Our Parish Update - Tuesday, April 21, 2020

  • April 21, 2020
      TUESDAY, APRIL 21, 2020

    Brother Joe Frechette, SJ

    Brother Joe Frechette, SJ, has left St. John’s, his home since 1979, to begin a permanent residency at the Infirmary at Pickering, Ontario.  Brother Joe, who has inoperable cancer, is confident he’ll get necessary and timely medical assistance there  while living a quality life with other Jesuit companions.  That the Infirmary has a chapel ‘down the hall’ from his room is a great source of consolation to him.  He is also going to live near many family members who reside in the Pickering-Ajax-Whitby region of Southern Ontario. He offers to all his friends a BIG word of gratitude and a promise of prayerful solidarity as, no doubt, we do for him. Indeed, Brother  Joe is challenged with poor health; a kind of way of the cross he must walk, but not alone.  Our loving support of him makes all the difference.

    Coronavirus Prayer Request

    The unfolding story line of the ‘virus’ is more immediate as we count the numbers of persons, family and friends who have tested positive for this disease.  This is true for me as my Mother in Halifax is sick with the COVID 19 since a few days ago.  Perhaps it is time to focus our prayers for the sick and dying – and those who care for them – by choosing to reciting a common  daily prayer; a prayer of radical trust in God’s healing and merciful love.
    A Prayer Amid an Epidemic
    By Kerry Weber, Executive Editor, America
    Jesus Christ,
    you traveled through towns and villages
    “curing every disease and illness.”
    At your command, the sick were made well.
    Come to our aid now,
    in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus,
    that we may experience your healing love.
    Heal those who are sick with the virus.
    May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care.
    Heal us from our fear,
    which prevents nations from working together
    and neighbours from helping one another.
    Heal us from our pride,
    which can make us claim invulnerability
     to a disease that knows no borders.
    Jesus Christ, healer of all,
    stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.
    Be with those who have died from the virus.
    May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace.
    Be with the families of those who are sick or have died.
    As they worry and grieve,
    defend them from illness and despair.
    May they know your peace.
    Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals
    who seek to heal and help those affected
    and who put themselves at risk in the process.
    May they know your protection and peace.
    Be with the leaders of all nations.
    Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern
    for the well-being of the people they are meant to serve.
    Give them the wisdom to invest in long-term solutions
    that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks.
    May they know your peace, as they work together to achieve it on earth.
    Whether we are home or abroad,
    surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few,
    Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn,
    persist and prepare.
    In place of our anxiety, give us your peace.
    Jesus Christ, heal us.

        Mass Online

    On Sunday, April 26 at 10:30 am on NTV, Father Wayne Dohey will celebrate Mass at St. Peter's Parish in Mount Pearl. At a time when we are not able to physically come together to partake in the Eucharist, we have the good fortune of being able to celebrate the Mass through our local television station, NTV. You are welcome to join with St. Peter’s Parish as we virtually journey together to encounter Christ, the Risen Lord, this holy Easter season.
    Online Masses of your choice including the one at the Basilica continue.

         Earth Day 2020 Reflection
        Excepts from Earth Day 2020 Reflection by Sister Mary Tee

    April 22, 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Who would have thought a few months ago that the celebration of this milestone to unite the focus of millions of people for the care and protection of Earth, our Planet Home, would be taking place in the midst of an entirely new reality, one in which a small virus, COVID-19, would have the power to put just about the whole world in isolation or lockdown? It has also humbled us to know that as yet the keenest minds, the most progressive medical techniques, the most advanced technology or the finest military have not been able to deter its rapid advance.  This new reality is further bringing home to us the fact that we are not the masters, owners or controllers of life here in this world.

    This tiny microbe is bringing us face to face with our own mortality and that of our loved ones, friends and communities throughout the world. It is also waking us up to the truth of who we are as human and non-human members of one communion of God’s body, Earth.  It is showing us more clearly that we must ever be mindful that we belong to Earth, our mother. She nourishes, supports and guides us, and in her we are connected to every species and every living system in a harmonious love and reverence revealed to us through our God. This level of consciousness carries in us a constant reminder of the intimate connection we have with our brothers and sisters, the sacredness of all life and our responsibility to further ethical values for the care of Earth.

    Could this virus be ushering us into a moment of transition which Paul Roskir of Tellus Institute terms “The Great Transition”, or which author and deep ecology scholar, Joanna Macy, names the “Great Turning”?  History shows some of the bleakness and darkest experiences brought about by diseases such as the Black Death, Yellow Fever and Smallpox often bring change and sometimes even progress.  And so, we ask ourselves, will the “new normal” following the upheaval of COVID-19 shift systems of domination, greed and violence which lie at the root of environmental degradation and so many other ills of this world?  Will we in this slow pace of time use the opportunity, as poet, humanitarian and social justice activist, Sonya Renee Taylor, suggests “stitch together a new garment”, one that will fit all of humanity and all of nature?

