Our Parish Update - Tuesday, May 5, 2020

  • May 5, 2020
              OUR PIUS UPDATE
             TUESDAY, MAY 5, 2020


    Br. Joe Frechette, SJ completes his 14th day in self-isolation today and has settled into his new surroundings,  routines and care at LaStorta, one of the four buildings at the Jesuit Complex at Pickering.  He is delighted to receive e-mails and phone calls from his many friends and associates here in St. John’s.
    Meantime, the news from the Jesuit Infirmary building itself, known as Rene Goupil House,  is certainly different.  Despite all the extra precautionary actions taken, the Regional Health Authority declared that Covid 19 had reached the Jesuit Infirmary and was placed under lockdown on April 20. This virus has taken a terrible toll on the Jesuits who reside there.
    Attached you will find the recent letter sent out by Fr. Erik Oland, SJ, Provincial of the Jesuits of Canada, telling us what has happened and how the Jesuits are trying to deal with this. The main ministry of the Jesuits living at the Infirmary is one of prayer.  He is now asking us to pray for them.
    I (Maria Kelsey)  have visited the Jesuits at Pickering many  times and especially  visited   the Infirmary and have always been impressed with how our Jesuits are taken care of.   I have also seen the loving care that the staff give to the residents whom they consider to be part of their own family.  Six younger Jesuits have gone to Pickering to assist in the care of elders, four scholastics, one young priest and Fr. Gilles Mongeau, SJ, who is Socius, Assistant to the Provincial.  Please add the Jesuits, staff and volunteers to your prayer list.
    My Mother’s health condition remains critical.  She continues to live in God’s presence somewhere between earth and heaven. I hope for her release from this life into the centre of God’s heart. She is God’s own and has chosen to live this truth for 101+ years. What pleasure it gives me to honour her living memory. In this prayerful manner I remain present to her while she waits for God’s angels to soon take her home.  Thank you ‘everyone’ for the gift of your prayerful solidarity.  
         Fr. Earl Smith, SJ

    In the family, “three words need to be used. I want to repeat this! Three words: ‘Please’, ‘Thank you’, ‘Sorry’. Three essential words!” “In our families when we are not overbearing and ask: ‘May I?’; in our families when we are not selfish and can say: ‘Thank you!’; and in our families when someone realizes that he or she did something wrong and is able to say ‘Sorry!’, our family experiences peace and joy”.
    Let us not be stingy about using these words, but keep repeating them, day after day.
    Pope Francis
    Amoris Laetitia: The Joy of Love, Catholic Truth, 2016
    If someone  comes to you asking for help,
    do not say in refusal, “Trust in God. God will help”.
    Rather, act as if  there were no god,
    and no one to help but you.
    Hasidic Teaching
    Source:   Daily Strength: One Year of Experiencing the Psalms
    Victor M Parachi, Liguori Publications, page 22

    Each problem has hidden in it
    an opportunity so powerful
    that it literally dwarfs the problem.
    Joseph Sugarman
    Source:   Daily Strength: One Year of Experiencing the Psalms
    Victor M Parachi, Liguori Publications, page  29
    God is perfect love and perfect wisdom.
    We do not pray to change his will
    but to bring our wills into harmony with his.
    William Temple
    Source:   Daily Strength: One Year of Experiencing the Psalms
    Victor M Parachi, Liguori Publications, page p 33
                       OUR PARISH SMILES
    Signs outside Churches:

        “God wants full custody, not just weekend visits.”
        “Be an organ donor. Give your heart to Jesus.”
        “God’s garden: Lettuce be kind, squash gossip, and turnip for church.”
        “You are not too bad to come in. You are not too good to stay out.”

    Source:    The Joyful Newsletter, Vol 35, No 3, May-June 2020, page 7

        APRIL 29TH
    The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius are transformative. After the “Principal and Foundation”, the “Meditation on Two Standards” was for me the second most profound reflection.
    The existence of a devil in the world is often brushed over, something that we would sooner not to have to acknowledge. The idea that there is no evil, just mistakes, accomplishes what our mortal enemy would want most – denial or ignorance of his existence.
    The Two Standards are an informed decision-making point, where the retreatant  must acknowledge what way should be followed.
    The following are excerpts from this meditation, the first on Lucifer, the second on Christ:
    “The third point is to listen to the harangue which he [the evil chieftain, Lucifer] delivers to [the countless demons], how he spurs them on to ensnare men and to bind them in chains. He bids them first to tempt men with the lust of riches (as he is most accustomed to do) that they may thereby more easily gain the empty honour of the world, and then come to unbounded pride. The first step in his snare is that of riches, the second honour, and the third pride.  From these three steps Satan leads on to all other vices.”
    “The third point is to listen to the discourse which Christ our Lord makes to all His servants and friends whom He sends on this mission, charging them that they should first seek to help all men; first, by encouraging them to embrace the most perfect spiritual poverty, and if it should please His Divine Majesty, to choose them for it, also to embrace actual poverty.  Secondly, by encouraging them to desire insults and contempt, for from these two things comes humility.  So then there are three steps:  the first, poverty opposed to riches; the second, scorn or contempt, opposed to worldly honour; the third, humility, opposed to pride.  From these three steps, let them lead men to all virtues.”

