Our Parish Update - Tuesday, April 7, 2020

  • April 7, 2020
                                                                 OUR PIUS UPDATE
                                                              Tuesday, April 7, 2020


    Drive Thru Adoration Schedule
    Provincial Medical authorities have tightened restrictions on social distancing practises
    that necessitates the cancellation of the Drive Thru Adoration.

    This decision is effective immediately.

    God +bless us with depth of prayer throughout this week’s Triduum.

         Direct Giving

    The Archdiocese and its bank are working on this option .  When the bank has this system  up and running more information will be made available to our Parish and parishioners.
    Our ‘Pius’ Smile
    A passerby noticed two city workers working along the city sidewalks. The man was quite impressed with their hard work, but he couldn't understand what they were doing. Finally, he approached the workers and asked,
    "I appreciate how hard you're both working, but what the heck are you doing? It seems that one of you digs a hole, and then the other guy immediately fills it back up again”.  
    One of the city workers explained,                 
    “The third guy who plants the trees is off sick today”.

    Development and Peace  Share Lent Campaign   
    National Virtual THINKfast  

    This will start on Holy Thursday , April 9 at 8:30 pm NDT  and end on Good Friday, April 10  at 4:30 pm NDT.
        With everyone at home we hope many will drop into the THINKfast and participate in some of the activities
        You can join the team at: www.devp.org/thinkfast/2826 .
    All events take place on Zoom at:  https://zoom.us/j/351672086
    People are welcome join the THINKfast for all or part of the following program.
         Prayer for Communion

    Holy Thursday
    Prayer to Appreciate the Mass
    O Lord Jesus,
    in order that the merits of your sacrifice
    on the Cross
    might be applied to every soul of all time,
    you willed that it should be renewed
    upon the altar.

    At the Last Supper, you said:
    "Do this in remembrance of me."
    By these words
    you gave your apostles and their successors
    the power to consecrate
    and to the command to do what you yourself did.

    I believe that the Mass is
    both a sacrifice and a memorial-
    reenacting your passion, death and resurrection.
    Help me to realize that the Mass
    is the greatest gift of God to us
    and our greatest gift to God.
    Source:   www.stagnescathedral.org
    Suffering in Solidarity
    Center for Action and Contemplation
    Richard Rohr
    (A Good Friday Reflection: A Good Friday Grace)

    “I am not alone in my tiredness or sickness or fears, but at one with millions of others from many centuries, and it is all part of life.”
     —Etty Hillesum [1]

    The “cross”  rightly understood, always reveals various kinds of resurrection.  It’s as if God were holding up the crucifixion as a cosmic object lesson, saying: “I know this is what you’re experiencing. Don’t run from it. Learn from it, as I did. Hang there for a while, as I did. It will be your teacher. Rather than losing life, you will be gaining a larger life. It is the way through.”  As impossible as that might feel right now, I absolutely believe that it’s true.  

    When we carry our own suffering in solidarity with humanity’s one universal longing for deep union, it helps keep us from self-pity or self-preoccupation. We know that we are all in this together. It is just as hard for everybody else, and our healing is bound up in each other’s. Almost all people are carrying a great and secret hurt, even when they don’t know it. This realization softens the space around our overly-defended hearts. It makes it hard to be cruel to anyone. It somehow makes us one—in a way that easy comfort and entertainment never can.

