Welcome Back. It is a pleasure to welcome you back this weekend as we reopen our cathedral building for Mass on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and Sunday at 9:00 a.m. and noon. Bishop Fabbro will join us at 9 a.m. This will remain our weekend schedule until further notice. Many people are excited and have wanted to return for some time while others, desiring to come back, are finding themselves very cautious and hesitant. All reactions are common and acceptable. We all miss being able to gather to celebrate the Eucharist together.
When we return, things will definitely be different. There is nothing on the horizon to indicate we will soon return to worship as we experienced it in 2019. I wish to thank our volunteers, Cathryn Hall for training them and overseeing all preparations. Brian Galea, Peter Greff and Fatima Silva are appreciated for their efforts in studying and preparing the seating plan and other necessary arrangements that needed to be considered. They have worked hard to prepare our building so it will be safe to enter. All of the measures being asked of those who will attend are in the interests of everyone. We are still experiencing a pandemic and our concern actually needs to be heightened so we do not waste the results of all of us doing our part to prevent the spread of the virus. To not follow instructions runs the risk of plunging us backwards to a time we hoped to escape. Spending time in church for 60 minutes or less is not the same as going to the store for 10 minutes to pick up bread.
Attending Mass is an essential part of our faith and we all want to get back to normal. However, our primary concern has been and will always be the safety of everyone especially those most vulnerable. We don’t want to have to close again but if we have to we will. I’ve mentioned before… if staying home will save lives, that is the right thing to do.
Over the past few months, I have heard from many parishioners, who missed being at Mass each week. However, while having to remain home they have formed new spiritual practices and a deepened sense of prayer that have not only given them comfort but have opened them to the Scriptures in ways they never would have thought possible were it not for them to have time to do it and discover God’s presence and love for them in the midst of these trying times. Someone quoted a book’s title saying this gift of time to reflect was like “meeting Jesus again for the first time.”
In order for us to return a lot of “rules” have been put in place. Let’s not let these protocols or the “different” experience cause us anxiety – although that will be “normal”. It is fine to express any concerns you may have to me or any member of our parish pastoral team or staff. I can be contacted by email at email@example.com or by telephone at 519-432-3475 ext. 228. Calm communication and dialogue is always healthy and welcomed.
As our country and the world wrestles with the next phase we can lead by example. We have a chance to set aside our selfish desires and face all the challenges ahead with courage and love.
All that having been said let’s not return to Mass only thinking of all the things that we can’t do the same way as before. If this happens we run the risk of missing out on the meaningful liturgy that we can still practice. Pay attention to the unchanging Word of God, to his love, to everything we have allowing us to stay connected as a people of a parish who remain the Body of Christ even if it means some things may look a bit different.
Summer Recess and Connections. With the summer months here and less activity in the parish, it is time to catch our breath. We will not publish this bulletin weekly but on an “as-needed” basis. Any updates and information you need, will appear on our parish website, Facebook page or directly by email. You can request being placed on our email notice list either through the website or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, the pastoral team will be available so do not hesitate to contact us.
Enjoy the summer.
Fr. Jim Mockler
From the Desk of the Rector
“Today’s readings are an invitation to humility and meekness. I think my immediate response might be, “Humility? Thanks, but I’ll pass on it.” Our world doesn’t value humility but instead prizes fame, power and a certain swagger. Yet St. Ignatius always tell us that greater intimacy with Jesus comes through humility and humiliation. Ok, Ignatius, I’ll pay attention.
In the first reading, the beleaguered Israelites, who were always awaiting a king to save them, are told to expect a different kind of savior. The passage opens with a call to joy and celebration as the Lord says, “Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion, shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! See, your king shall come to you.” Yet this king is one who comes in total simplicity, riding not the powerful chariot or a warrior’s horse, but the humble, plodding transportation of the poor: a young donkey. This savior promises to banish the weapons and instruments of war “and he shall proclaim peace to the nations.” Both the people of Israel, and we today, long for peace. We can hear this promise in our hearts.
The message is reinforced by the psalm, as we are invited into a relationship with a God who is gracious, merciful, slow to anger and kind. Our loving God promises to lift up all who are falling and raise up all who are burdened in life. Are there any of us who don’t need, and long for, that kind of support from God who has an endless supply of love?
Matthew’s Gospel offers an invitation from Jesus: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.” The audience for this message from Jesus is the people who follow him each day. Pope Francis describes those listeners as simple people, the poor, the sick, sinners, those who are marginalized. The pope said these humble people “always followed him to hear his word — a word that gave hope!” In his ministry Jesus spoke to them, healed them and encouraged them to speak to God as a loving father. Now, Francis says, “He calls them all to himself: ‘Come to me,’ and he promises them relief and rest.”
But of course, in the Christian life, “relief and rest” are not the end of the invitation. We are also called by Jesus to take up his yoke on our shoulders and continue the work of caring for those around us, offering support to so many weary people, worn out under the unbearable weight of neglect and indifference. How are we supposed to do that when we may not feel all that strong ourselves? It helps to picture a yoke, a harness shared by two oxen which allows them to work together as a team. Jesus is not handing over a burden to us but is asking us to join him in his work, to share the yoke. Suddenly, humility seems like something I want to do.
Our world, and maybe our lives, seem so heavy and heart-wrenching right now. We are called to a meekness that allows us to ask our loving God for help; to learn from Jesus how to make our way through it in small and humble service to others. That is where we will finally find peace. We beg for a humility that can place us in the shoes of another to see and begin to understand their world and point of view. We are not in this alone, but side by side with Jesus, doing our part but knowing we are guided and loved by his great heart.”
