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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Soul Health LXIV (64)

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

It's wonderful to witness your growing enthusiasm for outdoor mass in the face of the closure of the churches. On Sunday, between the two parishes, nearly half as many of you as our last indoor masses come out in the cold to have your hearts warmed by both being and receiving the Body of Christ.


As the Premier announced just a couple of days ago, churches will be allowed to re-open in February! Details will be announced, so keep an eye on your inboxes in the coming weeks!


We have two more weekends of gathering in the open air to celebrate Mass together, so bundle up and joyfully join us:

- St. Thomas More: Mass at 10:00am on the church steps; Communion at 10:25am

- St. Willibrord: Mass at 11:15am in front of the Rectory; Communion at 11:40am

Masks and 1m physical distancing required. Communion will be brought to you in place.


If you take any photos and are open to having them included in upcoming editions of Soul Health, please send the pictures along with your consent for us to share to Fr Robert (vicarofverdun@gmail.com) and Angela (pa.englishparishes.verdun@gmail.com)!

Yours in Christ,

Father Robert Assaly +



***

Keep your faith alive while churches are closed!

All are welcome to the open-air Masses, even those who are not parishioners of St Thomas More or St Willibrord! And, if you choose to attend Mass online or on television, consider completing your Sunday with Communion at either church.


Attend Mass online with:

- Saint Ignatius of Loyola https://stig.ca/live-stream/

- Saint Thomas à Becket https://www.becket.ca/

- Saint Joseph’s Oratory https://www.saint-joseph.org/en/keep-in-touch-with-the-oratory/

- On TV, the Salt & Light channel is also a great option for attending Mass virtually.

Sacraments can also be brought to your front steps! If you are unable to get to the church to receive Communion or to go to Confession, please contact the parish office to request a visit from Father Robert.


Collection Envelopes and Making Online Contributions


Parishioners who use envelopes for their Sunday offerings can drop off their envelopes at the parish office while the church is closed.

Regular or one-time donations can also be made at https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/50630. Canada Helps is a secure online platform that’s a good alternative to envelopes for parishioners who cannot easily get to the parish to drop off their donations, or even for those who wish to go paperless.

The weekly collection is an incredibly important resource for the parish, and your contributions to it support our various programs and efforts to serve our parish and our community.

Upcoming Friday Evening Online Events! "Called, Chosen, Gathered, and Sent: A Journey Inspired by **The Chosen**" TV Series 

Join brilliant film interpreter Fr Raymond Lafontaine, Episcopal Vicar, and other Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Montreal including Father Robert on a journey to experience Christ in an enjoyable new way!

Running on Friday evenings throughout February (Feb 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th) on Zoom, this program will help you see the life of Jesus through the eyes of the people that walked on Earth with him – the disciples, Mary his mother, the Pharisees, the children, those he healed. What would that look like? What difference would it make for your personal journey of faith, your experience of belonging to a church community, your witness and service to the world around you?

For more information and to register by February 1st 2022, visit https://microsites.diocesemontreal.org/microsites/parishvitality/language/en/the-chosen-a-synodal-journey-2022/ or email the organizers at parishvitality@diocesemontreal.org


Rev. Michael McAndrew: St Paul’s Conversion (and ours)

This past Tuesday January 25th the Church celebrated the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul - the moment in history when Saul of Tarsus, persecutor of early Christians, had a life-changing encounter with the Risen Christ and experienced God's healing and mercy through the hands of Ananias. He went on to become St Paul, whose letters to the early Church around the Mediterranean are still used by the Church today as part of the Mass readings to guide us to our own encounters with Christ.

Click here for a brief (three and a half minutes!) reflection on the Conversion of St Paul. As Rev. Michael says, “Like St Paul, we all have some blindness in our hearts…stuff that is keeping us from greater Communion with Our Lord.” As we head towards the reopening of churches, let us consider: if God was able to turn one of Christianity’s greatest opponents into one of its greatest champions, what might He do through the faith already in our hearts if we surrendered ourselves completely to Him?


The Bible and the Virgin Mary

Parishioners and friends of the parish who are seeking to gain more knowledge of Catholicism and deepen their faith are invited to join Father Robert on a new online course!

Developed by the Saint Paul Center and based on Dr Scott Hahn’s book Hail, Holy Queen, participants will rediscover Mother Mary through Sacred Scripture during this course. From the newly confirmed to the fully engaged, this study has something for all Catholics!

The Bible and the Virgin Mary is accessible through the following Zoom link: https://concordia-ca.zoom.us/j/91966291246. More information on this program can be found on the Saint Paul Center website here.

Each gathering for this study begins with 30 minutes of prayer with the Rosary, followed by a video, discussions, and teaching with Father Robert. For more information, including a list of session topics, please contact Angela or Father Robert.


Father Mike Schmitz: A Pep Talk for difficult times, and Bible In A Year


We continue to live in unprecedented times and as the pandemic presses it, it’s easy to feel helpless and hopeless. If this resonates with you, take courage from this message from Father Mike Schmitz.

