Welcome to the website for Immaculate Conception Parish in Palmer Road and Our Lady of Assumption in Miminegash, Prince Edward Island.           - Père Albin Arsenault

INTERAC e-transfer for the parish is now in place for anyone wishing to send their weekly donations. The email address is palmerroadparish@gmail.com

In addition to INTERAC e-Transfer, we now have a locked and secure box at the Rectory where you may deposit your donations. The box is located just to the right of the front step.

Sunday envelopes may also be sent by mail: Immaculate Conception Parish, 527 Thompson Rd, St Louis, C0B 1Z0

Thank you to parishioners for continuing to support our Parish during these difficult times. Père Albin Arsenault

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May 31, 2020-

We will be having weekday masses beginning on June 1, following strict guidelines as outlined by the Dept of Health. A total of 15 people are allowed to be present in the church at one time and we must keep the names of all those present. Mass will be held in the main church and instruction will be posted on the doors. Thanking you in advance as we begin to move forward with Renew PEI.                                   Fr Albin Arsenault

Mass Intentions for June 1-4, 2020

Mass Time 9 a.m.

(With limited attendance: 15 persons including priest)

Monday, June 1:         Patrick Mallett by Roy & Helen McKenna

Tuesday, June 2:         Celina Arsenault by Charles & Jeanette Deagle

Wednesday, June 3:    Howlan Wedge by Corinna & Joey Butler

Thursday, June 4:       Louis & Terry Doucette by Joan Doucette

Friday, June 5: No Mass

May 30, 2020- Click on the link below for Worship Services:

https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/health-and-wellness/worship-services-guidance?fbclid=IwAR1p9fwe1rLVE7T-_m17Ctd2i5dNbcMnubNxK_12iwCyrBpc6Yf7svfsnzU 

Please Note: We are required to record your name and contact number just in case anyone who attends church contracts Covid-19. If that happens then everyone who was in contact with that person will have to be tested. We are required to keep this record for 30 Days. Thank you.

 

Pentecost

 Homily & Prayers of the Faithful  May 31, 2020  

Homily Pentecost Sunday       (Gospel of John 20, 19-23)

In the first book of the Bible, I quote Genesis Chpt 2: “Yahweh God fashioned man of dust from the soil. Then he breathed into his nostrils, a breath of life and thus man became a human being.” Breath and life are synonyms. Therefore no breath – no life.

It is fitting to quote today’s words of the Lord’s Gospel. “He breathed on them (his disciples) and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit.”

All of us have received the Holy Spirit at Baptism and Confirmation. The Spirit’s gifts are awesome. Listen to them: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and love of God. We must learn to use them. May we comfort ourselves that the Holy Spirit came to dispel the negatives of our lives: violence, hate, jealousy – all our sins or to free us from sin.

It is at Pentecost when the Church was born. Therefore we live in the era of Pentecost. May we recall that Jesus our Lord breathed on his disciples: “Receive the Holy Spirit.” The Church remains alive for over 2000 years. It is remarkable that the apostles, most of them illiterate, were able to win a world for their Leader. They also used the Holy Spirit’s gifts to the full. The gifts of the Holy Spirit include: “wisdom, understanding, piety and fortitude.”

We too received the gifts of the Holy Spirit to use for our benefit and to share these gifts in order to spread the Good News of Jesus with others.

As members of the Church, the Holy Spirit calls us to complete the work of salvation. Since there are always needs to respond to, may we strive to participate in the Spirit’s life-giving work. In other words, we need to believe that God is at work in the world. For instance, may we appreciate the Living Word and be inspired by it so that we all seek to serve our neighbour by doing good and building up a community of love. Indeed the word church – Ecclesia in Greek means “gathering”. When we gather in Church and somewhere else we are not alone. The Holy Spirit accompanies us. This is what today’s Feast of Pentecost is all about – the celebration of the Spirit’s presence in the lives of believers. So, in daily living, may we be community-oriented. We not I is our true identity as members of Christ’s Church.

May we be more aware today that the universal Church includes a marvelous diversity of peoples. Our differences are a blessing but can also be a source of conflict. St Paul lets us know that it is the spirit who unites us all just as a body that has many parts is united. When each individual member of Christ’s body uses his or her gifts and talents for the good of all, we are able to function as Christ intended – in one body, intent on loving God and caring for each other.

Finally, the Church concludes the Easter Season with today’s Feast of Pentecost. May we be reminded that we are Easter people all year round. We Christian believers are called to be Spirit-filled, to fully live these words of every Preface of Easter: “overcome with paschal joy”. May we always renew our faith since through baptism and confirmation we continually enter into the life of Christ and receive the fullness of the Spirit. May I include that we are all invited to experience and appreciate the transforming and strengthening presence of the Holy Spirit within us.

Prayers of the Faithful, May 31, 2020

Celebrant: “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.” We live out our faith this Pentecost trusting that the Father sends the Spirit to renew the face of the earth, and we pray.

Intentions:

1. That the Church may always live in the Holy Spirit, as she proclaims the truth of God’s love and mercy.         We pray to the Lord

2. That we be more aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit and may he bring us comfort in this time of uncertainty – the Covid 19 Pandemic.     We pray to the Lord

 3. That places in our world that are torn apart by violence and division may know unity as the Spirit’s gift.           We pray to the Lord

 4. That Donald McKenna, Rita Chaisson and all those who are seriously ill may develop the gifts of the Holy Spirit especially wisdom, understanding and fortitude.                                                                 We pray to the Lord

 5. That Lillian Allain, Stanley O’Brien, Wilbur MacDonald and all our deceased loved ones always rejoice in the presence of the Trinitarian God, especially the Holy Spirit.                              We pray to the Lord

 6. That parishes realize that Pentecost is the era we live in and allow the Holy Spirit to renew our faith. As we lift up our prayers (silence). May fruits of the Holy Spirit flourish in our community.               We pray to the Lord

Celebrant: God of creation, every good gift comes from you. Pour out upon us this day the gifts of the Spirit. With the third person of your Trinity, may we be refreshed and invigorated to proclaim your word of peace and joy through lives of devotion and grace, through Christ our Lord.

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 Ascension of the Lord

Ascension of the Lord

Homily & Prayers of the Faithful  May 24, 2020  

 Homily        Ascension of the Lord     (Gospel of Matthew 28,16-20)      May 24, 2020

As a kid, I couldn’t figure out certain feasts of the Church. At Easter, Jesus is risen. Why six weeks after, he’s not around, he’s in heaven?

Indeed the good news of the Ascension is our Lord Jesus’ promise: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” What comes to mind are married couples who made the life-long commitment to love and to be faithful to each other. I consider their intimacy as a work in progress. Intimacy is that feeling of being “at one” with another person – and once it started, it’s never finished.

Husbands and wives certainly know this to be true, for how else could marriage work, were it not for the fact that intimacy is never a “done deal”.

Young lovers often mistake what they are feeling as a “done deal”. They are much influenced by today’s society in the sense that their own feelings have the upper hand. They are too impulsive and impatient.

But long-time friends know that intimacy is a work in progress because with each passing year, with each passing decade – and even though they can finish each others sentences and have heard each others stories a hundred times – there’s always something new, something wonderful about being in each others presence.

This is why Jesus had to leave us. There had to be an Ascension when the disciples would be left staring up into the clouds, watching Jesus disappear forever. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (1st reading – Acts of the Apostles) In other words, “I have to go, for how else can I send you my Spirit.”

When he had said this, he meant that there had to be a way for all of us to feel at one with God and with each other. And sending us his Spirit was the only way for this to happen.

In this context, Jesus does not leave us orphaned. Therefore, that’s why loving and responsible parents might have said to their son or daughter: “We love you very much, we enjoy when you are home with us but this is the time for you to leave. Our love for you is real; we do not possess you. We trust that you are mature enough to be on your own. May you also know that we are – your loving parents forever.”

