Saturday, 15 December 2018

Santa Fund - Putting our Faith into Action!

Thank you!

The count is in - and the Giving Tree gift cards amounted to over $ 5,800.00 !!!
Thank you so much for these gift cards which help make a real difference in the Christmas's for "Teens and Tweens" in our community.

Each week, during the month of December, we have included a story in the bulletin about a person or family that benefits from the Santa Fund at Caledon Community Services. The ministers of all the parishes in Caledon are striving to increase the number of direct donations to the Santa fund this year. By using the form and the Envelope found in the bulletin - you can put your Faith into Action - and help families in need at Christmas and beyond

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Advent Waiting

While the Advent Season is a time of Preparation, and Anticipation, and Expectation, I fear we might be taking this to a new level at Holy Family!

The new Automatic Doors were installed on the Friday Morning before the First Sunday of Advent. These doors were a donation from Pat Acquisto, Accessibility Construction Specialist at PRO Accessibility Ltd. 

The electricians were booked to come in this past week and install power to the door openers, and an outlet on the hallway wall for a new Screen donated by Egan Funeral Home. 
Image result for sony 65 inch mounted tv

It seems there is a special part needed for the Door openers connection - and it did not come in by Friday - so here we are - living Advent in a real way - waiting for electricity and connections! In the mean time we have been able to rig up an extension cord for the TV monitor - so the Announcements are now playing on the screen!

May your advent waiting be a time of recognizing our dependence on a God, who desires to come close to us!


Saturday, 1 December 2018

Advent 2018

Advent at Holy Family Parish

The time leading up to Christmas is busy in our lives, as we prepare the home, shop, and decorate. This season of Advent is a busy time in our parish as well! Here is a sampling of what is happening these 4 weeks of Advent at Holy Family Parish:

Nov. 30 – Dec. 2 the LifeTeen Retreat “Search” – is happening on this First Weekend of Advent (at Upper Canada Camp).

Each of the Monday Evenings in the first 3 weeks of Advent – December 3rd, 10th, and 17th – Advent Bible Study – after 7:00 pm Mass (7:30) – in the Parish Hall

December 3rd & 5th – 7:00 pm Confirmation Candidate / Parent / Sponsor Meetings  start with Mass.

December 4th – 7:15 pm “Light up for Christ” – Annual Knights of Columbus Event - with the tree lighting, Carol Singing, and refreshments.

December 7th – 7:30 pm – First Friday Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

December 8/9 – First Sharing in Eucharist Enrollment (presenting lambs) during all Masses

Sunday, December 9th – St. Nicholas Celebration – 2:00 – 4:00 pm – in the Parish Hall - this is our 7th Annual Celebration!

December 10th & 12th – 7:00 pm Confirmation Candidate / Parent / Sponsor Meetings start with Mass.

December 11th – “Vitamin F” Faith Nourishment – Advent Retreat and time of Reflection – 7:30 – 9 pm

December 14 – EDGE Youth Group – Caroling though town 7:00 – 9:00 pm

Saturday, December 15 Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebration begins at 11:00 am and includes prayer, presentations, and refreshments.

December 15/16 – First Sharing in Eucharist Enrollment (presenting lambs) during all Masses
December 15/16 – Daughters of St. Paul – Book Sale after all Masses – Parish Hall

December 18th – 7:00 pm Confessions
December 19th – 10:00 am Confessions 

December 19th – 7:00 pm – Longest Night Mass – for those who have experienced loss of a loved one during the year. Refreshments to follow.

December 23rd – 2:00 pm – Come out to help Decorate the church for Christmas!

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Flourishing Congregations

Be Part of a National 
Church and Parish Survey

The Flourishing Congregations Institute is part of Ambrose University in Calgary, Alberta. Their mission is to bring together academics and practitioners to research the factors surrounding flourishing congregations/parishes in Canada, develop tools and resources to help congregations/parishes to flourish, and share our research findings with congregations/parishes that wish to flourish.

As part of our 40th Anniversary year we invite all of our Parishioners to participate in an online survey. The survey will take about 10 minutes and your answers are kept confidential, and only reported to the Ambrose University in aggregate form - so no one knows who said what!

