WELCOME TO GERALD CYPRIEN CARDINAL LACROIX, Archbishop of Quebec and Primate of Canada, who will confer Papal Honours on 1 Priest and 14 Lay Faithful of the Diocese of Hamilton at a ceremony at the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King on Sunday afternoon, Feast of Christ the King. The honours were to have been conferred last year, and were postponed to earlier this year, and postponed again to Sunday! Congratulations to the honourees: Reverend Monsignor Martin Vallely (Chaplain of His Holiness), Chancellor for Temporal Affairs, James Long (Knight Commander – with star – of Saint Gregory the Great), Vince Varga and Allan Beaupre (Knights of St. Gregory the Great), Dao Hoang Pham, Barbara Dollak, Sharon Fazari, Martha Fauteux, and Marcel Levesque (Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross), Dominic Tersigni, Mario Bilich, Ankica Juraj, Martin Seregelyes, Rocco Valeri and Josie Cruz (Benemerenti Medal). All have contributed to the life of the Diocese and their Parishes in significant ways. Profound thanks and warm congratulations!
Heart to Heart 2021
Bishop Crosby's weekly letter to clergy and parishioners in the Diocese.
THE OFFICE FOR EVANGELIZATION AND CATECHESIS is celebrating the Diocesan Day of Prayer for Youth and Young Adults at St. Margaret Mary Parish, Hamilton on November 21, 2021 beginning at 6:00 p.m. The Holy Father’s Message for the 2021 World Youth Day is available here. Young adults (ages 18-35) can register for the Diocesan event here. This spiritual pilgrimage is a long-range preparation for World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon.
POPE FRANCIS HAS ACCEPTED THE INVITATION of the Bishops of Canada to visit the Church in Canada in the context of a pilgrimage of healing and reconciliation with our Indigenous sisters and brothers. The statement of the Holy Father was published on the Vatican News website. While no date has been established for the visit, it will build on three years of constructive dialogue between the Canadian Bishops, the Holy See, and Indigenous Peoples who have generously shared their experiences and stories about the sufferings and challenges that continue to this day. The delegation of Indigenous Peoples and Bishops to the Vatican in December will allow the Pope to hear directly from Indigenous people on the historic and ongoing legacy of Residential Schools, and discuss with them their hopes for the visit in service of ongoing reconciliation.
THE AMORIS LAETITIA YEAR of the Family was opened earlier this year by Pope Francis. A Pastoral Letter to the Diocese of Hamilton, dated today, was sent to Pastors and Parishes earlier this week for distribution to parishioners. Today is the Feast Day of Saint John Paul II, an appropriate day for such a letter. The sainted Pope was a great advocate of the family; he published Familiaris Consortio, which Amoris Laetitia draws from, and he wrote Theology of the Body. Many of his works relate to the importance of marriage and family!
THE OPENING OF THE SYNODAL PATH in preparation for the 2023 Synod took place last Sunday in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The homily of Pope Francis set out his hopes and expectations for the Synod: “Celebrating a Synod means walking on the same road, walking together. Let us look at Jesus. First, he encounters the rich man on the road; he then listens to his questions, and finally he helps him discern what he must do to inherit eternal life. Encounter, listen and discern. I would like to reflect on these three verbs that characterize the Synod.” Read the entire homily here. The Diocesan celebration for the beginning of the Synodal Path will take place at the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King on Sunday, at the 4:00 p.m. Mass. In the coming weeks the Diocesan Synod Committee will send to our Parishes, Catholic organizations, and other groups and institutions an outline of the process the Diocese will follow to encourage the broadest possible participation in the consultation leading up to the Synod. We pray for God’s blessing on this important initiative of Pope Francis, and our Diocesan response.
ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI PARISH, KITCHENER marked the 60th Anniversary of the construction of its church with a special Mass of Thanksgiving. A procession outdoors followed, where a new and animated statue of the Saint joyfully praising God for creation has been erected! Timothy Schmaltz, the world-renowned artist who created the statue, was present for the blessing. Many Priests from the Congregation of the Resurrection, who have pastored the Parish from its establishment, were present for the gathering. Again, we offer our thanks and our congratulations.