On this feast of the Ascension of the Lord, I take this opportunity to speak to graduates. On behalf of the parish community, I offer my sincere congratulations for obtaining your diploma or degree and for ending a significant chapter in your lives. I also express to you graduates my compassion and loving concern for not knowing how the community at large will respond to your departure form high school, college or university. Let us think positive that a graduation of some sort, joyful gatherings will occur. May school authorities, family and friends lift you up in prayer, celebrate with you and affirm you one way or another.

As we look forward to our next celebration – the Feast of Pentecost, let us pray to the Holy Spirit. May He teach us that throughout our life journey, our Christian vocation, commitments and departures is a work in progress, but it’s never “a done deal”.

 

Prayers of the Faithful           Ascension of the Lord May 24, 2020
Celebrant: Before Jesus is taken up to heaven, he assures us: “I am with you always, to
the end of the age.” With faith in his word, let us bring our needs before the Lord.
Intentions:
1. For the leaders of the Church, with apostolic fervor, may they carry out Jesus’
commission to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth. We pray to the Lord
2. For adults called to be responsible for their words and actions, may they learn from
others and develop the gift of mutual respect as it is healthy to develop long-lasting
relationships. We pray to the Lord
3. For those involved in their community. May we admire those who are an inspiration and
anyone who honours their commitments. We pray to the Lord
4. For patience and hope to those who are seriously ill especially Donald McKenna ,
Lillian Allain and Rita Chaisson; also to all of us who are in confinement protecting us
from Coronovirus. We pray to the Lord
5. For all deceased relatives and friends be grateful to God for the orientation they received
here on earth as they are now elevated to new life in the eternal home. We pray to the Lord                                                                                                                                                          6. For the wisdom to be faithful to our mission: to make disciples of all nations sent to announce the Gospel of the Lord and be his presence to those in need. May we also believe that He intercedes for us night and day (silence). We pray to the Lord

Celebrant: God of salvation, Jesus your Son ascends into heaven to sit at your right hand. Hear our prayers that all might come to know your merciful love and to live in the light of your presence. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

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May 17, 2020 6th Sunday

Homily & Prayers of the Faithful  May 17, 2020  

Homily               6th Sunday of Easter      (Gospel of John 14.15-21)

A man was walking down the road when he spied a farmer. He approached him and said, “Sir, I have travelled a long way and am thinking of settling in the next town. Tell me, what kind of people are there?” The farmer asked, “What kind of people were in the town you left?” The man replied, “Oh, it was not so good. The people there were selfish, indifferent, just out for themselves. Couldn’t care less about you or what happened.” The farmer said, “You will find the same kind of folks in the next town.” The man thanked him and went in another direction.

Later that day, another traveler passing by said to the farmer, “Sir I have travelled a long way and am thinking of settling in the next town. Tell me, what kinds of people are there?” The farmer asked, “What kind of people were in the town you left?” The man replied, “It was hard to leave. The people sang with you in the good times and helped you in the bad times. It was not perfect, but the people were basically good and friendly.” The farmer said, “You will find the same kind of folks in the next town.”

Since we are made in the image and likeness of God it is true that we find God in every person we see. So, it is reasonable that we love every person.

According to the first letter of John, “God is love.” (1John 4,8) Love and God are identical. Love and God are interchangeable terms, whenever we experience real love, we experience God. What an insight this is and what a light on the path of our search for God. To find God, to experience divine presence, all we need to do is experience giving or receiving love. God is the wonder, beauty, power and joy of any loving interaction we are involved in. Love makes God present.

Our Christian vocation is to become more and more deeply loving persons. Our love should mean looking at every life. If we set limits on our love, we miss the point, because the very purpose of Christian living is to reveal God incarnated in us, however imperfect it is.

Pictures speak more than a thousand words. No one owns “a real picture” of Jesus or no literal portrait of Jesus exists. But the likeness of the Son who sets us free can be seen in the lives of his true followers. The love of Jesus should transform our lives in such a way that he is seen in us.

In conclusion, “God is love.” We cannot fool Him. He created us “in his image and resemblance”. Let us remind ourselves that we are called to love one another and to be Christ-like. This story of a very abusive person comes to mind. After he had died, his family made the decision to shave his hair and dressed him for burial in the robes of a monk, hoping that God would think that he was a monk, and thus allow him into heaven. We cannot get to heaven by disguising ourselves and hoping God will think we are someone else. He knows our name, he knows everything about us. Our love of God and neighbour should be genuine.

Prayers of the Faithful 

Celebrant: The Lord Jesus promises to remain with his people forever. Keeping his commandments and walking in the way of love, we pray for a world so in need of healing and redemption.

Intentions:

1. That all Church members may always remain faithful to the Lord’s commandments.                                                         We pray to the Lord

 2. That Pope Francis, bishops, all priests and deacons may have the faith of the apostles.                                                              We pray to the Lord

 3. That all who have kept the Lord’s Word in this life may receive an eternal blessing in the life that is to come.                               We pray to the Lord

 4. That all populations struggling with Covid 19 and those who are seriously ill especially Donald McKenna, Lillian Allain  may be raised to new and more abundant life.                                                            We pray to the Lord

 5. That our deceased loved ones may be in the image of God’s beloved Son Jesus who does not leave anyone orphaned.                We pray to the Lord

 6. That all of us on this Victoria Day weekend may respect the measures of Covid 19, be able to relax and be free from accidents. And, let our prayers come before you this day (silence).                             We pray to the Lord

 Celebrant: God of infinite wisdom, your Son promises to remain with his Church always by sending his Spirit of love. Help us to remain in him with a hope that never fails – through Christ our Lord.

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i-am the-way the-truth the-life

Homily            Fifth Sunday of Easter   (Gospel of John 14.1-12)

Jesus responds to Thomas’ practical question. “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” by pronouncing that he himself is the way. This discussion takes place at the Last Supper, after the washing of the feet and before Jesus and the disciples go to the garden to pray. Both this week and next we will hear Gospels from Jesus’ discourse at the Last Supper. Jesus’ words are difficult for the disciples to understand. As the disciples look back at these words from the point of view of the Resurrection and the Ascension of the Lord, they come into focus.

As believers of Jesus, we, too need to be focused. I observed that when an adult is dying and after his/her death, we often hear the truth. It’s wise for us to be transparent and to reveal the truth, to be open and choose not to hide from the truth. There are situations when truth hurts deeply. We react, we experience disappointment when we hear negativity and false witnessing of a person especially at the time of death and bereavement. May we be compassionate to those who are heartbroken, ache and wounded in their grieving process. Under such circumstances, it happens that mourners just can’t recover in the loss of a loved one.

It is to our own advantage dear friends to develop our potential; indeed to understand situations, people and issues. We are called upon to interpret trends, to solve problems and to suggest solutions. In short, we responsible not only to think, but also to apply knowledge to life situations. That’s why it is a blessing to have faith in Jesus who is “the way, the truth, and the life”.

Our challenge: we do not increase our faith overnight. May we comfort ourselves that we have received the Holy Spirit. He lives within us. The Holy Spirit dwells within those who believe in Christ.

As our world is in crises with Covid 19 pandemic, today’s Gospel Passage reminds us: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.” We really need strong faith. By faith here, I mean trust in God. I hope that in this pandemic God has not abandoned us. May we go on believing, go on trusting in him and in the Father. Easier said than done.

But at a time of crises that is the only thing we can do – go on stubbornly trusting in God. Trust is the greatest thing we can give to another person. At that hour we must believe that somehow there is a purpose to it all, and that good will come of it. Then the unbearable becomes bearable, and in the darkness a glimmer of light appears.

What real faith does is assure us that God is with us in the midst of the crises. It is that feeling, that conviction, that we are not alone, that we are not abandoned, which enables us to get through the crises.