This is a great opportunity for us to look at how we live our lives as a parish - what we are good at - what we need look at in order to thrive.

Here is a Video that describes the Process: Video Here

Here is the unique Survey Link that is for our Parish:

Saturday, 17 November 2018

To Israel and Back

I have returned from a wonderful trip to Israel. To make a pilgrimage to Israel with people of faith is always a privilege. The bonds that form on Pilgrimage are really quite incredible - including the visits to the holy sites - but also the social time on the Bus and in the Hotels. Here is a quick summary of our visit this trip:
Tuesday we left in the afternoon on the direct Air Canada Flight to Tel Aviv - 5:00 pm departure - and a 10:30 am Arrival in Israel on Wednesday Morning.
Image result for caesarea maritimaAfter clearing customs and Immigration, meeting our Guide Jacob, and getting on our Bus we were off to the Mediterranean Coast - to see the site of Cesarea Maritima, and an ancient Roman Aqueduct that is still in great shape!
Then we had Lunch in a village on Mount Carmel - Daliat et Carmel.  Then we made our way to the Galilee area in the North of Israel. We had planned to have an outdoor mass on a cliff overlooking the Sea of Galilee (really a fresh water lake!) but we were unable to access the site because it closed earlier than we expected. 
Image result for Kinar Galilee

We checked into our hotel. One of the benefits of this year's Pilgrimage is that we only stay in 2 hotels - one in the Galilee and one in Jerusalem.  In the Galilee it was the Kinar Galilee Hotel on the East side of the Sea of Galilee. 

Thursday we visited Kefar Kedem - a site which transplants us back in time to the life in Israel at the time of Jesus.  We milked a goat - made Cheese from that Milk, then ground flour, and made Pita Bread on an open fire!
Afterwards we enjoyed a Lunch before making our way to Nazareth, and the Basilica of the Annunciation, for Mass, then we went to Cana to renew Marriages.
Image result for nof ginosarFriday we went to the Kibbutz which found an ancient Galilee Boat over 30 years ago - and has now been preserved for display. after hearing of the discovery of this 2000 year old boat, we went on our own boat on the sea of Galilee.  Afterwards we visited the city of Caparnaum where much of Jesus's Ministry was located. we celebrated Mass in a church that is suspended over the archaeological dig at St. Peter's House. 

Saturday we Traveled North - to Cesaera Philipi and faced the question - Who do you say that I am. Then we renewed our Baptismal Promises in the Source of the Jordan River (North of the Sea of Galilee) with fresh (cold) water! We saw the tip of Mount Hermon - which is a mountain shared by Israel, Lebanon, and Syria. we also saw an ancient Crusader Fortress from the Middle Ages. Then we enjoyed a Wine Tasting and Lunch at a Winery in the Golan Heights!

Image result for mount of BeatitudesSunday we started with Mass at the Primacy of Peter on the Shores of the Galilee - then we Made our way up to the Mount of Beatitudes.
Then we went North again to Zafed - a centre of Jewish Mysticism and a bit of an artists colony. I like the Candles they make there!

Image result for JerusalemMonday was a Transfer Day - Meaning we loaded up the Coach with our luggage and started south to the Mount of Transfiguration. there we transferred to mini vans for the trip up the mountain and celebrated Mass in the Church of the Transfiguration. Then we continued south to the Jordan Valley and visited the Archaeological Site of Bet Shean, the largest dig in Israel, and the location of the filming of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Continuing south we went around Jericho and started the climb up to Jerusalem. From Mount Scopus we had a beautiful view as the sun was setting. We did the traditional entry into Jerusalem, blessing God for Bread and Wine and then Eating and Drinking the bread and wine. Then we went to our Hotel - Mount Zion Hotel. This hotel on the edge of the old city is built into the hillside - so the Lobby is on the 6th floor - and the rooms are accessed by elevators going down!
Image result for masadaTuesday we were back on the road for a Day trip to the Dead sea area. We first visited Qumran - the site of the finding of the dead sea scrolls 70 years ago. We celebrated a mass in the desert here. Then we went to the Ein Gedi Spa and had the chance to go for a float in the dead sea! We ended the day at Masada - pictured to the Left. This site of Jewish Resistance - to Roman Occupation fell in the year 73 AD - 3 years after the fall of Jerusalem. It is still a very important site - Israeli Defense Forces - after Basic training - come here - climb up the snake path, and at dawn cry "Never Again". Never again will Israel fall to the hands of oppressors.

