Bulletin – September 7, 2014

September 7th, 2014

BACK TO SCHOOL

Welcome back! We hope you have had an enjoyable and relaxing summer. For those young people who are off to university, we wish you every success as you begin a new stage of your life. For those students and teachers in our community returning to elementary and secondary school, we wish you a very positive and rewarding year.

GOOD BYE AND GOOD LUCK!

We are sad to announce that Marie Gennaro, our office administrator for many years has left St. Gabriel’s for a job closer to her home. She will certainly be missed! We wish Marie every success in her new position.

ANNOUNCED MASSES

September 8th to September 13th, 2014

MONDAY – DALE MATTHEWS – Requested by Janet Candido
TUESDAY – HARRY LEUNG – Requested by Mary Leung
WEDNESDAY – HARRY LEUNG – Requested by John Chan
THURSDAY – VINCENT HA – Requested by Laura, Sylvia & Valerie Ha
FRIDAY – ELIO RANCATI – Requested by Cheryl Rancati
SATURDAY – LAU KOON TING – Requested by Linda Law

BAPTISM

The Parish Family of St. Gabriel’s would like to welcome:

Gabriella Alyvia Di Nunno
Cara Marianne Frances Duffy
Madeleine Victoria Li
Chelsea A. Mayrina
Alexandra Ella Varillas
James William George Jr.
Olivia Joan Masangkay
Jhulliene Lindsay Nombre
Matthew Robert Jackson Short
Anaya Asafu-Adjaye Woods

All received the Sacrament of Baptism during the months of July and August. Congratulations!

CHILDREN’S FAITH PROGRAM

The Children’s Faith Program for children attending private or public schools will begin on Sunday, September 14th at 10:00 AM. Classes are held at St. Gabriel’s School.

REGISTRATION FOR SACRAMENTS

School Age Children
St. Gabriel’s Church
September 10th, September 11th, September 15th and September 16th from 7:30 to 9:00 P.M.

Registration for children who wish to receive the Sacraments of First Communion, Reconciliation and Confirmation will be held at St.Gabriel’s Church from 7:30 PM to 9:00 P.M. on the following evenings:
Wednesday, September 10th
Thursday, September 11th
Monday, September 15th
Tuesday, September 16th

Please Note: A copy of the child’s Baptismal Certificate is required if registering for First Communion or Confirmation.

A fee of $20 is required for Confirmation.

ST. GABRIEL’S MUSIC MINISTRY

“Those who sing pray twice.”

Our senior choir practices on Tuesday evenings, 7:30-9:00 P.M. and leads community song at the 10:30 AM Sunday Mass. Our junior choir practices on Thursday evenings from 6:30-8:00 PM and leads the music at the 12:30 PM Mass. We always welcome new voices and hope you will consider joining us! For more information, please contact the choir director after any of the Masses.

R.C.I.A. AND ADULT FAITH DEVELOPMENT

Meetings in preparation for the R.C.I.A. (Rites of Christian Initiation of Adults) will begin soon. These meetings are for persons interested in learning more about the Catholic Faith. The exploration may lead the candidate to seek baptism, and become a member of the Catholic Christian community; or for Christians already baptized into another Christian denomination, the reception into the Catholic Church.

Adult Catholics who have not received the sacrament of Confirmation but who wish to do so are also encouraged to attend these sessions. As well, these meetings may be an opportunity for “Born Catholics” to deepen their understanding of our faith. Very often, especially for those of us who received our religious instruction at an early age, we tend to grow physically, mentally, psychologically etc., but the understanding of our faith does not grow correspondingly. The RCIA may serve as a good opportunity for us to ask questions and to develop a more adult understanding of our faith.

If you are interested in joining the RCIA meetings or if you would like to have more information about it, please call the Parish Office at 416-221-8866. You can also contact Fatima Lee directly at ext. 228.

SCHOOL AGE CHILDREN PREPARING FOR BAPTISM

If you have, or know of, school age children (ages 7 to 14) who wish to prepare for Baptism, please contact the Parish Office, or Fatima Lee directly, at (416) 221-8866. Classes for them will begin after Thanksgiving.

THE NEW STORY – A DISCUSSION OF THE WISDOM OF FR. THOMAS BERRY

The Church has had many great thinkers over the years, including St. Augustine in the 5th century and St. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century. In our time, we have great thinkers too, one of whom is the Passionist priest Fr. Thomas Berry, 1914 – 2009. He introduced us to seeing God’s creation in a new way and our role as humans within it. He called it “The New Story”. This fall on every other Tuesday evening and repeated every other Thursday morning, we will discuss his “New Story”, the wisdom that ensues and the challenge it evokes. We guarantee an interesting discussion! Watch for beginning dates in September.

PLANNING TO BE A CATHOLIC TEACHER?

