Accessibility Fundraising Committee (AFC) Announcement September 2016

Announcement at Mass – Sept. 17, 18, 24, 25, 2016

Good morning/evening everyone. My name is …………………….. , I am a member of the Accessibility Fundraising Committee, the AFC. Today we are announcing our Capital Campaign kick-off, Foundation for the Future! The official Campaign launch is October 1st, 2016! This thermometer showing our progress will be updated monthly.

In January 2016, we introduced the AFC Committee members who had begun meeting in November 2015. In May 2016 we provided the Parish with an update of our activities and in August 2016 a ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ document was distributed at the weekend Masses.

Over the past 10 months, we, the AFC, have spent in excess of 100 hours investigating and looking at all options as to how to raise a half a million dollars. All of the committee members have been very dedicated in trying to make this happen.

Today, our goal is to inform you of the proposed plans moving forward to achieve our goal of a Church accessible to all. St. Patrick’s Parish is blessed with an amazing number of dedicated volunteers – volunteers who are active in many different Faith Ministries, volunteers who clean the church, volunteers who provide their time to St. Patrick’s, volunteers who are assisting a refugee family adjust to life in Canada, volunteers who participate in organizations such as St. Vincent de Paul, the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Women’s League, St. Patrick’s Friends of the Church, and many more. These volunteers are essential to our Faith Community. The question we are asking some of these individuals is not “How Christian are you?” but rather “How are you Christian?” Are you working for the good of the entire St. Patrick’s faith community? Are you bearing false witness against other parishioners? (The 9th Commandment). Are you a hindrance or a help to this project?

We are sure that there are many of you scratching your head right now and wondering why we are asking these questions. We, the AFC, would like all parishioners to be made aware of the roadblocks that have been put in our path since the AFC was formed.  Our focus has remained positive.  We have been working with the Diocese of St. Catharines (following their policies and procedures), working with our Pastor, Father Mario, and with the Finance Council to whom we report. Questions submitted have been answered as quickly as possible, an FAQ sheet was recently distributed at all the masses, yet miss-information is shared by some and innuendo persists.  This project is not one that will or can be put aside.  It will move forward as there are many individuals who recognize that our Church must be safe, accessible to all who enter our doors, and must have its structure maintained.

Our main responsibility over the past several months has been to co-ordinate and develop strategies to achieve our goal of raising $500,000. This is the amount needed to complete the renovations necessary to make our Church compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005) and address the many structural issues with our Church building.

As of August 31st, 2016 there is approximately $108,000.00 in the Accessibility Renovation account.  The money that has been raised to date is from the generosity of the parishioners, the school children, the CWL and the Diocese.  You may recall that Bishop Bergie committed to a $5000.00 contribution for every $100,000.00 we raise and he has stayed true to that word with us having received our first $5000.00 just last week.  We the AFC, would like to take this opportunity for everyone here to give themselves a round of applause in recognition for these funds already raised. Just imagine how well the parish will do once the campaign has been officially launched next week.

Recognizing the importance of starting the project sooner than later a business proposal was submitted to Bishop Bergie requesting approval for a loan so that construction would begin in early 2017. This proposal was approved by Bishop Bergie and a letter of support has been issued by the Diocese. The Finance Council is currently negotiating a building loan.

Our plans to continue to raise money in 2017 are as follows:

  1. Specific donation envelopes. These have been designed and are currently at the printers.  The envelopes will be placed in the pews for use the weekend of Oct. 1st and 2nd, 2016 and will be available on an ongoing basis.
  2. A cash lottery. Ticket sales will commence on October 1st, 2016 and end on December 31st, 2016.  499 tickets will be sold.  The cost is $100 for each ticket and there will be twelve (12) monthly draws for a cash prize of $1,000.00 each month starting on January 14th, 2017.  We expect to raise at least $28,000.00 from the lottery.
  3. A raffle for 2 handmade Muskoka chairs, donated by a parishioner, Declan Arneaud. This draw will be held in late spring 2017 so that the winner can enjoy the chairs next summer.
  4. A donation request letter will be sent to parents of students attending St. Patrick’s and Notre Dame Schools. This will be in cooperation with the Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board (BHNCDSB).

We are positioning our parish to be a ‘Foundation for the Future’ and look forward to another 150 years for our faith community.

If you have any questions or comments please contact us at the email addresses listed in the Church Bulletin and on the FAQ sheet.  There are copies at the back of the Church for anyone that has not already picked one up.  A written note in an envelope may be placed in the Church collection or in the suggestion box.  Your question/comment will be discussed at the next AFC meeting and a response provided shortly thereafter.

