BAPTISM OF THE LORD
January 10, 2021
From the Desk of our Rector
The recent and ongoing events taking place in Washington DC are unbelievable and sad. It’s easy to understand why many are apprehensive. We can pray for them – those who died, were injured and all involved. Everyone can use our prayers as what needs to be done and sorted out unfolds. Violence never wins but it causes hurt and destruction along the way. It shows again we all stand in need of God’s presence and guidance as we pray for an end to fear. What do we need to do in order to settle disagreements in a civil way, based on respect for one another and leave violence aside? What causes us to blame each other and then resort to acts of hostility? In times of discouragement our prayers and actions need to be seen as signs of hope. In times of darkness, we can bring light. May God bless the United States of America and may we never forget our blessings here in Canada. While our thoughts today may go naturally to political situations, what if we applied the same resolve in our personal relationships?
A number of people were recently asked by Fr. Ricardo da Silva about their experience of 2020 and how they managed to survive all we went through. The questions were varied and presented a number of surprises. How would we answer them? Our answers would be a good topic for future bulletins if we want to share our wisdom. I hear much of it already as I speak with parishioners every day.
• Can you name an image, quote or story that captures how you experienced 2020?
• For what are you most grateful as you look back over the year and why?
• What did you take for granted this year? What did this reveal to yourself and your presence in our world?
• What prayer or spiritual practice sustained you this year?
• What new hobby did you take up during the lockdown? Was there an old pastime you revived?
• What is the most important thing that the year of Covid-19 has taught you?
• What is the funniest thing that happened to you this year?
• What did God teach you this pandemic year, or was there and old “God lesson” that you were reminded about?
• Where did you sense God’s presence and call to our world as we look to the new year?
• What is the book you couldn’t put down? Or the documentary that changed you this year? Or the series you binged-watched?
• What magazine, newspaper article, radio or television segment deeply challenged you and forced you to question what you thought you knew or believed?
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were obviously quieter this year than previous years. Although all the places for seating were booked less than 500 people were able to join us. That is considerably less than the over 5000 parishioners and visitors who attended last year. The silence and less activity may have been the surprise gift at Christmas. We were able to focus on what really mattered and able to do it reflectively and prayerfully. Thank you to those who prepared decorated and planned both physically and liturgically. We did experience, along with those at home, a deeper awareness of God’s love among us as a parish family and within our own hearts. Members of our Parish Visitation Ministry, while being unable to visit physically, managed to contact many of our shut-ins and seniors who requested it. The members of our parish St. Vincent de Paul Society quietly responded on our behalf, to those in need. This was accomplished because of your ongoing generosity. Thank You!
Fr. Jim Mockler
Baptism: The Gift of Mission as Christians
“Today we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. In most years, this feast is celebrated on the Sunday after Epiphany. When Epiphany falls on either January 7 or 8, the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated on the Monday after Epiphany.
In today's Gospel we hear John the Baptist contrast his baptism of repentance with the baptism that Jesus will inaugurate. John the Baptist says that he has baptized with water, but that the one who is to come will baptize with the Holy Spirit. John's baptism was not yet a Christian baptism; it was a preparation for the Christian Baptism we celebrate today, and through which sins are forgiven and the gift of the Holy Spirit is received. In accepting John's baptism, Jesus, though sinless, united himself with all sinners.
The baptism of Jesus is reported in each of the three Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Clearly, Jesus' baptism was an event of great significance for Jesus and for the early Christian community. Mark and Luke report the story from Jesus' perspective; the voice from heaven is addressed to Jesus. In Matthew's Gospel, the voice from heaven speaks to all who are present. The descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at his baptism shows that something new is beginning through the baptism and ministry of Jesus.
The baptism of Jesus is considered an important manifestation of God in the person of Jesus, another epiphany. Jesus' baptism inaugurates his mission. Mark's Gospel moves quickly from the report of Jesus' baptism to Jesus' temptations in the desert to his ministry in Galilee after John's arrest. The end of the ministry of John the Baptist is the beginning of Jesus' ministry. In an analogous way, our Baptism inaugurates our mission as Christians.
Surprisingly, on this the last day of the Christmas season the Gospel does not tell a story from Jesus' childhood. Instead the Gospel reveals Jesus' relationship to God: the Son of Mary and Joseph is also God's own Son. We believe that through Baptism we are also made children of God.”
