Public Celebration of Masses Cancelled in the Archdiocese of Toronto beginning Monday, April 19, 2021

Decorative ImageMy Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

I hope and pray that you are all well and safe!

As a result of the COVID 19 restrictions ordered for the Province of Ontario, beginning on Monday, April 19, 2021, and lasting for at least May 20, 2021, there will be no public Masses celebrated in the Archdiocese of Toronto.

Under these restrictions, 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 privately Monday to Friday at 7:00 a.m. and at 7:30 a.m. on Sundays for the intentions of the parishioners. This Mass will be livestreamed from our parish website.

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. For this reason, so that others may also visit, please consider restricting your visits to 15 minutes.Continue Reading Public Celebration of Masses Cancelled in the Archdiocese of Toronto beginning Monday, April 19, 2021

“I look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come” (Nicene Creed)

decorative ImageI can remember reading a survey a few years ago that surprised me a great deal. It was published in the Toronto Star and claimed that more than forty percent of Catholics believed in reincarnation.

This surprised me because Jesus offers us so much more through His life, death and resurrection.

The basic assumption behind reincarnation is that we can come back for a second chance. If we do not get it right the first time, there will be another opportunity to do so on the second, third or fourth attempt.Continue Reading “I look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come” (Nicene Creed)

Divine Mercy Sunday and COVID 19

Decorative ImageThere is a song that I used to like very much when I was a child. It is one that I am sure many of you will recognize. Its words are as follows:

He’s got the whole world in His hands
He’s got the whole world in His hands
He’s got the whole world in His hands
He’s got the whole world in His hands

 

He’s got the itty bitty baby in His hands
He’s got the itty bitty baby in His hands
He’s got the itty bitty baby in His hands
He’s got the whole world in His hands

 

He’s got a-you and me brother in His hands
He’s got a-you and me brother in His hands
He’s got a-you and me brother in His hands
He’s got the whole world in His hands

 

He’s got a-you and me sister in His hands
He’s got a-you and me sister in His hands
He’s got a-you and me sister in His hands
He’s got the whole world in His hands

 

He’s got the whole world in His hands
He’s got the whole world in His hands
He’s got the whole world in His hands
He’s got the whole world in His hands

The point of this song is pretty simple. It reminds us over and over again, that God holds all of us in His hands and because of His loving care, we will all be fine. As a child, this song made me feel safe and reminded me that the world was in God’s hands and everything would be alright because of His unconditional love and mercy.Continue Reading Divine Mercy Sunday and COVID 19

“The trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15: 52)

Life can change in an instant.

As I read the Gospel of John for the Mass on Easter Sunday morning, I could not think that Mary Magdalene must have been amazed at how quickly things had changed in her life. Just one week earlier, she had been part of the crowds that had joyfully welcomed Jesus into the city of Jerusalem as the one who would set His people free. There was such joy on that day and such high hopes for the future. Together the disciples had celebrated the Passover with Jesus and learned that He was about to be arrested and handed over to the Romans. After that, she and the disciples witnessed His trial, crucifixion and burial. On Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb to anoint His body for a proper burial and there she encountered one who she first believes to be the gardener. Questioning where the gardener had laid Jesus’ body, she discovers that it is actually Jesus who has risen from the dead standing before her. Thinking that the one she had thought she had lost was once again before her, Mary Magdalene’s natural reaction is to cling to the one she had known. She longs for the familiar and the way life had been before so much had changed. She wishes everything was the way it had been. She desires to cling to her hopes and desires about the way she hoped things would be.

