Welcome to the website for Immaculate Conception Parish in Palmer Road and Our Lady of Assumption in Miminegash, Prince Edward Island.
– Père Albin Arsenault
Effective Sunday, March 28th, church attendance is now 2 cohorts of 50 people for 100 total at weekend masses.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
June 1, 2021
Chief Junior Gould
Chief Darlene Bernard
Senator Brian Francis
Diocese of Charlottetown
I am deeply sorry, along with you and all the indigenous peoples, for the unacceptable and untimely deaths of 215 children from residential schools in Kamloops, British Columbia.
I fully understand that you are entitled to raise numerous questions and to receive answers as to why such a calamity had occurred.
As a Roman Catholic priest, I am scandalized, disturbed and appalled that residential schools run by religious communities experienced such atrocities. I quote reflective words from the Rule of St Benedict: “We are not to be a burden on society. We are not an elite … Benedictine work is intent on building the kingdom, not on destroying it.” Hurtful secrets, missed opportunities for transparency and their devastating effects attack every part of our lives or injure our hearts. It can destroy our very souls. As I question the circumstances surrounding the issue, in consciousness, a significant meaning is much needed in the long journey towards healing.
What comes to mind is every December 28th, the Roman Catholic Church commemorates the innocent deaths of children up to two years old; King Herod’s order wishing and succeeding to destroy the life of the infant Jesus – the Messiah. These lives are remembered.
On my behalf, I affirm those who have expressed meaning rituals (gatherings, speeches, interviews with the media, flags lowered to half-mast, infants’ shoes placed on the statue of Sir John A MacDonald.) Such gestures promote solidarity, non-violence and peace.
The deaths of the 215 young children is part of our dark and sad history. Finally, in solidarity, I pray for indigenous communities and all leaders not to be indifferent towards violence, to be responsible for their actions and to accept the challenge to reconcile our past.
Rev Albin Arsenault, pastor
Immaculate Conception Parish,
Palmer Road, PEI
Sunday, June 13th, 2021
Homily 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time June 13, 2021
We know that farmers are busy at this time of year. They work out the land, they plant seeds, they witness growth and look forward for fruition and the harvest.
June is also the month of Graduations. At gatherings the Graduates, their family members, school personnel and friends hear speeches of affirmation, encouragement and best wishes for a bright future.
We are seasonal people. As we attend Mass or the Eucharist, the Church too has a calendar. We are back in Ordinary Time after having completed Lent, the Easter Season, Trinity Sunday and the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.
As we celebrate today the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, I proclaimed to you the Parable of the Mustard Seed. First of all, may I say that parables are stories that leave the listener with the responsibility of figuring out just what they mean. The ideal for us is to see ourselves in the story. Once we see ourselves in the story, the story takes on a whole new meaning and then we understand.
The “mustard seed” is the smallest of all seeds. Interestingly, “when it is sown, it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs.” Every seed grows in different stages. The mystery of growth belongs to the seed. Growth takes time. It is usually a slow process. Therefore as human beings and Christian believers, may we be patient, vigilant, and make sure that we grow in wisdom and prosper.
Dear friends, was Jesus insinuating that something small can grow into something great? Was Jesus perhaps saying that a small baby that was born in a humble stable would grow up to become a Saviour, and people would find comfort and security in him?
Could Jesus have been saying that the Christian Church, which began with a tiny gathering of fearful men in a small upper room in Jerusalem, would one day become a gathering of more than two billion people who find their hope in him?
Or could this parable mean that if we only have faith the size of a mustard seed (that’s another teaching of Jesus), our faith will mature and grow, and it will be enough to bring us to eternal life?
Could the mustard seed be the child in our midst? You know how much Jesus loved little children; how He would take them on his knees and bless them. Could Jesus be using the words of a parable to remind the father of every age that our children are our greatest resource and our greatest responsibility? If the mustard seeds are our children and our purpose is to nurture them, encourage them, protect them and guide them, until they grow up to become the greatest of all shrubs?
Let us be realistic. To grow to maturity as a human being is the job of a lifetime. To build a good relationship with someone takes time. To get to know and understand one’s children takes time. To overcome one’s sins and weaknesses takes time.
In short, let us be patient. We live in the world of push button; all we have to do is press a button or turn a switch and things happen. Unfortunately, the push button encourages the minimum effort, the shortcut approach to everything. There is no button to raise up children well. For some things, there are no shortcuts.
May I end by giving credit to the farmer of the parable who did his part – he sowed the seed. Things are now beyond his control. The one thing he wanted to see happen, namely, for the seed to grow, he couldn’t do anything at all. All he could do was wait in patience, humility and hope.
I pray that we all allow God to take over. There is an almighty power working for us. Our job is to sow the seed. Any farmer will tell you that. If we do the right thing, the harvest will come. But can we be patient, can we wait, can we trust?
Prayer of the Faithful 11thSunday in Ordinary Time June 13, 2021
Celebrant: In today’s Second Reading, St Paul reminds us the “we walk by faith, not by sight.” With confidence in the Lord our God’s generosity and compassion, let us place our needs before him.
1. For all Christians, may they grow in faith and bear much fruit.
We pray to the Lord
2. For Donald McKenna, Leona Perry, Most Rev Richard Grecco, all the sick and the dying; may they be connected to our Lord Jesus Christ and journey in faith. May their loved ones and members of medical staffs accompany them.
We pray to the Lord
3. For all the dead – As they shared their gift of life, may they receive their heavenly reward.
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God of all goodness, you sent your Son Jesus to teach about your kingdom through parables. Hear our prayers (silence) that we might plant the seeds of the kingdom and trust in your providence to bring them to fruition. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Sunday, June 6th, 2021
Homily Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ June 6, 2021
Since Pentecost is over, Trinity Sunday and the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ are celebrated during Ordinary Time, the period of year when the Church emphasized Jesus’ public ministry. Also, all year round we continually give much importance to the Lord’s Paschal Mystery, his death and resurrection.
Since the annual Priest Retreat two weeks ago, I am still grateful to the Bishop of Pembroke, Ontario, Most Rev Guy Desrocher who was our retreat Master. Every conference was on the Eucharist. He chose as theme: He loved them to the end. For example, he gave a whole talk on Sacrifice which is one aspect of the Eucharist. Of course, it connects with today’s feast: Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
Jesus offered his life to God. He generously and freely gave his total self: his body and blood. Blood is life. The people of ancient Israel knew that. They used blood in rituals. Therefore the sacrificial ritual of the Eucharist is clear from Jesus’ words and actions at the Last Supper. Indeed we remember the Last Supper at every liturgy – during the Eucharistic Prayer especially the words of consecration. In other words, Jesus’ selfless act of love becomes present to us once again so that we can be transformed. Today’s feast invites us to ponder the power and depth of Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
As we participate at this celebration, we remember Jesus’ sacrifice for his people and how that sacrifice is connected to the past. But it is not a historical event; we commemorate, we celebrate Christ’s presence among us.
The Holy Sacrifice now takes place at this liturgy. The blood that pulses through our veins is a sign of our living state; without that blood we die. Christ’s blood is that of the Lamb of God, and it is the blood of the final sacrifice, the only sacrifice needed for our salvation.
Dear brothers and sisters, Christ wants us to receive him in the Eucharist. When we receive the Eucharist we receive the Body, Blood, soul and divinity of our Lord who saved us.
But part of the truth is so often do we celebrate the Eucharist that we may forget the wonder and mystery contained in this sacrament. The bread and wine we offer on this altar – the gift of God and the work of human hands – will become for us the true Flesh and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave up his life that we might live forever.
Through today’s feast, may we take the opportunity to renew our faith in Christ, to commit ourselves to daily nourish our Christian life. I mean may we never come here as strangers or silent spectators. On the contrary, we should take part in the sacred action conscious of what is taking place, with devotion and full of collaboration. May we give thanks to God, may we be witnesses of the innocent victim, not only through the hands of the priest, but also with him, we should learn to also offer ourselves. Through Christ the Mediator, we should be drawn day by day into ever perfect union with God and with each other, so that finally God may be all in all.
It’s clear that our active participation is necessary if we are to obtain the abundance of spiritual nourishment that the Mass can give us. We must not be present as strangers or silent spectators, for we have been baptized into the family of God, and are present at Mass as members of the Assembly of the People of God. As such we are called to worship God. We are there to be nourished by the Word of God, to receive the Body of Christ. We are also there to join in giving thanks to God for our redemption.
And today, it is so fitting to pray that the Lord may not only inspire priest-presiders, also those involved in liturgical roles so that everyone may have a clearer understanding of the rite of the Mass. May we become more devout and active in the sacramental life of the Church. Finally, in daily living may we have a deeper faith in the Lord.
Prayer of the Faithful Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ June 6, 2021
Celebrant: In the Eucharist, Jesus gives himself to us as bread and wine. Let us turn to the one who satisfies our deepest hunger and place our petitions before him.
1. For members of the Church including ourselves, may we always be grateful for the gift of the Eucharist in our lives.
We pray to the Lord
2. For Donald McKenna, Leona Perry, Most Rev Richard Grecco and for all who suffer from food insecurity, especially children and the elderly, may their needs be provided for today and every day.
We pray to the Lord
3. For our deceased loved ones – may they feast joyfully at the eternal banquet of Christ’s generous gift of his total self.
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Loving and gracious God, you provide for all our needs, giving even of your very self in the Body and Blood of your Son Jesus. Hear our prayers (silence) that in feasting at this table we might know your love and share it to others. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Sunday, May 30th, 2021
Homily Most Holy Trinity May 30, 2021
As I get older, each day I realize that I am my Dad all out; father like son. People from the Evangeline area often tell me that physically, I truly belong to the large family of the “Joe Antoine” and resemble them.
At the beginning of May, in St John’s Gospel, these words of Jesus were proclaimed: “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” The Holy Spirit inspired Jesus or Jesus was a Spirit-filled human being. Being in relationship with our Triune God is what today’s Solemnity is all about.
God is made of these divine persons: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The three exist in “perfect relationship.” Since we are made in God’s image and likeness, we are also called to live in community. Our Triune God exists in relationships. We are not meant to be solitary creatures without community.
Today’s feast reminds us that we have been baptized – “in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” May we always be in relationship with God and with one another. Therefore God wants all of us to participate in the life of Trinity.
It is what it is. The word Trinity does not appear in Scripture readings; yet we see evidence of our Triune God throughout the Bible. It is through God the Son and the Holy Spirit that we can call on the Father, crying “Abba” “Daddy”.
As affective sons and daughters of Abba Father, we belong to a culture of individualism. Today’s church is so blessed by Pope Francis’ wisdom and his pastoral leadership. He warns us in today’s world that “our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt and the desire to do good fades.” (End of quote)
In his exhortation: The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis acknowledges that we suffer from anonymity. He’s right on! Priests are in shock especially after celebrations of baptisms, marriages and funerals. When they meet, for the first time, complete strangers who live permanently in their own faith community. Indeed, the Church suffers from anonymity. “The Church must look more closely and sympathetically at others whenever necessary.” Our Pope encourages us also to develop “the art of accompaniment” in our Christian lives.
In conclusion, in today’s Gospel, Jesus interacts with his disciples. As he ascended into heaven, Jesus’ Spirit remains with them, sustaining them, inspiring them and leading them. Two thousand years later, we bear witness to the continued fulfillment of Jesus’ promise. He is “with us always” as we take up his command to bring the good news of his love to the ends of the earth.
Prayer of the Faithful Most Holy Trinity May 30, 2021
Celebrant: Our God of love is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Doing as he commanded us, we lift up our prayers for the needs of the world.
1. For the Church, that she may be a sign of God’s love in the world, embracing diversity and building community.
We pray to the Lord
2. For Donald McKenna, Leona Perry, Most Reverend Richard Grecco, and all the sick, for the elderly and infirm who require long term care, may they know their preciousness in the eyes of God and their importance within the community of faith.
We pray to the Lord
3. For all the faithful departed – May they be authentic sons and daughters of the Triune God.
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Loving Father, you revealed your Son as a God of perfect relationship; love that knows no end. May our relationships bear witness to your presence and dominion in our world. Also hear our prayers (silence), through Christ our Lord.
Sunday, May 23rd, 2021
Homily Pentecost Sunday May 23, 2021
It is at Pentecost when the Church was born. Therefore church members: Happy Birthday. A birthday is a celebration of life. Most people associate a birthday as a joyful and special day of the year. Family members usually affirm, offer best wishes and present gifts to their loved one for his – her happy occasion.
I am proud of the introduction of today’s homily. I shared with you “positive thinking”. There is much negativity in today’s Church. I hear all the time: it’s the gathering of grey and white haired people. We rarely see young families and teenagers at the Sunday Mass. Lay people, members of congregations have unrealistic expectations of their priests and ministers. Many priests complain they are overworked and noticed that after celebrations of baptism, First Communion and Confirmation, these families do not honour their commitment to their Church membership and their Christian community.
As we end the Easter Season today, how can I remain positive on this Pentecost Sunday? I constantly need to develop positive attitudes and to fully live the authenticity of the Church and its feast days. For example, my retreat from December 10-26, 2006 with monks and hermits and my silent retreat during the Easter Tridium – the lockdown of April 2020 were very Spirit-filled and most significant in my life; happy and enriching encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. May the Holy Spirit continue to inspire, guide and strengthen me and all of us as Christian and missionary disciples.
I choose now to emphasize the word “authenticity”. As true meaning of today’s Feast of Pentecost, we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of love, truth and unity- upon the Church.
The Holy Spirit keeps the Church alive. Indeed, the Holy Spirit is active in the life of the Church both in the guidance of the hierarchy and in the lives of the baptized. In other words, the Holy Spirit guides the Church and lives with each person; each of us can ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and guidance.
In order to have hope for the future of the Church may we all experience a renewed personal encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ who is the founder of the Church. She exists because of the presence of the Holy Spirit. May He gift us with the “joy of the Gospel,” the joy to be evangelized and the joy to evangelize our brothers and sisters. May I remind you: Gospel means good news. Since we live in the era of Pentecost may we be witnesses and joyful messengers of the Gospel.
Today’s feast of Pentecost challenges us to think positive, to be joyful and not dwell on the negativity and struggles of the Church.
And today, on this feast of Pentecost, let us again invite the Holy Spirit to renew us in fidelity to follow in Christ’s footsteps, the same footsteps that led to the vulnerability of the cross and also the glory of the empty tomb.
Prayer of the Faithful Pentecost Sunday May 23, 2021
Celebrant: Renewed by the Word of God and animated with the gift of the Holy Spirit, let us confidently bring our needs before the Lord.
1. That today’s Solemnity of Pentecost reminds us baptized people to use the Holy Spirit’s gifts wisely.
We pray to the Lord
2. That those who are seriously ill especially Donald McKenna, Leona Perry, Most Reverend Richard Grecco: may have the Spirit of Peace reign in their hearts.
We pray to the Lord
3. That all who have died especially Leonard Bernard may be filled with peace and joy as they now encounter the God of infinite and unconditional love.
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God of all blessings, with attentive care you nurture and sustain all that you have created. Hear our prayers (silence) that by meeting you in word and sacrament we might be inspired to build a society governed by peace and justice. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Sunday, May 16th, 2021
Homily Ascension of the Lord May 16, 2021
There are different steps in Christian life. The journey begins at baptism. Around the age of reason – seven years old, children make their First Communion. In the early teens, the local bishop administers the Sacrament of Confirmation. These three joyful Church events are called the sacraments of initiation. Such celebrations and rituals are much needed; concrete signs aiming to grow in faith in the Lord.
As we are called to treasure our faith, the Church also offers two sacraments, two beautiful vocations: marriage, holy orders-priesthood and religious life.
May we all consider confession and the anointing of the sick – these two sacraments of healing as blessings.
Why have I introduced you to the seven sacraments of the Church on our feast day of the Ascension of the Lord?
Dear brothers and sisters, Jesus ascended into heaven; his body was not left on earth because his resurrected person went to heaven. Indeed, our Lord ascended to heaven and now lives with the Father in God’s home. Though he lives in heaven, he is with his brothers and sister too, as we live our lives on earth. Jesus will be with his people until the end of time.
How true that Jesus Christ is Lord of heaven and earth. While no longer physically here on earth, Christ is with us through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. The Risen Christ taught the disciples how his life, death and Resurrection fulfilled what had been written in Scripture. As he prepared to ascend, Jesus instructed all of us that here on earth we have a mission to accomplish: “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation … while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.” The signs are our seven sacraments of the Church, special encounters with the Lord.
Jesus has called us to witness to his life, death, and resurrection. Our words about his love is stronger than hatred and his light is stronger than darkness will mean nothing if they are not also echoed in the way we live our lives.
As the feast of the Ascension of the Lord is a perfect time to reexamine our lives and our faith, we need to witness to Christ’s life and love in the way that we live and the words that we speak.
Prayer of the Faithful Ascension of the Lord May 16, 2021
Celebrant: Jesus commands us to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to all creatures. That all people will know we are Christians by our actions, let us pray for the needs of our world.
1. That the Church may truly reflect on the radiance of the Ascended Lord.
We pray to the Lord
2. That the light of Christ may shine brightly on all those who suffer physically and mentally especially Donald McKenna, Leona Perry, Most Reverend Richard Grecco, Daisy Clements.
We pray to the Lord
3. That all the faithful departed especially Alphonse Profit be given a place to be seated at God’s right hand in his kingdom.
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God of wisdom, your Son Jesus ascended into heaven and sits at your right hand interceding for us. Hear our prayers (silence) that our hearts might be opened to proclaim and to fully live the Gospel. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Sunday, May 9th, 2021
Homily Sixth Sunday of Easter May 9, 2021
It was proclaimed to us in last Sunday’s Gospel: “Abide in me.” Today it is much clearer: “Abide in my love”. Today’s Gospel is the second half of Jesus’ Parable of the True Vine. He speaks these words during the Last Supper as he prepares his disciples for what is to come – the fear and the heartache of his passion and death as well as the mystery of his resurrection. We are not only to remain in him, Jesus commands his followers: “remain in my love.”
It seems to me that today’s society does not like to hear the word: “command”. People want their own independence, freedom and expect to live by their own beliefs. For example: On Friday morning, April 30th, I was listening to an interview on the radio. This certain woman, probably in her early seventies was emphasizing so much on the word “person” and saying that it should not matter whether you have sexual intimacy with any man or woman. Where is the morality? During preparations of the Sacrament of Marriage, I journeyed with a few couples (too many for me) open to different opinions – mentioning the word if our relationship isn’t working; I’ve done my best to explain that they have chosen to enter into a lifelong commitment and should be concentrating on efforts to build a happy marriage, to make it work and to “bear fruit, fruit that will last”.
Dear brothers and sisters, choosing not to be committed or sounding indifferent towards responsibilities is scary and unhealthy. May we keep in mind that Jesus reminds us that his teachings are not intended as a burden, but instead as a gift so that his joy might be in us and our joy be complete. May we continually realign ourselves away from being irresponsible, and confused; also from unclearness and darkness and toward light, away from anger and hatred to love, and away from despair and bitterness to hope and joy. Today’s Scripture passages offer us a simple way to check in with our progress along the spiritual path. What is the state of our joy? What is the state of our love? If we find ourselves lacking in either of these areas, Jesus offers us an invitation. We need not turn away to shame and guilt, but instead only let ourselves experience the peace of God as we rest in the love of Jesus, the true vine.
Peace and love of God, I wish to each one of you. But we need to respond to Christ’s peace and love. How? First: A prayer life is expected from us. We need to spend time in prayer with the Lord each day. May I add training ourselves to listen attentively when the Word of God is proclaimed to us. After having listened to today’s readings, is there a word, a certain verse more significant to us than before? Of course, may we develop a similar attitude as Mary: “I am the handmaid of the Lord … let what you have said be done to me.”
Second: Another way to respond to Christ’s peace and love is wanting to improve ourselves to change or to transform “our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh”. Indeed, God’s Word became flesh. Jesus his Son fulfilled the Scriptures. Therefore may we remain one of his disciples in the sense to be faithful to his commandment: “love one another as I have loved you.’
Third – and the third way: May we become more and more aware that love comes from God. Those who truly love have knowledge of God. Are certain saints, spiritual authors and some believers of our community inspiring us? Can we see the presence of Christ in others?
As Pentecost Sunday – the ending of the Easter Season – this May 23rd is approaching, may we hope and pray that we permanently recognize the Risen Christ. It’s a matter for us to be alert to not blindly following orders Jesus gave to us. Instead, Jesus calls us his friends and expects us “to love one another” in the same fashion. In other words, Jesus calls us friends and not servants because we are meant to respond to his teaching out of love for God and neighbour.
Prayer of the Faithful 6th Sunday of Easter May 9, 2021
Celebrant: Jesus commands us to love one another as he loves us. In doing so, we pray for the needs of our world.
1. That Pope Francis, all bishops, priests, deacons and lay-ministers may model discipleship by laying down their lives for the good of God’s people.
We pray to the Lord
2. For the suffering and all who are seriously ill especially Donald McKenna, Leona Perry, Most Reverend Richard Grecco – May their caregivers and loved ones show their concern and share their faith in God’s healing and saving power.
We pray to the Lord
3. That all married couples may live as friends with the Lord as the center of their marriage. May we also lift up in prayer all Mothers who are grateful today to their loved ones who acknowledge their huge impact in family life.
We pray to the Lord
4. That our deceased relatives and friends – have great reverence to God and his saints in the heavenly home.
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Loving God, your Son called his disciples – friends for showing them the meaning of selfless love. Indeed, teach us to truly love one another. And hear our prayers (silence). We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Sunday, May 2nd, 2021
Homily Fifth Sunday of Easter May 2, 2021
The last vineyard I saw was in St Nicholas – near Miscouche two summers ago. Is it ever “hard word” taking care of a vineyard. My friend and I were highly impressed how these two owners kept their vineyard so tidy. May I also add that it is a long process before the owners will sell wine from their vineyard.
