Pastor's Blog

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DISPENSATION FROM MASS ATTENDANCE LIFTED!

Effective Saturday, 4 June 2022, the Vigil of Pentecost, attendance at the Sunday Mas will once again become obligatory for all Catholics.

As always has been the case, anyone with a "serious" reason or "grave cause" is excused from this obligation.  Some reasons include:

-anyone who is sick, symptomatic or recently exposed to the coronavirus;

-anyone with serious health risk factors that require them to avoid public spaces;

-anyone who cares for someone who is sick;

-anyone who cannot attend Mass, through no fault of their own, because of frailty or old age.

The above information is from the Decree issued by Archbishop Richard Smith on Sunday, May 8, 2022.

Fr. Leo Hofmann, Pastor

11 May 2022

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LAST (MINUTE) RITES

In the old days, when someone was dying, the priest would be called.  He would administer the Sacrament known as Extreme Unction (Last Anointing).  Sometimes called the Last Rites, it was celebrated at the last minute—or close to it.  Sometimes the person might recover, however the person usually died shortly after the Sacrament was administered.  (Sometimes I think that the person died [of fright] because that is what a visit from the priest meant for many sick people and their families.) 

How things have changed!  While the priest is rightly called when someone is close to dying, the Church encourages people not to wait until the last minute.  In fact, the Church states:  The priest should ensure that the abuse of delaying the celebration of the sacrament does not occur, and that the celebration takes place while the sick person is capable of active participation.  The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick should be celebrated only when a Christian’s health if seriously impaired by sickness or old age. 

There is more to the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick than I have written in the entry.  Just don’t make it the last minute rites. 

Fr. Leo Hofmann

Pastor

22 April 2022

Friday of the Octave of Easter

(Earth Day)

 

 


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NOTIONS—AND MAYBE MORE

Part 2

(For an explanation of the word ‘NOTIONS’ check out the Blog on 5 April 2022.)

1.      “I know you are busy, but ______________________.”  I dread such an introduction in a voicemail, a phone conversation or an in-in-person conversation.  What I hear is something like, “I know you are busy and I want to make you busier.” It is much better to ask in a more direct manner.  “Would you be able to do such and such?”  Besides that, I am always busy.  Isn’t everybody? 

2.     During this pandemic, the Bishops of Alberta gave a dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.  This means that during this pandemic it is not a sin to miss Mass on Sundays, as well as on Christmas and Mary, the Mother of God (January 1).  I still meet people who think it is a sin to miss Mass during the pandemic.  It is not a sin to miss as long as the dispensation remains in place. 

3.      Regarding 2. Above:  Of course, I meet people who didn’t think it is was a sin to miss Mass before the pandemic. 

4.     Please don’t come to confession and then tell the priest you haven’t sinned.  The only people we believe who did not sin were Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

Fr. Leo Hofmann

Pastor

Thursday of the Lord’s Supper

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NOTIONS—AND MAYBE MORE

Some of the best radio or tv programs are spoofs of more serious productions.  A spoof of the rather weighty program Ideas was on the Royal Canadian Air Farce.  If my memory serves me well the spoof was called Notions:  Things Too Insignificant for Ideas.

Here are some notions that might not rate a whole blog entry however they might be helpful to some people at some time. 

1.      The approved translation of the Bible we use for Liturgies is the New Revised Standard Version.  Other versions are not to be used except for Masses with Children.

2.      The Words of Remembrance (commonly know as a Eulogy) are to be brief (5 minutes long).  Fr. Leo says 5-7 minutes are OK.  Longer than that is way too long!   It is a bit like the episode of All in the Family when Edith and Archie Bunker went to Edith’s high school reunion.  One of the attendees says, “So Edith, what have you been doing with yourself these last 30 years?”  Edith replies, “Right after graduation I went on a week’s vacation to my cousins.”  Edith goes on and on and on telling every detail of her life. That is not what Words of Remembrance or a Eulogy are supposed to do.  Those who are listening should be left with a sense of ‘I would like to know more’ instead of ‘when will this be over?’ 

3.      The word ‘eulogy refers to speech or writing that offers high praise.  At a funeral we gather to offer high praise to God not to the person who has died. 

4.      Did you ever notice how many times the person giving the Words of Remembrance says, “I”?  If the person says, “I” more than a couple of times, the Words are probably more about the speaker than the dead person. 

5.      Some might be surprised to learn that I do not sit around waiting for emails to arrive.  Nor am I always able to answer them right away.

