We now begin this new pastoral year and I am filled with a renewed sense of hope and enthusiasm, for there are many wonderful possibilities that are unfolding before us. Allow me now to share with you what we have been working on and where we are heading.
We begin with a new gift to our parish, that of the Bangladesh community! Earlier this year I had been in contact with Pére Paternieri, Episcopal Vicar of the ethinic communities of Montreal. I discovered that the Banglasdesh had, for the past five years, no church to worship in and call their own. After communicating with the leaders of this community and with our wardens we welcomed them here at St Willibrord. At the beginning of August we had the first mass to inaugurate their presence. As they join our community and share on our journey in faith and life, there will be a mass once a month in their own language, allowing them to express their faith, through music, chant, readings, etc... You can find the list of the Bangladesh mass times posted at the back of the church and in this bulletin. Our Bangladesh parishioners extend a welcome to all to join in their mass and festivities.
We at St Willibrord have always been very socially minded and we want to take care of those in need. For a long time we have had a Soup Kitchen running three times a week during the year. After many years of service, our kitchen and hall are a little worse for wear. Through a contact, we have received the help of an architectural firm who have drawn up plans to do a complete renovation of Sodality Hall. Kiva-Design under the leadership of Mr. Giovanni Belizzi has generously come up with a beautiful new plan for our kitchen and hall free of charge. We are currently trying to find a General Contractor to help us continue this work pro bono, as well as find companies who can donate the materials. Along with this renovation we wish to expand our soup kitchen to five days a week adding Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Our hope is to make this truly a project of love and commitment to helping others, a worthy endeavor for Christ and his people.
As a parish community the life of the faith is of key importance. We must grow in our love of God and develop our spiritual lives. Along with many of the video conferences, retreats, and our annual bible camp, we are again offering this year courses for those who desire to become catholic (RCIA), or simply wish to learn and enrich themselves in the Faith. We are continuing our Catholic book-club beginning in October and our Children’s Liturgy and Faith First programs are starting up. To continue on this path of nourishing our souls, we began last Fathers-Day a first attempt to gather men together and build a men’s faith sharing group. Men need Christ and need to learn and grow in their duties as Christian men, fathers and husbands. If you are a man 18 and above and are interested call us up. We hope as well to begin a group for women.
Dreaming of the future, I can see more possibilities: why not have afterschool programs to help kids with their homework and other school issues, allow our place to welcome young mothers who can find encouragement and support from their community, a seniors club, with line dancing, cards, and movies to enjoy together, with great conversation. All these and more are opportunities to heed the call of Christ to “feed the hungry, welcome the stranger clothe the naked, free the oppressed... as you do to the least of my people, you do to me.”
We have already begun implementing the new Roman Missal and we have been updating the liturgy to allow greater respect and honour to the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, as the source and summit of our spiritual lives. Every Friday after our 9 o’clock morning mass you are welcome to come and adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament ‘till 11:30am.
There is so much to look forward to in our centennial year, a year Pope Benedict declares a “Year of Faith”, a year where we will celebrate Fr Cameron’s 50th anniversary to the priesthood, my tenth year of service as a priest, and as vocation director, the joy of welcoming a new seminarian offering his life for Christ and His Church. The Lord has blessed us very much and continues to do so, let us respond to this outpouring of His love by living this year to the full.
Fr Stephen Otvos, pastor
Posted on Tuesday September 11 2012
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