In priestly ministry, these words also apply to laypeople; we are called to work in the Lord’s vineyard, and to bear fruit. Therefore, may we let the Word of God abide in us. That is a great investment of our time! That doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time.
I comfort myself by having this attitude. Sharing the Gospel with others doesn’t require fancy words, special knowledge, or memorization of Scripture. Indeed, when I speak plainly and show the Gospel in our lives, we are sharing Jesus with others.
Love is more than a feeling of warmth towards another person; love is something to be lived in truth and action. Love is a choice we make each moment of our days.
When we abide in the Word of God, namely, believing in Jesus Christ and loving one another, we are abiding in God, and it is promised that God then abides in us.
Since First Communion took place in our parish community, last Tuesday evening, I now share encouraging words to children: We don’t need to be adults to let others know about Jesus. Jesus is all about love in its perfection. So love is something for us to do – to showing all the time. While we will never be perfect in our love of one another, we must always strive, to make the effort to choose love over selfishness or meanness.
Today, Jesus’ parable of the “true vine” urges us to “abide” in him, to remain in him, for it is only in remaining that we will be able to bear great fruit. To be more precise, Jesus tell us that when we are filled with goodness, only through our connection with Him, because “without Him, we can do nothing.”
As we continue to live into the Easter Mystery of the Lord who calls us to newness of life in Him, let us consider how we are being pruned and how we are called to remain. In addition, may we give thanks for the mysterious ways in which we are pruned by the Living Word.
Lord Jesus, you are the living vine, and we are the branches. Help us to remain in you always, just as you remain forever in your Church. Prune from our hearts those things that prevent us from following you in freedom.
Prayer of the Faithful 5th Sunday of Easter May 2, 2021
Celebrant: In today’s second reading, St John writes: “We receive from God whatever we ask and do what pleases him.” In perfect trust, let us bring our needs before the Lord.
1. For God’s holy church, by remaining on the true vine may it bear great fruit for the glory of God and the service of all people.
We pray to the Lord
2. For the well-being of Donald McKenna, Leona Perry, Most Rev Richard Grecco. Therefore for health care workers, may they receive the support necessary to care for the sick with skill and compassion.
We pray to the Lord
3. For all the faithful departed – May they remain in God always in the eternal home.
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God of peace, with tenderness and compassion you call us away from sin to the fullness of life in your presence. Hear our prayers (silence) that by your grace we might build communities where all will flourish and find welcome. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Sunday, April 25th, 2021
Homily Fourth Sunday of Easter April 25, 2021
Since the beginning of Vatican II Council, the early 60’s, the Church dedicates a Sunday and invites baptized people to pray for religious vocations. Due to the lack of priests, to closing of convents and few seminaries in our country, am I wasting my time to deliver a homily and to promote vocations? I enjoy the challenge. As I grow in faith and as parish ministry fulfills me, I remain serene, I accept the reality as it is, and it is a fact: the Church will never disappear or die. As Jesus is its founder and as he is our Good Shepherd, I keep myself going, I am hopeful; the Holy Spirit continues to guide me and to respond to all my needs.
As priests, those in religious vocations and as members of God’s people, may we experience or witness Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to others in Christ’s name. In our path as disciples, may we give of ourselves and truly serve others.
Dear friends, the Church itself is the witness of an authentically Christian life. Pope Paul VI observed that “in modern times, people listen more willingly to witnesses than to teachers. Or when people do listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” (End of quote) Jesus the Good Shepherd also teaches us today that those “who listen to my voice, so there will be one flock, one shepherd.” This one Shepherd is inclusive: he tends the sheep that do not belong to this fold. In gathering the lost and searching for the scattered, Jesus does the work of his Father who desires that all should be found, welcomed, loved, cherished in the family of God.
At the present time, I have quite a challenge. I speak to a gathered assembly where there are few, if any teenagers present to hear this homily. To promote priesthood and religious vocations is no easy task. I know parents who have a small family and would never think to encourage one of their sons to study for the priesthood or join a religious community. In addition, year after year, coordinators of catechetics struggle to find volunteers to teach catechetical classes to students.
It is what it is. Parishes lack leadership. After sacraments of baptism, first communion or the Eucharist and Confirmation, young families do not honour their commitment to gather on Sunday at this celebration of the Eucharist. It’s the trend; it’s beyond comprehension! People on the Island acknowledge there’s no more priests. Forty percent of our priests are from India. What is our contribution? Once in a while, we hear in Church the prayer: For new vocations: for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Sorry; it’s not enough! We need to deal with this wake-up call.
As baptized people, we need to follow Jesus in order to be his disciples; his brothers and sisters throughout the whole universe. May St Théresa of Liseaux inspire us: “Love comprised all vocations … O Jesus, my love, love is eternal … my vocation at least I have found it. My vocation is love. I have found my place in the Church and it is you. In the heart of the Church, My Mother I shall be Love. Thus I shall be everything and thus my dream will be realized.” (End of quote) Is Christ truly the center of our lives?
In conclusion, we disciples of Christ need authenticity. May priests and all church leaders be true shepherds. May they smell their sheep. May the lay people also bear fruitful love. In order to live this is what Chiara Lubich has to say: “For without Christ, without priests – Christ, the world today, with its marvelous and extraordinary discoveries does not live. It is dying and will die. Christ alone is life.” (Priests today page 89)
Prayer of the Faithful 4th Sunday of Easter April 25, 2021
Celebrant: Knowing that we are all loved and sustained by Jesus, the Good Shepherd, let us entrust all of our needs to his gracious care.
1. For all Christians called to follow the Good Shepherd, may they serve with humility. Indeed may they promote the Life of Christ.
We pray to the Lord
2. For those who are suffering especially the sick: Donald McKenna, Leona Perry, Most Rev Richard Grecco, May they have an open mind and an open heart; in other words may they listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd.
We pray to the Lord
3. For our deceased loved ones, May they truly connect to Jesus the Good Shepherd in the eternal home.
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Loving God, you gave us your Son Jesus the Good Shepherd who never leaves the flock unattended. As caring shepherd, respond to all our needs, through Christ our Lord.
Sunday, April 18th, 2021
Homily Third Sunday of Easter April 18, 2021
Human experiences help us to understand passages of the Word of God. I am pleased to talk to you about a very pleasant school bus driver. He would greet each student with a broad grin and say every Friday afternoon: “Have a good weekend especially on Sunday.” Looking back, I realize that he was one of those rare individuals who is truly content with life, who knows the taste of happiness.
At the beginning of April, we wish one another: “Happy Easter!” And the Easter Season lasts 50 days. Today, in the Proclamation of the Gospel of the third Sunday of Easter, Jesus said to his disciples: “Peace be with you.” … why are you frightened and why do doubts arise in your hearts? … The Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” Since we live in the era of Christ’s Resurrection, may each one of us know the taste of happiness.
Do we really comprehend happiness? Most of us believe that we could be happy if we only had more money. It is not necessarily true. Happiness is the fruit that grows from contentment. Happiness comes when we are content with what has been given to us and what we have achieved with whatever gifts we have been given. But to possess such a sense of contentment is not easy since our consumer society is based on creating discontent. Daily in the media we are persuaded to buy something bigger and better. We are called to constantly upgrade our appliances and improve our possessions so that the market will remain strong. We do not need a large TV screen or top of the line furniture in order to be happy. May I add this is luxury more than a need.
An excellent Eastertide reflection would be to take time to appreciate all the sources of happiness that are ours today. Let us be grateful for good health, shelter, good friends, family, the peace of our national life and that most precious of all gifts: life. Easter is the feast of New Life. And if we could truly appreciate what a gift it is to be simply alive, how could we help but be happy?
Taking time each day to experience contentment with what we have and with who we truly are, especially in the light of the Resurrection, would make it easier to wish others the gift of happiness. When we are content, we can offer others a gift that we already possess. Then every Sunday, if not every day, would be what I believe it was for that joyful school bus driver who still inspires me.
In other words, not only on Sunday, but every day, may we be joyful witnesses of Christ’s death and resurrection, of this annual joyful feast of New Life. We renew our faith and announce His Good News since as Easter people our lives are filled with joyful alleluias.
Prayer of the Faithful 3rd Sunday of Easter April 18, 2021
Celebrant: “This is the day that the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad.” We are at peace for we know the Lord is in our midst. Let us now pray for his peace to embrace our world.
1. That those responsible to select the successor to Most Reverend Richard Grecco chose a true shepherd, a leader who will collaborate with priests and the lay-people. We pray to the Lord
2. That those who suffer from serious illness especially Donald McKenna, Leona Perry, and Most Reverend Richard Grecco, may persevere in their faith.
We pray to the Lord
3. That the dead, especially David Wedge, may be washed in the Blood of the Lamb and welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven.
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God, author of life, you raised your Son Jesus from the dead and through him offer eternal life to all people. Hear our prayers (silence) that nourished by your word, we might hear it and share it with others . We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Sunday, April 11th, 2021
Homily Second Sunday of Easter April 11, 2021
St John the Evangelist gives these details after Jesus’ death; his appearance to his disciples: “he showed them his hands and his side.” They saw his scars.
Comes to mind the last time I was bitten by a dog. The owner was a witness and was in such shock. Her dog ripped my T-shirt and I inherited a scar. Because the dog bite happened the day after my Dad’s death, I always associated the scar with my loved-ones passing.
On a positive note, a scar symbolizes healing. I had made the mistake of choosing the wrong attitude – reminding myself of my significant loss and a stressful situation.
May I add that a scar challenges us “to swallow our pride.” Years ago, a friend of mine, a school teacher, refused to see me without his front teeth. It made sense to me!
Let us remember that Jesus was crucified. Christ took his wounds into the grave and did not disown them in his resurrection. Because if his wounds, Jesus is now credibly in touch with wounded humanity; with the wounded in body and spirit, those hurt by society, the victims of domestic and global violence, those suffering from their own addictions. And we know only too well our own wounds. Such wounds reveal our need for one another and, therefore, the potential for the building of a compassionate, healing community that witnesses to the love of the Wounded Healer.
Every first Sunday after Easter, we are introduced to the apostle Thomas. Unfortunately, he’s better known as “the doubting Thomas”. What a negative approach! Being transparent and open, Thomas is able to touch and feel his Master’s wounds. “My Lord and my God!” he cries, Christ is truly here a wounded healer – and beyond that, a teacher, a friend and a brother.
Liturgically, this attention to the “scars” of Christ should call us to his humanity with his divinity, and that we are invited to share that with him, one day. May we learn to accept us as we are, to embrace, to fully accept our scars so that we can reach out to those who are deeply wounded. I invite all of us to be “good Samaritans,” to journey and offer our caring support to the brokenhearted.
“On the first day of the week,” Risen Lord, you greeted your disciples: “Peace be with you.” You also breathed on them: “Receive the Holy Spirit.” That you for reassuring us and grant us life-giving faith. May Jesus’ beatitude addressed to Thomas give us hope. “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
Prayer of the Faithful 2nd Sunday of Easter April 11, 2021
Celebrant: With faith in the Lord’s Resurrection and confident in his loving mercy, we offer our prayers for the needs of our brothers and sisters.
1. For the Church of God, may it be of one heart and one mind in bearing the peace of the Risen Lord to the ends of the earth.
We pray to the Lord
2. For the sick, especially Donald McKenna, Leona Perry, Most Reverend Richard Grecco, Patti Hardy of East Bideford, and for those who suffer from addiction and mental illness, may they find strength, courage and healing in Jesus’ merciful heart.
We pray to the Lord
3. For our deceased relatives and friends, especially David Wedge. In their new life may they truly be joyful disciples of the Risen Christ.
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Peaceful and loving God, in your Son you have revealed to us your divine mercy and desire for all people to draw near to you. Hear our prayers (silence) that with joy and thanksgiving we might praise you always. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Easter Sunday, April 4th, 2021
Homily Easter April 4, 2021
We can define Christ’s Resurrection as new life, a new birth. It makes sense that the Risen Christ appeared to women. They represent life; they are the ones who give birth. This means there is a future, hope and joy. Every joyful event needs to be shared. According to the Gospel according to John, proclaimed on Easter Morning, Mary Magdalene was the first to witness the empty tomb. As she hurried back to the disciples, she held in her heart the great news of humanity’s salvation. In other words, Mary Magdalene brought the disciples this marvelous news and was the first to share the news of the empty tomb.
Especially Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord, we are people of good news. Suffering and death have been conquered. Life, not death has the final word. We, as baptized people celebrate Christ’s victory over death. May we always keep in mind that Jesus is the life and the resurrection. This is the heart of our faith. Lent and Holy Week have a great ending. Alleluia. We now celebrate new life in Christ.
After this homily, we will renew our baptismal promises. We renew our faith in God. We commit ourselves to be free from sin. As baptized people, we believe in the triune God: the Father our creator, Jesus his beloved Son born of the Virgin Mary, also in in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.
As Easter people, we have the opportunity to renew our precious gift of faith. Our lives have meaning, purpose and hope. We are never alone. We believe that the Risen Christ accompanies us in our life journey. At the present time, we need to be reminded of what we believe in. For one reason or another, we so easily forget our Christian beliefs. Why? First of all, it seems that we only associate these words of the Creed as Church terms. We do not apply them in our daily living. We are such people of habits. We follow our daily routine. Could it be that we keep ourselves too busy? And we fail to reflect, to meditate, we’re not disciplined enough to take extra time to pray. Our society offers us so many options; we get so easily distracted – we forget that our faith in the Risen Christ should be our main priority. It is what it is.
Dear believers in the Risen Christ, let us comfort ourselves that it is never too late to invest more in our life of faith. The Risen Lord is in our midst. May we allow him room in our hearts, may we recommit ourselves to journey with Him. May we be grateful for all that He did for us. May we develop a new heart and a new spirit. Indeed, may we renew our faith and may our hearts be filled with Easter joy.
Prayer of the Faithful Easter April 4, 2021
Celebrant: In the fullness of Easter joy, let us bring our needs and hopes to the God of life.
1. That Pope Francis, bishops, priests, deacons and all who minister in the Church might reveal the power of the Resurrection by the hope they bear.
We pray to the Lord
2. That the sick, especially Donald McKenna, Leona Perry, David Wedge, Most Rev Richard Grecco, the suffering, the lonely and the forgotten may feel the joy of Easter through our prayers and our loving support.
We pray to the Lord
3. That all the dead may be raised to new life; and that all who mourn may be comforted.
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God of abundant life, you sent your Son Jesus to dwell among us, and in his death and resurrection he has broken the bonds of sin and death. Hear our prayers (silence) that we may never tire of sharing his light with others. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Holy Thursday, April 1st, 2021
Homily Holy Thursday April 1, 2021
Holy Thursday can be described as Jesus’ last 24 hours before his death. His memorial meal or his Last Supper with his disciples is the most meaningful event of this special day. What a creative, profound person.
Through this ritual: the sharing of a meal – bread and wine transformed into his body and blood and the washing of the feet was his way of summarazing his whole life. Indeed he loved, he gave his total self, he offered hope in the sense that he left a rich legacy to his disciples, “his selfless life” will always be remembered.
As his followers, this evening, may we be filled with gratitude and may we generously respond to Christ’s command: “You ought to wash one another’s feet.”
All year round may we be generous, humble and faithful servants. When we attend Mass, the Lord’s Eucharist, this festive banquet, we listen to the Living Word, to proclamations of the Lord’s Gospel. It is now fitting to quote St Luke the Evangelist: “give and it shall be given unto you” and “for unto whomsoever much is given of him, shall be much required.”
When we love and serve others, when we wash someone’s feet, we feel good about ourselves. Indeed life is sweeter when we know someone cares about our well being. What could I do for my friends? I can pray for them. I can give them books and magazines. I can let them know how very much I appreciate their kindness. Each day the body hungers and thirsts; each day it is fed. But the soul has a hunger of its own.
We all eat three meals a day. Most parents have healthy chldren but a number of them never feed them spiritual food. A good cook would not think of feeding her family the same food every day. She will vary the menu and try new dishes, or new ways to prepare food. So it is with “soul food”. We must plan and be alert for new spiritual experiences. May parents start today.
Therefore don’t feed your soul on the same familiar Scripture. May we read a variety of Bible passages. May we read about the exciting events of God preparing a people for His own, and about God sending a Redeemer to a lost world. Could any TV show, movie or novel be more exciting? May we not pray the same prayer over and over. May we develop and grow in our prayer life.
I recently heard the expression “a go-giver”, gifts of cheer. How can we give something away each day? How sad if we have no more words of encouragement to share. May you and I take every chance to help someone – we will find many opportunities and we will be happier.
Food for thought: Why were there fewer divorces one hundred years ago? It’s partially because men and women were so busy and trying to meet the needs of their families that they had little time for discontent. They were “go-givers”. They had no pensions. When a neighbour became ill, neighbours took turns nursing the one in need.
Finally, the Bible describes how Jesus went forth among the people. He was much moved with compassion towards them, amd he healed their sick. As Jesus’ disciples, we are needed somewhere, by someone. May we keep on the alert for those who need our help.
March 28th, 2021
Effective Sunday, March 28th, church attendance is now 2 cohorts of 50 people (100 total) at weekend masses.
Homily Palm Sunday March 28, 2021
The beginning of St Mark’s proclamation of the Lord’s Passion really stricks me. As chief priests and scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus because they refused to believe he was the promised Messiah, interestingly, an unnamed woman who was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper “came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment – perfumed oil and poured the ointment on his head.”
In this action, she simply supports the reception accorded Jesus as he entered Jerusalem as the King, “the anointed one”. Her actions tell us that she not only understands that Jesus is the anointed one but she has a need or responsibility to anoint him. But, who is she to anoint a king?
The people gathered around Jesus, however ask a different question: “Why was the ointment wasted in this way? For this ointment could have been sold for more than 300 denarii or 300 days wages and the money given to the poor.” They were infuriated. Their question is not without merit, for in scolding her they were probably attempting to voice Jesus’ concern for the poor seen throughout his ministry. Jesus asks another question: “Let her alone, why do you trouble her?”
Somehow the concerned disciples have missed something. She has done a good thing for me. The poor you will always have with you and whenever you wish, you can do good to them, but you will not always have me. Jesus’ response is not an attempt to mark out the permanence of poverty as a social problem but to note that her “good thing for me” has focused proper attention on him. Whether or not she knows the full implications of what she has done, she has directed those present to see Jesus as the Messiah, to grasp his true identity.
The humility of Jesus is reflected by the generosity of this woman, who pours out all that she has as a witness for him. Who is she to anoint a king? Given the universal significance of Jesus’ passion week, her anointing might seem a little thing, but it is the most any of us can do; she recognizes Jesus and gives all she has for him, not understanding completely that her actions helped prepare the King, first for his death and then for his triumph, but knowing somehow he is the Messiah.
The significance of her actions is felt when Jesus says: “Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.” We, too, are called to recognize Jesus the Messiah in faith, not simply as a conquering hero but as a servant willing to give himself up to death for us.
Prayer of the Faithful Palm Sunday March 28, 2021
Celebrant: The Son of God was obedient to his Father, even to the point of death. In humble obedience to our baptismal call, we pray for the needs of our world.
1. For the grace of a devout and holy observance of Holy Week and the Sacred Easter Tridium.
We pray to the Lord
2. For those who are seriously ill especially Donald McKenna, Most Rev Richard Grecco, Leona Perry – May they have the wisdom to reflect on Jesus’ death and resurrection so that it be possible to lead them to ever stronger faith in God’s beloved Son.
We pray to the Lord
3. For the deceased – May they fully realize in their new life that God’s Son took on the suffering for their salvation freely and shared his tremendous love for them.
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God of the poor and the broken, Jesus our Saviour humbled himself and endured death on a cross. Hear our prayers (silence) that this Holy Week we might enter into the paschal mystery anew and be transformed by Christ’s death and resurrection into servants of his merciful love. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
March 21st, 2021
Homily 5th Sunday of Lent March 21, 2021
We can tell that Easter is approaching – in two weeks from now. Today’s key words of the Gospel are: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” Then Jesus shares a parable: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies … it bears much fruit.” Jesus then explains what he meant. He said the person who loves their life loses it, and the person who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” It’s true in life, isn’t it? If we are going to get anything out of it we have to invest ourselves in it.
Was Sir Winston Churchill thinking about today’s Gospel when he once said? “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
Failing Grade 7 was a blessing for me. I wasn’t alone. Only two out of 10 students from the rural village of St Chrysostome had passed after having moved to the Abram’s Village School – just five miles apart. We all learned so much from our new teacher – the best one in my school years. And in 1974, at the beginning of my post-secondary education in the province of Quebec, I understood while I had failed grade seven. If I would have graduated from high school the year before, I question whether I would have survived in the Small Seminary. In the Spring of 1973, 13 students, 13 candidates for the priesthood, had left because of the Spiritual Director’s physical abuse. I received much growling from him because of my Island French Acadian accent. He thought I was on drugs. Miraculously I didn’t get the strap. To make a long story short, I was the very last student in that institution who left. In his books, I was a loser because Le Centre Etudiant Sainte Marie- St Mary’s Christian Educational Centre closed its doors. Reverend Spiritual Director, may you rest in peace!
God works in mysterious ways. I consider God as the loser-friendly. The world only uses “winners”. God seeks losers. Let us remember Thomas Edison – inventor of the light bulb. He made numerous, numerous efforts before he succeeded. At a Christian point of view, let us dwell on Christ’s resurrection rather than his innocent death on the cross.
