Fr Bob Writes – Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

This Sunday is the feast of the Trinity. Below is a reflection on this feast by Fr Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the Pope.

“Why do Christians believe in the Trinity? It is hard enough to believe that God exists without having to add the puzzle about God being “one and three.” 

There are some today who would not be upset if we dropped the Trinity. For one thing, they would say, it would help dialogue with the Jews and Muslims, who profess faith in a God who is strictly one. The answer is that Christians believe God is triune because they believe God is love! If God is love, then he must love someone. There is no such thing as love of nothing, a love that is not directed at anyone. So we ask: Who is it that God loves so that he is defined as love? 

A first answer must be that God loves us! But men have only existed for a few million years. Who did God love before that? God could not have begun to love at a certain point in time because God cannot change. Another answer might be that before he loved us, he loved the cosmos, the universe. But the universe has only existed for a few billion years. Who did God love before that so that he was defined as love? We cannot say that God loved himself because self-love is not love, but egoism, or, as the psychologists say, narcissism.

How does Christian revelation answer this question? God is love in himself, before time, because there is eternally in him a Son, the Word, whom he loves from an infinite love which is the Holy Spirit. In every love there are always three realities or subjects: one who loves, one who is loved and the love that unites them. Where God is understood as absolute power, there is no need for there to be more than one person, for power can be exercised quite well by one person. But if God is understood as absolute love, then it cannot be this way.

The contemplation of the Trinity can have an important impact on our human life. The life of the Trinity is a mystery of relation…We know that happiness and unhappiness on earth depend in large part upon the quality of our relationships. The Trinity reveals the secret to good relationships. Love, in its different forms, is what makes relationships beautiful, free and gratifying. Here we see how important it is that God can be seen primarily as love and not as power; love gives, power dominates. That which poisons a relationship is the will to dominate another person, to possess or use that person instead of welcoming and giving ourselves to him or her…”

Cemetery Masses – Come join us!

All are welcome to join us for our cemetery Mass on Sunday, June 14th at 10:30am.  127 Burke St, Richmond, On. Bring your lawn chair!
​ All are welcome to join us for our cemetery Mass on Sunday, June 21st at 9:00am.  4002 Dwyer Hill Rd, Dwyer Hill, On.

Fr Bob Writes – Pentecost Sunday, May 24, 2015

This Sunday we celebrate the feast of Pentecost- the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Jesus which birthed the Christian Church. Below are some remarks by Pope Francis on this event:

“The Holy Spirit is the soul of mission. The events that took place in Jerusalem almost two thousand years ago are not something far removed from us; they are events that affect us and become a lived experience in each of us. The Pentecost of the upper room in Jerusalem is the beginning, a beginning which endures.

The Holy Spirit is the supreme gift of the Risen Christ to his apostles, yet he wants that gift to reach everyone. As we hear in the Gospel, Jesus says: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to remain with you forever” (cf John 14:16). It is the Paraclete Spirit, the “Comforter”, who grants us the courage to take to the streets of the world, bringing the gospel!. The Holy Spirit makes us look to the horizon and drives us to the very outskirts of existence in order to proclaim life in Jesus Christ. 

Let us ask ourselves: do we tend to stay closed in on ourselves, on our group, or do we let the Holy Spirit open us to mission?”

Happy Birthday, Church!!

Fr Bob Writes – May 17, 2015

When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.” (John 12:32). The Bible speaks of three ways in which Jesus is “lifted up:” in his death on the cross, in his resurrection, and in his ascension. This Sunday, we focus on the third “lifting up” of Jesus, his ascension into heaven. Our first reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, describes Jesus being “lifted up” and our gospel, from Mark, says that Jesus was “taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.”   Paul’s letter to the Ephesians tells us that God “raised up Jesus from the dead and made him to sit at his right hand, in heaven, far above every Sovereignty, Authority, Power or Domination, or any other name that can be named, not only in this age, but in the age to come” (1:20-21). “He has put all things under his feet, and made him as the ruler of everything, head of the Church,” Paul goes on to say in the very next verse.

So on this day, we not only celebrate the finish of Jesus’ earthly life and his return to the Father, but we also celebrate his exaltation: the fact that, in his risen and ascended humanity, Jesus has been “lifted up ” and given the name “which is high above all other names, so that all beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend the knee at the name of Jesus, and that every tongue should acclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11). There is no scope here for saying that Jesus was a good man, but only on the level of other “good men”, such as Mohammad, or Buddha, or Socrates, or Gandhi. In fact, St Pope John Paul II, in his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope, states clearly that Jesus Christ “is not on the same level as a Mohammed, or a Buddha or a Socrates, but is totally unique and original.” Neither Mohammed, nor Buddha, nor Socrates, ever died for the forgiveness of sins of the whole world. Neither were they ever raised from the dead into a totally new life which they then imparted to their followers. Nor were any of them raised up into heaven and seated at the right hand of God. With reason, Peter affirms in the Acts of the Apostles that “of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.” (4: 12).