I end this homily quoting a priest – Fr Flor McCarthy: “Those who have faith have a source of comfort and inspiration, especially when trouble strikes. They know that God will be good to them in the end, both in this world and in the next. It is not we who keep the faith; it is the faith that keeps us.

“So when things are bad, may we hear the gentle words of Jesus. ‘Believe in God, believe also in me’.”

Prayers of the Faithful 

Celebrant: In my Father’s house, there are many dwelling places. As living stones, baptized with Christ, we express our needs to the Lord.

 Intentions:

 1. That all Christians may see their lives as valuable and necessary building blocks of the Body of Christ and may remain faithful to the Church.              We pray to the Lord

2. That all who exercise leadership in our world may be realistic, prudent and make gradual changes regarding deconfinement. Also, may scientists succeed to find a vaccine for Covid 19.                                                                                      We pray to the Lord

 3. That Mothers be proud of their children, may sons and daughters always honour their parents. May we also be in solidarity with mothers going through a hard time, especially those who have a strained relationship with their Mother.                We pray to the Lord

4. That individuals whose hearts are troubled with illness, grief, depression or despair may know comfort and find peace. We lift up in prayers Donald McKenna, Lillian Allain ……………………………………..                                                   We pray to the Lord

5. That our deceased loved ones especially James Kinch ………………………………………..

……………………………………………………………  receive a warm place in the Father’s house.

                                                                                                           We pray to the Lord

6. That all of us may testify to Jesus through our actions and words since He is the way, the truth and the life. May we also present the prayers which dwell in the silence of our hearts.                                                                                                We pray to the Lord

 Celebrant: Loving God, you are kind to us. Indeed through our baptism, we your beloved sons and daughters have the desire to reveal your love to others. Therefore may the prayers we offer this day be a sign of our love and fidelity – through Christ our Lord.

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Homily & Prayers of the Faithful   

 Fourth Sunday of Easter    (Gospel of John 10, 1-10)       May 3, 2020

Jesus-your-good-shepherd-

   During my first year in St Paul’s Seminary in Ottawa, in September 1976, I was introduced to a very kind, responsible and smiling person. He had the desire to become a priest but he didn’t want his parents to disown him. He was an only child; they wanted him to marry, to be grandparents and especially to preserve the family name.

While in formation, I journeyed with someone who chose to leave the priesthood. He belonged to a large family. He felt forced to be ordained because none of his brothers were interested but they thought that someone within the family should serve the Church.

In early ministry, a friend of mine informed me that his Mother-in-law hated him. “I am not a lawyer, a doctor or a very successful businessman. I worked for Marine Atlantic.” I admired this friend’s wisdom: “I married her daughter, not her. I don’t mind her; she’s welcome to visit her daughter anytime.”

The reason why I mentioned these unhealthy situations is because today the Church invites us to pray for vocations.

Each situation involves a vocation, a way of life. Let us keep in mind that our relationship with God is built both on God’s call to us and on our response to God. In other words, we receive a calling and it is our duty to respond. Why not with generosity, fidelity and love.

Unfortunately, certain loved ones or authority figures have imposed their own beliefs, acted in an unhealthy way by negatively influencing someone’s orientation. In this context, I am proud of my friend who stood his ground: he loved and supported his wife, he managed to tolerate his Mother-in-law. May everyone be blessed to never sacrifice the truth and the well-being of a young adult for one selfish and controlling person. I pray that on this World Day of Prayer for Vocations, we have the wisdom “to be in control” without being controlling. May we fully appreciate these words from St Paul’s letter to the Galatians: “When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness … and self control (Gal 5, 22).

As homilist, I choose to respect the figure of speech in today’s Gospel passage. We are “sheep” whereas Jesus is the gate for the sheep-hold. May we feel reassured that with Him, we live in a place of safety and security from the world with its danger and threats. Indeed, Jesus is the gate, we are the sheep who daily pass in through the gate for safe rest and out to rich pastures. Jesus’ mission as gate is to assure us life in abundance.

Today’s Church is blessed with the leadership of Pope Francis who speaks with a prophetic voice. He is definitely a caring shepherd. Let us make “his vision of vocation” our own: “This missionary vocation has to do with service … your vocation is something more: it is a path guiding your many efforts and actions towards service to others … your vocation inspires you to bring out the best in yourself for the glory of God and the good of others. It is not simply a matter of doing things, but of doing them with meaning and direction.”

Pope Francis challenges us all. “Today … I ask you to swim against the tide; yes, I am asking you to rebel against the culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes you are incapable of responsibility, incapable of love.”

Finally, in his exhortation to young people, I value these words he shared to them: “In discerning your vocation, do not dismiss the possibility of devoting yourself to God in the priesthood, the religious life or in other forms of consecration. Why not? You can be sure that, if you do recognize and follow a call from God, there you will find complete fulfillment.”

On a personal note, I thank God every day for the gift of the priesthood. These words of Mary’s Magnificat express my deepest sentiments of praise and thanksgiving: “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.”

Prayers of the Faithful   

     Celebrant: With confidence in the Good Shepherd who sustains and guides us, let us bring our prayers to the Lord.

Intentions:

1. For bishops and priests, may they follow in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd by serving their flocks with self-sacrificial love.                                 We pray to the Lord

 2. For all populations who are dealing with deconfinement, may people be prudent and act responsibly in order to overcome Covid 19.                             We pray to the Lord

 3. For areas in our country where citizens are devastated with with floods, may communities work well together to find solutions and be better equipped in years to come.                                                                                              We pray to the Lord

 4. For those who are seriously ill, especially Donald McKenna and those who mourn a loved one. May they be led to “restful waters” where the Lord promises refreshment for their bodies and souls.                                                                     We pray to the Lord

 5. For all who have died especially Austin Ahearn, Bernie Perry ……………………………. as God knows them by name, may they rejoice forever in the presence of his beloved Son Jesus the Good Shepherd.                                                         We pray to the Lord

 6. For all of us Christian believers, may our ears be attuned to the voice of the Good Shepherd, calling us to the fullness of life, also for future vocations to the priesthood and religious life. In addition, for our own personal intentions (silence).

                                                                                                           We pray to the Lord

 Celebrant: God of compassion, your beloved Son is the Good Shepherd who never leaves his flock untended. May we hear his voice this day and may He answer all our needs and concerns, through Christ our Lord.

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On-the-road-to-Emmaus

Homily & Prayers of the Faithful   

Third Sunday of Easter     (Gospel of Luke Ch 24, 13-35)          April 26, 2020

In difficult times, especially in this Covid 19 pandemic and the horrible massacre which took place last weekend in Nova Scotia, we have a tendency to not knowing where to turn. We seem to forget to turn to the Risen Christ. We find it hard to cope with such a drastic change. The loss of our routine, this lengthy and unending confinement, our neighbouring province that is in a state of shock and heavy-burdened; indeed in the midst of darkness and series of losses – listening to the media continually reporting upsetting news; no wonder there are individuals disillusioned, angry, bitter and increasingly resentful. As human beings, we react spontaneously. At the present time, it seems there is no future, nothing to hope for.

In addition, I am hearing that teenagers are bored. Am I realistic to ask you to accept today’s reality as it is, to do our best to be creative?

As I reflected on the Gospel story for today, Cleopas and the other disciple were walking away from Jerusalem, headed for Emmaus, about seven miles away – quite a distance to walk. Why were they leaving Jerusalem? What was in Emmaus that was of such importance? What happened that changed their minds and changed their plans? Emmaus stands as a place to get away to out of fear. Fear was the cause of their departure. Fear and anxiety can do some devastating things to an individual. It can cause individuals to literally move away from that which threatens. Remember these were followers of Jesus, and yet they saw what the chief priests had done to their friend whom they believed was the Messiah. They were afraid for their lives. Perhaps heading to Emmaus was their way to protect themselves – the fear that authority figures discovered they were Jesus’ followers.

