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Friday, October 16, 2020

Soul Health XX

1- The parish office is back to regular hours: every weekday 9-3:30, except Wednesdays until Noon only.

2- Volunteer Readers and Collectors are required for weekend masses. Several have not yet returned, so please consider offering yourself for this ministry. Contact the office.

3- Archbishop Lépine has issued a brief new pastoral letter entitled, Under the “new normal,” an enduring essential: the spiritual.

4- Canada received dishonourable mention in an article on last month’s Vatican document, Good Samaritan. It addresses both euthanasia, and the other extreme of “Not accepting the limits of medicine, and aggressively trying to avoid death:” ‘No life is unworthy of life’ .

5- There may be no free lunch, but we have received several free copies of Magnificat (November edition) with the daily mass readings and reflections, articles and much more on spirituality. I’m hoping enough of you will be inspired to order an annual subscription ($72) through the parish so we can get the bulk discount. If you would like to test drive it, contact the office the a free copy.

6- The requiem Funeral Mass for Edith Cavanaugh will be offered Friday 11am next week. If you would like to attend, please call the office.

Weekend Mass, live and live-streamed:

7- Mass times will remain this month: Saturday 4pm & 5:15pm; Sunday 9:30am and 5pm. Last weekend the 9:30 was nearly full again in the sacristy; note there was space however in the Church at the 5:15 and 5pm masses Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

8- If you’re not ready to return yet, join us for Spiritual Communion, where I’ll be celebrating at St. Willibrord’s each weekend, Saturday 7pm & Sunday 11am.

9-Weekday masses livestreamed at 8:30am continue on Salt and Light TV in English, or , broadcast from our very own Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral downtown. The Celebrants are Montreal English sector priests who may be familiar to you.

Blessings in Christ,

Father Robert+

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Soul Health XIX

1- This Saturday's announced Rosary Rally in Verdun is cancelled, due to the restrictions on gathering. All who were planning to attend are invited to pray the Rosary for Our Lady's intentions at Noon Saturday.

2- Pope Francis has just issued the 3rd Encyclical of his Papacy, on fraternity and social friendship. Such documents shape the witness of the Church for generations. Read 10 key takeaways, or the complete document.

3- Our ever-evolving community of Verdun was just ranked 11th Coolest Neighborhood in the World!

4- Browse through the new e-book compilation of Archbishop Lépine’s messages during the pandemic “confinement” found in this week’s Grapevine.

JOIN US FOR MASS

5- October weekend Mass times will continue: Saturday 4pm & 5:15pm; Sunday 9:30am and 5pm. Last weekend the 9:30 was nearly full in the sacristy; note there was space however in the Church at the 5:15 and 5pm masses Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

6- If you’re not ready to return yet, join us online live on Facebook for Spiritual Communion, where I’ll be celebrating at St. Willibrord’s each weekend, Saturday 7pm & Sunday 11am.

7- These St. W’s masses remain posted, including last weekend’s.

8- Weekday masses livestream at 8:30am started earlier this week on Salt and Light TV in English, or on Facebook, broadcast from our very own Marie-Reine-du-Monde Cathedral downtown. The Celebrants are Montreal English sector priests who may be familiar to you.

Blessings in Christ,

Father Robert+

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Soul Health XVIII: News, changing mass times, Alpha opportunity

1- As preached and announced on the weekend, you are welcome and encouraged to come to the parish this evening or next Wednesday for the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). Why? Take a few minutes to hear Bishop Barron’s excellent Sunday homily on forgiveness and broken relationships: https://tinyurl.com/y48wvxwt

- We will begin with 10-minute liturgy at 7pm, this week for the First Communion children, and next week for the Confirmands. After they have made their confessions (by 7:30 likely) you are welcome to go to one of the other two priests for the Sacrament. One priest each evening can offer the sacrament in French as well. I continue to offer the Sacrament by appointment.

2- I commend to you an online Alpha course beginning Friday evening. Do sign-up today. This programme gets rave reviews from participants and has remarkably strengthened parishes around the world and here in the diocese through faith development. Starts September 18, and runs Friday evenings, 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m. via Zoom -- Join from home. Better yet, It's free! Why does Alpha exist? Learn more here. To register: Alpha.MaryHelpOfChristians@gmail.com

3- For more info on Alpha, and for other diocesan news, read This Week’s Grapevine . There’s a brief interview there with Fr. Mike, whose NDG parish has over 150 Alpha registrants this autumn! Let’s do this to likewise build our parish.

4- It’s now easier to support the parish financially by donating online. Consider setting up an automatic weekly or monthly donation instead of using envelopes. This will save the parish the cost of envelopes and volunteer time as CanadaHelps automatically issues you tax receipts. Go the blue button on our website.

5- Changes: As announced last weekend, I have been appointed both Pastor of St. Thomas More (for 6 years) and Administrator of St. Willibrord’s (one year renewable). Mass times will change in both parishes. Note my new email address: vicarofverdun@gmail.com

6- Our mass attendance last weekend: 5pm Saturday, almost the pre-pandemic level of 50. 9am Sunday however is around 40, compared to 100 pre-pandemic. Having erred on the side of caution and safety in re-opening, I believe our parish is extremely safe. Thanks to the volunteers who continue to make this happen.

7- We require more readers at weekend masses. Please email or phone Patricia to offer yourself or inquire. Parish office hours: Monday 11-2, Tuesday through Thursday 9-3:30.

8- That said, we are revisiting the question of mass times. Only if you were not at mass last weekend when everyone was polled, Click here to state your preferred time -- Only complete one of the two questions. Note that Sunday mornings neither the 10 or 1030am times are available, both to allow me to offer a morning mass at St. W’s, and because we have agreed to allow N.D.-de-la-Garde parish to have morning mass at St. TM’s.

9- This Saturday’s mass will include First Communions – come out to support and pray for our parish children. Sunday at 10:30 the following weekend former St.TM curate Bishop Robert Harris will be celebrating the Sacrament of Confirmation. He will also be preaching the weekend masses.

10- Prayerfully consider participating in a Public Square Rosary Rally at noon on Saturday October 10. It will be on the Verdun Boardwalk near Godin St. This is one of 700 such rallies across Canada offered for reparation of offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary and for the conversion of Canada. For more info or to notify of your intention to participate, call Caroline Landry (514-767-6256) or Maureen Dearden (514-751-2733).

11- Next weekend I will be renewing my prayer list. If there is anyone on the current list who needs continuing prayer, or others you would like prayed for, please email me or leave a message on the parish voicemail. Separately, weekday mass intentions are arranged with Trish at the parish phone number.

12- The Quebec Assembly of Catholic Bishops through the ministry of the Catholic Social Action office of our Archdiocese has made available this brief, important document on our mission in the province. Have a read of it and send me your feedback to inform our direction as a parish.

Blessings in Christ,

Father Robert+


Saturday, August 15, 2020

Soul Health XVII: Lebanon emergency relief; eat grapes or propose Marriage today

1- Today is a Solemnity, one of the high Feast days of the Church – The Assumption of our Lady into heaven. For simple ways to mark this truly marvelous Feast, see below.

2- Our Archbishop has requested prayers for Lebanon and that parishes take up a second collection for relief for the horrible Beirut disaster. We will do so this weekend with envelopes in the pews. For a tax receipt, mark your regular envelope number on them, or your name, or “Lebanon” on your own spare envelope. I have worked together with my fellow Lebanese-Canadian Christian and Muslim leaders to obtain 1:1 matching donations to yours, passed through a Catholic agency. You may also drop an envelope in the office mail slot so marked.

3- Our mass attendance since re-opening last month has climbed, close to pre-pandemic levels at 5pm Saturday, but still just under half those levels at 9am Sunday. I take this opportunity to thank the over two dozen volunteers who have contributed to keep us safely receiving the Sacrament of the Eucharist. It seems to have been done very smoothly thus far.

4- In two or three weeks, with the congregation during the announcements we will revisit the question of the most suitable time for Sunday morning mass.

5- Next weekend I will be renewing my prayer list. If there is anyone on the current list who need continuing prayer, or others you would like prayed for, please email me or leave a message on the parish voicemail. Separately, weekday mass intentions are arranged with Trish at the parish phone number.

6- A reminder to parents of children in catechesis: we will meet by zoom Monday, 7pm. Email for the link if you don’t have it.

7- Keeping the Feast of the Assumption:

Pope Francis today, on the Feast (1 minute read)

Consider it Thoughtfully (5 minutes)

Say the Angelus (1 minute). Daily take 3 minutes, or even 1, for the Angelus: Although the Angelus has been traditionally said three times daily, at 6 am, noon and 6 pm, you can pray it at anytime. (In my home parish growing up and even today, 10:30 Sunday mass is 90 minutes, concluding with the noon Angelus).

Pray the Rosary, particularly the glorious mysteries (note the 4th) today with these mediations. Consider joining the Tuesday evening online Rosary group for whom I am chaplain.

Join priests around the globe every evening as we all pray the Magnificat (1 minute), while contemplating Our Lady’s humility, joy and grace, and/or other Marion Antiphons as our last prayer before bed (another minute), before “the great silence begins.

Grapes, proposals and other Traditions on this Feast.

Our Lady of Lebanon, as we celebrate your glorious Assumption, pray for the people of that devastated country, and for us.

Father Robert+


Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Soul Health XVI: We’ve safely re-opened the church; more volunteers needed; church funerals this week

1- Summer Mass times:
Saturday 5 pm,

Sunday changed to 9 am.



2- A couple of tweaks based on an assessment of re-opening weekend:

- There’s space for all – no need for mass passes or registration
- Entrance to the church will be only by the main doors on the street corner

3- Parishioner Joseph Whelton died on Sunday after receiving the Last Rites of the Church hours earlier. His funeral mass is Friday at 1pm; due to the current usable space restrictions for health and safety, the funeral is private. The family asks for your prayers for Joseph, and intends to made available a video of the funeral.