It is critical for you to know that to be hired to teach in any Catholic school board in Ontario, as part of your application for employment there must be a letter of reference from your pastor. If you (or if your adult child) is planning to apply to teach in a Catholic school, it is highly recommended you contact the pastor before Thanksgiving. Please plan to have a conversation with your pastor early in the process and you will avoid disappointment and stress at the time when applications are to be submitted.

SHARELIFE

Congratulations to the good people of St. Gabriel’s. Our final total for ShareLife 2014 was $212,500. Thank you for your very generous support!

BUNDLE UP WEEKEND COMING UP!

Weekend of September 20th/21st

Spring Cleaning Year Round!

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul will be collecting gently used clothing for men women and children, shoes, household goods, linens, draperies, books and toys to support the needy on the weekend of September 20th/21st. Please bring your donations and help others in your community. We will donate or sell these donations to support our outreach efforts.

The truck will be open Saturday from 10:00 A.M. to 5:30 P.M. and Sunday from 8:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. Volunteers will be there to assist with loading before and after each Mass.

FOOD FOR ROSALIE HALL

Each month the food we collect is sent to Rosalie Hall. With everyone struggling at this time, these donations are more important than ever. Please check the expiry dates before donating since we cannot pass on food that has expired. Thank you for your generous support.

CASSEROLES FOR THE GOOD SHEPHERD CENTRE

Thank you to all who prepared casseroles for the months of July and August. For September, your prepared casseroles (frozen please) will be collected at the Masses on the weekends of September 28th/29th for delivery to the Good Shepherd Centre.

More volunteers are encouraged to help feed those in need. Please get a copy of a casserole recipe and a pan and give it a try. Three recipes are available on St. Gabriel’s web site. Printed copies of the recipes are also available in the Parish Office. Remember to mark the label on the pan lid with the name of the casserole.

For more information, please contact Irene Albrecht at 416 221-2791.

FAITH CONNECTIONS 7TH ANNUAL MIX & MINGLE

Sunday, September 21st from 4:00 to 8:00 P.M.

15 Laxton Ave, Toronto

All young adults (18-39, student, working professional, single, married, young parent) are invited to our house party and barbecue!

Faith Connections and the Religious communities of Toronto invite you to Sunday Mass followed by a barbecue supper. Come and hang out with other young adults, and meet with men and women religious to explore how their spiritualities can nourish your faith journey. RSVP to faithconnections@csj-to.ca. by September 12th
(so they know how much food to order).

FINANCE CORNER

Weekly Offertory

Our operating expenses average $14,550 per week.

Collection for last weekend:

Envelopes 375 $7,125
Loose Change $834
Weekly Portion of PAG 165 $3,082
(Pre-Authorized Giving)
Total $11,041

Mission Co-Op Collection: $11,780

Fr. Gilbert is sincerely grateful for your generosity.

Homily – September 7, 2014

September 7th, 2014

The gospel deals with a life situation which is totally foreign to today’s reality. The church, the Christian community, was a very small, closely knit group of people. Everyone knew everyone else’s business. If a member of the church was living or acting in such a way as to bring dishonor to the reputation of the community is was the duty or one or many of the community to confront that person with whatever he or she was doing wrong. The person was given many chances to face his or her wrongful behavior, given many chances to get his or her life in order. If a person persisted in that attitude that no one was going to tell what to do, that a person or the whole group should mind its own business, then the community would decide it was best for all concerned that that such a person no longer belonged to the group.

We live our lives in relationships and relationships can get pretty rocky at times. Things we say or do can be hurtful to others, even without our realizing it. We can be or abrupt – curt in the way we speak to others and we may not appreciate the way we say or do things are hurtful or offensive. Or we may live with people who act this way. We just don’t appreciate the way we or they come across to others.
Some families will go years before addressing problems such as verbal, psychological or physical abuse or the abuse of alchol and drugs. Grudges or resentments within a family more often die with those who hold them rather than come to resolution in quiet conversation. Misdeeds of friends or relatives are usually discussed with anyone but the accused.

At work we may be victims of power plays or office politics. We may be aware of a collogue being exploited by someone in authority and we stay silent.

None of us is perfect but we are our brother’ and sister’s keeper and out of love for that person we know to be doing wrong or doing something that is harmful to themselves and those close to them then, in all charity we must say something to help that person stop and think about themselves and the effect they are having on those around them.

It was probably out of today’s gospel that a practice developed in religious communities called fraternal correction. This applied especially to the superior of the community. If he or she saw a member of the community acting or speaking in a way that damaged community life, he or she was to confront that person. The superior was cautioned to wait at least three days before doing so just in case he or she was acting out their own quirks or frustration. The purpose of the correction was to restore and strengthen the peace and unity of the community.