Now many of us are saying to ourselves, I’ve already lost so much. What else is there for me to lose? How much more do I have to endure? How much more can I lose? You lost a husband or wife, a son or daughter. You’ve lost a job, your health, and even your peace of mind. You’ve lost some friends, your sense of purpose, your direction and your strength to endure. Some of us have lost so much. We have lost loved ones. We have divorced and lost lovers and spouses. We have lost jobs and lost opportunities. And yet, we have lost this Lent and as we approach Easter, Jesus wants us to know still that there are more of us to lose.
A matter-of-fact loss is the essence of the Gospel. Following Jesus is a matter of losing. It is a matter of “letting go, and letting God.”
As followers of Jesus Christ, we’re called to let go of the old and embrace the new. Isaiah said it best: “Do not remember former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing, now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”(Isaiah 43, 18-19)
The problem is, it’s hard to know what to let go of and what to hold on to. So, as we reflect on God’s Word today, may we ask ourselves whether we are stuck in the past.
We live in a changing world, and the question is whether or not we have the courage to let go of the past, and have the faith to trust God to transform us into a new creation.
Prayer of the Faithful 5th Sunday of Lent March 21, 2021
Celebrant: As we draw closer to Holy Week and the season of Easter joy, let us bring our prayers before the Lord who hears and answers our the crises of his people.
1. That the Eucharist may always be the source and summit of the Church’s life and ministry. We pray to the Lord
2. That the sick especially Donald McKenna and all the baptized members of the Church may be transformed into Christ. In other words, may their condition change for the better. We pray to the Lord
3. That the faithful departed be focused on God’s Son who loved them so much that he died and rose on the third day for their salvation.
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God of redemption, in the death of your Son you brought about even more abundant life for him and for all who follow in his way. Hear our prayers (silence) that in our hope of the resurrection we might proclaim in both word and action that life is stronger than death. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
March 14th, 2021
Prayer of the Faithful 4th Sunday of Lent March 14, 2021
Celebrant: “God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son.” We show our love to the Lord our God by serving him and loving others. And so, we turn to him in prayer for the needs of the world.
1. For God’s holy church, may God raise up prophets and preachers to call his people to renewed fidelity and away from sin.
We pray to the Lord
2. For the sick especially Donald McKenna; and the dying, through their faith may they be enlightened by Christ and be granted inner peace.
We pray to the Lord
3. For those who have completed their life journey here on earth. May they all be radiant at the banquet of eternal life.
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Loving Father, your Son was lifted high upon the cross so that the world might know the way to salvation. Hear our prayers (silence). May we also be filled with joy this day as we participate in the Lord’s Paschal Mystery. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
March 7th, 2021
Homily 3rd Sunday of Lent March 7, 2021
I have one expectation from each of you. I hope you have a new perception of Jesus the Son of God. We mostly see or encounter Jesus as a person filled with love, mercy and compassion. We know that he is always there for us, responds to our needs and calls us to grow in faith. We are also aware that he heals the sick, casts our demons, gives special attention to children and to the outcasts. In short, he offers a quality of presence to others, gives them hope and he encourages all to follow him.
Perhaps it is an adjustment for us to acknowledge Jesus’ anger in the Temple of Jerusalem. He uses “a whip, overturned tables and drove money changers out of the temple.” Why? “Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” Jesus’ anger was not just a split-second moment of passion. Indeed Jesus did not just fly off the handle in the temple that day. This event happened on the Monday morning of Jesus’ final week before his death. The previous day, Jesus rode into Jerusalem as the crowds waved palm branches, believing he was coming to become the new king. Then on Palm Sunday night, he went into the temple of Jerusalem. He took the opportunity to be angry at the Jews because people were robbed of their very access to God. He also prophesied that the temple would be “destroyed and in three days he will be raised up … he was speaking of the temple of his body.”
The focus of this homily is not about anger. Jesus’ behaviour in the Temple reveals to us that He values honesty, love, nonviolence and the importance of “being real” before God. Being angry was his way to protest that religion has become narrow, nationalistic and exclusive. Israel had failed to fulfill her universal mission to humanity. It was God’s intention that the Temple should be a house of prayer for all nations. In this context, salvation was not just for the Jews, but for all people.
Today’s Gospel shows us that there was another side to Jesus’ character. Of course Jesus was gentle. But that doesn’t mean he was weak. When the occasion demanded it – he could be very strong and very assertive.
Still, it comes as a shock to see Jesus not just angry, but furious. May I add that he was absolutely non-violent. We may have been taught that all anger is sinful. But in itself anger is just a feeling, and as such is neither good nor bad morally.
It’s true that anger is a dangerous thing and can result in us saying or doing things we later regret. But anger can also be a good thing. It can influence us to put right something that is blatantly wrong. There are times when we ought to be angry. An unjust situation should make us angry. Anger can be an expression of love. Comes to mind certain testimonies of married partners who shared with me during marital counselling: the betrayal of adultery. Feeling angry is quite normal. I truly admire couples who succeeded to reconcile with each other and are now loyal to their life long commitment.
Dear friends, Jesus also had sentiments of anger toward the scribes and the Pharisees. It’s clear in Gospel passages that his anger was most often directed at the religious people of his day, people who supposedly spoke for God. He was angry because they were blocking the little people from him: children, non-Jews, women, tax collectors, prostitutes and sinners – all prevented them to have access to God.
As a diocesan priest, I demand so much of myself. Like everybody else, I am a sinner but I make the effort to “repent and believe in the Gospel” and to put into practice what I preach. Good news: every day of this past week, I included in my own prayers, the first intention of the Prayer of the Faithful of last Sunday. “For all who preach the Gospel, may they live their lives with ears always open to the voice of Jesus, God’s beloved Son, leading and guiding us.”
Finally, as Christians, we are called especially in Lent to learn from the example of Jesus. Do we observe our ways of helping people to connect to the love of the Father? May we also look with fresh eyes at the attitudes that made Jesus angry and see if we can move things in the right direction. If we could learn, or relearn, the heart of Jesus, we could play a more effective role in accomplishing his goal.
Prayer of the Faithful 3rd Sunday of Lent March 7, 2021
Celebrant: Knowing the Lord our God; his love and compassion for all he has created, let us confidently place before him our needs and petitions.
1. For those who offer pastoral ministry to the people of God and all who care for church structures and buildings, may their efforts bear abundant fruit. We pray to the Lord
2. For Reggie Gaudet and all the sick and suffering. Indeed, may their physical, emotional and spiritual wounds be tended to by compassionate and experienced caregivers. We pray to the Lord
3. For our deceased loved ones especially Norma Handrahan; washed clean of their sins may they enter the heavenly city, the new and eternal Jerusalem.
We pray to the Lord
February 28th, 2021
Effective Sunday, February 28th, new Circuit Breaker measures put in place by PEI Government allow only attendance of 50 people at mass. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Homily 2nd Sunday of Lent February 28, 2021
Over the years, I have been on numerous flights. During a trip, I really enjoyed listening to the conversation of a very young girl – maybe 10 or 11 years of age and an elderly man who was seated in front of me. I will cherish forever the kindness, the wisdom and the great listening skills of the old man. He was so attentive to the young girl who could express herself so well. Of course, I didn’t interfere with them. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to affirm and to thank this elderly person for sharing his genuine gift of being so interested in this little girl who has so much to say.
In recent conversations with a first cousin of mine, we reminisced how we enjoyed not only listening to stories and facts of our paternal grandparents; we learned so much through their testimony of faith and their life experiences. They were also great story tellers.
It is unbelievable how we can learn so much by simply listening. It’s also enjoyable, peaceful and inspiring to listen to the different sounds of nature.
The climax of today’s Gospel – the Lord’s transfiguration was: “from the cloud there came a voice: This is my Son, the Beloved, listen to him.” It confirms Jesus’ identity. It gave him the strength and courage to continue his journey.
Peter the Apostle was also an obstacle, also not realistic in this significant event. Forget about the cross Jesus, and all that talk about suffering and death. “Rabbi it is good for us to be here,” let’s build dwellings, some houses here, maybe a retreat centre and stay here forever, far away from Jerusalem and the Temple, from the world and its injustices, from the cross and death. If only Jesus would listen! That’s what Peter says. And just at this moment, as Peter tries to prevent Jesus from going to Jerusalem, God speaks to the disciples: “This is my Son, the Beloved, listen to him.” Therefore God invites Peter, James and John and all of us, his children and disciples to active listening. It requires enormous discipline and concentrated effort.
Listening is one of the greatest gifts we can give another human being. Psychologists and marriage counsellors say that lack of listening is one of the main causes of divorces. The following are five points for active listening:
1) Stop talking! It is difficult to listen and speak at the same time. May we place ourselves in the other person’s shoes.
2) Stop multi-tasking! It is very difficult to listen deeply if we are “multi-tasking.” That is trying to do or listen to too many things or people at the same time. May we show the other person that we want to hear him/her out.
3) Stop distractions! Good listening means being willing to turn off the TVs and cell phones, close a door or stop reading our emails or newspapers. M ay we give the speaker our full attention and let them know they are getting our full attention. May we give all of our intention.
4) Ask lots of questions. May we ask the speaker to clarify, to say more. It will help then speak more precisely and it will help us hear and understand them more accurately.
5) Stop talking. This is both the first and the last point because all other tools depend on it. May we remember God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. It is a gentle hint that we should listen twice as much as we talk.
As Christians, especially in Lent, we are invited to be fully attentive. That’s why I introduce every Gospel Passage in this way; “Let us listen and be attentive to the Proclamation of the Holy Gospel – (today it’s Mark). It is fitting to ask you this question: What percentage of our prayer time is spent in talking to God and what percentage in listening to God?
I hope and pray that we live with the intention to deepen the divine-human relationship and to mix it with love.
Prayer of the Faithful 2nd Sunday of Lent February 28, 2021
Celebrant: In today’s second reading, St Paul writes: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Secure in the love and mercy of the Lord our God, let us turn to him with our needs and petitions.
1. For all who preach the Gospel, may they live their lives with ears always open to the voice of Jesus, God’s beloved Son, leading and guiding them.
We pray to the Lord
2. For the sick, especially Joan Perry, and the dying that they be aware they can always count on Christ’s love and compassion.
We pray to the Lord
3. For our deceased relatives and friends. May they behold the beauty of the Lord in the halls of heaven.
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Faithful and most caring God, in transfiguration you reveal Jesus’ identity as your beloved Son and you instruct us to “listen to him”. Hear our prayers (silence) and so come to share in your glory. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
February 21st, 2021
Homily 1st Sunday of Lent February 21, 2021
Several weeks ago, the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, the Gospel began with the verses that end today’s Gospel. Jesus’ first words of preaching: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.” They are significant words to reflect on again as we enter into this Season of Lent.
Our liturgical year offers us “diversity” for living out the life of faith more profoundly. There are times to live and grow in knowledge and wisdom especially in Ordinary Time. During the Christmas Season, it is time to celebrate that God entered into human history to draw us closer to himself. And during the Easter Season, the time is reserved to live into the mystery of God’s victory over death. May we keep in mind there are two liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent for preparation, repentance and purification. Throughout the liturgical year, we enter into the life of Christ from conception to ascension, and we also live out the peculiarities of the human condition.
In daily living, we work, we take time to relax, to rest and to celebrate. The liturgical year offers us all of this, and also something else – time for reconciliation and healing. Each one of us is a sinner. Despite our best intentions and resolve, we will do things that hurt our relationship with God and our relationships with others. Because of this truth, repentance reminds us to be responsible, to mature in faith and be authentic children of God. In Lent, we are given the opportunity together to accept Jesus’ invitation anew “to repent and believe in the Gospel.”
We heard these words on Ash Wednesday. These 40 days are a time to turn our backs to sin and to embrace God’s good news. Then why did Jesus chose to be baptized by John and why was he tempted by Satan in the wilderness?
Dear friends, Jesus wanted to be just like everybody else, he belonged to the human race. Let us appreciate his wisdom and his gift of solidarity. Jesus was sinless but he was human, and he wanted to be seen and known as having the human experience of ordinary men and women. Let us realize that that one would not really be human if one had never had any contact whatsoever with the attractiveness of sin. That’s why Jesus went off to the wilderness. He conquered sin because he remained faithful and kept focused on God his heavenly Father.
During Lent, the Church invites us to live with Jesus in his desert experience, to overcome sin, to share a time of fulfillment with him in the kingdom of God.
On Ash Wednesday, we were reminded to repent, to return to the Gospel and recommit ourselves to our baptismal promises. May each one of us make a plan for this spiritual work. In this context, you are always invited to daily Mass, to the sacrament of reconciliation and to every Friday evening for Lenten reflections. Let us be more aware during Lent that repentance is an ongoing process and hoping we fully embrace God’s good news.
Prayer of the Faithful 1st Sunday of Lent February 21, 2021
Celebrant: This is the time of fulfilment, for the Kingdom of God is at hand. If we are to repent and believe in the Gospel, then we must bring to Him our prayers for the needs of the world.
1. For the Church, that these days of Lent may be a time of renewal for every Christian believer. We pray to the Lord
2. For all who experiencing temptation and for the sick, especially Joan Perry; may the grace of God bring them hope, serenity and peace.
We pray to the Lord
3. For our beloved dead; that they may be brought into the light and joy of God’s presence with all their sins forgiven.
We pray to the Lord
February 14th, 2021
Homily 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time February 14, 2021
Today’s Gospel Passage reminds me of the pandemic. Leprosy is a contagious disease. Therefore the leper of the Gospel had to isolate himself. He needed support and help. He had faith in Jesus. Maybe he didn’t want to sound too demanding. His words make sense: “If you choose you can make me clean.” “If you choose”; in other words he makes no attempt to move away from him. The leper decided not to have the expectation that he would be healed. It is interesting that the leper does not ask Jesus a question: Can you make me clean? Or implore him for a favour: Will you make me clean? Instead, he comes to Jesus with a statement of faith: “If you choose you can make me clean.” Perhaps this man has heard of the healings Jesus performed in Capernaum, or maybe he has an intuitive sense of Jesus’ closeness to God, in any case, the leper feels completely free to name Jesus as the one who possesses power over sickness.
In Jesus’ time people with certain diseases were viewed as “unclean” in the eyes of the community. To protect others from infection, they were isolated from society. When Jesus responds to the man’s statement by telling him, “I do choose be made clean,” he is affirming his desire to bring health and wholeness to both individuals and communities broken and separated by disease and fear.
Today’s Gospel has a link with our first reading from the Book of Leviticus. Its content seems very harsh. Lepers could not live in the camp with anyone. They had to warn people they were coming. Actually any skin disease was considered leprosery unless proven otherwise. The Book of Leviticus devotes two chapters (13 & 14) to laws requiring a period of separation and examination before anyone with a skin lesion is allowed back into the camp. Leprosy was worse than other ailments because the opening of the skin often exposed blood, the source of life and any contact with blood made a person unclean.
How brave and maybe revolutionary Jesus was. “He stretched out his hand and touched him.” He restores the person to the family and the community.
Comes to mind the 60’s. Classmates from Abrams Village had been in isolation in the Sanatorium in Charlottetown for a number of months because of tuberculosis. At home, we were filled with compassion. These teenagers were not allowed to have visitors – even their own parents.
The good news of today is that Jesus cured the leper. Dear brothers and sisters, there is hope: there will be an end to the pandemic. May everyone act responsibly. May we continue to wear our mask, to wash our hands often and to respect social distancing. May we also be compassionate and grateful to Dr Heather Morrison, Dennis King, all those working in hospitals, in residences of the elderly; all authority figures in the workforce. Respecting measures is required. I can understand that it’s not easy. Since mid-March 2020 is a long time for the “new normal”. It is what it is. May we be authentic Christian believers, be blessed with perseverance and remain hopeful.
As we are all so unique, explains why we all have our own views. Some people think that God has punished us because there is evil in the world we live in. May we keep in mind that no matter the extent or the number of our sins, the Lord Jesus wills to make us clean. No matter how much society judges us to be an outcast, or simply different, Christ in his compassion and love comes close to us and touches us. Let us then proclaim his goodness to the world, finding strength to do so in his Body and Blood, which we receive at the altar.
Finally, the pandemic challenges us to truly believe in Christ’s infinite mercy and to have the faith to say to Jesus: “If you choose, you can make me clean.”
Prayer of the Faithful 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time February 14, 2021
Celebrant: The Lord has pity on us and makes us clean. We believe the he restores everyone and so we turn to him with our prayers for the needs of all the world.
1. For God’s holy church, strengthened by the kindness and empathy of God, may we be a community where all are welcome to worship in joy and peace.
We pray to the Lord
2. For seniors and the sick especially Mary Jones and Joan Perry; may they have patience and be creative during the pandemic and may family members who are not allowed to visit their loved one in a hospital be granted courage and serenity.
We pray to the Lord
3. For all who have died ; may they be grateful to Almighty God who is totally open to give them peace in the eternal home.
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Loving God, your beloved Son Jesus healed the leper and restored him to relationship with others. Hear our prayers (silence). Make this world know your desire for everyone’s wholeness and the power of your gentle care, through Christ our Lord.
February 7th, 2021
Homily 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time February 7, 2021
After having mediated on the Word of God in preparation for this homily, I discovered that Simon’s mother-in-law and I have something in common. I never have any fever but for numerous times, since early childhood, my body struggles with a life-threatening allergy. After I recover or I am back to normal, I continue to serve the Lord; indeed I continue to exercise pastoral ministry. I have to do my part; the Lord is doing the rest.
In daily living, in all circumstances, we need to rely on our gift of faith. When my physical condition worsened in the 90’s, I used to be quite depressed. I realized the process of recovery took me much longer. Depression never works, it is an obstacle.
May I share this detail with each one of you. Jesus was accompanied by four of his disciples: “Simon and Andrew, with James and John at the son-in-law’s home.”
In hard times, may we rest assured that Jesus is always there for us. Not only Him, we all journey with family and friends – with people who touch our lives. In order to function well, we need healthy relationships; a good support system!
Above all, we know the greatest commandment: to love God. Therefore as Christians, may we always grow in faith. May this precious gift be our rock, our hope and salvation. In the context of today’s Gospel, I am most convinced that Simon’s mother-in-law was a strong person and had deep faith in the Lord. As the mother-in-law, she was probably well-informed of Jesus’ healing ministry and comforted by the presence of four of his disciples.
A caring and compassionate presence can make a significant and huge difference in a healing process. On Wednesday, January 27th I began my visits at the Mill River Resort with the authorization of the Department of Health, offering and giving my support to the elderly residents of “le Chez-nous”; people from my home area, who are most grateful for being there at the present time. I surely was their “listening ear”. What trauma for them! In short, I believe that I have been inspired to reach out to them.
Dear friends, it is mainly God who inspires us. According to today’s Gospel Passage, Jesus and his disciples had just “left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon’s mother-in-law who was in bed with a fever”. Not only this woman who was healed, it seems as if everyone in Capernaum has been touched in some way by sickness. His ministry and his healing power are real. It came in unexpected ways. In other words, after Jesus left the synagogue, little he knew he would bring wholeness and wellness to Simon’s mother-in-law and to the whole of Capernaum.
Therefore may we learn to fully live our faith and the present moment. May we have hope for the future as we are all called to believe in the healing presence of Jesus.
Lord, after having shown much compassion and shared your gift of healing “to many who were sick with various diseases,” you humbled yourself to a deserted place to pray. Transform our prayer life, especially when we experience your healing power so that we too respond with service to others.
Prayer of the Faithful 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time February 7, 2021
Celebrant: We know that the Lord our God is mighty in power and always ready to come to the aid of those in need. With trust, let us bring our petitions before him.
1. For members of the clergy and lay leaders, may they bring hope to those in despair and be agents of healing for those in mental, emotional and spiritual pain.
We pray to the Lord
2. For Mary Jones, Joan Perry, and all those suffering from chronic and acute illness and for their caregivers; may they be comforted.
We pray to the Lord
3. For the gift of new life for our deceased relatives
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Loving Father, you alone are the source of life. Through you may you respond to all our needs (silence). May we also find peace and hope.
January 31st, 2021
Homily 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time January 31, 2021
This is the end of the month. The speech I heard was on January 20th – the day of inauguration of Joe Biden – the new President of the United States. He delivered a message of hope to his people. His mission is clear: he wants to create unity in his country. We all know there is much division in the United States and over 400,000 people have died from Covid 19. He also has a vision, educating and choosing as priority – developing strategies to free the Americans from the devastating Coronavirus.
I share these facts with you because Joe Biden is a powerful figure of authority. He needs cooperation, a team who is competent and who works well together in order to build unity among all Americans.
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, it may sound to you that I now present a political speech. I use the present reality of the United States simply to give you an example of a promising and hopeful new government. In other words, everyone needs a brighter future. All populations need to trust and have confidence in their leaders. I truly believe that the world’s main problem is a lack of good and successful leadership. Unfortunately certain leaders seem to offer seem to offer an individualistic approach rather than a collective one. These leaders fail to understand their mandate of truly serving and clarifying priorities or different and various polices.
Jesus’ gift of authority is much more superior than any other leader. He has a divine authority. He always speaks and acts on behalf of Gos his heavenly Father. According to today’s Gospel Passage, Jesus was in Capernaum in the synagogue on the day of the Sabbath. “A man with an unclean spirit shouted at him.” With authority, firmness and self-confidence, Jesus responded, “Be silent”. The people gathered there “were all amazed … a new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”
We are all formally children and students for some time in our lives, and it is best to remain informal students throughout our lives, for there is no point at which there is not something we can learn. At the same time, most of us function as teachers at many points in our lives, some of us professionally but most of us casually, guiding and directing people in ways that might even escape us. We teach by how we live, how we treat people, how we respond under stress, how we reprimand a child, how we help a neighbour, as well as by more concrete and direct ways of teaching.
