October 7, 2018
At this time of year, we reflect upon all of our many blessings, one of which is our Parish Family. The Ministry to the Sick and Shut-ins ensures that those who are sick and homebound in our parish feel "connected" to our faith community. The volunteers to this Ministry recently gathered together to share ideas, to reflect upon their calling and to strengthen each other. Below is a photo from the recent gathering. Thanks to all the volunteers and especially to Fatima Warner, the Ministry Co-ordinator who organized
"I was sick and you visited me...
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
Matthew 25: 36,40
Thoughts on and Prayers for Our Pope by Fr.Antoine Teixeira
September 23, 2018
As you probably have heard from the various news outlets the clergy sexual abuse scandal and the cover-up by some bishops has resulted in all kinds of accusations and abuse thrown at Pope Francis (and I have to say at other clergy and church people). We have to unequivocally condemn the sinful and terrible behaviour and ask forgiveness from those who have suffered greatly: the abused, their families, their faith communities. We need to work towards change which will hopefully prevent this abuse of power. At the same time we need to understand that the necessary changes cannot always be instantaneous, that some will need reflection and time. We live in a world of instant gratification and demand for solutions now! That cannot always happen. Let us go beyond our anger and frustration and pray for and move towards wisdom, patience, and guidance of the Spirit. Some Bishops have asked for Pope Francis’ resignation. That call comes from people who have never agreed with Francis’s frank, humble and simple approach. The overwhelming majority of the people of God and of the clergy, religious, bishops are very supportive of the fresh spirit that is blowing. Here is a letter written by a Brazilian Priest, Fr.Antoine Teixeira, which echoes my & I am sure your feelings: “Dear Pope Francis! Actually, you're guilty! You're guilty of being a man and not being an angel! You're guilty because you have the humility to accept that you're wrong and ask forgiveness. Ask forgiveness for you and for us. And that for many is unacceptable. You're guilty because you didn't want to be a judge, a man of law, and you're an example and a testimony of mercy. You're guilty because you abandoned the tradition of living in palaces and chose to live like ordinary people. Guilty because you left the sumptuousness of Saint John of the Lateran and preferred to visit the poverty of prisons, orphanages, hospitals, etc. You're guilty! You stopped kissing the perfumed feet of the eminences and you kiss the " dirty " feet of convicts, women, sick, people of other religious denominations, people " different "! You are condemned because you opened the doors to the refugees and because in front of painful and waiting subjects you simply answer: " who am I to judge?". You are doomed because you assume your fragility by asking us to pray for you while many require you to be dogmatic, intolerant and regulatory. Pope Francis, you are guilty of so many so-called "infidels", "excommunicated" and "impure" who have rediscovered, thanks to you, the beautiful face of Christ full of tenderness and mercy. You're guilty because " you call things by their names " and you don't stop reminding the bishops that they're not airport pastors but must wear " the smell of their sheep ". You're guilty because you tore the pages of intolerance, Sterile And Ruthless Morals, and you offered us the beauty of compassion, tenderness and sincerity. You're guilty because you opened our eyes, those of intelligence and reason but especially the eyes of the heart. You are guilty of wanting to carry the cross of the church instead of diverting the look, being indifferent to the pain and tears of the men of our time. You're guilty because you can't stand the heinous crimes made in the name of God and those who speak of God but live against him. You are guilty because you seek truth, justice, by mercy, instead of silence, hide, minimize or ignore. You're guilty because you don't want a church of privileges and benefits, glories, and you teach us the strength of service, the wealth of the foot enema and the greatness of simplicity. Pope Francis, let yourself be blamed for these "crimes". You know that by your side they are countless the men and women who, like you, are not angels, but fragile people, sinners, who hope that Christ watches over us and for us. You know that with you there is a huge procession of hearts that pray for you every moment; for you they would risk their lives. They follow you like sheep who trust their pastor. It was Christ who put you at the helm of this "boat" that is the Church. Christ will give you the strength to pursue this path of "guilt" that has done so well in the world and church. Dear Pope Francis, thank you for being guilty of making beautiful the Church of which Jesus dreamed.
Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation (Sept.1):
September 9, 2018
Last Labor Day weekend I said that we not only celebrate the dignity of work and our participation in God’s creation but also the importance of how we care of Creation. Pope Francis wrote in this year’s Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation (Sept.1): “On this Day of Prayer, I wish first to thank the Lord for the gift of our common home and for all those men and women of good will committed to protecting it. I am likewise grateful for the many projects aimed at promoting the study and the safeguarding of ecosystems, for the efforts being made to develop more sustainable agriculture and more responsible nutrition, and for the various educational, spiritual and liturgical initiatives that involve Christians throughout the world in the care of creation....there is a growing sense of the need for a renewed and sound relationship between humanity and creation, and the conviction that only an authentic and integral vision of humanity will permit us to take better care of our planet for the benefit of present and future generations. For “there is no ecology without an adequate anthropology” (Laudato Si’, 118). I like to draw attention to the question of WATER: a very simple and precious element, yet access to it is, sadly, for many people difficult if not impossible. Nonetheless, “access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights. Our world owes a great social debt towards the poor who lack access to drinking water, because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity” (ibid., 30). Water invites us to reflect on our origins. The human body is mostly composed of water, and many civilizations throughout history arose near great rivers that marked their identity. In an evocative image, the beginning of the book of Genesis states that, in the beginning, the spirit of the Creator “swept over the face of the waters (1:2)”. In considering the fundamental role of water in creation and in human development, I feel the need to give thanks to God for “Sister Water”, simple and useful for life like nothing else on our planet. Precisely for this reason care for water sources & water basins is an urgent imperative. More than ever we need to look beyond immediate concerns (Laudato Si’, 36) and beyond a purely utilitarian view of reality, “in which efficiency and productivity are entirely geared to our individual benefit” (ibid., 159). We urgently need shared projects, concrete gestures that recognize that every privatization of the natural good of water, at the expense of the human right to have access to this good, is unacceptable. For us Christians, water represents an essential element of purification and of life. We think immediately of baptism, sacrament of our rebirth. Water made holy by the Spirit is the matter by which God has given us life and renewed us; it is the blessed source of undying life. For Christians of different confessions, baptism also represents the real and irreplaceable point of departure for experiencing an ever more authentic fraternity on the way to full unity. Jesus promised a water capable of quenching human thirst for ever (Jn 4:14). He prophesied, “If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink (Jn 7:37). To drink from Jesus means to encounter him personally as the Lord, drawing from his words the meaning of life. May the words he spoke from the cross – “I thirst” (Jn 19:28) – echo constantly in our hearts. The Lord continues to ask that his thirst be quenched; he thirsts for love. He asks us to give him to drink in all those who thirst in our own day, and to say to them, “I was thirsty and you gave me to drink” (Mt 25:35). To give to drink, in the global village, does not only entail personal gestures of charity, but also concrete choices and a constant commitment to ensure to all the primary good of water. I would like also to mention the issue of the seas and oceans. It is our duty to thank the Creator for the impressive and marvellous gift of the great waters and all that they contain (Gen 1:20-21; Ps 146:6), and to praise him for covering the earth with the oceans (Ps 104:6). To ponder the immense open seas and their incessant movement can also represent an opportunity to turn our thoughts to God, who constantly accompanies his creation, guiding its course and sustaining its existence Constant care for this inestimable treasure represents today an ineluctable duty and a genuine challenge. There is need for an effective cooperation between men and women of good will in assisting the ongoing work of the Creator. Sadly, all too many efforts fail due to the lack of effective regulation and means of control, particularly with regard to the protection of marine areas beyond national confines (Laudato Si’, 174). We cannot allow our seas and oceans to be littered by endless fields of floating plastic. Here too, our active commitment is needed to confront this emergency. We need to pray as if everything depended on God’s providence, and work as if everything depended on us. Let us pray that waters may not be a sign of separation between peoples but of encounter for the human community. Let us pray that those who risk their lives at sea in search of a better future may be kept safe. Let us ask the Lord and all those engaged in the noble service of politics that the more sensitive questions of our day, such as those linked to movements of migration, climate change and the right of everyone to enjoy primary goods, may be faced with generous and farsighted responsibility and in a spirit of cooperation, especially among those countries most able to help. Let us pray too, for all those who devote themselves to the apostolate of the sea, for those who help reflect on the issues involving maritime ecosystems, for those who contribute to the development and application of international regulations on the seas in order to safeguard individuals, countries, goods, natural resources (e.g. marine fauna and flora, coral reefs, sea beds) and to guarantee an integral development in view of the common good of the entire human family and not particular interests. Let us remember, too, all those who work to protect maritime areas and to safeguard the oceans and their biodiversity, that they may carry out this task with responsibility and integrity…..” Francis.