Fear was part of their grief; their loss. They chose not to believe in the women that were part of the following, who returned to Jerusalem with statements that Jesus had been raised. Their loss. Their grief, their rejection of faith in the message of Jesus, and their fear was as thick and heavy as the stone rolled in front of the tomb where Jesus was laid. Yet, as they walked, they talked about who this Jesus was for them.

Part of our experience of grief needs to be modeled on these two disciples on the road. Remember for the next few minutes a person whom you loved deeply who has died. This person could be a spouse, a parent, a sibling, a child or a friend. Perhaps some of us are experiencing such a loss now. No matter when loss occurred or the nature of the loss, focus on the feelings. There are feelings of fear, anger, loneliness and guilt and others that generate joy and gratitude. These feelings are like waves that come on strong and then diminish, like the waves on an ocean reaching the shore. These feelings come back on special events that recall your loved one’s presence on this earth such as Christmas, anniversaries or birthdays. There can be no feelings if there were no memories and no memories unless you loved.

This sharing of feelings and memories that can happen when we experience loss is very similar to the experience of the two disciples of Emmaus. We, like them, do not want to listen or believe others who tell us platitudes, things like “she is in a better place now,” “time heals all wounds,” “be a man, don’t cry,” and “he wouldn’t want you to be sad”. I realize that people mean well, but when the timing is good, I take the opportunity to give my two cents worth: May we learn to shut up, to remain silent rather than controlling and hurting those who are grieving a very significant loss.

Today’s Gospel story, the journey to Emmaus, reals good news to us. As their hearts were heavy, the stranger – the Risen Christ accompanied Cleopas and his companion and comforted them. Indeed the two followers on the journey engaged in a process of listening and sharing with each other. In the process of listening and sharing they experienced a “Presence” between them that they couldn’t recognize but felt good about. This “Presence” was a stranger to them. The stranger engaged them in sharing what they were talking about. So they shared with the stranger, then the stranger shared with them everything about himself!

Through His caring and healing Presence, the Risen Christ blessed them in the sense they regained hope. As they tell the stranger who joins up with them, they were hoping that Jesus would be the victorious one, the one who could redeem them, but once again the Romans had crushed their hopes of liberation. As they go, the two disciples debate how to understand the things that have happened, blind to the Victorious One alongside them. Here is the Risen One’s miracle: the two pilgrims were transformed, grounded in true hope.

May I share with you these reflections on hope. Hope is a state of mind, not a state of the world. Either we have hope or we don’t; it is a dimension of the soul, an orientation of the spirit and a certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.

Dear sisters and brothers, when will we experience non-confinement? May we not take anything for granted. May our priorities be clearer. May we treasure our faith and our membership in the Church. In addition, may we always value life and be community-oriented.

As the Risen Christ changed Cleopas and his companion’s lives, may we sincerely believe that Covid 19 has brought a new vitality to every part of our existence. Being a religious leader of Christ’s Church, I give you this assignment: May you reflect on 2 Corinthians verse 17. “And for anyone who is in Christ, there is a new creation; the old creation has gone, and now the new one is here. In other words, those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!

Celebrant: With faith in Jesus who meets us in the Word of God and the bread and wine of the Eucharist, let us bring our needs before the Lord.

 Intentions:

1. For all members of the Church, may we have the wisdom to journey with the Risen Christ especially to recognize Him in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

                                                                                                           We pray to the Lord

2. For Nova Scotians who are overwhelmed with grief, may they talk-talk-talk, also receive comfort and hope from caring individuals, professionals and charitable organizations.                                                                                     We pray to the Lord

 3. For individuals who are very different from one another. May they learn to walk together as friends and companions.                                                 We pray to the Lord

 4. For the sick, especially Donald McKenna and for the whole world stressed over Covid 19. May we have the courage of Peter to stand up for our faith and to acknowledge God’s plan of salvation since He is at Peter’s right hand.                  We pray to the Lord

5. For our deceased relatives and friends, especially Francis Richard, Jane Dugay of Summerside, the 23 victims of Nova Scotia and Ilma (Martin) Hagen, cousin of Arthur Doucette. May they radiate and be enlightened in the presence of the Risen Christ.

We pray to the Lord

6. For all of us called to rejoice in the Easter Season, we walk alongside the Lord and we truly believe He leads us to the path of life. May he also respond to all our needs (silence).                                                                                            We pray to the Lord

 Celebrant: Thank you Almighty God for having raised your beloved Son. Fill us with renewed hope in your presence. Also open our hearts to your truth, through Christ our Lord.

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Homily & Prayers of the Faithful      

Second Sunday of Easter         April 19, 2020 

I’ve preached on this Gospel for many years, and still it has something new to teach me. Only with today’s reading have I made the connection – Jesus is identifying forgiveness with breath, with the very air we breath. The Holy Spirit is given with a breath. The Spirit is coexistent with life itself.

Why is Jesus’ profound teaching on the union of Spirit and life immediately followed by the story of Thomas, the one we call Thomas the Doubter? Perhaps the reason Thomas could physically touch Jesus’ wounds – to trust that Jesus was healed and transformed, that Jesus could be the same person and yet a very different person – is that he had been able to touch his own wounds.

And, that’s why Jesus talks about forgiveness – as available and as free and as given as the breath in front of his mouth.

If Thomas and all of us could touch our own wounds and know that God can transform them, then it would be easy to believe that God could do the same in the body of Jesus.

But, if you’ve never experienced your own need for mercy, never had a need for the  forgiveness of a friend or to apologize for something you’ve done wrong, you likely don’t know that wounds can be turned into grace, that crucifixions can be turned into resurrection.

Unfortunately, the Church sometimes contributed to the limiting of forgiveness; we (Catholic priests) gave the impression that to have your sins forgiven, you had to go to confession.

Looking closely at the Gospel, we see that Jesus doesn’t say this to the Twelve. He tells the entire community of disciples that they have the power to forgive and to heal and to transform one another by letting each other off the hook once in a while, by overlooking offenses. However, they also have the terrible power to retain, to bind. Jesus makes the connection between what we do to one another and what God is able to do.

If you’ve never experienced a generous and gentle forgiveness from a friend or family member, someone who is willing to overlook your own offenses, I think that it is almost impossible to know how God could forgive you. How could you even imagine the forgiveness of God?​

And so Jesus is saying to the entire community of Christians, to all of us, not just a select group called priests, that we have the power to liberate one another. We have the power to bind one another up. The power is given to the entire community. And if we have not experienced that graceful releasing, healing and discovering that forgiveness always is, I don’t think we can experience it from God.

To sum up today’s Gospel Story, it was meant to be that Thomas was absent when the Risen Christ appeared to his disciples and said to them: “Peace be with you.” Then on the eight day, Thomas was with them. Unfortunately, he is known and labelled as “the doubting Thomas”. We may be missing the point – my guess during Thomas’ absence is that, during those seven days, Thomas touched his own wounds, limitations, coldness and unforgiveness. Only then was he ready, oh, so ready, to experience the wounds of Jesus. And what about us?

My friends, like Thomas, we may have our own doubts about our confinement at the present time and questioning whether He accompanies us or not? May we take this opportunity to reflect on the mystery of our faith and to pray for a deepening of faith.

 Prayers of the Faithful

2nd Sunday of Easter      April 19, 2020

Celebrant: The Risen Lord appeared to his disciples with the gift of peace. Mercifully, he strengthened what was lacking in their faith. With peace, the Lord appears to us as we implore his aid for our doubting world.

