The Mighty One has done great things for me.
MESSAGE FROM THE BISHOP
Dear clergy and faithful,
Today a Saviour is born to you!
Who would have believed or even imagined that one day the Creator of the universe would choose to stoop down to become a tiny embryo in the womb of a young Virgin? No one could have envisaged such a scenario, because most of us naturally seek honor, power, pleasure, recognition and praise in this world. And this spirit of concupiscence that often inhabits us logically leads us to project upon God our all too human ways of conceiving and interpreting reality. Without the grace of faith, it is impossible to believe that an almighty, wise and rich God could desire to become incarnate in the womb of a poor and frail creature living in the greatest poverty. This contradicts all human logic. But precisely! The faith we have in God made flesh goes beyond human logic, for it is the fruit of the great gift of the Holy Spirit that God grants to men and women of good will!
Oh, what joy and delight it is to contemplate the look and smile of a newborn baby! So much innocence, purity, trust and total dependence upon mom and dad gently cuddling him in their arms. And see how his gaze and his smile inevitably provoke a backlash: when they see him smile, their loved ones smile and rejoice! Seeing him stretch out his arms, they in turn want to take him and rock him in their arms. Hearing him babbling at the semblance of words or uttering little cries that are difficult to decode, they get down to his level and mutter in return all sorts of soft and sometimes incomprehensible words. Seeing him playing by himself, they bend over and sit down close by so as not to impress him too much with their height and to show him that he is no longer alone. Seeing him cry, they become sad but comforting and compassionate towards him.
Do you see how the little child manages to attract our attention, our emotions and to arouse our joie de vivre? See how it draws us into a movement of mutual love and communication. See how it succeeds in giving full meaning to our sometimes dull and aimless lives. Ah, how great is the mystery of the child who sleeps peacefully in front of us and who in turn leads us to dream.
That’ s what the mystery of Christmas is all about! It’s the Child God who stoops down to become a toddler in front of us, holding out his arms and his tiny hands, looking at us and smiling tenderly. As if he were saying out loud: “Take me in your arms, please! I so need your tenderness, your affection, your words of comfort and consolation. Allow me to enter your heart as real parents do with their beloved child? See my abasing in the cradle of the poor grotto of Bethlehem. Do you want to stoop down in turn to take the time to play with me, to show me that I am no longer alone? Do you wish to enter with confidence into the great mystery of my infinite love that is revealed to you at Christmas?
Your Savior Jesus who loves you immeasurably!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2021 to all!
+ Guy Desrochers, C.Ss.R., Bishop of Pembroke
FROM THE DIOCESE
Grey Zone – To the Clergy and Parishes in the Ontario sector of the diocese,
On December 21st, Premier Doug Ford announced that, effective 12:01 a.m. on December 26th, the entire province will be in the “grey zone” (lockdown).
In light of this, Bishop Desrochers wishes to convey the following message:
The Bishop strongly recommends that churches remain open for personal prayer and for sacraments that can be celebrated with the allowed ten people present (including clergy). It would be possible for there to be confessions, baptisms, weddings, and funerals.
Priests may schedule Masses for those circumstances in which no more than ten people will be present. In some parishes, this will mean that weekday Masses can continue. Priests may, if they wish, multiply the number of Masses in order to allow the greatest possible number of people to attend.
For “drive-in” Masses, here is the current legislation with regard to grey zones:
Gathering in motor vehicles for religious service, rite or ceremony
- (1) This section applies with respect to gatherings for the purposes of a wedding, funeral, religious service, rite or ceremony if the persons attending the gathering, other than those conducting the service, rite or ceremony, do so in a motor vehicle.
(2) Clause 1 (1) (d) does not apply to a person who attends a gathering to which this section applies if the person follows all of the following precautions that apply to the person:
- Each person attending the gathering, other than the persons conducting the service, rite or ceremony, must remain within a motor vehicle that is designed to be closed to the elements, except,
- where necessary to use a washroom, or
- as may otherwise be necessary for the purposes of health and safety.
- The driver of a motor vehicle must ensure that it is positioned at least two metres away from other motor vehicles.
- A person who ordinarily uses a non-motorized vehicle because of their religious belief and who attends the gathering must remain within their non-motorized vehicle except where necessary to use a washroom or as may otherwise be required for health and safety, and paragraph 2 applies with necessary modifications.
Christmas holiday schedule
The Chancery will be closed from Wednesday, December 23rd, to Friday, January 1st, inclusively. It will re-open on Monday, January 4th. The staff at the Diocesan Administration Office takes this opportunity to offer you and your family a Christmas Season filled with peace and joy!
