Sacraments for School-Age Children: Confirmation (Grade 6), First Reconciliation (Grade 2) and First Communion (Grade 2)

We are delighted to welcome all Grade 2 and Grade 6 children into our sacramental preparation program.  Please click these links to find a full calendar of dates for our program; we ask you to put these on your calendar now as all dates are critical to the well-preparedness of candidates.  Call our office at 613-838-2314 if you have any questions!

Confirmation: for students who will be starting Grade 6 in Fall 2015 – Save the Date – Confirmation 2015-2016

First Reconciliation and First Communion: for Students who will be starting Grade 2 in Fall 2015 – Save the Date – First Communiont-Reconcilication 2015-2016

Fr Bob Writes – July 2015

Last Sunday, we had the joy at St Philip’s of celebrating the 68th wedding anniversary of a couple from the parish. Intriguingly enough, this celebration came in the same week as the Supreme Court of the United States of America released a landmark ruling that said that same -sex marriage would be constitutional nationwide.

In so doing, the Supreme Court changed the legal meaning of marriage, rejecting the universal meaning of marriage that has prevailed for millennia in favour of the novel idea that two men or two women can marry each other. Said Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Catholic, for the 5-4 majority: “The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality. This is true for all persons, whatever their sexual orientation>’

Although the Supreme Court emphasized that “religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned,” the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called the decision “a tragic error,” going on to say that “it is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage” while Bishop Richard Malone of Buffalo, N.Y. wrote “Marriage is the lifelong exclusive union of one man and one woman, a font of unitive life and love as well as the foundation of a stable family and society.”

Our readings for this Sunday’s Mass remind us of the reality that, for those who are striving to remain faithful to God and His commandments, persecution and rejection will inevitably follow.  The prophet Ezekiel is told in our first reading that the people he will be preaching to are “impudent and stubborn…a rebellious people.” The psalmist laments that he has received his fill of “the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.”  And Jesus remarks in our gospel that “a prophet is not without honour, except in his hometown, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”

Our society is gradually taking leave of the Judea-Christian foundation which formed its ethical backbone and opting for a neo-pagan lifestyle which advocates an anarchist approach to moral principles. Inevitably, we, as faithful Christians, will find ourselves subject to more and more criticism and attack for holding to a biblical moral stance. The readings for this Sunday remind us that this is nothing new, and that at these times, God tells us that “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.

I wish you a joyful and re-creating Summertime!!

Fr Bob Writes – June 28, 2015

Fr Bob writes : “We are to love people and use money, not love money and use people”

Our second reading this weekend deals with a collection of money that Paul and his associates took up among Gentile churches during his third missionary journey. The proceeds were gathered to help the poor Christians in Jerusalem. The donation was a practical gesture of charity toward fellow believers in need, as well as a symbolic token of unity expressed by Gentile churches on behalf of their Jewish Christian brethren.

The importance of this collection for Paul is shown in the various methods he uses in his second letter to the Corinthians to get them to show generosity (chapters 8 and 9). Firstly , he praises another Church community (the Macedonians) for contributing abundantly to the Jerusalem collection despite their destitute circumstances(verses 1 – 7).  He thus challenges the Corinthians, who are comparatively wealthy, to follow the lead of their northern neighbors by giving alms in proportion to their prosperity.   Here, Paul tries to stimulate a healthy rivalry, hoping that the generous example of the Macedonians will draw forth an even greater gift from the Corinthians.

Secondly, and this is the focus of our second reading this weekend, he points to the example of Christ, who “though he was rich”, i.e. in his divine attributes as God, nonetheless “for your sakes he became poor,” by giving up those attributes to take on human nature and experience all the deprivations we humans suffer, including death. By his death, in atonement for our sins, we receive eternal life, and so “through his poverty” says St Paul, “you became rich.”   Why not then, hints Paul, “impoverish yourself ” a little to make others, i.e. the Jerusalem Christians, rich?

Paul then speaks about the value of unity among Christians. If the Corinthians give to alleviate the poverty of the Jerusalem Christians now, then later, when and if they find themselves in a similar situation of destitution, the Jerusalem Christians will help them out of their abundance.

In our day, we are used to various stratagems employed by professional fundraisers to extract money from us. It is interesting to note that St Paul could have taught all of them a thing or two about the subtle art of fundraising!!

Fr Bob Writes – June 21, 2015

Here is an excellent commentary from Fr Denny Dempsey on this Sunday’s gospel story of Jesus calming the storm

“The Sea of Galilee is 11 miles long and 8.5 miles wide. It lies 640 feet below sea level in a depression that runs down through the Dead Sea, the result of two tectonic plates slowly moving apart for millions of years forming the Jordan River valley. Moisture-laden winds off the Mediterranean Sea 35 miles to the west gain momentum as they drop down into that depression to the lake. A mild wind can quickly blow up into a gale driving six-foot waves.

 The boat, if similar to the one from the period raised from the mud of the Sea of Galilee in the 1980’s, was about 26 feet long and 4 feet deep, fitted with a mast and several places for setting oars. Used for fishing during the night, it doubled as a transport for cargo and passengers during the day. It was in the stern that Jesus was sleeping, out of the wind and rain with some sandbags for cushions. The stern, being in the back of the boat, is the most stable place in a boat. While the bow (front end) may pitch and rise and fall wildly on the waves, movement in the stern might feel comparatively like rocking a baby. 

Was Jesus really asleep? He could have been but I think he may have been just pretending, keeping an eye slightly open to see how his apostles would respond to the storm…a little test of their confidence. Does it ever seem like Jesus is sleeping through some storms in our lives? Our faith may be put to the test, as with the apostles. We are tested through the storms of life. Do we give up or keep going? Do we take our anxieties out on others or become an inspiration for them? Do we get closer or farther away from God? Note that, while the apostles woke Jesus, they didn’t ask for strength to get through. Instead they challenged Jesus’ concern for them. The storm had gotten the better of them, and they were taking it out on Jesus. Reflecting on the storms of life, Paul challenges Christians (Romans 8:35) with the question: “What can separate us from the love of Christ?” The answer? Nothing, if we don’t let it.

 I’m sure the apostles were relieved with the “great calm” which ensued, but was Jesus possibly teaching them another lesson? There they were, out in the middle of a huge lake with no wind. The sail was not going to do them any good. They would have had to break out the oars and row the rest of the way. You know that expression, “Be careful what you ask for…you might get it!!” Sometimes it is better to ask God’s strength to get through the storms of life than to ask God to take them all away