    National Volunteer Week in Canada
    Sunday, April 19, marked the start of National Volunteer Week in Canada. It’s a coast-to-coast-to-coast celebration of the commitment, dedication, generosity and selflessness of Canada’s almost 12.7 million volunteers. This couldn’t be more timely!

    “Volunteers work year-round to address critical social, economic, and environmental issues and the generosity is only amplified during floods, forest fires, and public health emergencies,” says Paula Speevak, Volunteer Canada President and CEO. “This year, we want to shine the spotlight on those volunteering to support essential services during this public health crisis, and to salute those who help by staying home to protect themselves and their communities.” (Press Release)

    Thank  you to all our parishioners in so many ways, in our parish and beyond.  Our parish is all the better because of you.

    Easter Words to Inspire

    “Jesus' resurrection is the beginning of God's new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord's Prayer is about.”
    N.T. Wright,
    Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

    “For me the most radical demand of Christian faith lies in summoning the courage to say yes to the present risenness of Jesus Christ.”
    Brennan Manning,
    Abba's Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging

    “If anyone or anything tries to curse or kill the Goodness at the Center of all things, it will just keep coming back to life, forever Easter.”
    David Housholder,
    The Blackberry Bush

    Father Wayne Bolton, SJ Blogs

    Colourful crocuses  are in bloom around the St. Pius X Church and Chapel, and perhaps around your home as well.  A pair of mallard ducks nest on our Church property awaiting their ducklings.  Can you see buds swelling on branches and twigs on your trees?  Our snow banks and snowdrifts have almost disappeared. All signs of springtime renewal, occurring yearly as we pray our way through the Sacred Triduum, en route to Easter Sunday and Jesus’ resurrection.  In the first reading of the Easter Vigil we hear, “Then God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth… And it was so… And God saw that it was good”. 
    (Genesis 1:11-12 )

    I Trust God

            I trust God ... and I wear my seatbelt.
            I trust God ... and I wear a motorcycle helmet.
            I trust God ... and there are enough life jackets in my boat for everyone on board.
            I trust God ... and I use oven mitts with really hot dishes.
            I trust God ... and I lock my house at night.
            I trust God ... and I have smoke detectors in my house.
            I trust God ... and I take my prescribed medicines.
            I trust God ... and I will follow the best guidelines to share the task of  flattening    the curve.
            Acting with caution and wisdom does not indicate a lack of trust in God.
                Source:    Facebook post from a Tennessee Pastor                      
         Seven Spiritual Strategies for a Time of Pandemic
        By  Marina McCoy      

    1.     Pray.        
        God is listening. I firmly believe that God is with us, as close as we are to ourselves, and even closer. When I pray, I wait for God to reply, not always knowing how God will reply, but trusting that God will. When I pray for others, such as my mother who lives in another state, I know that they are with me in the time of prayer, as much as if they were in the same room. In God’s presence, we are all united.
    2.     Stay connected.
        I was recently in a self-quarantine for 14 days after my husband fell ill with flu-like symptoms after we returned from Europe. (We are all healthy now.) I found that staying connected through video programs like Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet, or texting or phone calls, were all great ways to stay in relationship with others beyond my quarantine.  Human beings are social and need connection.
    3.     Reach out.
        Not ill or self-quarantined? See what the neighbors need. We can still practice social distancing by starting a group chat with the people on our block. When I could not go out, a friend of mine dropped some flowers and a bottle of wine at our house. Social distancing does not mean the end of service.
    4.     Be grateful.
        There is always something for which to be grateful. Always. As I write this, both of my adult children are home with us, and healthy. I am grateful for the shared conversation, the shared meals, and for everyone’s health. Gratitude gives us perspective.
    5.     Slow down.
        I have often wished I had more time for contemplation. Be careful what I wish for! In all seriousness, however, more time to contemplate and watch the sun rise or look at a beautiful tree through my backyard window brings me a sense of peace. Baking bread takes more time than buying it but helps me to stay in the moment while also nurturing others. Perhaps slowing down is a hidden gift.
    6.     Engage in meaningful work.
        Monks have always known this: we need a balance of work, prayer, and leisure in life. I am a teacher so have been putting energy into teaching my university students through remote platforms, holding office hours, and finding creative new ways to help my students to grow and learn. Even for those who are retired or otherwise not employed, tasks like baking, minor household projects that have been put off, or organizing photos into albums can be meaningful work.
    7.     Love.
        Love is contagious. Love, St. Ignatius says, is shown in deeds, not only in words. But it also helps to tell the people whom we love, that we love them. How do you want to share love today?