Fr. Bob Writes – December 25, 2014

“Our heart is wide open to you . There is no restriction in our affections, …In wide your hearts also ” (2 Corinthians 6: 11 – 12).

The Incarnation of Jesus Christ is the definitive opening wide of the Trinity’s heart to us. Ever since the creation of mankind, God has been reaching out to us, providing continual proofs of His love for us, inviting us to engage with him in personal relationship. Throughout the millenia, He had been revealing more and more of Himself, His inner nature, His desire to share Himself with us . And now with the birth of his own Son into the world, God fully gives himself to us . It as if God had been testing us out, seeing if He could trust His greatest gift , his own Son, to us . And now He makes the supreme commitment of Himself to us . “God so loved the world, that He gave us His only Son” (John 3:16).

“No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known” (John 1:18) . Jesus reveals the heart of God the Trinity, and it is one of self-giving love, first between the members of the Trinity themselves, Father , Son and Spirit, and then between the Trinity and us . The Spirit is the bridge of love between the Father and Son and ourselves. It is the Spirit overshadowing Mary’s womb (Luke 1: 35) that enables the Son of God to to become incarnate as a human being. It is the Spirit who enables the Son to come into the world as Gift from the Father to us . This is the ultimate act of trust from God to us, to hand over his innermost self, His Son, His Word, His Heart, to us . It is an intense moment of total vulnerability for God to come amongst us as a baby, trusting himself into our hands. No wonder Mary had to be conceived free from original sin, so she could be totally open to the action of God in her life. Who else could be trusted with such a gift as God’s own Son ?

Indeed, “God’s heart is wide open to ” us , and “there is no restriction in ” His affections for us . So now, God, having given absolute proof of His commitment to us, asks us what we are going to do about it. The Incarnation of His Son challenges us “in return, to open wide your hearts also” Are we willing to respond to God’s total self-gift by making the same gift of self back to Him? God has given us total freedom in this one area – the disposal of our heart’s commitment – and we can choose to hold ourselves back from God, or choose to respond to Him, in the same measure that He has opened Himself out to us, i.e. totally.

This Christmas, as we approach the manger scene , and see the helpless baby surrendered into his mother’s arms, understand that this is God surrendering Himself into ours. How will we choose to respond ?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our parishioners !!

Back online…

The parish website recently underwent a malicious hacker attack that resulted in site going down. Unfortunately, the old site had to be removed in its entirety and a new one has to be re-established.

We are working hard to having the website restored in a timely manner, and appreciate the parish community’s understanding while we endeavour to get it back online. In the meantime, many of the links to documents, pictures, etc. will not work.

For any inquiries or for Mass times, please call the parish office at 613-838-2314, or email the parish office at

For website inquiries, contact

Christmas Mass Times and Other Notices

December 24th: 4:30pm (St Philip’s Church)

4:30pm (St Philip’s Hall)

7 pm (St Clare’s Mission)

9 pm (St Philip’s Church)

Midnight (St Philip’s Church)

December 25th: – 10:30am (St Philip’s Church)

December 26th – Special Mass for Altar Servers – all welcome (St Philip’s)

Weekend of December 27-28 – Regular Mass Schedule (Sat 4:30pm and Sun
10:30am at St Philip’s and Sunday 9am at St Clare’s)

January 1 – Solemnity of Mary – 10:30am (St Philip’s)

Weekend of January 3-4 – Regular Mass Schedule (Sat 4:30pm and Sun
10:30am at St Philip’s and Sunday 9am at St Clare’s)

Please note these cancellations over Christmas:

Mon Dec 22 & 29 – No Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

Mon Dec 29 – No Monday Mass or bible study at St Philip

Tues Dec 23 and 30 – No Tuesday Mass at St Clare

Wed Dec 24 – No Euchre

Wed Dec 31 – No Adult Education / RCIA

Thurs Dec 25 and Jan 1 – No Prayer meeting

Regular schedule of ministries & activities resumes January 5th

Fr Bob Writes – Nov 30, 2014

This weekend is the first Sunday of Advent. During this time, we are reminded to focus, not on the first coming of Christ, at Christmas, but on his second coming, at the end of time. When will this Second Coming of Jesus take place? As the apostles continued staring up to the skies following Jesus’ ascension, angels appeared and told them, “This Jesus who has been taken up from you will return in the same way you have seen him going up to heaven” (Acts 1:11). Early Christians believed Jesus’ return would take place within a few years, if not months. That’s why those who joined the first Christian community at Jerusalem sold what they had and put their money in the common pot. They felt sure that Jesus would return before the money ran out. The passing time was a challenge both to their financial situation and their faith. If Jesus wasn’t returning, something which the early preaching had led them to believe, how true were the other things they had been taught about him?  Paul took up a collection for the Jerusalem community during his missionary journeys. He wanted to support the faith of this community in the return of Jesus. Mark wrote his first gospel, the first of the four to be written, as a member of Peter’s missionary team. The teaching of the return of Jesus undoubtedly was part of Peter’s preaching of the message of Jesus Christ. Twenty-some years after the ascension, however, Christian leaders were wrestling with Jesus’ “delay.” They thought back to any indications Jesus may have given them. What they recalled was included in passages such as today’s gospel selection. We don’t know when Jesus will return, so keep alert on watch and ready at all times.

