If the pandemic restrictions stay as they are right now, we will continue to be able to welcome our 30% capacity to Mass. Given this limitation we have added one Mass Christmas morning. We have decided not to require registration for Christmas Mass, primarily because of the congestion it would create when arriving for Mass in our small foyer. So, when you make your plans to attend at Christmas please plan to arrive early, and be flexible and prepared to come back to another Mass if we are already full. The first Mass on Christmas Eve (4:30pm) is usually the busiest and quite full with families, so you may wish to pick a different time.
On Monday, November 23 2020 the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) announced a new online weekly video series created to help Canadian Catholic faithful to prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Entitled Journey through Advent, the videos serve as an introduction to the liturgical Season and present reflections on the Gospel readings for each Sunday in Advent. The Most Reverend Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., Bishop of Hamilton and the Most Reverend Pierre Goudreault, Bishop of Saint-Anne-de-la-Pocatière, provide spiritual and pastoral guidance on the readings that illustrate the true meaning of Christmas.
This video series is especially relevant given the COVID-19 pandemic that places limitations on in-person gatherings for faith communities. It is hoped that Journey through Advent will be a source of deep spiritual solace and insightful preparation for all.
Below are the introduction video and the video for the 1st Sunday of Advent. Check back here each Friday for the video in preparation for the next Sunday of Advent.
Thank you for spending the week with us exploring Pope Francis’ message for World Day of the Poor, it’s connection to fratelli tutti, learning how we can Live Frugally, and catching up with the Tiny Homes at St. Mary’s. Today we invite you to reflect on what we have learned, and spend a few moments praying for the poor in our community, and for each of us as we “stretch forth our hands to the poor”.
The reflection video below features pictures from various organizations working with the poor in our community. You can find links to these organizations in the description of the video. Thank you to all these organizations for sending pictures for us to use, and for all you do for the poor in our midst. Please spend a few moments in quiet prayer as you watch this video.
There are currently twenty-two tiny homes installed at ‘A Better Tent City’. With the support of our parishioners, the Diocese of Hamilton, and the broader Catholic community, all of these homes have been winterized, hooked up to electricity, and provided with heaters. This will keep the residents warm and safe through the coldest months of winter. There are also plans underway to build ten more units inside the building to provide more security to the individuals still living indoors in tents.
Beyond keeping people warm and safe, the tiny homes have had a huge impact on the wellbeing of residents. One resident named Dean* has been in and out of the shelter system for years. When he got his keys, he sat down on his new bed and cried. No more getting robbed, no more freezing nights in a tent. He was home. Another female resident was on the phone with her mom, when her mom asked where she was. She replied, “I’m at home mom. I’m at home”. She hadn’t been able to say those words for years.
There is still lots of work to do to stabilize and improve ‘A Better Tent City’ for the individuals who need it most. Anyone who would like to support the project can do so by making a financial donation to the St. Mary’s Outreach Program** or contacting Tony D’Amato Stortz, the Outreach Coordinator for the Parish.
* – Not his real name
** – Specify in the notes that the donation is for “Outreach”