4- Parishioner Joanne Morin died in April of complications related to COVID. Her funeral mass is Saturday at 10am.

5- To continue to offer the two weekend masses this summer, we need even more volunteer greeters. The training is now much simplified after our weekend experience. And we need a laptop operator for music at the masses. Please call the parish number to volunteer.

6- Over two dozen of you have already volunteered in various capacities to re-open the doors. “Well done, thou good and faithful servants” (Matthew 25:21)

7- This week: FREE COURSE: Happiness and the Meaning Of Life, from Bishop Barron’s Institute – 6 videos ~15 minutes each.

8- I announce a special meeting of parishioners to elect a new warden, filling a vacancy for Sunday 26 July at 9:45am (after mass, in the pews). That warden would hopefully become our Treasurer. Nominations may be given to me or any of the wardens.


St. Thomas More, Pray for us

Father Robert+ Pastor, St. Thomas More Parish Verdun




Thursday, July 9, 2020

The parish doors will be re-opening this weekend!!

Note the Summer Mass times:

Saturday 5 pm,

Sunday changed to 9 am



Mandatory “How to” Safety Rules to attend Mass this summer at St. Thomas More Parish, Verdun


Coming Prepared

    •    Only one washroom is available; for emergencies only. Come prepared!
    •    Bring your face mask (we will be able to provide a few at the door)
    •    Bring your faith, to follow these rules for the benefit of the community
    •    Bring your patience, in order to comply with the changes wrought by these rules
    •    DO NOT COME if you have any these conditions that prohibit access: fever, cough, contact with a sick person, or have returned from travel within 14 days prior
    •    In light of the months of lockdown, the Church encourages you to prepare by first receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation (if with Fr. Robert, by appointment only). If you cannot, you may vow to do so next week just before receiving communion and then honour your vow, to ensure worthy reception of the true Body of Christ (I Corinthians 11:27)
    •    Bring your “Mass Pass” (only for the Sunday 9am) – It is this sheet of paper

Upon Arrival

    •    To control access, 2 centre doors as well as the Moffat and Bannantyne entrances will open no earlier that 20 minutes before mass time. Only those with mass passes may enter
    •    Both side doors will be closed just before mass time; go to main doors
    •    At that point Mass Passes are no longer valid and anyone may enter until we reach capacity
    •    Before the inner entry doors and on the steps, respect the distancing floor markers
    •    We are not permitted to mark the sidewalk: physically distance there as well
    •    Before the inner doors, study the pictogram (also in this mailing)
    •    Inside the final doors, there is no holy water
    •    Listen to the instructions of the greeters
    •    Then sanitize
    •    Find a pew while respecting the floor markers marked with the colour of the ribbon designated for that mass – red, green or purple – as posted inside
    •    For family groups, use only pews with an additional white ribbon
    •    Masks are required while inside, except for those who cannot wear them. They will sit in the designated pews behind the mask picto-sign towards the back of the church
    •    Do not sit nor even touch any other pew but yours. If you have mobility issues, you cannot support yourself with another pew; rather come prepared and take your time
    •    Respect the distancing floor markers on your way to your pew; do not pass anyone in the aisle
    •    Sit only at either end of colour designated pews. This ensures 2M physical distancing
    •    A coloured mass response card will be placed where you can sit. No one else will have handled this within 3 days. Leave it where you found it upon departure.
    •    No other papers or hymn books will be in church except what you bring for the collection plate


Inside the church

Be Safe:
Help Others Feel safe in the Church


During Communion

    •    Do not leave your pew; communion will be brought to you.
    •    Lower or Remove your mask to receive
    •    Cup your hands, one over the other
    •    Do not say “Amen” until the communion minister is giving to the next person

After Mass

“Go into the world, glorifying the Lord by your life”

    •    The back row will exit first
    •    Lift your kneeler to the upright position
    •    Do not leave your pew before the people behind you have left theirs
    •    Do not stop, thereby holding up traffic, even on the sidewalks
    •    Clergy will not be greeting at the back; if you have any comments, needs or questions, please call Father Robert
    •    There is no socializing on church property
    •    If doing so on the sidewalk physically distanced, ensure you are not blocking it


When you receive communion:
“Behold what you are
Become What you see”
St. Augustine (5th century)


Sunday, July 5, 2020

Soul Health XV

We’re re-opening the church next weekend!

1- First, I’m happy to report that Patricia (Trish), our parish secretary, is recovering very well from surgery. During her convalescence this month, she will be doing some work from home.

2- Check out this 1-minute video of Pope Francis, “Our Families”, that ought to be taken to heart by each of us.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGZJRuVvnsc

Re-opening our parish: News and information

3- Volunteers required at each mass: One to operate the laptop for music (simpler than it sounds – pun intended) and several more to be safety greeters. Please contact me to inquire. Thanks to our two dozen volunteers who have come forward, some of whom were trained yesterday.

4- The doors will be opening next weekend!! Note the Summer Mass times:

Saturday 5 pm,

Sunday changed to 9 am


5- Due to provincial capacity restrictions for health and safety, we will add a 10:30 mass with catechism, however restricted to the catechism families, who have been communicated with separately.

6- The rationale is that Sunday at 9 am:

- respects the survey results completed by most
- adding a separate family mass allows enough space that all parishioners can attend Sunday morning without registration (only the 9am mass however requires you bring a “mass pass” to guarantee you a seat)
- almost eliminates the risk of contact between the elderly and children
- as health safety doesn’t allow us to use large fans directly, this hour would not be as hot inside

7- The “mass pass”: It’s purpose is to ensure that, without having to register, our parishioners have first call on the limited available seating, until just before mass time when we admit other people until we’re full.

8- All parishioners will receive in the mail this week an extensive letter, including a separate sheet of safety rules for mass attendance. You will read therein what the “mass pass” is.

9- Additionally, an information session to answer your questions will be held by Zoom and phone call-in Tuesday evening at 7pm for those interested.

10- The parish office will be staffed for calls (514-768-4741) only this Friday from 10am-noon to answer your questions about the parish re-opening after having read the mailing. Also, if you haven’t received the letter, please call then. At other times, messages left will always be returned, except those related to re-opening which will be returned after Friday morning.

11- With the need to prioritize a successful weekend re-opening:

- Weekday masses won’t begin for at least one month
- The Sacrament of Reconciliation will not be offered before mass, rather by appointment with me
- Funerals will resume immediately, baptisms shortly thereafter I expect
- The office will remain closed for personal interaction until it is safer, and at least until Trish is fully back in the saddle. I’m available by phone at the parish number and email.
- Only the church itself and the sacristy washroom (for emergencies) are accessible for now

All further changes and adjustments will be announced at masses and included in these emails and on our website.

St. Thomas More, as we re-open, Pray for us


Father Robert+
Pastor, St. Thomas More Parish Verdun


Friday, June 26, 2020

Soul Health XIV

Mandatory REGISTRATION to attend mass; Patronal Mass online tomorrow

If you wish to attend mass at St. Thomas More parish this summer, YOU MUST REGISTER BELOW THIS WEEKEND. Registration and details below. First:

Patricia (Trish), our parish secretary, successfully underwent surgery yesterday and is recovering in hospital. Please keep her in your prayers. During her 6 weeks of convalescence, Claudette has agreed to volunteer to handle all admin matters.

Our next and possibly last online mass will be available on our website tomorrow, Saturday, at 4pm. This is our annual Patronal Festival: St. Thomas More, Martyr. The special mass intention is for Fr. George Oakes. Join us!

Re-opening our parish

Whether or not you are hoping to attend mass this summer, we need your help. Please offer 3 minutes of your time to complete this questionnaire this weekend:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TZQC6PS

Thanks to the over half of you that have. Tomorrow volunteer callers will begin calling our parishioners who don’t have email to complete the questionnaire for them and register them for mass attendance. Then we’ll know if we require additional masses to maintain the cap of 50 persons, and when to offer them.

The parish re-opening committee has determined that to re-open the parish requires upwards of 20 volunteers to be present, spread out across different masses. Offer yourself in the questionnaire.

St. Thomas More, our patron, Pray for us, as we together endeavor to re-open to celebrate our Lord

Fr. Robert+

Pastor, St. Thomas More Parish Verdun




Saturday, June 20, 2020

Special Soul Health XIII: parish re-opening news

Give me Your grace, good Lord, to set the world at nought, to set my mind fast upon You

To think my worst enemies my best friends

To have continually in mind the passion that Christ suffered for me; for His benefits incessantly to give Him thanks.

St. Thomas More, Martyr

1. If you wish to attend mass at St. Thomas More parish this summer, YOU MUST REGISTER BELOW BY WEDNESDAY. NO EXCEPTIONS. Details below. First:

2. Patricia (Trish), our nearly indispensable parish secretary, will be undergoing surgery on Thursday. Please keep her in your prayers. Her recovery time is estimated at 6 weeks. She has been serving our parish daily for 40 years!!

3. Our next and possibly last online mass will be available on our website next weekend. It will be the annual mass of our Patronal Festival, St. Thomas More, Martyr. The special mass intention will be for Fr. George Oakes. It will run approximately 40 minutes; the homily will speak directly to the children in Confirmation prep, who will then be gathering online again next Sunday.