Father Bob Writes – Nov 23, 2014

Our gospel this weekend gives us Jesus’ parable about the final judgement, in which there is a separation between sheep and goats. This kind of separation at the end of the day would have been common for Palestinian flocks, as goats were more sensitive to the cold than sheep and would need more protection. Jesus uses this idea of separating out to talk about the separation at the end of time between those who will go into heaven and those who will go to hell.

In the assembly of nations before Jesus, the King, not just believers in Jesus but all people, the determination of one’s eternal destination is based on love of others. What about faith? There is no mention of it here as a prerequisite or condition for eternal life, although in John 3:18 we read: “Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned.” Doesn’t that seem to give a different guideline for final judgement? Yet, the same John wrote in his first letter (1 John 3:15): “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer and no murderer has eternal life,” this in a letter emphasizing the importance of loving one another.

The Matthean text follows the passage in which the man who did not put his talent to use for God is cast out into the darkness. Previously, Matthew had presented a number of scenarios in which Jesus was confronted by Pharisees and other Jewish groups. Jesus’ main issue with his opponents was their focus on observing details of the law while neglecting the love and care of others. In this judgement scene, Jesus turns the focus away from orthodoxy (right teachings) to orthopraxis (right living). Does he do so to the exclusion of beliefs?

There was a lot of confusion in the early church about what was essential to receive the gift of eternal life. Paul often spoke of salvation coming through faith (Romans 3) yet also emphasized that , when it came down to the great triad of faith, hope and love , the “greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). The connection between faith and loving service of others was a major theme of the letter of James, written quite clearly as a response to people who thought faith in the head was sufficient.

As with many other questions for which we seek answers in the scriptures, we do best to look beyond isolated texts to see statements in context and in combination with other passages. The Catholic Church considered the topic of who can receive eternal life during the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. Our Church’s official teaching is stated in paragraphs 14 through 16 of “Lumen Gentium, “the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. People have a responsibility of seeking the truth about God and God’s will and then responding by living God’s will to the best of one’s ability.

Fr Bob Writes – November 16, 2014

The Importance of Music and Singing in the Liturgy- Part Three

(The following is taken from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops Liturgical Calendar, pp13-14. Italics mine)

The liturgy is enriched and made more solemn by music and sacred song. Intimately connected with the spirit of the liturgical actions it accompanies, music is a strong aid to prayer and helps deepen the sense of community within the assembly. Singing by the people is essential; they take a more active part in liturgical services by singing the acclamations, psalms, antiphons and responses.

Music at every celebration is the standard. The liturgy committee works with pastors, choirs, musicians, readers and others to choose suitable music for each specific celebration. Music which supports the spirit of each celebration – the liturgical season, occasion, or feast, the liturgical moment, and the readings – will help to complete the work of the liturgy in forming the people of God.

At all times during the year, the congregation should learn and sing parts of the Mass, especially the acclamations, psalm refrain, alleluia, responses and the Lord’s Prayer, for God has called us to be the beloved and chosen people, set aside to sing God’s praise.

Pastors…should realize that valid and licit celebration is only the beginning; it is their duty as well to make sure that the faithful take a full, active, conscious and fruitful part in the liturgy.

Responsorial psalm: The psalm is sung as a meditative response to the word of God in the first reading and reflects its message. Unless the psalm is to be sung straight through, the cantor sings the refrain and all repeat it; the cantor sings the verses and the congregation repeats the refrain.”

St. Philip TAC Meeting Agenda for November 18, 2014

The St. Philip Temporal Affairs Council (“TAC”) will hold its November meeting on Tuesday, November 18, 2014.

In keeping with the TAC’s desire for transparency and accountability to the parish community and to inform it of the issues the TAC deals with, a copy of the meeting agenda can be obtained by clicking here.

While the TAC does not make public its meeting minutes by publishing them to the parish website, parishioners wishing more information on any of the items raised in the meeting can contact either Fr. Bob or Pat McIver, TAC Chair.