Thank you for your attention and dedication to our Parish.

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time – February 7th, 2016

First reading, Isaiah 6:1-2a, 3-8: In the late eighth century BC, God’s people in the Promised Land had become divided into a northern kingdom, Israel, and a southern kingdom, Judah. Among outside hostile forces, Assyria was the dominant power in the region.

A fourth nation, Syria, was also vying for power, and trying to recruit Israel to support its ambitions. The kings of Israel and Judah started cooperating in political schemes to insure their nations’ safety, instead of relying faithfully on the Lord God to sustain them. This was the situation in which Isaiah received God’s mission to speak God’s word to the kings and
people of Judah and Israel. Yahweh permitted Isaiah to experience His magnificence in a vision in the Temple of Jerusalem. Experiencing the glory of God, Isaiah at once confessed his unworthiness, calling out, “Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips.” In the presence of God’s holiness, Isaiah became painfully aware of his own sinful human nature. However, when cleansed by God, he was ready for His ministry: “Here I am. Send me!” God gave him the courage to speak His word, interpret His will, and call His people and their leaders to repent and
return to God’s ways.

Second Reading, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11: Some Corinthian Christians questioned Paul’s authority and disputed the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. Paul silenced them by presenting the evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus. Then he recounted the story of how he had been chosen to be an apostle to the Gentiles. But Paul confessed his unworthiness to be an apostle because of his former persecution of Christians and gave the full credit to God for his call to the ministry: “By the grace of God I am what I am.” That is, it was only by the grace of God that Paul was claiming the designation of “apostle” and only by that authority that he proclaimed the Gospel, toiling harder than the other apostles. He reminded the Corinthians that he had already passed on to them the traditional confession of faith about Jesus’ death and Resurrection, which he had received personally from Christ Himself. Hence, the Corinthians should not doubt his teaching about the resurrection, lest they forfeit salvation and wind up having believed in vain. A
real Faith not only accepts the content of God’s message but involves a total surrender of one’s self and all one has into God’s hands. Our response to God’s grace must be like that of Paul.

Gospel, Luke 5.1-11: The scene is the Sea of Galilee (Gennesaret in Greek and Tiberias in Latin). The Sea of Galilee was the site of many manifestations of Jesus’ Divine power. In the incident in today’s Gospel, Jesus preached from Peter’s boat to a large crowd jammed together at the edge of the water. When the teaching had ended, Jesus told Peter to pull out into deeper water for a catch of fish. In matters of fishing, Peter was an expert, while Jesus was only a carpenter. Hence Peter, perhaps not wanting Jesus to look foolish, explained, “Master, we have worked hard all night long, caught nothing.” Peter might have added that fish come to the surface in the Sea of Galilee only at night, or that the presence and noise of people would frighten the remaining fish away. Instead he said, “Nevertheless, if You wish it, I will lower the nets.” That declaration of trust was what made the miracle that followed possible. We may assume that Jesus smiled a little, indicating that he understood Peter’s point and still wanted the fisherman to take the boat out into deeper water. So Peter obeyed. This time, however, instead of pulling up an empty net, Peter and Andrew found the net was filled to bursting point, and they had to ask the help of their partners, Zebedee’s sons James and John, to help them bring in the catch. Simon Peter understood the message very quickly. Confronted by the size of the catch, he recognized the presence of God before him and became convinced of his own pride and selfcenteredness, that is, of his sinfulness. We find the same response in all three readings today. Isaiah, seeing the glory of God in his vision, says, “What a wretched state I am in! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips… and my eyes have looked at the King, the Lord of hosts.” Paul, not particularly known for his modesty, says, “I am the least of the apostles… I hardly deserve the name apostle.” Peter begs Jesus to go away. His simple confession –“Leave me Lord. I am a sinful man.”– marks a turning point in his life,
and becomes the model for our response to Jesus. Jesus seized the opportunity to proclaim Peter’s mission, a call Peter was able to receive because he had seen the tremendous power of God. Thus Peter became the first person in the Gospel to acknowledge his sinfulness. He is also the first apostle to be called by Jesus. Today’s

Thus Peter became the first person in the Gospel to acknowledge his sinfulness. He is also the first apostle to be called by Jesus. Today’s Gospel concludes with an inspiring image of commitment: “When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him”

