Friday, 18 May 2018

Return & Under the Weather

I returned from the trip of a lifetime on Thursday May 10, in the evening. There were many terrific experiences including visits to Bali, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Thailand, and Hong Kong.

For me the Highlight was in Hong Kong - when I celebrated Mass on Tuesday May 8 - my 25th Anniversary - in St. Joseph's Church where I used to attend 31 years ago when I lived and worked in Hong Kong for 3 months (April - July, 1987)

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Some other Pictures from the Holiday:

The cathedral in Chiang Mai - Northern Thailand

Our Cooking School the Previous Day:

Elephant Jungle Sanctuary Visit on Friday May 4

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Some Photos from Bangkok:
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This is the resort we stayed in South of Kuala Lumpur! Neat
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And this was our View from our Apartment in KL:
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Orchids in Singapore:

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The Beach in Bali
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Our Pool in Bali

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Sunday, 15 April 2018

Edge Retreat - and Travels

This weekend has been the Edge Retreat - held in Hockley Valley - at the Valley of the Mother of God Monastery. Through crazy weather I have traveled from Bolton 3 times to be with these young people. It has been a very Powerful Retreat - "Be Not Afraid".

This evening I leave for the airport and early Monday Morning I will be flying via Eva Airlines to South East Asia for the trip of a Life-Time! 3 weeks in Bali-Singapore-Kuala Lumpur-Thailand-and Hong Kong. I will be in Hong Kong on my 25th Anniversary of Ordination - May 8th - and celebrating Mass in the same Parish I was a Parishioner 31 years ago when I lived and worked in HK for 3 months. 

I will be posting some video's on my YouTube account:

Here is a video I did of My Dad's Place in Sharbot Lake, Ontario.


Saturday, 31 March 2018

I feel bad

I feel bad that I have not posted anything all Lent.
I could say it was an intentional decision - less social media - etc...
But that would be a lie!

I just have not been as mindful of this blog - as I have learned to add new items to our Parish website - and worked to keep that up to date...

Today we had the blessing of Eater Baskets - and following that teams of people went to work:

  • Servers setting out the items used for the Easter Vigil, then rehersing the liturgy!
  • The Knights of Columbus setting up our imressive Baptismal Font;
  • Some artistic women who set up the flowers and decorations;
  • and a dedicated team of volunteers from Mom's and Tots who plan and prepare everything for the reception after the Vigil this evening.
We are now ready to celebrate the central feast of our Faith: The Resurrection of Jesus - the Saviour of the Universe!


Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Be Ambassadors for Christ!

Through Prayer, Through Fasting, Through Giving - we will be formed into being Ambassadors for Christ this Lent! 

The church shifted late last night to the colour of Purple for Lent.
We also have the bare trees back for Lent - trees that will be filled with our ribbons marking our Prayer / Fasting / and Giving during Lent. 


Friday, 26 January 2018

Canada Summer Jobs Conroversy

There is quite the storm brewing around the Canada Summer Jobs Program this year! At Holy Family we have benefitted from this Summer Jobs Program with our Holydays Summer Day Camp.

Here is the Back Ground - and Some suggested letters to write to David Tilson and The Prime Minister.

Employment and Social Development Canada now requires the following attestation by all organizations applying for federal funding from the Canada Summer Jobs program: "both the job and the organization's core mandate respect individual human rights in Canada, including the values underlying the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other rights. These include reproductive rights and the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender identity or expression." The government's website further specifies this includes "the right to access safe and legal abortions".

While the Prime Minister, the Minister of Employment and Social Development, and the Department's website have recently attempted to explain how this attestation is not intended to exclude faith groups from possible funding, a number of faith-based organizations remain deeply concerned and cannot accept what the government is asking them to do. Questions too have been raised by news media about how the attestation infringes on the Charter rights to religious freedom as well as to freedom of expression.

Thousands of churches and organizations across Canada are religious charities which operate legally under provincial human rights codes. In carrying out their work, they benefit the communities in which they are located and our nation as a whole. Such charities foster vibrant social networks, spark volunteerism, and foster community resiliency, providing a religious rationale for activities like poverty alleviation and caring for those who are vulnerable. Although these positive ends are experienced by many in the community regardless of faith, they are offered out of a religious context, with a religious motivation to serve.

To help educate the Catholic community and to express concerns respectfully to our Members of Parliament, the following resources have been created to assist those wishing to express their deep concern. The Archdiocese of Toronto has been working closely with many different faith communities who share commons concerns regarding the Canada Summer Jobs Program. Special thanks to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada for their partnership in preparing these resources.

Some Sample Letters:

Sample Letter #1 - For concerned citizens
Dear David Tilson, MP Dufferin-Caledon,

As a constituent, I am writing to share my deep concern regarding changes that have been made to the Canada Summer Jobs Program for 2018. Applicants are now required to affirm an attestation to be considered for government funding. 