Some of us, by training and vocation, teach religion and transmit values, and it is those of us engaged in this vocation who must always remain students in our area of expertise, for Jesus says, “You are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father – the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors for you have one instructor, the Messiah.” (Mt 23, 8-10) This teaching is directed to all Christians, but it is a difficult teaching for those called upon to be teachers and instructors, for it is easy to forget that in the things of God we are always students.
May we be humble and be open-minded. May we always want to learn, to improve ourselves and to respect members of authority. Hoping people in authority realize that respect is to be earned, choose not to abuse their authority or their power. Like Jesus, may the gift of authority be grounded in the Scriptures or God. Indeed, in his teaching authority, Jesus demonstrates divinity.
Finally, I encourage you in daily living to adopt this “new teaching” – this attitude. It is a fact: Expertise and properly ordered authority are essential for all fields. But ultimately we are all students of the one teacher, whose authority is ordered to our salvation and joy. From this school we never graduate; this teacher is always guiding us. This education is perfect for our final purpose: to know God.
Because I have life-threatening allergies, I already prepared my funeral arrangements. These words will be written on my tombstone: “Success is to know God.”
Prayer of the Faithful 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time January 31, 2021
Celebrant: Today’s Psalm reminds us that the Lord our God cares for us as a Shepherd watches over his flock. Confident in his everlasting kindness, let us bring our needs before him.
1. For all who proclaim and teach the Word of God in truth and humility, may they preach the Gospel and draw others to Christ.
We pray to the Lord
2. For the sick especially Mary Jones, Joan Perry – those who suffer from mental illness and all those possessed by demons of any sort; may they know the love of God that surrounds them continually and be sustained in faith and hope.
We pray to the Lord
3. For our beloved dead – may they be mercifully welcomed into eternal life.
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God of salvation, you gave your Son authority to cast out demons and to heal the world in your name. Respond to all our needs (silence). Grant your Church the compassionate spirit needed to see those troubled among us and to reach out with possibilities for transformation. Make us agents of conversion for our world – through Christ our Lord.
January 24th, 2021
Homily 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time January 24, 2021
We heard the Gospel Passage of the call of Jesus’ first four disciples. What an attraction, an impact he had on them! These four fishermen immediately “left their nets and followed him”. Jesus’ attention is turned toward catching people in the net of God’s love. In some ways, calling fishermen to his work seems like an odd choice and yet the skills needed for catching fish (patience, perseverance, hard work, ability to weather storms) would likely come in handy when fishing for people. Interestingly, Jesus chooses ordinary people with everyday occupations to be his closest collaborators.
Comes to mind, my Seminary days at the end of the seventies. I call a spade a spade. I wasn’t an A student; I had to work hard for my marks. Before exams, I envied certain classmates who were going out to a restaurant or a movie-theatre. Yes – before exams. And myself, spending hours studying, hearing members of the Seminary Staff that so and so was so intelligent and giving me names of who in their opinion were potential bishops. Guess what? A number of these intellectual seminarians created scandals in the Church and left the priesthood. Amazingly, your homilist who is in his 40th year of priestly ministry is full of energy, enthusiastic and most determined this year to be initiated to the spiritual exercises of St Ignatius. In short, I take this opportunity to be most thankful to God who bestows his numerous blessings upon me. Because of longevity in my own family, in 34 years from now, I will only be a hundred. Therefore, I am thinking positive that I will remain quite active in parish ministry in my very senior years. As I truly believe that God answers prayers, I deliberately share the words of conclusion of last week’s homily: “I pray daily, indeed I ask the Lord for his guidance so that I be an authentic parish priest and faithful fisher of people.” (End of quote)
I fully appreciate the late Mother Teresa’s philosophy of life. “Happiness is not about success; it’s all about fidelity.”
Dear friends in Christ, have you chosen any New Year’s resolutions? If so, I encourage you to be faithful to them. I also invite you to give much credit to two sets of brothers who were fishermen and immediately “left their nets and followed Jesus”. I draw the conclusion that they truly believe, and most convinced in their new calling: to be fishers of people. Indeed, they had to be devout and faithful to their new vocation.
It is so significant that the first two disciples whom Jesus calls were two sets of brothers. Jesus values fraternity and the spirit-filled community. From the beginning of his ministry, Jesus gathers a community around himself in a relationship of brotherhood that the call of two sets of brothers may also suggest.
At the present time, we’re near the end of the week of prayer for Christian unity. The population of our parish community is mostly Catholic. In Miscouche – in my former parish, it was different. Every year, on the liturgical calendar Catholics, United Church people and the Baptists of Belmont were all invited to an ecumenical service. I cherish wonderful memories of these faith gatherings.
As Christians, may we be community-oriented. May we continually develop a shared-mission with Jesus. In this context, on behalf of the whole parish community, I extend a warm welcome to every family from the Philippines who regularly attend our 11 am Mass. Dear Filipinos; Hoping you are feeling at home in West Prince.
I end this homily with good news. We are invited to continue being fishers of people like the first four disciples who responded so generously. It is never too late or too early to respond to Jesus’ invitation.
Prayer of the Faithful 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time January 24, 2021
Celebrant: Knowing that the Lord’s compassion remains and his love is never ending, let us confidently place before Him or needs and our petitions.
1. For God’s holy Church, may it carry out the mission of the earliest disciples to proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ and searching for the lost.
We pray to the Lord
2. For the sick especially Mary Jones and Joan Perry and for those who are imprisoned by addiction; may they persevere in faith and their condition improve.
We pray to the Lord
3. For all who have died; may they be grateful to God for the fullness of life they now experience.
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Living and ever-loving God, may we build a closer relationship with you. Hear our prayers (silence) that in each action and word we might testify to your goodness and love. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
January 17th, 2021
Homily 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time January 17, 2021
The presider – the priest quotes St John the Baptist just before receiving Holy Communion; “Behold the Lamb of God.” He witnesses Jesus’ identity to two of his disciples. He teaches them that Jesus will experience the ultimate sacrifice. He remains faithful to the Father’s will as he accepts his Paschal Mystery: death on the cross and resurrection on the third day.
Like the Baptist’s two disciples, may we follow Jesus daily. May we also learn to accept our own suffering, to prepare for the reality of death and to really believe in Christ’s resurrection.
Last Sunday, we completed the Christmas Season; we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord. Today, we are back into Ordinary Time; we acknowledge Jesus’ adulthood and the beginning of his public ministry.
When Jesus turned and saw them following, he invited them: “Come and see”. In other words, see for yourselves, experience my presence. As the two disciples called him Rabbi, may I inform each one of you that the ancient Jewish rabbis gathered pupils around them that they might share their thought and manner of life but more importantly the Law.
The author of St John’s Gospel is very precise about the details of the first two disciples’ invitation and their response. Not only did they follow Jesus to his place of teaching but they remained with him throughout the day. What did they learn? What did Jesus teach them that first day in their new school? Was discipleship their main topic?
What matters for each one of us: may we respond to the call of discipleship. John the Baptist shows us how to respond. May we decrease, may we give personal significance to Jesus in our lives and increase in faith. We are expected to deepen our faith, that is, to contemplate and be committed to follow the Lord. This entails to be in relationship with the person of Jesus, to experience a new communion between the people and the Lamb of God. The “where” is not as important as the “with whom”. The pattern of discipleship is established through witness of the Baptist; others follow and experience Jesus’ truth for themselves. They in turn bring others to Jesus.
Dear friends, may we develop our own spirituality; choose following, seeking, staying, finding and dialoguing with Jesus – the Lamb of God.
During the beginning of this new year, may we be resolved to change, to embark on this journey of faith and to receive direction from our Rabbi, our Mentor. In Andrew and Peter’s case, these two disciples didn’t walk the road alone. In each stage, they were guided by the light and life of God. Though we cannot see where our own journey of faith is leading, we can be assured of the presence and friendship of the same divine companion walking ahead of us to show us the way.
Dear brothers and sisters, I encourage you to carry on this mission of evangelization, to share the Lord’s Good News, as well as forming and educating others on matters of faith. More simply, we are charged with calling and fashioning new disciples.
On a personal note, I pray daily, indeed I ask the Lord for his guidance so that I be an authentic parish priest and a faithful fisher of people.
Prayer of the Faithful 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time January 17, 2021
Celebrant: Trusting in the limitless compassion of the Lord our God and his care for all creation, let us bring our needs before him.
1. For the Church throughout the world, in prayer and worship may it listen for the voice of God calling it to fidelity and holiness. We pray to the Lord
2. For the suffering especially the sick Mary Jones, Joan Perry; committed to getting better, may they receive the best of care and support. We pray to the Lord
3. For all those who have completed their mission here on earth – May they marvel at the presence of Jesus the Lamb of God. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Loving God, you call us by name and desire to bring us to the fullness of life. Hear our prayers (silence) that with ear attuned to your voice we might listen for your call and answer, “Here am I, Lord, I come to do your will.” We ask this through Christ our Lord.
January 10th, 2021
Homily Baptism of the Lord January 10, 2021
The majority of us were baptized as infants – which is the common and right thing to do. Since birth we were introduced to a Christian family and a Christian community. Our parents wanted the best for us: to give us a sense of belonging to a Christian Church.
To have a child baptized has to be the free decision of the parents. Sometimes grandparents get too involved. It can create family frictions. It can put the parish priest in an awkward position. Under such circumstances, from the start, the next time that the newly-baptized child comes to church is for First Communion. Unfortunately, the parents are not faithful, fail to bring their child “up in the practice of the faith”.
This is a challenging concern for parish communities. To refuse the sacrament of baptism is not a solution. Priests and other members of Pastoral Staffs are called to be welcoming since the Sacrament of Baptism is a celebration of welcome in the Church community.
Interestingly, Jesus was baptized as an adult, at the age of 30. May I share with you three reasons why Jesus had to be baptized.
The first reason is that it was a sign of his complete dedication to follow the will of God. For Jesus baptism was simply a public declaration of his commitment to the Father.
The second reason is it announced the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Both John the Baptist and God the Father confirmed Jesus’ unique calling publicly. Thus Jesus’ baptism was an initiation for ministry.
The third reason is that it was an example to us. Jesus taught his followers to be baptized – and here he is giving a firm lead. His baptism was an example that we do well to follow.
Dear sisters and brothers, when God spoke at Jesus’ baptism, he had to rely on these words; “You are my Son, the Beloved, with you I am well pleased.” He was not hearing repeated confirmations of His Father’s love and concern while out there in the wilderness. God had spoken and He had to believe these words. In the wilderness there was not the constant reassurance of God’s love.
We, too, need to believe God’s Word to us because sometimes there are periods of silence when we don’t feel God’s presence and we don’t hear His voice reassuring us of his love and concern.
When God gives us a promise at lease once, may we hang on to that promise. We don’t need to be reassured all of the time.
As we end the Christmas Season today, with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, we are reminded that Jesus is present in our lives as a baptized adult.
Here is an adult Jesus who is absolutely faithful in love, who knows the pain of a broken world, whose great desire is to lift up the down-hearted, to rescue those who wander into darkness, to bring the fullness of life to everyone and to save the world.
His presence is always with us. Do we recognize it?
Prayer of the Faithful Baptism of the Lord January 10, 2021
Celebrant: In baptism we were each anointed priest, prophet and king. Together let us lift our voices to the Lord, entrusting to him our needs and the needs of the world.
1. For all who minister to the people of God, strengthened by the grace of baptism, may they testify to the light of Christ in word and deed. We pray to the Lord
2. For all Christians especially Mary Jones – and all who are sick. May they have a deeper appreciation of their baptism and their affiliation to Christ, God’s beloved Son.
We pray to the Lord
3. For all who have died that they may be most appreciative and be “well-pleased” with their new life in the eternal home. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God of compassion, despite our weaknesses and our sinfulness, you look upon each of us as a beloved child. Hear our prayers (silence) that through the power of the Holy Spirit we might serve you with fidelity all the days of our lives. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
January 3rd, 2021
Prayer of the Faithful Epiphany of the Lord January 3, 20212
Celebrant: Kings bow down before our Lord. All nations serve him! He has enriched us with a diverse world. Let us turn to him in prayer for its needs.
1. For Church leaders, in pondering the Word of God may they be strengthened to humbly lead the people they serve. We pray to the Lord
2. For the sick, especially Mary Jones – May they be drawn to Jesus our Saviour and may He make them his true disciples. We pray to the Lord
3. For our deceased loved ones, Like the Magi, may they adore Christ our Lord in the eternal home. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God of creation, by the light of a star the wise Men sought and found Jesus, the Saviour of the world. Hear our prayers (silence) that in being attentive to your presence and grace in our own lives, we might be a source for others. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
December 27th, 2020
Homily Christmas 2020
I have been to Bethlehem twice: in May 1994 and October 2009. I presided the Eucharist in a grotto over. Every day of the year, the Christmas liturgy is celebrated which means the faithful listens to the passages chosen for December 25th and to prayers of this solemn Feast. After Mass, the gathered people joyfully wish to each other: “Merry Christmas.”
Daily, may we journey with the God who became man – Jesus our Saviour. I pray that Christ-child will find a home in our hearts. Indeed today, we celebrate the joyous event that God has come down to earth; he himself came to earth as a babe, a true human being. He has come to you and me. Such wonderful news calls for joy in heaven and on earth. Let us rejoice today and always.
Isn’t it a fact that we seem to forget what is important during Christmas? How easily we get our priorities mixed up and the true meaning of Christmas gets lost. We begin to think it is about presents, decorations and parties. But the truth is – the true meaning of Christmas is not found in the wrappings, but in the gift.
As we now celebrate Christmas, I hope and pray that Jesus makes our day. Isn’t this significant, so meaningful when we say or hear someone say: “You made my day”. It makes us feel good. It has to be a sign of gratitude. “It makes us feel good” also signifies that this person has been a gift, a blessing on that particular day.
In this context, life is much richer when we journey with Jesus. May He be our summit, our climax or our main highlight. But, we need to recognize Him in daily living and to increase our faith. And our faith teaches us that our Heavenly Father loves us so much, He “gave his all” in Jesus his Son. Are we welcoming Him this Christmas? Jesus our Divine Master can change our lives inside out. With Him, there are blessings in abundance. We can live life to the fullest. We can get it all. Once we journey with the Son, we have everything because we can overcome darkness and we can conquer life’s sufferings. In Christ’s name, I am the bearer of good news. Throughout the Christmas liturgies, there is a strong theme of light and darkness. At the Mass during the night, Isiah proclaims, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” And in the Gospel for the Mass during the day we hear: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
For us Christians the light is a concept but even more, it is a person. In Jesus’ life all darkness is dispelled. It is the fullness of light that our God longs to give each one of us. As the Body of Christ, we are called to proclaim with our lives that no matter how strong the darkness may seem, the light is always stronger. May we keep this in mind, as we still experience the pandemic. May He enlighten us and wait patiently for the vaccine to be received for all Islanders.
In short, in darkness, Christ is our light. In his light, we can become the children of God. As baptized people, dear friends, we are a people called to the light of Christ. In other words, through Christ’s Incarnation, death and resurrection we are called to participate in the life of the trinity, in the light of Christ and through the light of Christ.
After this joyful celebration, I invite you to be like the poor shepherds of the Gospel. Let us remind ourselves that God always loves us and Jesus his Son is for us who are in every walk of life. The more we embrace the Christmas story, the more we are closer to our salvation. Today we are told that we are not alone. God is with us, in our good days and our bad days, in our sickness and health. Those who truly believe know they are never alone. May we reassure ourselves that none of us has to live in the dark, may we focus rather on this hopeful identity that “we are all children of the light” and a community called to profess and to witness Jesus who is for everyone: “Joy to the world.”
Prayer of the Faithful Christmas 2020
Celebrant: A holy night/day has dawned upon us. With wonder and spiritual joy, let us bring our needs to the Lord.
1. As members of Christ’s Church who celebrate the Feast of the Nativity; realize or discover that human life is divine. We pray to the Lord
2. Because of the pandemic Christmas 2020 is quite unique and challenging. Through their faith, may family members be serene and be a light to others, wanting their safety and well-being. May those who are seriously ill, especially Mary Jones, always be provided with love and caring support. . We pray to the Lord
3. May at this time of year, our parish family announce the Good News of salvation in our wider community through our charitable actions and our words of hope. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Heavenly Father, grant us the gift of gratitude and be most appreciative of your beloved Son – fully human and fully divine. Hear our prayers (silence) and may during this pandemic we make extra effort to count our blessings here on our Island – through Christ our Lord.
December 25th, 2020
During this pandemic, the solemn feast of Christmas, we need to be reminded that the Almighty is Emmanuel: “God is with us.” Indeed He sent us his beloved Son – Jesus – the Word made flesh.
May he fulfill you and consider Him the Prince of Peace.
La fête de Noël est l’occasion idéale pour apprécier davantage notre foi chrétienne. Augmentons ce don gratuit, émerveillons-nous et engageons-nous d’être plus fidèle à cheminer avec Jésus le Divin Maître et notre Sauveur.
Joyeux Noël Merry and a Holy Christmas
Père Albin Arsenault
December 20th, 2020
Homily 4th Sunday of Advent (Luke 1.26-38) December 20, 2020
Today’s homily is divided into two parts: a reflection on today’s Gospel, the annunciation and the life of Mary and our response to the Fourth Sunday of Advent.
The Evangelist St Luke introduced us to the young Virgin Mary sharing her story of her good news. Indeed, God had chosen her to be the Mother of the Messiah. Accepting or accepting freely God’s calling is also good news. “Here am I, the servant of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your Word.”
These words mean: “I belong to the Lord, body and soul.” May I add that Mary is often called “the first disciple” because of her relationship with Christ, her son. The words disciple and discipline have the same etymological root, referring to someone who learns, who studies, who follows a certain teacher or sets of teachings. It seems that even before Mary knew of her calling to become the Mother of God incarnate, she must have already learned her faith well: from her parents, from rabbis and other holy men and women, and perhaps even from the ritual practices of her faith.
As we draw near the end of our Advent Season, may we always deepen our faith in Mary’s openness, in Jesus her Son, in the God of possibilities. I need to remind you: “For nothing will be impossible with God.” As disciples of Christ and spiritual children of Mary, we are called to take these words to heart in our lives. Nothing is easy but with affirmation “you have found favour with God” and with reassurance, “do not be afraid.” Also with enthusiasm, we can move forward, because God calls us to great things and desires to bring us to a fullness of life beyond our wildest imaginings.
To end today’s reflection on Mary, the humble servant of the Lord, may we realize that the Angel Gabriel offered Mary a challenging model of trust and collaboration with God. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, each day we are invited to cooperate in God’s desire to bring us to fullness of life. How will we answer this invitation today?
In five days, we will celebrate Christmas. As the Solemnity of the Nativity nears, there is always much to do and many demands on our time. In the midst of the busyness, let us stay true to the call of Advent. The Scriptures invite us to remember God’s fulfillment of promises made long ago by the prophets. Let us set aside time to read and reflect on Chapters 1 and 2 of St Luks’s account of the Gospel. Let us ponder the work of the Holy Spirit in the story of Jesus’ birth. Mary’s openness to the annunciation, the visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, the humble birth, the dedication of the shepherds, the presentation of the infant Jesus in the temple, and much more. Like Mary, let us ponder these miraculous events deeply in our hearts.
As I spend time every day in my vehicle, I notice that many homes are decorated for the Festive Season. It is fitting to share this prayer with each one of you:
God-Emmanuel, I sincerely thank you that Christmas remains meaningful and popular to many people. Abundantly bless families who embrace and value the true meaning of Christmas. May it be for them an opportunity to grow in faith and to admire more and more the holiness of Jesus, his Mother Mary and his adopted father Joseph.
For homes that have on display, a nativity scene or crib may these families be called to pray, meditate, be in awe and be granted inner peace. Inspire family members to be filled with simplicity and generosity. And give them the wisdom to reach out to anyone in need.
As Christmas is known to be a joyful and festive season, I end today’s homily quoting Bruce Marchiano: “Come! And as the Letter to the Hebrews proclaims, Let us fix our eyes on Jesus! Let us sit at His feet; let us hear His heart and feel His embrace; let us gaze into His smile, hear His laughter, touch the hem of His garment, and be liberated into His joy! Ultimate joy! The joy of Jesus!”
Prayer of the Faithful Fourth Sunday of Advent December 20, 2020
Celebrant: Gabriel tells Mary, “Do not be afraid, for you have found favour with God.” With trust in the Lord our God’s never-ending love and merciful compassion, let us place our needs before him.
1. For the Church throughout the world, may it grow in fidelity to God’s will, adopting the prayer of Mary: “May it be done according to your word.” We pray to the Lord
2. For all women who are anticipating the birth of a child and especially for those in crises and high risk pregnancies; also for those who are seriously ill especially Mary Jones. May they receive abundant support. We pray to the Lord
3. For all who have died that they may be embraced by God at the heavenly banquet. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God of creation, you called the Virgin Mary to be the Mother of your son and our Mother. Hear our prayers, (silence) that in following her example we might also let our lives be instruments of your grace. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
December 13th, 2020
Homily 3rd Sunday of Advent (John 1.6-8, 19-28) December 13, 2020
Today is Gaudete Sunday, day of joy. Does the last prophet – John the Baptist – reflect joy? He had a very unique appearance. He “was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt and he ate locusts and wild honey.” John had prepared before his public ministry with a long retreat of fast and prayer. And so docile of heart, so well-disciplined and so humble; “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me.”
