This past week, one of the local neighbours invited me to attend a movie with him at the Varsity Cinema. The movie that he asked me to attend with him was called: “Won’t You Be My Nieghbour.” This is a documentary about the children’s broadcaster Fred Rogers and his show for children, which was better known as the Mr. Roger’s Show. It tells of how Fred Rogers was preparing to study to be an ordained Presbyterian Minister. However, just as he was in the midst of his studies he encountered the new medium of television in the early 1960’s. As he watched television, he was concerned about the kind of entertainment that was directed towards children. He saw that all of the television shows produced for children did not take them very seriously and had rather mindless comedy at their centre. He was particularly concerned by the pretend violence that these shows directed towards young people. Fred Rogers believed in the value of each young person and thought a more important mission would be to produce television which took young people seriously and tried to let them know how much each of them was valued and loved. Continue reading
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.
We are fortunate to have two such amazing saints as our parish’s titular patrons. Both St. Peter and St. Paul have so much to teach us. I believe these two great saints teach us by their lives both who we are and what we are called to become. Their lives show us the power of God’s grace to transform our lives and the way in which we are called to witness to what that grace is capable of doing in each of us. Continue reading
One of the things that I am most grateful for in my life is that I have lived into my fifties and still have my father and mother and they continue to be happy and healthy. There is no doubt in my mind that the older I get, the more I appreciate all that they have done for me. Since they have been together for as long as I have been alive, it is impossible for me to think of them as separate. They are and always have been for me simply “my parents.” So much do I think of them as one, that I sometimes find it odd when I tell people that I am going to visit my parents and certain people respond by saying, “Oh, you are going to visit your mommy.” It always makes me wonder what kind of relationship they had with their parents and I always make a point of saying, “no, I am going to visit my father and my mother.” Both my father and my mother have always been there for me and have always supported me with their love. Continue reading
Have you ever noticed how we as human beings talk to one another when we are in love with another person? Once we realize that we are in love with a person, we usually try and get the courage to tell the other person about this love. After we have said it once, we usually want to tell them over and over again. As these words lose their strength, we start to add adverbs and adjectives to describe our love. We say: “I love you very, very much,” or, “I will love you for all eternity.” I have always thought that this reality about ourselves, that when we love someone, we want to love them forever, is one of the best proofs for the existence of God and the fact that we each have an eternal soul. Because we are made in the the image and likeness of God, who is love, we are all of us made for love. The fact that when we do love, we usually wish to love a person for all eternity, points also to the fact that we have an eternal soul, one which was created to live and love forever. This is why when two people are in love and one of them dies, they can still feel such attachment and such a strong desire to continue in relationship with the person with whom they are in love. Continue reading
A Year of Transition
This year, our parish community will experience many changes and transitions – some challenging, and others very exciting. I believe it is important that all of us, as a parish community, understand the changes and the reasons for them. So, your parish Pastoral Council decided it was an appropriate time to provide you with an update.
The two biggest changes we face this year involve the parish offices moving out of the Paulist Ministry Centre and the renovations to the Rectory. Continue reading
“The Kingdom of God is at Hand. Repent, and Believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).
The Season of Lent begins with the beautiful practice of presenting ourselves before the Lord on Ash Wednesday for the imposition of ashes on our foreheads. As the ashes are imposed on our heads, there are two formulas that may be said as we receive the ashes. These are either: “Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel;” or “Remember, you are dust and to dust you will return.” These two formulas express well the meaning of this season. In Lent, we are called to turn away from all that prevents us from following the Lord. This is what is implied in the first formula that calls us to conversion. We are also to remember that it is only because of Christ’s resurrection that we have been saved from turning back to dust at the end of our earthly journeys. Because Christ has risen from the dead, we too are invited to share in His resurrection and the Kingdom that He has won for us by His life, death and resurrection. The whole purpose of Lent is that we should prepare during this season to renew our baptismal promises on Easter Sunday. Continue reading
We begin reading today at Sunday Mass the Gospel of Mark. The Sunday readings are divided into three different annual cycles of readings. These have the names: “Year A”, Year B”, and “Year C.” In each of these years, the Church has us listen to one of the three Synoptic Gospels, which are Matthew, Mark and Luke. The Gospel of John, because it is dramatically different from these Synoptic Gospels, is read in portions in each of these three liturgical years. The Gospel of Mark is read in Year B, which is the liturgical year that we begin now. In the early Church, people thought that the Gospel of Matthew was the first to have been written. This is why the Gospels are ordered Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the Bible. However, today, Bible scholars think that the Gospel of Mark was written first and that it was used by both Matthew and Luke indirectly to write their Gospels. Because the three seem to have similar sources, they are called the Synoptic Gospels. The Gospel of John is so different that it is believed to have been based upon an entirely different set of traditions. For this reason it is not one of the Synoptic Gospels and is read each year in small portions. In fact because the Gospel of Mark is the shortest, this year, during Year B of the Lectionary, in the summer there are six weeks in which we read from chapter six, the bread of life discourse, from the Gospel of John. Continue reading
Every year, on the first Sunday following Christmas, the Church celebrates the beautiful feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The purpose of this beautiful feast is to remind each and every one of us that the most important place where we are to encounter God’s love for us is within the family. Like all of us, Jesus was born into a human family so that we might all be reminded that it is first and foremost within the family that we are to make Christ’s love present to our brothers and sisters and where we are to encounter the love and acceptance that we all desire and long to know. This beautiful feast is to remind all of us that every family—mine and yours—is a sacred place where God’s love is to be encountered. Continue reading
This past week, there has been a very powerful film called “The Human Flow” showing at both the Bloor Docs Cinema and the Toronto International Film Festival’s Bell Lightbox Theatre. “The Human Flow” is a movie by director Ai WeiWei that presents a powerful look at the plight of the world’s 65 million refugees. It shows the way in which so many human beings have been uprooted from their homes and wander the world aimlessly, often because they are regarded as mere objects and pawns in the world of international politics. This movie attempts to show how real human beings are effected and destroyed by the manner in which world politics have impacted their lives. Not since World War II have so many people been uprooted by events like civil war, global warming and the political unrest that has been unleashed by the greed and power struggles of the world’s elites. This past year, the St. Peter’s Parish Community became acutely aware of the tragedy of the world’s refugee crisis as after a long wait, the community welcomed the re-settlement family that we have sponsored through Project Hope. This beautiful family left Iraq because they were persecuted as Christians; only to find themselves in Syria as civil war broke out there. To this date, some of their family are stuck in Turkey, awaiting re-unification here in Canada. I am so grateful to the many members of our community who have worked tirelessly to welcome and support this wonderful family. What this movie “The Human Flow,” and our parish’s experience with a resettlement family, make so very clear is how powerless individual persons can be in the face of the world’s political arrangements that are negotiated by the powerful elites of this world. It can be tempting to feel only despair in the face of such a situation where the dignity of the human person is given so little concern. Continue reading
Where I am presently living at Holy Rosary Parish, during the renovations of the rectory, I do not have access to internet and cable. This has happily meant that I do not watch a lot of television. Last week, when I was in Vancouver for the National Liturgy Conference, I was able to watch more television than I normally do in a month. One of the things that surprised me is the number of television shows that are on related to developing and celebrating the talents that some people possess. Some of the shows that can be found on the television include titles like “The Voice,” “America’s Got Talent,” Britain’s Got Talent,” “So You think you can Dance,” and “Dancing with the Stars.” All of these shows have in common the desire of those who appear on the show to have their unique talents and qualities recognized in the hopes of becoming famous. Continue reading