You and I have learned how much life can change over this past year.Continue Reading “The trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15: 52)

Palm and Passion Sunday

Jerusalem is, and has been for several millenniums, a great walled city that must be entered through one of the several gates found in the city’s walls. It is also a holy and sacred city. For the Jews, Jerusalem is that city where God dwelt with His people in the great temple at which they could visit Him and offer Him sacrifice. In His Holy City, God would listen to His people and they could be assured that they were standing in His presence. Whenever there was a great feast for the Jewish people, they would go up to the city of Jerusalem to be near to God and celebrate with Him.  For the Jewish people to live within the walls of Jerusalem—the Holy City—was the perfect life; it was equivalent to living with God on earth. In the mind of the Jewish person, the perfect place to die was within the walls of Jerusalem. This meant that one had died with God in His Holy City and had indeed lived a blessed life.Continue Reading Palm and Passion Sunday

“Sir, We Wish to See Jesus!”  The Church’s Sacraments of Healing

In this Sunday’s Gospel, we hear the story of some Greeks who go up to the temple in the hopes of seeing Jesus. They approach Philip, one of Jesus’ disciples, with a simple, yet profound request: “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” I believe that it is very common for all of us to have this desire. We all long to know the Lord’s presence in our lives and at our sides. Perhaps this longing is the strongest when we are suffering or when our sins have alienated us from God. Certainly, this past year, during the pandemic, many desired, like the Greeks in today’s Gospel, to see the face of Jesus in the midst of their fear, isolation and sorrow.

Jesus has left the Church with seven sacraments to insure that we may regularly see Him in our lives. The sacraments offer us a real and tangible experience of Christ today in our lived realities. In this Lenten season we are all preparing to renew our baptismal promises. Baptism is the first sacrament and the door by which we are established in relationship with Christ and offered eternal salvation. On Easter Sunday, we renew our baptismal promises and re-commit ourselves to living in relationship with Christ. The Sacrament of Reconciliation offers the best way to prepare to renew our baptismal promises at Easter. For this reason, the parish will be celebrating Lenten “Days of Confession” on Saturday, March 20th and Saturday, March 27th from noon until 4:00 pm in the church. If you wish to celebrate the sacrament with another priest, you may consult the website of the Archdiocese of Toronto to find the times that other churches in our area are holding their “Day of Confession” (www.archgtoronto.ca).Continue Reading “Sir, We Wish to See Jesus!”  The Church’s Sacraments of Healing

“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17)

The Sisters of Life, who have their Centre for Life in the rectory of St. Peter’s Church, run a ministry for those who have had an abortion called “Hope and Healing.” This ministry is intended to help bring Christ’s “light into the midst of darkness.” Through this ministry, the Sisters of Life invite those who have had an abortion, or helped an individual to receive one, to “step into His mercy and receive a new beginning.”

This ministry is “Hope and Healing” is so important because it is central to the kind of healing which Christ came into the world to bring to all people.Continue Reading “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17)

A Guided Tour of St. Peter’s Church!

Every year the parish normally gives a guided tour of the church to the young people who are preparing for First Communion. This is to help them feel more at home in their parish church. This year, because the preparations are online, the tour was pre-recorded for them. You can also download a pdf tour of our stain glass windows here.  If you have been missing St. Peter’s, please join us for a video tour of your parish church. Although the church is open every day for prayer, we are very much looking forward to when we can be back together for the celebration of Mass. Hope to see you soon!!!

The People of God—Called to be Saved Within the Church

Some time ago, in an effort to support my ministry in a downtown parish, I enrolled in degree program for addiction counselling. This semester, the course that I am taking is for individual addiction counselling. Recently, as I was watching one of the counselling teaching videos for the course, I was struck by what one of the individuals in the video said about why she found it difficult to accept help from other people. She recounted that because of her Christian faith, she had been raised to be very autonomous and not to accept help from other people. At this point, the counsellor in this teaching video, also acknowledged that he was a Christian and had also been raised not to accept or need help from other people. He said that his Christianity had taught the need for both the individual Christian, and each Christian community, to be able to stand on her/his/its own and look after her/him/itself. The individual was to turn to Christ and find all that he or she needed in his or her relationship with Him. Help was not to be sought from other people.Continue Reading The People of God—Called to be Saved Within the Church

“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 “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)