    I believe — if I am to believe Jesus — that God is suffering love. If we are created in God’s image, and if there is so much suffering in the world, then God must also be suffering. How else can we understand the revelation of the cross? Why else would the central Christian logo be a naked, bleeding, suffering divine-human being? The image of Jesus on the cross somehow communicates God’s solidarity with the willing soul. A Crucified God is the dramatic symbol of the one suffering that God fully enters into with us—much more than just for us, as many Christians were trained to think.
    If suffering, even unjust suffering (and all suffering is unjust on some level), is part of one Great Mystery, then I am willing to carry my little portion.  Etty Hillesum (1914–1943), a young, Dutch, Jewish woman who died in Auschwitz, truly believed her suffering was also the suffering of God. She even expressed a deep desire to help God carry some of it. How many people do you know who feel sorry for God and want to “help” God within us?  She has a stronger sense of the Divine Indwelling within her than most Christians I have ever met:

    And that is all we can manage these days and also all that really matters: that we safeguard that little piece of You, God, in ourselves. And perhaps in others as well. Alas, there doesn’t seem to be much You Yourself can do about our circumstances, about our lives. Neither do I hold You responsible. You cannot help us, but we must help You and defend Your dwelling place inside us to the last. [2]

    Such freedom and generosity of spirit are almost unimaginable to me. What creates such altruistic and loving people? Perhaps this season of disruption will offer us some clues. I certainly hope so.
    Good Friday Prayer Reflections

    “Let us invite Jesus into the boat of our lives. Now that  we are in a stormy sea, we implore you: Wake up, Lord!”   Pope Francis, Vatican City, March 31, 2020                     

    Everyone is vulnerable.  We are finite with noticeable human weaknesses and limitations.  We are therefore made ready to offer our compassionate presence to Jesus, God who dies for us.

    On Good Friday our faith community reflects on the Lord’s Passion.  We are exhorted to consider it’s through these words spoken by Henri Nouwen in his book, Can You Drink the Cup?

    “When we are crushed like grapes, we cannot think of the wine we will become. The sorrow overwhelms us, makes us throw ourselves to the ground, facedown, and sweat drops of blood.  Then we need to be reminded that our cup of sorrow is also our cup of joy and that one day we will be able to taste the joy as fully as we now taste the sorrow.”     
    Lord, give us the heartfelt awareness to make these words our own as we live in, with, through our current Coronavirus health crisis.  Amen

         God’s Love Is Stronger Than Death

    Even though Jesus went directly against the human inclination to avoid suffering and death, his followers realized that it was better to live the truth with open eyes than to live their lives in illusion [of immortality].

    Suffering and death belong to the narrow road of Jesus.  Jesus does not glorify them, or call them beautiful, good, or something to be desired.  Jesus does not call for heroism or suicidal self-sacrifice.  No, Jesus invites us to look  at the reality our existence and reveals this harsh reality as the way to new life.  The core message of Jesus is that real joy and peace can never be reached while by passing suffering and death, but only by going right through them.

    We could say: “We really have no choice” .  Indeed, who escape suffering and death?   Yet there is still a choice.  We can deny the reality of life, or we can face it.  When we face it not in despite, but with the eyes of Jesus, we discover that where we least expect it, something is hidden that holds a promise stronger than death itself.   Jesus lived his life with the trust that God’s love is stronger than death and that death, therefore, does not have the last word.  He invites us to face the painful reality of our existence with the same trust.  The is what is all about.
    Henri Nouwen
    Show Me the Way
    You Are The Beloved, March 27
                Our ‘Pius’ Blog
    Holy Week Through the Eyes of the Pandemic

    A few years ago, a Jesuit friend suggested to me that the Gospels should be rewritten every second generation so the message  could be seen in  the context of that particular time. Lately, I have found myself doing this more often. A few days ago,   it struck me that people afflicted with the corona virus were our modern-day lepers. We try to avoid them at all costs. Medical staff must wear  personal protective equipment when they try to treat them., They are kept apart from other patients.  They die in isolation, no family or friends nearby to hold their hands  no comforting words from loved ones.  How hard it must be for family  to watch from afar as a loved one breathes their last breath.

    In one way, it has helped  me to appreciate why and how  lepers were treated.  It can even make sense to me now.  On the other hand, it shows us how utterly unique and compassionate Jesus was with the lepers who were suffering from such a dangerous and disfiguring disease.  This same compassionate response   lives on today as so many people put themselves in danger, to treat these patients and  providing us with the basic necessities of life.     

