St. Philip Cemetery Mass: Sunday August 18, 10:30AM

The St Philips Cemetery Mass will be on Sunday August 18th at 10:30am in the cemetery.  Bring your lawn chairs!  There will be a blessing of our new cross … in celebration of our 200th Anniversary. The Cemetery administration kindly requests that you donate to the special cemetery collection at this Mass; this helps with the upkeep of our beautiful grounds.  Please use the blue envelope marked ‘Cemetery Fund’ that can be found in your donation boxes (at the beginning of June). In case of rain, the Mass will be held in St. Philips Church.

Fr. Bob Writes – August 2019

These summer months, while bringing the blessing of gorgeous weather, has also brought to us more than a fair share of funerals; Stephen Fleming, Dale Robichaud, Dale Murphy, Kristen O’Connor. In the light of this, our responsorial psalm this Sunday, psalm 90, gives us a timely reflection on the need for recognition of our human mortality.

In the opening verses of the psalm, the eternity of God is highlighted….“from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.” This is followed by a reflection on the fragility and shortness of human life (vv 3-4). The mention of mortals “returning to dust” (v.4) echoes the curse God puts on human life because of the sin of our first parents: “from dust you came and unto dust you shall return” (Genesis 2:7; 3:9). There is a contrast between God in his agelessness and the human person as a passing shadow. Our first reading from the book of Ecclesiastes speaks of the futility of human existence and toil when everything is destined to pass away, so why bother seeking after material things and new pleasures? The recurring phrase “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity” (Eccles 1:2) is a play on the Hebrew word hebel, which means, literally, a ‘vapour” or “a wisp of smoke”- figurative for futility or emptiness. The responsorial psalm goes on to give another image drawn from the natural world to show the meaninglessness of life. Like short-lived grass under the oriental sun, human life is brief and transient (v.5).

Such sober thoughts lead to a prayerful plea for the experience of God’s presence whose absence has been felt; “Give us joy to balance the years when we knew misfortune …Bless and prosper the work of our hands.”  God’s presence is sufficient to make a limited life span a period of happiness and prosperity. A little later on in Ecclesiastes we come upon the surprising statement that God “has placed a sense of the eternal” in men’s hearts (3:9), even though the writer does not have a belief in eternal life. We are in such a better place than the unfortunate Ecclesiastes, in that, because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we can look forward, beyond this life, to spending eternity in God’s presence in heaven. As our second reading today puts it: “Brothers and sisters, you were raised with Christ…when Christ your life appears (at the end of time), then you too will appear with him in glory” (Colossians  3:4).

A contemporary worship leader, Robin Mark, writes in one of his songs: “We are a moment, You are forever” – words which our first reading and psalm would agree with. Let such reflections, in the light of the number of recent funerals, urge us to come to a full hearted belief in Jesus Christ, the Resurrection and the Life! 

Sacraments of Confirmation, First Communion and First Reconciliation

If you attend St. Philip or St. Clare parish, reside in Richmond proper or if your child goes to St Philip Catholic School of Richmond Public School in Richmond, we welcome Catholic students to register for the sacraments of Confirmation, First Reconciliation and First Communion.  Parents and students should plan now to attend our one and only Registration Night:  Wednesday September 25th.   We have set out our calendar of dates early, and we present it to you in the attached link. We have done this so that you may plan ahead to ensure that you and your child are available for all the dates – including the Registration Night, the Enrollment Mass, the preparation workshop and the date of the celebration of the Sacrament.   Students need to attend all the preparation dates in order to be well prepared for these sacraments. Please click on these links for more information and dates to hold:

Confirmation (Grade 6 in Sept 2019)

First Communion and First Reconciliation (Grade 2 in Sept 2019)

Fr. Bob Writes – June 30, 2019

Every journey has a measure of the unknown.  This was true of Christ as he moved toward Jerusalem (Luke 9:51- gospel for this Sunday).  It is true of every Christian who accepts the radical call and who, as Paul states, makes his journey as the “Spirit walk”.  Every day of our life presents new challenges, new problems of faith, new moral choices.  There is great force in Luke’s statement about Jesus: “he set his face” for Jerusalem.  One thinks of a finely chiseled face of stone, with head erect, and steely eyes looking directly forward.  It all speaks one word: commitment.

In the face of the unknown, Christ never wavered. Our age has many difficulties with commitment. Great hesitation surrounds any life commitment.  Those which are made are regularly broken.  Judging the situation of others is not ours to do.  But it is a regrettable fact of our times.  True love does not shrink from commitment.  To opt for God in our life is a very important choice.  How reassuring it is when we know people who remain strong and firm in that Christian decision throughout life.  If there is one thing we need today, it is a witness of stability.  And when we find it, it is a great inspiration.