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 The Solemnity of Saint Peter and Saint Paul
There is a wonderful television show out called “The Chosen.” It must be good, because all of my religious friends are talking about it. They all tell me that it is wonderful. It is a crowd funded television series on the life of Jesus. “Crowd funded” means that it has been produced dependent on the donations that have been given by others who have watched it and want other people to see it. it is available for free to anyone who might wish to watch it on the internet. My priest friends are telling me how good it is; many of the religious sisters that I know are telling me how good it is; and many of my lay friends are telling me how good it is. As I tell you about it now, I am going to make a commitment to watch it myself so that I may come back to you at some time in the future with a homily based on my having watched this wonderful series about Jesus’ life. I promise that I will watch this series and I invite you to do the same.Continue Reading “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”
A few weeks ago, I was called by some old family friends to the hospital in Markham, Ontario to anoint one of their relatives who was dying. As it had been several years since I had last visited my old home town, I decided to drive by the home that I had grown up in and where my family had lived from 1972 to 1992. I could not help but notice in front of the home a beautiful huge Maple tree that was starting to get all its leaves as Spring was advancing. The tree was a huge, beautiful healthy tree that cast shade over the entire front yard of the house. I remembered that tree because I had planted it there with my father almost fifty years ago. It had been my job to water that tree and to help it take root. There were actually a few weeks when it was first planted that I was not convinced that it was going to survive; partially because I may not have watered it as regularly as I should have and the hot summer weather threatened not to allow it to take root properly. The tree had obviously survived those early challenges and was now a thriving and well rooted tree, like one of those that we hear Jesus speaking of in today’s Gospel.Continue Reading The Long, Slow Journey to Holiness – “We Walk by Faith, Not by Sight” (2 Cor. 5:7)
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 Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ: Sacrament of the Real Presence of God’s Love.
With many people across Canada, the parishioners of St. Peter’s Parish were deeply saddened and sickened by the news of the discovery of the bodies of 215 innocent young children buried at the Kamloops Residential School.
As the City of Toronto has had its flags flying at half mast in remembrance of these innocent young children for nine days, during these nine days the parish has been praying at all of our Masses for these young children and their families.
We are very sorry for any and all pain caused to our indigenous brothers and sisters by the crimes committed in these schools.
Linked are two statements on this matter: 1) From the Canadian Bishops; and 2) A Statement from the Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto.
Our entire community prays for healing and reconciliation.
The Parishioners of St. Peter’s Parish, Toronto
As Catholics, every time that we pray, we begin by invoking the names of the three persons of the Holy Trinity, whose feast we celebrate this Sunday. This custom can be so habitual that at times we may do it without realizing how profound the words are that we are saying. Each time we name the three persons of the Holy Trinity, we are articulating a great mystery about God and his proximity to us that has been revealed to us by God Himself. The only way that we know about the Trinity and the names of the persons contained within God is because Jesus Himself has told us about Them. As the Son of God sent from the Father, Jesus has told us to call God “Our Father” and has repeatedly spoken to us about the Father. During His life Jesus promised His disciples that He would send them the Holy Spirit after He had returned to the Father. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the Church by Jesus and His Father in Heaven. That the three cannot be separated is witnessed to in the Gospel passage from Matthew where Jesus commissions His disciples to baptize all people “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Everything that we know about God as the Trinity has been revealed to us by the Trinity Himself. We can learn so much about God’s love for us in reflecting upon this great mystery of our faith.Continue Reading “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Holy Trinity Sunday
My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, the Parishioners of St. Peter’s Parish:
I hope and pray that this letter finds you and your family well and safe.
At the Pastoral Council meeting at the beginning of May, it was suggested by the members of the Council that I should reach out to you again with another update. I thought that I would wait until the Solemnity of Pentecost, which is celebrated this year on Sunday, May 23rd.
The reason that I wanted to write to you on Pentecost is because this is the day that the Church was founded. On that day, the Holy Spirit came down on the believers and they were changed. Although they had hidden away in fear after Jesus was arrested and died, His many appearances to them throughout the forty days after His resurrection had convinced them that He was alive. When the Holy Spirit was poured out on them at Pentecost, they were transformed into the living Church, the Body of Christ, and they left their homes to continue His mission. Pentecost marks the day that the Church was founded and began its mission.Continue Reading Pentecost 2021
The reading from the Gospel of John for this Pentecost Sunday, the last day of the Easter Season, takes us back to Easter Sunday, the day on which this Season began. It begins with the words: “It was evening on the day Jesus rose from the dead, the first day of the week.” These words situate this scene, like so many of the Gospel stories that we have heard on the Sundays throughout the Easter Season on Sunday, on the day Jesus rose from the dead. Whether it was the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, or the story of Doubting Thomas, so many of the stories of Christ’s appearing to His disciples in the Easter Season, have focused our attention on the fact that Christ appeared to his disciples after His resurrection as they were gathered together on a Sunday. One of my favorite reminders of the importance of Sunday is actually that which we read in the story from the Gospel of Luke, with the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Here, like today’s Gospel story, Jesus appears to His disciples on a Sunday and celebrates with them that memorial supper that He asked them to celebrate in memory of Him. This emphasis that we hear over and over again throughout the Easter Season on the importance of Sunday, is a powerful reminder to all of us that this is the day that Jesus rose from the dead. It is the day He invites us to celebrate together and be reminded of who we are as His people.Continue Reading Pentecost 2021 – Sunday, Baptism, and Eucharist
In the days following Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples of Jesus locked themselves away in self-isolation for fear that the Romans and Jews might arrest them for being followers of Jesus. This self-isolation was very similar to that which many people today have had to experience on account of the COVID 19 restrictions that are in place. Throughout the entire time of the disciples’ isolation, Jesus appeared to His disciples and strengthened them with assurances of His resurrection, peace, and the gift of the Holy Spirit by which He would always be present in their lives.Continue Reading The Solemnity of the Ascension: Disciples Sent to Build the Church in a COVID 19 World