January 2004

The future of youth retreats in our diocese

So I didn’t go on the cruise today, but instead stayed in and read. I spent quite a bit of time thinking about youth and young adult ministry in my diocese, which right now is apparently about to lose one of its best resources: the Youth Impact Centre. I know it sounds like a junior wresting arena, but in fact it is an excellent facility for holding weekend youth retreats.


Today I did something I have never done before: visited a Disney theme park. Now to be honest, I’ve never been all *that* interested in doing such a thing, but I figured “Hey, I’m in Florida, Orlando is not that far away, why the heck not?” But I drew the line at getting excited by the appearance of Mickey the Freemason Mouse, so I went to Epcot instead. Here is my review.

Who said funerals can’t be fun?

Today was the second of the two funerals I mentioned in my blog yesterday. We were waiting in the church when the funeral director entered, took me aside, and said: “Father, we have a problem. The back door on the hearse is frozen shut.” Only in Canada….

So our handyman got out a screwdriver and removed part of the back door to the hearse (don’t ask me how, I was inside keeping warm), and they managed to get out both the casket and the stand-with-wheels that the casket rests on.

An ecumenical gathering

Today we had a meeting of the North Shore Ministerial, a gathering of the Christians pastors of various denominations for our area. Usually we get together for lunch and chat about what is going on in our respective churches. Today we only had 4 people attend, however: myself, my pastor, the pastor of Roxboro United Church, and the pastor of St. Barnabas Anglican. This was about 1/3 of our usual turnout.

The “Repas de Fraternité” manifesto: a translation

On Saturday, December 6, 2003, the Montreal Gazette reported on the launch of a new “approach” to the Eucharist by a group called the Relais Mont-Royal. I reported on this in my blog of the same day. It was subsequently picked up by Catholic Blog for Lovers, Catholic and Enjoying It!, and even the Secret Agent Man (whose fisking is linked to in the next blog post below).

A fisking of the Repas de Fraternité

I was reading an essay on the Secret Agent Man blog, and started going through the archives, and I came across this fisking of the original Montreal Gazette article on the liturgically silly Repas de Fraternité idea. Check it out. I think Secret Agent Man confuses the actions of the Relais Mont-Royal with the Archdiocese, but to be honest the article could be read that way.

The start of stewardship

Here in our parish we are trying to instill a vision of “total stewardship”, and the pastor has asked me to lead special efforts in this regard. As anybody who has ever tried to work a “total stewardship” vision quickly discovers, it is very hard. It brings out the cynicism in people very quickly. “Oh, this is just another way to try and get us to give more money” is an oft-heard complaint. Yes, money is involved, but so what? We can’t pay our insurance bill with goodwill.

An experience of prayer

Today I taught my first class of the semester. I got to the university early, in order to prepare (and also to avoid the traffic coming into town — it’s murder that time of day). So I went to the cafeteria, where it was so quiet, and took a chair near the back doors.

Funeral reflections

I celebrated a funeral today at one of the local funeral homes. I was a nice chance to journey with the family in this difficult time. Mrs. Gita Horvath is now buried next to her husband, which she wanted.

Last night I was out with some friends, and my friend Iris asked me “How do you handle doing funerals?” (She meant: how do you handle it emotionally). Well, I must say, it depends on the funeral. In the short span of time I’ve been doing them, I’ve seen a lot.

Mundane tasks of life

Yes, even priests have to take care of boring everyday stuff like balancing a checkbook. Most of my day was spent trying to do just that, in preparation for tax time over the next couple of months. While there isn’t that much to balance in the first place, it starts to get complicated fast. For example, the government lets us deduct a share of our automobile expenses, based on what %age of our usage was for pastoral purposes.


May 2004 be full of blessings for all of you.

2003 was quite a full year for me….let’s see, what were the main highlights?

In January, I started teaching theology at Concordia University. Definitely one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I am not sure who learned more, me or the students. And the learning process continues, and I will be teaching once again next term.