6.      The same goes for phone messages. 

7.      Sometimes people walk into the office area and without being invited go down the hall to my office.  Imagine doing that at a physician’s or lawyer’s office. 

Fr. Leo Hofmann

Pastor

5 April 2022


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REFERENCE LETTER

(Also known as a Pastoral Reference)

(This is an updated version of the Blog published on 18 November 2021.) 

At various times of the year, I receive requests for (Pastoral) Reference Letters by those applying for teaching or administrative positions in Catholic Schools.  I meet in person with each individual making such a request.  I ask a variety of questions.  Depending upon the results of the meeting I may or may not write a Reference Letter.

I have expectations of the individuals requesting Reference Letters: 

1.      The individual regularly attends Mass on Sundays and other Holy Days of Obligation (Christmas and Mary, Mother of God).

2.     The individual is a registered member of Good Shepherd Parish.  This means that the person is on the parish list.  If the applicant does not know if he or she is registered, the person can call the parish office and ask.  (If the applicant is living in the home of his/her parents, the applicant needs to be registered using his/her own name.)

3.     The individual is presently involved in a parish ministry.  While I am well aware of the workload of post-secondary students, some ministries do not require a great deal of time. 

4.     The individual is a fully-initiated Catholic.  The means that the person has been baptised, confirmed and has received Communion in the Catholic Church. 

So why do I have the above expectations?  I am asked to write in the reference that the individual is a practicing Catholic.  If a person does not attend Mass on a regular basis, is not a registered member of the Parish, is not involved in a parish ministry and is not a fully-initiated Catholic, how can I give a positive Reference?  An individual planning a career in Catholic Schools needs to start working on his/her faith life long before the end of the person’s studies. In other words, waiting until a (Pastoral) Reference Letter is needed is too late for this school year and most likely for the upcoming school year. 

Fr. Leo F. Hofmann, B.Ed., M.Div., M.A.

Pastor

3 April 2022

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WHAT HAPPENED?

I will tell you what happened.  I accidentally wiped out almost all of my blog entries.  So what will happen now?  While I won't necessarily be starting all over, I will try to upload some entries from copies that have been made.  Some of the out of date Covid-19 entries will not make it back to these pages.  Of course, I will write some new ones.  Somehow it is appropriate this has happened in Lent.  

Fr. Leo Hofmann,

31 March 2022

GODPARENTS

If I had a child I would want the very best for my child.  Some things might be limited because of finances, illness or other conditions.  Such is life.

There is one thing that is non-negotiable.  Faith would be non-negotiable.  I would want my child to be the best Catholic.  It is true that my child will make decisions about the practice of the Catholic faith when reaching the age of adulthood.  To help my child make the best decisions possible I would want to give my child the best foundation possible.

One aspect of the foundation is the godparents.  I would want the best possible godparents for my child.  The godparents would need to be good examples of what it means to be Catholic. 

I would ask only those who are fully initiated members of the Catholic Church.  This means they have been baptized and have received Eucharist and Confirmation in the Catholic Church.

They would attend Mass on Sundays and on Christmas and New Year’s.

If married, the godparents would be married in the Catholic Church.  If single, a godparent would not be in a common-law or “living together” situation. 

Because being a godparent is an adult commitment, the godparents would be sixteen years of age or older.  While not required, I would want the godparents to show their own baptismal commitment by sharing their time, talent and treasure with a Catholic parish community.

So why are there many necessary qualities to be godparents?  If a child is to grow up to be the best possible Roman Catholic, the child must have examples of practicing Catholics.  While there are many good persons only Catholics can model and pass on the Catholic religion.

Fr. Leo Hofmann

24 October 2019

Each time we participate in the Mass, we pray for change.

In the Eucharistic Prayer, we pray that the bread and wine change into the Body and Blood of Christ. Eucharistic Prayer II, for example, says, 

“Make holy, therefore, these gifts we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall, so that they may become for us the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

We ask God to send the Holy Spirit upon the bread and wine. A word that describes this invocation of the Holy Spirit is "Epiclesis." 

We believe that in the Eucharistic Prayer the bread and wine are changed. In the Eucharistic Prayer, we also pray for another change. We pray that we change. This takes place in the memorial-offering (Anamnesis and Oblation).

We ask the Holy Spirit to come on all those who share in Communion. We ask the Holy Spirit to bring us into unity. This is a second Epiclesis.

Eucharistic Prayer II states this in the following way: 

“Humbly we pray that, partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, we may be gathered into one by the Holy Spirit.”

 Change the bread and wine! Change us too!

 - Fr. Leo Hofman, October 21, 2019