POPE FRANCIS HAS ANNOUNCED that the next Synod of Bishops will take place in October 2023. The theme for the Synod is: For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission. It will be the culmination of a “three-year path” involving the People of God at every level of the Church. Pope Francis will officially inaugurate the event on the weekend of October 9-10. The first phase of the synodal path will take place in each Diocese beginning on the weekend of October 17th, under the leadership of the Bishop. This will be marked in the Sunday liturgies in all our parishes, and most particularly at the 4 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King. A Synod Committee has been established composed of David and Linda Dayler (chairpersons), Paula Dawson, Bishop Wayne Lobsinger and Monsignor Kroetsch. They will facilitate the synodal process so that as many parishioners as are interested in participating can be engaged. More information will be provided as the process gets underway.
THE FIRST NATIONAL DAY FOR TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION is September 30th. It is a federal statutory holiday enacted by Parliament on June 3rd, of this year. Commemoration of the painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process. On September 30th, Masses will be offered in our Parishes to pray that the truth of residential schools be heard and for healing and reconciliation.
THE THIRD ANNUAL NATIONAL CATHOLIC HEALTH CARE WEEK runs from Sunday, October 3rd to Saturday, October 9th. Established by the Catholic Health Alliance of Canada, this year’s celebration seeks to build understanding, connection and trust about the organization’s mission and contribution to the pandemic response in Canada. Through stories, reflection and prayer, the week also seeks to foster healing, and to advance Catholic health care’s commitment to social justice and the values of inclusiveness and compassion in the spirit of reconciliation. In the Diocese of Hamilton, St. Joseph’s Health System embodies these fundamental values! How blessed are we! This year, more than ever, we must celebrate the importance of healthcare in our community.
CONNIE CRAMAROSSA has worked at the Chancery Office of the Diocese of Hamilton for 40 years! She began on September 8, 1981, in the Religious Education Office with Gerry Woodman and Carol Daly. In 1984, she moved to the Printing and Mail Room. There she has served the Church assuring the mail was prepared and sent, received and delivered! Thank you Connie for your happy and helpful presence and service! The Chancery staff offered congratulations and good wishes at a celebration in McNally Hall yesterday afternoon.
THE SUDDEN DEATH of Father John Redmond last month, during a family wedding, was a very sad loss for his family, friends, parishioners, and for the Diocese. Thank you for the messages of condolence and assurance of prayers. They console us, strengthen us, and confirm us in faith! Father Andrew Czarny generously accepted to return to St. Pius X Parish, Brantford, as Administrator, until a Pastor is appointed. We are grateful for his service.
CONGRATULATIONS TO FATHER PATRICK OHL AND FATHER PETER ROBINSON who will be ordained Priests at a Mass celebrated at the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King tomorrow morning. The Ordination was to have taken place on May 1, 2021, but the pandemic restrictions made that impossible. We had planned to proceed with two Ordinations, but the recent easing of restrictions made it possible for both to be ordained at the same ceremony in the presence of fellow Priests, family and friends. Still, because of the limited restrictions, only invited guests will participate at the event. Both Priests will celebrate their Masses of Thanksgiving this weekend. Pray for God’s blessing on them and their ministry!
THIS WEEK'S WELCOME ANNOUNCEMENT from the Premier of Ontario permits us to open our churches for Masses and other services at 15% of capacity starting today – Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus! This is good news – which comes after a very long and debilitating shutdown! This is Step 1. Step 2, which is foreseen to take place in three weeks, if all the signs are good, should allow us to open to an even higher percent of capacity. One step at a time! Pastors are reminded to observe all the usual protocols in place to assure the safest possible environment in our parishes. Priests and parishioners are also encouraged to get any one of the vaccines, for their own well-being and for the safety of those who worship with us!
THE SHOCKING DISCOVERY OF 215 UNMARKED CHILDREN’S GRAVES at the former Kamloops Residential School has shaken and upset the country. Wounds are reopened and we suffer with our Indigenous brothers and sisters who experienced this dark chapter in our history. Silent memorials have sprung up across the country, including at some of our churches. They remind us to pray for rest for those who were lost, and for healing for those who remain. Statements from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate are included on the Diocesan website. Statements from Cardinal Thomas Collins (Toronto) and Archbishop Michael Miller (Vancouver) are included here.
