really been touched, those who have had difficulties, who have lost their loved ones. For them to know there are other people that are also going through grieving. It’s not a sort of a cry centre or anything like that. It’s really to offer people support in their grief. We had recently our first mass of comfort, we called together as many of the groups who could come, we had a mass upstairs, and then we had a social downstairs. This is something we have wanted to do, to meet each other again.”
[Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”]
Anne for St Vincent de Paul Society
“Our parish’s area is from Ossington to Spadina, from Davenport down to College. Anybody can call the rectory. Anybody in need, no matter who they are, doesn’t matter what race they are, what religion they are, as long as they are in need, two people go out to visit them in their homes, or we meet them at the Paulist Centre. And what do we give them? From donations of parishioners, we give them a voucher for Fiesta Farms or No Frills. According to how many people are in their family, we give them an amount of money for them to buy food. If they need furniture, for example, a new bed, St Vincent de Paul’s warehouse provides them with a bed, with a mattress, with a bed bug cover, and also any other furniture we might have. Sometimes if there is a very severe need, say to pay a little bit of rent or something, we do that too. All your money goes to people in our area, or if we have extra money, it goes to St Vincent de Paul societies at other parishes. No money is lost. Please pray for the poor because there are so many out there who need our help you would not believe.” [Luke 6:38 “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.”]
Sister Gabriel for the sick and the shut-in ministry
“We have a lovely team going into nursing homes and also those going into homes. The ministry is very worthwhile. The people we bring communion to are parishioners who are so glad to have a connection with the parish. We bring them the church bulletin and the Eucharist and it means a great deal to them. We go into people’s homes and sometimes you hear that this is the most important day for them to be able to receive the Lord and of course that’s what we want to do.” [Luke 10:1 Gospel from July 7: “The Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go.”]
Mary for Fall Fair
“I’m a volunteer for the Fall Fair. This entails a coming together of all the diverse communities and groups in our parish. Without us banding together to make this a successful fundraiser it couldn’t be done. It’s really an appreciation of everybody that makes this a success. What this means to me really is building stewardship within the community and the volunteers themselves. Why I help out? It’s because I enjoy doing it! I do the hidden treasures room with a group of volunteers. We have fun at it. We are still looking for hidden treasures. We haven’t found any yet! We are hoping next year we will … Somebody will bring a treasure chest of real gold and we’ll sell it and make lots of money!” [Isaiah 61:10 “I delight greatly in the Lord; My soul rejoices in my God.”]
Vickie for Social Justice Committee
“This is a very new parish committee. Every time we meet there are new faces, which is wonderful. You are welcome to join us at any time. We have lots of ideas as a committee about how we can put some good practices in place, for example, the elimination of use of bottled waters at parish events. I’m very proud to be part of this community. I work with the Sisters of St Joseph, who are leaders in environmental awareness. They themselves have become a blue community. I hope that as a parish we can commit to some of the measures to protect our environment because if we don’t start to care for it now we will end up in dire straits.” [Job 12:7-10 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being.”]
Louis for Lectors
“The lectors’ job every week is to proclaim the Word of God in a meaningful way, so that it makes Father’s job a lot easier when he talks about it in his homily. The reason why I entered this ministry in the first place 8 years ago was because I saw my dad go up there and start reading. On top of that, I’m like most of you, sometimes it’s very hard to go to church and sit there for an hour; sitting, kneeling, listening, and praying. It’s hard to pay attention, right? I’m someone that likes to engage in faith discussions, but how can I go into these faith discussions if I forget every other homily or every other reading? So I figured, the best way for me to remember it is to really force myself, and immerse myself in the actual reading and in the Gospel. That’s what I did. I became a lector so I can really understand not just by reading it at Mass, but to spend time with it, to prepare for it, to understand and then to truly live it right after. I remember when I was first reading, my mentor Fr. Steve Bossi said to me, to be a lector is a real honour because then you become God’s mouthpiece. When we take the time to really engross ourselves in the reading, to truly understand it and to use our heart to really proclaim it, then it benefits all of us.” [Romans 10:17 “Faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the Word of Christ”]
Filomena for Eucharistic Ministry
I’ve been serving as a Eucharistic Minister for a few years now, but it took a while, before I was convinced, after being asked, to finally accept the honour of this very significant and important ministry. You see, I didn’t think or feel myself ‘worthy’ of taking on such a sacred task, because I felt that I was a great sinner, and this was beyond my worthiness. Then, I was told that if I thought like this, I would be offending God, as I was placing myself above His great mercy: so, therefore, His ultimate sacrifice for me, on the cross, was for nothing. I came to fully understand, that we’re all sinners and through the beautiful sacrament of Confession, we are absolved, to carry on living holy lives, and therefore we can and are worthy of performing, even the most sacred of tasks. I feel blessed every time I take the Holy Eucharist, in reality, the Precious Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to the sick and shut-in, who cannot attend Mass in person.