July 2017

How to have a welcoming parish

I had an excellent discussion with a brother priest this morning (Sunday, July 16) over breakfast concerning what it means to have a welcoming parish. My experience of doing 5 years of in-depth parish pastoral visits revealed to me that most regular parishioners think their parish is a welcoming parish. My experience also revealed that many of those people, when asked why they think theirs is a welcoming parish, have no idea how to respond. It comes down to a feeling, more than facts.

Prayers on a plane

When you are a priest, you never know when you'll be called upon. There are things you can plan, such as a meeting I had in Toronto on June 13-14. But then there are things that are just surprises from God. On my way back from Toronto I wound up sitting next to a lovely couple from Arizona who were on their way to Wabush in Labrador (quite a trip!). After some typical chit chat they asked me to pray with them for a member of their family who is sick. So the three of us, sharing row 16, leaned in and prayed. It was a lovely (and surprising) moment of ministry.

My little black book

I had a chance to go for a lovely lunch with a local businessman, where in addition to eating we prayed and shared our spiritual journeys. During the lunch I shared on a little technique I've found very helpful to stay focused.

Preaching on providence

I had the joy of celebrating the opening mass for the general chapter of the Sisters of Providence. What an honour to have been invited! I was just so amazed and delighted to be among these impressive women who have offered so much to God and their neighbour.

Family day in Ottawa with new cousins

My family on my mother's side is on the larger side, and unfortunately that means there has been some loss of contact between some of us. What a joy it was, then, to meet up two cousins, Genevieve and Shayne, children of my (late) uncle Winfred. I've only gotten a chance to get to know Genevieve in the past couple of years, but despite her living on the other side of North America social media lets us all keep in touch.

Happy Festa di San Marziale to all my Calabrese friends!

I had the opportunity today to celebrate mass at Saint Michael and Saint Anthony parish on the occasion of the feast of San Marziale Martire. He's the patron saint of Isca sullo Ionio in Calabria. This was the 50th anniversary of the feast in Montreal, and my chance to discover it. Several blocks of Saint Viateur were closed off for a street festival, and after the mass there was a traditional Italian procession with the image of the saint through the neighbourhood.