Email Scam Targeting Pastors and Parishioners
Please be aware that there is a scam asking parishioners for money transfers, gift cards or other personal financial assistance. The scam uses either the hacked email address of a priest, or a phony email address that looks like the priest’s genuine email account, and asks parishioners for financial assistance of some kind. Often the email asks for immediate assistance and indicates that there is an emergency. Please be aware that no priest will ever ask a parishioner for money, gift cards or personal financial assistance by email or other means. Contact your pastor if you receive a suspicious message and you have concerns or if you have any doubt as to the validity of the content of a message. At this time of year, there are many scams in operation, preying on people’s good nature and the busyness of this season.
FROM THE CCCB
CCCB Issues Response on Recent Legislative Decisions Relative to Bill C-7 – Friday, December 18 2020
Following the adoption of Bill C-7, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying) at Third Reading in the House of Commons and the announcement by the Superior Court of Québec to grant a two-month extension to the federal government on its deadline to legislate, the Executive Committee of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) issued a response calling on legislators to “… conscientiously rethink this current legislation and the amendments being considered in advance of the formal parliamentary review. This would demonstrate accountability and transparency, ensuring the trust that Canadians should have in their members of Parliament. It is not too late to reconsider Canada’s approach to euthanasia and assisted suicide, in order to ensure an ethical response, one that promotes the inherent dignity of each human person when faced with the profound questions surrounding what it means to be human, the quality of life, human suffering, death and dying.”
Journey Through Advent – A Video Series to Introduce and Reflect on the Season
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) announced a new online weekly video series created to help Canadian Catholic faithful to prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Entitled Journey through Advent, the series is a joint project involving the CCCB’s Office national de liturgie, the National Liturgy Office, and the Office for Evangelization and Catechesis. The initiative was developed as a way, through the modern method of video messaging, to offer a resource that enriches faith formation during a time of joyful anticipation for the coming of the Lord and Saviour into the world. (Read more…)
Message from Pope Francis for the 54th World Day of Peace, January 1
The message can be found here.
Pope Francis Proclaims “Year of St. Joseph”
With the Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis recalls the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To mark the occasion, the Holy Father has proclaimed a “Year of Saint Joseph” 8 December 2020, to 8 December 2021. (Read full article here)
CONFIRMATION PREPARATION a problem this year?
Consider two options for online Confirmation preparation. Simple and cost effective. Both are excellent programs to help young people prepare and be strengthened for their mission in the Catholic Church. Please visit https://www.catholiconline.school/pages/confirmation or https://www.hopestone.ca/confirmation. For more information contact Deacon Adrien Chaput at 613 732-7933 ext. 206.
MARRIAGE, FAMILY, YOUTH & YOUNG ADULTS
Parishes…..looking for ways to reach out and minister to youth during the pandemic?
LIFETEEN has new resources for youth grade 6-8 and 9-12 that are all online and virtual to help keep teens engaged in their faith and connected to the Church. Contact Yvette Bourque at 613 732-7933 ext. 208 for more information. I would be happy to discuss the options that are available.
Christmas Mass schedules
Many parishes are changing their Mass schedules this Christmas because of the COVID-19 restrictions. Please check your parish bulletin for Mass times.
Holy Mass – Extraordinary Form
Holy Mass in the extraordinary form is offered at St Columbkille Cathedral on the first Saturday of each month at 9 a.m. These Latin Masses are in the form of the Liturgy as it was celebrated at the time of the Second Vatican Council—the same form which nourished the faith of many of our ancestors. English translations of the entire Mass are provided. Next Mass – postponed until further notice due to the new governmental restrictions.
Marianhill Lottery 2021 supports the “Building Care” Redevelopment Project
Marianhill 2021 Lottery tickets are now available through to January 31, 2021. Lottery funds go towards the purchase of furniture and equipment for the new building. Each $25 ticket provides you with 69 chances to win. Call Marianhill to order 613 735-6838 ext. 4306 OR download ticket order form at https://marianhill.ca/news/. Tickets will be mailed via Canada Post. Thank you for supporting the Marianhill Foundation!
A Love That Never Changes (By Miriam Stulberg, member of Madonna House)
I doubt if anyone in North America or Europe has ever experienced, as we did that year in Magadan, a Christmas so totally devoid of advertising glitter. After the Russian Revolution, religious feasts had been replaced by secular holidays. Traditions such as the Christmas tree, gift-giving, and family gatherings had been transferred to New Year’s, which then became the most popular celebration of the year. Orthodox Christmas didn’t fall until January seventh, in accordance with the Julian calendar, and had only recently been reinstated as a public holiday. (Read more….)