Pastor's Blog

 

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MY DESK CALENDAR

            I like my desk calendar.  It is not the calendar with the list of Masses, Confessions, Confirmation Celebrations (one completed, eight more to go), Baptisms (Seven from Sept. 2 through 6), First Communion Masses (Seven), appointments, and meetings among other activities. That calendar is work.

            The calendar that I like has a page for each day.  On each page is a comic.  Sometimes the comics are of the laugh out loud variety.  On other days they are worth a chuckle.  Some mornings I think, “Hmm.”  There are some comics that I don’t get at all and ask out loud, “Huh?”

            During this time in our history we need things in our lives which bring some joy if even for a few moments.  Will cartoons and comics change the pandemic?  They probably won’t.  On the other hand, comics and other things can make us laugh and forget, if even for a moment, the challenges we face.

Fr. Leo

10 September 2020

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THE FIRST TO KNOW!

If you read this Blog you will be the among first to know that effective Saturday 3 October 2020, the Sunday Mass times will be changed.  The Masses will be celebrated as follows:

 

SATURDAY         4:00 PM

SUNDAY             9:00 AM

                        11:00 AM

Please remember to sign up in order to attend Mass.  With the continuing COVID-19 restrictions we ask that you sign up and attend one Mass per month.  If you are unable to attend the Mass for which you have signed up because of illness or a change in plans, please go to SignUpGenius on the parish website and make the change.  You may call the parish office during office hours.  Thank you.

 

Effective immediately, those who have not signed up will be asked to wait outside in a designated area.  This will allow for the orderly intake of those who have signed up followed by those who have not signed up.

 

Effective Saturday 3 October 2020, the Sacrament of Penance, also known as Confession or Reconciliation, is celebrated on Saturdays from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM.  On occasion, there will be no confessions due to a wedding or other event.  (There is wedding on Saturday 10 October.)  The Church must be emptied of all people between 2:30 PM and 3:30 PM to allow for proper cleaning and sanitizing.

 

Masks covering the nose, mouth and chin must be worn in the Church except when consuming the Host.  Readers may remove their masks during the proclamation of the readings.  The priest may remove his mask during parts of the Mass.  He must wear a mask before Mass, during the distribution of Communion and after Mass.

 

Thank you for your sharing and sacrifice during this challenging time.

 

Fr. Leo

6 September 2020

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

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SHARING AND SACRIFICE

Part II

                In the previous blog I wrote about the role of sharing and sacrifice during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Sharing and sacrifice is of particular importance when discussing the Sunday Mass.  I stated that not everyone may expect to attend Mass every Sunday because of the various pandemic precautions. (“In order to assure fair and equitable access to Sunday Mass for parishioners who would like to attend Mass, parishioners will not be able to attend Mass every weekend.”)  The need for safe physical distance at Good Shepherd Parish and at every Catholic Parish has greatly reduced the seating capacity of our worship spaces.

                In order to have fair and equitable access to Sunday Mass, parishioners are requested to register for a particular Mass by 1) using the SignUpGenius logo on the parish website or 2) by phoning the parish office during regular office hours.

1)  What happens if a person who has signed up on SignUpGenius is unable to attend Mass due to illness or a change in plans?  Go to SignUpGenius on the parish website.  Click on SignUpGenius.  Partway down the page is the following:  

       Already signed up?  You can change your sign up. 

       Click on the underlined on SignUpGenius and delete the appropriate attendance

       information.  

 

       Making an effort to change your sign up for Mass allows for other parishioners to

       attend Mass.  Thank you.

 

2)  If a person who has signed up by phoning the office is unable to attend due to illness or a change in plans, please call during office hours to delete the person’s name.  If the office is closed, leave a message on the voicemail.  While the office staff might not receive the message until after the Mass is over, your efforts show concern for others.  Thank you. 

 

             Some ask why registration is required for Mass attendance.  One reason is COVID-19 contact tracing.  The second reason is to make sure we have enough spaces to allow for safe physical distancing.  The third reason is to allow for proper Mass preparation.  I only consecrate the number of Hosts required for the particular Mass.  (A previous Blog explains why using Consecrated Hosts from the Tabernacle for Communion at Mass is a very questionable practice.)

               

                As we continue through these challenging times, please be assured that your sharing and sacrifice is much appreciated.  While people often ask and pray that God will give them Patience, during COVID-19 we have many opportunities to practice the virtue of Patience.

 

Fr. Leo

3 September 2020

Memorial of St. Gregory the Great, Pope, Doctor of the Church

 

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SHARING AND SACRIFICE

One of the things that most parents teach their children from an early age is to share with others.  Children are taught to share food, to share toys and so forth. 

As children grow they learn about others who do not have adequate food, clothing and shelter.  The children are taught about the need to give up some of what they have for the good of others.  In sharing with others, children learn about sacrifice.  Through the rest of their growing up years and right through adulthood, people share with others and make sacrifices for the common good. 

During our present reality, all people are called to share and to sacrifice in ways that are different than before.  Catholics are asked to share and to make sacrifices regarding attendance at the Sunday Mass.   

There are restrictions in place to keep people safer during this COVID-19 pandemic.  As a result all parishes have a greatly reduced seating capacity.  Before the pandemic, some Masses at Good Shepherd had more than 600 people in attendance.  In order to practice safe distancing (2 metres), Good Shepherd Church now has seating for 50 people.  Due to the need for specific volunteers and staff (including the priest) the total attendance may not be more than 60 people.

In order to assure fair and equitable access to Sunday Mass for parishioners who would like to attend Mass, parishioners will not be able to attend Mass every weekend.  This is where sharing and sacrifice regarding Sunday Mass come into the picture.  In order to allow more parishioner to attend Mass on an occasional basis, we ask that during these pandemic times, parishioners sign up for and attend one Mass per month.  For many Catholics setting aside the custom of attending Mass each weekend is difficult.  While Sunday Mass is important, during the pandemic the obligation to attend Sunday Mass has been suspended by the Archbishop.

In a YouTube video entitled, Announcing the Gradual Return to Publically Celebrated Mass (26 May 2020), Archbishop Richard Smith states, “If you are tempted to go to a parish other than your own in search of Mass, please resist the temptation. . . It will be challenging enough for parishes to provide for their own parishioners in these restricted circumstances.”  An updated document from the Archdiocese (3 June 2020) states:  “The faithful are encouraged to limit their attendance to their regular parish church to avoid undue pressure on other parishes and to exercise charity and fairness to parishioners.”

So how does a person sign up for Mass?  There are two ways:  1) go to the Good Shepherd Catholic Church website.  Click on the SignUpGenius logo to begin the process or 2) for those who do not have the internet or who are having difficulty, contact the parish office during regular office hours (Monday through Thursday 8:00 AM—3:45 PM.  Starting September 11, the office will be open Monday through Friday 8:00 AM—3:45 PM.)