Sunday Connection, Background on the Gospel Reading, Baptism of the Lord, Loyola Press
Exploring Scripture: Lectio Divina
“This method of prayer goes back to the early monastic tradition. There were not bibles for everyone and not everyone knew how to read. So the monks gathered in chapel to hear a member of the community reading from the scripture. In this exercise they were taught and encouraged to listen with their hearts because it was the Word of God that they were hearing.
When a person wants to use Lectio Divina as a prayer form today, the method is very simple. When one is a beginner, it is better to choose a passage from one of the Gospels or epistles, usually ten or fifteen verses. Some people who regularly engage in this method of prayer choose the epistle or the Gospel for the Mass of the day as suggested by the Catholic Church.
First one goes to a quiet place and recalls that one is about to listen to the Word of God. Then one reads the scripture passage aloud to let oneself hear with his or her own ears the words. When one finishes reading, pause and recall if some word or phrase stood out or something touched one’s heart. If so, pause and savor the insight, feeling, or understanding. Then go back and read the passage again because it will have a fuller meaning. Pause again and note what happened. If one wants to dialogue with God or Jesus in response to the word, one should follow the prompting of one’s heart. This kind of reflective listening allows the Holy Spirit to deepen awareness of God’s taking the initiative to speak with us.
Lectio Divina can also be an effective form for group prayer. After a passage is read, there can be some extended silence for each person to savor what he or she has heard, particularly noting whether any word or phrase became a special focus of attention. Sometimes groups invite members, if they so desire, to share out loud the word or phrase that struck them. This is done without discussion. Then a different person from the group would read the passage again with a pause for silence. Different emphases might be suggested after each reading: What gift does this passage lead me to ask from the Lord? What does this passage call me to do? The prayer can be concluded with an Our Father.
Whether one prays individually or in a group, Lectio Divina is a flexible and easy way to pray. One first listens, notes what is given and responds in a way one is directed by the Holy Spirit.”
Praying with Scripture, Fr. Douglas J. Leonhardt, SJ
Thank You for your Support
On behalf of the Parish Team, the Finance Committee and Fr. Jim, I would like to thank you for your generosity during the Christmas season.
The Cathedral will go through the same revenue cycle every year but it is the month of December which will make or break the financial year. Again, parishioners found it in their hearts to give generously to enable us to achieve a small surplus.
Additionally, I would like to acknowledge parishioners who throughout the year made an effort to give to St. Peter's Cathedral. Whether you gave by using cash, cheques, pre-authorized debit, e-transfer or electronic giving through our website, you allowed our parish to continue to support the many ministries this year and into the future.
God Bless and stay safe,
Update on Bill C-7 Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID)
The federal government has been given an extension to February 26, 2020 to pass amendments to the Criminal Code that will make Medical Assistance in Dying (“MAID” or euthanasia) more accessible, putting the disabled and elderly at risk of having their lives terminated, possibly without their full consent. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a response to the changes the government made to Bill C-7 . Click here to read the CCCB response.
It's not too late to help. Contact your MP, if you have not done so already, to inform them of your opposition to this legislation.
Christian Unity Webinar
The Office of Campus Ministry will host a webinar on Christian Unity on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 7:00 PM. Our speaker will be The Right Reverend Todd Townshend, Bishop of the Diocese of Huron who will speak about the gifts and challenges of ecumenical collaboration. The lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer session. The event is free and registration is required by clicking on this link.
Once registered, you will receive an e-mail message with information on how to access the webinar.
St. Mary Catholic School Choir and Orchestra Program Application Information
St. Mary School has begun the application process for entrance to Grade 5 for 2021/2022. Application to the program is open to all Grade 4 Students of the London District Catholic School Board. All applicants must meet the admission requirements. Brochures with application forms are available in all LDCSB Catholic elementary schools. Please contact your Principal for further details of the application and audition process or call St. Mary School at 519-675-4423. Application Brochures are also available on the St. Mary School Website. Applications are due to back to St. Mary School by February 19, 2021.
The recent diocesan clergy appointments announced by Bishop Fabbro can be found here.
Come Pray With Us
Join us each Sunday for our 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.
St. Peter's has monthly day parking available in our North parking lot. The cost is $120/month which is substantially below our competitors in the area. Please email or call at or 519-432-3475.