 Intentions: 

1. That Christian assemblies may witness to the apostolic zeal of the early Church, sharing all things in common and praising God night and day.        We pray to the Lord

2. That the newly baptized may always see their relationship with Jesus as “more precious than gold”.                                                                           We pray to the Lord

3. That during our time of isolation and confinement, families be closer, have stronger faith and develop other values.                                                          We pray to the Lord 

4. That the sick, especially Donald McKenna and all those who harbor resentment, anger or fear, may be restored and healed by the peace of Christ.              We pray to the Lord

5. That our deceased loved ones ……………………………………………………………………… may be welcomed into paradise and share in God’s everlasting love.      We pray to the Lord

6. That we baptized people be abundantly blessed during the whole Easter Season which ends on Pentecost Sunday. May we be strengthened to forgive those who have harmed us and to ask forgiveness of those we have harmed.                        We pray to the Lord

 Celebrant: Loving God, your Church highlights the Second Sunday of Easter as Sunday of Divine Mercy. May you hear out prayers (silence) that we might bear your peace and mercy to all we meet. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

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Message of Easter 2020

   The Emmaus story is a Gospel Passage of the Lord’s resurrection. In the context of our world’s crises – Covid 19, we can all relate to the two disciples who were depressed and in despair. The risen Lord gave them hope when they fully understood that the Way of the Cross is a love story, a testimony to unconditional and faithful love.

Alleluia, Jesus is risen! His love gives life; love makes hope blossom in times of adversity. Through faith, may we all carry this joyful certainty in our hearts. May the two disciples of Emmaus inspire us. May we journey in faith so that we recognize the Risen Christ at all times – in joyful and in trying moments of our lives.

Nous sommes bénis. Le Seigneur demeure toujours notre compagnon. En ce temps de pandémie et de crise mondiale, prions le Seigneur.

Oui Seigneur, tu es compassion, apprends-nous la miséricorde.

Tu es lumière, interprète pour nous l’Évangile.

Tu es réconfort, sois l’espérance dans nos ténèbres.

Tu es joie, fais-nous témoins du vrai bonheur.

Joyeuse Pâques                          Happy Easter

Père Albin Arsenault

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Homily Easter April 12, 2020

During my years of ministry, I fully realize that everyone is unique – so we are all so different. Over the years I have met very amazing and interesting people. I have also observed that there are individuals who seem to be bored, always negative and never have joy and excitement in their lives. It is what it is. May I learn to accept where they are at, not judge them and pray for them. 
One of the Gospel Passages of Easter tells us that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary experienced Jesus’ empty tomb. I quote the Gospel – the Living With Christ version: “So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to tell his disciples.” “Filled with awe and great joy” are the chosen words of the Jerusalem Bible. My personal interpretation of someone “filled with awe”; feels inspired by something sublime, is introduced and witnessed to an awesome and amazing person or to an extraordinary event. Therefore the two Mary’s were amazed. Jesus’ resurrection is a new story. This good news hasn’t been told before. Nothing, I mean nothing, like this has ever happened before. It begins to dawn on the disciples that the crucified one has risen. The women are the first witnesses. They proclaim: The Lord Jesus lives. They gain new hope. Their grief, their sorrow is turned to joy. 
Can we allow ourselves to be amazed? Can we open our minds and hearts and let in the joyous news that what happens to Jesus happens to us? Can we believe it? Will we live it? 
But the angel immediately tells them: “Do not be afraid!… He has been raised: Go quickly and tell his disciples” the good news. In other words, get going. He’s heading to Galilee, the region where God among us began his annunciation of the new dawn, the reign of God breaking through into our time and space. Get going. It’s time to begin to live the way of life he articulated. “Do not be afraid.” Be amazing. Start forming the Body of Christ. Be the Jesus who conquers death and gives us life and the life eternal. Be the Jesus who calls us to love everyone, even our enemies. Get going and build with God the Kingdom of truth and trust, justice and joy, peace and prosperity, hope and healing, faith and freedom, love and life.
 Let us have renewed faith in the Lord. Let us develop new, healthy and positive attitudes. As Christians, let us be different and act different from those who find it hard to be amazed. Their lives become routine. For some couples, Christian marriage feels like a comfortable old coat. No change, no surprises, no new adventures and no excitement. Some priests and ministers are doing the same. They recycle their homilies, they share their same message over and over and over and over. Are they not aware – the words of the Lord are “spirit and life;” He has “the words of everlasting life”? No wonder their lives are monotonous and they lack a vision. In the long run, these married couples fail to grow in love, their relationship fades away, there’s no spark in their life-long commitment. And religious leaders who seem to go through the motions are lonely and absolutely not happy in their vocations. Sadly, certain married couples and certain ordained ministers allow darkness in the life of faith.
 In this context, I quote a priest from France – Fr Guy Gilbert. “The Church would not exist today if it would have been founded by plain human beings.” He gives all credit to Jesus, the founder of the Church – who is fully human and fully divine. The Church is all about God’s people, his chosen ones who are baptized into his Church: “For where two or three meet in my name, I shall be there with them,” say Jesus. To say it plainly, without the sacraments of the Church and without the Lord’s Eucharist, the Church is dead. We would forget the important memory: “Do this in memory of me.”
 May I also share with you Fr Gilbert’s definition of the Church which is a dynamic and active Christian community. She’s not located in Rome and other places. She resides in our hearts. We are an Easter people called to be “children of the light”. According to this French priest, we’re invited to live in a Church filled with wisdom and openness. May we be members who listen, ponder and study the Word of God. May we belong to a merciful and renewed Church, a community where we freely accept the guidance of the Holy Spirit, where we build community and unity, also a community where our hope is in God’s refuge and with that hope we can venture far and accomplish much.
 During the solemn and most important celebrations, the faithful renew their baptismal vows. As we form Christ’s Body here on earth, may we encounter the Risen Christ and always choose to become part of this loving and caring Christian community. Indeed, may we listen once again to my most inspiring person on the life of the Church and who speaks with a prophetic voice: “Being Christian is not just obeying others, but means being in Christ, thinking like him, acting like him, loving like him; it means letting him take possession of our life and change it, transform it, and free it from the darkness of evil and sin.”
 On February 5, 2014, Pope Francis shared these chosen words during a General Audience: “Dear friends, we don’t ever thank the Lord enough for the gift he has given us in the Eucharist … May we go to Mass every Sunday because that is the day of the resurrection of the Lord. That is why Sunday is so important to us. And, in this Eucharist we feel this belonging to the Church, to the people of God, to the Body of God, to Jesus Christ. We will never completely grasp the value and the richness of it.”
 A criteria of Christian life is to be joyful. Easter is a beautiful celebration of life and the promise of God’s love. Today is a day of praise for our wonderful loving God who found a way to communicate to each of us personally a love that lasts forever. We celebrate that Christ was raised from the dead and conquered death once and for all.
 The Resurrection story reminds us to be instruments and sharers of the Good News. Indeed, Jesus knows each of us by name through our baptism, we are also invited to share the Good News of God’s love with everyone we know and everyone we meet. Let’s practice sharing the Good News.
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 Prayers of the Faithful Easter April 12, 2020
 Celebrant: In the fullness of Easter joy, let us bring our needs and hopes to the Lord of life.
 Intentions:
 1. For the Church, that we may be renewed in grace on this most blessed of days.                                                                                                         We pray to the Lord
 2. For the newly baptized, that they may continue to grow in Christ and in his Body, the Church, rejoicing in the gift of their faith.             We pray to the Lord
3. For the whole world struggling with the Covid 19 pandemic, that we accept the challenge to have the desire to begin life anew this day, that we may always “think of what is above, not of what is on earth.”                        We pray to the Lord
 4. For the sick, the suffering, the lonely, and the forgotten, that they may feel the joy of this Holy Feast of Easter through our prayers and our loving support.
                                                                                                We pray to the Lord
 5. For all who have died especially Frances Ann Shea that they may also share in his Resurrection.                                                                        We pray to the Lord
 6. For all of us having very mixed feelings with not being able to celebrate the joyful mystery of our faith as a community.                                   We pray to the Lord
 Celebrant: Lord of life, Mary of Magdala was the first to behold your Son’s empty to mb. She ran off not knowing whether to have fear or to rejoice. Renew us in our Easter faith as we rejoice in your Son’s Resurrection. May all the world be enlightened by the promise of the Good News. Grant all our prayers (silence) through Christ our Lord.

