As I mentioned in yesterday's post, December 31 is the eve of a high holy day (what we call a "solemnity") in which we honor Mary as Mother of God, and in which we pray for peace throughout the world. As part of my project to visit the different churches of the dioceses sooner rather than later I started visiting churches as I made my way back to my home in Sudbury. The government-ordered lockdown meant that only a maximum of 10 people could attend a mass, but thankfully the parish of Holy Name of Jesus was offering the mass via streaming.
I started my return journey to Sudbury on December 30 in the morning. January 1 is a special holy day in the Roman Catholic church, in which we honour Mary as Mother of God, and in which we pray for peace. As a high holy day it can also be celebrated on the eve (i.e. on December 31). I decided to use this occasion to find a few couple of churches to visit and worship at in the North Bay area, as part of my getting to know the diocese. The first was Saint Alphonsus Liguori in Callander.
December 29 is my sister's birthday, so happy birthday Miriam! You are awesome -- a great mom, daughter, sister, and friend.
Because of the lockdown that started December 26 the local parish was not doing masses with the public. I thought that meant I would be celebrating Sunday mass in my sister's home, and so I contacted the pastor to see if I could borrow a "mass kit" and get some wine and hosts. Instead, he very generously allowed me to use the parish church for a private mass. On top of that, because we share a household bubble (and are less than 10 people) my family was able to attend -- how very appropriate for the feast of the Holy Family!
America Magazine published an article today about a charity I help found: Catholic Action Montreal. I think the author Dean Dettloff captured well the spirit behind this important work which, while small, is rooted in deep convictions. Any comments here are not criticisms, just a chance for me to be a proud papa.
OK, OK, I know most people think Friday is the best day of the week, but today brought with it something special: my first full day at the office, with our diocesan team. In some ways it was fairly mundane: for example, opening mail (see you can see today's crop of Christmas card in the picture) and getting my workspace (especially my computer) set up is just another one of those things we have to do. The thing is, I know that my work routines will affect those of all around me, so I want to get it right.
I had mass at Christ the King parish this morning. I was originally going to walk there, but I was a bit delayed (not all my stuff was yet unpacked), so I took my car. I received a warm welcome (after passing the mandatory COVID safety screening!) and thoroughly enjoyed worshipping with this community. The mass was broadcast live, but I don't believe a recording is available. As for my homily, I tried to focus on the notion of Mary as the new tabernacle of God's presence, and how we also can receive the Holy Spirit.
I spent the day today unpacking boxes. Felt good to start to make this place feel like home!
I find that we learn a lot about our priorities when unpacking. So, where does a geek like me start? With the computer, of course, and then the boxes and boxes and boxes of books. My library is starting to shape up! At least I was able to clear some space for the "exercise zone" I really want to have in my personal space. It felt good to do my stretch again, especially after all the heavy lifting today!
Today I was installed as the new bishop of the diocese of Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario. It was the culmination of a journey that began on October 12 of this year, when I got the phone call from the Apostolic Nuncio informing me that the Pope wanted to appoint me to this diocese. I still remember how the Nuncio opened the conversion: "Thomas, I have good news! At least, I hope it is good news!"