John the Baptist’s mission was quite clear and he acted as a man with a great mission. As he was faithful to God’s calling, I truly believe that John fully enjoyed his vocation, felt joy and peace in his identity as precursor of Christ announcing to people: “prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,” and ritualizing a baptism of repentance. Being such a humble man, John the Baptist demonstrates on clear route to joy when he admits he is not the Christ. He also admits that he was not the Light but one sent to prepare the people to receive the true Light. Christ is the true reflection of God, he truly is God.
May I add that to be a true reflector of the Light, may we first possess Christ’s light.
Dear friends, what I like about John is his role as a “pointer”. John appears to point to someone else – someone whom they might not even recognize. How is this applicable to our lives today? During the course of our lives many important people point out various things to us in order to be helpful and to “save” us. This starts early on with our parents, who point out simply, for example, that it is dangerous to play with matches. They tell us also to look both ways before crossing the street. Such words may sound childish but such reminders saves lives. This is one of the realities at home. Then we attend school and our teachers guide us toward knowledge and open up the world to us.
Often it takes a lot of strength to be pointers. These persons who want our personal well-being might say: “you smoke too much. If you don’t stop, you will be in danger of getting cancer.” “You drink too much and it is going to ruin your life, your family and your friendships.” “You’d better clean up your language or it is going to get you in trouble at work.” “Stop yelling at your kids! What kind of example are you showing them as a possible future parent?” “You have to slow down; you are all stressed out. Why not spend time with your family?” Any of these behaviours can ruin our relationship not only with other people, those whom we love, but it can seriously affect our relationship with God.
That is why we need John the Baptists in our lives: the pointers, the ones who prepare us to deepen our faith and trust in the One who can save us.
In this context, may we be grateful to pointers, to educators. The attitude of gratitude brings us joy. Since John the Baptist was good at being the precursor of Christ, make the most of every area of your life by constantly looking for ways to provide more value.
May we make the most of tomorrow by making a difference today. May we make the most of our lives by living each day with joy, passion and purpose.
Prayer of the Faithful Third Sunday of Advent December 13, 2020
Celebrant: As we draw closer to the Feast of Christmas when we celebrate the light of Christ being born into the world, let us lift up to God all the places of darkness in our own lives and in our world. With hope and joy, let us bring our needs before the Lord.
1. For all who preach the Gospel, may their words bring glad tidings to the poor, heal the brokenhearted and proclaim liberty to captives. We pray to the Lord
2. For the sick, especially Mary Jones and all those who grieve, may they know the tender compassion of God and find joy and peace in the midst of sorrow. We pray to the Lord
3. For all who have died (especially Robert Arsenault, brother of Aubrey Arsenault). Since this Third Sunday is called “Gaudete Sunday” may our deceased loved ones “rejoice in the Lord always”. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God of joy, in times of darkness, grief and sorrow, you send us the light of your mercy and compassion. Hear our prayers (silence) that all of creation might be enlightened by your love and our world transformed by your justice. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
December 6th, 2020
Homily 2nd Sunday of Advent (Mark 1.1-8) December 6, 2020
It seems that three seasons of the year, there is construction on our Island roads. We have an absence of rocks in our smallest province of Canada. Our P.E.I. government spends much money on our highways every year.
Of course while travelling on the roads, we see signs that say, “Slow Down – Construction Ahead” and we see road graders, gravel trucks and many people working on the highway. I always think to myself, “what a nice highway this will be when it is finished and there is no more construction.” Repairs are ongoing. Employees are still working on it! You see, by the time they finish working on one part of the highway, there is another place that needs to be repaired! Even some part they have repaired before may need to be repaired again. They will never finish working on it.
During the Advent Season, we always hear passages about John the Baptist. Indeed God sent a man named John to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus. John told the people to make a highway in the desert for their God. He told them to make the crooked ways straight and to make the rough places smooth. John wasn’t really talking about building a highway upon which Jesus could travel. He was really talking about the hearts of the people to prepare their hearts to receive Jesus so that he could walk among them and live with them.
During this special Season of the Year when we celebrate Jesus’ birth and look forward to the day when he will come again, you and I need to make sure that we are ready.
We need to look into our hearts and ask God to make our crooked ways straight and smooth out the rough places. It is just like our P.E.I. highways. The job is never finished. “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his path straight” is on ongoing process.
The highway to be made straight is our way of life. It is not the Lord who needs the straight path, but we. And, it’s not so much a straight path we need as a straight attitude. People may be living next door to one another, yet because of a hostile or unforgiving attitude, they may be unable to travel the few yards that separate them from one another.
Here the word “straight” stands for honesty and right living. People are sometimes urged to straighten themselves out. We know what that means. To go straight means to reform after having been dishonest or a criminal. Crooked, on the other hand, stands for dishonesty, cheating, deceit, and so on. There can be a crooked way of dealing with others, a crooked attitude, a crooked way of living.
We find the path by acting with integrity, treating people fairly, not making life more difficult for anyone, sharing with those in need. This is the way to seek God. The prophet Micah put it even more simply when he said, “This is what God asks of you: That you act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6, 8)
How easy things become for the one who walks the straight path – the path of the Lord. But to walk a straight path one needs strength, wisdom, and single mindedness.
In short, on this Second Sunday of Advent, let us be committed to truly prepare ourselves to greet our Saviour. How we prepare ourselves individually matters; are we brave and dedicated like John the Baptist?
Prayer of the Faithful 2nd Sunday of Advent December 6, 2020
Celebrant: In this time of preparation and anticipation for the coming of God’s kingdom in its fullness, let us come before the Lord bringing our needs and the needs of our world.
1. For bishops, priests, deacons, religious and lay-ministers, may they shepherd the people of God with holiness and devotion. We pray to the Lord
2. For the sick and those nearing the end of life, especially Mary Jones – May they be comforted and sustained by a loving community and know deeply the tenderness of God. We pray to the Lord
3. For all our beloved dead – that they may joyfully experience eternal light, rest and peace. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Almighty God, you sent John the Baptist into the world to prepare the way for your Son. May the testimony of the Baptist’s preaching and the example of his life continue to draw the world into the mystery of your Kingdom.
November 29th, 2020
Homily 1st Sunday of Advent (Mark 25.33-37) November 29, 2020
Time flies. Today, we begin a new liturgical year. I quote the first words of our Gospel Passage: “Jesus said to his disciples: Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.” Jesus refers to his second coming, the end of the world.
With the person of Jesus our personal Saviour being part of our lives, in daily living, we are called to be positive and optimistic. As we relive once again his Pascal Mystery, we will respond in faith – these words after the consecration of the bread and wine. We acknowledge that there is mystery in faith, therefore “we proclaim your death o Lord and profess your resurrection until you come again.”
Dear friends, I fully encourage you to profess Christ’s resurrection, to fully live our faith and to really believe what the priest or the presider says after the “Our Father”: “We may be always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ.”
During our whole Season of Advent, may we “keep alert,” beware and pray for peace in the sense of not to be afraid and fearful of Jesus’ second coming or the end of times. On our journey of Christian faith there is a future. Our Master Jesus knows and always reveals the truth. He came from heaven, he lived as God’s beloved Son, he remains with us through his resurrection, the presence of the Holy Spirit and our present era of the Church. We are blessed now and there is hope for our future since He will come again.
In other words, in love, our Lord does not harden his heart against us but makes possible a way for us to gain his presence again. Jesus will return to his people as promised.
Despite our imperfections, our sin and our weaknesses, we are united in our Christian community through Christ. We grow in him and are strengthened by him.
Though God understands our weaknesses, we are called to overcome those weaknesses in Christ.
Through Christ we will be found blameless on the last day. We will not know when the last day shall occur, because only God knows that day and hour. It is wise for us to put our faith and confidence in Him.
Finally, may we keep in mind that the First Sunday of Advent is the Church’s official New Year’s Day. In the context of today’s Gospel, I suggest a good New Year’s resolution: develop one good habit for keeping alert to God’s saving action. When we look around, what do we see? We surely experience the commercialized Christmas. How can we find a center, a focus in this distracting world? Perhaps keeping a spiritual journal could help. May we make time each day to write our thoughts and questions about where God is leading us at this moment. May we also pay attention to the quiet, hidden things God is already doing in our lives every day; we will see that we already live as God’s beloved. Happy new liturgical year.
Prayer of the Faithful 1st Sunday of Advent November 29, 2020
Celebrant: As we are called to be watchful and to be alert, and, as we do not know when He will return, we now turn to the Lord in prayer for the needs of our world.
1. For the Church, that we may be awake to receive the Lord when he comes. We pray to the Lord
2. For the sick, especially Mary Jones….. and that those who are quite active all seek together the way of peace. We pray to the Lord
3. For our beloved dead especially Dennis Doucette, Lorraine Sherren (cousin of Arthur Doucette) – may they await the Lord’s return. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Loving God, you alone are the source of our peace. Grant us the grace to keep us watchful and ready as we await the glorious coming of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
November 22nd, 2020
Christ the King
In today’s Gospel, Jesus describes to his disciples the scene of the judgment of the Son of Man. All the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate them as a shepherd separates sheep and goats upon their return from the pasture. The judgments made by the Son of Man will be based upon the acts of mercy shown to the least ones—the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the ill, and the imprisoned. Indeed, Jesus, who suffered on the Cross, identifies himself with the least ones.
Recall that last week’s parable of the talents taught us that the gifts that we have been given are intended to be used for the service of others, especially the least among us. Our judgment before God will be based not only on how we have used these gifts and talents, but also on how we have extended ourselves in service to these least ones. Indeed, Jesus tells us that whenever we have served these least ones, we have served Christ himself.
When we read today’s Gospel in the context of the chapters that follow in Matthew’s Gospel, we learn the extent to which Jesus identifies with the least ones. In accepting death on the cross, Jesus shows himself to be one of the hungry, the naked, the ill, and the imprisoned. To accept Jesus is to accept him who suffered and died on the Cross as one of the least ones.
Loyola Press (A Jesuit Ministry)
Prayer of the Faithful Christ the King November 22, 2020
Celebrant: Trusting in the Lord our God to provide for all our needs, let us turn to him in prayer.
1. For bishops, priests and deacons, may they shepherd God’s flock with wisdom and compassion, always aligning themselves with the poor and vulnerable. We pray to the Lord
2. For those who are ill especially Mary Jones. Through their faith in Christ’s healing presence, may the sick acknowledge that Jesus suffers with them and is served in them. We pray to the Lord
3. For all our deceased loved ones. May Christ the King generously share his love and kindness with them. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God of perfect justice and perfect mercy, at the end of time, your Son, Jesus, will come to judge the nations. Hear our prayers (silence) that we might dedicate our lives to serving you in all those who need our care. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
November 15th, 2020
Homily 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Matthew 25.14-30) November 15, 2020
Today’s Parable is all about inequity, unfairness or injustice. Jesus shares this story to his disciples. It involves a very rich man who entrusts his possessions to three of his servants or slaves before going on a journey. One receives five talents, another two and the last receives one. In Jesus time, talents meant a large sum of money. The goal of the rich man was to make more money, to make him richer. May I add that the Master left them with instructions.
These words hit home. When I left the parish of Tignish in 2003, I wasn’t given any information. I arrived in my new parish in total darkness. Electric bills were not paid for four months; therefore it almost happened that on the day I was moving into the rectory; Maritime Electric was disconnecting the power. Was I ever poor: Only $58.00 in the checking account. I had inherited a huge financial mess.
It was a unique welcome! The bishop of the time and my new parishioners had their own expectations of their new pastor – the same as the rich man of today’s Gospel. We were informed that the first two slaves or stewards made 100 per cent profit. As they were successful, their Master affirmed them: “Well done, good and trustworthy slave … enter into the joy of your Master.”
I surely relate well to the third slave. He identifies his Master, his lord as a harsh man whose style of profiteering or manipulating, a man who takes what does not belong to him and benefits from the labour of others. So he chose to hide the talent in the ground; he respected to restore intact the amount the Master gave him. As a consequence, the rich man orders that the talent be taken from him and given to the most productive slave. Plus, the third slave experienced rejection. “As for the worthless slave throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
We can conclude from the Parable that the rich man was greedy. May we assume – the Parable is a warning to the rich about their exploitation of the weak. May we keep in mind that Jesus gave instructions to his disciples on the dangers of riches, the abuse of authority and respect for the little ones.
In this context, today’s Gospel confirms that the ministry of a parish priest is not about administration. I just hate when I am identified as a priest who restores church buildings, who organizes fund-raisers and who consumes time in diocesan financial campaigns. I confess for being tempted to send a copy of this homily to our Canadian Bishops. Diocesan priesthood is all about shepherding to God’s people, responding to pastoral needs for individuals and the Christian community that I belong to. A shepherd has the task to encourage his people in being faithful servants and disciples of the Lord. May priests and all religious leaders value collaborative ministry. May together we invest more fully in the Christian life, in the service of other, especially the less-fortunate. May this Gospel motivate us to continue serving without counting the cost, investing fully of ourselves and our talents. There will be an accounting, and when there is, we want to hear the words: “Enter into the joy of your Master.”
Finally, it is so rewarding to be in the joyful presence of children. Through baptism, we are God’s children, “children of the light.” May we develop our child-like qualities. May we transmit the gift of faith to the young generation, help them to develop and share their talents. May we never bury anything God has given us. May we realize that in today’s Gospel, the Master represents God, and the servants represent different types of responses to God. Specifically, in this Parable, the three servants respond differently to the resources that their Master (God) gave them. Notice that they were not all given the same resources. Presumably, they were given resources according to their ability which means that we don’t all get the same gifts from God, but we are given what is appropriate to our personalities and our individual vocations, or as St Paul said, “different gifts, one Spirit (1Cor 12,4).” But God gives us gifts to be used, not to be kept to ourselves.
Prayer of the Faithful 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time November 15, 2020
Celebrant: Dear friends, may we always strive to accomplish the will of the Father in all that we say and do. Indeed we lift up our prayers to the Lord in confident hope.
1. That all Christians may wisely use the talents they are given to care for the needs of the entire Body of Christ. We pray to the Lord
2. That the sick, especially Mary Jones, have the wisdom to offer their suffering in service of others and of the Church. May they find purpose through their limitations. We pray to the Lord
3. That the dead may receive a just reward for their good deeds and may share in the Lord’s heavenly banquet table. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God of life and love, you call us to serve you joyfully with the gifts and talents we have received from your hand. Hear our prayers (silence) that we might dedicate our lives to the path of discipleship. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
November 8th, 2020
Homily 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Matthew 5.1-12a) November 8, 2020
About 30 years ago, while on holidays in the Province of Quebec, a brother from a religious congregation and I visited a friend of ours – a young priest in a very remote country parish. We had difficulty returning back home to Drummondville in the evening – not enough gasoline. We walked quite a bit on clay roads before we stopped at a property. What a relief; the farmer cooperated!
In today’s Gospel, five “foolish bridesmaids lamps” were going out. At midnight, the five wise ones couldn’t help them. The Parable is about a teaching of Jesus who says: “the kingdom of heaven will be like this” – like a wedding in preparation and yet to come. Jesus is the “bridegroom”. The core of the parable, the focus of the story is all about the oil. All 10 bridesmaids were ready for the ball. All 10 had to wait. All of them became drowsy. All of them slept. All of them heard the shout. All of them got up and lit their lamps. These ancient lamps didn’t hold a lot of oil to begin with. The burning light of a lamp, the length of the burn, would not have been a secret to anyone. The wise ones took a flask of oil along in order to keep the fire burning. It wasn’t gallons, but it was enough; enough for the wait, enough for the party, enough for the day, enough for the night. As one preacher put it, “it’s not about how much oil you have, it’s about how much you carry with you.” But it is all about the oil.
May I mention it again. Today’s parable is about the oil. The wise draw upon the resource necessary to live the faith-filled life today, and tonight and tomorrow. The oil? Is it faith? Is it spiritual practices? Is it deeds of discipleship? Is it acts of love and mercy? The answer is yes. All mixed with a bit of grace and the Holy Spirit, a bit of fellowship and praise and a lot of prayer. A kingdom life. Yes, they all had to wait for the bridegroom to come, but when the lamps were trimmed; their light had to shine right then and there, right now.
In the context of this homily for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, may we avoid procrastinating? May we learn to be alert, to fully live the present and build our future.
The following are three examples: (1) if my friend from Drummondville, Quebec would have checked his gage and would have filled his car with gas, we would have saved all that unnecessary stress.
(2)What a mistake we make when we neglect our prayer life: I’m too busy; tomorrow I will pray; it seems that tomorrow never comes.
(3) And thirdly, there is always something we hate to do then it gets done too much at the last minute.
Food for thought: our faith-filled life today, tonight and tomorrow. Good works, faith, spiritual practices, deeds of discipleship, acts of love and mercy. Now. Right now. Not their light or his light, or her light, not your grandmother’s light, or your child’s light, or your neighbour’s light. Our own light today, tonight and tomorrow. A spark of grace and our Kingdom light that shines!
May we nourish our faith or may we value preparedness. Indeed since we honour the dead throughout the month of November, may we realize that we are all mortal human beings. Therefore may we keep in mind the new life after our death. Each one of us is responsible for his-her own life. Believe it or not – when we think about what the Kingdom of God will be like, we also realize that it is not here yet. We each have a role in bringing it about.
Finally, I appreciate my thought of giving you an assignment – a demanding one. May you give much thought during this week. May you really desire to be more committed to your life of faith. May we simplify life and choose to be more responsible or more alert, more productive and more peaceful. May we change at least one of our bad habits. I assure you – we will feel good about ourselves. This is what wisdom is all about.
Prayer of the Faithful 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time November 8, 2020
Celebrant: To the Lord our God whose giving knows no ending, let us bring our needs in confidence.
1. For those who exercise authority within the Church, may they be blessed in wisdom so as to guide the people of God with prudent leadership. We pray to the Lord
2. For the sick especially Mary Jones; and the mentally disabled, may their lives be cherished, and their wisdom and gifts to society recognized. We pray to the Lord
3. For our beloved dead. May they rejoice forever in God’s sight. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God of wisdom, in the parables Jesus reveals to us the ways of your kingdom. Hear our prayers (silence) that when Christ, the heavenly bridegroom returns, we will be waiting to meet him with lamps lit. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
November 1st, 2020
Homily All Saints (Matthew 5.1-12a) November 1, 2020
We remember all those who have gone before us in faith and who we trust now live forever in God’s heavenly love. It is also a feast of recommitment for those of us who inspired by their lives, are encouraged to imitate these saints. Though most of us will never be officially recognized by the Church as saints, our baptismal call to this goal is no less.
We pause today and tomorrow to remember those members of our faith communities “who have fought the good fight, who have finished the race and who have kept the faith” and now share in the promise of heaven. We think of the well-known holy ones whose stories inspire us; we think also of the saints from our own lives, real people blessed with plenty of love and laughter, tremendous courage and always positive – people whose lives attract us and inspire us. We trust that these beloved children of God do indeed see him in truth, for to them have been revealed the truths that we know only in part.
In Revelation, we read a vision of the heavenly scene, a vision of salvation for members of the tribes of Israel and for multitudes from every nation. The inclusiveness of this vision results from the nature of the lives led by these holy ones; they are all those whose clothing has been washed by the blood of the Lamb. They have trusted in the saving power of Jesus’ death and resurrection, even to the point of dying during persecution for the sake of their faith. For them and for us the Beatitudes are words of encouragement and comfort despite the difficulties of life.
The Beatitudes of the Gospel; do not have economic and social concerns as their central characteristics, as do the Beatitudes in St Luke’s Gospel. Here the message is personal, the concerns spiritual. A person’s disposition is all-important in determining who receives these blessings. They are directed at the humble ones, the “poor in spirit” and the meek; those faithful ones who will be recipients of both heaven and earth. Likewise the innocent, the “pure in heart,” will enjoy the splendor of God’s presence. Those who bestow mercy will be reciprocated. The sense of aching that comes with sorrow and mourning will be eased. And finally, those persecuted for their faith can rejoice in heavenly reward.
It is wise to associate the Beatitudes with the lives of the Saints. May we realize that these guidelines will lead to eternal life. They are challenging words; nonetheless, they are guidelines for faithful living. How does this connect to the life of the baptized in the world?
When asked by their teacher, “What does it take to be a saint?” one student responded, “You have to be dead.” May we reflect on the examples of everyday saints in our midst, those who live lives of integrity, humility and generosity, and that, like them, we are all saints-in-the-making.
Saints are recognized for the ways they followed Jesus and lived the Gospel. We all learn and are inspired by seeing how others have lived their faith. Therefore in order to be a good Christian, we are to embrace and live the Beatitudes. On the journey of faith we will mourn, face persecution and insult, be called to align ourselves with the poor, hunger and thirst for righteousness, exercise mercy, be purified of heart and bring peace. In these Christian attitudes, we proclaim our identity as followers of the Lord of life.
In thanksgiving today for the Feast of All Saints, we are given the opportunity to reflect on the lives of the saints. Indeed we take comfort in knowing that they enjoy peace and have truly been blessed with the fulfillment of these promises for which we yet hope. We draw inspiration from their lives of faith and love, as we ourselves continue to struggle to be faithful and loving members of the Christian family.
Prayer of the Faithful All Saints November 1, 2020
Celebrant: Through the intercession of all the saints, let us make our needs known to our loving God.
1. For God’s holy Church, may it continue to be a school of holiness and a refuge for sinners who long to see God’s face. We pray to the Lord
2. For the sick, especially Mary Jones and the suffering. May they find refuge in the shadow of the saints and discover stories of courage and strength. We pray to the Lord
3. May ………………… and all the faithful departed join the saints in heaven as they behold God’s glory night and day. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God of everlasting love, in the lives of your saints your mercy and compassion are revealed. Hear our prayers (silence) that in embracing the Beatitudes, we might build your kingdom here on earth. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
October 25th, 2020
Homily 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Matthew 22.34-40) October 25, 2020
Today’s readings cause us to ponder the relationship between love of God and love of neighbour. Jesuit theologian Karl Rayner called these loves two sides of the same coin. To love one’s neighbour is to love God, and no one can claim to love God if such love doesn’t reflect the love of those persons in the world who need our love. Linking love of God and love for neighbour makes our love effective and transformative. St Ignatius teaches that love has to be expressed in deeds, not mere words. Love needs to be real, to be on this journey together, to live in the right way and to aim in the right direction.
