NEW PRIESTS AND NEW PASTORS serving in the Diocese of Hamilton will participate in orientation and formation sessions over the coming weeks. The sessions include presentations on the diocesan governance structure, screening protocols, misconduct policies and procedures, communications and privacy policies. It also provides information about the history of Catholic schools in Ontario, and ministry expectations in elementary and secondary schools and universities. The Growing In Faith, Growing in Christ catechetical program is featured. Youth ministry, sacramental preparation, diocesan policies, RCIA, and liturgical celebrations including an overview of the liturgical books available are also covered. They also learn about financial and administration policies, including working with Finance Councils and Parish Pastoral Councils, professional conduct and collaborative ministry. Marriage Preparation, marriage forms, dispensations, and the Diocesan Marriage Tribunal are part of the process. Finally, speech and language expectations are also addressed. Thanks to Monsignor Murray Kroetsch, Jim Long and other Diocesan personnel for the care and attention you give to the new Priests and Pastors who are beginning their ministry in the Diocese!
Heart to Heart
Bishop Crosby's weekly letter to clergy and parishioners in the Diocese.
THIS IS NATIONAL CATHOLIC HEALTH CARE WEEK 2020, and it is sponsored by the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada (CHAC)! The theme of the week is AWAKEN: Revealing the Courageous Gift of Catholic Health Care. A few facts about Catholic Health Care in Canada: There are 129 Catholic health care organizations in Canada, offering 19,575 beds. Staff numbering 88,000+ serve more than 5 million people annually, with a 6 billion dollar operating budget! Catholic Health Care in Canada is inspired by the example of the Founding Sisters – visionary women who for generations advocated and cared for the most destitute people in their communities. Their ministry has become the mission of a multitude of leaders and this mission makes the Canadian health care system and Canadian society stronger! What a blessing you are for us!
THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF THE CATHOLIC WOMEN'S LEAGUE OF CANADA announced a national initiative to plant 100 trees across Canada for the celebration of the 100 year anniversary of the League. The major celebration of the anniversary, scheduled to take place at their National Convention in Montreal this summer, was cancelled because of COVID pandemic concerns. The tree planting project became their major effort. The League Council at St. Michael Parish in Waterloo, with the encouragement of enthusiastic President Shani Pregejl, committed to planting one of the 100 trees! Last Saturday, in the presence of several Past Presidents from the Parish, most of the current Parish CWL Executive, and our own Shari Guinta from the National CWL Council, a flowering pear tree was planted and blessed. Photos were taken to mark the occasion. Congratulations to the Catholic Women's League nationally on such a significant milestone. The Diocesan Council of the League also marked their 100th anniversary this year – the planned celebration was also cancelled! A note of interest: Frances Lovering, from the Hamilton Diocesan CWL, became the second National President of the League. She is buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Burlington. For 100 years members of the Catholic Women's League – the largest grass-roots organization of women in Canada – have been carrying out good works For God and Canada! We wish you many more happy years!
THE 106TH WORLD DAY OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES will be celebrated this Sunday, September 27th. This year’s theme is Forced Like Jesus Christ To Flee! Pope Francis encourages us to reflect on the community of internally displaced peoples across the globe – those who have been forcibly displaced within the borders of their country of citizenship. At the end of 2019, the UN Refugee Agency reported that an astonishing 45.7 million people were internally displaced due to armed conflict, generalized violence or human rights violations. It is noteworthy that this number is larger than the world’s refugee population – those who have been forced to cross an international border in search of protection. While COVID-19 has undermined the ability of the Diocese of Hamilton to host our Annual Multicultural Mass this year, we encourage everyone to call to mind this important day in your prayers!
THE DIOCESE WELCOMED FOUR NEW PRIESTS to its ranks on August 15th! Congratulations to Father Paul Edmondstone (St. Matthew Parish, Oakville), Father Francisco Sordo, (St. Michael Parish, Oakville), Father Pawel Stankiewicz (Blessed Sacrament Parish, Kitchener) and Father Hayden Starczala (Holy Cross Parish, Georgetown), who were ordained Priests at the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King. Because of COVID-19 protocols, the number of clergy and lay people who gathered for the celebration was restricted. Still, a spirit of joyful thanksgiving marked the event! We wish them well in their new ministry!
THE CANADIAN CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS will hold its September 2020 Plenary Assembly by video conference. The decision was made the CCCB Permanent Council at its recent meeting and was communicated to the Bishops by the General Secretary, Monsignor Frank Leo. The decision was taken because of the fluid state of the pandemic crisis, and concern for the safety and well-being of staff and members. The structure of the video conference is being developed in the coming weeks and will include reflections and decisions on matters that affect the Church in Canada into the future. We pray for the good work of the Conference, and thank the CCCB personnel for their effective service!
THE CHANCERY OFFICE IS RE-OPENING next Thursday, July 2, following a three-and-a-half month shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The re-opening will take place under careful constraints mandated by the Government of Ontario, including the use of hand sanitizers, face coverings, physical distancing guidelines and certain office protocols to protect office personnel and visitors. Plexiglas shields have been placed at desks situated in public areas. Visitors to the Chancery will be welcomed by appointment only. The Chancery will be operating at summer hours until Labour Day in September!
WE ARE READY TO WELCOME YOU! Most Parishes in the Diocese are prepared to celebrate Masses with some parishioners this weekend with certain restrictions. We are permitted to welcome up to 30% of the capacity of the Church at each Mass. We must also practice social distancing. Hand sanitizer will be used on entry into the Church. Please bring a protective cloth mask which is strongly recommended in the enclosed environment. You will remove your mask just before you receive Holy Communion. Pews and floors have been marked to assist with appropriate physical distancing. This first gathering for us might seem a bit daunting, but we will soon be used to the restrictions which are meant to keep us safe! Remember that CHARITY is the primary law of the Gospel. We count on everybody to do their part so that we can worship together safely and joyfully!
THE REOPENING OF PLACES OF WORSHIP “ACROSS THE PROVINCE” was announced by Premier Doug Ford on Monday afternoon, June 8th. While surprised that it happened so soon, we are relieved and happy to begin the process. Strict guidelines accompanied the announcement in order to promote as safe an environment as possible to welcome returning parishioners. These guidelines include a limit of 30% of building capacity, recommended use of face masks and hand sanitizers, and social distancing. The Parish Priests in the Diocese participated in a teleconference on Wednesday to review the liturgical norms and to begin the necessary preparation to clean the churches and place helpful signage. Protective equipment, sanitizer and cleaning solution were delivered to locations in each Deanery for pickup if needed, and are available at the Chancery. Churches in the Diocese can open on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 for daily Mass and prayer, and for Sunday Masses on Saturday, June 20th, and Sunday, June 21st. Please follow instructions carefully to promote safe and prayerful gatherings!