Weekend Masses. It has been very good to return to the celebration of Sunday Eucharist and I am pleased to see all of you who have attended. As well, I remain appreciative of our volunteers who make that possible by supporting the health care protocols of the Province of Ontario. Many parishioners are choosing not to attend and I strongly support that as you care for your own health or the health of those close to you. The current schedule will remain in place until the beginning of September when it will be reviewed. Elsewhere in this bulletin you will see a further request for weekend volunteers. As we determine matters surrounding reinstituting weekday Mass we will need volunteers for that to occur as well.
Still Learning. As we live through this pandemic I’m learning and witnessing a lot of things – about myself and others. It has been a time of introspection and prayer. We have been more conscious of others as we appreciate the frontline and essential workers continuing to serve us. We see people going out of their way to assist neighbours. The majority of people are taking seriously the necessity of caring for each other as we wear our masks, wash our hands and keep our distance. We are making sure we connect or reconnect with those who are close to us.
I’m also experiencing in different ways how we have allowed ourselves to become anxious and fearful. At times we have become angry, opinionated and critical without the benefit of dialogue inflicting these sentiments and moods on family, friends, neighbours and coworkers. This is a common experience when stress levels rise in the midst of living through something we’ve never experienced before.
However common this may be it is not healthy and all we need to do is find ways to cope with whatever may be troubling us.
We all have many responsibilities that we are carrying out well and, at times, courageously, but often self care doesn’t make it to our list. I can sometimes argue that I don’t have time for it, that I’m too tired or I’ll get to it once I’m caught with getting other matters under control.
We need to engage in self-care in order to be re-energized. It is not something that takes energy away. Even constantly running machines need to be shut off in order to give the motor a rest. I thought about ways that I could recharge and asked some colleagues and friends the same. Here are some of their suggestions.
· Distractions help a lot. From time to time deliberately do something different. Distractions always change our focus – rearrange photos, clean a closet, write emails or letters to people you haven’t connected with in a long time. Eat a meal, slowly...
· We could activate our brain by reading, watching informational, learning videos, taking an online course.
· Consider the times I share my gratitude. Write down all the things we’re grateful for that give purpose to life.
· Nourishing our faith practice makes us aware that we are part of something larger than ourselves. Read the Scriptures. Learn more about the meaning of the Mass. What is your vision for the Church and our parish? Do we allow God in our prayer to guide us in the midst of uncertainty as well as when we know where we are going?
· Reach out and stay connected to those to whom we are close and who nurture us as we do them.
· Exercise every day and learn how to breathe properly.
· While understanding others be compassionate to ourselves, recognizing that feeling anxious, lonely or sad is completely understandable given the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
Are you hungry? Do you know anyone who is? In today’s Gospel Jesus fed the hungry crowd. He always did that and continues to that even now. Do I attend Mass or read the Scriptures as if I were hungry, looking for nourishment? As well, there are others who are hungry waiting to be fed by Jesus but he wants to do it through you and me. Who are these people and where do we find them every day?
Helpful information for current and future reflection. As we move into the years ahead becoming the parish/community God intends us to be the ancient Rule of Benedict, over 1500 years old, might help to guide us. Here is what the Rule inspired.
· “In an authoritarian world, it brought listening.
· In a divided world, it brought community.
· In a classist society, it brought equality.
· In an imperial world, it relied on the example of the leader rather than the whims of royalty.
· In a world that rested on brute force, it brought education, understanding and personal growth. In a world of slaves, it brought personal care and responsibility.” (Sr. Joan Chittister)
We’re here for you. I hope you continue to keep well. The parish offices of the diocese continue to remain closed to the public but parish staff members are working and always available. If you need anything please contact us by phone at 519-432-3475 or by email at email@example.com
From the Desk of the Rector
Over the time of the pandemic, many of us have sought out various forms of prayer to nurture our spiritual lives. Many graces have been experienced through these new forms that continue to nourish us spiritually. Though we have moved into Phase 3 of re-opening and a sense of normalcy is returning, let us not loose what we have gained in our spiritual lives.
Praying with our Imaginations is a way to reflect on scripture, to "enter the scene", and let it reveal our Lord to us. We can pray it alone or with our families and reflect on and share our experiences. As human beings, our soul is still fired by color and imagination. Our minds are storehouses of images and memories and through them God works in our hearts. Praying with our imaginations can create a deeper and more personal intimacy with Jesus, Mary, the disciples and others written about in scripture. We can take the familiar stories we know and let them flow through our own imagination and see where the Lord guides it.
Using the imagination in prayer has been a treasured tradition in prayer for centuries. It prompted St. Francis of Assisi to encourage people to create nativity scenes at Christmas, to imagine the Holy Family as people like we are. Four hundred years later, St. Ignatius of Loyola used imaginative prayer as a key part of his life-transforming Spiritual Exercises.
How do we start? First we get settled in a comfortable chair and in a quiet place where we won’t be distracted. Our first gesture might be to open our hands on our lap, and to ask God to open our hearts and imaginations.