Thank you for your sharing and your sacrifice during these challenging times.

Fr. Leo

2 September 2020

 

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SO WHAT HAVE WE DISCOVERED?

Part IV

                 We have discovered, or more correctly re-discovered, the importance of not missing any part of the Mass. 

                Some of us might remember a time when, in order to fulfill the Sunday obligation, a person had to be present for ‘OCC’.  What is ‘OCC’?  This is the abbreviation for Offertory, Consecration and (priest’s) Communion.  So why did people stay for the priest’s Communion?  For a long period of our history most people did not receive Communion on a regular basis.  Staying for the priest’s Communion recognized the importance of Communion even if most people very rarely received.

                While we have moved beyond such minimalism in our approach to the Mass, occasionally I am asked, “How much of the Mass can I miss and still fulfill my Sunday obligation?”  I usually respond by saying that Mass begins with the Opening Song and concludes at the end of the Concluding Rites with the response by the assembly:  “Thanks be to God.”  If a person intentionally misses any part of the Mass without a very important reason I think the person has not really participated in the Mass.  Has the obligation been fulfilled?  I doubt it.

                Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Archbishop has given a dispensation from the obligation to attend the Sunday Mass.  In other words, no one has to come to Sunday Mass until further notice.

                So how have we re-discovered the importance of not missing any part of the Mass we attend?  The guidelines make it clear that latecomers are not allowed.  The 3 June 2020 guidelines for the Reintroduction of the Public Celebration of Holy Mass (Stage One) state the following:   

                Door are to be locked until 30 minutes before Mass begins and shall remain locked throughout the duration of the Mass.

                Entrance doors should be propped open before Mass as people enter so the faithful

                do not need to touch the handles or the doors to enter. They can be closed and locked before Mass begins.

 

                The authors of the Guidelines, in showing concern for the health of those coming to Mass, the Point of Entry Volunteers and the Ushers among others, perhaps by accident have pointed to the principle of not missing any part of the Holy Mass.

 

Fr. Leo

19 August, 2020

 

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SO WHAT HAVE WE DISCOVERED?

(Part III)

         We have re-discovered the principle of not using Hosts from the Tabernacle for Communion at Mass.  At the Sunday Eucharist in many parishes, including ours, during the singing of the Lamb of God, a minister (ordinary or sometimes extraordinary) goes to the tabernacle and brings to the altar Hosts that were consecrated at one or more previous Masses.  (This is not being done during the ‘pandemic’ Masses.)  

         If the tabernacle is not to be used for Communion at a Sunday Mass, what is the purpose of the tabernacle?  The reason the Church reserves the Eucharist outside of Mass is primarily, for the administration of the Viaticum to the dying, and secondarily, Communion of the Sick, Communion outside of Mass, and adoration of Christ present in the Sacrament (see Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass, no.5).  The reserved Sacrament is not to provide a supply of Hosts to service several Masses.

            Sacrosanctum Concilium says ‘The more perfect form of participation in the Mass whereby the faithful, after the priest’s communion receive the Lord’s Body from the same sacrifice, is warmly recommended (article 55).”

            “It is most desirable that the faithful, just as the Priest himself is obliged to do, receive the Lord’s Body from hosts consecrated at the same Mass and that, in the case where this is foreseen, they partake of the chalice (cf. no. 283), so that even by means of the signs Communion may stand out more clearly as a participation in the sacrifice actually being celebrated (GIRM, no. 85).”

            Liturgy Lines, an online column from the Diocese of Brisbane, Australia, also comments on Communion from the tabernacle.  “The dynamic of the Eucharist is one continuous movement.  In the procession of gifts, the faithful present the bread and wine for the sacrifice, along with the gift of their lives, to be blessed by God and then received back as the Body and Blood of Christ when they come forward for Holy Communion.  To be fed with the Body of Christ from the tabernacle and not from what was consecrated at the Mass being celebrated breaks the connection between sacrifice and Communion.  There can be no Communion without sacrifice, and this is symbolised most clearly when we receive Communion from what we ourselves have offered (17 August 2014).”

            Liturgy Lines quotes Robert Taft, SJ.  “Distributing Holy Communion from hosts already consecrated at a previous Eucharist was totally unthinkable in the early Christian East and West.  The reason for the disapproval is obvious to anyone with Eucharistic theology.  The dynamic of the Eucharist is one continuous movement, in which the community gifts are offered, accepted by God and returned to the community to be shared as God’s gift to us, a sharing of something we receive from God and give to one another—in short, a communion.”

            Think of the dynamics of feasting.  Does the consumption of leftovers from the refrigerator have the same meaning as when everyone sat at the table, offered thanks, and then ate what was on the table?  Leftovers are nutritious and filling, however they are not the same as sitting down, giving thanks, and eating together that which is prepared for that meal. 

             Only if there is a shortage could the minister go to the tabernacle to get Hosts to distribute at Mass.  This should not be done on a regular basis otherwise the Mass could be perceived as a communion service rather than the celebration of the Eucharist.

 

Fr. Leo

23 July 2020

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SO WHAT HAVE WE DISCOVERED? 

(Part II)

            The first part of this BLOG article (10 July 2020) spoke of discoveries made at the parish level as the result of COVID-19.  In the last paragraph of the article, I stated, “There are other discoveries (or re-discoveries) we have made during these ‘COVIDIAN TIMES’.

            So what else have we discovered or re-discovered?

            We have re-discovered that it is necessary to prepare to come to Liturgy.  No longer are we able to drop in at the last minute to any Mass in any parish.  Each parish has to decide how many may attend Mass.  The guidelines on occupancy issued by the Archdiocese and Alberta Health are meant to help keep everyone safer and to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  At Good Shepherd we require persons to register online or by telephone.  A person/family must register for every Mass the person or family wants to attend.  (Registering for one Mass does not mean that a person is registered for every Mass.)         

            We have re-discovered that hospitality is not an option.  The Church building is the domus ecclesiae—the house of the Church.  As we greet people who arrive at our homes (residences), so should members of the Church be greeted when they arrive for Liturgy.  This was something rarely done at Good Shepherd in the months before the pandemic.  With the restoration of public Masses, qualified volunteers carry out various types of hospitality ministry.  While some might find the process of arriving (checking in) for Mass during these pandemic times somewhat bothersome, one thing for sure is that those arriving are being greeted by one or more persons.  The point of entry team, ushers and cleaners all have roles in making sure that coming to Mass is a reasonably safe experience.  Physical distancing (2 metres/6 feet) is a necessary and hospitable part of participating at the Eucharist.  The wearing of masks shows respect for others; that is, preventing the spreading of possible infection by the wearers. 