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Homily                       Good Friday                              April 10, 2020 

    In true friendship there is reciprocity. This is the Gospel truth: In God’s name, Jesus has the gifts of friendship, reciprocity and unconditional love. Indeed, in the 4th Gospel, Jesus says: “A person can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends, if you do what I command you … I call you friends because I have made known to you everything I have learned from my Father.”

On this Good Friday, I pray, you’ll discover a different Jesus, a Jesus who will radically change the way you see God, yourself and others – a Jesus who will never give up on you, never stop loving you. He wants you to know him, to love him, and to be loved by him.

The objective of this homily is for us to discover the transforming power of a deep friendship with Jesus. Will I reach this goal? As a priest, I remain faithful to announce and to preach the Lord’s good news of salvation. I am one of his instruments. May I remind you of Jesus’ ultimate purpose, his mission in life was pleasing the Father. At his birth, his name was chosen; Jesus meaning Saviour – the Anointed One! Holy Thursday (his sacred and memorial meal) and Good Friday (his painful, innocent death on the cross) summarize his life, especially his three years of public ministry. Now, will I reach my goal for us to have a closer friendship with Jesus or to grow in faith? I leave it to the Holy Spirit. I quote St John’s Gospel: “The wind blows wherever it pleases … that’s how it is with all who are born of the Spirit.” (John 3,8)

Like Jesus, dear sisters and brothers, we are called to bring glory to God through all we say and do – in all times, places and circumstances.

Since Scripture is inspired by God, may ST Mark’s Gospel story – the great windstorm at sea – when Jesus reassured his disciples when he said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then he challenged them: “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” May this miracle of Jesus bring us comfort and hope as we now experience the Covid 19 pandemic.

May Jesus calming the sea storm fully equip us to not panic. May we make every effort to be serene, to accept the circumstances we’re in and to believe that some good will come from this calamity.

As we commemorate today, the Lord’s Passion, we are invited to adore or venerate the cross. May we examine where the cross is situated in our lives. In the pain of his Cross, Jesus found that God was with him, loving him faithfully as he struggles to breathe. He prayed for us, that we might love God as he does. Embracing the Cross, we embrace the compassion of Christ and share in the sufferings of the world.

On our Christian walk, relationships and friendships are important: Let us value as top priorities the Lord’s two greatest commandments: love of God, love of neighbour and self. Unfortunately the world usually has its priorities upside down. As you know, there is too much hate, violence, abuse, selfishness, individualism, lack of forgiveness and reconciliation in our lives. We miss the boat because we do not truly love.

Finally, the prayer of Jesus on the cross makes sense: “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23) Jesus is the Lord of forgiveness. He loved, preached and died in forgiveness. May we forgive others. “Love one another as I have loved you. A person can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.”

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Special Prayer                                 Holy Thursday                                 April 9, 2020

    Because of Covid-19 – social distancing, I replaced the ritual of the washing of the feet with this prayer I shared to Mary Ann, (part-time employee of the parish) after supper – this Holy Thursday.

Let us pray:

Lord and Teacher, abundantly bless your servant Mary Ann Smith who represents every parishioner of ours. May we all respond to your call to follow your example – by washing one another’s feet by responding generously to our neighbour’s needs. In addition, grant us the wisdom to fully live, to apply in our lives every day our Parish Mission Statement: We are called as God’s people to love, serve, grow in faith and journey with all walks of life.

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Homily                                                    Holy Thursday                              April 9, 2020  

Jesus’ life is filled with meaning. In St John’s Gospel, Jesus identifies himself as “the way, the truth and the life.” That’s why after three years of public ministry, he generously answered God’s call, he courageously embarked on the road to Calvary. He fulfilled God’s will. He fully accepted the path that was chosen by his Heavenly Father. Therefore Jesus the Son of God surrendered, he put his trust completely in God, he abandoned himself to the joy of pleasing God.

When we are present at Mass, are we joyful? Or is it a chore, a weekly routine or to fulfill our Sunday obligation? I invite you to take a healthy attitude such as: I am going to meet the Lord, He will give me energy, enthusiasm, strength and the gift of hope. Also, He will inspire me to be there for others, to walk the extra mile for them, to serve them or to respond to their needs. Dear brothers and sisters, this is the true meaning of the washing of the feet. May we treasure Jesus’ words of tonight’s Gospel: “So, if your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.”

Are you aware – in St John’s Gospel, there is no institution of the Eucharist during the Last Supper? Instead, Jesus gives his disciples an outward sign of service, which they are to do also, “wash one another’s feet.” Christian identity is marked by service. As Jesus the Master has done, so should we also do.

On this Holy Thursday evening, may we ponder, reflect and pray. Indeed as we begin to commemorate these sacred days, we call to mind the essential element of Christian identity which is service. Perhaps more than prayer, liturgy or other identifiable markers of our faith, we are called to imitate Jesus in service to others. As Teacher, Jesus was not content to be served but to serve. So let us, too, look for opportunities to be of service to our family, neighbours, friends, fellow parishioners and others who may need our help.

In this time of pandemic, I quote a collect, an opening prayer which is found in the Sacramentary: “Almighty and eternal God, our refuge in every danger, to whom we turn in our distress, in faith we pray look with compassion on the afflicted, grant eternal rest to the dead, comfort to mourners, healing to the sick, peace to the dying, strength to healthcare workers, wisdom to our leaders and the courage to reach out to all in love, so that together we may give glory to your holy name.”

As prayer is a medicine for Covid 19, may we keep in mind that “God helps those who help themselves.” Unfortunately, there are individuals everywhere who do not take seriously the measures highly recommended by the healthcare professionals. May I ask you to pray and be grateful to Dr Heather Morrison, our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier Dennis King, doctors, nurses and all care givers showing loving concern and wanting our well-being and protection.

As homolist, I hope and desire not to lay blame and put down individuals who are not getting it. On the contrary, I pray that they “see the light” and we do our part to stay at home and keep safe.

In the context of Holy Thursday, kind deeds and kind gestures are a form of prayer. I believe it is prayer in itself. How magnificent that Christ the humble servant lowered himself to wash his disciples feet.

And Simon Peter didn’t get it: “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

May I share with you a true, dishonouring and degrading story. An invited guest had gone to a wedding in a small town. At the reception, the bride took the glass of champagne from the best man and announced, “I want to make the toast.” Raising her glass, she continued, “To my husband on the first and last day of our marriage!” With that she threw the champagne in his face and walked majestically out of the hall.

As everyone stood in deep shock, wondering what had happened, it was learned that the previous night  the bride-to-be discovered that her beloved had been unfaithful to her. Such was her anger that, rather than simply calling off the wedding, she preferred to embarrass him in front of all of his friends. Everyone agreed that she succeeded spectacularly.

Think back, however, to the hour before the reception when all were gathered in the church. There, within a beautiful liturgy, when the priest asked whether she took the person at her side, as her husband and she answered yes while all the while her heart was saying no, no, no! – what was actually celebrated?

In conclusion, may we learn this lesson: may there be a link between the Lord’s Eucharist and our daily lives. How tragic when a gap has developed between every day Christian life and the Eucharist.

I pray and hope that we have a better understanding of  Holy Thursday – the Lord’s Eucharist or that we are getting it. May we begin to inspire the self-understanding of Christian life. May we also come to the banquet of the Eucharist to be missioned, to continue the work of Jesus our Teacher and Lord. May we be Eucharistic people – authentic Christians who could support one another with Christ’s example and help.