Re-opening our parish

The provincial government has given permission for re-opening churches with a maximum of 50 persons in the building at one time. The Archdiocese has done immense preparation for this moment so that the health and safety of the faithful can be paramount. Thus re-opening our parish will be a complex process, including determining how many weekly masses we will have to satisfy parishioners while strictly respecting the cap of 50 persons. In order to determine this, and for you to register for mass attendance so we don’t exceed the cap, you must fill out the questionnaire by next Wednesday, Feast of The Birth of St. John The Baptist:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TZQC6PS


Additionally, in these ways: re-opening for mass, aiming for July 11, turns on your support:

**The parish re-opening committee which has already met twice, has determined that to be compliant the parish requires upwards of 20 volunteers to be present, spread out across different masses. Offer yourself in the questionnaire.

**Once you complete the questionnaire, please call other parishioners you know who do not have internet (over 60% of our parishioners), completing the online questionnaire for them by next Friday.

**Offer in the questionnaire to be one of the volunteers who will then call the remaining parishioners to do the same beginning Saturday.

Let’s by the grace of God work together to re-open our parish!

And commit all this to your prayers:

Have continually in mind the passion that Christ suffered for you; for His benefits incessantly give Him thanks.

St. Thomas More, Pray for us

Fr. Robert+ Pastor, St. Thomas More Parish Verdun

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Soul Health XII: Experience “Love, for us!”; Next online parish mass

In the Eucharist we “renew the memory of that incomparable love for us which Christ revealed in His passion” on the cross.

St. Thomas Aquinas, 12th century
who developed the liturgy for today’s
Feast of Corpus Christi – The Body and Blood of Christ

Dear sisters and brothers in the Body of Christ,

1. This morning we enjoyed our first online gathering for Confirmation catechesis. It was great to be together as the Body of Christ, even virtually, with some of the parish families! We’ll continue every other week through the summer.


2. I shared with the parents part of a beautiful reflection on today’s feast by our own Episcopal Vicar, Fr. Raymond Lafontaine, at the bottom of this page. For more, and his parish mass, and to make your spiritual communion:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUjJYqoyq



3. A couple of parents have asked if First Communion catechesis might continue virtually. If your child is part of the First Communion gatherings, please email me your thoughts on this.


4. The next online liturgy should be up in 2 weeks. That will be the mass for our Patronal Feast of St. Thomas More, Martyr. It will be offered with special intention for Fr. George Oakes.


5. To produce that mass, we need volunteers to read, and to video even using a phone. Also someone who can advise on how to record the sound with our audio system would be helpful. Only a handful of you replied to the 2-minute questionnaire on whether you wanted these masses. You can still complete it here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DVXKKXZ. In the meantime, all online masses will speak directly to the children in Confirmation prep.


6. We need two more volunteers for the de-confinement planning committee, which would help the parish reopen more quickly. Thanks to those who have come forward, we got off to a great start last week, meeting online. We will be part of diocesan webinars on the matter this week in English and French. More info in next week’s Soul Health.


7. For a host of excellent spirituality opportunities, see this morning’s Grapevine:

https://tinyurl.com/y97bztpt


Together in Christ,

Fr. Robert+
Pastor, St. Thomas More Parish Verdun


Dear friends, fellow members of the Body of Christ!

…Today, we commemorate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ. We are a Eucharistic people. In receiving the Body and Blood of Christ, we are transformed from within: we become Christ’s Body and Blood, our lives broken for others, poured out in loving service of all humanity. In this time of pandemic, when so many of us have been deprived of sacramental communion for nearly three months now, how are we called to celebrate this feast?

As I speak to parishioners and others following our online celebrations, I hear that they appreciate them very much, but they still look forward to our being all together again, so that we can celebrate Mass together, pray and sing together, receive communion together. Perhaps this time of imposed sacramental fasting has been for all of us a reminder of how easy it is to take the Eucharist for granted.

And yet, if this is literally Christ's body broken for us, Christ’s blood poured out for us, each day of our lives, we are challenged on this day to recognize both the awesome nature of the gift of the Eucharist, and the challenge which it presents in our own lives as Catholic Christians, to live as his Body in the world. This includes paying attention to those “members of the Body” who are most vulnerable at this time, the victims of racism, of all forms of injustice, those who are sick, isolated, addicted, neglected, or unwanted. All must be treated with respect and dignity…

Fr. Raymond Lafontaine, E.V.


Sunday, June 7, 2020

Pentecost mass



Soul Health XI: LOVE! Trinity Sunday; More online parish masses?

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, today’s Gospel for the feast of the Holy Trinity)

Pope Francis reflecting on God the Holy Trinity: “God is not indifferent – he’s close and personal” “The Trinity is therefore Love, all at the service of the world, which he wishes to save and recreate.”

1- When are we re-opening the Church? The first step is for a de-confinement committee to meet next week. Thanks to those who have come forward. We need a couple more volunteers to begin meeting online. Directives are beginning to come in, the second tab at:

https://tinyurl.com/yd9wtjtt


2- Watch this 2-minute video of Pope Francis on the killing of George Floyd and “the sin of racism”:

https://tinyurl.com/y9nh2zxr


3- Parents of children in Confirmation preparation have received an email with a survey so we can continue gatherings online next weekend – please complete the survey! It may involve producing weekly parish masses.

4- Should we offer more online masses as we did at Pentecost? It turns on your view, so please take a couple of minutes to share your thoughts anonymously:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DVXKKXZ


5- To produce last weekend’s mass, we had to import a couple of volunteers from other parishes: Mark Boyer on the guitar who grew up at St. TM, and Patrick on the video camera from our neighbors St. Jean de Brebeuf in Lasalle. If we are to produce another mass, we require a parish volunteer to video and one for audio. Please contact me.

6- An excellent opportunity to enliven your spiritual life. I began today with this 7-day Unleashing Fire retreat, on the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit in our life, 30 minutes each:

https://tinyurl.com/yc7h5dvb


7- A particular thanks to all who continue to support the parish financially. While April givings were right on budget, except for the Easter collection, May was down 25%.

8- You may receive this email twice or thrice today, as I’m working on trying to overcome some transmission issues. I welcome feedback on these Soul Health emails (in the survey above), or anything else.

I’m off to the altar to offer this Trinity Sunday mass with special intention for all of you.


Prayer to the Holy Trinity

Glory be to the Father, Who by His almighty power and love created me,
making me in the image and likeness of God.
Glory be to the Son, Who by His Precious Blood delivered me from hell,
and opened for me the gates of heaven.
Glory be to the Holy Spirit, Who has sanctified me in the sacrament of Baptism,
and continues to sanctify me by the graces I receive daily from His bounty.
Glory be to the Three adorable Persons of the Holy Trinity, now and forever.
Amen.

Fr. Robert Pastor,
St. Thomas More Parish Verdun

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Soul Health X: St. TM Pentecost mass online tomorrow -- Rediscover Sunday!

Our interpersonal relationships have felt somewhat restricted over the past weeks. How many of us patiently await the day when, once again, we can be with our parents, children and friends! Let us learn from the interruptions that we’re experiencing. Let us reap the benefit of a Sunday break…

Rediscovering Sunday

Archbishop Christian Lépine


1. For 2 minutes more on the above, see his “Care for the Soul” video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9NMlQLmaR0


2. Rediscover Sunday at St. Thomas More! Join us for our first online mass tomorrow for Pentecost:

https://www.stthomasmoremtl.ca/


3. When are we re-opening the Church? The Archdiocese will be sending pastors preliminary guidelines on Monday. However, the Archbishop has made it clear that parishes must first have a special committee in place to prepare for this. Are you willing to volunteer for this committee which would meet online?


4. Join Pope Francis (and me) this morning 11:30 am Montreal time, the Vigil of Pentecost, as he prays the Rosary to close the Marian month joined by satellite link to Marian sanctuaries across the world, including Montreal’s Mary Queen of the World Cathedral, by praying to the Virgin Mary for help amidst the pandemic:

https://www.youtube.com/c/VaticanNewsEN


5. And this evening, Archbishop Lépine will celebrate a bi-lingual Pentecost Vigil Mass at 7:30 p.m:

https://seletlumieretv.org/


6. Many of you received pastoral phone calls this week from our team members:

· From this, a new prayer list of dozens of names was established, that replaces all the prayer requests for the living and the dead given to me from the previous call around. If you would like me to pray for others daily, just email me the first names.
· The calling isn’t complete because we need 3 more volunteers. Call or email me to find out what’s involved.
· A special thanks to our callers, and especially Claudette who conceived of this ministry and is coordinating it very effectively.


7. We will submit the prayer requests for the dead to the Archbishop, as in his beautiful letter this week, “In solidarity with those who mourn”, including how you can submit your own prayer requests.

https://tinyurl.com/y7onobv8


8. You may receive this email twice, as I’m working on trying to overcome some transmission issues imposed by Bell. I welcome feedback on these Soul Health emails, or anything else.

May you be filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit,

Fr. Robert Pastor, St. Thomas More Parish Verdun

Monday, May 25, 2020

Soul Health VIII

“I hope to succeed in my mission to ‘infiltrate’ among young people…to enter among them as silent as a virus and infect them with an incurable disease, Love!”

Matteo Farino, died in 2009 at age 19, elevated towards sainthood last week by Pope Francis

1. Tune-in tomorrow, Sunday 10am, when Fr. Robert will be offering the homily at St. Monica’s online:

https://tinyurl.com/yddvh769


2. Then offer 10 minutes of quiet at noon, to take up the Archdiocese’ invitation to “all people of good will.” This is in conjunction with “…the bells of parish churches and chapels will ring every Sunday at noon for 10 minutes as a sign of hope…to support those most affected by the pandemic, including residents of CHSLDs and homes for the aged, as well as those who take care of the sick.”


3. On Pentecost, in two weeks, we’re hoping to offer our own online Mass from St. Thomas More! Details next week. This was proposed by one of you, the fruit of prayer and two online meetings this week with the Wardens and the Pastoral Council (see Soul Health VII #8). This requires volunteers – see below.