Since we are gathered here in Church this afternoon (morning), it is really important to make you aware that there is a link between the Risen Christ and his Church. The Church is all of us, baptized people or God’s people, members who belong to a Christian community. Jesus our Lord calls us to love God and to love our neighbour as ourselves. What is new in Jesus’ teaching: he has put together these two commandments – the love for God and the love for neighbour – revealing that they are inseparable and complementary. Therefore to love both God and neighbour completely is to fulfill the Law.
Indeed when we love God and love our neighbour, we are fulfilling the Law. All of the laws, the entirety of the more than 600 particular laws are summed up in these two. For us today, we might think of something similar if one were to ask which is the most important teaching in the Catechism, or which is the most important precept of the Church. Perhaps a comparable question might be whether it is more important to tend a sick relative or attend Mass? The answer sidesteps all these questions by saying the most important law is twofold: Love God and love your neighbour. With these as our guiding light, all else comes into focus.
Dear friends, Jesus clarifies the link between love of God and love of neighbour. God loves us so intently and personally that we are here, with all our individual characteristics, our answering love must involve ourselves. The command, “love God with your whole self” is a statement about relationship. And our love of God is expressed above all in our love of neighbour.
When Jesus is asked which is the greatest commandment, he adds a second one, a bonus answer, also saying what the second greatest commandment is: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” By pairing together these two commandments from the Old Testament, Jesus reveals how we live out the first by doing the second. To love God with our whole heart, mind and soul can be difficult to put into practice, but in our actions of caring for our neighbour, God’s beloved sons and daughters, we show our devotion to God.
Devotion in prayer, our presence here at the Eucharist and all acts of worship without concrete works of mercy is simply abstract and empty ritualism. The greatest commandment, which we hear today in the Gospel, combines both love of God and love of neighbour. One without the other negates both. May we recall, too, that St Luke’s version of this same Gospel Passage includes the Parable of the Good Samaritan as Jesus’ response to the scholar’s question: “And who is my neighbour?”
Finally, may I share another way to get my message across. Why not referring you to the sacrament of marriage which is the union between husband and wife called to love and be faithful to each other. Jesus invites all married partners and everyone to commit with our whole being. There’s nothing automatically boring about being a mature and loyal person – at least not according to Jesus. It’s a passionate love affair with God and the whole of humanity.
Prayer of the Faithful 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time October 25, 2020
Celebrant: Knowing God’s compassionate love for all those in need, let us turn to him in prayer.
1. That our Church may make known the love of Christ in its pastoral ministry to all, especially the most vulnerable in the world. We pray to the Lord
2. That all who are sick – may they be treated with compassion. We pray to the Lord
3. That our deceased loved ones, especially Leo Butler, may fully appreciate the depth of God’s love. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God of mercy and kindness, you call us to care for the vulnerable and to serve those in need. Hear our prayers that we might always follow your commandments to love you and to love our neighbour as ourselves. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
October 18th, 2020
Homily 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Matthew 22.15-21) October 18, 2020
Asking questions is a way of communication. A satisfactory answer is expected which means there’s a dialogue one way or another. Are all relationships of ours healthy or unhealthy? Are we always asking the right questions? If not, do we apologize? Do we sometimes regret that we should have asked more questions? How often I hear after the death of parents: “I missed my opportunity – I should have asked them certain questions. And, am I nosy? Pumping someone with a series of questions? In other words, it’s pitiful when we feel we’re in court and when we are victimized – feeling obliged to respond to inappropriate questions.
In the context of today’s Gospel, may we feel sorry for Jesus. He calls a spade a spade. He is aware of the malice of the Pharisees and Herodians. “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites?”
First of all, these two religious groups butter him up. “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us then, what you think, is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” In other words, does God want people to pay taxes to the emperor? Whose side are you on, God’s or the government?
Of course, the issue wasn’t taxes. It was about making Jesus look the fool. Jesus was direct: “Show me the coin used for the tax.”
One of the Pharisees held out a coin in his palm, with Caesar’s face staring up at him.
So then, give the government what you owe the government, Jesus said “and to God the things that are God’s.”
Jesus refused to debate. In a debate, the issue is never the issue. That’s why he asked the questioner to display the coin he held dear. It was two-faced, just like the Pharisee himself.
Jesus verified that the Pharisee’s flattery – “you teach the way of God” – was the truth. The only kingdom Jesus was interested in was a spiritual one. Be more interested in the kingdom of God than anything else Jesus taught and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6, 33) A denarius bore the image of Caesar who demanded more of the same in return.
A sure way to experience tribulation is to debate, dispute, and disagree. Nobody wins. Everybody gets mad and some get sick. Jesus showed us another way – the way of understanding. He clarified forever the difference between kingdoms made on earth and the one created by God – “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” (Luke 17, 21)
Dear friends, it’s interesting that Jesus asks the question to the Pharisees and the Herodians: “Whose head is on the coin and whose title?” If the census tax can be paid to Caesar, what should be repaid to God? The first creation story tells us, “God created mankind in his image, in the image of God he created them/ male and female he created them.” So perhaps the answer could be “us”. We are the repayment of God for the great gift of life and love – each moment of each day, every word and action, all to be given to our creator. It is up to us to live out Jesus’ words in our own day, to give to the world what belongs to the world and “to God what belongs to God.”
In conclusion, all of life is a gift from God and we are challenged to repay the gift with the witness of our lives.
Prayer of the Faithful 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time October 18, 2020
Celebrant: With trust in God’s love and care for all his creatures, let us bring our needs before the Lord.
1. For leaders of the church, in joy may they dedicate their lives in serving God in truth and to caring for his people, especially the most vulnerable. We pray to the Lord
2. For all those who are ill, may their hearts be fortified and be blessed with courage and hope. We pray to the Lord
3. For all who have died, May the Lamb of God grant them a warm welcome in heaven. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Almighty God, in your Word and the Eucharist you provide us with nourishment for the journey of faith. Hear our prayers that we might be filled with peace and strengthened in hope to go forth, proclaim and evangelize. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
October 11th, 2020
Homily 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Matthew 22.1-14) October 11, 2020
Invitations can be a touchy subject. I recall in the early 60’s, relatives from Montreal were not invited to a wedding. They were highly offended. I have also been a witness that a bride and groom were very much disappointed by some invited guests who didn’t show up at their banquet. They had to pay for every plate they ordered.
Today’s parable is about a royal wedding feast. Interestingly, the guests did not come. While for us, we can’t relate to this fact. Royal weddings are even televised.
And today’s Gospel ends with a unique conclusion. At the arrival of the new guest, the king sees someone not properly dressed. It’s shocking! He is thrown out. May we keep in mind that this parable is similar to the parable of weeds and wheat, St Matthew knows the Church is a collection of the good and bad. Therefore when we are invited somewhere, there is no guarantee. Have we always experienced the best of hospitality at a wedding reception? How sad when guests leave feeling insulted. A few times, I felt uncomfortable at a wedding reception hearing off-coloured jokes and stories with double meanings. May I add that an invitation does not necessarily mean attendance and attendance does not necessarily mean celebration. There are expectations that need to be met. I quote the final words of our Gospel Passage: “For many are called but few are chosen.”
So we are called to pause, reflect and reexamine our lives. We responded to the Lord’s invitation. We now attend his banquet of the Eucharist. After the greeting, we as a community acknowledge our sinfulness or admit we do not always wear “the wedding robe”. Do we realize that throughout our lives God offers many invitations to us to be part of his kingdom and to be fed at his table. Even though we have been invited, we also know that God honours our free will. If we refuse the invitation to the feast, we won’t be forced to join. As we journey closer to the end of our liturgical year, now is a good time to ponder over this past year; how have we responded to the invitations God has issued in our lives? As we are in the Covid 19 pandemic, once we have a vaccine, we hope that those who have been absent at the Sunday Mass will return back to listen to God’s Word and participate at the breaking of bread.
I choose to give you a summary of this homily. Everyone is invited, both good and bad according to the lens through which St Matthew always writes, to the wedding banquet.
One guest, however, turns out not to be wearing the wedding robe, which, apparently, everyone is. Now in St Matthew’s time, the robe was the symbol of conversion. The Christian, on becoming a Christian through Baptism, received a new identity, putting away the old life and embracing the new. This was symbolized by the putting on of a white robe, a new set of clothes appropriate for the new way of life. And that new way of life is characterized by bearing fruit, a prominent theme in St Matthew’s Gospel. This guest has accepted the invitation but has not done anything else in response. He seems to signify that the invitation didn’t actually mean that much to him.
In other words, it’s not enough to simply show up. One has to recognize the value of the banquet and is called to do something I response to God’s invitation. So let us not simply show up. The gift of salvation has to mean something! Let us in love and gratitude share the riches of God’s grace far and wide, through acts of love toward those who are broken and hurting, because we have been given no less than everything.
Prayer of the Faithful 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time October 11, 2020
Celebrant: Trusting in the living God who calls us by name, let us turn to the Lord in prayer.
1. For all members of the Church, may we answer the call of the Lord in our lives to serve Him and others in love and humility. We pray to the Lord
2. For the sick, the elderly and their caregivers, may they know the care and compassion of God and live in dignity and comfort. We pray to the Lord
3. For those who have been welcomed to the banquet feast of heaven, that their souls might find refreshment forever. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God, our Shepherd and guide, through the parables tour Son, Jesus, teaches us the secrets of your kingdom. Hear our prayers that in meditating on your word, we might grow even closer to you.
October 4th, 2020
Homily 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Matthew 21.33-43) October 4, 2020
Since my recent holiday, I am reading the 342 page book entitled: “Wounded Shepherd Pope Francis and his Struggle to convert the Catholic Church.” The title “Wounded Shepherd” saddens me but the Holy Father’s graciousness, his serenity, simplicity and humility is an inspiration for me. In addition, his focus, his leadership is all about Jesus Christ.
In Christ’s name, our Pope’s mission is “to take the church to the people and to save the Church.” It seems that we have a misunderstanding of today’s church. Every parish community has their struggles. For example, every year, it is never easy to find cathests, religion teachers to teach the life of faith to children. Many limit church to the Sunday Mass. Packed churches rarely happen Adults, especially elderly people, are the majority attending. Where are the teenagers and young families? Every year, elementary students make their first communion and a number of teenagers are confirmed. Somehow parishes fail to reach out to them. As your parish priest and as your homilist, I need to be your messenger of good news and a giver of hope. May we keep in mind these words from the letter of Paul to the Ephesians: “If we live by the truth and in love, we shall grow in all ways into Christ (Eph.4,15). Vatican II defines the church as God’s people. Indeed God’s people – the laity too plays their part in ministry, in responding to the needs of the church. Both members of the clergy and the laity are called to be community builders and to exercise collaborative ministry.
In order to “grow in all ways to Christ,” good leadership is much needed. Such leaders share their power. I quote words from a speech of Pope Francis: “Power is something that is shared. Power exists when we make decisions that have been meditated, talked about and prayer over.”
Today’s Gospel reveals this to us. In a building, the cornerstone is the foundation that makes the building strong. When Jesus is called the “cornerstone,” it means that his life and his example are essential to our faith. Without Jesus, we would be lost; faith in him gives us a foundation for how to live our lives.
Today’s Gospel calls us to also examine ourselves. What kind of tenants are we? May we never be found negligent. This could be today’s obstacle. We do not rely enough on our faith. We live so much in an individualistic and selfish society. The tenants in today’s Parable, the Jewish leaders, rejected and killed the Son.
St Matthew, the evangelist, presents Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament. St Matthew portrays Jesus drawing on a verse from Ps 118 to demonstrate the triumph of God’s plan. “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” It has a connection to “keystone”, that stone at the center of an arch which holds the structure together.
Sisters and brothers, we are the Lord’s vineyard to bear fruit for the world. May religious and lay-leaders learn to work well together and experience collaborative ministry. I repeat Pope Francis’ words. “Power is something that is shared. Power exists when we make decisions that have been meditated, talked about and prayer over.”
Do we realize that gossip, false information and lies is an illness? Are we aware that belonging to a clique becomes more powerful than belonging to the Body and even to Christ himself? According to Pope Francis this type of illness “enslaves its members and becomes a cancer which threatens the harmony of the Body, causes immense evil and harming many souls.”
As church members, as God’s people, let us respect the legitimacy of different opinions. Let us improve ourselves not to be too opinioned or learn to accept our differences of opinions. Let us value harmony, unity and communion. Let us strive to cultivate a generosity of spirit and goodwill toward one another.
Finally, I openly share what I expect from each one of us: If we desire to be the people of God and to tend the vineyard of the Lord, we must put our faith into action and produce the fruits of the kingdom.
Prayer of the Faithful 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time October 4, 2020
Celebrant: With faith in our God, the giver of every good gift, let us bring our needs before the Lord.
1. That the church may carefully guide all peoples towards right relationships with God and with each other. We pray to the Lord
2. That the sick and those who have found life destroyed due to the irresponsibility of others may learn to trust again. We pray to the Lord
3. That the Lord’s face my shine upon the faithful departed leading them into the fullness of eternal life. May they rest in peace. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God of wisdom and love, in you we find peace that surpasses all understanding. Hear our prayers that the work of our hands might build up the kingdom of God and help to spread your peace throughout the world. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
September 27th, 2020
Homily 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Matthew 21.28-35) September 27, 2020
Parables are Jesus’ most memorable messages. Speaking in parables was one way for our Saviour to get his message across. During his public ministry, Jesus had the reputation of being an excellent storyteller.
As homilist, I deliver my message based on today’s Gospel passage. We followers of Christ are called to fidelity in word and deed. When we commit ourselves to do something, may we act. May we practice what we preach. Therefore our words and actions should match one another. But as Jesus makes clear our actions – most especially how we care for those on the margins – matter much more than our good intentions. In other words, there is a difference between saying and doing as reflected in today’s Gospel.
Dear friends, we can all relate to down to earth family situations. Tired parents who tell their child, “I’ll play with you after dinner,” only to have that time come and be ready for another excuse. Or children who promise to clean their room, never intending to keep their word and hoping their parents will become distracted by something else.
Comes to mind one of Jesus’ sayings during his Sermon on the Mount: “Let your yes mean yes and your no mean no.” (Mt 5, 37)
As we go about our lives, let us make an extra effort to think carefully before we commit ourselves or say we will do something. Simply modifying a commitment with the words, “I intend to …” or “I’ll make my best effort to …” may be all we need to temper expectations. By avoiding the trap of being a people pleaser, or one who over-promises, and instead being a person of action on behalf of others, we will be living the Gospel message.
In reality, today’s Parable speaks about our relationship with God and our commitment to the life of discipleship. God has asked us to work in his vineyard caring for the poor, working for justice and bringing peace to others. As Christians, we are called to love God and others, not simply through the words we say but more important, in the ways we give of ourselves for the good of all. In our lives, where is God calling us to more action and fewer words?
Most of us attend the Sunday Mass weekly. Is being present here the same as doing the Father’s will? More often, than we’d like to admit, we have been content to sing and pray week after week about the hungry being fed, yet we have done very little to feed the hungry.
I quote the Monk Godfrey Diekmann, a renowned liturgist: “what good is it if the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ but we are not?”
At the end of the Mass, one of the formulas for the dismissal commissions us with these words: “Go in peace glorifying the Lord by your lives.” Ritual words and actions at the liturgy are not enough. They are rehearsal for how we are to live and act in our daily lives.
Prayer of the Faithful 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time September 27, 2020
Celebrant: Knowing the compassionate love of the Lord our God, let us turn to him in prayer.
1. That all church leaders love unconditionally, be merciful and lead by example.
We pray to the Lord
2. That the sick and the dying journey with our Lord Jesus since he humbled himself on the cross. We pray to the Lord
3. That ………………………… and all who have died may hear the voice of the Lord and follow him into the halls of eternity. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Loving God, as your Son asks “the chief priests and the elders of the people: what do you think?” May your Holy Spirit enlighten us as we are called to be mindful of our brother and Saviour. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
September 20th, 2020
September 13th, 2020
Homily 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Matthew 21-35) September 13, 2020
Let us be grateful to Jesus. He gave us a very valuable gift: a teaching on forgiveness. Our Divine Teacher cares for our present and future.
Let us also make the real effort to reconcile our past. If we are angry at someone, I pause to allow us to say a prayer for that person, to let go of our anger and to receive the grace of forgiveness. (pause)
As Jesus calls us to forgive 77 times, may we choose and value forgiveness as our way of life. Immediately after this Sunday homily, we will profess the Apostle’s Creed. May we be sincere in what we really believe. Indeed “I believe in the forgiveness of sins”. God always forgives us; therefore as his people, we too are called to forgive.
I realize that it’s not an easy task. When we are hurt by someone, we may need a little time to take stock of our feelings, but ultimately it is most helpful to take a position of humility – a position that refuses to judge, refuses to adopt a self-righteous attitude, and hold a grudge. A grudge is like toxic waste: it only hurts the one who holds it. So how many times should we forgive the person who wrongs us? When Jesus says 77 times, he really means stop counting. Forgive as many times as it takes.
I repeat the words: let us “reconcile our past”. Let us stop carrying out resentments. What a waste of energy to replay ugly hurts in our mind over and over and over again, and to believe that I am right and my neighbour is wrong. Let us choose to let go or there is no future to anything. Family members who do not get along show their true colours when they are vulnerable. For example, some years ago, I attended the visiting hours at a funeral home. The grieving family made a wrong decision. The receiving line began with the oldest to the youngest. As I shook hands with the oldest, this person ordered me and shouted: “Don’t shake hands with this sister; she’s a terrible person.” I disobeyed her; this was also her mother. How inappropriate and how deceiving, to announce publicly that there were family frictions.
Since death is a sacred event, reconciliation and family unity should be experienced rather than anger, rejection and division. Over 30 years ago, a number of family members contacted me and received absolutions before the funeral mass of their loved one. What a powerful and significant gesture on their part.
As we now experience the Lord’s Paschal Mystery, may we recognize the total and unconditional goodness of God, who has always shown us kindness and mercy. Unfortunately we’re blind – we often fail to see with the eyes of faith. May we work on repentance and on our conversion. May we give priority to kindness and mercy rather than hardness and coldness.
Loving and merciful God, we are your children. May we honour your gift of forgiveness and develop goodness inside each of us. May we commit ourselves “not to live to ourselves and not to die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” As the Almighty takes care of us and our future, may we become the God we worship, and God is forgiveness itself.
Prayer of the Faithful 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time September 13, 2020
Celebrant: Knowing the depths of God’s mercy, let us bring our prayers before the Lord.
1. For God’s holy church, may priests promote the sacrament of forgiveness and reconciliation. We pray to the Lord
2. For the seriously ill and those who have been victims of violent crimes; may they receive the necessary support to heal from trauma and anxiety. We pray to the Lord
3. For all who have died, may meeting the God of Mercy and their Redeemer be their joy and fulfilment. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Good and gracious God, make us instruments of your peace, give us a generous, healing and forgiving heart so we may reach out to our neighbour. Thank you that “it is in pardoning that we are pardoned”. Grant this through Christ our Lord.
September 6th, 2020
Homily 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Matthew 18. 15-20) September 6, 2020
There are a number of couples in our parish community who made the Marriage Encounter Weekend. I recall seeing banners with the words: “Love is a decision.” How true!
Since I deliver this homily on the Labour Day weekend, students and teachers will return to school on Tuesday. As you know, it’s a unique return, “the new normal” because of the pandemic. Everyone: students, teachers, bus drivers, secretaries and others must do their best to remain safe, to keep themselves free from the contagious disease of Covid 19. There is stress and tension in the air. It can affect human relationships. Teachers and parents may possibly deal with the sensitive matter of fraternal correction.
The challenge for each one of us is to be responsible, cautious, and prudent for not causing unhealthy relationships in our environment. We people easily react, blame and even attack our neighbour’s behaviour. May we keep in mind Jesus’ following question: “Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the plank in your own?”
Have you noticed that the phrase “against you” is the first line of our Gospel reading? The subject is not so much a personal offense, but rather any sin. Brothers and sisters are responsible for the conversion of one another.
The “how” of exercising this work of conversion and reconciliation is shown in the first lines of the Gospel reading and in the second reading especially “to love one another”. This reminds us that “love of neighbours” must be the basis of any reconciliation work.
Today’s Scriptures call us to self-examination, for we are both sinners in need of our own conversion and called to be “prophets” and reconcilers for one another.
Therefore, when we are in error, may we be in touch and visit our neighbour and simply say: “I am sorry for what I have said or done to you.” Unfortunately, how often, it’s the one who is hurt who tries to solve the issue and gets nowhere. Too often, reconciliation does not happen.
In order to avoid less stress in relationships, may we develop our communication skills.” Silent treatment” never works. When we choose to avoid a conflict, the longer it lasts, the harder it will be to have it solved. May we be good to ourselves, may we face issues as soon as we can, never delay, and value healthy relationships.
Let us pray that we become comfortable with healthy conflict. May we be the people God has called us to be. We will fail at times. But with God’s love and the help of our brothers and sisters, we can forgive ourselves and each other and try again.
Prayer of the Faithful 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time September 6, 2020
Celebrant: Confident in Jesus’ words that “where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them,” let us bring our prayers before the Lord.