              We have re-discovered the role of silence before and during the Liturgy.  The silence before the Liturgy begins helps everyone prepare “themselves to carry out the sacred celebration in a devout and fitting manner.”  Silence during the “Penitential Act and again after the invitation to pray (gives time) for individuals to recollect themselves.”  Silence after a reading or the Homily allows for all to “mediate briefly on what they have heard.”  During the silence after “Communion, (all) praise God in their hearts and pray to him.”  (The quotes in this paragraph are taken from the General Instruction on the Roman Missal (GIRM), #45). 

Fr. Leo

23 July 2020

           

 

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SIXTEENTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME

YEAR A

19 JULY 2020

 

          It has been one year.  A year ago this weekend was my first as your pastor.  (Who would know what would be happening a year later?)  At the four Sunday Masses of that weekend, I told the following story: 

            There was a farmer who had only one plow horse to get him through planting time.  One day the horse broke out of the corral and ran off into the hills.  Neighbours poured in to commiserate with the man’s bad luck.  “Well, good event, bad event,” the farmer responded.  “Who knows?”

            And sure enough, a few weeks later the horse came galloping down from the hills leading a herd of wild horses straight into the open corral.  The neighbours went wild with glee.  “Well,” the old man said in quiet answer to their excited congratulations.  “Good event, bad event.  Who knows?”

            And sure enough at harvest time, the farmer’s only son and heir fell under a bucking horse he was trying to break and suffered a totally mangled leg.  The neighbours were beside themselves with distress for the aging man, whose harvest was now in danger.  “Well, good event, bad event.  Who knows?”  The old man shrugged as he saw most of his harvest lost in the field.

            Then about six weeks later, the warlord came through the valley, conscripting every young man in the village for the latest feudal war with one exception.  The warlord would not have the badly injured son of the aging farmer as part of the king’s noble army.  When his neighbours, grieving for the loss of their own sons, envied the old farmer for the presence of his son, he simply folded his hands and said, “Well, good event, bad event.  Who knows?”

            (Do I dare say about the pandemic as the farmer would say?)

            How might the gospel speak to us during these difficult times that we are facing?  There is a field with good seed and weeds.  This is about a conflict between good and evil.  The workers of the householder show concern.  “Master, did you not sow good seed in your field?”  “Where then did all these weeds come from?”  We might add, “Will the weeds win out in the end?”

            The parables reflect Jesus’ life.  He is the good seed planted among us.  Throughout his ministry his enemies sowed weeds against him.  Even some religious people, whom he wanted to win over as allies, yielded weeds.  At first evil won the day.  Jesus was crucified and died.  The story did not end there.  God raised Jesus from the dead.  Finally, despite all doubt, goodness is the end of the story.

            So what about the weeds?  The owner of the land cautions the workers who want to go out and to pull up the weeds.  The owner says, “In gathering the weeds you would uproot the wheat along with the weeds.”  Be cautious about acting too soon.  Do not be too hasty to judge.

            So from where does the evil—the weeds of life—come?  We try to protect our children from evil.  Evil can seep into our lives and can mess up even our best plans to do good in the world.  Evil has been present in the church since its very foundation.  Evils like these can discourage and derail us.  What is very clear from this parable is that God is not the source of the evil.  It is not God who sends us sickness or hard times.  It is not what some people say to us when we are burdened.  They say, “God is testing your faith.”  How do they know?

            Today’s parables remind us that someone greater than us is in charge.  There is someone who will be the final judge of the world and it will not be any of us.  We have been given time to work out the various aspects of our lives.  We have been given time until the harvest.  Do not wait until it is too late!

            As we prepare for the harvest, we are reminded that we are not on our own.  The landowner has invested a great deal in us and is truly concerned how our lives are going.  There is no doubt that there will be bountiful harvest even if right now it is hard to tell.  The bottom line of the parable is that it is about hope.  Even without overwhelming proof, we can have hope. 

            These parables are for those married couples who have hope when they go to a marriage counsellor to work through weeds in their relationships.  These parables are for those whose marriages are in danger being condemned to the weed pile and who together want to do something positive.  The parables are for those struggling with the weeds of serious illness and who have hope that God is close and is their strength.  This parable is for those trying to break a bad habit or to stop acting out on their addictions.  These stories are for those decent people who enter into the tangles and weeds of politics hoping to make a difference for the good of the community.  This parable is for those of us who know the laws of the church and try to enforce them.  We know that by strictly enforcing every law, we risk getting rid of those who appear to be weeds and who could grow in faith to produce a bountiful harvest.  Canon law says, “The Salvation of souls must be kept before our eyes.”  These parables are for those of us who find it difficult to believe that in the kingdom of God there is room for murders, sexual offenders, public officials who have violated people’s trust, and religious leaders who  have committed some shameful sins.  This parable is a reminder that all of us sinners are called to repentance so when the great harvest happens there will not be a single weed to be thrown into the fire to be burned.

            At this Eucharist we offer the struggles in which we are currently involved.   The owner, whom we call God, nourishes us with the living presence of Jesus, who was faithful to God throughout his life.  He was faithful despite the weeds that tried to choke the good that he was doing.  He appeared to be a failure but he was raised.  As we leave here at the end of Mass we go out there to take care of God’s creation—God’s field.  We are people who are well-intentioned and who face the reality of good and evil.  With Christ at our side, we can go out there to try to overcome evil and to find good even in the midst of this pandemic.   We try to produce and to be a fruitful harvest for this life and most certainly for the next.  Indeed, this is good news—a good event!

 

Fr. Leo  

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FIFTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

YEAR A

12 JULY 2020

            “Having consumed these gifts, we pray, O Lord,

            that by our participation in this mystery,

            its saving effects upon us may grow.”

            Later in this Mass, I will say those words.  When I do, most of you here will respond, “Amen.”  “Amen” is a Hebrew word which means, “so be it.”  It could also mean, “established with certainty.”  When Jesus says, “Amen, Amen, I say to you . . .” he is saying, "Truly, truly, I say to you.”  So why discuss the word, “Amen?”  We discuss the word, “Amen,” because it is a word that you say 12 or 13 times during this liturgy.  “Amen” is the chief way this assembly joins with the entire church around the world in prayer and praise.

            Now that we are reminded of the importance of the word “Amen,” let us go back to the prayer at the beginning of this homily.  “Having consumed these gifts, we pray, O Lord, that, by our participation in this mystery, its saving effects upon us may grow.”

            So what are the gifts we have consumed?  We have consumed the Body and Blood of Christ under the appearance of bread and wine.   In what mystery have we participated?  We have participated in the celebration of the paschal mystery—the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Having consumed the gifts of Jesus’ Body and Blood and participated in the paschal mystery, we pray that something happens.  We pray that we may grow in their saving effects.  We pray that we may experience God’s saving love within us.  To all that we rightly respond, “Amen!”