4. Adult Faith Formation is going forward! There’s a viable group in another parish that would like me to lead a programme, and to invite you as St. TM parishioners to participate. We’ll gather online some Friday evenings starting in two weeks, likely using Bishop Barron's new series, The Sacraments. You're participation would be wonderful. Sign-up by emailing me.


5. Archbishop Lépine’s just issued pastoral letter, “Primacy of the spiritual life”:

https://tinyurl.com/ybjpyeec


6. !!Spread this virus!! Amazing story of Matteo Farino, quoted above:

https://tinyurl.com/y8pvehs5


7. Call for volunteers to participate in our online Pentecost mass. Please email me:

· Three readers, submitting phone video from home · One someone experience person, perhaps a youth, to video me celebrating the mass at St. Thomas More

The mass intention this and every Sunday is for you, the people and parishioners of St. Thomas More.

Blessings to all,

Fr. Robert Pastor, St. Thomas More Parish Verdun


Monday, May 11, 2020

Soul Health VII...ending with a beautiful bedtime story

Soul Health VII

“The doors of our churches are closed but our hearts are open” -- Archbishop Lépine in his pastoral letter

https://tinyurl.com/yd9y5yv4

1. To keep our hearts open during this pandemic, the Vatican has published a wonderful free online booklet, Strong In The Face Of Tribulation. Three distinct sections include how to remain faith-filled during this time, and beautiful thoughts from Pope Francis compiled from his daily homilies the last 2 months, updated regularly online. I encourage you to take a look:

https://tinyurl.com/ycv227fo


2. The Archdiocese is inviting all people of good will to 10 minutes of quiet at noon every Sunday. Join us. “…the bells of parish churches and chapels will ring every Sunday at noon for 10 minutes as a sign of hope during this period of health emergency. All people of good will are also invited to take a break of silence or prayer at the same time to support those most affected by the pandemic, including residents of CHSLDs and homes for the aged, as well as those who take care of the sick.”


3. Parish Finances: Today, appropriately, is #ThankYouThursday. Thanks to your generosity last month, parish revenues virtually matched our reduced expenses in the first four months of 2020. And that was over and above the amazing Food Drive!

April givings came very close to what was budgeted, except for Easter which was down substantially, in some measure connected to no loose collection. So many of you even came to put your envelopes through the office mail slot -- Very impressive support for your parish. You are encouraged to keep it up during lockdown, remembering that most of our expenses continue.


4. I have become chaplain to a Tuesday evening rosary, prayer and reflection group. If you’re interested in trying it out on Zoom, write for the link: Danielle Morin daniellemorin27@gmail.com


5. A hearty thanks to our calling team who reached out on behalf of the parish to all on our parish list. If you didn’t receive a call, or even if you did, but would like to talk, call me the parish. One of the fruits of the call around: over 45 people added to my prayer list!


6. Who is worthy of our aid?

https://tinyurl.com/yd7s24fr


7. Archbishop Christian Lépine invites everyone to join him on Thursday, May 14, at 8 a.m on Salt + Light Television, for a Mass being offered for the special intentions


8. Hopefully next week we’ll have a Pastoral Council meeting (yes, zoom), to brainstorm about how to continue our parish ministry. Please feel free to indicate your interest in joining us for a meeting.


9. A brief, beautiful bedtime story of these times:

https://tinyurl.com/ycfmqrec


The mass intention for you is offered every Sunday. Blessings to all,

Fr. Robert Pastor,
St. Thomas More Parish
Verdun

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Soul Health VI: 8AM TOMORROW special live mass, Food Drive report, and more




Good evening Companions in the Risen Christ
,

Briefly, two programmes, some information on tomorrow’s special consecration, and the Grapevine:

1. The Food Drive: Wonderful! A really faithful response from our parish of serving those in need. It was beautiful to experience. Specifics below, including a link to photos.


2. Adult Faith Formation! Please Consider it, especially if you haven’t before. I would like to offer a 6-session program by Zoom, with a video, questions and discussion for a small group of 10 max. beginning next week. However, we don’t have enough interest yet to make it viable. If you are curious, please go to the 2-minute survey; sign up there as well:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/68QVRCH


3. In the face of the pandemic, tomorrow, May 1, all the Canadian and American bishops will consecrate their respective dioceses to Mary, Mother of the Church, seeking her protection.

https://tinyurl.com/y8xzfk9n

May is the month of Mary annually. Watch live Archbishop Lépine’s consecration mass tomorrow 8am, following the link on this page:

https://www.diocesemontreal.org/en/news-and-info/latest-news/archbishop-lepine-consecrate-archdiocese-montreal-mary-mother-church


4. Read the latest Grapevine diocesan newsletter

https://tinyurl.com/ujbr6ju

So, the Food Drive…

Well done, in this time of need. The beneficiaries of your generosity were the Manna Food Bank here in Verdun, and Le Pont, a 2-year old ministry of our Diocese to temporarily shelter newly arriving refugees. A special thanks to one of our catechism parents for doing all the pick-ups from your homes yesterday afternoon and delivering them to the rectory.

Two car loads are going to Manna, along with some cash donations marked for them.

Me and another driver took two car loads last night to Le Pont. Photos can be found on our website:

https://www.stthomasmoremtl.ca/


In addition to the office lobby full of bags and boxes of groceries, over $2500 came in from several donors. I would like to commend you for your generosity. Trish and I both were deeply moved at the overwhelming response, how you opened your hearts to those who are desperate.

This is truly Catholic faith in action, and taking seriously your Easter vocation as believers in the Risen One. We read each of the 50 days of Easter at Mass from the Acts of the Apostles, the story of faith in the resurrection put into action. So we have a new chapter to Acts of St. TM parish!

With the cash I was able to purchase and deliver for each of the 9 families (21 residents) of Le Pont: a 4-day supply of fresh meat and fish, a flat of eggs, a jug of vegetable oil, a large bag of rice, and loads of vegetables and fruits. And there is enough cash left over to twice more provide another 4-day supply of fresh meats, as well as veggies, which I will undertake next week.

May the Risen Christ richly bless you,

Fr. Robert+

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

UPDATE: 26 hours left...in the Food Drive...

...in our Parish Food Drive...READ this UPDATE with new info:

Greetings all,

First, there has been some interest in the small group Adult faith education programme I would lead by videoconferencing; a handful more of interested persons would make this feasible. To register your interest, please fill out this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/68QVRCH

The Food Drive is in full swing, with bags of groceries already dropped at the rectory door this morning -- Thanks for your generosity:

If you would like a pick-up, please let me know by replying to this email this evening.

Food drop off at the rectory:

non-perishables: on the rectory steps until sundown today or tomorrow

perishables: tomorrow only (Wednesday)

Before 4pm: meat and dairy on doorstep; all other perishables directly in the back of red Kia Soul out front

4pm-6pm; all perishables directly into the Kia Soul (these will be delivered departing 6pm)

After 6pm -- no more perishables accepted

NO ITEMS PAST BEST BEFORE DATE -- I've already found some, meaning I've had to personally go through all the bags to check them. It turns out it they were only in one bag -- thanks to all of you who have or will donate with this in mind. With most donations coming tomorrow, please spare me having to check through everything if even one unusable item is found in one bag.

Details:

Drop food off on the Rectory steps (980 Moffat) today (non-perishable only) or Wednesday (anything) -- see 2. above.

Cash or cheques in envelopes marked “Food Drive”, or your parish envelope offerings can also be safely slipped through the Rectory mailbox.

Food Requirements:

For Le Pont https://www.diocesemontreal.org/en/archdiocese/le-pont :

· Fresh vegetables and fresh fruit, rice, vegetable oil, Bread, peanut butter, Yogurt, Milk, snacks for children

· Maintenance and Disinfection products for the residence

· Disinfectant spray (Lysol), Wet disinfectant wipes, Disinfectant, antibacterial liquid or spray, Hydroalcoholic solution for hands

For the local Food Bank: everything else

Please, please put the Le Pont donations in separate bags/boxes from the Food Bank, so I don’t have to sort and separate.

P.S. No donations can be past their ‘Best Before’ or ‘Expiry’ dates. (To do otherwise is distinctly unhelpful and contradicts Catholic Social teaching).

Thanks in advance for meeting this desperate need in these difficult times.

Fr. Robert+
Pastor,
St. Thomas More Parish, Verdun

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Give a moment for the dead and grieving in Nova Scotia, tomorrow...

Good evening,

Let us meaningfully say, "Our prayers are with you," to the people of Nova Scotia and all who grieve the weekend massacre. This is not cliché, rather as mentioned in yesterday’s Soul Health V email, tomorrow (Friday) the Mass of the Dead will be offered for the deceased and all affected.

1. How to participate

2. Spiritual Communion

3. A Reflection, in lieu of a homily

4. The Prayers and Readings


1. How to participate

The mass will be offered at 1pm, ending at 1:30. You are invited during that time, or anytime during the day to do any or all of the following: light a candle, observe some silence, read the prayers below and the regular mass prayers to yourself, read the Reflection, and pray. You can also be in full communion by making a Spiritual Communion (as any day), with all other Catholics doing the same tomorrow.

2. Spiritual Communion

Pope Francis has reminded us that we are in communion just as if we have received the sacrament itself when we:

a. express our desire to be in communion, and

b. confess our belief that the Sacrament is the true Body of Christ in which He is really present, and

c. resolve and follow through to receive the consecrated host as soon as it is possible

Pope Francis:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LNjJaWuidw (2 minute video)

and

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-offers-this-spiritual-communion-prayer-during-coronavirus-pandemic-53326

3. Reflection

We cannot help but feel broken-hearted for the horror that last weekend unfolded in our country, seemingly next door in Nova Scotia. 22 innocents slaughtered – a female RCMP officer defending us, a pregnant health care worker overworking during the pandemic, and 20 other parents, children, relatives, friends and colleagues. And in tight-knit serene communities. A week ago, it was unimaginable.

