Bulletin of July 3, 2016

Happy Canada Day!  Thanks be to God for this amazing country.

Did you know…there are three bible verses etched in the stonework of the Peace Tower (on the arches, over the main entrance to the Parliament Buildings)?  They read:

“He shall have dominion also from sea to sea” – Psalm 72:8

“Where there is no vision the people perish” – Proverbs 29:18

“Give the king thy judgements O God, and thy righteousness to the king’s son” – Psalm 72:1

Here is this week’s bulletin:  July 3, 2016 Bulletin

Fr Bob Writes – July 3, 2016

Last week, the United Kingdom, in a referendum, made an historic decision to leave the European Union, of which it had been a part since 1975.  However, the countries of Scotland and Northern Ireland voted in this referendum to remain a part of the EU.  It appears likely that, in the near future, those two countries will vote to leave the United Kingdom which has existed for over 400 years as a union of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland (the Republic of Ireland separated from the UK in 1921, leaving Northern Ireland as part of the union).  Suddenly, the entire political map of the United Kingdom is being reconfigured.  Further, other countries in the EU are considering whether to hold a referendum to decide if they also want to leave.  We are facing seismic changes in the whole continent of Europe, which will undoubtedly have repercussions on the world stage.  Nobody knows what the future holds as we transition to a very different world than we knew before.

Transition always has its uncertainty and consequent anxiety.  Last Friday, I attended a graduation ceremony at St Philip’s and watched as the grade 6 students were awarded certificates and awards and prepared to transition to a new era in their lives, in which they would no longer be big fish in a small pond, but small fish in a big pond.  Behind the smiles, I am sure there were a few fluttering hearts as well.  On Saturday, I attended a wedding, in which the happy couple exchanged vows and made their own transition into the unknown of being married.  I’m sure that here also, behind the smiles, both were wondering what the future held for them.

Finally, last Friday, I carried out two funerals, and here was the greatest transition any of us will ever make, from this earthly life into the unknown of whatever lies beyond.  For those with faith, we are assured that beyond this life, there is a better, more beautiful life, the life of heaven.  For those without such faith, there is only uncertainty and fear.  Even those with faith can face this final curtain with a great deal of anxiety.

A great English saint, Blessed John Henry Newman, once wrote:  “Here below, to be human is to change.  And to be perfect, is to have gone through many changes.”  All the transitions, all the changes in our lives, are but ways in which God brings us to perfection.  The people of Israel, returning from exile to their devastated capital, Jerusalem, faced uncertainty and fear about the future.  The prophet Isaiah, in our first reading this Sunday, paints a picture of a restored Jerusalem, in which abundant peace and prosperity would be theirs.  It was a word of comfort to them in the midst of their profound anxiety, to remind them that God had not abandoned them, and would bring them through this time of transition into a time of restoration and glory.

Whatever transitions you may be facing this summer, be assured that God has all our lives in his hands, and will bring us through this time of uncertainty and anxiety, and use these new changes to continue perfecting us.

Fr Bob Writes – June 26, 2016

Fr Denny Dempsey has a brilliant reflection on this Sunday’s first reading from the second book of Kings, in which Elijah appoints Elisha, at God’s bidding, to replace him as God’s prophet or mouth-piece. This is what he writes:

Elijah (meaning “my God is Yahweh”) is called to anoint Elisha (meaning “God is my salvation”) as his successor. Elisha came from a wealth family (only a wealthy family could afford twelve yoke of oxen) in Abel Meholah east of the Jordan river.  He was the chief prophet of the northern kingdom of Israel from around 850 to 790 B.C. The camel hair cloak which Elijah places over Elisha was symbolic of his being a prophet in somewhat the same way as a person today wearing a black shirt with a small white square in the collar is identified as clergy. Several centuries later, John the Baptist would wear a cloak similar to that of Elijah and Elisha, identifying him as a prophet of God. 

Elisha’s sacrificing oxen to God was a sign of his acceptance and commitment to his new calling.   He would henceforth be a disciple to Elijah learning how to be a prophet, a mouthpiece for God. 

In his famous poem “The Road Not Taken,”  Robert Frost wrote : “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and sorry I could not travel both. I looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth.”  Elisha looked down the furrows of the extensive farm he was to inherit and chose another life based on faith in God…and that, as Robert Frost would say, “made all the difference.”  What have been roads you have taken in life which meant other possible options would forever be impossible?  Choosing a college, marriage partner, job, and residence are among the key choices that define a person’s life path.  What did you turn down in making your choices in life? 

Sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Communion – 2016-2017 School Year

For all students entering Grade 2 next year!  Parents, please book these dates on your calendar now so that your child can attend all the necessary sacramental preparation dates. Thank you.

St Philips School Students-Save the Date Letter, June 22, 2016 First Communion-Reconcilication

All Other School Students-Save the Date Letter, June 22, 2016 First Communion-Reconcilication