To affirm that Jesus is the unique Savior of humanity, that He alone is Lord of all creation, and that in Him alone, are we given the hope of eternal life, is to “lift Jesus up” in a fourth way, one in which we continue to “exalt” Jesus and to be His witnesses “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1: 8).

St. Philip Temporal Affairs Council Issues its Latest Quarterly Report

The St. Philip Temporal Affairs Council has issued its latest report for the three months ending March 31, 2015. A hard copy of the report will be available in this weekend’s parish bulletin.

The quarterly report can also be viewed here.

To view previous reports, please visit the St. Philip’s TAC page and look for it under the heading, “TAC Reports to Parishioners and Other Reports.” Parishioners will find links to past TAC reports starting with the quarter ending September 30, 2013.

Fr Bob Writes – May 10, 2015

On February 6th this year, the Supreme Court of Canada effectively allowed assisted suicide and euthanasia to be legal in this country. The Court struck down section 241 of the Criminal Code which forbids assisted suicide and section 14 which forbids euthanasia. In so doing the Court reversed its 1993 judgement in Rodriguez v British Columbia which had upheld the ban on assisted suicide, and also went against the expressed democratic will of Canada’s Parliament which had refused over and over again to declare assisted suicide and euthanasia to be legal. It also ignored successive opinion polls over the years which had underlined that most Canadians are opposed to these practices.

Recently, a parishioner took me to task, rightly for not speaking about this Supreme Court decision either in the bulletin or in a homily. I confess I dropped the ball on this issue. But as we approach our annual March for Life on May 14th, with its usual associated flurry of life-related events and activities, I want to pick up the ball on this and run with it. Interestingly, at two public events recently, a Knights of Columbus Clergy Appreciation Dinner and a Catholic Women’s League Convention, Archbishop Prendergast spoke about the ramifications of this Court decision and urged all Catholics to strongly protest to our MPs against it. It is still possible for the government to circumvent this decision by invoking the constitutional “notwithstanding” clause. Let us pray that they will make use of it. Let us pray also for a change of heart in our justices so that they do not feel they can “make new law” against the stated intention of a democratically elected government and the wishes of the greater majority of Canadian citizens. And which, by the way, ignores the sinister reality of open mercy killing in countries like Holland and Belgium who started down this slippery slope of allowing assisted suicide and euthanasia, while claiming that legal restrictions were in place to prevent any abuses.

Archbishop Prendergast took the opportunity to re-state Catholic teaching on issues of death and dying. Contrary to many people’s understanding, the Church does not ban the giving of medication, such as morphine, which is administered primarily to help ease a patient’s suffering in a terminal illness, but which incidentally may also advance their death. A patient, or a patient’s family, is not obliged to request medical treatment which would be burdensome on them and which would not materially advance their chances of improvement. Allowing a person to die of natural causes is not the same thing as euthanasia. Neither is respecting a patient’s refusal of treatment or request to stop treatment.

Euthanasia is deliberate killing in order to put an end to a person’s suffering, with our without the person’s consent. In assisted suicide, people take their own lives with the help of someone else. For example, a doctor assists by providing pills, an intravenous drip, or other means that they use to kill themselves. Both euthanasia and assisted suicide are clearly against Catholic teaching. We need to be ready for this new stage in the battle for life in Canada, and use prayer and legal action to fight to reverse this appalling Supreme Court decision. Make a commitment now to come out on May 14th for the National March for Life on Parliament Hill to show your protest against this latest assault on our most vulnerable members.


N.B. EWTN will be filming a pro-life roundtable on Wednesday May 13th and they are looking to assemble a live audience of 500 people. Admission is free. The event will take place at St Brigid’s Centre for the Arts in downtown Ottawa from 5pm to 6.30pm (please arrive at 4.30pm) Archbishop Prendergast and Alex Schadenberg of Euthanasia Prevention Canada are among those taking part.

Fr Bob Writes – May 3, 2015

Here below are some reflections by Pope Francis:

“I had the great blessing of growing up in a family in which faith was lived in a simple, practical way. However, it was my paternal grandmother, in particular, who influenced my journey of faith. She was a woman who explained to us, who talked to us about Jesus, who taught us the Catechism. I always remember that on the evening of Good Friday, she would take us to the candlelight procession, and at the end of this procession, “the dead Christ” would arrive, and our grandmother would make us – the children- kneel down, and she would say to us, “Look, he is dead, but tomorrow he will rise.” This was how I received my first Christian proclamation, from this very woman, from my grandmother! This is really beautiful! The first proclamation at home, in the family!

And this makes me think of the love of so many mothers and grandmothers in the transmission of faith. They are the ones who pass on the faith. This used to happen in the early Church too, for St Paul said to Timothy, “I am reminded of the faith of your mother and of your grandmother” (cf 2 Timothy 1:5). All the mothers and all the grandmothers who are here should think about this: passing on the faith! Because God sets beside us people who help us on our journey of faith. We do not find our faith in the abstract, no! It is always a person preaching who tells us who Jesus is, who communicates faith to us and gives us the first proclamation. And this is how I received my first experience of faith.” 

Mothers’ Day is Sunday May 10th . Why not send a card to your mother, thanking her for the gift of your faith?