THE OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE CIRCLE is a gathering of Indigenous, Religious, Lay, and Bishops, who advise the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on matters relative to relations with Indigenous Catholics. The Circle published a Pentecost 2021 Message (here), one of their first publications. It is an interesting reflection and a good read.
A NOVENA to The Sacred Heart of Jesus has been published by the Institute for Catholic Education for use by families, in classrooms, or privately. The nine-days of prayer leading up to the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 11th, gives us an opportunity to “find our sure comfort and rest in the Sacred Heart of Christ’s love for each and every one of us.” The Solemnity is also the World Day of Prayer for Priests. Wednesday, June 2nd, is a day of preparation for the Novena which begins in earnest on June 3rd. The brief daily prayer provides opportunity to bring personal intentions before the Lord. The Novena can be found on our Diocesan website.
ST. JOSEPH’S COVID CARE @ HOME PROGRAM was featured in The Hamilton Spectator this week as a “good news” story coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID CARE program is designed and delivered by St. Joseph’s Home Care. It provides nursing guidance to people infected with the virus so they can self-treat, and if necessary dispatches paramedics or respiratory therapists to patient’s homes. More than 430 people have participated in the program which started last November. Of 119 patients currently in the program, only 4 have been referred to hospital! Congratulations to Carolyn Gosse, President of St. Joseph’s Home Care, and to the entire team!
POPE FRANCIS has launched a Marathon of Prayer for the month of May. “Guided by Shrines around the world during this month of May, we recite the Rosary to invoke an end to the pandemic and the resumption of social and work-related activities.” (Pope Francis, General Audience, 5 May 2021) Father Ian Duffy, Rector of our own Diocesan Shrine, the Basilica of Our Lady in Guelph, is joining the Pope’s prayer marathon by praying the Rosary at noon each day. You can participate in the daily prayer with the Pope by checking the Vatican website for a listing of Shrines, or pray the Rosary in union with Father Duffy at the Basilica in Guelph.
THE FEAST OF ST. JOSEPH THE WORKER is tomorrow, May 1, 2021! The feast takes on added significance this year because Pope Francis has dedicated the year to St. Joseph. In the Apostolic Exhortation, Patris Corde (With the Heart of a Father), published on December 8, 2020, the Holy Father announced the special dedication. COVID-19 protocols permitting, on Canada Day, July 1, 2021, a special Mass will be celebrated at the Cathedral Basilica of Christ the King during which an Act of Consecration of the country to St. Joseph, Patron of Canada, will be prayed.
BISHOP WAYNE LOBSINGER was ordained Bishop last Sunday, April 18th. When we learned about the impending restrictions on church services to be imposed on Monday, April 19 at 12:01 a.m., we thought it best to proceed with the ordination rather than risk a similar restriction in June. Several phone calls and email messages later and it was all arranged. Even Monsignor Matjaž Roter, Chargé d’Affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature in Ottawa was able to attend, bring the Papal Bulla (Apostolic Letter signed by Pope Francis announcing the appointment), and offer greetings and good wishes on the Pope’s behalf. We pray that the Bishop’s ministry will be richly blessed!
THE UNIVERSITY CHAPLAINCIES in the Diocese of Hamilton met "virtually" last week to review the activities of the past year and to discuss opportunities for shared ministry! The Chaplains and Chaplaincy Leaders at St. Jerome University, Waterloo; St. John Paul II Student Centre, Waterloo; Canadian Martyrs’/McMaster Students Association, Hamilton; and Newman Centre, Guelph, meet together with the Diocese a few times each year to share experiences and resources. The challenges of the pandemic have intensified the outreach of the chaplaincies - much of it online. Keep up the good spirit!
THE RENOVATED ST. ELIZABETH CHAPEL at St. Elizabeth Village in Hamilton will have its first Mass NEXT Friday, (the Friday before Palm Sunday)! Father Mark Gatto, Pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Parish, the parish in which the Chapel is located, will be the presider for the Mass. Father Wallace Metcalf will celebrate on Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The renovated space is brighter and provides space for wheelchairs and walkers!