Maureen McCann Waldron, Daily Reflection, Creighton University Online Ministry, July 5, 2020.
Our Call to Humility
Many of you may have been surprised to read in Fr. Jim’s letter to the parish that our seating capacity is 116. Wondering how we figured that out? Here goes: The official seating capacity is 800. The 30% capacity as stipulated by the government brings us to a number of 240. Our support staff spent hours in the Cathedral measuring out the required 6 feet physical distancing standard in the pews and from pew to pew, resulting in every 3rd pew being able to be used. Also, all aisles needed to be measured from the perspective of someone standing in the aisle, so the measurement needed to be taken from the shoulder, 6 feet into the pew to begin the actual seating.
This has left us with seating as follows- Centre pews: we will be able to utilize 8 pews each side, with available seating for 3-5 people per pew, capacity total approximately 64 people.
In the side aisles we will be able to utilize 8 pews each side with seating capacity of 2 per pew, capacity total approximately 32 people. We have designated both transepts as seating for people with disabilities/mobility issues. Sufficient space has been allowed for wheelchairs/other motorized devices, walkers, etc. in front of the pews with space for a companion that may attend with them to sit, as well as for seating for those with mobility issues in pews behind. The seating allows for 2 pews in the east transept and 1 pew in the west transept to be utilized, total capacity approximately 20 people. To view our seating plan, click here.
Whether you will be able to join us in person this weekend or not, you can view a “gallery of photos” to see what the church will look like to further explain the seating and the physical distancing measures in place.
Our Seating Capacity
In one of Bishop Fabbro’s updates over the past months he states:
"While it is a good and holy thing to seek the forgiveness of God through the sacrament of Penance, the faithful need to be reminded that God’s mercy is not limited to any celebration of the sacraments. God’s mercy is rich and overflowing, as Pope Francis has reminded us again and again. In quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church, he iterated the long-standing teaching of the Church that God welcomes every sinner with open arms. We can go directly to God, be specific about our sins, request pardon, and experience God’s loving forgiveness (20 March, #7)."
In the weeks ahead we will explore opportunities to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the provision that Bishop Fabbro has granted on General Absolution.
Thank you to the over 40 volunteers that have come forward to assist with safely re-opening our doors this weekend. They have all participated in training sessions and look forward to welcoming you. We will need 15 volunteers for every mass to assist with the various duties needed: welcoming and registering of our parishioners, seating of parishioners, directing of traffic flow in and out of the Cathedral and at communion, and sanitizing of the Cathedral after every mass. We are still in need of more volunteers to assist and be able to re-open our doors safely each weekend. Training sessions will continue to take place in order to carry out all tasks safely and effectively.
Please prayerfully consider how you might be able to contribute to this. Contact Cathryn Hall.
We Can’t Do This Without YOU!
Each weekend we will be providing a Sunday Prayer Service online. The service celebrates a time of prayer and reflection by members of our Pastoral Team. The service will be available at the following link Sunday mornings.
Join Us for Prayer
St. Peter's Cathedral now has E-Transfer capabilities for your donations. It is especially helpful for those that want to give during the pandemic and are looking for another way to give electronically without using a credit card. You would first need to navigate to your bank account on-line and go to the Interac E-Transfer option. To donate by Interac E-Transfer, simply set up the email address 'email@example.com’ as a recipient, choose the amount you wish to give, and press send! No password is required.
Donations by E-Transfer
Though the doors of the parish office have been closed to the public for almost two and a half months, the work of the office has continued uninterrupted throughout this time. In our pre-COVID times, any call or visit to the office doors was greeted by one of our two “front-line workers”, our secretarial staff—RoseMary Cleary, Financial Secretary, and Vianca Kmet, Secretary/Receptionist. They continue to “greet” you, but in new and creative ways.
RoseMary has worked at the parish for over twenty-three years. Her main areas of responsibilities centre around the financial side of parish life. Rose has been able to create a work-at-home office space to be able to continue to tend to the financial life. Though much of her time is working from home, it is necessary for her to go into the office 2-3 times each week to pick up invoices requiring payment, donation envelopes, do banking as needed, mail out payments, attend to phone messages, post weekly and monthly offertory, month end financial balancing, and other financial matters that come up from week to week. RoseMary is also the secretary to the Finance Committee so is continuing her duties in the monthly meetings that have now moved to a online platform. RoseMary works closely with Brian Galea, our Business Manager, on all financial matters, so their constant communication is of utmost importance. Brian also brings together the Administration Team (RoseMary, Vianca and support staff Peter Greff and Fatima Silva) once a week for a Team Meeting via Conference call to ensure all of the Administration needs are taken care of.
Vianca, is a relatively new face in our parish office, beginning her role as secretary/receptionist in early February. Vianca’s transition to working from home has been a bit of a challenge with an active 3 year old underfoot whose daycare has had to close and coordinating her work schedule with her husband who is also working from home. Much of her work is spread throughout the day and wee hours of the evening. She is able to carry on many of her regular duties from home: managing phone calls/voice messages retrieved from the parish vmail, answering general inquiries electronically, assisting in the production & sending out of the online Sunday Bulletin, coordinating parish communiques, creating content for parish’s social media accounts, and updating the parish database. Hands on tasks needing access to physical documents in the office such as sacramental records, checking of the parish mailbox, and calendar bookings requires Vianca to go in to the office 1-2 times a week or as the need arises.
Both RoseMary and Vianca miss very much the face to face human interaction and connection with the parishioners, the familiar faces and strangers that come to the office throughout the day, and comradery of the staff. They look forward to the day when they can once again greet you in person. Thank you, RoseMary and Vianca, for your continued work and service to the parishioners of St. Peter’s.