During this past Advent I preached about the Spiritual Works of Mercy and this past Lent I preached about the Corporal Works of Mercy. At the beginning of the Easter Season, I invited parishioners to form what I called a Mercy Ministry. I’m very please to announce that an organization is forming, provisionally called the Parish Outreach Ministry Committee, with Dr. Jane Hosdil as Chairperson, Linda Rainville as Assistant to the Chairperson, and Adriana Ciaschi as Secretary. Various coordinators will oversee existing ministries, reestablish old ministries, and promote new ministries. Please contact me if you are interested in joining anyone of the following outreach ministries: Welcoming, Hospitality, Visiting, Food Bank, and Michael House. At their first meeting, the committee members decided to invite all parishioners to pray for this new initiative by doing the Sacred Heart of Jesus Novena, which begins on Wednesday, June 15th. A novena involves saying a prayer or a series of prayers for the nine days prior to a feast with a particular intention. For the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which we celebrate this year on Friday, June 24th, there are a number of different options.
I invite you to pray the following prayer each of the nine days with an intention for our Parish Outreach Ministry members as well as growth in new members, and make the optional Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the feast itself: https://sacredheartrockwood.ca/download/novena2022.pdf
Starting Tuesday, March 1st, our church will be at full capacity, that is, no distancing between pews, and no more sanitizing during Adoration. Masks, however, will continue to be required. For those of you who may not feel comfortable attending Mass without distancing, be assured that we will continue to set up chairs with distancing in the school gym for the 11:00am Sunday Mass. As of March 1st, Ministers of the Word will no longer be required to be vaccinated or take a rapid test. Please note that we will be maintaining distancing in front of the ambo in both the church and the school gym. Since masks will continue to be required, we will continue to follow the same format for the distribution of Communion.
The lifting of pandemic restrictions is just in time for Lent. Given that we tend to think of Lent as a time to give things up, it’s a wonderful irony that this Lent things are opening up. After living through two years of restrictions, I would like to suggest that this Lent could be more of a time for doing than giving up. Not that we shouldn’t give anything up. Just that, as the churches open to full capacity, we have much to do. For example, Pope Francis has designated this Ash Wednesday as a day of prayer and fasting for Ukraine. This will be an opportunity to do prayer and give up food as we implore God to protect the people of Ukraine and change hearts of people in Russia. Ash Wednesday Mass will be celebrated in the church at 7:00pm as well as live streamed. I also encourage you to consider joining the Rosary for Peace on Tuesday evenings at 6:30pm, either in the church or online. Throughout Lent we will also be praying the Stations of the Cross every Friday at 7:00pm in the church.
I also invite you to join me either online or in the church hall for a Lenten series entitled The Mass on Tuesday evenings at 8:00pm starting March 8th. Students from the Newman Centre Guelph will be joining us over the live stream. We will be watching two or three short videos from the Formed series The Elements of the Catholic Mass and then breaking into small group discussions, one in the hall, one at the Newman Centre, and one online. After the small group discussions, we will return to the larger group for further questions and comments. As we prepare to celebrate Mass at Easter, my hope is that our time together reflecting on the meaning of the parts of the Liturgy will help each of us appreciate more deeply how our participating in the Sacred Mysteries is the living tradition of the Catholic Mass celebrated in the Latin rite for centuries.
Finally, Bishop Crosby has asked pastors to encourage parishioners to participate in the preparation for the upcoming Synod of Bishops on Synodality: Communion, Participation and Mission. If you haven’t already done so, you can answer the online questionnaire at: https://hamiltondiocese.com/synod/
Pope Francis is asking each and every one of us to become involved in the synodal process leading up to the Synod of Bishops to be held in Rome in 2023. Today we begin the first phase in our Diocese. We invite you to watch the video and share your voice by filling out the survey: https://hamiltondiocese.com/synod/#resources
The official position of the Catholic Church is that all available COVID vaccines are ethical and all Catholics who are able are encouraged to receive the vaccine. All employees serving in the Diocese of Hamilton are encouraged to be fully vaccinated or to submit to a COVID rapid test every Monday and Thursday in order to carry out their responsibilities. Volunteer liturgical ministers are required to be fully vaccinated. Bishop Douglas Crosby, OMI, encourages every member of the Catholic Church within our Diocese of Hamilton to be fully vaccinated.
The 17th Annual Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish Coulson Cup Golf Tournament is a GO on Sunday, September 5th, 2021 at 1:00pm. The Location is Victoria Park Valley Golf Club at 7660 Maltby Road East, in Puslinch. The cost is $75 per golfer which includes 18 Holes of Golf, Power Cart and a Hamburger or Veggie Burger Lunch with Chips and Pop halfway through.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, there will be no sit-down dinner or Silent Auction this year. Please help support this important event however you can! Any additional questions can be directed to Andrew Vince at 905-781-0262 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like all of you, I was greatly saddened by the disturbing news about the discovery of an unmarked cemetery for Indigenous children on the grounds of the former residential school in Kamloops run by Catholic priests. It’s heart-wrenching to ponder how these children tragically died separated from their families and their communities. Our hearts go out to all those who mourn the loss of these children and suffer from the pain of intergenerational trauma. We pray for the repose of the souls of the children who died and for mercy upon the souls of those who were responsible for their deaths. We also pray that this discovery won’t set back the decades of work for healing and reconciliation, but will rather move all of us to do more for Indigenous communities. Click here to go to the CCCB Web site that provides some of the apologies given by members of the Catholic Church going back to 1991.