I recognize that in Canada, citizens enjoy the privilege of expressing a variety of views and opinions on any number of topics. This is an important aspect of our democratic society. However, the attestation for the Canada Summer Jobs program requires that applicants must endorse a particular set of values that are not enshrined in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is problematic for many faith-based organizations and other groups not comfortable with this approach. I would ask that you respect the fundamental freedoms of conscience and religion, thought, belief, opinion and expression as outlined in the Charter.

This barrier to funding will directly impact programs that strengthen our community. In many cases, they will prevent organizations from serving the most vulnerable across the country. (if you have an example you can list it here) I would urge you and your colleagues to reconsider this process and to include faith-based organizations in any such dialogue moving forward. The impact of Canadians serving our community, motivated by their beliefs and religious traditions cannot be underestimated. 


[Your Name

cc. Honourable Minister Patty Hadju
Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

Sample Letter #2 - For concerned citizens
Dear David Tilson, MP Dufferin-Caledon, 

I am a constituent in your riding. I appreciate the time you devote to serving our community.

I am very troubled by the change to the Canada Summer Jobs grant program. In order to be eligible for funding, employers will now have to attest that their organization’s core mandate affirms certain beliefs. As well, under the terms of the grant, it seems that churches or faith-based organizations may not be able to hire only students who share their faith.

Although the guidelines say that religious organizations can still apply, these organizations will not be eligible to receive the grant if they cannot agree with the statement in the application. This policy change will have a negative impact on many faith-based organizations and their ability to provide needed and helpful services in our community.  

Freedom of religion, belief, thought, opinion and expression are fundamental guarantees in the Charter. This new policy seems to violate these freedoms.

Please be an advocate for our community and for our fundamental freedoms. Please let me know what efforts you are making to change this policy. 


[Your Name

We need to keep applying Pressure. The deadline for applications is the end of next week.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

We have returned to Ordinary Time

We have Returned to Ordinary Time, and the Green Banners are up! During the season of Ordinary Time - we deepen our understanding of the Paschal Mystery each Sunday. This year we will be listening to Mark's Gospel for the most part. Because Mark's Gospel is shorter than Matthew's and Luke's Gospels, there will be a period of time in the Summer months when we will listen to a portion of John's Gospel - Chapter 6 - The Bread of Life discourse.

This year the period of Ordinary time between Christmas and the beginning of Lent is short - 5 weeks! Lent will begin on St. Valentine's Day - Feb. 14! Easter is on April 1st - but we are no fools! 

This is also a Milestone Year for me - in May I will celebrate 25 Years of Ordination as a Priest. January 23, 1993 I was Ordained  as a "Transitional" Deacon (Deacon Robert Suthers is a "Permanent" Deacon.) God Bless us in Ordinary Time!

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Merry Christmas!

There is a Cherokee Legend that says:
When the plants and trees were first made, the Great Mystery - that is how they refer to God, gave a gift to each species. 
But first he set up a contest  - "I want you to stay awake and keep watch over the earth for seven nights," The young trees and plants were so excited - the first night they did not find it difficult to stay awake. However, the second night was not so easy, and just before dawn a few fell asleep. On the third night the trees and plants whispered among themselves in the wind, to keep from dropping off, but it was too much work for some of them. 
Even more fell asleep on the fourth night. By the time the seventh night came, plants still awake were the cedar, the pine, the spruce, the fir, the holly, and the laurel. "What wonderful endurance you have," exclaimed (God) – whoops sorry – the Great Mystery. 
"You shall be given the gift of remaining green forever. You will be the guardians of the forest. Even in the seeming dead of winter, your brother/sister creatures will find life & protection in your branches." Ever since then all the other trees & plants lose their leaves and sleep all winter - while the evergreens stay awake.

Today we celebrate the Birth of the ONE in whom we find life – Jesus, born in Beth’lehem, in hebre that means the House of Bread.
Placed in a Manger - a feeding trough for the animals - this is the one who will become the Bread of Life. 
Wrapped in swaddling clothes - like the lambs who were raised in Bethlehem for use in the sacrifices of the Temple in Jerusalem - for Bethlehm and Jerusalem were like Nobleton and Bolton! And these lambs were wrapped in swaddling clothes when they were born to make sure they had no blemish - for they needed to be free of blemishes to be used in the Temple! As was the Lord - who 33 years later would be offered not in the temple but upon the cross!

Here is our Savior - protection for all – in the harshness of our world, In the darkness of a seeming exile, here & now and in the winter coldness of our Sin – Here is our refuge – Here is our God who comes to us - The Great Mystery – The creator of Heaven and Earth enters into creation – not for God’s sake – for ours!
Here is our Saviour who saves us – for we can’t save ourselves!