“Let anyone with ears listen” (Matthew 13:9)

In the Eastern Rites, before the Gospel is proclaimed, the announcement is made to the assembly: “Wisdom: Let us be attentive.” This seems to be a good summary of what Jesus is asking us to understand as He tells the Parable of the Seed and the Sower in this Sunday’s Gospel from Matthew.  His message is that God’s Word has been sent for us to hear, we are responsible for whether our hearts are open to receive it.

A few years ago, I was flying down to visit my parents. As I sat on the plane, I was reading a copy of the Youth Catechism (YouCat). Although the lady seated next to me had a large book of her own, she was clearly more interested in the book that I was reading. I noticed that she kept gazing over at my book and trying to make eye contact. After a while I looked up and smiled at her. As soon as our eyes connected, she asked me if I was a Catholic. The second that I replied that I was a Catholic priest, she could not wait to tell me that she used to be a Catholic but was now a member of the Church of Scientology. With great joy and excitement, she showed me a huge book written by L. Ron Hubbard and told me that she had read almost all of his books. Continue reading

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11: 28)

On the first weekend in March that we were told that we could not celebrate Mass publicly in our churches, I had what I can only describe as a panic attack. During the first few weeks of the closure of the churches, I struggled with a great deal of anxiety. I was terribly worried about how our parish, which struggles financially under normal circumstances, was going to pay its bills through this crisis. I was fearful that it would be necessary to lay off our parish staff and I did not know how I was going to look after the parishioners during this time of closure or how our huge property could be maintained without our staff. The anxiety and stress that was causing me to panic was based in the fact that I thought I had to solve these problems on my own and the illusion that I could be in control in these difficult circumstances. Continue reading

The Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul

We celebrate this weekend our parish’s titular feast day, the Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. This feast takes place on June 29th, but over the last few years we have switched its celebration to the nearest Sunday so that it may be celebrated more solemnly at our Sunday Masses. It is obvious why we call Saint Peter our titular saint— the parish being named St. Peter’s; but perhaps the connection to St. Paul is not so clear. It is because of the many years of faithful service that the Paulist Fathers rendered to this parish that we also honour Saint Paul as our parish’s other titular saint. Continue reading

St. Peter’s Church Now Open for Mass! 


St. Peter’s Church is open for Mass everyday. From Monday to Friday the church is open for Mass at 8:00 a.m. and for prayer in the morning and early afternoon. Mass on Sundays is celebrated at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and 9:00 and 11:15 a.m. on Sunday. 

We are able to accommodate up to 30% of our capacity (200 maximum), so it is recommended that you come early. Those who attend our busiest Mass at 11:15 a.m. on Sunday might consider attending the 9:00 a.m. Mass. 

At this time we are observing strict social distancing. Those who attend are encouraged to bring their own personal protection equipment. 

If you have been in contact with anyone with the COVID 19 virus within the last 14 days, you are asked to stay home. Those with a fever or any symptoms should also stay home.

During this time, the parish washrooms are not available. 

For the time being, the parish office will be open only one day a week—Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You are asked to make an appointment before visiting the office for the safety of the staff. 

Fr. Michael is available by phone at 416-534-4219, ext. 211 and all messages are returned.

Thank you to all who have supported the parish during this difficult time. Donations can be mailed to the parish at 659 Markham Street, Toronto On M6G 2M1, left in the mail slot at the Sisters of Life entrance, or made through Donate Now at the Archdiocese of Toronto. If using Donate Now at  www.archtoronto.org, please be sure to select St. Peter’s Toronto as you parish.

We look forward to seeing you soon and praying together again.

The Source of Our Dis-ease

Ever since COVID 19 became a reality in our lives a few months ago, everyone that I have spoken with has shared with me how uneasy this situation has made them feel. For all of us, the uncertainty of illness, fear of suffering and death make us uneasy. This reality of our human condition is expressed by the Catechism of the Catholic Church at number 1500, as it states: “Illness and suffering have always been among the gravest problems confronted in human life. In illness, [we] experience powerlessness, limitations, and finitude. Every illness can make us glimpse death.” It is this fact, that illness can give us a glimpse of death, that I think makes many of us so uneasy in the face of the current situation and the uncertainty that comes with sickness. It seems to me that this uneasiness that we all feel in the face of uncertainty and sickness, or the fear of death, can best be described by the word “dis-ease.” Continue reading

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ: Sacrament of the Real Presence of God’s Love.

These days, during the COVID 19 pandemic, and the state of emergency that is now in existence in our province, many of us have gotten used to doing things “virtually.” We meet with people from work virtually, attend Bible studies and have virtual family celebrations. There is a certain ease to doing things virtually. There is no need to really show up for a virtual encounter. These kinds of meetings are convenient and don’t call for the same kind of commitment and sacrifice that really showing up for an event can require. Continue reading

Gradual Re-Opening of Churches in the Archdiocese of Toronto

Churches across the Archdiocese will begin gradually re-opening this Sunday, June 14th, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. 

On Wednesday, June 17th we will resume the celebration of public Mass and Mass will be celebrated at 8:00 am. Mass will be celebrated Monday to Friday at 8:00 am following our first celebration on Wednesday, June 17th

On the weekend of Saturday June 20th and Sunday, June 21st we will resume the regular Sunday celebration of Masses at 5:00 pm on Saturday, June 20th and at 9:00 am and 11:15 am on Sunday, June 21st

At the present time, we are only allowed to admit 30% of our capacity. For this reason, only the first 200 people will be admitted to each celebration in our church which has a capacity of 750. 

All who attend our Masses are encouraged to bring their own PPE (Personal Protection Equipment). We will be observing strict social distancing and seating in the church is designated for social distancing. Entrance to the Church will only be available at the entrance at 840 Bathurst Street. 

You are asked not to attend Mass if you have been in contact with anyone exposed to COVID 19 in the past two weeks. Please take your temperature before coming to Mass and remain at home if you have a fever or any symptoms related to COVID 19. 

During this pandemic, our downtown parish is not able to keep the washrooms open and safe. Please be advised our washrooms will remain closed at all times until further notice. 

Please remember that during this time of pandemic, the Archbishop of Toronto has dispensed the Sunday obligation. If you have any concerns about attending Mass, or are unable to do so, please consider watching the live streamed Mass from the cathedral (www.archtoronto.org) or one of the many televised Mass until you feel safe attending Mass. You might also consider attending a weekday Mass instead. 

If you are able to help with ushering or cleaning the church between Masses, there will be a training meeting on Saturday, June 13th at 10:00 am in the church. At the present time, it is asked that only those who are active parishioners of the parish attend this session as these duties require familiarity with our parish and parishioners. 

Let us pray that this re-opening will be safe and healthy.