“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)

Lent 2021

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news” (Mark 1:15).

There is a stained-glass window in our church that has a little bit of interesting local history connected to it. It is the window in the choir-loft. This window is dedicated to the memory of John Wilson Murray. He was the first detective in the province of Ontario and was a member of our parish community who lived on Brunswick Avenue. He died in 1906. After he retired as the province’s first detective, he wrote his memoirs and they were published with the title, “Memoirs of a Great Detective: Incidents in the Life of John Wilson Murray.” The television show, The Murdoch Mysteries, is based upon his journals and the life of this early parishioner of St. Peter’s Parish.

Now the reason I am mentioning this at the beginning of Lent is not to tell you about The Murdoch Mysteries, but about the scene that is depicted in this window that is dedicated to the memory of John Wilson Murray. The scene in the window depicts the apostles John and Peter as they arrive at Jesus’ tomb, on the morning of the Resurrection, and discover that He is not to be found there. As John and Peter arrive at Jesus’ tomb after the Resurrection, this window shows them staring into a tomb that is pitch black. Even though Jesus had already risen to share eternal life with them, they do not know this. When they look into the tomb, which announces the Good News that Jesus has risen and destroyed death, Jesus himself is not there and the tomb is dark. The darkness within the tomb represents the reality that because they did not know what to expect of the Resurrection, they did not know where to look for Christ, and could not find Him where they expected Him to be—among the dead. As they were looking for Christ where He was not to be found, they saw only darkness and uncertainty in the empty tomb. The reality was, that something far exceeding their expectations was ahead of them.Continue Reading Lent 2021

Letter from Cardinal Thomas Collins for Marriage Sunday 2021

February 14, 2021

To Married Couples throughout the Archdiocese of Toronto,

As we celebrate Marriage Sunday in the Archdiocese of Toronto, I wish to congratulate and thank married couples who strengthen our community through their daily witness of love, commitment and selflessness. Your ongoing “yes” provides hope and inspiration for the community, strengthened by God’s grace and the love and prayers of family and friends.

We also extend our loving support to those who have lost a spouse or have experienced the pain and suffering of a broken relationship. If you are in need of assistance during these difficult days, I encourage you to seek out programs and resources in your own parish or throughout our diocese so that we may accompany you through the healing process.

To those assisting couples as they prepare for marriage and for those engaged in marriage enrichment programs or movements to support the sacrament of matrimony, be assured of my gratitude. Your ministry is essential in laying a foundation for healthy relationships and loving families, something so urgently needed in our world today.

A host of resources and additional information on Marriage Sunday can be found by visiting:  www.archtoronto.org/marriage or feel free to connect with your own parish community.

Thank you for all that you continue to do to value and enrich the sacrament of marriage in our homes and parishes, extending our love for one another to all those we encounter each and every day. May God continue to bless you now and always!  

Sincerely in Christ, 

Thomas Cardinal Collins
Archbishop of Toronto

Gratitude, Charity and Prayer

Those who know the kind of suffering and pain that Job endured might think that I am being a little overly dramatic to relate the sufferings experienced during the COVID 19 pandemic to the kind of tribulations and trials experienced by Job. However, as I hear Job state, “I am allotted months of emptiness, and nights of misery are apportioned me,” I cannot help but think of the way that many people have described the experience of the last few months.

It seems like a kind of general depression has overcome so many of us. People are worried about their jobs and how they will continue to provide for their families as this goes on. Many elderly people are alone and isolated. Even the young people that I speak to talk of how bored and tired they are with this whole situation. There is a kind of malaise that is overtaking everyone, and while we may not actually have suffered the really tragic losses that Job suffered, there is a sense of tiredness and depression that we know all too well as this pandemic drags on.Continue Reading Gratitude, Charity and Prayer

“O that today you would listen to the voice of the Lord. Do not harden your hearts.”

In this Sunday’s Gospel, as we begin to journey with Jesus in Mark’s Gospel, we hear how Jesus went to the synagogue in Capernaum with His disciples as He began His public ministry. In the synagogue, Jesus astounds those who have gathered with His teaching. However, what is perhaps the most surprising feature of His visit to the synagogue in Capernaum is the fact that it is an evil spirit that is the first to acknowledge who Jesus is. We hear this unclean spirit crying out as it is encountered by Jesus: “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God” (Mark 1:24).  Immediately, after the unclean spirit acknowledges who Jesus is, Jesus says to the unclean spirit: “Be quiet, and come out of him.” Mark tells us that in response to what Jesus says to the unclean spirit, immediately “the unclean spirit, convulsing the man and crying with a loud voice, came out of him” (Mark 1: 26).Continue Reading “O that today you would listen to the voice of the Lord. Do not harden your hearts.”

Introduction to the Gospel of Mark. “The Kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the Good News.”

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 Introduction to the Gospel of Mark. “The Kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the Good News.”