But evil, the evil of just one deranged soul, gruesomely committed this country’s worst slaughter.

How to respond? What to do?

First, I was on a videoconference yesterday (Thursday) on the topic parish ministry during the pandemic, led by Fr. James Mallon from Halifax. He began by expressing his and Nova Scotians appreciation for our concern. He also observed, “It’s so disturbing to see on the international news small towns in your own small province mentioned because of an unspeakable evil.” In our backyard it seems.

And it may seem that unspeakable evil may have won. Not so. Not so.

Even the apostles, except St. John fled from the cross, fearing evil had defeated their master, Jesus. All the more were they surprised by Easter, His rising from the dead three days later -- His conquest and utter defeat of evil and its ultimate achievement, death.

Only then did they understand that the previous Friday was a sacrifice, and the night before at Supper, when he had said, “This is my Body” and “my Blood” which tomorrow will be given up for you, that he was inviting them to share in that sacrifice of self-giving love.

And thus, St. Paul, who 4 years later on his way to persecute Christians was confronted by the Risen Christ on the road to Damascus, later wrote to the Church in Rome which he hadn’t yet visited, as in today’s reading, “For I am persuaded that neither death” -- yes, death -- “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

St. Paul was so persuaded that he joined his life to Christ’s as a loving sacrifice, going to Rome in chains to his own death by beheading.

At the beginning of his Gospel, St. John retrospectively writes of the coming of Christ, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

What can we do? By joining in today’s Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, offering your sacrifice of prayer and thanksgiving, you participate in the light, indeed sharing in the communion of the The Light, Jesus Christ, God. You share in that light that darkness cannot overcome, that defeats evil, and death, proclaiming instead the victory of life in Christ. And you share in bringing hope of eternal life to all the deceased, and the hope wrought of solidarity to all who grieve. Amen.

4. The Prayers and Readings

The Collect (the prayer just after the confession of sin at the beginning):

Almighty God and Father, it is our certain faith that your Son, who died on the Cross, was raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep. Grant that through this mystery your servants, who have gone to their rest in Christ, may share in the joy of his resurrection. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Readings (in your bible or easily found on the internet)

Romans 8:31-39
Psalm 23
John 14:1-6

Prayer of the Faithful

Let us in faith call upon God the almighty Father, who raised Christ his Son from the dead, as we pray for the salvation of the living and the dead:

That God may establish the Christian people in faith and unity, let us pray to the Lord.

That He may rescue the entire world from all the evils of war and violence, and comfort with His unfailing grace and love the friends and families of the deceased for whom we pray, the people of Nova Scotia, all who grieve with them, let us pray…

That He may be pleased to show Himself a father to our brothers and sisters who lack work, food or housing, and who are fearful or anxious because of the pandemic, let us pray …

That He may be pleased to admit for ever to the company of the Saints his deceased servants slaughtered in Nova Scotia, who once through Baptism received the seed of eternal life, let us pray…

That on the last day he may raise up all slaughtered in Nova Scotia, that with us they may share in Heavenly Banquet on the Body of Christ, the Bread of eternal life, let us pray…

May the prayer of those who cry to you benefit the souls of your servants, O Lord: free them, we pray, from all their sins and make them sharers in your redemption. Through Christ our Lord.

Prayer Over The Offerings

As we humbly present to you these sacrificial offerings, O Lord, for the salvation of your servants we beseech your mercy, that they, who did not doubt your Son to be a loving Saviour, may find in him a merciful Judge. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Preface for the Dead (after Sursum Corda/Lift up your hearts…)

It is truly right and just,
our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Christ our Lord.

In him the hope of blessed resurrection has dawned,
that those saddened by the certainty of dying
might be consoled by the promise of immortality to come.
Indeed for your faithful, Lord,
life is changed not ended,
and, when this earthly dwelling turns to dust,
an eternal dwelling is made ready for them in heaven.

And so, with Angels and Archangels,
with Thrones and Dominions,
and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven,
we sing the hymn of your glory,
as without end we acclaim:

Holy, Holy, Holy…..

Eucharistic Prayer III will follow, and where normally it is said, “To our departed brothers and sisters…”, this will be replaced with the section beginning, “† Remember your servant (then name each of the deceased)…”

http://www.ibreviary.com/m/messale.php?s=liturgia_eucaristica&id=74

Prayer After Communion

Lord God, whose Son left us, in the Sacrament of his Body, food for the journey, mercifully grant that, strengthened by it, our brothers and sisters may come to the eternal table of Christ. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Soul Health V

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

Dear Companions in the Risen Christ,

Gospel Trivia: “Companions” literally means “together in bread,” and so we are. Hence “Holy Communion.”

Engage for Easter! Put your faith into action. Please read further below about:

How to participate and contribute to our Parish Food Drive this week, for Le Pont and the Manna Food Bank in Verdun. How to join Friday as an instrument of hope with the people of Nova Scotia in their grief.

Carpe Diem! Seize the Day, or the opportunity, that isolation provides to lean on and strengthen your faith. “One reaction (to isolation) is to embrace more love in our lives and to find new ways to express it” (Our Archbishop – see item 4). I would like to offer a 6-week Adult Faith Formation opportunity via Zoom. This should be of assistance to you and our parish.

Also:

4. If by Friday you haven’t received a call from the parish to check-in, please let me know by replying.

5. Thank You all parishioners who have dropped weekly offering envelopes into the parish office mail slot. If you haven’t, please remember that our financial needs continue – we can pick-up contributions next Wednesday during the food drive pick-ups. Please leave a message on the parish number with your address and phone number.

6. “Montrealers, you are not alone”, wonderful insights of our Archbishop Lépine in The Gazette:

https://tinyurl.com/ybc4fcv8

The excellent monthly devotional aid Magnificat has offered us FREE copies of the May edition. They contain the daily mass readings, reflections, and so much more. Full disclosure: I sometimes draw my weekday homily ideas from there. Please reply if we can drop a copy off at your door next Wednesday.

Pope Francis’ beautiful homily for last Sunday’s Divine Mercy Feast:

https://tinyurl.com/y84sn89d

In response to the Nova Scotia massacre, I will be offering this Friday at 1pm the Mass for the Dead, and for all the people affected. Tomorrow I will send out some specifics on how to join in spiritually, as well as a brief reflection.

It would be mutually encouraging to participate in an Adult Faith Education program, particularly during lockdown. If you are at all interested, and I encourage you to consider this, please take 3 minutes to complete the survey to give me a better idea of what best works:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/68QVRCH

It would involve six sessions on Zoom where we would watch a video clip, reflect and discuss, beginning the first week of May. If there’s enough interest (and I hope there is), I could offer two parallel programs at different times to suit different needs. We will use the excellent material of the engaging Bishop Barron, the best known priest in the English-speaking world.

PARISH FOOD DRIVE

Last week, having seen at least 100 people lined up at the local Food Bank, and having received a request from Le Pont, the new Diocesan refugee temporary home, I have discussed with a couple of you how we can respond. We are having a PARISH FOOD DRIVE, with our St. Vincent de Paul Society. This provides an opportunity for each of us to support our neediest of neighbors, to engage your friends inviting their help, and to participate as a community even under lockdown:

HOW:

Call the parish number (514) 768-4741 by this Monday (Apr. 27), leaving a message with phone number and address for Wednesday food pick-up from your doorstep (within Lasalle, Ville-Emard and Verdun). You’ll receive a callback to confirm details. Or drop food off on the Rectory steps (980 Moffat) during the day Tuesday (non-perishable only) or Wednesday (anything). Cash or cheques in envelopes marked “Food Drive”, or your parish envelope offerings can also be safely slipped through the Rectory mailbox or picked up.

Requirements:

For Le Pont

https://www.diocesemontreal.org/en/archdiocese/le-pont :

· Chicken or other meat, fresh vegetables and fresh fruit, vegetable oil, Bread, peanut butter, Eggs, Yogurt, Milk, snacks for children

· Maintenance and Disinfection products for the residence

· Disinfectant spray (Lysol), Wet disinfectant wipes, Disinfectant, antibacterial liquid or spray, Hydroalcoholic solution for hands

For the local Food Bank: everything else

Please, please put the Le Pont donations in separate bags/boxes from the Food Bank, so I don’t have to sort and separate.

P.S. No donations can be past their ‘Best Before’ or ‘Expiry’ dates. (To do otherwise is distinctly unhelpful and contradicts Catholic Social teaching).

Thanks in advance for meeting this desperate need in these difficult times.

Finally,

With my wishes for a continued joyous Easter season amidst these unsettling times.

In the Risen Christ,

Fr. Robert+
Pastor
St. Thomas More Parish, Verdun

Monday, April 13, 2020

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! -- Soul Health IV

Dear sisters and brothers in the Risen Christ,

Strange as it may seem, in these strangest of times, with this Easter greeting I share with you the joy I palpably experienced celebrating both the Easter Vigil mass Saturday evening and Sunday mass, and hopefully will beyond the 50 days of this Easter Season.

** “…living the spirit of the Easter season mean(s) … Live with Joy…a deep-down gladness that cannot be taken away, even in the midst of sorrow,” even amidst pandemic, lock-down and uncertain futures. “With this faith, we are able to hold on to an enduring sense of joy even in the midst of the sadness we experience…” (Fr. Lloyd Baugh, St. Monica’s NDG http://www.stmonica.ca/pastors-corner/be-fearless-be-joyful-be-renewed-living-the-spirit-of-easter )

1. The attached photo shows chanting the Easter Proclamation on the church steps, at 8pm with all the other priests and our Archbishop doing the same, in solidarity and communion with you and all the faithful confined to quarters around the world, and the man who stopped his car, hopped out and devotedly knelt on the church steps for the duration (I blessed him with the Paschal Candle before returning inside).