            So how does this prayer connect with today’s readings?  The prayer speaks of growth.  Each one of the readings, in their own ways, speaks of growth.  The rain makes the earth bring forth and sprout.  The seed that fell on good ground will yield a fruitful harvest.  The gospel tells of the seeds that grow.  The letter to the Romans uses the image of giving birth—indeed part of the growth process of each human being.  We are being reminded that we are to grow.  This is not just physical growth.  We are reminded that we are to grow in faith, hope and love.  With the help of the Body and Blood of Christ, we pray that we will one day experience the fullness of eternal life.

            One way of looking at today’s gospel is that we are the soil.  The word of God—the scriptures—is the seed that is sown.  On Sundays and other days when we gather here for liturgy, the readings are proclaimed.  The readings from the Bible are scattered on us.  Jesus gives us examples of what happens when the seed—the scriptures—fall on us.  Sometimes the word of God does not sink in.  Sometimes we hear the words, but that is all that happens.  Sometime we hear the scripture and wonder what we might do but that is where the process stops.  Sometimes when we hear the scriptures, we wonder what we might do about them and then we act upon the scriptures.  Our hearing, wondering and our acting upon the scriptures produces results.  The results could be great, pretty good or OK.  Jesus states the results in this way:  some a hundredfold, some sixty and some thirty.  Each person hearing the word of God produces results.  Each person will produce results depending upon many factors such as age, mental ability, level of education, level of commitment, type of employment, status in life and so forth. 

             “Having consumed these gifts,” is not only about receiving Communion.  “Having consumed these gifts,” is also about the scriptures.  We do not literally eat the scriptures as little ones sometimes try to do.  What we are to do is to take them in and make them part of our lives.  After all, when we hear the scriptures proclaimed in the liturgy, it is Christ himself who proclaims them to us.  Christ is real to us in Communion.  Christ is real to us in the proclamation of the scriptures. 

            It is true that the scriptures are sometimes not easy to understand.  It is true that it is not always easy to figure out how they apply to our individual lives.  It is not always easy to figure out how the Word of God applies to the life of this faith community and to the world outside of these doors.  We are not to give up.  We are invited to look at the meaning behind the text.  We are to dig to a deeper level.  We take the word of God into our hearts, we ponder, we pray, we reflect upon the Word and we produce results. 

            I hope this reflection on the prayer after communion and the readings may produce results in each of our lives and together may produce results in the life of this parish as we continue to face the difficult challenges of 2020 and beyond.  Jesus says it this way, “But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”  To that we acclaim, “So be it.”  Truly! Truly! Amen!  Amen!  AMEN!   

 

Fr. Leo

 

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SO WHAT HAVE WE DISCOVERED?

            The COVID-19 pandemic has most certainly played havoc with many aspects of our lives.  I don’t know of one person who hasn’t been affected in at least one way.  While this unending pandemic has some negative consequences, could there be any positive effects of this invisible enemy?  So what have we discovered at the parish level?

            We discovered many generous people who have continued to support Good Shepherd Parish financially even when liturgies could not be celebrated.   Thanks very much.

            We discovered that people would come to pray even for a few minutes during the week and on weekends if Good Shepherd Church was open.  Monday through Friday during office hours the church was open for prayer.  The Church was open on Saturdays during the Confession times.  On Easter Sunday the Church was open for two hours of prayer and then on the following Sundays for three hours.  [Now that a limited number of liturgies are permitted and that summer is here, hours for the Church being open are changed.  (For further information please call the office Monday through Thursday during our regular office hours.)]

            We discovered that quite a number of people just needed to talk (and still do).  That is why Rosemary Lee (Pastoral Assistant) and I were available during our special weekend hours. 

            We discovered that while I could listen to people’s issues, some need professional counselling at a deeper level than I am trained to give.  [Mercy Counselling (Catholic Social Services) at 780 391 3233 offers in depth counselling for all sorts of people.]

            We discovered that many people not only missed receiving Communion, they missed being together in community at Good Shepherd Parish.  After all ‘the Church’ refers to the people who belong to Christ.

            There are other discoveries (or re-discoveries) we have made during these ‘COVIDIAN TIMES’.  They will appear on the next BLOG entry.

Fr. Leo

10 July 2020

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FOURTEENTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME

Year A

5 July 2020

 

            “I will bless your name forever, my king and my God.”

As I reflected on the psalm during my homily preparation, a familiar tune came to mind.  (Musical notes sung.)  After many years of hearing and singing the psalm refrain for the 14th Sunday of Ordinary Time, that tune is stuck in my brain.  I wonder how many others here experienced a similar thing.  O how I wish we could sing the refrain together!  After all, when we sing we pray twice.  Because of this dreadful virus, singing as a group is very risky activity.  Today whether we silently sing in our minds and hearts or say the words out loud together, we are making a statement of loyalty to our God.

            This loyalty is not only about this life; our loyalty extends into eternal life.  “We will bless your name forever.”  In eternal life we will be able to join in song with the choirs of angels and all those who have gone before us.  In heaven sorrow and death will be no more.  Pain and tears will be no more.  In eternal life, Covid-19 will be no more!

            For the promise of eternal life, we indeed praise God.  We also praise God because God’s qualities.  God is merciful and gracious.  God is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  During these challenging days of 2020, there is something else for us to remember each and every day.  “The Lord is good to all and his compassion is over all that he has made.”

            God’s being good to all and God’s compassion over all, are important for us to believe and to remember particularly as we face this present health crisis.  God’s being good to all and God’s having compassion over all is particularly important as the ugly sin of racism continues to fester in our world, our country, our province, in our cities, in our homes, workplaces, our schools and even in our places of worship.

            We might ask why God doesn’t come charging in like a dread warrior and wipe out all evils such as Covid-19 and racism.  God could do that, however God does not often intervene in such dramatic ways.  Today we have an example of that quiet work of God in the reading from Zechariah.  “Lo, your king comes to you . . . humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”  This understated entrance by the king is a reminder that righteousness shall be victorious.  Evil will come to an end.  Peace will be among nations.  God’s dominion will be from sea to sea and in the Canadian context from sea to sea to sea.  This will not be accomplished by the usual power struggles that exist in our world today.

            So how do we respond to this God-king and Jesus Christ king of the universe?  What are we called to do when we are tired and fed up with the Covidian struggles?  What about when we experience racism or other hateful treatment by the majority?  If we treat others who are in the minority or those who are different from ourselves in bad ways what are we called to do?  What are we invited to do as baptized persons?  What are we called to do as people who supposedly have been changed at this Mass by the same Holy Spirit who changes the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ?

