The Solemnity of the Ascension: Disciples Sent to Build the Church in a COVID 19 World

Decorative ImageIn 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

A Mother’s Day Story and Blessing

Every year on Mother’s Day, I love to tell the story of an episode of Sesame Street that I recall from many years ago.

The muppet puppets were featured in a story in which a little boy was separated from his mother. As the boy was crying in the town’s piazza because he could not find his mother, the king of that town came upon him and asked him why he was crying. The little boy responded that he had been separated from his mother and could not find her.

The king asked the little boy what his mother looked like and promised to send his entire army out to find her. The boy exclaimed that his mother “was the most beautiful women in the world.” The king dispatched his army to find the most beautiful women in the world so that she might be re-united with her son. The soldiers in the army brought back all of the beautiful women in the kingdom to be re-united with the child. Each time the boy was presented with another person to ask if this was his mother, he said “no, that is not her.” They continued to bring all of the women in the kingdom. Finally, the king said to the boy, we have brought you every beautiful women in the kingdom. And the boy said, but I told you “my mother is the most beautiful women in the world.

When it seemed like all of the women in the kingdom had been brought, everyone was beginning to lose hope that the boy would ever be re-united with his mother. Finally, a worn down and poorly dressed women made her way in to the king’s court and the boy shrieked in gladness at the sight of his mother.

Surprised that this was the boy’s mother, the king said, “I thought that you said that your mother was the most beautiful women in the world.” The boy exclaimed that “she is indeed the most beautiful women in the world. What took you so long to find her?”

Today we celebrate and give thanks for the gift of our mothers. I will offer Mass for the mothers of all the parishioners of St. Peter’s Parish—those living and deceased.

Thank you to all the mothers of the parish who are to their children the most beautiful women in the world.

May God bless the mothers of our parish today and always.

Fr. Michael

“I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:34)

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St. Peter’s First Communion Class 2019

Normally, at this time of year, in our parish, and in the parishes around the Archdiocese of Toronto, many young people would be celebrating their First Communion. Sadly, this year, due to the restrictions of COVID 19, these celebrations are being delayed until it is safe to have such gatherings in our Church.

Recently, because of parish based catechesis and preparation, the focus at First Communion has been taken off of the school class and put where it belongs; on the family of the child who is preparing to receive the Eucharist. This has brought about a change in our First Communion celebrations that I just love. In the parishes that I have served in, we have taken to inviting the entire family of the young person making his or her First Communion to come up and receive the sacrament with the young person. I think it is so beautiful to see these young people coming forward, to receive Christ in the sacrament of the Eucharist, while he or she is also surrounded by the family that loves and cares for this young person so much. Each family is filled with such joy as they witness the reception of First Communion for the young candidate. The experience of witnessing so many different families coming up with their young person to receive his or her First Communion has really emphasized something that all of us share in common, no matter what our backgrounds, and that is love and the desire for happiness for our friends and families.Continue Reading “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:34)

“By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples” (John 15: 8)

Decorative ImageMany of the movies that come out these days are based upon sequels of previous movies. Throughout the fifty days of the Easter Season, the Church has been focusing its attention on one of the greatest sequels in human history—The Acts of the Apostles. The Acts of the Apostles is the second part of a two part series known as Luke—Acts. The first part of this series is the Gospel of Luke. In his Gospel, Luke, like the other three evangelists, presents the life of Christ and speaks of the way in which Christ revealed God’s love and salvation for all people who place their faith in Him. In the Gospels, we see how Jesus made God present to humanity, saved them and touched them through His divine person.Continue Reading “By this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples” (John 15: 8)

“We Are His People, the Sheep of His Flock” World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Decorative ImageIn the last century, one of the great developments in the history of the Church was the development of many “lay movements.” These lay movements often developed as a result of a rediscovery of the importance of baptism and the call that is given to all Christians to understand that they have been saved by Christ and that they are to live their lives as His disciples. One of these lay groups has the name the “Neo- Catechumenal Way.” The members of this community are convinced that their Baptism is one of the most significant moments of their lives and they spend their entire lives trying to respond to their baptismal call. Here in Toronto, we have several parishes that are devoted to this way of living and at St. Augustine’s Seminary there are about 20 candidates for the priesthood studying to serve this community and the Archdiocese. They are an important reminder to all of us of the importance of taking our Baptisms seriously and attempting to respond to God’s love for us.Continue Reading “We Are His People, the Sheep of His Flock” World Day of Prayer for Vocations

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