2. A 1-minute video of the Pope at the Easter Vigil: ‘Even from the grave Jesus brings life’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3nFOHhEs3Q&feature=youtu.be


3. Our Episcopal Vicar’s Easter Message 2020: “Resurrection in a Time of Pandemic”

https://mailchi.mp/377ee917124d/the-grapevine-issue-14-vol-2724754?e=d2c6a13de9


4. A photo of the Good Friday Veneration of the Cross


5. Easter Egg hunt: The egg, in some cultures (including mine) decorated by Christians at Easter, is an ancient Christian symbol of new life. Where to hunt for them: What makes a Gospel a Gospel (Good New) is that it ends with an account (or accounts) of the Resurrection of Jesus to new life. Two rather different and beautiful ones, with reflection questions:

a. John 20:1-18, ending with Mary Magdalene as the Apostle to the Apostles

Where do we encounter the Risen Christ in our life? How do we share this Good News with our families and others?

b. Luke 24:13-35, including the Risen Jesus celebrating the Eucharist with disciples

How would my life be different if our hearts would “burn within us” such that we truly no longer fear death? Do we recognize Jesus in the Sunday Eucharist?

I wish you and pray that you, in the midst of all the confusion, uncertainly and restrictions, experience and live the joy of Christ Risen from the dead, with His gift of new life, new hope, and new vision beyond what we can ask or imagine.

He is truly Risen! Alleluia!

In the Risen Christ,

Fr. Robert+
Pastor
St. Thomas More Parish, Verdun

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Soul Health III: The Holy Triduum begins this evening

Dear parents of children in Catechesis, and all parishioners,

I’ll be offering the Holy Thursday Mass in less than an hour, and again at the Easter Vigil, with special intention for all our parishioners. Despite being physically separated from the sacraments, Pope Francis reminds us if you make spiritual communion (see below), you are as much a part of the offering and in communion as being here. On spiritual Confession, see the link below.

This evening, like the Archbishop most other priests in the Archdiocese at the same hour, I will be blessing the neighborhood from the parish steps with the Sacrament of the Body of Christ during this time of pandemic.

I want to emphasize, particularly to parents, that the Holy Triduum (3 days) is integral to our catechesis, as the mysteries it observes are the very core of our faith, and hopefully of our life. So I encourage you to participate in these – the most symbol-filled liturgies of the year this evening, Good Friday, and Saturday’s Easter Vigil --- online or on tv, not least so that your children can better understand what is being discussed and asked of them when catechesis resumes.

1. Pope Francis yesterday invited us to live the Triduum as "one great domestic liturgy" https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-04/pope-general-audience-easter-triduum-catechesis.html

2. One minute video: Pope Francis’ observing the Triduum https://www.romereports.com/en/2020/04/09/pope-begins-easter-triduum-at-vatican-without-pilgrims/

3. Spiritual Communion in these exceptional circumstances: Make a statement to God of your desire to partake, and that you believe Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, and that you will partake as soon as it is permitted, and:

4. Participate in the liturgies on cable tv – Salt & Light channel is broadcasting them all, or:

5. Livestreams in the Archdiocese include:

a. https://www.becket.ca/

b. https://stig.ca/live-stream/

c. The Good Friday Way of the Cross, led by Msgr. Christian Lépine, Archbishop of Montreal and broadcast on the Archdiocese of Montreal’s YouTube page, will become available at 10 AM on Good Friday morning

d. With Pope Francis live from the Vatican, 6am Good Friday Liturgy and 9am Stations of the Cross: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJHI8bI0LWg

6. More Holy Week guidelines from the Archdiocese are found on our parish website: https://www.stthomasmoremtl.ca/

7. On Spiritual Confession (4 minute video by Fr. Mike of St. Ignatius, NDG): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmaOANC29zM

8. I would like to extend my thanks to parishioners who made calls this week to most of you. If you did not receive a call, please call me at the parish number or reply to this email.

Finally, in these challenging times, keeping in our prayers in union with Christ Crucified all who suffer around the world, not least in body, mind and spirit from the pandemic, I wish you a most Blessed and spiritual Triduum, looking ahead to the new and renewed life celebrated at Easter. In Christ Crucified and Risen,

Fr. Robert+
Pastor
St. Thomas More Parish, Verdun

Sunday, April 5, 2020

LITURGICAL SUGGESTIONS AND DIRECTIVES

a. Palm Sunday : i. What to do in the parish?

• Therefore, there will be no blessing of palms in the parish churches, oratories and chapels of our diocese, nor a distribution of these at the doors of the church or elsewhere, in any way whatsoever.

ii. What can be done as a family? Families are invited to place an image or statue of Jesus visibly in a window of their home to mark the start of Holy Week. This represents an opportunity to proclaim our faith in the public square. On the diocesan website you will find additional suggestions and a proposed image, which can be printed and used for this purpose. (See details concerning the website in section 4 of this document).

iii. What is available for youth? Although young people, youth ministers, their supporters and the people of God around them will not be able to gather this coming Saturday, World Youth Day remains the international day of celebration and prayer with and for youth! Join them live on April 4, at 5 p.m., on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygTbG11Y4kA&feature=youtu.be to follow Palm Sunday Mass, celebrated by Archbishop Lépine, and to appreciate their creative response to this year's theme: "Young man, I tell you, get up!" "

b. Chrism Mass: The Archbishop will preside at the celebration of the Chrism Mass “in camera” (privately) at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral on Wednesday, April 8 at 7 p.m.

FOR THE EASTER TRIDUUM: We propose that pastors and the People of God participate, as far as is possible, in simple, simultaneous gestures as a sign of our communion within the Church. We invite pastors and teams who plan to participate in these initiatives described below to notify the communications department (communications@diocesemontreal.org ), so that they can direct news media to parishes where these initiatives are being undertaken. Those who have access to social media are urged to share these moments digitally so that a greater number of faithful can unite in prayer. To celebrate the Easter Triduum, in addition to the suggestions that follow, a simplified version of the liturgical celebrations will be sent at the beginning of next week, for those who need them.

c. Holy Thursday: According to the Decree of March 25 previously cited, the faculty to celebrate Mass in memory of the Lord's Supper, without the presence of the faithful, is granted to all priests. They are requested to celebrate in an appropriate place, to omit the foot-washing ceremony and the concluding procession with the Blessed Sacrament. A parallel, simultaneous gesture to take place in the parishes: Following the celebration of Mass, continue with an hour of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, followed by the blessing of the neighbourhood. Following the celebration of mass, priests able to do so are encouraged to spend an hour in private adoration from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30, in the church or a place of their choice. Around 8:30 p.m., they are asked to go outside the main entrance to bless the neighbourhood with the Blessed Sacrament. This can also be conducted inside the church. After the blessing, the Blessed Sacrament is reposed in the tabernacle. At home: the faithful in our diocese can join this adoration in spirit by placing a lighted candle in their window from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. To accompany this time of common prayer, suggestions for Prayers of the Faithful, focusing in particular on serving others along with meditations on the Gospel account of washing the disciples’ feet, will be published on the diocesan website. These and other suggestions will also be available early next week.

d. Good Friday: A parallel, simultaneous gesture in the parishes: Erect a cross outside, at the principle church entrance. In memory of the Passion of Our Lord, pastors are encouraged to place a processional cross outside, at the principle church entrance from noon to 3 p.m.

At home, the faithful can venerate a crucifix and place a cross in their window, as a sign of confidence in Christ’s sacrifice for us and in the victory of Love over Evil, suffering and death. To celebrate the Lord’s Passion (in camera: 2 or 3 participants maximum):

A special intention is included in the Prayers of the Faithful: for those in distress, for the sick and the deceased. A suggestion regarding the formulation of this prayer will be communicated at the beginning of next week.

Only the presiding minister venerates the Cross.

The collection for the Holy Land is postponed until September 13, 2020.

The traditional Archbishop's blood drive is cancelled. On Good Friday, Archbishop Lépine still encourages the faithful who are able to donate blood to do so but at a blood clinic close to their homes. Consult the Héma-Québec site to find the nearest site:

https://www.hema-quebec.qc.ca/index.en.html

e. Holy Saturday: In the early evening, before the Vigil: keep watch with Mary in the silence of Holy Saturday. All are invited to pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary. Pastors who, through social media, can link their faithful to this time of prayer are urged to do so.

Some resources: Family Prayer in each home:

https://www.diocesemontreal.org/sites/default/files/ressources/Foi%20catholique/prieres_courantes/Booklet%20-%20Family%20prayer.pdf, by Archbishop Lepine

f. Easter Vigil: A parallel, simultaneous gesture in the parishes: Welcome the Light of Easter. At 8 p.m., pastors are asked to light the paschal candle, placed as near as possible to the open doors of their parish church, to bless it and recite the Easter proclamation (Exsultet). This ceremony can also be conducted in the church interior

Soul Health II: Holy Week begins this eve!

Beloved Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Urgently the question arises of how to remain in communion with God and His Church, with Holy Week, that most sacred time of the year, beginning this evening. Perhaps because of all the restrictions on physically receiving the Sacraments, a unique blessing is the burst of information about how to virtually practice your faith within the limitations. I have tried to consolidate some of it, although this is still lengthy.

This morning the Pastoral Council met by teleconference, following a Fabrique meeting Thursday evening, recommending this email to guide you to opportunities. Your feedback by email would be most welcome.

1. All of you should be receiving a call during Holy Week from a designated parishioner on my behalf to touch base and check-in with you, and provide whatever we can as a parish.

2. Although Patricia is working from home, you can still contact the parish office by email or phone for anything. Messages are checked daily and calls returned.