    Then, yesterday I started doing this with the events of Holy Week. When I thought of the Last Supper, so many questions and comparisons came up.  When was your “Last Supper”,your  last meal with   your family or friends?  Did you know it was going to be the last time you would share food with them?  What would you have said or done if you had known?
    Let’s look at what Jesus said and did at the Last Supper.  First of all he wanted to celebrate this   special meal with his disciples.  He wanted to prepare them for what was about to happen.  He washed their feet, showing them by his example the importance of loving service to others.  He gave them words of advice.  He also wanted to leave something of himself with them that would always be with them.  Jesus gave himself in the bread and wine, his Body and Blood, Holy Communion for ages to come.  How can you give of yourself to your family and friends from self isolation? What would you give of yourself if you knew you were going to die the next day?

    After the meal, Jesus went to Gethsemane to pray, taking only Peter, James and John  with him. Then he went further   on by himself.  Jesus  prayed for this cup of suffering to be taken away from  him, but eventually he placed his trust in his Father and surrendered himself to what must happen.  Strengthened and consoled by this time of prayer,  he stood up and faced what must happen.

    I am sure that many of us have prayed as never before, hoping against hope that this is all a bad dream, only to wake up and find out the corona virus is very real. Hopefully, we too like Jesus will be  strengthened and consoled by prayer and  stand up and face our future.  This includes self-isolation, living without the many activities and amenities   which we thought were essential to our well-being, listening to grim statistics on the news, and perhaps someone   we know coming down with the virus.

    Now we come to Good Friday.  We see Jesus unfairly condemned to a gruesome death, and abandoned by most of  his friends.  Some of our  COVID-19 patients will also face an unfair death sentence. a lonely death where their loved ones cannot even approach them.  How did Mary feel when she watched her son dying on the cross, unable to relieve his suffering?  Mary knows the suffering of the loved ones of COVID 19 patients.

    When Jesus died his body was whisked away,   to bury him before sundown.  So too, the bodies of patients who have died, are quickly whisked away to make room for the next patient.  They cannot be properly mourned or buried, with many being cremated and the usual rituals being postponed for a later date.  This only adds to further suffering to the mourners.  

    These are but a few of the questions and comparisons I have made.  I invite you to do the same.  As you read and pray the readings for Holy Week, try to put yourself into the scene, into the story.  What do you see, feel, hear, smell and even taste?   Ask yourself how is this similar to what we are going through this year, this Holy Week?  Are we living the Passion of Jesus?

    But we know the end of the Passion story - Resurrection.  We do   not know the end of the story of  the pandemic. We can only hope, dream and pray that our time in the desert will lead all of to celebrate and preach the Good News of Salvation.     
        Maria R. Kelsey
    Pastoral Assistant  

    Building Community From A Distance
    Johnston Smith
    IgNation, April 3, 2020

    When I was seven or eight, I came down with whooping cough, a common childhood disease of the day. My mom treated me at home, using her usual remedies of hot buttered rum, mustard plasters and Vick’s Vapo-Rub under the nose. Isolated from friends, I remember telling her, “Mom, I’m alone” . With a smile, she replied, “No, you’re lonely. Offer it up for the poor souls in Purgatory. They need our help.”

    My mom was anything but a theologian but her Irish-Canadian upbringing molded her instinctively to connect to “the Communion of Saints” ,  perhaps the least understood tenet in the Apostles’ Creed.  Especially in these uncertain times, it’s wonderful to remember that we are all in this together, living and dead.

    In her essay “The Discipline of Solitude,” Christian writer Ruth Haley Barton called solitude “a time to build…a retreat…in order to come back to community.” [1] Or as the French expression has it, “reculer pour mieux sauter.”[2] A worthy goal….but our distancing does not require that we wait to come back to community.