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time – January 31st, 2016

The First Reading of today tells us that Jeremiah’s service to God begins with his receiving the word of God. Jeremiah hears God announce that he was chosen to be a prophet even before he was formed in his mother’s womb. Here we have the dialogue between Yahweh and Jeremiah, which is a perfect example of Divine Love. Some of the Words that the Heavenly Father spoke are very touching. God tells the prophet of his personal choice from eternity. He says that even before he was born, God has consecrated him indicating his personal choice. Here God takes the initiative and calls Jeremiah to be the prophet. God is omniscient and he does everything with a purpose and the mission is very clear. Now the Prophet is called by God to stand firm for him and be his mouth piece. He is now the spokesperson of God to proclaim his message. He has to tell all what God has commanded him to do. When Jeremiah is scared at this command, God is present to support him and tells him not to be afraid because he will always be close to him. He gives him a sign saying that he will like a fortified city, like an iron pillar and strong as a bronze wall. No political or earthly power can overcome him as God himself is his protector. Jeremiah cannot be discouraged as God will protect him. He has the important message to be given to the nations.

Today’s Second Reading taken from the first Letter to the Corinthians. Paul speaks about the importance of the gifts of the Spirit which each one has received and says that love is the most important gift of all. Love indeed is a gift. Loving is an art which has to be received and nurtured. Love is defined as Eros or passionate love, philia or intimate love and Agape or unconditional divine love. Agape is the love that God has for every single person and the kind of love which should be the characteristic of the true follower of Christ in his/her relationship with people everywhere. Paul tells us that without agape none of other gifts of the Spirit have any value. Everything becomes empty. He then describes the characteristics of this true love: It is kind, not envious, not boastful, not arrogant, not rude, not self-willed, not irritable, and not resentful. It is does not rejoice in wrongdoing but in truth, integrity and wholeness. In spite of all obstacles, it perseveres. It affirms the dignity of every single person, including their enemies. A life of love is more than a charism. It is a constant selfless caring for others whether one feels loving or not. It is the virtue of a true Christian and manifests itself in every circumstance. Paul says: “Love never fails.”

The Gospel of today follows what we were reading last Sunday: Jesus was in Nazareth, his hometown, and he preached in the synagogue. Jesus, at the beginning of his public life, gave to the people, what today we would call his ‘mission statement’, using words of the prophet Isaiah. When Jesus proclaimed that the text from Isaiah he had read has been fulfilled in their hearing, he was in fact applying it to himself. The Messiah they have been waiting for was now present to them here in the person of Jesus and the words of the prophet Isaiah were fulfilled in him. His ministry was going to fulfill what the prophets had promised for centuries. His Kingdom has begun to be realised in his works of healing, of reconciliation and liberation from evil powers. What the Lord was saying truly touched his listeners, so much so that they were very surprised at the discourse given by someone
they had once known and who, now, appeared to them as another man, a man unlike any other, a man who surpassed all others, for, in fact, he was at once God and man: “They wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.”

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – January 24th, 2016

Today’s First Reading taken from the Book of Nehemiah tells of the crucial role of the Law of God in the Israel community. Ezra and Nehemiah were given the special task by God to rebuild the community. They were also given the task of rebuilding the Temple of God. They knew of the importance placed in those days on knowing and obeying the Law of Moses. Anyone who had reached the age of reason and could hear with understanding was required to be present and to listen to the reading of the law. They were called upon to live the law in total fidelity. But Ezra first starts rebuilding their hearts. The Prophet dramatizes the crucial role of the word of God. He stands on a platform and reads it from daybreak to noon. People listen to the word of God, understand the law in their heart and receive it with fervour. They raise their hands and respond with a double Amen. They lie down on the ground and offer total submission to the Lord. There is hope for the people whose strength is the Lord and the prophets urge them to rejoice. They also shed tears perhaps reflecting the infidelity of the earlier generations. So there is hope for the people of God whose strength is the Lord. The prophets call on the people to rejoice.

Today’s Second Reading from the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians revealed to us how important it is for the members of the Body of Christ to be united. Each member has been called to serve the Lord. He sees the multiplicity of Christians as living members of one Body. Each member interacts in a constant giving and receiving. And each member gets the same respect. In fact, it is the “weakest” and “least honourable” parts which receive greater attention. For it is in mutual giving and receiving as one Body that we enable each other to experience the enrichment, the vision and the freedom which Jesus wishes us to have. The problem with our Christian living is that it is so individualistic. They try to manage things on their own. God has called each person for a different function. But the unity of the church is in its source in the one Spirit. Though there are many members as in a human body, the body of the church has many members but it is one body. At the same time, each member of the human body is distinct and has a different role to play, so also the body of Christ performs various functions. Every member needs the other and the one with superior function does not become superior. All members are to care for and honour one another. Paul also adds that God has a special care for lowly members.