There was a book out a number of years ago titled, Caring Enough to Confront. The title speaks for itself, especially the word ‘caring’. We care enough about a family member or friend that we take the risk of confronting them about the way they are behaving or treating a family member or friend. We are not out to scold , judge of condemn. We just want this family member or friend to stop and think of what they are doing and how it is affecting those around him or her.

We are our brothers and sisters keeper and out of love we speak. It may not work but we tried. St. Paul invites us to do all we can to strengthen the bonds of peace. That can apply to our life within the community of the parish, within the family or our place of work.

If ever we find ourselves in situations of stress and conflict may each of us care enough to say something, do something to hopefully bring about a change, a change that will bring about great peace and harmony to those for whom we care.

Homily – August 31, 2014

August 31st, 2014

Speaking truth to power

This past Thursday we celebrated the martyrdom of John the Baptist. He spoke the truth to power when told King Herod that it was not lawful to be married to his brother’s wife, Herodias. She hated John for saying this and when the opportunity arose she had John beheaded.

In today’s gospel Jesus tells his disciples that they were on a collision course with the religious power brokers of the day. Because he would continue to speak the truth to power he would be betrayed, handed over to the authorities, undergo great sufferings and be put to death. This was to be his future and they were to be part of it. To say the least they were upset by this news. Peter couldn’t his head around it at all. ‘This must never happen to you Lord.’ Jesus, who just a short before had called Peter a rock now called him a stumbling block and Satan because he tried to talk Jesus out of his mission which involved speaking truth to power.

From the beginning of his public life there were those who tried to divert Jesus from his life’s mission. It began with his temptation in the desert when the tempter suggested Jesus find an easier, more popular way of accomplishing his life’s mission. There were probably a number of times when the disciples advised Jesus to go easy on the priests of the temple, the scribes and Pharisees. Calling them hypocrites and whiten sephulres was not too politic. The apostles probably suggested Jesus might lighten up on the rhetoric. Even his own townsmen threw him out of town for claiming that the words spoken to the prophet Isaiah were being fulfilled in him. Jesus spoke the truth to his townspeople to the fact that he was chosen by God for a special task. In his own lifetime, Jesus was able to read the handwriting on the wall. He had made an ever-growing number of powerful enemies. Their desire to have him put to death was no secret. As he said to Pilate at his trial, ‘for this was I born, for this I came into the world, to bear witness to the truth.’ Speaking the truth to power would cost Jesus his life.

There can be times in our lives when we are challenge to speak the truth to power. We may be involved in a conversation with a friend or find ourselves in a group when things are said we find offensive, racist, bigoted or homophobic. But do we have the courage to speak up, challenge these harmful, maybe even hateful words? When people say things that belittle people of other races and backgrounds, when we hear good people being stereotyped in derogatory ways, when we hear words that belittle the humiliation of people using food banks, unemployed young people, the reality of children in this city going to school hungry, when we hears people excusing the injustices suffered by the peoples of our first nations do we speak the truth to the power of these lies? Are we afraid of being challenged or unpopular, afraid of taking sides, afraid of speaking up for those good people who are being put down by these hurtful even hateful words?

Every Sunday the scriptures remind us of the teachings and the example of Christ. We hear them as part of our celebration of the great sacrifice he offered his father when, out of love for every person who walks the earth he gave his life on the altar of the cross. Every man, woman and child is of infinite worth to him as they should be to us. As people who bear his name, Christian, we should know that following Him costs the follower. The cost is a willingness to let go of our hunger for security, approval, and comfort and take up our own cross of love and forgiveness and a willingness to recognize the worth and dignity of all people.

May we being willing to speak the truth to the power of those who would deny the rights and dignity of our fellow human beings, sons and daughters of the God who made us all, brothers and sisters of the Christ who died for us all.

Homily – August 24, 2014

August 24th, 2014

We hear this gospel a few times in the course of the year and the words that stick with us are usually, ‘you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church.’ But Jesus tells Peter why he was able to say what he said, ’You are the Christ, the son of the living God’ Jesus tells Peter, ‘you didn’t come to this insight on your own’ not through human reasoning – it was my Father who made this truth known to you. You were gifted to know my oneness with the Father. Even after having been so gifted Peter was unable to stand by his statement of faith when he was confronted by the servant on the night Jesus was betrayed by Judas. When accused of being a disciple of Jesus Peter swore on an oath he did not know Jesus. When he realized what he had done that must have been the lowest point in Peter’s life. But after his resurrection Jesus still entrusted the church to the denier Peter’s leadership telling him, ‘feed my lamb, feed my sheep.’

I was reading something on today’s gospel that was written by John Chrysostom who was the Patriarch of Constantinople in the 4th century.This is how he explained how Peter the Rock could fall so far as to deny he even knew Jesus.