    These two reflections encourage the retreatant to consider and choose Christ our supreme Captain and Lord, versus Lucifer the mortal enemy of our human nature.
    This meditation would normally be taken in the context of the journey through the Spiritual Exercises.  In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, where our entire world has been turned upside down, and a new normal confronts us with a sense of death like a world war, the choice of standard is being played out on a scale that is tragically huge.
    “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”  (Matthew 6:24)
    We can see all too clearly the desire to continue to support the growth of wealth in the economy, even at a “reasonable cost” of human lives, e.g., of elderly people who should be willing to sacrifice themselves to uphold the country’s economic integrity.
    The choice of that standard,  with its priority of riches over life, is so readily and easily rationalized by certain political thinking, as if a country is defined by success in wealth, power, and self-sufficiency, rather than in its people.
    The truth of science is contradicted by hunches and supposition, yet true Christians never fear the reality of science, the greater knowledge of God’s creation – our world. Pride causes reluctance to accept the correct path, which is the others’ way.
    The consequence of the choice of the standard of the mortal enemy results in death, in a greater loss of innocent lives and a devastating toll on the people remaining; and the false hope of a flourishing economy as a result of a “reasonable expenditure” of lives that could have been saved, is proven to be the empty promise of the evil chieftain, as usual.

    The consequences of the steps of riches, then honour and finally pride are revealed on a devastating scale.
    In contrast, in another country where its leaders cooperate and seek to help all people, they have assumed the spiritual poverty to listen to the Spirit of their hearts.  They demonstrate compassion for all their citizens in a manner that is holistic with attention to physical security that includes maintaining physical and mental health.

    They try to provide protection from loss of income.  They are trying to work with the irony of maintaining a sense of community in the presence of enforced self-isolation.
    Here in Canada I feel that none of our politicians are seeking honour, and all have swallowed their pride to listen to our scientific and economic experts, to listen to each other, to make a concerted effort to save us all.  That has been impossible, but at least they’re trying, and trying to help us all try.
    As a frontline worker, I feel supported to the best of everyone’s ability.  It is daunting, but at least I know that someone has my back.

    In a telephone conversation with a provincial government employee,  we digressed into the topic of Covid-19 and she suggested that God had sent this pandemic to us for what she was sure would prove to be a good reason.  I countered that God did not send a pandemic because God is loving and merciful.
    The pandemic happened; however,  we choose how we meet the challenge of the pandemic.  The Two Standards offer us the two choices – the pursuit of wealth or trust in our Lord. It can only be one or the other. I pray that our neighbour  will recall it is “In God We Trust”.
        MAY 4-10

    At the Monday afternoon provincial Covid 19 update, Paula Corcoran, Executive Director of The Consumers’ Health Awareness of Newfoundland and Labrador (CHANAL), highlighted the current mental health impacts of the current pandemic,  increased concern about anxiety, depression and isolation.  Many people with mental health issues do not seek out help because of fear of stigma, while others may feel they are not sick enough.  She stressed the importance of early intervention.  The provincial local contact line is 1-855-753-2560 or in St. John’s - 753-2560.

    Celebrating Mother’s Day during a pandemic will be especially challenging this year, due to travel and visiting restrictions.  Some Moms may be essential workers, while some Moms may live in another part of the province or country.  Some mothers,  grandmothers,  great- grandmothers may live in a long term care facility and we cannot   visit them.  The following are some ideas that you may want to consider as you plan for Mother’s Day.

    •    Create a Mom’s memory slide show.

    •    Recreate Mom’s favourite restaurant meal for Mom, complete with special Mother’s Day placemats, made and decorated from construction or other coloured paper.

    •    Decorate the table with paper-made flowers.

    •    Play a customized family trivia night, concentrating on Mom and her birth family.  You might want to adapt a Charades game for ways you can help Mom in the coming week.

    •    Say/sing/ draw “I love you”.

    •    Write an actual letter or draw a picture showing your favourite activity with her.

    •    Let Mom choose her favourite movie, tv show or music and enjoy it with her.

    •    Support her hobbies or help her to find a new one.

    •    Use Skype, Zoom,  facetime or video call to connect with your mom.


    In last Sunday’s bulletin,  May 3, the Catholic Women’s League drew our attention to National Palliative Care Week May 4 - 11. There are still myths about what Palliative Care actually is.  We encourage you to read, think, and pray about the following poster which outlines the 10 myths about Palliative Care.