Speaking of Father Mike, have you heard of Bible In A Year? In just about 20 minutes a day, this podcast will take you on a journey through Scripture that not only shares the Word of God, but helps you “understand how all the pieces of the Bible fit together to tell an amazing story that continues in your life today!” Join Father Mike and Jeff Cavins on YouTube, or on your favourite podcast app. For more information, visit https://ascensionpress.com/pages/biy-registration.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Soul Health LXII (62)

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

As churches continue to remain closed, we continue to come together for Mass in the open air!

Indeed, -20 degrees could not even separate us from one another after Mass -- I was watching you continue after Mass socializing and conversing with one another despite the weather.

"One of the biggest gifts of these outdoor Masses... is a restoration of the parish communal bond."

 



Thank you to Eileen Devlin and Maria Olaguera for the photos from Saint Thomas More on January 9th (where Fr Robert was in white vestments for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord) and January 15th! (green vestments for Ordinary Time and a fur cap for the cold)!



Bundle up this Sunday and joyfully join us!

- St. Thomas More: Mass at 10:00am on the church steps; Communion at 10:25am

- St. Willibrord: Mass at 11:15am in front of the Rectory; Communion at 11:40am

Masks and 1m physical distancing required. Communion will be brought to you in place.

If you take any photos and are open to having them included in upcoming editions of Soul Health), please send the pictures along with your consent for us to share to Fr Robert (vicarofverdun@gmail.com) and Angela (pa.englishparishes.verdun@gmail.com)!

Yours in Christ,

Father Robert Assaly +



***

Keep your faith alive while churches are closed!

All are welcome to the open-air Masses, even those who are not parishioners of St Thomas More or St Willibrord! And, if you choose to attend Mass online or on television, consider completing your Sunday with Communion at either church.


Attend Mass online with:

- Saint Ignatius of Loyola https://stig.ca/live-stream/

- Saint Thomas à Becket https://www.becket.ca/

- Saint Joseph’s Oratory https://www.saint-joseph.org/en/keep-in-touch-with-the-oratory/

- On TV, the Salt & Light channel is also a great option for attending Mass virtually.

Sacraments can also be brought to your front steps! If you are unable to get to the church to receive Communion or to go to Confession, please contact the parish office to request a visit from Father Robert.


Collection Envelopes and Making Online Contributions

Parishioners who use envelopes for their Sunday offerings can drop off their envelopes at the parish office while the church is closed. Regular or one-time donations can also be made at https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/50630. Canada Helps is a secure online platform that’s a good alternative to envelopes for parishioners who cannot easily get to the parish to drop off their donations, or even for those who wish to go paperless. The weekly collection is an incredibly important resource for the parish, and your contributions to it support our various programs and efforts to serve our parish and our community.


New **Online** Course: The Bible and the Virgin Mary


Parishioners and friends of the parish who are seeking to gain more knowledge of Catholicism and deepen their faith are invited to join Father Robert on a new online course!

Developed by the Saint Paul Center and based on Dr Scott Hahn’s book Hail, Holy Queen, participants will rediscover Mother Mary through Sacred Scripture during this course. From the newly confirmed to the fully engaged, this study has something for all Catholics!

The Bible and the Virgin Mary is accessible through the following Zoom link: https://concordia-ca.zoom.us/j/91966291246. More information on this program can be found on the Saint Paul Center website here.

Each gathering for this study begins with 30 minutes of prayer with the Rosary, followed by a video, discussions, and teaching with Father Robert. For more information, including a list of session topics, please contact Angela or Father Robert.


Father Mike Schmitz: A Pep Talk for difficult times, and Bible In A Year

We continue to live in unprecedented times and as the pandemic presses it, it’s easy to feel helpless and hopeless. If this resonates with you, take courage from this message from Father Mike Schmitz.


Speaking of Father Mike, have you heard of Bible In A Year? In just about 20 minutes a day, this podcast will take you on a journey through Scripture that not only shares the Word of God, but helps you “understand how all the pieces of the Bible fit together to tell an amazing story that continues in your life today!” Join Father Mike and Jeff Cavins on YouTube, or on your favourite podcast app. For more information, visit https://ascensionpress.com/pages/biy-registration.


Thursday, January 13, 2022

Soul Health LXII (62)

Dear Parishioners and Friends,

Praise the Lord for His gift of great Faith! Archbishop Lépine's inspiring initiative 3 weeks ago to hold outdoor masses has borne much fruit. Due to the growing numbers in the Cathedral parking lot, he has added another Sunday mass. And he has inspired us to do the same -- an estimated 4 dozen braved the chill last Sunday in Verdun!

 
Thanks to Christina Parsons for this photo from the Rectory at Saint Willibrord!


One parishioner said she was uplifted by the words from the Book of Daniel recited in Sunday Morning Prayer: “Ice and snow, bless the Lord!" Another observed, the participants' sacrifice joined to Christ's for the life of the world is all the greater and more powerful in enduring such weather.


Anticipating even deeper cold this Sunday, bundle up and joyfully join us:

- St. Thomas More: Mass at 10:00am on the church steps; Communion at 10:25am

- St. Willibrord: Communion at 11:40am in front of the Rectory; Mass at 11:15am

Masks and 1m physical distancing required. Communion will be brought to you in place.