1. For Church leaders, may communication skills be among their priorities and may they be gifted with skills to resolve conflicts among the people of God. We pray to the Lord
2. For those who suffer physically, mentally and spiritually – including those in need of forgiveness; may their hearts be turned toward healing, repentance and mercy. We now lift up in prayer. We pray to the Lord
3. For our deceased loved ones, may they be grateful to the God of mercy. May He also be compassionate to those who have died having left this world filled with anger. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God our Father, teach us to be humble and to realize that we need his mercy and forgiveness. May our hearts be open; indeed grant us the wisdom to humbly accept correction when it is offered to us. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
August 30th, 2020
Homily 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Matthew 16. 21-27) August 30, 2020
What a contrast between last Sunday and this Sunday’s Gospel. Last Sunday, Jesus affirms Simon Peter: “Blessed are you” and today he really puts him down: “Get behind me, Satan, you are a stumbling block to me.”
Many times I have shared with you to dwell on the positive. But today, I feel obliged to speak on the difficulty of being stumbling blocks to others. Dear Simon Peter accidently created a stumbling block to Jesus because he misunderstood Jesus’ mission as the Messiah. May you let me tell you what Peter had in mind: According to popular expectation – the Messiah would be a great military leader – another King David who would restore Israel to its former military greatness.
But this wasn’t Jesus idea of the Messiah. He told the apostles that the Messiah would suffer and be put to death. That was what God wanted. Not that God wanted the suffering of his Son but that he wanted to show us the debt of his love for us in and through the faithfulness and love of his Son, faithfulness and love which cost him his life.
The notion of a suffering Messiah was entirely foreign and completely unacceptable to Peter. So, out of concern for Jesus, he tried to stop him. But no doubt he was thinking of himself too. Peter just couldn’t imagine being a disciple of a suffering Messiah. This explains why Peter has become a stumbling block to Jesus.
May today’s Gospel help us to realize that there are always two sides to a coin. I observed that too often people seem to forget the other side of the coin. When there is no verification, it creates prejudices and unfairness. It’s sad that a member of a party can be victimized. It is bad that there is never a clear picture of the situation. In this context, reconciliation will never happen.
Jesus took the opportunity to rebuke Peter who tried to tempt his Master to turn away from the cross. But Jesus knew that the only way to risen life is through death.
As disciples, we are to take on the mind of God, to think not as human beings do. Our human priorities are often misplaced. When we think as God does, we will know that loss means finding denial of oneself is ultimate fulfillment, and death leads to life. To think in these ways requires extra effort because it does not come naturally. But once we do think as God does, we are on our way to living the paschal mystery.
The lesson to learn from today’s Gospel is our constant desire to grow in faith. May we believe that there is potential when we deepen our faith. When we come to know God, life is enlarged. We discover that the knowledge of God broadens the whole perspective of life. Indeed God is relevant to life. God is not some concept reserved for Sunday mornings. God is the ultimate reality. We all intended to know Him and experience Him on a daily basis. When we do so, life becomes vibrant, exciting and awesome.
Prayer of the Faithful 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time August 30, 2020
Celebrant: Firm in our commitment to follow our Master, let us bring our prayers before the Lord our God.
1. For Church leaders, may they understand and accept the paschal mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection. May the lives of all Christians be centered on our Lord Jesus Christ. We pray to the Lord
2. For the sick especially Stephen McCue ….. May they maintain the power of hope in the midst of anguish and pain. We pray to the Lord
3. For our deceased loved ones ….. May they fully experience our Father’s glory in the eternal home. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God of hope, your Son shows us that the Cross is the way to freedom and the fullness of joy. Send us your Spirit that we may embrace the Cross with gladness. Increase our faith and answer our prayers, through Christ our Lord.
August 23rd, 2020
Homily 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Matthew 16. 13-20) August 23, 2020
We think all the time. We use our own mind when we do something. We make decisions. We remember loved ones. Especially in difficult times, we pray for them. We sometimes have hurtful, angry and distressful thoughts. We are also thoughtful. We raise our own questions about ourselves, others and God.
When Jesus asks his disciples these two profound questions: “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” And “Who do you say that I am?” I hope that we understand better where he is coming from. May I specify that Jesus knew who he had been with these people; He had been healing them; He had been forgiving them; He had been preaching to then. But he wanted to know if they knew who He was, not because He didn’t know who he was, but He wanted to know if the people could recognize in his actions that He was truly the Son of God. And so, the many spectators had it wrong, but Peter His closest friend, knew who He was. Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Because Peter knew him the best, he had spent the most time with Him; He of all people would have known. But it was not just because of that but because as the Gospel reading says today, because the Heavenly Father revealed this to Peter.
Jesus took the opportunity to allow the disciples to think about his identity. He asks them to report on the rumours and gossip of the crowd that follows him. He wants to know what they are saying about his identity. The crowds were not clear that Jesus might be Elijah or John the Baptist or one of the prophets come back to life. They have drawn the conclusion that Peter has come to: that this man is in fact the Anointed One they have been waiting for, “the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” This question of faith remains one that is asked of each disciple today.
What a blessing for Peter who professed and recognized Him. Therefore Jesus confirmed that Peter was blessed with the gifts of truth and certitude. May we keep in mind that the name Peter means rock. This explains why Jesus chose him as the leader of the apostles, the first pope. Like Peter, as Christin believers, we are called to be truthful and to be responsible for what we do.
We have met Jesus in the Word of God and in the sacraments of the Church. We have heard him proclaimed to us by catechists, evangelists and preachers. Still, Jesus wants us to know, “Who do you say that I am?”
But who do you say Jesus is? That is a lot harder question to answer because it has to come from our heart, not from others’ response and not from a textbook or resource. An authentic answer requires our own words, coming from our own personal relationship with Christ. May our faith in Jesus be personal and based on Peter’s profession of faith.
As we all believe in Christ and his Church, we are called to have a mature relationship with Jesus and to be in communion with our brothers and sisters. Faith requires a personal approach. Social media can damage healthy relationships. Adults choose “Facebook” to get their message across. It’s their choice but it’s impersonal. The life of faith and church community encourage encounters, unity, communion, reconciliation and conversion when necessary.
In conclusion, Christians are people with incredible potential, an unbelievable potential to care for and love others.
Prayer of the Faithful 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time August 23, 2020
Celebrant: Through the intercession of St Peter, the first pope and rock upon which the Church was built, let us entrust our needs to the Lord.
1. May the pope, bishops and priests daily grow in faith and love for Christ and his Church. We pray to the Lord
2. May the sick especially Alice Perry, Stephen McCue and those who are troubled in spirit be freed from all anxiety and safe from all distress. We pray to the Lord
3. May Alice Perry and all those who have died in the peace of Christ know the joys of heaven. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Ever – faithful God, the rock of the Church, St Peter, professed Jesus as “Christ, the Son of the living God.” May as the first disciples, we proclaim Him to the world with joy and apostolic fervor. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
August 16th, 2020
Homily 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Matthew 14, 22-33) August 16, 2020
Let us give credit to individuals who are persistent. They want their physical needs met. For example, those in wheelchairs are entitled ramps and restrooms accessible everywhere. They just don’t stop until they succeed and win their cause.
In today’s Gospel passage, there is an equally determined mother who pleads with Jesus to heal her daughter. It happens in the region of Tyre and Sidon. It is puzzling that he should go there, since Jesus’ position, according to St Matthew the Evangelist; he’s “ministering only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew has just recounted the execution of John the Baptist. Most likely, Jesus goes to the coastal cities. He needs time to grieve over his beloved teacher and relative. He can be anonymous in Tyre and Sidon and can regroup and strategize about when and how to continue his mission publically.
But, he is recognized. A Canaanite woman who is labelled as an enemy comes pleading for her daughter. Interestingly, she knows both the Jewish prayer formulas and the proper messianic title for Jesus. “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David.” Jesus makes no response to her at all because his mission is only to his own people.
This woman didn’t give in; she wants her daughter’s well-being. She knelt befor Jesus, a gesture of homage, she was persistent. This time Jesus’ response is terribly insulting. “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” Of course, calling the woman a dog is a gross insult.
Good for this woman who found clever words and remaining respectful towards Jesus. “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” With that, something shifts in Jesus. He had a different outlook. She became one of his own, one with whom he shares a common humanity, a common faith in God, a common desire for the well-being of children He recognizes her great faith.
Beyond securing the healing of her daughter, the narrative depicts this woman sparking in Jesus the idea that his mission is for all people. In this context, we can relate to Jesus, being human, like us. He learned of his mission as he listened to his Father. When we listen to God’s Word, we learn what God wants each of us to do.
As we live in the era of Christ’s Resurrection, may we be aware that all are welcome and all may be disciples. No longer are God’s chosen people limited to one group. Instead, by what God has done in Christ, all are chosen and called to be children of God.
Finally, may we call to mind that we are gathered here as a Christian community. May we be sensitive to members of our congregation. Perhaps there is someone in our pews who is feeling unwanted, unnoticed, even rejected by the Church. May we develop “positive thinking”. Jesus’ response to the Canaanite woman: “Woman, great is your faith.” May we give people a second chance, have an open heart and be welcoming to our neighbour.
Prayer of the Faithful 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time August 9, 2020
Celebrant: The Canaanite woman displayed great faith and courage in approaching the Lord with her plea. Trusting that the Lord our God never tires of our supplications, we pray.
1. For the universal church, may it be strengthened through its diversity and become a place where all peoples of the world find welcome.
We pray to the Lord
2. For Alice Perry, Stephen McCue and all those who are tormented by physical, mental or spiritual illness and for their caretakers and loved ones, may Jesus’ healing touch bring comfort and peace. We pray to the Lord
3. For our deceased loved ones. May they joyfully embrace the mercy and love of our Heavenly Father. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Loving God, your Son proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom and cured every disease among the people. We lift up to you the world for its healing and wholeness. As you call us to believe and trust in you, grant all that we ask this day – through Christ our Lord.
August 9th, 2020
Homily 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Matthew 14, 22-33) August 9, 2020
Each time I am introduced to the Gospel Passage of the disciples who witnessed Jesus walking on the water, I spontaneously think of my late friend – Fr Garth McKearney. I was his supervisor in 1995-1996 in our neighbouring parish of Tignish. Unfortunately he died at the young age of 51. This Gospel Passage was Fr Garth’s favourite one. This makes sense to me because my dear friend had a very hard life. Since he has inspired me and has touched many people’s lives through a rich legacy, Fr Garth must also have received much comfort and was able to accept the challenge to pick up courage, to believe and to trust. During his terminal phase, how often I heard him saying: “straight ahead.”
The similarity of last week’s Gospel – the feeding of the multitude and our proclamation “the walking on water” is the disciple’s insecurity, their lack of faith and trust in Jesus. May I also remind you that Jesus wasn’t in the boat in the first place. He went off to be alone and to pray. Then in the early morning, he walked on the sea. His disciples were terrified saying: “it’s a ghost. And they cried out in fear … Jesus spoke to them; take heart, it is I, do not be afraid.”
To overcome fear is possible. May we train ourselves to focus on the importance of the power of faith and prayer. Food for thought, dear friends: If Jesus needed to pray, how much more do we.
We resemble Peter very much. Peter started to sink as he “got out of the boat” because he was afraid. Fear is the opposite of faith. Prayer builds faith and reduces fear by increasing our faith in God. The more we pray the less we fear. Peter is an example of our imperfect faith; he even denied the Lord but he’s also an example for us to follow. When we put our trust in Jesus to save us, he holds us up, and he sustains us through our most difficult times.
That’s why we are present here this morning. We need to be alert in faith, to be in solidarity with those who have suffered loss, the loss of a child or spouse through death. The loss from divorce. The loss of physical or mental health. The loss of a job or an opportunity. The loss of virtue. Loneliness, Betrayals and disappointments, addictions, and simply lack of spiritual fitness. Some people are sick and tired of being sick and worn out. We all have our difficult times.
Therefore, there are all kinds of people going through so much. I suggest when shortly I lift up the paten and the chalice, you might think of someone lacking hope and giving up and say in your heart: “I am placing (so and so) (Mary & John) on this paten and in this chalice. May they too be lifted up to God.” Or when you approach for Communion, bring someone in your heart with you. Let them experience an increase in faith, a wakeup call to pray more often and the awareness that they are not alone.
In conclusion, may we pray with a faith that cannot be shaken. May we also realize that the only way to maintain our faith is to nurture our relationship with Jesus.
Prayer of the Faithful 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time August 9, 2020
Celebrant: Jesus tells his disciples “do not be afraid.” With perfect trust that frees all fear, let us bring our needs before the Lord.
1. For all Ministers of our church who are wrestling with doubt, loneliness and fear; may they realize that “truth sets us free,” may they be courageous and face issues. We pray to the Lord
2. For all the sick of our parish community especially Alice Perry, Stephen McCue …………………………………………………………………………… May they rely on their faith in Christ in order to have hope and “not be afraid”.
We pray to the Lord
3. For all who have died, ………………………………………………………..
……………………………. May their pilgrimage in heaven be most amazing and may they marvel in the presence of the Son of God – the Risen Christ.
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Eternal God, in you we find courage and strength for the journey of faith. Hear our prayers that we might be a comforting presence to those who are suffering in our families and communities. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
August 2nd, 2020
Homily 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Matthew 14, 13-21) August 2, 2020
At last Sunday’s celebration of the Eucharist before the final words: “go and announce the Gospel of the Lord” I informed you of the 2020 Clergy appointments of the Diocese.
Dear parishioners, I take this opportunity to renew my own commitment serving you in the spirit of today’s Proclamation of the Gospel and in our era of Vatican II Council.
May I also share with you that members who sit on Parish Committees often hear me say to them these two words: Collaborative Ministry. We are all about togetherness. Above all, may the priest and every member of parish committees be followers of Christ; may we always be aware that God has provided us with what we need most – Jesus himself is the bread of eternal life. May we act as God’s people to nurture and build our parish community. “The Lord is near to all who call on him,” says the Psalmist. The most important way we call on him is by participating in the Eucharist, where we become like the 5,000 families that Jesus fed. And when we are fed by Christ, then nothing can separate us from his love.
Chers frères et sœurs, le 30 juin dernier, Mgr Grecco a redigé une lettre à ses prêtres. Il nous a lancé le défi de voir l’Église d’un différent œil. Il nous a rappelé que le Pope François nous encourage de planifier notre futur, de vivre notre foi à la lumière de l’Évangile et d’initier dans chaque paroisse des groupes d’études et de partages spirituels.
Ici dans notre communauté paroissiale, nous sommes bénis d’une bonne fondation. En effet, je félicite les membres du Conseil Paroissial Pastorale de notre Énoncé de mission : « En tant que peuple de Dieu, nous sommes appelés à aimer, servir, grandir dans la foi et cheminer avec des gens de tous les horizons. »
Pendant cette pandémie, suivons l’exemple de Jésus. Après la mort tragique de Jean Baptiste il s’est réfugié dans un endroit désert. Alors, en débutant ce mois d’août, ne nous laissons pas distraire dans nos tâches trouver le temps pour la prière et le repos-surtout dans les moments de crise.
Dear brothers and sisters, on June 30th, Bishop Grecco wrote a letter to his priests. He challenges us “to see the Church in a different light”. He reminded us that Pope Francis encourages us “to plan the future,” to live our “faith based on the Good News,” and to initiate prayerful study groups in every parish.
Here in our community of faith, we have a good foundation. Indeed, I congratulate the Parish Pastoral Council members for our Mission Statement: “We are called as God’s people to love, serve, grow in faith and journey with all walks of life.”
During this pandemic, may we follow Jesus’ example. When he heard of John the Baptist’s death, “he withdrew to a deserted place by himself.” So as we begin this month of August, we must not get so tied up in our ministry that we forget to take down-time, pray and rest; especially during times of crises.
Instead of our tendency to give up when we face the unknown, may we be filled with hope, rely on our faith and realize that this story of the feeding of the 5,000 is not a story Jesus told, but it’s a story told about Jesus; it’s a story about something Jesus did, as we’re reminded today, he did it with the help of a few others.
This confirms our mission, that is, to daily practice “collaborative ministry”. May we keep in mind that Jesus delegated his disciples. “You give them” – the large crowd “something to eat.” – With what you have: “five loaves and two fish.” As pastor, there is no way I can do everything by myself. I am looking forward this Fall to offering the Pastoral Council Members “ownership” especially with our new chairperson of the Council: Charles Murphy.
And may we take comfort that discipleship requires participation on our part and a willingness for us, like Jesus, to take action. When we do – acting with and for Christ – miraculous things are possible. It’s up to us to feed each other.
Prayer of the Faithful 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time August 2, 2020
Celebrant: We come to the Lord so that we might have life. Indeed, we come with our hope and our fears, our joys and our struggles knowing that the Lord’s love will satisfy the needs of our longing world.
1. For Pope Francis, Bishop Grecco, all priests, deacons and lay leaders that they may respond lovingly to the Lord’s invitation to feed the hungry of this world. We pray to the Lord
2. For those who are seriously ill especially Alice Perry, Stephen McCue, ………
………………………………………………………………………………….may God shower his blessings upon them; may he continually reveal his Son’s presence in our world. We pray to the Lord
3. For our deceased loved one ……………………………………………………
……………………………………………. May they know God’s unfailing mercy in the eternal home. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God of abundance, in you we find nourishment that satisfies. Hear our prayers that your mercy and love might fill the earth so that all people would dwell in peace. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
July 26th, 2020
Homily 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Matthew 13, 44-52) July 26, 2020
The Word of God is all about us. It’s our own story. I hope and pray that the Divine Word “hits home” or nourishes us spiritually.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks in parables. He shares stories about “treasures hidden in a field,” also “a merchant in search of a pearl of great value”.
While preparing this homily, I asked myself the question: What is most important in my life? Or what do I value the most?
Here is my answer: Since January 1st, 1999, from year to year, I share the very same New Year’s Resolutions. (1) Discipline in all areas of my life and (2) life in abundance because Jesus said: “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.” (John 10, 10)
Il est écrit dans la lettre aux Hébreux: « Car le Seigneur corrige celui qu’il aime. » C’est-à-dire il s’attend que nous soyons disciplinés. Voilà la tâche principale des parents: de corriger, de discipliner leurs enfants. En tant que chrétien et chrétienne, nous sommes des disciples du Seigneur appelés d’être des personnes disciplinées et équilibrées.
Alors ce qui est important dans cette vie est d’investir dans le Royaume de Dieu, d’expérimenter l’amour de Dieu. Ceci exige d’amméliorer notre relation avec Dieu, d’apprécier les sacrements de l’église surtout la messe de chaque dimanche et de réserver du temps pour la prière et la méditation de passages bibliques. Bien sûr, il est essentiel de nourrir nos relations avec la famille et le cercle d’amitié.
In Hebrews 12, Verse 6, it is written: “The Lord disciplines those whom he loves.” In addition, the task of loving parents is to discipline their children. As Christians, we are disciples of the Lord called to be disciplined and well-balanced.
Therefore you’ve heard the expression “you can’t take it with you”. It means that we leave this world the way we came into it – without even the clothes on our backs. But the truth is that there are some things you can take with you into eternal life. They’re just not material things. And that’s what Jesus is talking about in the treasure parables. Real treasure is that which has eternal value – it’s what you can take with you.
One way to think about this is in terms of relationships. St Paul says that there are three things that last: faith, hope and love, and the greatest is love. Love is the greatest because it’s the only one of the three that is eternal. Faith will give way to sight, hope will give way to joy, but love is forever. We will carry our relationships with God and with our loved ones into the Kingdom with us.
So how do you buy the treasure of love? The currency that buys eternal treasure is time. So the way that we invest in the Kingdom is to spend quality time with the people we hope to be with in heaven – starting with God. Quality time with God means going to Mass regularly and spending time in personal prayer and devotions. We also need to spend quality time with those with whom we are in significant relationships: spouse, children, parents, loved ones.
Finally, Jesus said in an earlier discourse: “where your treasure is, there your heart will be.” The heart, for St Matthew, is the place of one’s deepest convictions. Perhaps it is exploring the heart itself that will uncover what needs to be brought more clearly to the surface, the treasure which is already yours, the kingdom of heaven which is already planted there by your Creator. The real issue for most of us might be searching in the right place for the right treasure.
Prayer of the Faithful 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time July 26, 2020
Celebrant: Trusting in the one who calls us by name leads us to life; let us bring our prayers before the Lord.
1. That all Ministers of the Church: bishops, priests, deacons and lay-leaders may come to cherish the flourishing of God’s kingdom above all other things. We pray to the Lord
2. That Alice Perry, Stephen McCue, Donald McKenna and anyone heavy-burdened may be strengthened in their commitment to wellness and to the life of mature faith in the Risen Christ. We pray to the Lord
3. That the dead may come to discover that “the kingdom of heaven is like a buried treasure” and that it was indeed worth the “great price” of committed faith. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Loving and ever living God, your Word is more precious to us. Help us to live our faith with conviction so that all the world may be drawn into your Kingdom. Answer our prayers and renew in us the image and likeness of your Son – Jesus Christ our Lord.
July 19th, 2020
Prayer of the Faithful 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time July 19, 2020
Celebrant: Trusting in the action of the Holy Spirit to intercede for us, let us bring our prayers before the Lord.
1. For those who exercise the ministry of preaching, grounded in the life-giving Word of God, may they seek words of compassion and hope. We pray to the Lord
2. For the seriously ill especially Alice Perry, Stephen McCue, Donald McKenna and those fleeing from violence and poverty; may they find shelter, support and safe passage.