BLESSED CARLO ACUTIS, an Italian teenager who died of leukemia at the age of 15 was declared “Blessed” by Pope Francis in the Fall of 2020. He was born on May 3, 1991, and died on October 12, 2006. He was known for his joy and simplicity, his computer savvy, and his love of the Eucharist and the Blessed Mother. A recently published book about his road to sanctity is being sent to Priests serving in the Diocese, for their information and edification. Pope Saint John Paul II often said that the young would be Saints – and so they are! To learn more: www.carloacutis-en.org.
THE PENULTIMATE WAVE OF ONE HEART, ONE SOUL has been launched. To date, the campaign has raised over $23 million, 66 percent of the $35 million goal! 42 parishes have surpassed their baseline target. Six more are at 93% or higher. In one parish, over 78% of parishioners participated in the campaign, the highest level of participation so far in any parish. Several parishes are already undertaking projects and programs for which funds have been raised. Painting and improved lighting at the Cathedral is almost complete. The scaffolding will be coming down soon. A recent note from one donor says it all: “Blessings. I loved reading the campaign news and all the good things that are happening because of it. I just want to share with you my experience with One Heart, One Soul. At first I was hesitant to contribute because I wasn’t sure if we could meet the contribution you asked of us. Thank God we are contributing to it! God has been so gracious to us. As soon as we started contributing, my husband got a raise and a family member has given us gifts that matched our 3-year contributions. Last year we were able to buy a new car and installed a new roof on our house. So much blessing has come our way, and we thank One Heart, One Soul. We thank God for His generosity. God has shown me that if you are generous, He will be more generous! Thank you.” And thank YOU to all who support the campaign!
PLEASE PRAY FOR POPE FRANCIS as he prepares to make an apostolic journey next week to the Christian communities of Iraq which have suffered grievously over the past 20+ years. The Holy Father intends his trip to be a sign of solidarity and encouragement for the beleaguered Iraqi Christians – and there are considerable risks associated with the trip. Please keep him – and them – in your prayers. “Ask and you will receive!”
LENT HAS BEGUN! Churches throughout the Dioceses are open (at 30% capacity) to welcome parishioners for prayer and worship. It will take some time for people to feel secure enough to return, so it is vitally important that Parishes follow rigorously the protocols prepared by the Chancery officials. We want to assure the safety of parishioners and their good health – physical and spiritual! Thank you to Pastors and Pastoral Teams for the care and attention you give to assuring a safe environment!
NEXT WEDNESDAY IS ASH WEDNESDAY! We pray that we will once again be able to open our parish churches (30% capacity) for Lent beginning on Ash Wednesday. The Diocesan Liturgy Office has forwarded to Pastors directions from the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments as to how to safely administer the ashes during this time of pandemic protocols. Once we receive the notice of lifting of the “stay-at-home” order, we will communicate directly with Parish Priests. We pray to the Lord!
“IT MAY BE SMALL, BUT THE NEW TINY HOME TAKEOUT in front of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in downtown Kitchener can produce 12 personal pan pizzas in three minutes and at least 150 soups in the two hours it is open.” So begins the CBC story featuring the most recent initiative of Father Toby Collins, C.R., his C.R. community, and his St. Mary Parish support team. Congratulations on getting the program up and running – especially during these colder winter and pandemic days! A good story for the Church!
ST. MARY PARISH IN KITCHENER received their first delivery of food on Wednesday to their new kitchen below the church. The plan is to provide takeout food for the most vulnerable and those who do not have access to drive-thru because they do not have a car. Food testing begins today – and they hope to open by the end of next week. Thanks to Father Toby Collins, C.R., and his team for this important initiative coming to fruition at such a dark time! A bright light in the midst of darkness indeed!
THE FEAST OF THE BAPTISM OF THE LORD which is celebrated this Sunday marks the end of the Christmas season. Thank you for the greetings and gifts received throughout the season! Ordinary Time begins on Monday and continues until Ash Wednesday. Several Parishes in the Diocese of Hamilton have arranged to live-stream Masses during the Provincial lockdown. Check your Parish website to see if your Parish does so. Mass from the Cathedral Basilica will be televised on Cable 14 at 2:00 p.m. on Sundays.