In the Gospel passage we heard Jesus proclaiming that the year of the Lord’s favour as it was written in the Scripture. By this Jesus meant that the long awaited messianic jubilee had finally arrived. The promised messianic salvation had ultimately come. Jesus affirmed that He was the long awaited Messiah and they ought to rejoice in it. In His proclamation, Jesus said that He had been anointed to bring good news to the poor, He had been sent to release the captives, for the recovery of sight of the blind and to let the oppressed go free. Literally taken with a worldly approach, these words imply that Jesus had come to bring abundance to those who were poor, to free the slaves and the prisoners, to heal the blind and to stop all worldly oppression. But this was not what Jesus meant. Embracing a spiritual approach, it becomes clear that the proclamation of the Lord Jesus was to announce the arrival of the Kingdom of God on earth. The Kingdom of God was the good news that Jesus was proclaiming. For the arrival of the Kingdom of God is to be fulfilled meant the arrival of the promised Messiah. It indicated that those who were spiritually blind would be enlightened; now being able to see the
way, the truth and the life. It meant that those who were captives or slaves of sin would be free and liberated in the kingdom. The kingdom will grant them new life.

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – January 17th, 2016

In the first reading gives us the celebration of Joy over the restoration of relationship between God and his people. Years of exile had made people realise their foolishness and now they consider it a privilege to serve the Lord God. God comes to them as a special gift. God had remained silent for a long period of time because of the sins of His disobedient children. Now the people will be obedient and trustful to God who is their saviour.

Continue reading

The Baptism of the Lord – January 10th, 2016

The Baptism of Jesus reminds us of our identity and mission. First, it reminds us of who we are and Whose we are. By Baptism we become the adoptive sons and daughters of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus, members of his Church, heirs of Heaven and temples
of the Holy Spirit. We become incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made sharers in the priesthood of Christ [CCC #1279]. Hence, “Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit and the door which gives access to the other Sacraments” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1213).

Continue reading

The Epiphany of the Lord – January 3rd, 2016

Isaiah 60:1-6, is chosen partly because it mentions non-Jews bringing gifts in homage to the God of Israel. Here the Prophet Isaiah, consoling the people in exile, speaks of the restoration of New Jerusalem from which the glory of Yahweh becomes visible even to the pagan nations. Thus, the prophet in this passage celebrates the Divine Light emanating from Jerusalem and foresees all the nations acknowledging that Light, enjoying that Light and walking by that Light. As a sign of gratitude for the priceless lessons of Faith offered by Jerusalem, the nations will bring wealth by land and sea, especially gold for the Temple and frankincense for the sacrifice.

Today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 72) declares that all the kings of the earth will pay homage to and serve the God of Israel and His Messiah. Thus, these two readings express hope for a time when “the people of God’s will embrace all nations. As the privileged recipient of a Divine “epiphany”, Saint Paul reveals God’s “secret plan”–that the Gentiles also have a part with the Jews in Divine blessings. Hence, in the second reading, St. Paul affirms the mystery of God’s plan of salvation in Christ. Paul explains that
this plan includes both Jews and Gentiles. Jesus implemented this Divine plan by extending membership in his Church, making it available to all peoples. Thus, the Jews and the Gentiles have become “coheirs, members of the same Body and co-partners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.” Hence, there are no second class members
of Jesus’ Body, the Church. Paul claims that he was commissioned by Christ to make this mystery known to the world.

Today’s Gospel teaches us how Christ enriches those who bring Him their hearts. Since the Magi came with joy in their hearts to visit the Christ Child, God allowed them to see wondrous things. At the same time, today’s Gospel hints at different reactions to the news of Jesus’ birth, foreshadowing his passion and death, as well as the risen Jesus’ mandate to make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:19).

(1) Let us make sure that we belong to the third group.
a) Let us worship Jesus at Mass, every day if we can, with the gold of our love, the myrrh  of our humility and the frankincense of our adoration. Let us offer God our very selves, promising Him that we will use His blessings to do good for our fellow men.

b) Let us plot a better path for our lives. Just as the Magi chose another route to return to their homes, let us choose a better way of life, abstaining from proud and impure thoughts, evil habits and selfish behavior.

c) Let us become the Star, leading others to Jesus, as the star led the Magi to Him. We can remove or lessen the darkness of the evil around us by being, if not like stars, at least like candles, radiating Jesus’ love by selfless service, unconditional forgiveness and compassionate care.