Image result for church of nativity
Wednesday we visited Bethlehem - and even though we had seen huge crowds the entire journey - never were they so evident than they were here - as we waited almost 1.75 hours to see the grotto of the Birth of Jesus. We celebrated Mass in Bethlehem, then after som shopping - to support the Christians of the Holy Land, we went for Lunch and Visited the Shepherd's Fields. 
Then we returned to Jerusalem and walked the Palm Sunday road down from the Mount of Olives and ended in the Garden of Gethsemane. There we placed our burdens at the rock where Jesus prayed before his arrest after the Last Supper.

This is where Deacon Robert and I left the group and Returned to Canada to celebrate with Lucas Sunseri and Emily Norman as they were married on Friday.
On Thursday our Pilgrim group visited the Church of the Last Supper, Dormition Abbey - the site of the "Assumption" of Mary, then The site of the Imprisonment of Jesus and the Denial by Peter (St. Peter In Gallo Cantu), then they walked the Via Crucis - the way of the Cross.
Saturday they visited the Birth Place of John the Baptist - Ein Karem, and Yad Vashem - the holocaust memorial, and the Western Wall and concluded with Mass at the Holy Seplechre - The Tomb of Jesus and the site of the Resurrection.

As Pilgrims we journeyed and allowed the places to slowly pass through us and transform us.  
Tourists pass quickly through places, but the places pass slowly through pilgrims, leaving us forever changed.

The Biblical story is one long pilgrimage:
From the Garden of Eden, paradise lost
to the New and Eternal Jerusalem, paradise found.
Abraham – a wandering Aramean, our father in faith,
who was called to set out for a land unknown.
Moses – leading the people of God out of Egypt
and to the Promised Land.
The Exodus remains the singular most important event for the Jewish people: Release from slavery.

The Gospels often recount stories of Jesus’ journeys,especially his final journey to Jerusalem, and the Cross. Jesus’ Resurrection is our assurance that the pilgrimage we make on earth shall end beyond our death – where we shall enter into His rest.

To walk in Israel is a Holy thing to do! 

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Reply Received!

I received a reply to my letter to Pope Francis in September.
The Secretariat of State replied, thanking me for the letter and the concerns which prompted my writing of the letter.

A form letter type of response to be sure - but a response none the less. Our hope is that there will be real action when the Presidents of Bishop's Conferences meet in Rome in February.

We will continue to look at this issue at Holy Family Monday Evening with a Presentation by Fr. Michael Machacek who is on the Board of Directors at Southdown Institute. 
Mass at 7:00 - the intention is for victims of Sexual Abuse
Presentation at 7:30 pm - Information, Statistics, time for Questions and for Prayer. All are welcome.


Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Pope Francis to meet with Bishops

Pope Francis will meet with the Presidents of Bishops' conferences from all nations in February to address the issue of protection of Minors. Perhaps this will be the beginning of a process to implement an effective structure of accountability for all clergy and religious. Such a task is enormous - simply because of the different countries - laws - and cultures all over the world. Yet the common goal is universal - the care and protection of minors, and the accountability of the Church Hierarchy. 
I know that things have changed in Canada and the United States over the past 30 years. There has been the implementation of processes to screen and prevent those convicted from ministering in the church with those who are vulnerable. 
The painful reality that we are now being reminded of is that there have been cover-ups and efforts to silence those who have been abused. I am sure that there will be many more saddening revelations that will be made public in the coming months before the bishops of the world gather in Rome in February. 
In the mean time - we continue to stay and fight - fight for the little ones who had no one to fight for them years ago!