All Churches and Parish Offices in the Archdiocese of Toronto Closed

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As a result of the current health situation, all churches and parish offices are closed until further notice. The church will no longer be open for any celebrations of Mass or for private prayer. This is to respect the public closures that have been ordered by the public health authorities to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. Please see Cardinal Collins letter on this matter.

Fr. Michael will continue to offer Mass privately each day for the intentions of the parishioners.

In the event of an emergency, please call the office and leave a message. Messages are being checked frequently everyday. However, as there is no office staff at this time, calls may not be answered immediately.

During this time, let us pray for all those who have the Coronavirus, the health care workers who assist them and all who are adversely effected by this health crisis. God willing, this situation will soon be behind us and we will soon be back to normal.

Please, also, if your situation allows it, remember the financial needs of your parish during this difficult and challenging time.

No More Publicly Celebrated Masses or Parish Events in the Archdiocese of Toronto during the Provincial State of Emergency

Today, the premier declared that the province of Ontario is in a state of emergency until March 31.

For this reason, Cardinal Collins has asked that there be no publicly celebrated Masses during this time and that all church events be cancelled.

For this reason, we will no longer have any publicly celebrated Masses or Stations of the Cross until further notice.

I will celebrate Mass privately every day for the intentions of the parish

The church will remain open for prayer Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., on Saturdays from 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. It is hoped we can maintain this practice for as long as permitted. As the situation is constantly changing, this could well change from day to day.

The parish offices will remain open Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. If these hours cannot be maintained by the parish staff, if God willing, my own health allows it, I will staff the parish offices. The office will not be open evenings during the state of emergency.

I am attaching a copy of Cardinal Collins’ letter from today.

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. God willing, this state of emergency and situation will soon be behind us.

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Michael

Please Remember Your Parish During the Coronavirus Uncertainties

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My Dear Brothers/Sisters in Christ:

Over the past few weeks, many of you have spoken to me about your concerns about coronavirus. This is indeed something that has caused all of us some anxiety due to the uncertainty about the situation.

Throughout the many uncertainties of the past century—World War I, the Great Depression and the Second World War—the parish of St. Peter’s has served the men and women of our community and been with them throughout the uncertainties of the times. The parish will also be here to serve you and your families throughout whatever the future might hold. Continue reading

Second Sunday of Lent

“Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.”

One of the details about the story of the Transfiguration, which we hear in today’s Gospel for the Second Sunday of Lent, that I have always found curious, is that Peter, our parish patron, always wants to build a shelter for Moses, Elijah and Jesus to dwell in. This story of the Transfiguration is found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, and each year it is read on the Second Sunday of Lent. In all three versions, as soon as the disciples see Jesus with Moses and Elijah, Peter wants to build a house for Jesus, Moses and Elijah to live in. In each account, as Peter expresses his desire to build these dwelling places, Jesus never really reacts. He acts like He does not even hear Peter and the story continues with God the Father intervening and identifying Jesus as His Son. The Father always speaks to the disciples from a cloud. So what is this all about? Why does Peter seek to build three homes for Moses, Elijah and Jesus and why does Jesus not pay any attention to this offer? Continue reading

Lent 2020

“You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin;…You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people” (Leviticus 19: 2, 17-18).

A question that I am often asked as a priest is: “Do I really have to forgive?” The answer to that question for a Christian is an emphatic: “Yes, you really have to forgive—with all your heart.” The reason why we have to do this is because that is what God has done for each one of us. If we wish to be forgiven, we must be willing to extend this forgiveness to other people. The fact that we must forgive others is plainly stated in the words of the prayer that Jesus has taught us: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In this sentence, the word “as” functions to mean “like” or in “the same way that we forgive others.” Continue reading

Marriage Sunday 2020

This Sunday, within the Archdiocese of Toronto is being celebrated as Marriage Sunday. I am not sure if this date was chosen because this is the weekend before Valentine’s Day and it is a day to celebrate the love of all married couples; or if it was chosen because next weekend is the Family Day Weekend and the Sacrament of Marriage is the foundation of all Christian Family Life. As it is Marriage Sunday, this weekend I would like to share with you the prayer that I talk about with all couples who are preparing to be married here at St. Peter’s Parish. Continue reading

World Day for Consecrated Life 2020

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. Continue reading

The Call to Repent in 2020

“Repent.”

“Repent” is the word that is at the heart of today’s Gospel. Scripture scholars say that when Jesus uses the word “repent,” he used a word “metanoia” that had the intention of a complete change and conversion in the manner and way a person lived. This is why the disciples whom he called were invited to leave everything and begin a new life with Christ.

As we begin a new decade, and I hear this word “repent” in 2020, I cannot help but think that the change in life and conversion that all of us are being called to is in regard to the environment and the way in which we all treat our common home; or what both St. Francis of Assisi and Pope Francis have called, our “sister earth.” There is perhaps no more important issue facing all of humanity today then the environment and the way in which we treat our common home. Continue reading

“Baptized and Confirmed, We Are All Of Us Anointed as Members of the Body of Christ—Called to Discipleship.”

Over the years, I have had many people ask me a very simple question when we celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. That question is: “Why was Jesus baptized?  If Jesus is sinless and the Son of God made flesh, why does he need to be baptized?”

The reason why Jesus chooses to be baptized is connected with who Jesus is. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Jesus has become one of us in order to show us the way to salvation and how we are to live in order to be saved.  He is baptized, in order to show us that it is through Baptism that we are called to share in the life of the Holy Trinity. Jesus is anointed by the Holy Spirit before he begins His public ministry in order to show us that when we are anointed by the Spirit in the Sacraments of Initiation, we too share in His mission. Just as in Baptism the Father declares Jesus to be His beloved Son, so too through our Baptisms the Father claims us to be His beloved sons and daughters. As Jesus took up His ministry after His Baptism and anointing by the Spirit, so too each one of us is given a mission within the Church through our Baptism and anointing at Confirmation. Continue reading

Mary—Model of the Blessed Life

One of the things about being here at St. Peter’s Parish that I find a little funny at times, is that often I will be walking between the Centre and the Church, and as I do so someone will roll down their car window, and stop me on Bathurst Street, to demand that I give them a blessing as they are driving by on the street. My first inclination is to try to have a conversation with them to find out what they think that a blessing signifies. However, as the traffic is often heavy and they are in a hurry, they frequently get a little angry with me and demand that I stop my small talk and quickly give them the blessing that they are seeking before they drive off. These experiences have helped me to realize that many people may not even know what a blessing signifies or be aware of what is required for a blessing to really be of any value. Continue reading