(2) Like the Magi, let us offer Jesus our gifts on this feast of Epiphany.

(a) The first gift might be friendship with God. After all, the whole point of Christmas is that
God’s Son became one of us to redeem us and call us friends. God wants our friendship in the form of wholehearted love and devotion.

(b) A second gift might be friendship with others. This kind of friendship can be costly. The price it exacts is vulnerability and openness to others. The good news, however, is that, in offering friendship to others, we will receive back many blessings.

(c) A third gift might be the gift of reconciliation. This gift repairs damaged relationships. It requires honesty, humility, understanding, forgiveness and patience.

(d) The fourth gift of this season is the gift of peace: seeking God’s peace in our own lives through prayer, the Sacramental life and daily meditation on the Word of God. It is out of  humble gratitude that we give Him from the heart our gifts of worship, prayer, singing, possessions, and time. As we give our insignificant, little gifts to God, the good news is that God accepts them!

Like the Magi offering their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, we offer what we have, from the heart, in response to what that Child has given to us – Himself.

Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph – December 27th, 2015

Dear Parishioners,

Christmas greetings to all my parishioners and all in the wider community, in fact to all people of goodwill. I know that Christmas means many different things to different people; for some it is a time of homecoming, for some it is a great family time, for others not so, for others it is a time of great joy and happiness while for others it is a time of pain and sorrow and loss.

We know that some hearts in this town will be broken again on Christmas morning when that one special person is not there to open their gifts. For those whose children and spouses are with them, rather than just going right for the gifts, perhaps a hug and a prayer should come first.

Prayers for those for whom this day will never be the same again and hugs for those surrounding you whose life you hold as precious. We need to know that even in these darkest hours, there is still light, light that is brighter than that great star over Bethlehem, which will take us to the place where we need to be…it will take us to the heart of Christ who will heal our brokenness, remove our anger and hurt and fill us with the peace and strength we need to not just move forward but to reclaim the life that is ours as a community in Christ Jesus.

Traditionally, we see Christmas as a time of peace and joy, a time to celebrate with family, with friends and loved ones. I do hope that your Christmas will have something of that  peace, joy and celebration.

Thank you for the incredible strength that you have been for me in our parish and for
lifting me up in your thoughts and your prayers. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2016

Fr. Mario Fernandes

Fourth Sunday of Advent – December 20th, 2015

Dear Parishioners,
Christmas greetings to all my parishioners and all in the wider community, in fact to all people of goodwill. I know that Christmas means many things to different people; for some of us it is a time of homecoming; for some it is a great family time, for others not so; for others it is a time of great joy and happiness while for others it is a time of pain and sorrow and loss.

We know that some hearts in this town will be broken again on Christmas morning when that one special person is not there to open their gifts.  For those whose children and  ChristmasMessagespouses are with them, rather than just going right for the gifts, perhaps a hug and a prayer should come first. Prayers for those for whom this day will never be the same again and hugs for those surrounding you whose life you hold as precious.

We need to know that even in these darkest hours, there is still light, light that is brighter than that great star over Bethlehem, which will take us to the place where we need to be…it will take us to the heart of Christ who will heal our brokenness, remove our anger and hurt and fill us with the peace and strength we need to not just move forward but to reclaim the life that is ours as a community in Christ Jesus.

Traditionally we see Christmas as a time of peace and joy, a time to celebrate with family, with friends and loved ones. I do hope that your Christmas will have something of that peace, joy and celebration.

Thank you for the incredible strength that you have been for me in our parish and for lifting me up in your thoughts and your prayers. I wish you all a Merry Christmas this year and for all that this holy season can hold for us as believers.
Fr. Mario Fernandes

Third Sunday of Advent – December 13th, 2015

Today is called “Gaudete” Sunday because today’s Mass begins with the opening antiphon, “Gaudete in Domino semper” (“Rejoice in the Lord always”). Today we light the rose candle of the Advent wreath and the priest may wear rose vestments to express our communal joy in the coming of Jesus, as our Savior. The theme of the third Sunday of Advent is rejoicing in hope. Advent is a time for joy, not only because we are anticipating the anniversary of the birth of Jesus, but also because God is already in our midst. Christian joy does not come from the absence of sorrow, pain or trouble, but from an awareness of the presence of Christ within our souls.

Continue reading