That all Christians can aspire to become saints? We are all called and can aspire to become saints, that is, persons in heaven (officially canonized or not), who lived lives of great charity and heroic virtues and who are worthy of imitation. On April 27th 2014, Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II were officially canonized. So, what are the three steps to sainthood? A candidate becomes “Venerable,” then “Blessed” and then “Saint.” Venerable is the title given to a deceased person recognized formally by the pope as having lived heroic virtues. To be beatified and recognized as a Blessed, one miracle acquired through the candidate’s intercession is required in addition to recognition of heroic virtue or martyrdom. Canonization requires a second miracle after beatification, though a pope may waive these requirements. A miracle is not required prior to a martyr’s beatification, but one is required before canonization. Spend some time exploring the saints. You will find that they walked this earth just like you and I, on a journey to become closer to God, with ups and downs along the way. Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II, pray for us!
My dear friends in Christ,
As we continue to navigate through COVID-19 with Christ as our guide, it is hard to believe that it has been six weeks since our last public weekend masses here at St. Julia. I pray that while this time has been filled with challenges, we have been able to reflect upon the blessed moments that God continues to grace us with.
Moment by moment. That is so very key. Whenever we experience a change in our life, the loss of a friend or loved one, or perhaps the loss of a dream, people will ask how are you doing? If you are like me, you give the generic response of “good.” There are good days and bad days. I was once told it really is moment by moment. There are good moments, and not so good moments. But gradually, over time, we pray that there are more good moments. Those good moments guide us on the road to recovery. That really is the road that we are on at this moment – together – as we navigate through COVID-19. The guiding light through all of this, and all challenging times, is that Christ is our guide. Through the power of prayer and keeping ourselves rooted in our faith, we can get through these difficult times together. Just as Christ has navigated us through past difficulties and challenges, moment by moment, prayer by prayer, when in the moment nothing made sense, somehow, we made it through. That was only by the grace of God. And God will see us through this moment in time as well.
As we continue through these most unprecedented times for many of us, may we do so together, united in prayer, with Christ as our guide. Amen.
God bless and stay safe,
That Divine Mercy Sunday points us to the merciful love of God? The Easter Octave has always been centered on the theme of Divine Mercy and forgiveness. God extends His mercy to each and every one of us. Mercy is the loving kindness and compassion shown to one who offends. Divine Mercy Sunday, therefore, points us to the merciful love of God that lies behind the whole Paschal Mystery — the whole mystery of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ — made present for us in the Eucharist. In this way, it also sums up the whole Easter Octave. As Pope John Paul II pointed out in his Regina Caeli address on Divine Mercy Sunday, 1995: "the whole octave of Easter is like a single day," and the Octave Sunday is meant to be the day of "thanksgiving for the goodness God has shown to man (and woman) in the whole Easter mystery." Let us be constantly reminded that as sinners, God is ready and waiting to welcome us into his loving arms. Yet we must make the first move. God is ready to forgive us through the healing power of the sacraments and to pour out His grace upon us – that supernatural gift given to us through the Christ. On this Divine Mercy Sunday, may each of us seek strength and comfort in the merciful love of God!
Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Risen Lord,
Hope. This is the message of Easter. This is the truth that we celebrate. This is who we are called to be as disciples – people of hope.
This is an Easter like no other. Yet over two thousand years ago, that day was like no other. Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and salvation history was changed forever. What we are currently experiencing will no doubt change our lives forever as well. Yet in time, while we will never forget, we will move on with the everyday busyness of our lives. The same can be said about the miracle of Easter. As an Easter people, there is nothing ordinary about what we are celebrating this day. It is the most extraordinary of all events! Jesus’ rising from the dead, his life, death and resurrection, is what we celebrate at every Mass. Let us never forget this. It is a message of hope.
This is the truth that our families, our neighbours, our country and our world need to hear. We need to tell the world around us Jesus is risen and he is with us. We need to show the world that we are witnesses to this truth. We are his disciples. We are Easter people! We are people of hope.
It is my hope and prayer that everyone keeps safe, healthy, and well, and I look forward to welcoming everyone home, to your spiritual home of St. Julia very soon. Please rest assured of my prayers. On behalf of myself, Deacon Bryan and Deacon George, we wish each of you and those that you love a most blessed Easter season!
In Christ’s love, Fr. Greg Schmidt
That the passion of Christ points us to the one thing that we can change? That one thing is our selves. We now enter into Holy Week, which in my mind is the most sacred time of the year. As the season of penance and sacrifice comes to an end, we turn to the focus of Holy week – the passion and suffering of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, and all of the happenings that lead us to these events – events that define who we are and what it means to be a Christian. There is something especially beautiful about the Easter Vigil for me, for it was here that I moved one step closer to answering God’s call to enter the seminary. I credit the Holy Spirit, for I discovered that by engaging myself wholeheartedly in this beautiful celebration, and truly listened to the words being proclaimed, that is has the power to change a person forever. During the Triduum we suffer along with Christ. We also journey with Him in prayer so that we too might rise with Him at His glorious Resurrection. It was here that I learned that the only thing I have power over to change is myself. We can pray for each other, yet only I can make the decision to change. That personal invitation from Jesus is open to each and every one of us. I invite each of us to immerse ourselves into this mystery this week. While very different from any Holy Week we have ever experienced before, consider joining us for all of our live streamed liturgies this week, and let us join our hearts and minds with Jesus, and remember what He did for each of us. May God continue to bless and keep safe each of you and those that you love.
From Our Pastor