            Today’s gospel says what we are to do.  “Come to me,” says Jesus.  “Come to me all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens.”  “Come to me and I will give you rest.”  In our weariness of dealing with Covid-19, we come to Jesus.  While he probably won’t zap us to remove the threats caused by this virus, he invites us, in faith, to figure out how to deal with this crisis and to do the best we are able.  After all, isn’t that the kind of thing Jesus did during his life when he encountered others?  He tried to make their lives better sometimes in very small ways and on a few occasions in really big ways.  How would Jesus have us respond given our modern understanding of infection prevention and control?    

            “Come to me” and do what a true follower of mine must do.  Let go of the prejudices that divide and harm and hurt.  It must be such a burden to carry around all that hate.  Let go of the racist attitudes and actions that have been passed down from generation to generation.  “Come to me,” says Jesus, and you will find rest for your souls.  “Learn from me,” says Jesus.  Adapt the teachings of Jesus to these modern times.  Work for justice and equality.  Work to make all people’s lives less burdensome.  When we truly care for and love our fellow human beings we demonstrate that the Lord is good to all and God’s compassion is over all.  When we do as God in Christ would have us do, we truly bless God’s name forever, our king and our God.   

 

Fr. Leo

 

 

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Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ: 

            When?  Our lives are filled with the question of ‘when.’  When will Santa come?  When will I lose my baby teeth?  When will the root canal be done?  When are you going to grow up?  When will you settle down?  When are you going to get married?  When is the baby due?  When will we have more than a few days without rain?  The list is lengthy.  Now, because of Covid-19, many are asking, “When will this be over?”  When will things get back to normal whatever normal was?  When will we be able to go to school, university, or college once again?  When will I be able to get my job back?  When can we stop wearing masks?  The list of Covid-19 questions is long and never ending.  I too ask some Covidian questions.  When may we celebrate the Sunday Eucharist as it is supposed to be celebrated?  When may I go to my Mom’s seniors lodge and greet her with a hug and a kiss on the cheek?  When will I get to hold my first great great nephew?

            In the midst of our many questions about ‘when’, we are once again reminded to focus on God.  How about God’s compassion?  God cherishes us.  God soothes us.  God has a gentle attitude of mind.  In other words, God is like a loving parent.  It is as if God says to us, “There, there, you’ll be alright.”

            While there are times when we might not think God to be a God of compassion, it is exactly in those (and these) difficult times that we need to remember.  While we might remember parts of scripture where God is seen as being like a dread warrior without any compassion for the evil doers, we are invited to remember the times when God is compassionate.  In the story of the hospitable couple in the reading from Kings we are reminded to be open to God in the stranger.  We are reminded to receive signs of fruitfulness and life in our own dwelling places.  Who knows what will happen? 

            We have other examples of God’ compassion in what some call the ‘Christ event’.  The incarnation of Jesus in the womb of his mother was brought about by the Virgin Mary welcoming the Holy Spirit into her home.  The Word becoming flesh among us (on the first Christmas) is a singular historical event.  The Lord continues to live and to be active in the midst of our lives.  The Lord continues to transform bread and wine into living Bread and Wine to feed us on our trek through this life to eternal life.  This same Lord present among us makes us children of the light through Baptism.

            We are constantly in the presence of God’s merciful and fruitful love.  The challenge for many of us, especially during difficult times, is to accept that presence and to be filled with gratitude and zeal.  If we accept all of that, there is something more.   We cannot keep this to ourselves.  As adopted children of God through Baptism we are to live in better ways our relationships with others—all others.  This dismissal at the end of Mass tells us this:  “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord,” or “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.”  To that dismissal the assembly responds, “Thanks be to God.”  “Thanks be to God” for the commission to go out there and to try to make a difference through living the good news of Jesus Christ.

               So how do we live the call of God and reach other to others particularly during these ‘Covidian’ times?  See how we do that here.  While for safety reasons many aspects of our gathering here have changed, we still are able to show hospitality and welcome.  While we ministers and volunteers may be masked all the time or for a great amount of time, we can show welcome through our words, our tone of voice and the ‘smile’ wrinkles around our eyes when our smiles cannot be seen.  When we think about it, during these times each person or family group coming here for Eucharist is greeted.  That is one gift of these strange times. 

            As a parish and a gathered assembly at each Mass, we are blessed by the people of God who have entered this sacred place.  The process during these Covid-19 times from pre-registration for Mass to the sacrifices of time and talent of the volunteer ministers to attendance in safer numbers with a 2 metre physical distancing to the wearing of masks is a sign of our caring—God’s caring—for God’s people.  All those who cannot be here because of age, medical condition, job, situation in life or the need to protect vulnerable loved ones is also a sign of blessing.  Whether we are here or at home in these days, we are and can be signs of Christ’s light to others. 

            Yes, many of us ask ‘when’ questions these days.  When will we know all the answers?  Some we will never know in this life.  We will have to wait until we all get to heaven.  Then will we find out all the answers?  Possibly.  On the other hand we might no longer care.  Why is that?  There is an old spiritual song that might tell us why.  “When we all get to heaven what a day of rejoicing that will be.  When we all see Jesus we’ll sing and shout the victory.”     

 

Fr. Leo

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

28 June 2020  

 

CALL ME MAYBE

I wish Carly Rae Jepsen would have spoken with me before she wrote the song, “Call me maybe.”  The song has a great beat and interesting lyrics.  All types of people have done lip sync versions of the song.  So why do I wish the composer had called me first?  I would have asked her to write a song with the title, ‘CALL ME NOW!’ 

While it happens occasionally over the years, it has happened a lot more during these last months or as I say, during these ‘Covidian’ times.  What is it?  Quite a few people have started preparations (paperwork) for weddings and have not told us at Good Shepherd that the wedding has been cancelled or postponed.  If you have arranged for your wedding at Good Shepherd or have begun paperwork here for your wedding to take place at another Catholic Church and you have decided to cancel or postpone your wedding, CALL ME NOW.  There is no ‘maybe’ about it.  If you have decided on a new date, CALL ME NOW to see if the new date is available.  If you hope to be married at Good Shepherd in the future and have not yet had an appointment with me, note that the Archdiocese of Edmonton asks for at least one year’s notice.    CALL ME NOW!   Here's my number:  780 487 7765.

Fr. Leo Hofmann

23 June 2020

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COMPLAINING AGAIN!

A young man decided to enter a monastery. He joined one particularly strict order. The Abbot (head monk) told him, as he began his training, that they were sworn to TOTAL silence. The monks could not speak one word at all. However, every ten years, they would be permitted to speak two words.  .After 10 years of total silence, the Abbot indicated it was now time for the monk to speak his two words. The monk said, “Bed hard!” And then he resumed his silent study and work.  .Another 10 years passed and the Abbot again indicated it was time for him to speak his two words. The monk said, “Food bad!” And then he resumed his silent study and work.  Another 10 years passed and the Abbot again indicated it was time for the monk to speak his two words. The monk said, “I quit!”  The Abbot shook his head and said, “I knew this was coming. You’ve done nothing but complain for the past 30 years!”

