Fr Bob Writes – September 23, 2018

When it comes to leadership, there should be a marked difference between the Christian community and secular governments and organizations. Ambition often leads people to take exceptional, even unethical steps to get ahead. It often leads to position which is undergirded by power. Worldly power is one of the most dangerous and potentially lethal forces in life. As Lord Acton said it tends to corrupt, and when it is absolute, it corrupts absolutely. Human experience shows clearly the evils brought to humanity by people who craved power, even to the point of their own downfall.

If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”   With these words in our gospel this weekend, Jesus speaks with incredible insight. Status was to have no place in the reign of God; it was to be absent from the church. Those who exercise authority in the community are not to resemble the “rulers of this world, who lord it over them.”  It is sad to note that in the history of Christianity this clear teaching of Jesus was frequently neglected. While it is true that many Christians who grasped the authentic spirit have left an inspiring legacy of service, it is also true that others have used the church to further their own personal aims. They have sought to be served rather than to serve. It is surely very likely that many of those responsible for outrageous acts of abuse in the Church, did so because they felt immune in their positions of power, knowing they would never be challenged.

As Jesus makes clear to his followers in today’s gospel, disciples are called to serve, even to death if necessary, and the service they render will bring with it no human acclaim or compensation= the Christian paradox ! We have yet to grasp how different we are called to be . It is when we serve the neediest, the beloved of God, that we come closest to what Christian leadership means. “The Son of Man came, not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for the many” (Mark 10:45)

Fr Bob Writes – September 16, 2018

This Sunday, we read of Jesus bringing his disciples to Caesarea Philippi, to ask him the single most important question in Christianity: “Who do you say I am?”  It is crucial, because it invites a personal commitment to Jesus, not just what others have told me but what I truly believe in my mind and heart.  How would you answer?

Peter answers correctly :”You are the Messiah (or Christ),” in other words, the anointed one of God, sent by God into the world to carry out his purposes to bring in the kingdom of God and to save his people from evil.  Although Peter answered correctly, his concept of Messiah we formed by popular conceptions of a worldly leader who would bring about a new age of prominence and prosperity to the nation of Israel.  Jesus’ response to Peter, detailing the path of suffering, death and resurrection that lay before him, did not match with what Peter had been taught.  Perhaps overconfident in having identified Jesus as the Christ, Peter decides to correct Jesus’ “faulty” understanding of Messiah.  How shocking it must have been, then, for Peter, and for the other disciples, to have Jesus call him a “Satan”(literally, an “adversary”)!

The force of Jesus’ comment indicates that it must truly have been a temptation with which he contended to avoid the suffering and follow a different path more in keeping with the one Peter proposed.  This is akin to the third temptation in the desert in which Satan offered Jesus all the nations of the world for merely bowing down and worshipping him for a moment (Matthew 4:8-10).  How often do we, like Peter, evaluate situations by human or worldly standards rather than by those of God?

As we enter into our 200th anniversary year at St Philip’s, let us not be lost in all the wonderful activities planned for the time ahead, that we forget to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, and continue to acknowledge him before others as the “anointed one of God, who came to save us from our sins.”

Fr. Bob Writes – September 9, 2018

This year coming up, September 2018 – 2019, we celebrate 200 years of existence as a parish in Richmond. Indeed, St Philip’s is older than the diocese of Ottawa, which was created from the older diocese of Kingston.

The theme we have chosen for this anniversary year is: Pray-Love-Celebrate.  As a parish family, we will seek to live a life of prayer, love and celebration throughout the year ahead.  No parish endeavour can survive without a strong foundation of prayer.  No parish community can be faithful to Christ unless it lives a lifestyle of love in service.  No parish can experience the joy of the Holy Spirit unless it gives space and time to celebration.

In the weeks ahead, we will spell out the various activities and programs which will mark our anniversary year.  We will be introducing the Alpha course to the parish, as well as the Youth Alpha course.  There will be extra bible studies, and extra times for adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.  We will carry out a teaching Mass, to deepen our understanding of the Eucharist, which is the “source and summit of our Catholic Christian life,” according to the Second Vatican Council.  In October we will have a service of blessing of animals, close to the feast of St Francis of Assisi.  There will be parish missions and a parish retreat to mark Advent, Lent and Pentecost.  Parishioners will be invited to pledge extra time for prayer and spiritual devotions during the year in our “Pray” book.

They will also be invited to commit to various acts of service in the community in our “Love” book. We are hoping to introduce a ministry to the elderly and shut-ins, as well as a bereavement counselling ministry. We will have a book of remembrance which includes pictures of deceased members of the parish which will be brought to the altar during the month of November. Our elementary school, St Philip’s, and our high school, Sacred Heart, will be invited to join in making these pledges of prayer and service. The Peru mission, which will be held in February, will be a sign of our love in service beyond our parish boundaries.

Our “Celebrate” book will encourage our parishioners to submit photos of themselves, and of weddings, baptisms, confirmations, first communions and other celebrations. We intend to have a children’s Mass, a youth Mass, a Mass for the elderly and shut-ins, a wedding anniversary Mass, a parish Mass and social to mark the feast of St Philip, our patron (May 3rd). All of this will culminate in a grand celebration of our anniversary on September 29th, 2019.

We will keep you posted on all the events which will be marking this extra special year.  We also invite individual members of the parish to submit ideas for ways in which we can make this year extra-special.

There is a special prayer for our 200th anniversary which will be made available in the form of a book-mark, which we invite you to take home and pray every day of the year ahead.

Pray- Love – Celebrate…    Let it Begin!!

Sacraments for Students in Grade Two and Grade 6

If you attend St Philips or St Clares parish, reside in Richmond proper or if your child goes to St Philip school in Richmond, we welcome you to register for the sacraments of First Reconciliation (grade 2), First Eucharist (grade 2) and Confirmation (grade 6).  Parents and students should plan now to attend our one and only registration night:  Wednesday September 26th.  Please see the attached files with important dates to add to your calendar.

Confirmation-Save these Dates

First Communion-Reconcilication-Save the Date Letter