Prayer of the Faithful       Holy Thursday         April 9, 2020

Celebrant: On the night before he was to suffer and die, we remember the Lord’s selfless love for us. We now serve him with our prayers.

Intentions:

1. Due to the Coronavirus, practicing Catholics grieve the sacraments of the Church, especially the celebrations of the Easter Tridium being cancelled. May the comitted members of the Church be creative and choose rituals which will help them to deepen their faith.                                                        We pray to the Lord

 2. Today, Holy Thursday is the first day of the Easter Tridium. May priests on their feast day have a healthy prayer life, faithfully ponder the Scriptures and be passionate in their ministry.                                                           We pray to the Lord

 3. The Apostle Jude betrayed his Lord and Teacher Jesus. May family and community members realize how unconditional love or reconciliation is important in daily living.                                                                           We pray to the Lord

 4. “Give us this day our daily bread” is one of the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. As the whole world’s economy is in an unpredictable crises, may adults never give up and believe that God always provides.                                We pray to the Lord

 5. The confinement of the dying, mourners and their loved ones is extremely difficult. May Christians be in solidarity with them and lift them up in prayer during the Easter Tridium.                                                        We pray to the Lord

 6. “Sit still and know that I am God” says the Psalmist. May populations fully cooperate with Health Care professionals. In other words, may they stay home, respect social distancing, remain safe and rely on the gift of faith.

We pray to the Lord 

Celebrant: God, our source of nourishment and strength, you have given us the Eucharistic feast to draw us closer to you and to feed us with yourself. Hear our prayers that we who eat at this table might lead lives of gentle service and abounding love. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

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Holy Wednesday, April 8, 2020

                          “Silent Retreat during the whole Easter Tridium”

As I journey with you parishioners, I have informed you through homilies that on the joyous occasion of my 25th anniversary to the priesthood, I experienced a silent retreat from December 22nd – 26th, 2006 at the Bethlehem Hermitage in the small town of Chester, New Jersey.

The Easter Tridium being the most solemn and important celebration of the liturgical year, I am happy to announce that beginning tomorrow in my time of isolation in the rectory, I will begin my second “silent retreat” from Holy Thursday until early Monday morning, April 13. I will return phone calls Monday morning, unless it is an emergency.

I will honour the liturgies of the Easter Tridium. For example, tomorrow evening, I will preside the Eucharist at 8 pm, followed by adoration until midnight. As a symbol of the gathered assembly, I will have on display beautiful pictures of an early gathering of parishioners in front of the church, during a special celebration.

While on retreat, dear parishioners, I will lift you up in prayer. May the Holy Spirit accompany each one of you during the Easter Tridium.

Père Albin Arsenault

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Important notice: Saturday April 4

Confessions during Holy Week has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 circumstances. The deadline date to make your Easter duties is Trinity Sunday, June 7.   Père Albin Arsenault

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Sunday April 5, 2020

To All Parishioners, 

Thank you  for being vigilant during the current COVID 19 epidemic. We want to make sure everyone stays healthy and safe at this time. Fr Albin will be celebrating Mass for all parishioners by himself on Sunday morning and even though there is no one else present, please rest assurred your prayer intentions will be heard. 

You may read his Sunday homily for Palm Sunday and the Prayers of the Faithful below. 

 A reminder to check the Diocese of Charlottetown website for mass times and updates throughout the week at  http://dioceseofcharlottetown.com/sunday-masses-on-tv-othe…/

 We will continue to update our website and Facebook page. Please contact us throughout email if you need information:  palmerroadparish@gmail.com or the parish at 902-882-2622 in an emergency.  

Thank you and may God Bless you all.

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Homily Sunday April 5, 2020

I just finished reading today’s Gospel Passage: The Passion of our Lord. I relived one class of homilitics (teachings on the homily) from my professor – the Oblate Father Eugene King of Ottawa. He emphasized so much on the word experience. In the context of Palm Sunday, what is our own experience of death?

In priestly ministry, I am blessed to journey with the dying. Through their testimony of faith, some of them teach us the true meaning of life. They receive the grace to accept the natural cycle of  life and death. Yet most of us fear it until the very end, because of course, by dying we enter into the great unknown.

As we begin Holy Week, let us admire Jesus who is realistic. He does not avoid what he knows is inevitable, but in fact, heads right into it; coming humbly as always, riding not a horse but a donkey.  Our first reading from Isaiah says with great poetic clarity: “I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.”

Brothers and sisters, we have no ability to face our own death or any death, without fear or shame unless we have a grand, great and deep experience of life. There has to be more than enough of life or we will always fear that death will be bigger and have the power to overcome it.

I appreciate my professor’s wisdom. I affirm those involved in the Hospice movement and their experiences. Their learning does not come from courses in theology and other sources. I’m sure many of you have benefited from hospice if you’ve accompanied a parent or a loved one in those last moments of life.

I witnessed some individuals taking their last breath. At the very end they completely surrendered to the mystery and moved into a kind of peace and freedom, so much that they did not want to be called back.

It’s we, the ones left to live, who are invariably doing all the crying and lamenting, but not the person who is dying. They come, it seems, to an awareness of what is real and what is unreal, what matters and what does not matter at all. Unfortunately, most of us push off that enlightenment – and that’s what it is – until the last hours of life.

What religion is about, and what Jesus is exemplifying by going willingly to his death, is dying before we die. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the only function of religion is to teach us how to die before we die.

Why can’t we get the message earlier, instead of waiting for enlightenment on our death bed? We keep thinking that our very own identity requires wealth, fame and power until we know that they don’t matter at all. They don’t define us. In fact, we recognize that something much greater, much truer and much deeper is given to all of us. But we fight it until the end.

Isn’t it sad? Isn’t it sad that we waste so much of our life in illusion. May we prepare for our own death. May we learn what’s real and what’s unreal, what matters and what doesn’t matter at all. When we get upset, may we ask ourselves: Will this really mean anything in the long run?

Because at the end, death is the great equalizer. Rich and poor, religious leaders and laity, employers and employees –  all sinners die the same. And at the end, all these things that we’ve grasped or thought make us important and significant will pass away. And then we have to say, who am I now?

Our master and teacher Jesus marches on the road to Calvary seemingly without fear, knowing his death will come soon. He marches right into it because he trusted – there is a bigger life. Death is simply the other side of life. May we commit ourselves to face our own death, may we develop the habit to live as if tomorrow or very soon will be our last day; then we will discover what life really means.

So let’s truly follow Jesus this week and face death ahead of time. It’s nothing morbid, tragic or sad. May we face this mystery now, face death now, and then, like Jesus, we will have nothing to be afraid of.

Prayers of The Faithful, Sunday April 5, 2020

 Celebrant: As we commemorate with solemnity the entrance of Jesus into the holy city of Jerusalem, we place our prayers upon the wood of the Cross and ask that they may be received as a humble sacrifice.

 Intentions April 5, 2020:

1. That all who minister in the Church may continue the Ministry of Jesus by continually aligning itself with the poor, marginalized, oppressed and vulnerable.

                                                                                                           We pray to the Lord

2. That all judges, magistrates and lawyers may interpret the law with fairness and work to protect the gift of life in all forms.                                                We pray to the Lord

3. That all of us Islanders truly follow the measures initiated by Dr Heather Morrison and her team to protect us from Covid -19 (Coronavirus). May we rely upon God’s compassion.                                                                                      We pray to the Lord

4, That those who are ill especially Donald McKenna and those nearing death, may know the peace of Christ and find physical and spiritual comfort through the care of others.