I must admit that this old joke has been told with many variations.  Somehow it came to mind as I thought about these ‘Covidian’ times.  I am reminded that instead of complaining about everyone and everything, why not try to find three (3) good things that happen to me each day.  How about today?  There are robins singing, hares sitting quietly and not eating my tulips and no rain at this moment.  Thank you God for the little things.

 

Fr. Leo

16 June 2020

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FARMERS DAY

When I was younger the second Friday in June was a holiday from school.  It was more than a holiday from school.  The second Friday in June was Farmer’s Day.  Many rural communities had a parade, softball or baseball games, games of chance, home-made food and all sorts of things to celebrate the importance of farmers.  While many communities no longer observe the second Friday in June as a holiday there are remnants of this important day in some of our rural communities.

Although my Mom and Dad did not farm, farming is very much part of my heritage.  Mom’s parents, brothers and sister all lived on farms.  (I have worked on their farms doing all sorts of jobs in chicken coops, pig barns, cow barns and in the field.)  We grew up knowing how important farmers were to our family’s life and to everyone’s lives.  On this day, in particular, I give thanks for my farmer relatives who often supplied Mom, Dad and us ten kids with wonderful potatoes, strawberries, raspberries, pork and beef.  (In summer, Grandpa always kept us in fresh rhubarb which is a food I personally am not sure I can call 'wonderful'.)

To be a good farmer requires many talents and ingenuity.  To be a farmer requires a great deal of patience and hope that next year will be better.  So whether today is a holiday or not, we give thanks for farmers, ranchers and all who raise food to feed the world.

Saints Isidore and Maria—Patrons of farmers, farm workers, field hands, and ranchers, and rural communities--pray for them.

Saints Isidore and Maria—pray for us.

Happy Farmer’s Day everyone!

Fr. Leo

12 June 2020

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PAGES AND PAGES!!

Pages and pages!  That is how I describe the amount of information received from the Archdiocese regarding the 23 May 2020 GUIDELINES FOR THE REINTRODUCTION OF THE PUBLIC CELEBRATION OF HOLY MASS.  There are almost 21 full pages.  Add to that Alberta Health Services more than seven pages on GUIDANCE FOR PLACES OF WORSHIP (23 May 2020) and we have about 28 pages of rules, regulations and requirements.  More pages have since arrived.  There are the Occupational Health and Safety—Hazard Assessment Analysis pages (2) and the Alberta GUIDANCE FOR WEARING OF NON-MEDICAL FACE MASKS FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC pages (2).  More pages are sure to arrive. All of this is to help people to be able to attend in safer ways a public celebration of the Mass.  Not everyone is able to come to Mass whenever.  There is a maximum of Fifty (50) people and that includes me.  Please check the website for information.  One thing is for sure:  there will be more and more pages.

Fr. Leo Hofmann

4 June 2020

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THE SMILING POPE

In 1978 we had the ‘Smiling Pope’.  He died after only 33 days after being elected Pope.  Cardinal Albino Luciani chose to be called ‘John Paul’ after this two predecessors:  John XXIII and Paul VI.

Recently Pope Francis approved a foundation promoting the example and works of Pope John Paul.  I must admit that I do not know a great deal about Pope John Paul I.  I own a copy of a book written by him before he was elected Pope and Bishop of Rome.  The title of the book is Illustrisimi:  Letters from Pope John Paul I. Translated by William Weaver. Little, Brown and Company, 1978).

Pope John Paul I said some very profound things in his 'letters' to various people.  Over the next weeks I will give some examples.  For now I will tell a story John Paul I wrote in a ‘letter’ to St. Therese de Lesieux.  The story is about how “public and social charity can also be ordinary (page 151).”

“There is a story about an Irishman who, having died suddenly, approached the divine tribunal and was considerably worried:  the balance sheet of his life looked fairly poor to him.  There was a line waiting in front of him, so he watched and listened.  After having consulted the great ledger, Christ said to the first in line:  “I see that I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat.  Good for you!  Step into Paradise!  To the second:  “I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.”  To the third:  “I was in prison and you visited me.”  And so on.  As each one was sent to Paradise, the Irishman made an examination of his conscience and found cause to fear:  he had never given anything to eat or to drink, he had never visited the sick or the imprisoned.  His turn came, and he was trembling as he look at Christ examining the ledger.  But now Christ raises His eyes and said to him:  There’s not much written here.  However, you also did something:  I was sad, dejected, humiliated:  you came, you told me some jokes, made me laugh, and restored my courage.  Paradise!”

Pope John Paul I goes on to say, “This is a joke, I agree, but it underlines the fact that no form or charity should be neglected or underestimated (page 152).”

Fr. Leo

18 May 2020

 

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THE ‘MARY’ MONTH OF MAY

(From the) Litany of Loreto

Holy Mary

Holy Mother of God

Mirror of Justice

Throne of Wisdom

Tower of Ivory

Ark of the Covenant

Gate of Heaven

Morning star

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Regina Caeli  (Queen of Heaven)

Twelfth century hymn

Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia.

For Christ, your Son and Son of God,

has risen as he said, alleluia.

Pray to God for us, alleluia.

Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.

For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

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Third Century Prayer

We turn to you for protection,

holy Mother of God.

Listen to our prayers

and help us in our needs.

Save us from every danger,

glorious and blessed Virgin.

 

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THE HAPPY LIFE

In 2009, while on sabbatical at the University of Berkeley, I audited a class entitled, “The Happy Life.”  The class covered what different philosophers said about a happy life.

One philosopher in particular caught my eye.  Boethius of Dacia said, “And because the highest possible good for man is happiness, it follows that human happiness consists of knowing the true, doing the good and taking delight in both.”  Every once in a while I remember the underlined part and try to apply it in my life—COVID-19 or no COVID-19.

Fr. Leo

13 May 2020

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OPERA!

Opera!  What images came into your mind as you read the word ‘opera’? I must admit that sometimes I think of the Bugs Bunny cartoons set to classical music with alternate words.  There are some of us who know all or some of the lyrics of the 'Rabbit of Seville' or 'What’s Opera Doc?' There is the aria with Bugs as Leopold conducting an opera singer and an orchestra.  If you are not familiar with these ‘operas’ they are available on YouTube.

Anyway, I digress from my point of this blog entry.  While listening to some of my CDs, I came across one by a group called Pink Martini.  A song from the opera La forza del destino is on the CD.  The music is by Giuseppe Verdi and the lyrics are by Francesco Maria Piave.  The song is La Vierge Degli Angeli.   The version by Pink Martini is available on YouTube as are many other versions.

