That the origin of Mother's Day goes back to the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans? However the roots of Mother's Day can also be traced back in the United Kingdom where a Mothering Sunday was celebrated before it reached Canada. The day is meant as a day to thank all Mothers. To thank them for the gift of life, their love, their support, and for, quite simply, being a
Mother. Our faith also teaches us that we are still united to our Mothers who have gone before us to be with God. It is through prayer that we can communicate with our Mothers, all those that have gone before us, and our
God. We can also seek comfort knowing, again through faith, that our Mothers are united to us, for they too are praying for us here on earth while we continue our earthly journey. By praying to our Mothers in heaven, and to the
Virgin Mother Mary, they take all of our prayers to the feet the Jesus, who takes them to our loving God. We can also seek comfort in our faith with the knowledge that when our journey on earth ends, we will be reunited with
them in heaven, where they are very much alive. On this Mother’s Day, let us give thanks for the precious gift of our Mothers, and may God bless each of them abundantly, today and always.
That Confirmation strengthens the work of the Holy Spirit begun in Baptism? While the majority of us received this sacrament many years ago, it is always good to remind ourselves of the significance of this beautiful sacrament. If you are like me, I appreciate the spiritual significance of it now more than at the time it was conferred upon me, likely because I have grown in my faith. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Confirmation completes the grace of Baptism by a special outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which seal or “confirm” the baptized in union with Christ and equip them for active participation in the worship and apostolic life of the Church. Through the anointing with oil, the “sacred chrism”, Confirmation confers a seal upon the recipient. Why a seal? A seal is a symbol of a person, a sign of personal ownership. This seal marks our total belonging to Christ. So what does all this mean? Confirmation assists us to conform more closely to Christ. It calls the person to accept a sense of mission to be sent out to the world to be a living, vital witness to the teachings of Jesus, our Lord. Let us pray for all of our Confirmation candidates and for each of us as the body of Christ. May we be reminded of our call to mission, and to embrace it with passion and zeal as the hands and feet of Christ here on earth!
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.
Navigating COVID-19 Together with Christ as our Guide
My dear Sisters and Brothers,
Be not be afraid! It is hard to believe that we are not coming together as a parish family to celebrate Mass as all of our Sunday and weekday Masses have been cancelled until further notice. I want to assure you that I continue to offer Mass in our parish, now privately, for the needs of our parish, our community, our country, and our world. The Mass is the source and summit of our faith. As I have said, every time the Mass is offered, the entire church gathers around the altar. So, we are united together through prayer in the offering of the Mass. Yes, it is difficult not to gather as a community and to receive the real presence of Christ in communion, and so we are reminded, now more than ever, of our prayer of spiritual communion:
MY JESUS, I BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE PRESENT IN THE MOST HOLY SACRAMENT. I LOVE YOU ABOVE ALL THINGS, AND I DESIRE TO RECEIVE YOU INTO MY SOUL. SINCE I CANNOT AT THIS MOMENT RECEIVE YOU SACRAMENTALLY, COME AT LEAST SPIRITUALLY INTO MY HEART. I EMBRACE YOU AS IF YOU WERE ALREADY THERE AND UNITE MYSELF WHOLLY TO YOU.
NEVER PERMIT ME TO BE SEPARATED FROM YOU. AMEN.
We are reminded that Jesus is the prince of peace, and I pray that we experience the peace of Christ that only he can provide.
Additionally, all events and gatherings at our parish have been cancelled until further notice.
While our office is closed until further notice, we continue to be at your service. Please call our office at 905 684 5603 or email email@example.com. Phone and email messages will be checked on a regular basis. As always, you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I encourage you to email your intentions or concerns which I can bring to our Lord at the altar.
As we have been advised, the best place for us to be right now is at home. This makes our website all the more powerful for keeping us connected. Visit us at www.stjuliastc.com. Here you will find links to the televised mass that you can watch from home, at any time. Also be sure to like us on Facebook (search St. Julia Roman Catholic Church) where you will find daily posts and the most up-to-date information.
In the midst of all of this, let's continue to be united in prayer as we navigate through COVID-19 together with Christ as our guide.
May God continue to bless each of you and those that you love.
Fr. Greg Schmidt
That God calls us to transform our weaknesses into strengths? Looking back at our life journey for just a moment, growing up in our families, attending school, or in figuring out what we want to do in life, at every turn we look at our strengths and weakness. What am I good at? What gifts have I been given? When I was working in retail, S.W.O.T. analyses were often completed, to identify not only strengths and weakness of the business, but also opportunities and threats. Most importantly, the analysis asks the probing question: how do we turn those weaknesses and threats into strengths and opportunities? Our Catholic faith also calls upon us to look at and identify our strengths and weaknesses, and the importance for us, to transform our weaknesses into strengths. However, we are called not to look back and dwell on the past, but rather to look forward, all in order to become the people God intended us to be. Mathew Kelly writes: “Our weaknesses are the key to the
future that God has envisioned for us.” God has a plan for each and every one of us – and the plan continues to unfold each day as we continue to listen in our hearts to where God is calling us. During this season of Lent, may each of us take the time to bring our weaknesses to God, and allow Him to transform us, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to be the people He personally calls us to be. May God bless each of you and those that you love, Fr. Greg.
That most of the spiritual plans we bring to Lent end up working for a short period of time? It would be my guess, that for the few days prior to Lent we were busy reconstructing our usual programs for Lent, the things that worked the last five to ten years, so that all would be in place for Ash Wednesday. It is like pulling out of storage a box of old decorations that have brought us some useful comfort and familiarity. The lists of things we give up – and the list of things we do – the books of prayer, the pasta and fish dinners, even the resolutions that provide us an opportunity to be renewed. However: Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on us what God has prepared for those who love Him. (I Corinthians 2:9) These are good things! How about us leaving them in our spiritual trunk? How about we go to the Lord with heart, mind and soul open to what He will bring? What He will want of us! I am speaking only for myself – most of the spiritual plans I bring to Lent end up working for a short period of time or only take me as far as I want them to go (maybe Forty Days). If the Lord is calling the game, inviting us to join in, to surrender to the unknown – new heights, to new ministries in His name and most importantly new intimate moments of prayer and to come
away to those holy places where we have need of nothing, for the Lord suffices – then Lent will not be a program of accomplishments but an immersion into His transforming Love in ways we can’t even imagine.
From Our Pastor