3. I continue to offer the daily and Sunday masses for booked intentions privately. The pro populo mass for you will be concelebrated by me tomorrow, Palm Sunday. Blessing of palms has been ordered postponed.

4. Holy Week: please see the just released guidelines from the Archdiocese below. Each of you is “invited to place an image or statue of Jesus visibly in a window of their home to mark the start of Holy Week.” I will be carrying out all THE EASTER TRIDUUM recommendations from those guidelines, as found on our parish website: https://www.stthomasmoremtl.ca/

5. Holy Thursday evening I may carry out the blessing of the neighbourhood by walking a couple of blocks with the Sacrament if I get positive feedback from you in advance and recommendations of which nearby blocks (weather permitting).

6. I am sending separately a copy of the Grapevine, an e-newsletter from the English service side of the Archdiocese. You are encouraged to subscribe to the Grapevine, and the Archdiocese’s own English newsletter, containing helpful info at this time, both at:

https://www.diocesemontreal.org/en/news-and-info/newsletters

See also: https://www.facebook.com/pg/englishpastoralservices/posts/?ref=page_internal

7. Livestream Holy Week Masses beginning tomorrow, in addition to those in links above:

a. https://www.becket.ca (West Island parish)

b. https://stig.ca/live-stream (NDG parish)

c. Add Salt & Light tv for free to your cable subscription, or see the links part way down this page:

https://www.diocesemontreal.org/en/news-and-info/latest-news/schedule-holy-week-celebrations-archbishop-christian-lepine-salt-light

8. FAMILY PRAYER In every Home has just been published by our own Archbishop Lépine. It’s a free PDF full of age appropriate suggestions for couples, children and families:

https://www.diocesemontreal.org/sites/default/files/ressources/Foi%20catholique/prieres_courantes/Booklet%20-%20Family%20prayer.pdf

9. And from St. Thomas à Becket Parish Friday email: In case you missed last week’s beautiful and moving prayer service by Pope Francis:

https://tinyurl.com/v8ywa2a

Spiritual life resources:

1) Pray the Rosary “in the Holy Land”.

https://tinyurl.com/w7aeczy

2) 10 Spiritual Counsels in a Time of Coronavirus:

https://tinyurl.com/sz5b2wu

3) The Word Among Us, a popular devotional magazine, is providing free access to the website during the current crisis:

www.wau.org

Let me close with a thought from the opening of the Archbishop’s booklet:

The family is the basic unit of society and the cradle of life and faith; it is, in fact, the domestic church. Through personal and family prayer, the family is called to participate in God’s plan of love, his plan for Creation and Salvation.

We are living through a pandemic crisis affecting all of humanity, which, by extension, affects all families as well. With physical distancing and home confinement measures being implemented, there is an opportunity to rediscover prayer, providing a benefit to each person and each family as well.

This is why I am publishing a prayer booklet, to make it easier to pray, to read the Bible, to recite the rosary, whether alone, as a couple, as a family, with children and young people.

I wish you a fruitful, strengthening and healthy Holy Week as we together journey with our Lord Jesus the Christ into Jerusalem, to Last Supper table then to the Garden of Gethsemane, up the Via Dolorosa to the Cross and, finally, to the Empty Tomb.

Together In the Crucified and Risen Christ,

Fr. Robert+

Pastor, St. Thomas More (Verdun)

5th COMMUNIQUÉ - April 1, 2020

Directives, guidelines and suggestions to pastors, parish pastoral teams and religious congregations

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

This is our second week of the province-wide confinement, and our hope is certainly being tested as we prepare to observe the richest liturgical season in our pastoral year: the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord. Nevertheless, the strength of the Risen Christ impels us to live the coming days with creativity and a sense of wonderment, discerning His presence at the very heart of our life, of our family and our neighbourhood.

A. A REMINDER OF EXISTING DIRECTIVES

I would like to highlight a number of directives that were sent to you in one or another of my four previous communiqués (March 18; March 20; March 24; March 26) and which are still applicable today:

1. All places of worship, offices and gathering spaces in parishes remain closed until further notice. The only exceptions are spaces dedicated to food banks or other services deemed essential for public health.

2. Only celebrations of Mass “in camera” (private) are authorized: maximum 2 or people present, including the celebrant, observing the required physical-distancing practices in place. Hygiene measures were outlined in the March 24 communiqué.

3. All church funerals and Liturgies of the Word in funeral homes are postponed. Burials of coffins or urns must be held with a restricted number of participants (2 or 3 maximum).

4. All marriages planned for April and May are postponed. (See the note from the Chancery office attached to the March 26 communiqué.)

5. The Anointing of the Sick: Permitted only in the case of anointing a dying person; in this case, follow the instructions presented in the March 24 communiqué.

6. Sacrament of Reconciliation: Due to the strict directives curtailing most public movement and because this sacrament must be celebrated with the penitent physically present, it is not possible to offer this sacrament at this time. For more details, see section 3 of this document.

7. For the same reasons, reception of Holy Communion is currently not possible, including the Viaticum. See section 3 of this document.

8. All catechetical formation activities are suspended until further notice. Where possible, encourage families to participate in online catechetical activities at home.

9. All baptisms – children and adult – are postponed until a later date, except for a person in imminent danger of death. (See guidelines in the March 24 communiqué.)

10. The baptisms, confirmations and first Communions of adults planned for the Easter Vigil are postponed to a later date, as are the scrutinies and other preparatory rites for the Christian initiation of adults.

11. The first Communions and confirmations of children, adolescents and adults scheduled for the spring are postponed until next fall-winter.

12. The directives concerning the chapels and oratories of religious congregations, dated March 20, remain in force.

13. Archbishop Lépine specifically asks all ministers – priests, permanent deacons, and lay persons – aged 70 and over, as well as those at risk because of their state of health, to stay at home.

B. ADDITIONAL GUIDELINES AND INFORMATION

As we approach Holy Week, here are some instructions, guidelines and suggestions to assist you in preparing for the upcoming celebrations and pastoral activities. All of these measures or initiatives respect a basic precautionary principle: we do not want to encourage gatherings, even indirectly; we, therefore, do not encourage the faithful of our parishes to leave their homes or to travel unnecessarily.

1. LITURGICAL SUGGESTIONS AND DIRECTIVES

a. Palm Sunday :

i. What to do in the parish?

Where possible, Mass is celebrated with a strict minimum of participants (2 or 3, including the minister who presides).
• As announced in the March 26 communiqué, according to a Decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (Prot. 154/20; March 25, 2020), the liturgical celebration must take place within the church building, using the third form of the entrance rite for Palm Sunday provided in the Roman Missal, to the degree that this is possible. It begins with the singing of the Introit, which retells the story of the entry into Jerusalem, and includes two verses of Psalm 24. This exceptional form excludes the blessing of the palms.
• Therefore, there will be no blessing of palms in the parish churches, oratories and chapels of our diocese, nor a distribution of these at the doors of the church or elsewhere, in any way whatsoever.
• For parishes that have received palms, we encourage you to preserve them, as best as you can (cool, in their sealed packaging or in a damp environment), with the hope that we will be able to bless and distribute them later in the spring when, as a community, we celebrate the victory of the Risen One.

ii. What can be done as a family?

Families are invited to place an image or statue of Jesus visibly in a window of their home to mark the start of Holy Week. This represents an opportunity to proclaim our faith in the public square. On the diocesan website you will find additional suggestions and a proposed image, which can be printed and used for this purpose. (See details concerning the website in section 4 of this document).

iii. What is available for youth?

Although young people, youth ministers, their supporters and the people of God around them will not be able to gather this coming Saturday, World Youth Day remains the international day of celebration and prayer with and for youth! Join them live on April 4, at 5 p.m., on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygTbG11Y4kA&feature=youtu.beto follow Palm Sunday Mass, celebrated by Archbishop Lépine, and to appreciate their creative response to this year's theme: "Young man, I tell you, get up!"

b. Chrism Mass:

The Archbishop will preside at the celebration of the Chrism Mass “in camera” (privately) at Mary Queen of the World Cathedral on Wednesday, April 8 at 7 p.m. All ordained ministers of the diocese are urged to follow the celebration live, to experience spiritual communion during the renewal of the episcopal, presbyteral and diaconal promises, which will take place during the celebration.

There will be a blessing of the holy oils and the consecration of holy chrism. However, the distribution of these oils is deferred until the restriction on public gatherings is lifted.

FOR THE EASTER TRIDUUM:

We propose that pastors and the People of God participate, as far as is possible, in simple, simultaneous gestures as a sign of our communion within the Church. We invite pastors and teams who plan to participate in these initiatives described below to notify the communications department (communications@diocesemontreal.org ), so that they can direct news media to parishes where these initiatives are being undertaken. Those who have access to social media are urged to share these moments digitally so that a greater number of faithful can unite in prayer. To celebrate the Easter Triduum, in addition to the suggestions that follow, a simplified version of the liturgical celebrations will be sent at the beginning of next week, for those who need them.

c. Holy Thursday:

According to the Decree of March 25 previously cited, the faculty to celebrate Mass in memory of the Lord's Supper, without the presence of the faithful, is granted to all priests. They are requested to celebrate in an appropriate place, to omit the foot-washing ceremony and the concluding procession with the Blessed Sacrament.

A parallel, simultaneous gesture to take place in the parishes: Following the celebration of Mass, continue with an hour of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, followed by the blessing of the neighbourhood. Following the celebration of mass, priests able to do so are encouraged to spend an hour in private adoration from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30, in the church or a place of their choice. Around 8:30 p.m., they are asked to go outside the main entrance to bless the neighbourhood with the Blessed Sacrament. This can also be conducted inside the church. After the blessing, the Blessed Sacrament is reposed in the tabernacle.