So why this song you might be wondering?  With May being a month when many people honour Mary in a special way, the words of the following translation of the song might bring hope and comfort in this very challenging time of our lives.

May the virgin of the angels

Surround me with her mantle 

And may the holy angel of God

Watch over and protect me

 

May the virgin of the angels

Protect me, protect me

The angel of God

Protect me

The Angel of God

Protect me

And protect me.

 

While the song uses the word ‘me’, it could also say ‘us’.  ‘Watch over and protect us . . .’

 

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

 

30 April 2020

 

 

 

 

 

THE COW IN THE PARKING LOT

As many of you have heard, I have a great many books.  As I unpacked them I found books I forgot I had.  One of the books is, The Cow in the Parking Lot:  A Zen Approach to Overcoming Anger (Workman Publishing Company, 2010).  The authors are Leonard Scheff and Susan Edmiston.  The book comes at anger and life from a Buddhist perspective however, many of the ideas about anger can be used by any person.

So why is the book named after a cow in a parking lot?  Here’s why.

            You are at the grand opening of a new shopping mall on the edge of the town.  You’ve been driving around looking for a parking space for ten minutes.  At last, right in front of you a car pulls out of a spot.  You hit your turn signal and wait as the car backs out.  Suddenly, from the other direction, comes a Jeep that pulls into the space.  Not only that, but when you honk, the driver gets out, smirks, and gives you the finger.  Are you angry?

            Now change the scene ever so slightly.  Instead of a brash Jeep driver, a cow walks into the space from the other direction and settles down in the middle of it.  When you honk, she looks up and moos but doesn’t budge.  Are you angry?

 

With everyone living in such close quarters these days, this book might be helpful.  Even if a person decides not to buy the book, this contemporary Zen parable helps us look at anger from a different perspective.  Yes, there is righteous anger, however most anger is not.  So the next time someone turns into a parking space we might want, we might think of the cow in the parking lot.  The cow in the parking lot might help us while driving on the Anthony Henday, while waiting for the bathroom, while dealing with people who refuse to social distance and other similar realities of this ‘COVIDIAN’ life.

Fr. Leo

 

HAPPINESS

With so many families spending so much, much more time together in their homes than they usually do, I am reminded of this story by Anthony De Mello, SJ.

The story has the title ‘Happiness’.*

 

“I am in desperate need of help—or I’ll go crazy.  We’re living in a single room—my wife, my children and my in-laws.  So our nerves are on edge, we yell and scream at one another.  The room is a hell.”

 

“Do you promise to do whatever I tell you?” said the Master gravely.

 

“I swear I shall do anything.”

 

“Very well.  How many animals do you have?”

 

“A cow, a goat and six chickens.”

 

“Take them all into the room with you.  Then come back after a week.”

 

The man was appalled.  But he had promised to obey!  So he took the animals in.  A week later he came back, a pitiable figure, moaning.  “I’m a nervous wreck.  The dirt!  The stench!  The noise!  We’re all on the verge of madness!”

 

Go back,” said the Master, “and put the animals out.”

 

The man ran all the way home.  And came back the following day, his eyes sparkling with joy.  “How sweet life is!  The animals are out.  The home is a Paradise—so quiet and clean and roomy.”

 

*From Anthony de Mello’s book One Minute Wisdom published by Double Day in 1985. 

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GOOD FRIDAY

Solemn Intercessions

During the Celebration of the Passion of the Lord on Good Friday, we pray the Solemn Intercessions.  For this year (2020) a new Intercession is added.  The intercession is as follows:

 

For the afflicted in time of pandemic

Let us pray also for all those who suffer the consequences of the current pandemic, that God the Father may grant health to the sick, strength to those who care for them, comfort to families and salvation to all the victims who have died.

Pray in silence.  Then the Priest says:

Almighty ever-living God,

only support of our human weakness,

look with compassion upon the sorrowful compassion of your children

who suffer because of this pandemic;

relieve the pain of the sick,

give strength to those who care for them,

welcome into your peace those who have died

and, throughout this time of tribulation,

grant that we may all find comfort in your merciful love.

Through Christ our Lord.

 

R/  Amen.

While designed for the Good Friday Liturgy, I think the intercession and prayer could be adapted for use by an individual or family members who are in self-isolation, self-quarantine or are living some other restricted life.

Fr. Leo Hofmann

3 April 2020

 

 

 

 

 

I AM GLAD!

I am glad!  Why am I glad?  I am glad because I have been able to read some special pages.  So what are these special pages?  I am reading the homework completed by the young people preparing for First Communion and Confirmation.  I can tell that the young people pay close attention to the Church building and to Mass.  They saw things I never noticed or never thought about.  I am impressed that so many thought about the meaning of the homily.  I like the drawings made by the candidates. I am glad that so many people want to learn about the Sacraments.  I am glad that so many want to celebrate the Sacraments. 

I am glad because of the reasons listed above.  I will be gladder when the special times come.  What special times?  I will be gladder when the time comes to celebrate First Communion.  I will be gladder when the time comes to celebrate Confirmation.  I will be gladder when we will be able to gather together for the Sunday Mass.

Fr. Leo Hofmann

1 April 2020

SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

Don’t drink the Holy Water.  Holy water may be blessed, however it is not suitable for drinking.  It is not sterile water.

If you are able to do so, use the hand sanitizer stations near the front doors and the north doors of the Church.  While washing one’s hands with soap and water is always best it is not always practical.  When going to hospitals or care facilities use the hand sanitizer the institutions provide. 

If you are sick, do not come to Church.  It is not a sin to miss Mass if you are ill.

If you are sick or are not feeling well, do not visit people in hospitals and care facilities. People who are ill often have compromised immune systems.  Sometimes visitors are required to wear mask, gowns and/or gloves.  Please follow the instruction of the health care providers.

As to the reception of Holy Communion, the (General Instruction of the Roman Missal) directs that the proper posture is standing, although it does make allowance for those who wish to receive kneeling to do so. While standing before the minister of Communion, the recipient first makes a bow of the head before reception to reverence the Blessed Sacrament. Reception of the Host may be either in the hand or on the tongue. When receiving on the hand, one hand is to be placed over the other, so that the Host may be placed by the minister in the hand. It is inappropriate for the recipient to take the sacred Host from the minister. The Host is to be consumed immediately upon receiving it. When receiving on the tongue, the recipient's hands are to be reverently joined.  (This paragraph is from Archbishop’s Smith’s 2011 letter.)

Persons receiving in the hand and who have physical difficulties (e.g. Arthritis, stroke, serious hand injury, etc.) may receive the Host in a variation of the above instructions as long as they receive in a respectful manner.

Fr. Leo Hofmann

18 February 2020

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SO YOU WANT TO BE MARRIED IN ANOTHER COUNTRY?

