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