Then pick a story out of scripture (perhaps the Sunday readings). Read through it once slowly and put it down. Now we begin to imagine the scene as if we are standing right there. What is around me? Who else is there? What do I hear in the scene? If I am in a house, what noises are in the house or in the street outside? What are the smells I can pick up?
Now we begin to imagine the scene we read about. Who is in it? What conversation takes place? What is the mood – tense? joyful? confused? angry?
Feel free to paint this picture in any way your imagination takes you. If we worry about historical accuracy, it can be a distraction that takes us away from prayer. This isn’t scripture – this is letting God take our imaginations and reveal to us something of the intimate life of Jesus or others. Here is an experience of prayer that lets our imaginations free themselves from anything that limits them. This is God revealing himself to us.
Adapted from Praying with Our Imaginations, Creighton Online Ministries
Praying with Our Imaginations
The last time that the Finance Committee or myself touched base with you, we were still not able to gather as a community. It is wonderful to see that due to the diligence of all Ontarians we have been allowed to open our doors, although, to a limited number of parishioners in order to maintain physical distancing or parishioners making the prudent decision to not come to Mass due to the risk especially if they are immune compromised.
I have received some inquiries recently regarding the financial state of the Cathedral. As you might have surmised, our offertory during our mandatory closure was quite low. Since we have opened, the offertory amounts have improved but fall well below our regular offertory with attendance back to normal. In addition, our parking revenue has fallen both monthly, nightly and eliminated completely due to the Park Events being cancelled. Therefore, our revenue to cover expenses has been about 40-50% of our budgeted amount and last year’s results. However, I would like to thank and recognize all who have contributed during this time---every dollar counts.
Expenses were very tightly controlled and no expense was made for anything that could be delayed or eliminated entirely. We only paid invoices that were bills for necessary items such as water, heat, hydro and labour (although labour was cut back by 25%). We delayed turning the irrigation system until mid-July, did not plant flowers and did not spray any pesticides. There are many other categories that expenses were low or eliminated completely such as the ones indicated above.
Despite our efforts, our cash flow has been reduced and our bank account continues to go down. However, at a much slower pace than was projected in March, April, May and June. The control of expenses was much better than estimated in March and that has made our financial situation better than anticipated, however, below our budget and our contributions from parishioners was a little higher.
Fortunately, people have asked how they can help. I have the same answer every time, please consider a donation. Every dollar does count, so any donation is a great help during this time of crisis. If you have it in your heart to donate and have the means (not everyone does and we do understand) please consider a donation to the Cathedral.
God Bless and stay safe,
Brian Galea, Business Manager
Update from the Business Manager
“In July, the Vatican released a new instruction focusing on the evangelising mission of parish communities. This new instruction entitled “The Pastoral Conversion of the Parish Community in the Service of the Evangelising Mission of the Church” is a reminder of the continued mission of the parish in the service of the wider community.
The document notes that parishes can sometimes become inward looking, self-referential, almost fossilised in the way they think about themselves and their practices. When this happens, they are no longer focused on their most essential aspect, the call to be missionary disciples in the world. Pastoral conversion is the process by which all members of a parish community, and the very structures of the parish itself, are reoriented towards its missionary identity.
The value of this document is that it brings together the tradition of the Church, particularly the teachings of Vatican II, recent papal teachings on the nature of Church and its mission in the world, and sets it within the framework of canon law. The Church is normalising a new way of being Church, a Church that is more focused on the imperative of the gospel than on the survival of its comfort zones.
The Instruction echoes Pope Francis’ vision for pastoral activity. The instruction, targeted at those with leadership responsibility in local church communities, is a call to both personal conversion and action. It makes normative a new way of being Church, as described in pope Francis’ recent apostolic exhortations Christus Vivit, Gaudate et Exultate and Evangeli Gaudium. The instruction also recognizes that the laity have a unique and indispensable role in the parish community.”
Excerpt from A Reading on the new Instruction by the
We have now been re-open for weekend masses for 4 weeks. Without our over 50 volunteers that have come forward to assist with safely re-opening our doors, we could never have accomplished this. Ideally we 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 continue to re-open our doors safely each weekend. In the weeks and months ahead we will resume celebrations of baptisms (30 baptisms had to be postponed during our closure), weddings, funerals, and daily mass. All safety protocols must be in place every time we open our doors. 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.
Please prayerfully consider how you might be able to contribute to this. Contact Cathryn Hall.
Volunteers for Mass--We Can’t Do This Without YOU!
Since the last weekend of June, we have been providing a Sunday Prayer Service online. The service invites us into the Sunday scriptures and celebrates a time of prayer, music, and reflection led by members of our Pastoral Team. The service will be available at the following link each Sunday morning.
Come Pray With Us
Looking to make a donation? Click here for the various options to financially support the parish.
Financial Support of St. Peter's Cathedral
The Family and Youth Ministry Outreach office is excited to be able to offer an abundance of activities, programs, and resources for kids, teens, young adults and families this year. The best place to start is with our new website.
Summer Camp Opportunity for Families
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
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.