Yours in Christ,

Father Robert Assaly +



***


Keep your faith alive while churches are closed!

All are welcome to the open-air Masses, even those who are not parishioners of St Thomas More or St Willibrord! And, if you choose to attend Mass online or on television, consider completing your Sunday with Communion at either church.


Attend Mass online with:

- Saint Ignatius of Loyola https://stig.ca/live-stream/

- Saint Thomas à Becket https://www.becket.ca/

- Saint Joseph’s Oratory https://www.saint-joseph.org/en/keep-in-touch-with-the-oratory/

- On TV, the Salt & Light channel is also a great option for attending Mass virtually.

Sacraments can also be brought to your front steps! If you are unable to get to the church to receive Communion or to go to Confession, please contact the parish office to request a visit from Father Robert.


Collection Envelopes and Making Online Contributions

Parishioners who use envelopes for their Sunday offerings can drop off their envelopes at the parish office while the church is closed. Regular or one-time donations can also be made at https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/50630. Canada Helps is a secure online platform that’s a good alternative to envelopes for parishioners who cannot easily get to the parish to drop off their donations, or even for those who wish to go paperless. The weekly collection is an incredibly important resource for the parish, and your contributions to it support our various programs and efforts to serve our parish and our community.


New **Online** Course: The Bible and the Virgin Mary (January 13th – April 7th)

Parishioners and friends of the parish who are seeking to gain more knowledge of Catholicism and deepen their faith are invited to join Father Robert on a new online course!


Developed by the Saint Paul Center and based on Dr Scott Hahn’s book Hail, Holy Queen, participants will rediscover Mother Mary through Sacred Scripture during this course. From the newly confirmed to the fully engaged, this study has something for all Catholics!


The Bible and the Virgin Mary begins on Thursday January 13th at 7:00pm and is accessible through the following Zoom link: https://concordia-ca.zoom.us/j/91966291246. More information on this program can be found on the Saint Paul Center website here.


Each gathering for this study begins with 30 minutes of prayer with the Rosary, followed by a video, discussions, and teaching with Father Robert.


For more information, including a list of session topics, please contact Angela or Father Robert.


From the Desk of Pope Francis


Click here to read Pope Francis’ letter to married couples -- His words in this brief letter can be a source of encouragement, hope, and renewed faith for all who have discerned the vocations of marriage and parenthood, from grandparents to parents in different seasons of family life to couples preparing to be married.


Friday, January 7, 2022

Soul Health LXI (61)

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Thomas More,

Last Friday on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, 2 hours after the provincial closure of our churches, I was treated to a wonderful experience overcoming the pandemic.

Hours earlier in a quick pivot responding to the closure announced the day before, we circulated emails inviting you to receive communion outside at the originally scheduled mass time. Expecting only a couple of individuals waiting in the snow, when I flung the door open at 7pm, there were about 30 of you ringed around the steps on the sidewalk, joyously anticipating communion!

The power and grace of the Sacrament was palpably felt, and neatly summed up in the stipulated Prayer after Communion:

We have received this heavenly Sacrament with joy, O Lord:

grant, we pray,

that it may lead us to eternal life,

for we rejoice to proclaim the blessed ever-Virgin Mary

Mother of your Son and Mother of the Church.

Through Christ our Lord.


Our Lady blessed ever-Virgin Mary, indeed "Mother of the Church," has us under her protection and in her prayers!

Don't let the pandemic get the better of you: Join us for outdoor Mass this Sunday, or at least Communion (in which case you should watch an online mass beforehand; see below), trusting in the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Sacrament to lead you through this dark valley.


- St. Thomas More: Mass at 10:00am on the church steps; Communion at 10:25am

- St. Willibrord's: Mass at 11:15am in front of the Rectory; Communion at 11:40am


And for further inspiration --

Follow the links below to other parishes in the Archdiocese who are providing online Masses, and to some extra content for your continued spiritual enrichment:

- Saint Ignatius of Loyola https://stig.ca/live-stream/

- Saint Thomas à Becket https://www.becket.ca/

- Saint Joseph’s Oratory https://www.saint-joseph.org/en/keep-in-touch-with-the-oratory/

- On TV, the Salt & Light channel is also a great option for attending Mass virtually.

- On gratitude in the midst of loss and suffering (think pandemic), read Tom's 3-sentence reflection

- Read Pope Francis' new year's message on that same Solemnity, explaining faith and "spiritual fruitfulness..born of trials and testing."


Other News

Sacraments on *your* front steps


Parishioners who are unable to get to the church to receive Communion or to go to Confession are invited to contact the parish office to request a visit from Father Robert.


Collection Envelopes and Making Online Contributions

Parishioners who use envelopes for their Sunday offerings can drop off their envelopes at the parish office while the church is closed. Regular or one-time donations can also be made at https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/50630. Canada Helps is a secure online platform that’s a good alternative to envelopes for parishioners who cannot easily get to the parish to drop off their donations, or even for those who wish to go paperless. The weekly collection is an incredibly important resource for the parish, and your contributions to it support our various programs and efforts to serve our parish and our community.

Blessings in Christ,

Father Robert +