At home: the faithful in our diocese can join this adoration in spirit by placing a lighted candle in their window from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

To accompany this time of common prayer, suggestions for Prayers of the Faithful, focusing in particular on serving others along with meditations on the Gospel account of washing the disciples’ feet, will be published on the diocesan website. These and other suggestions will also be available early next week.

d. Good Friday:

A parallel, simultaneous gesture in the parishes: Erect a cross outside, at the principle church entrance. In memory of the Passion of Our Lord, pastors are encouraged to place a processional cross outside, at the principle church entrance from noon to 3 p.m.

At home, the faithful can venerate a crucifix and place a cross in their window, as a sign of confidence in Christ’s sacrifice for us and in the victory of Love over Evil, suffering and death.

To celebrate the Lord’s Passion (in camera: 2 or 3 participants maximum): A special intention is included in the Prayers of the Faithful: for those in distress, for the sick and the deceased. A suggestion regarding the formulation of this prayer will be communicated at the beginning of next week.

Only the presiding minister venerates the Cross.

The collection for the Holy Land is postponed until September 13, 2020. The traditional Archbishop's blood drive is cancelled. On Good Friday, Archbishop Lépine still encourages the faithful who are able to donate blood to do so but at a blood clinic close to their homes. Consult the Héma-Québec site to find the nearest site: https://www.hema-quebec.qc.ca/index.en.html

e. Holy Saturday:

In the early evening, before the Vigil: keep watch with Mary in the silence of Holy Saturday. All are invited to pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary. Pastors who, through social media, can link their faithful to this time of prayer are urged to do so. Some resources: Family Prayer in each home: https://www.diocesemontreal.org/sites/default/files/ressources/Foi%20catholique/prieres_courantes/Booklet%20-%20Family%20prayer.pdf, by Archbishop Lepine

f. Easter Vigil:

A parallel, simultaneous gesture in the parishes: Welcome the Light of Easter. At 8 p.m., pastors are asked to light the paschal candle, placed as near as possible to the open doors of their parish church, to bless it and recite the Easter proclamation (Exsultet). This ceremony can also be conducted in the church interior According to the decree previously cited by the Congregation for Divine Worship, the Easter Vigil can only be celebrated in cathedrals and parish churches. After the Service of Light, pastors have several options: follow a simplified version of the Vigil, or join, via the various means of digital communications, one of the celebrations being broadcast. A simplified version of the Easter Vigil liturgy will be sent to you next week. For the baptismal liturgy, only the renewal of baptismal promises is retained. At home the faithful are invited to place a candle in a window, at 8 p.m., to welcome Easter and express their faith in the Resurrection. Other suggested activities will be sent to you at the beginning of next week.

g. Easter Morning:

A parallel, simultaneous gesture in the parishes: Bells! Pastors and those responsible for chapels are encouraged to ring the bells of their places of worship at 11 a.m. for 10 minutes. (Note that this is at a different time from the previous Sundays.) At home: At the same moment, the faithful are invited to “ring bells” and to sing the Gloria and Alleluia to celebrate their Easter joy. Since Quebec has rediscovered Sunday as a day of rest during this pandemic, we encourage the faithful living under the same roof to take the time to enjoy a family meal together and to share the Easter joy with their loved ones by telephone or other means of communications. The Office du catéchèse du Québec is preparing a paschal ritual that can be incorporated into a family meal to use either at suppertime on Holy Saturday or on Easter Sunday. Details will be sent to you soon.

2. CRESCENDO OF THE BELLS:

The Archbishop wishes to thank all the pastors who responded to the invitation to ring their church bells at noon for 10 minutes on March 29. We have received many positive comments that the sound of the bells was a source of comfort for our fellow citizens. This initiative also had considerable media impact, thanks to the coverage provided by mainstream media and which circulated on social media. This underscores that the Church occupies an essential place in public life. We, therefore, call on pastors and those responsible for chapels to ring their church bells once again this Sunday, April 5, at noon for 10 minutes, as a sign of hope, solidarity and abiding concern for those most-in-need. Please inform us if you are able to participate in this initiative: (communications@diocesemontreal.org). We also encourage all the faithful to spend a moment in prayer at the same time that the church bells are ringing (praying The Angelus, for example).

3. THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION AND HOLY COMMUNION:

We all recognize that the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist are vital for the People of God. Being deprived of these, as we are presently due to the pandemic, represents a big sacrifice for many of us. Let us hold fast to our belief that the Lord knows best how to meet our needs, even during this “sacramental fast.” In this country, we have the privilege of gathering safely to celebrate the Eucharist, to receive Holy Communion, and to celebrate God’s forgiveness with a priest. Let us benefit from this form of “fasting” to increase our desire, our thirst for the sacraments, the Eucharist in particular. On this subject, I invite you to discuss and share this brief commentary from the Archbishop with your network of contacts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8178udXElSg&list=PL1FW1Sj7s9W3ynBL2-1qChdr4Og3ebdIe&index=6&t=0s It is also an opportunity to discover, or rediscover, other treasures within our spiritual tradition through which the Lord sends us his grace along with many other graces: the Word of God, the Liturgy of the Hours, contemplative prayer, the care of those most-in-need – these are all ways to encounter the living and life-giving God. You might find a brief review of the following guidelines helpful: Since it is not possible at this time to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, various other means of communication, such as the telephone, Internet, can be very helpful in listening, providing comfort, imparting a blessing and encouraging the penitent to obtain absolution at a later date when public-health conditions permit a sacramental encounter. We ask all pastors to inform the Body of Christ of the following instruction from the Apostolic Penitentiary: “Where the individual faithful find themselves in the painful impossibility of receiving sacramental absolution, it should be remembered that perfect contrition, coming from the love of God, beloved above all things, expressed by a sincere request for forgiveness (that which the penitent is at present able to express) and accompanied by votum confessionis, that is, by the firm resolution to have recourse, as soon as possible, to sacramental confession, obtains forgiveness of sins, even mortal ones (cf. CCC, no. 1452).” (Note of March 19, 2020). Since it is not possible to receive Holy Communion currently, we are invited to discover and develop the worthy practice of spiritual communion, a longstanding tradition in the Church. Those who administer Holy Communion are encouraged to share resources on the subject. Here is one: https://aleteia.org/2018/09/20/cant-receive-the-eucharist-heres-how-to-make-a-spiritual-communion/

4. COMMUNICATING TO NOURISH HOPE:

a. Archbishop Christian Lépine is preparing his fifth pastoral letter, which you will receive shortly

b. https://www.diocesemontreal.org/en/covid-19 : this page offers numerous resources to continue our missionary initiative together. You will find various “information blocks.”
i. Stay informed: up-to-date information regarding diocesan guidelines, press releases, important news, pastoral letters from the Archbishop;
ii. View video clips, “Care of the Soul” series, presented by Archbishop Lépine
iii. Pray at home with the Word of God: includes reflections on the Sunday readings (Magnificat) https://www.diocesemontreal.org/en/covid-19/praying-home-with-god-word
iv. Follow daily mass at home: daily mass is broadcast from Mary Queen of the World Cathedral in Montreal. Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. mass is broadcast live, courtesy of Salt + Light Television. It is then available daylong, beginning at 9:30 a.m., on the diocesan website. In addition, Salt + Light TV is currently available free, without subscription, on the main Canadian cable channels.
v. Eucharistic Adoration: live-streamed or archived.
vi. Children and families, in self-isolation but not alone: resources for children and parents: children and families living in self-isolation in a sane, holy way;
vii. Human and Christian solidarity: how does our parish, diocese, Christian, community and family network remain an open Church … when church doors are closed?

c. During the pandemic, Living with Christ is making readings for daily Mass available to nourish our prayer life: https://www.livingwithchrist.ca/index.php/intentions

5. SPIRITUAL SUPPORT:

The pandemic is creating many situations that cause emotional and spiritual distress; we see it everywhere. In the Church, as Easter approaches, many among us might feel a sense of confusion, desolation. Let me review briefly a couple of suggestions that were made in the March 26 communiqué to you : Where possible, we encourage our pastoral staff to take the time to dialogue with people by telephone, e-mail, or different forms of video-chat and to make an effort to contact isolated parishioners. Leave an appropriate message on the parish answering machine and post it on the doors of the church and the parish office so that anyone in need, spiritual or material, will be directed to the proper resource. Publicize the telephone number of the spiritual help-line that the diocese created to offer support during the pandemic: 1-888-305-0994. Also, refer people to the diocesan website to learn about other diocesan initiatives that offer a supportive pastoral presence. To the extent possible, participate in one of these diocesan initiatives. Priests willing to offer a listening ear are urged to contact André Dupré: adupre@diocesemontreal.org, 514-272-4441.

6. NOTE TO FABRIQUES:

A new communiqué, dated March 30, was sent to all parish fabriques by Ms. Laura Rochford, diocesan financial director and bursar, pertaining to federal government financial support during the COVID-19 pandemic: https://mcusercontent.com/a433eb20c800445084b2a96b3/files/265bc57b-6e90-4920-8128-05b8f2bbd31e/MEMO_CERB_20200330.pdf On the other hand, in order to appreciate the actual situation of each parish, very soon fabriques will receive a form to help them describe their current reality regarding the remuneration of pastoral and support staff, parish communication during the pandemic, and the status of pastoral activities.

We remind you that the diocesan offices remain closed until further notice. However, don’t hesitate to call 514-931-7311 or email: vg@diocesemontreal.org, should you need additional information or have questions.

Brothers and sisters, during this trying time that puts faith and hope to the test, let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ and hear him say once again to us:

“Take courage! I have conquered the world.” (Jn 16:33).

In Him,

+ Alain Faubert, V.G. Auxiliary Bishop of Montreal