“Now Peter was inclined to be severe, so if he had also been impeccable what forbearance would he have shown toward those he instructed? His falling into sin was thus a providential grace to teach him from experience to deal kindly with others.

The reason God’s plan permitted Peter to sin was because he was to be entrusted with the whole people of God, and sinlessness added to his severity might have made him unforgiving toward his brothers and sisters. He fell into sin so that remembering his own fault and the Lord’s forgiveness; he also might forgive others out of love for them.

This seems to be the message of Pope Francis. In the first days of his being the pope a reporter asked him, ‘who are you’? Pope Francis answer, ‘I am a sinner.’ The evening he was presented to the crowds in St. Peter’s square as the new Pope, before he gave his first blessing as Pope he bowed his head and ask the people to bless him first and then he would bless them.

Pope Francis is trying to change people’s image of the church as severe and judgmental, unfeeling about the daily struggles people are living with. His arms are open in welcome and blessing instead of a pointed and judgmental finger. In his first letter to the church he said, ‘I want to remind priests that the confessional is not a torture chamber but an encounter with the Lord’s mercy which spurs us on to do our best.’ As regards receiving Holy Communion the Pope had this to say,’the Eucharist is not a prize for the perfects but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.’ In that same letter he wrote,’ I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out in the streets ‘ As I said before the church is a community of mistake making beings which walks with the wounded of the world.

Fr. Ron Rolhosier tells of a conversation he had with an older priest whom he admired. He asked him, ‘If you had your priesthood to live over again, would you do anything differently?” From a man so full of integrity, I fully expected that there would be no regrets. So his answer surprised me. Yes, he did have one regret, a major one, he said: “If I had my priesthood to do over again, I would be easier on people the next time. I wouldn’t be so stingy with God’s mercy, with the sacraments, with forgiveness. I fear I’ve been too hard on people. They have pain enough without me and the church laying further burdens on them. I should have risked God’s mercy more!”

This is a lesson we can take from today’s gospel and Christ entrusting the church to Peter, a sinner. We can remember the insight of St. John Chrysostom who wrote of Peter,’ He fell into sin so that remembering his own fault and the Lord’s forgiveness, he also might forgive others out of love for them.

Again, our church is a community of mistake making people from the Pope on down. We have our conflicts, our misunderstanding, our resentments to others and that’s why we should support one another in our woundedness as we daily pray- forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Homily – August 17, 2014

August 17th, 2014

Jesus was a person of his time molded by the society in which he was raised. He believed in God’s promise to Abraham; I will be your God and you will be my people. The Jewish people, his people, were special to God above all others. As a Jew Jesus was to avoid any dealings with non-Jews lest he be tempted to be influenced by their way of thinking and living. Jesus saw nothing strange about the way women were treated in the home or in the community. The restrictions on the social life of women were just normal and right. As he grew older he knew he had to learn a trade so as not to be a burden on the community and be able to support a wife and family. To Jesus’ way of thinking everything about how life was lived and how people treated one another was perfectly normal.

When he entered adulthood at the age of twelve and showed a bit of independence by staying in Jerusalem after the feast to listen to the teachers in the temple. We are told that after being scolded by Mary, Jesus went back to the boring life of Nazareth but that he grew in wisdom and grace before God and man.

Threw his public ministry we can see occasions of that growth. When he sent the first disciples out to proclaim the good news that the kingdom of God was at hand he told them not to go near to the Samaritans because he was raised in a society that held a great hostility to the Samaritans whom they saw as heretics and unfaithful to the Law. Later Jesus moved beyond that narrow minded opinion of Samaritans and we have his great conversation with the Samaritan women at the well and his willingness to stay several days with the Samaritan people teaching them of the kingdom. He came to admire the integrity of these people and often used Samaritans as example of how people should live out their religious convictions.

Today’s gospel is a perfect example of how Jesus could grow beyond the mentality in which he was raised. He saw himself as sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and that it would be right to waste him time with non-Jews, especially this noisy woman. It wouldn’t be fair to take the children’s, the Jews, food and throw it to dogs –people not deserving of God’s love and mercy. But the mother’s response, ‘even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table’ challenged Jesus’ opinion of foreigners. He admired her spunk, her challenge to his opinion of her kind and cured her daughter instantly. Jesus showed us his ability and his willingness to change.

In one way or another we are all set in our ways. We don’t particularly like it when we have to change. We’ve all been conditioned by the likes and dislikes of our upbringing. We hold back from accepting and respecting the faith and cultures of others. We just have to look at the conflicts plaguing the world today, conflicting arising from a need to impose on others the way we believe and live, conflicts arising from people’s unwillingness to share the good of the earth with others.

In our own lives we are challenged to question our own willingness to accept other people as they are, what they believe, how they live out their relationships or express their faith and culture. This is what we ask of others, should we not do the same for them? May all of us continue to grow in a willingness to accept other people as they are.