    Many of us are practicing “social distancing” in order to do our part in facing this health emergency.  However,  practicing social distancing does not mean that we are communally distant.  What follows are a few suggestions on how we can enhance the bonds of community while at the same time delaying the moment when we and our fellow Canadians proceed to the next stage of the Communion of Saints!

    Apostleship of Prayer       

    To be an apostle means to go out and spread the good news. Even though in many dioceses, for the time being, we cannot attend Mass we can still unite with our fellow believers through prayer. A recommended mode is the “Liturgy of the Hours”,  which follows the monastic tradition of prayer periods throughout the day. I find it very consoling when I recognize that the prayer in which I am now engaged is being done this day all over the globe. A good source is  https://rcav.org/prayer-and-spirituality-liturgy-of-the-hours  which originates in the Vancouver archdiocese.

    Another excellent daily observation is the Examen. Those familiar with the Spiritual Exercises will recognize this daily invitation to ponder how God has been active in our lives and how we have responded to God’s grace. A pertinent twist on this for these times might be to ponder how I have responded to the needs of others in the community. Here is a good guide for doing the Examen  https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen .

    In the Winnipeg Archdiocese, all public masses have been suspended.  Archbishop Richard Gagnon has recommended that, since we cannot receive the Blessed Sacrament during these times, we instead make “An Act of Spiritual Communion.”  Here’s a version  … https://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=35

    Apostleship of Fasting   

    Though usually associated with giving up food, fasting also has a communal aspect to it. The faster gives up distractions, simple pleasures and the like in order to become more attentive to what is truly real and what truly matters. Being more confined with immediate family members might tempt us to “get on one another’s nerves” but it can also be an opportunity to encounter one another more deeply, to appreciate more fully, to forgive and to be forgiven. While no doubt many people are bingeing on NETFLIX or finally getting around to reading War and Peace, resisting the temptation to withdraw into a fantasy world and instead becoming more fully engaged with those whom we love can reprioritize our values. And phone calls (or video calls) to those more isolated than we are can be part of this “fast” .

    Apostleship of Giving    Many of our politicians seem to be focused on the economic consequences of the epidemic and, of course, that is an important aspect of the problem we face. Perhaps we can take what we might ordinarily spend on triple caramel lattes or that spring break vacation and donate that money to charities, especially to ones who focus on the least powerful among us, such as the homeless. We could also remember that although masses have been cancelled, our parish’s expenses still go on.  And, once we are reassured that our food supply chains are solid, we might take those cases of canned kale and boxes of dried chickpeas and pasta to local food banks.

    Keeping the bonds of community even when we cannot gather together will do much for our equanimity and our sanity during this trying time. Keeping our solidarity will help us bounce back once that now famous curve has been flattened.

    Lord, by your life, death, and resurrection,
    you have set us free
    you are the Saviour


    Holy Week Schedule
    All times subject to change

    Date             Time (NT)     Location     Event
    Sunday, April 5     9:30 am     Vatican     Palm Sunday Mass and Angelus 2020

    Monday, April 6     11:15 am      Vatican     LIVE    Mass celebrated by Pope Francis
                                                                                  from Casa Santa Marta

    Tuesday, April 7     11:15 am     Vatican     LIVE    Mass celebrated by Pope Francis
                                                                                  from Casa Santa Marta

    Wednesday, April 8     11:15 am     Vatican     LIVE    Mass celebrated by Pope Francis
                                                                                       from Casa Santa Marta

    Thursday, April 9     1:30 pm     Vatican     LIVE    Holy Mass of the Lord's Supper

    Friday, April 10     1:30 pm     Vatican     LIVE    Celebration of the Lord's Passion 2020
                                 4:30 pm     Vatican     LIVE    Way of the Cross 2020

    Saturday, April 11     4:30 pm     Vatican     LIVE    Easter Vigil 2020

    Sunday, April 12     1:00 pm    Vatican     Easter Sunday Mass
                                                                    and Urbi et Orbi Message 2020

    Monday, April 13     1:30 pm     Vatican     Regina Caeli