Are you a Catholic who lives in the boundaries of Good Shepherd Parish and wants to be married in a Catholic Church in another country?   As with marriages at Good Shepherd Parish there are two aspects of marriage.  There are the Civil and Church aspects.  The Civil laws of the country in which the marriage takes place must be followed.  The Church laws in the Archdiocese of Edmonton and the (Arch) Diocese in which the marriage takes place must also be followed. 

Sometimes people wishing to marry in a Catholic Church in another country tell me that they need something like a “permission for freedom to marry.”  They need more than a permission.  The couple is to meet with me on several occasions.  Forms will be completed.  A new Baptismal Certificate for the Catholic person(s) is required.  A marriage preparation course is required.  If one person lives here and the other lives in the country where the marriage is to take place, some paperwork will be competed here and some in the parish in the other country. The Archdiocese of Edmonton asks for a one year minimum of notice as the process takes time.  If your wedding is less than one year away, call me and we will try to assist you.  The above information does not cover all circumstances.  Please call me as soon as possible.

Fr. Leo Hofmann, Pastor

4 February 2020

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SACRAMENT OF THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK

 

The sacrament of anointing is the proper sacrament for those whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age.  Through this sacrament the Church supports the sick in their struggle against illness and continues Christ’s work of healing.  This sacrament should not be delayed until the last minutes of a sick person’s life.  A return to physical health may follow the reception of this sacrament if it will be beneficial to the sick person’s salvation.

 

Who may be anointed?   

            +Those whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age.

            +A sick person who recovers after being anointed and then falls ill or if

                       during the same illness the person’s condition becomes more serious.

+A sick person may be anointed before surgery whenever a serious illness

            is the reason for the surgery.

+Elderly people may be anointed if they have become notably weakened

            even though no serious illness is present.

              +Sick children may be anointed if they have sufficient use of reason to be strengthened by this sacrament.

+Sick people who, although they have lost consciousness or the use

                        of reason, would, as Christian believers, probably have asked for it if they

         were in control of their faculties.

+Those who have died are not anointed.  The prayers of the dead are prayed.

 

Not all Catholic hospitals have priests on staff.  Priests are on call to cover the hospitals without a resident priest.  The Misericordia Hospital does not have a resident priest.  If you are going to the hospital for scheduled serious surgery you may be anointed before you go to the hospital.   Call the parish office and ask to speak to Fr. Leo.

 

Each year the World Day of the Sick is celebrated on February 11.  The Anointing of the Sick will be celebrated at Good Shepherd Parish during the 9:00 AM on Tuesday, February 11.  The Anointing of the Sick will take place at Glastonbury Mews, Chartwell-Hawthorne and Touchmark during their regularly scheduled Masses in February 2020.   

 

Fr. Leo Hofmann

1 January 2020

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

 

WHAT KIND OF MASS?

Is it a full Mass?

Is it a short Mass?

Is it a reconciliation Mass?

 

Is it a Mass with Communion?

 

Sometimes I am asked these questions.  I am not quite sure how to answer the person.  If I have the time I like to try to find out exactly what the questioner wants to know.

Asking if a Liturgy is a ‘full Mass”, a “short Mass”, or a “reconciliation Mass” may be the result of a person not having the vocabulary to ask the question in another way. 

 

Mass is a word used to describe the Eucharistic Liturgy.  In addition to readings from Scripture, there is a Eucharistic Prayer in which God is thanked.  The bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ.  Communion—the Body and Blood of Christ—is distributed.  This is a very basic definition of Mass.  (There is more to Mass than what I have described.)

 

Sometimes Liturgies are celebrated which are not Mass.  There are readings from scripture.  There are other prayers such as the Lord’s Prayer.  Communion is not distributed*.  This type of Liturgy is a ‘Liturgy of the Word.’

 

There is no such thing as a ‘full’ Mass, a ‘short’ Mass or a ‘reconciliation’ Mass.  At Mass, Communion is distributed.  The number of readings varies depending on the Feast being celebrated.  Every Mass has some element of reconciliation. 

 

*The liturgy of Good Friday is not a Mass, however Communion is distributed.  This Communion was consecrated at the Holy Thursday Mass.

 

Fr. Leo Hofmann, Pastor

Gaudete Sunday

15 December 2019

 

BLESSED SACRAMENT CHAPEL

The Blessed Sacrament Chapel, which is near the front entrances of Good Shepherd Church, houses the Tabernacle.  The Tabernacle is in a Catholic Church for three reasons: 

            1). Communion for the dying,

            2). Communion for those who are sick and are unable to attend Sunday Mass, and

            3). Private prayer and adoration of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

During Mass the focus is on the Altar, the Ambo, or the Presider’s Chair.  At times during Baptism the focus is on the Baptismal Font.

The Blessed Sacrament Chapel is open for silent private prayer and adoration before and after Mass.

The Chapel is not an overflow seating area nor is it an area for visiting.  The Chapel is not for child care nor is it a play area. 

Thank you for making the Blessed Sacrament Chapel a place of peace and silent prayer.

Fr. Leo Hofmann

26 November 2019

 

 

WHEN TO BEGIN

So when is the Communion chant/hymn/song to begin?  No matter what we call the sung music during Communion it begins ‘while the priest is receiving the Sacrament (GIRM #86).’  The Roman Missal is more specific.  “While the priest is receiving the Body of Christ, the Communion chant begins (RM #136).” 

So why does the ‘Chant’ begin when the priest is receiving the Consecrated Bread and Wine?

The singing during Communion is not simply background music. 

The purpose of the Communion chant is “to express the spiritual union of the communicants by the means of their unity of voices, to show gladness of heart, and to bring out more clearly the ‘communitarian’ character of the procession to receive the Eucharist.  The singing is prolonged for a long as the sacrament is being administered to the faithful

(GIRM # 86).”

What about the music ministers?  When do they receive Communion?  Archbishop Richard Smith’s 2011 document on Specific Directives for the Archdiocese of Edmonton states, “music ministers will receive Holy Communion after all others have received (Number 86).”

 

Note:  GIRM is an acronym for The General Instruction on the Roman Missal.

             RM is an acronym for The Roman Missal.

Fr. Leo Hofmann

7 November 2019

 

 

 

MINIMUM:  ONE.  MAXIMUM TWO.

When a person is baptized in the Roman Catholic Church, there is be a minimum of one Godparent and a maximum of two Godparents.  Church law, also known as Canon Law, uses the word 'sponsor'.

Whether there is one sponsor or two sponsors, a sponsor is to have the qualities outlined in the October 24, 2019 Blog entitled, "GODPARENTS".

If there is one sponsor, the sponsor may be male or female.  If there are two sponsors, one must be male and one must be female (Canon Law #783).

Fr. Leo Hofmann, Pastor

October 31, 2019

 

 

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