                                                                                                           We pray to the Lord

5. That the dead especially Frances Ann Shea, Marion Jones and Danny Shea of Kitchner Ontario, may they accompany the Lord into Paradise. We pray to the Lord

6. That in our community of faith each one may have a humble heart in order to be extra obedient to the self-emptying of Christ. May we present the prayers which dwell in the silence of our hearts (silence).                                                           We pray to the Lord

Celebrant: God of exceeding goodness, you sent your Son Jesus, to reveal your love for the world by his life, death and resurrection. We are most grateful to you for the gift of faith. Hear our prayers. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

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Parish Update: Thursday, April 2

HOLY WEEK: Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday. I quote Shane Ross CBC News Posted March 31, 2020: “Dr Heather Morrison reiterated that there “should be no faith-based in person gatherings on PEI.” As your pastor I encourage you to be creative with your own family, in your own home this Palm Sunday. You may read aloud the Passion or a passage from this Liturgy. You may have a procession holding fresh cedar palms, placing them on a crucifix or holy pictures, accompanied by the Lord’s Prayer and ending with the words: “For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever.”

In Christian life or in the Liturgical Calendar, the Easter Tridium is the most solemn and important celebration of the year, the climax and the main focus. Indeed the Lord’s Paschal Mystery (Christ’s death and resurrection) is the centre of our faith.

In this context, since bells are rung on Holy Thursday during the Gloria and the Masses of Easter, our church bells will be rung: Holy Thursday at 7 pm and Easter Sunday at 12 noon.

May the Holy Spirit accompany you during these holy and inspiring days.

Père Albin Arsenault

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Palmer Road Parish Update: Dr Heather Morrison, PEI’s chief medical officer, reiterated Tuesday, Mar 31 that “there should be no faith-based gatherings on PEI.” For now, the church is open daily for individual prayer time, devotion, Way of the Cross, rosary…  A reminder: ‘Practice physical distance’ in keeping with Dr Morrison’s instructions.   -Père Albin Arsenault

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Click on this link Palmer Road Bulletin to view the front cover and back page of the Sunday bulletin.

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“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28

 Daily from 8 am to 8 pm, the church is unlocked. You are welcome to meet the Lord through your devotions.. Way of The Cross, The Rosary…

 The pandemic of the coronavirus is an opportunity for us to fulfill these words of the Gospel. After Jesus’ baptism, “The spirit drove him out into the wilderness” Mark 1:12

 Père Albin Arsenault

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To All Parishioners, 

Thank you  for being vigilant during the current COVID 19 epidemic. We want to make sure everyone stays healthy and safe at this time. Fr Albin will be celebrating Mass for all parishioners by himself on Sunday morning and even though there is no one else present, please rest assurred your prayer intentions will be heard. 

You may read his Sunday homily for the 5th Sunday in Lent and the Prayers of the Faithful below. 

 A reminder to check the Diocese of Charlottetown website for mass times and updates throughout the week at  http://dioceseofcharlottetown.com/sunday-masses-on-tv-othe…/

 We will continue to update our website and Facebook page. Please contact us throughout email if you need information:  palmerroadparish@gmail.com or the parish at 902-882-2622 in an emergency.  

Thank you and may God Bless you all

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The trip to Our Lady of the Cape Shrine at Cap de la Madelaine in Quebec from May 15-18 with PEI Pilgrimages Ltd. has been cancelled.  For further information please contact Gary Clow at 902-569-3945.

 5th Sunday of Lent

 

Prayers Of The Faithful

Celebrant: With Martha we proclaim “you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one coming into the world,” and so with faith we bring our needs before the Lord.

Intentions:

 1. For religious leaders, catechists and all who share the faith with others, may their relationship with Jesus, the risen one, inspire and strengthen their ministry.

                                                                                                      We pray to the Lord

 2. For the whole world afflicted with coronavirus, may everyone cooperate with their prime minister, premier and health care officials.                         We pray to the Lord

 3. For those mourning the loss of a loved one, may they know the comfort and care of Jesus who wept at the tomb of his friend Lazarus.                         We pray to the Lord

 4. For all those who are struggling with addictions and those dealing with a serious illness, especially Donald McKenna, Fr Gerald Tingley and Fr Paul Egan that they may be set free and raised to a new life.                                                  We pray to the Lord

 5. For all the dead, especially Eva Doucette. May they behold the truth that Jesus is “the resurrection and the life.”

                                                                                                          We pray to the Lord

 6.  For us all, may we bring our prayers to the Lord for healing in our lives where death and darkness have crept in. In addition, for our own prayer petitions (silence).

                                                                                                          We pray to the Lord

 Celebrant:  God, source of hope and life everlasting, your Son is “the ressurection and the life.” Hear our prayers that our faith in you might be strengthened and our lives transformed. We ask this through Christ our Lord.

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Homily for March 29, 2020

A little boy was afraid of the dark. One night his mother told him to go out to the back porch and bring her the broom. The little boy turned to his mother and said, “Mom, I don’t want to go out there. It’s dark.” The mother smiled reassuringly at her son. “Jesus is out there. He’ll look after you and protect you.” The little boy looked at the mother real hard and asked, “Are you sure he’s out there?” “Yes, I’m sure. He is everywhere and he is always ready to help you when you need him,” she said. The little boy thought about that for a minute and then went to the back door and shouted: “Jesus? If you’re out there, would you please hand me the broom.”

In two weeks we will recall the death of Jesus, but today we are confronted with the death of Lazarus. It seems we’re being asked to think about what we would prefer not to think about: death. And to ponder the little boy’s question, “Jesus, are you out there in the dark? Really?”

In answer, let me share with you two examples that indicate that Jesus is out there in the dark. First of all, in the early 80′s, my friend, the only mentor I ever had – Fr Wallie Reid battled terminal cancer for two years then died at the young age of 53. At that time, I was only 27 years old. Carrying numerous responsibilities, feeling insecure and grieving my friend’s guidance brought stress and much darkness in my life.

I truly believe that the Risen Christ was there. He inspired me. I chose to keep in touch with the Reid family. Deep down, I respected my true self, my own belief. A few weeks after my ordination, a brother priest with 17 years of ministry, took the initiative to give me advice: “Since you are the baby priest of the diocese, may you not get attached to people; you will suffer the consequences.” Knowing that he meant well, I remained silent. I took a stand: he is speaking to the wrong guy because my understanding of ministry is to journey with people. Why should I be cold with parishioners and isolate myself? I still and will always honour this personal commitment as with the Reid family and I keep in touch. It was a wise decision on my part.

Another situation of darkness in my life was in the Fall of 1988. A close friend of mine, in his 40′s, had been diagnosed with liver cancer. How unfair! I always considered this friend to be a very-well balanced person, someone who always took care of himself, never abused his body, family and community-oriented, kind and positive. Considering how he was leaving behind his loving wife and soul-mate and three young children, he accepted his death and he even said to his parish priest: “We will meet, again, in heaven.”

This sad situation really troubled me. I questioned the priest’s advice. Could he be right, not to get attached and close to people?  After much reflection, I have drawn my own conclusion: May I remain faithful to the Lord’s two greatest commandments: “love God, love your neighbour as yourself.”

Dear brothers and sisters, may we keep in mind what Jesus said: “I know mine and mine know me.” “I no longer call you servants but friends.” That is our hope. May we find it comforting to know that Jesus can sit with us and truly empathize when we experience loss. He’s been there. I encourage you to reflect back upon times of loss in your own life. Express your thanks for those who have been there for you.

Finally, today’s Gospel story: Lazarus second life journey and the two sisters greatest consolation teaches us that God has promised to open our graves and raise the dead to new life. Christ, who died and rose again, is the first fruit of this promise. He comes to us in the Eucharist. And, as we believe in the power of his Spirit, he gives us a further pledge of eternal life.

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Pope Francis

 Intention of the Holy Father, Pope Francis for March, 2020:

Catholics in China: We pray that the Church in China may persevere in its faithfulness to the Gospel and grow in unity.