Although Pope Francis hasn’t yet come to Canada to apologize for the residential schools as requested in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report in 2015, Pope Benedict did express his sorrow when a delegation visited him at the Vatican in 2009 as described in this article.
And here is an article by Fr. Raymond J. de Souza that clears up some of the confusion and anger.
You may be wondering, if we have been working for healing and reconciliation among Indigenous peoples for decades, why are you not aware of it? The answer is simple: this work is not happening within social media; it is happening on the ground within communities where people are encountering each other’s hearts in person. Moreover, much of the work of reconciliation is not happening between Indigenous peoples and the Catholic Church; it is happening among Indigenous people who are themselves Catholic. They are are being accompanied by their bishops and priests. For example, there is the Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle, a coalition of Indigenous people, bishops, clergy, lay movements and institutes of consecrated life, engaged in renewing and fostering relationships between the Catholic Church and Indigenous Peoples in Canada. It was established to assist Catholics as we engage the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its Calls to Action. Click here to go to their Web site.
And here is a video on YouTube about an Indigenous woman and the support she has received from her bishop regarding the preservation of her language:
For better or for worse, they don’t really have a social media presence. This video was the only one I was able to find on the Web. Yet there is information available about the work that is being done on the ground, if you are willing to look for it. I invite you to read a statement by Cardinal Collins found here at the Archdiocese of Toronto Web site, where you will also find a very informative FAQs.
Today, as we celebrate Corpus Christi, let us be the Body of Christ, the Church, with hearts that listen with compassion to the suffering of our Indigenous brothers and sisters. Let us continue to pray this week the Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, asking God for an end to the pandemic, for the building of the new church, and for reconciliation. With profound humility, let us move forward together as we build up the Kingdom of God here on Earth. Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
The good news is that we are going to celebrate the Nativity of Our Lord with Masses on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day that you can attend if you register online before midnight tonight, or you can watch via the Zoom or the YouTube live stream. The bad news is that the next day the church will be closed during the provincial shutdown from December 26th to January 23rd. This means no public Masses and no Adoration. If the shutdown isn’t extended, then we will resume celebrating Mass in the church and at the school on Sunday, January 24th. In the meantime, Sunday Mass at the church will be live streamed at 9:00am with traditional music and 11:00am with contemporary music starting December 27th. Mass will also be live streamed from the church during the Octave of Christmas at 11:00am beginning Saturday, December 26th and ending January 1st, the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. We will continue to live stream the Rosary on Tuesday evenings at 6:30pm and Mass at 7:00pm followed by Adoration until 8:00pm. Baptisms and Funerals can be celebrated in the church with a maximum of 10 people including the priest. Confession and Anointing of the Sick are available by appointment only. The parish office will remain closed. However, offering envelopes can be dropped off in the office mailbox, or you can continue to give online through CanadaHelps or by e-transfer (See the parish Web site for details.) If you want to make arrangements to pick up your 2021 offering envelopes from the parish office mailbox, please call or e-mail Sophie. Mass intentions can also be requested by using the form in the parish office mail box or contacting Sophie.
As I said in my homily on the First Sunday of Advent, our celebration of Christmas is unstoppable. It will be different this year. We won’t be gathering with family members and friends as we usually do. However, I pray that it will become an opportunity for us to deepen our appreciation for the mystery of the Nativity because we will be celebrating Christmas differently this year.
Your parish family is here to support you during the shutdown. If you need assistance of any kind, please call or e-mail the office. We are here to help. Be assured of my prayers.
Best wishes for a blessed Christmas! Fr. Mark Morley Pastor
Registration is now open for this year’s Coulson Cup taking place on Sunday, August 23rd at 1:00 pm. The downloadable information package and registration form is below or try the new online registration form here:
Dear Parishioners, Thank you for completing the survey. Based on the results, it looks like we could have as many as 50% of you attending the Sunday Mass at 11:00 am in the school. The numbers should be fine. So no need to register in advance.
We only have room for 8 households at a time in the church. Unfortunately, you may find that weekday Masses fill up before you are able to register. I’m sorry about that. But I hope you agree that a “first register, first attend” policy is the best we can do at this time.
Registration links for weekday Masses next week will be included in the bulletin e-mail.
If you come to Mass in the church or at the school, please bring a mask and use the hand sanitizer when entering.
Also, be assured that we will continue to live stream the 11:00 am Sunday Mass and the 7:00 pm Tuesday Mass, starting with the Rosary at 6:30 pm. We will not be live streaming the 8:00 am Friday Mass, except this Friday for the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The live stream link for the 8:00 am Mass this Friday can be found here and on the parish Facebook event page: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83015729507?pwd=eU5hY3NjVjNmMkVsOE52S3hGeXc0dz09 Meeting ID: 830 1572 9507 Password: 778183
For now I will just mention that next week Sophie and Sarah will be able to work in the parish office. However, it will remain closed to the public. Arrangements can be made to pick up or drop things off using the parish mailbox. If you need to meet with them in person by appointment, arrangements will be made to meet in Coulson Hall, using the back door parking lot entrance.
Thank you for your prayers and your cooperation. Looking forward to seeing some of you in person.