We pray to the Lord
3. For the deceased of our community. May they be raised to life on high.
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God of creation, in you we place our hope and trust. Hear our prayers that in listening to your word and feasting at your table, we might be strengthened to do your will now and always. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Homily 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Matthew 13, 24-43) July 19, 2020
What is heaven like? Wouldn’t we all like to know? So, it’s not surprising that people asked Jesus this question. But instead of telling them about harps, clouds and pearly gates, he told them about seeds. It’s true that the Kingdom of Heaven, reign of God or God’s love is the hope of eternal life, but according to Jesus, the Kingdom of Heaven is not only something in our future. It’s here already, planted like a seed, in the hearts of those who believe or in the hearts of church members. It may be hidden like “a mustard seed,” the smallest of all seeds or the yeast folded into the dough; but it is here, nevertheless. And Jesus promised that what is now concealed will someday be revealed.
The time we live is a time of waiting between the planting and the harvest – that is, Jesus’ first coming and his return. But during that time, those who follow Jesus are expected to do some things. We can continue the work of Jesus by spreading the seeds of the Kingdom. When we love our neighbour, when we feed the hungry, when we talk about our faith with others, we are planting seeds.
En effet, nous sommes appelés à semer. C’est-à-dire aimer notre prochain, être charitable, ou bien aider les pauvres, partager notre foi et ne pas juger. Il s’agit pour nous d’apprendre à pardonner, de reconnaître qui nous sommes vraiment et de toujours amméliorer notre vie intérieure. Brièvement, persévérons dans la foi et que chacun de nous rayonne d’espérance.
Indeed, we are called to sow, to plant seeds. In other words, may we be good to our neighbour, be charitable or reach out to the poor, share our faith, not to judge, including to learn and to offer forgiveness. And so, all we are called to do is recognize who we truly are and to always desire improving our inner-self.
Dear friends, there is one thing we are not to do and that is to judge others. That means we are not allowed to try to determine who are the “wheat” and who are the “weeds”. As our first reading says, we are to treat others with leniency and kindness. The Psalm reminds us to forgive. In fact, forgiving others is another way to plant the seeds of the Kingdom. (Matthew 18, 21-35) Judgement is God’s job, and even he is not yet doing it because there is still time for conversion – as long as one is alive, there is still time to turn to God. So keep spreading those seeds.
Just as the seed has a power within – that helps it to grow. God’s grace is in each of us and can help us to grow and become the people God calls us to be.
July 12, 2020
Prayer of the Faithful 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time July 12, 2020
Celebrant: Having been nourished by the Word of God, let us now entrust to the Lord our needs and those of the world.
1. For all preachers, teachers and catechists, that they may help to sow seeds of faith in the hearts of all their listeners.
We pray to the Lord
2. For the sick especially Stephen McCue, Donald McKenna, Alice Perry and all those who will go to their beds hungry tonight, especially children and the disabled; may their cries be heard and answered by all who enjoy abundance.
We pray to the Lord
3. For all of our deceased brothers and sisters that the fullness of God’s kingdom may be revealed to them.
We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God of never failing love and compassion, you provide us with all we need to grow and thrive in the life of discipleship. Hear our prayers that in studying your Word and living lives of service to you and our neighbour, we might come to life everlasting. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Homily 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Matthew 13, 1-23) July 12, 2020
Masshal is the Hebrew word for parable which means wisdom. We heard the parable of the sower proclaimed to us. Today, Jesus gives four different scenarios for the seed scattered by the sower: some falls upon a path, some falls on rocky ground, some falls among thorns and some lands on rich soil. When we enter into the parable of Jesus, it is best to keep an open mind. These mysterious sayings require much from us. They invite us to take the images and to relate them to our own experiences.
In living the life of faith, we hear Jesus’ words over and over again. Familiarity with the Word of God is good, but it can also lead us to fail to take in the message contained. Perhaps this could be like the seed scattered along the path. Our preconceptions have packed down the soil so that it can’t accept the gift God wishes to offer. The seed sowed on rocky ground might be what we experience when the Gospel message initially elicits joy and excitement. Calling us to love, calling us to life is the challenge which Jesus offers.
Undoubtedly, each of us has had experiences where we have heard God’s word proclaimed; sadly and unfortunately this word has failed to flourish in our lives. Hopefully, we have also had times where this word has fallen on fertile soil.
Puis-je m’addresser à ceux qui exercent le ministère liturgique de lecteur-lectrice. Proclamer la parole de Dieu est une immense responsabilité. Votre rôle chers lecteurs et lectrices, est de semer, de propager les graines. Es qu’elles récoltent des fruits.
Alors proclamer, ce n’est pas lire la parole au public. C’est d’annoncé la bonne nouvelle du salut.
Vous devez croire en ce que vous portagez à l’assemblée des fidèles. Puis-je ajouter que le Christ lui-même est le semeur. Tout est centré sur le Christ et non sur vous-même. Votre rôle est de proclamer et non de penser que vous êtes un bon lecteur et une bonne lectrice.
Finally, to truly hear what Jesus is saying, especially within the context of the parables, we are required to profoundly ponder what Jesus wishes us to know. Only with ears attuned to the Word of God and hearts open to receive him can we gain insight into the kingdom of God.
July 5, 2020
Prayer of the Faithful – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Celebrant: In perfect trust, let us bring our prayers before the Lord who “is gentle and humble in heart”.
1. That the Lord of heaven and earth may watch over and guard all who seek to do his will. We pray to the Lord
2. That the sick – Donald McKenna, Steven McCue all who labour under just circumstances and for all whom life is a burden may seek rest in the Lord’s yoke of freedom. We pray to the Lord
3. That the deceased………………………………………………………… and those who are soon to die may hear the voice of the Lord calling them – “Come to me, and I will give you rest.” We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: God who is compassionate to us as we share our burdens (silence) and lifts up all who are bowed down, you sent your Son, Jesus, to teach us the way of humility. Hear our prayers. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Homily 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Matthew 11, 25-30)
I have a better appreciation of today’s Gospel passage since Good Friday afternoon, April 9th. Being aware that not everyone reads the parish webpage, may I inform you that on Holy Monday, during my time of confinement, I committed myself to make a silent retreat during the Easter Tridium (Holy Thursday 6:30 am until midnight on Easter Sunday).
While presiding the Commemoration and Celebration of the Lord’s Passion of Good Friday at 3 pm, I honoured the ritual of the Adoration of the Holy Cross. This was a very moving experience for me. For the very first time, I made the link between today’s Gospel passage and the Gospel of the Passion – Jesus’ death on the cross.
Jesus’ innocent and violent death was a very heavy burden for him. Possibly, he succeeded to accept such a burden by remembering the words he shared during his ministry to his disciples: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Bearing a yoke would not seem to be an enjoyable experience. The yoke of Jesus, the one who is “gentle and humble in heart,” is itself easy; the burden is light. As true Disciples of Christ, may we conform to the person himself. So conformed, we find any burden not to be a burden at all.
Dans les deux passages évangéliques celui du Vendredi Saint et le récit d’aujourd’hui, il est question mise de Dieu le Père et de la souffrance. Alors, quel joug lourd à porter! Il est de nous addresser à Dieu le Père et de prier pour ceux ébranlés par des fardeaux lourds à porter ou des dures épreuves. En effet, portons dans nos prières les malades, les personnes dans le deuil, les pauvres, les drogués et les autres personnes qui sont dans des situations abusives.
Prayers of the Faithful, 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time – June 28, 2020
Celebrant: Our God calls us from darkness into light and so we turn to the Lord with our prayers and petitions.
1. For all of us Christians, in daily living, may our relationship with Jesus our Saviour and Teacher be our priority. We pray to the Lord
2. For those who are ill especially Donald McKenna, Stephen McCue, ……………
…………………………………. and those who are feeling unworthy. May they be fully aware that we are created in God’s image and resemblance. May they maintain a positive self-esteem. We pray to the Lord
3. For the faithful departed especially Nadine Handrahan ………………………..
…………………………….. recognize in Jesus – the person who always offers the best of welcome in the eternal home. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Creator God, everything that you have made is good. As we continue to struggle with the coronavirus, this summer inspire us to focus on hope, to support tourists and Island businesses and to respond to our personal needs (silence). We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Homily 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time & Graduation (Matthew 10, 37-42) June 28, 2020
After we just heard the proclamation of the Gospel, we could react by simply asking the Lord: Who do you think you are? May we keep in mind that Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life”. May we rest assured: the Almighty calls us to have faith in him, to be humble, and above all He reminds us that one of the nicest things in life is to meet an open, friendly, warm hospitable person. Hospitality is a hallmark of a true follower of Christ.
As we have just begun the Summer Season, this is a great time of year to be hospitable and friendly, to welcome visitors and strangers. Indeed “whoever welcomes you welcomes me and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.”
Unbelievable! Since Sunday, March 15, we’re back in Church this morning. We are in God’s house. God is the host, we are the guests. We should feel welcome and at home here. God accepts us, therefore we should accept one another.
En ce temps de pandémie, nous avons nos limites. Alors cette messe de 11:00 est une célébration bilingue. J’espère que tout paroissien est heureux d’être de retour dans notre communauté chrétienne, dans cette assemblée de croyants. À souhaiter que chaque famille réussira à reprendre leur bonne habitude de venir à chaque dimanche rencontrer le Seigneur.
Praying and hoping that every family in our parish community is happy to be back worshipping the Lord every Sunday. In the context of today’s Gospel, may we make the person of Jesus our main priority since “Jesus said to his apostles: whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.” May we take into consideration that “to love God” is the greatest commandment.
Today Christ urges us to be hospitable. Nowadays hospitality is a very different matter from what it was in the old days when nobody locked their doors. Sadly, those days are gone. Today is the day of locks, chains, peep holes, alarm systems and dogs. Yet today there is more need than ever for hospitality and friendliness. In the world today there is a lot of loneliness and there are lots of strangers, unknown and displaced people.
Hospitality to a friend is no big deal. There is no risk involved, and there is every likelihood that the favour will be returned. But hospitality to a stranger is a great thing. You don’t owe anything to a stranger, and there is a risk involved.
But, Christ tells us to welcome the strangers in our midst. To be hospitable does not mean making them like us. It means accepting them as they are. This enables them to shed their strangeness and become members of the community.
En tant que chrétien-chrétienne, soyons sécure et soyons à l’aise avec le prochain. Le Seigneur nous demande de lui offrir un accueil chaleureux. C’est un besoin à combler. C’est nécessaire dans la vie de chaque jour. C’est valori sa nt.
It is always worthwhile to be a hospitable and friendly person. For the followers of Christ, hospitality is not an option. It is at the very heart of the Gospel. May we call to mind that to welcome the stranger is to welcome Christ himself. In addition, to open one’s heart is to begin to live. To close it is to begin to die.
Homily & Prayers of the Faithful June 21, 2020
Homily 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time & Graduation (Matthew 10, 26-33) June 21, 2020
Every year on the third weekend of June, we not only celebrate a Sunday in Ordinary Time and Father’s Day. We also acknowledge the graduates. Since the early 60’s, our parish community continues to preserve this awesome tradition. Because of the Covid 19 pandemic we cannot worship together today or be part of a large crowd. At least I offer to the graduates this homily and a copy of the Prayers of the Faithful.
On Easter Sunday, in the book entitled Touch Points for Leaders, I am still excited with the four word sentence I read: “Success is knowing God.” We all enjoy the feeling of success. With God, with the great gift of Jesus his Son, we always succeed, win and celebrate our accomplishments. Indeed, God’s love conquers all things. Pain, affliction and darkness are overwhelmed in his goodness. Through the gift of faith, we are able to live in safety, joy and dignity.
As baptized people, we are all disciples of the Lord. Being a priest, I am called to care for everyone’s well-being. As we continue our life journey, may we learn how to be disciples of Jesus.
One of the hardest things our faith asks of us is to believe in God’s love even when we are suffering or see others suffering. In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus tells us to fear no one when we are in danger or feeling lost or are suffering, he is with us to protect us and save us. So be confident and courageous.
Dear baptized people especially graduates, at a time of transition, you need courage, self-confidence and hope. It is fitting to share this prayer. Lord Jesus, from the beginning of creation you named and claimed us for yourself. Look with kindness upon us all especially the graduates who now begin a new chapter in their lives. Mark them by your cross, feed them by your Word, fill them with your love and care and send them to be your presence to everyone they meet. Guide them on the way and abundantly bless them with your wisdom that they may be a word of hope for a world in need.
As we are all sent on a mission by Jesus, we are reminded today that following our Teacher will entail hardships and maybe even persecution. And yet we have nothing to fear for the God of life holds us in the palm of his hand and has counted every hair on our heads. In other words, our Creator and Father knows all: “the hairs of our head are all counted.” We, each human being is worth more than “two sparrows sold for a penny.” So the disciples can rest assured they can be fearless in facing the world, as they are worth a great deal in the sight of our loving God.
To summarize what I already said, todays readings seem to point to two great truths of discipleship. The first is that we are greatly loved. Our creator has counted all of the hairs on our heads and we are infinitely precious to him. Thus we know, as today’s Psalm proclaims, that the Lord hears us when we call out to him – which leads us to the second great truth: “For the Lord hears the needy and does not despise his own that are – in bonds.”
Finally, in our life of faith, all year round, we are always called to focus on the Passage of the Lord’s death and resurrection. Therefore fearlessness ought to be a mark of Christian discipleship. It is a quality that motivated Jesus throughout his earthly ministry and allowed him to face threats and violence. Fearlessness accompanied him even as he went to his death. Not many of us will be called to make the ultimate sacrifice required for being a disciple of Jesus though this does happen in parts of the world even today. Instead, our own attitude of fearlessness can manifest itself in caring for those in need and for those on the margins of society. When we overcome our own prejudices and fears, let us live as disciples of Jesus facing the world in a fearless manner knowing that we are worth a great deal in the sight of the loving God.
Prayer of the Faithful 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time June 21, 2020 Celebrant: To the Lord whose kindness is bountiful, we pray.
1. For religious leaders, may they serve in holiness and integrity; may they preach God’s light in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic. We pray to the Lord
2. For all Islanders as we begin the summer season; support our own tourism industry and take time to visit Island communities. We pray to the Lord
3. For all graduates, may they be affirmed; may their family and their community pray and energize them during this time of transition. We pray to the Lord
4. For those paralyzed by illness, especially Donald McKenna. May the reassurance of God’s love and the support of community bring them courage and peace. We pray to the Lord
5. For all who have died especially Walter Shea, that they may know eternal light, rest and peace. We pray to the Lord
6. For all people especially fathers and their family members. May they feel secure in God’s abundant love and may we share this greatest gift with all we meet. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Good and gracious God, may as your disciples, you respond to our needs (silence). May we also follow the teachings of your Son – the wise and holy person Jesus Christ our Lord.
Mass Intentions for June 15-18, 2020.
Time 9:00 am
June 15 – Charlie Gaudet
June 16 – Molly Gallant/MacDonald
June 17- Mabel Thibodeau
June 18 – Frederick Allain
Homily & Prayers of the Faithful June 14, 2020
Homily Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ (Gospel of John 6, 51-59) June 14, 2020
In a religious book published in 2013, I read that of the 7 billion people alive on the planet, 1.1 billion subsist below the internationally accepted extreme – poverty line of $1.25 a day.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, translated as “the house of bread”. Jesus left this world telling us to be bread for others, wine poured out in loving service to all. We hear Jesus say that “whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood” remains in him and he in us. Yet, do we understand what it truly means to remain in him?
To remain in Jesus is to accept his challenge: not just to receive him, but also to see the world through his eyes, to engage the world with his passion and to feed the world with his generosity- and to do this literally! The word “remain” implies connection, family and social ties, to be together in the house of God. This is what it means to be a member of the Body of Christ. Thus, how can we receive Christ in the Eucharist and not give Christ in the household of God to the world.
Later in St John’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that he has come to give us life and to give it abundantly – not wanting us just individually to survive, just solely to function well on a given day! He wants all of us to be fed and nourished on the good things that this life has to offer, not to subsist below a poverty level as 1.1 billion people do today. As St Paul describes it in his letter to the people at Corinth: “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” But does everyone get a share in the loaf?
I believe we are familiar with the unnamed boy who comes forward with his five barley loaves and two fish and Philip wonders what good these gifts will do for so many. But, we know that one of the greatest themes of Scripture is that God can do so much with so little. Like that little boy – how wonderful that he plays a privileged part in the miracle of the feeding of the multitudes, need we wonder what good can come from our own gifts, the ordinariness of our own talents, and the limitedness of our own time? In the words of St Francis de Sales, “There is nothing small in the service of God.”
Prayer of the Faithful Most Holy Body & Blood of Christ June 14, 2020
Celebrant: Our Lord gives himself to us as nourishment in the Word of God and the bread and wine of the Eucharist Feast. In thanksgiving, let us turn to him in prayer.
1. For all bishops and priests called to minister the Body and Blood of our Lord, that they may always pattern their ministry after Christ’s Ministry. We pray to the Lord
2. For all Christians, that we may work together in love and strive to look forward to worship together as a parish community. We pray to the Lord
3. For families during this pandemic who are struggling one way or another. May they never give up and be blessed with hope. We pray to the Lord
4. For Donald McKenna, ……………………. and all who are quite ill, especially those who cannot attend the Eucharist. May they be fed spiritually by the Lord himself. We pray to the Lord
5. For our deceased loved ones especially Rita Chaisson, Ivan Doucette and Walter Shea ………………………………… May they really enjoy the main host: Jesus “fully human-fully divine” at the banquet of eternal life. We pray to the Lord
6. For all of us, may we have the wisdom to always remain with the Lord and may we present the prayers which dwell in the silence of our hearts (silence). We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Lord Jesus Christ, you are the living bread come down from heaven who promises to raise us up on the last day. On our pilgrimage of life, sustain us with your presence forever and ever.
Mass Intentions for June 8-11, 2020
Mass Time 9 a.m.
(With limited attendance: 15 persons including priest)
Weekday masses following strict guidelines as outlined by the Dept of Health. (15 people in the church at one time and we must keep the names of all those present.) Mass will be held in the main church. Thanking you in advance as we begin to move forward with Renew PEI. Fr Albin Arsenault
Monday, June 8 – Eva Doucette
Tuesday, June 9 – Austin Doucette
Wednesday, June 10 – Marion Jones
Thursday, June 11 – Herby Thibodeau
Friday, June 5: No Mass
Click on the link below for Worship Services:
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.
Homily & Prayers of the Faithful June 7, 2020
Homily Most Holy Trinity (Gospel of John 3.16-18) June 7, 2020
Many priests including myself find it hard to preach on Trinity Sunday. What can we say about a mystery, a true meaning we fail to understand? Indeed we, as human beings cannot fully comprehend that there are three persons in one God. Since I enjoy challenges, I make the commitment to present to you a homily on this feast day of the Triune God.
Triune, trinity means three. One and three are numbers. As a priest in my leadership role, I am transparent. I have nothing to hide. I was no good in Math- algebra and geometry. In the early 70’s during my High School, math was most essential. To fail exams in math meant students were failing their grades. Miraculously, I passed everything. There is definitely “power in prayer”. My prayers were answered; “patience, truthfulness and self-control are three of the gifts or fruits of the Holy Spirit.” (Galatians 5,22) Thanks be to God that I didn’t believe the math teachers of the time because the word “stupid” was mentioned to me more than once. I give credit to the Higher Power for having blessed me with perseverance, determination and hope. We can’t live without it. Take away hope and we will weaken, we will die.
We all want physical hope, good health, financial security; we also want emotional hope, peace of mind. This is human hope, and it is important, it is good. But God offers us even more than that.
God offers a deeper hope, not only for now but for always. It’s called eternal hope. It lasts for now; it lasts forever. In Scripture, God tells us about that hope – how to have it and how to enjoy it every day. That hope is in Jesus Christ.
Today’s Gospel tells of God’s love for the world that overflows in the gift of the Son. He was sent, not to die, but to share the life and love that is the very essence of the Holy One – in – three. On this Trinity Sunday, may we become one with the very Source of grace, love and communion.
I realize that this is a brief homily. I believe in these words of William Shakespeare: “Speak when necessary.” In this context, doing the Gospel, or living our faith is much more a marker of Christian identity than merely sharing words we may or may not understand.
Prayers of the Faithful, June 7, 2020 Most Holy Trinity
Celebrant: Our God is a God of love, a God of perfect relationship. Through Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, may we bring our prayers before the Lord.
1. May we grow in unity through the Ministry of the Church and may we also experience strength and endurance. We pray to the Lord
2. May health care professionals and political leaders make wise decisions and serve well all those who suffer because of this pandemic. We pray to the Lord
3. May the Trinitarian God bless everyone, especially family members and faith communities that value fidelity in their relationships. We pray to the Lord
4. May Ivan Doucette, Donald McKenna and all those suffering from an illness receive medical attention, compassionate care and support. We pray to the Lord
5. May Lillian Allain and all who have died give endless glory and praise to the triune God in the eternal home. We pray to the Lord
6. May on today’s feast of the Trinity we encourage one another in the life of discipleship. We pray to the Lord
Celebrant: Almighty God, you reveal yourself to us as a community of persons; therefore may we seek to model all relationships after the pattern of your selfless love. Respond to all our needs (silence). With your assistance, may we be more committed to our faith in you the truiune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Homily & Prayers of the Faithful
Fourth Sunday of Easter (Gospel of John 10, 1-10) May 3, 2020
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Homily Easter April 12, 2020
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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: email@example.com or the parish at 902-882-2622 in an emergency.
Thank you and may God Bless you all.
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.
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
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
Click on this link Palmer Road Bulletin to view the front cover and back page of the Sunday bulletin.
“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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or the parish at 902-882-2622 in an emergency.
Thank you and may God Bless you all
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.
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.
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.
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.
Intention of the Holy Father, Pope Francis for March, 2020: