St. Philip Parish and St. Clare Mission https://www.stphilips-church.com Serving the Catholic communities of Richmond and Dwyer Hill, Ontario, and surrounding areas since 1819 Sat, 28 Nov 2020 13:04:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.3 138624500 Masses for the First Sunday of Advent https://www.stphilips-church.com/2020/11/28/masses-for-the-first-sunday-of-advent/ Sat, 28 Nov 2020 13:04:08 +0000 https://www.stphilips-church.com/?p=5472
Click the image above to visit the parish’s YouTube channel to view the live-stream of the Mass (start time is 4:30pm EST, when it is taking place) or to view the recording of the Mass (available shortly after Mass has completed)
Click the image above to visit the parish’s YouTube channel to view the live-stream of the Mass (start time is 10:30am EST, when it is taking place) or to view the recording of the Mass (available shortly after Mass has completed)

To read this week’s parish bulletin, click here.

To make an act of spiritual communion, click here.

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Click the image above to visit the parish’s YouTube channel to view the live-stream of the Mass (start time is 4:30pm EST, when it is taking place) or to view the recording of the Mass (available shortly after Mass has completed)
Click the image above to visit the parish’s YouTube channel to view the live-stream of the Mass (start time is 10:30am EST, when it is taking place) or to view the recording of the Mass (available shortly after Mass has completed)

To read this week’s parish bulletin, click here.

To make an act of spiritual communion, click here.

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Bulletin – First Week of Advent – Nov 29, 2020 https://www.stphilips-church.com/2020/11/26/bulletin-first-week-of-advent-nov-29-2020/ Thu, 26 Nov 2020 20:00:06 +0000 https://www.stphilips-church.com/?p=5470 Here is the Bulletin of November 29, 2020.

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Here is the Bulletin of November 29, 2020.

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Register for Masses this week: Saturday, November 28, Sunday November 29, Monday November 30 and Tuesday December 1 https://www.stphilips-church.com/2020/11/23/register-for-masses-this-week-sunday-august-8-9-and-august-10-11-2020/ Mon, 23 Nov 2020 13:00:00 +0000 https://www.stphilips-church.com/?p=4924 For the next number of weeks, in order to keep to the limits identified by the province, we are asking parishioners to register for the mass of your choice by clicking the Mass time below. Please feel free to share this information. One registration can be done per family – just indicate the number of seats you will need (include babies and children who will attend with you). We regret that once all the seats are spoken for, we cannot make more seats available. Click on the following links to the Mass of your choice:

4:30 pm Saturday November 28 (St Philips)

9am Sunday November 29 (St Clares) – click this link to see how to register

10:30am Sunday November 29 (St Philips)

12:30pm Sunday November 29 (St Philips) – Charismatic Mass with the Lift Jesus Higher Community) – Register at the door – first come, first seated

7pm Monday November 30 – Register at the door – first come, first seated

7pm Tuesday December 1 (St Clares) – Register at the door – first come, first seated

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For the next number of weeks, in order to keep to the limits identified by the province, we are asking parishioners to register for the mass of your choice by clicking the Mass time below. Please feel free to share this information. One registration can be done per family – just indicate the number of seats you will need (include babies and children who will attend with you). We regret that once all the seats are spoken for, we cannot make more seats available. Click on the following links to the Mass of your choice:

4:30 pm Saturday November 28 (St Philips)

9am Sunday November 29 (St Clares) – click this link to see how to register

10:30am Sunday November 29 (St Philips)

12:30pm Sunday November 29 (St Philips) – Charismatic Mass with the Lift Jesus Higher Community) – Register at the door – first come, first seated

7pm Monday November 30 – Register at the door – first come, first seated

7pm Tuesday December 1 (St Clares) – Register at the door – first come, first seated

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Weekend Masses for the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe https://www.stphilips-church.com/2020/11/21/weekend-masses-for-the-solemnity-of-our-lord-jesus-christ-king-of-the-universe/ Sat, 21 Nov 2020 14:04:46 +0000 https://www.stphilips-church.com/?p=5454
Click the image above to visit the parish’s YouTube channel to view the live-stream of the Mass (start time is 4:30pm EST, when it is taking place) or to view the recording of the Mass (available shortly after Mass has completed)
Click the image above to visit the parish’s YouTube channel to view the live-stream of the Mass (start time is 10:30am EST, when it is taking place) or to view the recording of the Mass (available shortly after Mass has completed)

To view this week’s parish bulletin, click here.

To read Fr. Bob’s homily for this weekend, click here.

To make an act of spiritual communion, click here.

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Click the image above to visit the parish’s YouTube channel to view the live-stream of the Mass (start time is 4:30pm EST, when it is taking place) or to view the recording of the Mass (available shortly after Mass has completed)
Click the image above to visit the parish’s YouTube channel to view the live-stream of the Mass (start time is 10:30am EST, when it is taking place) or to view the recording of the Mass (available shortly after Mass has completed)

To view this week’s parish bulletin, click here.

To read Fr. Bob’s homily for this weekend, click here.

To make an act of spiritual communion, click here.

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Fr. Bob’s Homily for Sunday, November 22, 2020 https://www.stphilips-church.com/2020/11/21/fr-bobs-homily-for-sunday-november-22-2020/ Sat, 21 Nov 2020 13:14:56 +0000 https://www.stphilips-church.com/?p=5449 One of the favorite images for God in the Old Testament is that of a “shepherd-king.” (Psalm 80:1:”Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim , shine forth”). We see that in our first reading today, and in our gospel we see Jesus, “sitting on the throne of his glory” and separating out sheep from goats, as a shepherd would typically do at the end of the day .

Why do the Sacred Scriptures use this image for God?

Why would Jesus use this image for himself?

And why does Jesus in John’s gospel describe himself as, “the good shepherd, whose sheep know his voice and who lays down his life for his sheep?” (John 10: 4, 14-15). 

Why does Jesus call the leaders of his church, “shepherds?” (cf Matthew 10: 6; 18:12 -14). 

To understand this, you have to understand the relationship between a good shepherd and his sheep, and that is shown to us in our first reading and our responsorial psalm today. I have to admit that, growing up as I did in the center of a big inner city like London, the closest I might come to sheep would be a couple of lamb chops on a plate! But I have been greatly helped by reading a book called, “A Modern Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23”, which happens to be our responsorial psalm today.

There I read, for instance, that a sheep really does know the voice of its shepherd, and will readily follow his call, but will not follow anyone else. They actually did an experiment some years ago, where a shepherd called to his sheep, and they immediately came to him. But then a really good mimic imitated the shepherd’s voice perfectly, yet the sheep would not go to him. Some instinct in them was able to tell the difference. We, who are called in the Bible, God’s flock (Psalm 95:7), should come to know Jesus so well that we can easily distinguish his voice speaking into our hearts from any other voice, especially the seductive voice of the devil, urging us to commit sin or choose a path which would be disastrous to us. Can we say that we are able to recognize the Lord’s voice in such a way, brothers and sisters? This only comes through constantly seeking to be in his presence, learning to know him and his voice (Trust games ).

For me, as a pastor, literally a “shepherd”, I also have to make sure I get close enough to my sheep that they can recognize my voice. And my smell. Pope Francis is always urging his priests to get so close to their sheep that they even have the “smell” of them on him. An interesting and compelling image, but one fully in line with the sheep and shepherd imagery in today’s readings.

Because the sheep know and recognize the voice (and smell ) of their own shepherd, they will follow him gladly, because they know, as our psalm today affirms, that with him they “shall not want,” i.e. they lack for nothing . When it gets up in the morning, a sheep does not worry himself where he is going to get food or accommodation for the evening, who is going to take care of his little ones, or anything like that. That is the shepherd’s job to figure all that out. All the sheep has to do is stick close to the shepherd and all his needs will be taken care of. Even if he were to wander off, he knows that the shepherd would come after him and find him and bring him back.

Of course, we know we do have responsibilities to do what we can to provide for ourselves and our families. But over and beyond that, we should have such a sense of trust in Jesus as our shepherd-king, that we know he will provide for us, especially in the moments of our deepest need.

As the shepherd makes his way to the next pasture land, the sheep following obediently behind him, he will stop occasionally and have his sheep line up in a semi-circle in front of him. Then he will call each sheep in turn by its name (yes the shepherd really does know the name of each of his sheep, as the Lord Jesus also knows each of and calls us, by name (“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I Have called you by your name,you are mine” (Isaiah 43: 1). The sheep will trot up to the shepherd, who will bow down to him, ruffle his hair, rub his ears,and whisper a few words of encouragement and kindness into those ears, while the sheep nuzzles the shepherd’s neck, they engage in a few moments of closeness together, bonding in their relationship together, before the shepherd sends him back to his place and calls up the next one. And this will go on throughout the day.

Imagine, Jesus wants to have those moments of closeness, of intimacy, of sharing , with us, and is always calling to us to spend that time together. But how often do we hear his voice, or recognize it, or pay any attention to it? How can we ever feel God is close to us, if we never spend time getting close to him?

Like the shepherd in our psalm today, the shepherd’s job is to lead his sheep along the right paths, bringing us to green pastures and places of, “still waters” for them to be able to refresh and restore themselves, while he keeps an eye out for any predator, human or animal prowling by. What are these green pastures and still waters for us, but moments spent in the presence of our Lord Jesus, places and times when we pray and read his Word, or watch spiritual programs on television or online, or read spiritual books?. They should be times of refreshing for us, also, when we learn to relax and rest back in the Lord’s arms, and experience him holding and hugging us and relieving us from the burdens and struggles of the day (me at lunchtimes in the park). Where we learn it is not all down to us alone to solve our problems, but his words of guidance and strength will restore us to peace and confidence.

In the land of Israel, there is actually a “valley of the shadow of death” and every shepherd knows it . It is a steep incline up a cliff and, though sheep are sure-footed animals, they can still trip and fall off, were it not for the fact that the shepherd is there, with his crook to catch the animal by the neck or stomach and haul it back. How many times have you and I, brothers and sisters, known our Lord’s saving action in our lives, hauling us back from sin or disaster, restoring us back to the “right path”?

At the end of the day, when the sheep arrive at their destination, before the shepherd lets them into the field to graze, he first goes through it with his crook, identifying and scooping up any poisonous plants, which he then piles up and sets fire to. Then he lets the sheep in to eat and as they eat , they watch their “enemies”, the poisonous plants, burning up, no longer able to harm them. And so the psalm goes: “You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies.” At the end of our days on earth, the Lord Jesus, our shepherd –king will welcome us into the eternal pasture lands of heaven, where, we are told in the Book of Revelation:

“He will wipe away every tear from our eyes, death will be no more, mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the former things have passed away, and all will be made new.”

Book of Revelation (21: 4-5)

And God will be in our very midst for all eternity. 

While the sheep are grazing, the shepherd walks among them, making sure the stronger sheep do not try to bully and shoulder weaker sheep out of the way so they can get to the food supply first. He carries a bowl of water with him and invites each sheep to come and sink his head into the bowl, so the water overflows, drinking to its heart’s content, while the shepherd minutely searches for any scratches , bits of thorn, or wire in the face and neck of the sheep, and pours oil on any wounds for healing. “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” In our times of prayer and soaking in God’s presence, this is what Jesus is also doing, pouring the healing oil of his holy Spirit into our inner and outer wounds. 

Finally, when the sheep lay down to sleep, they can rest totally secure, because in place of the sheep gate, the shepherd himself will lay down at the entrance of the sheepfold, and any predator, human or animal, will first have to get by him to attack his flock. Yes, this is the good shepherd who “lays down his life for his sheep”, just as Jesus did on the cross for us. So we will experience “goodness and mercy following us all the days of our life” and at the end of those days we, “shall dwell in the house of the Lord our whole life long.” 

This, then, is the lifestyle of a good shepherd, and when we truly get how incredibly strong and close the relationship between each sheep and its shepherd really is, and know that Jesus uses that imagery to describe the kind of personal relationship he desires to have with each one of us, how could we refuse him? Isn’t that what, deep down and continuously, we desire for ourselves and those who are dear to us? So God promises in our first reading, to “seek the lost, bring back the strayed, bind up the injured, and strengthen the weak,” and, at the end of days, to “destroy the fat and the strong” who are only fat and strong because they have been abusing and stealing from the weaker sheep. Because God is a God of justice, as well as of mercy, even though, in his mercy, he will wait to the very last possible moment, to give everyone a chance to repent and turn back to him (cf 2 Peter 3:9).

That is why Jesus, in describing what kind of king he is, and what kind of kingdom he is preparing for us, uses the same imagery of a shepherd’s relationship to his flock. And why Jesus, in his gospel today, gives to each one of us, who are leaders, influencers, and shapers of others, in so many different ways, the responsibility of shepherds.

Are you being good or bad shepherds to your sheep, brothers and sisters?

Am I ?

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Bulletin of November 22, 2020 – Feast of Christ the King https://www.stphilips-church.com/2020/11/18/bulletin-of-november-22-2020-feast-of-christ-the-king/ Wed, 18 Nov 2020 22:27:55 +0000 https://www.stphilips-church.com/?p=5446 This is the final week of the liturgical calendar! Here is the bulletin of November 22, 2020.

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This is the final week of the liturgical calendar! Here is the bulletin of November 22, 2020.

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Fr. Bob’s Homily for Sunday, November 15, 2020 https://www.stphilips-church.com/2020/11/14/fr-bobs-homily-for-sunday-november-15-2020/ Sat, 14 Nov 2020 15:01:32 +0000 https://www.stphilips-church.com/?p=5436 We had a great deal of interesting discussion about this first reading at our bible study last Monday evening, I can tell you, with its description of the “capable” wife, or as some versions have it, the “perfect” wife.

I asked the women in the group what they thought about the description. Most admitted to being somewhat intimidated by the picture, and who can blame them? The woman in this reading seems to be a composite of the perfect housewife, mother and career woman. She never seems to stop working at one task or other, never seems to need sleep, is a first-class business woman, is praised by both her husband and children, and, to top it all off, is generous to the poor and needy. Who could possibly live up to that description?

The one woman I could think of who might do that is Justice Amy Barrett, who was recently elected to the U.S. Supreme Court. I am sure that the Senators who interrogated  her during the hearings felt just as intimidated by her as the women in the bible study were by the description of the woman in our first reading. It is tough to find fault with someone who seems to tick all the boxes: wife and mother of 7, including two adopted children from Haiti, superb resume, someone who has fought her way to the very top of her male-dominated profession, etc, etc.

And so, lacking anything else to attack, the Democrat Senators fell back on attacking her religious faith. As one left-leaning Senator said: “Your dogma sounds strongly in you.” Myself, I would have thought that was a plus, rather a minus. But apparently the Senator was very concerned that Justice Amy Barrett’s strong Catholic faith would lead her to  vote down any pro-abortion, pro-euthanasia and pro same-sex marriage measure that came before her on the Supreme Court. She apparently voiced that fear in a private remark to a colleague which she thought was off-microphone, but, unfortunately for her, was not. I would have thought that, as one woman to another, she would have applauded Justice Amy having the courage of her convictions, would indeed as one woman to another, have applauded her for making it to the top of her profession.

But apparently not.

For those who are thinking: what about the capable man?

Why is there no similar description of such a person? Could it be that the Old Testament did not believe such a being as a perfect man could possibly exist? Well calm down, because we are given a picture of someone like that, and it is in our responsorial psalm today, although it is not as extended and complete a picture as that of the capable wife in our first reading. Forget the “everyone” in the response, “Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,” by the way . This psalm is talking about a man, a husband and a father. Of course it is, he is said to have a wife, and this was written long, long before our present day when our society’s marriage laws permit two women to marry. Anyway, the third verse specifically mentions that the person being spoken about is a “man”, so there! Put side by side, as they appear in our readings today, we have a picture of the perfect or capable woman, and the perfect or capable man. They share many of the same qualities: they are both industrious, efficient, prosperous, good providers for their families, and so on. 

The one thing that is not mentioned about them is whether or not they are physically good-looking and sexually attractive, and at once we see that the writers of the first reading and psalm are not at all interested in such matters. Indeed the first reading makes clear that the woman described here is definitely NOT a“trophy” wife, for it says, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain.” The woman is beautiful within, in her soul, in her character and that is all that really matters. The same thing is said of the man in our psalm – no rugged good looks, no dashing suave personality, no hint of mystery or danger. James Bond, eat your heart out !

But what both capable man and woman especially share which enables them to provide such a compelling composite of all the talents is a, “fear of the Lord.” Our first reading says, “a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” and the third verse of our psalm repeats that for the man: “Thus shall be blessed the man who fears the Lord.” 

Please understand that this “fear” is not the same as the fear the slave in our gospel parable today exhibits towards his master, which leads him to bury his talent in the ground.  That is terror, dread, fear of being punished. That is definitely NOT the kind of fear which the Bible means when it talks about “fear of the Lord.” Fear of the Lord in the Bible means reverence, awe, respect, love, obedience and faithfulness. This is the only “fear” that we should have towards God.  When St John speaks, in his first letter, about fear as “fear of punishment” he clearly says that such fear should have no place in those who are children of God by reason of their baptism.

In chapter 4, verses 16 – 19, St John states the following:

We have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this : that we may have boldness on the day of judgement…there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears in this way has not reached perfection in love. We love because God first loved us.”

Isn’t that beautiful?

The capable or perfect man or woman are so because they have allowed the love of God to enter into their hearts and penetrateto the very core of their being. It is that love of God , poured into our hearts, as St Paul says, in Romans 5:5, by the Holy Spirit, which has been given to us, in our baptism and confirmation, it is that love of God which enables us, motivates us, inspires us, to love God and love our neighbor, and love ourselves. To the extent we allow that love of God to flow through us without hindrance, to that extent we will exhibit more and more the qualities of the perfect or capable man or woman.

To the extent we fail to open our hearts to the love of God, either through the wrong kind of fear, or through our emotional woundedness, or through our sense of unworthiness and sin, to that extent we do not come into the fullness of who we were meant to be, who God intended for us to be. We fail to become the best version of ourselves that we can be. God is not in the way of us becoming more fully ourselves , as the secular world likes to claim, in its attempt to discredit God and remove him from the world – it is we ourselves, because we keep God at bay, we fail to surrender our lives to him in faith and trust. Because, ultimately, we do not experience enough of his love. Which is a problem for us, and a problem for God. All the love in his being which he wants to flood us with, and here we are presenting a narrow bottleneck in our hearts to him, with a stopper on the top. 

What to do, what to do? And the answer is very simple. So very, very simple. 

To pray every day, “Come Holy Spirit, fill the heart of me , your faithful one, and re-enkindle in me the fire of your love.” 

When that Democrat Senator said to Justice Amy Barrett: “Your dogma sounds strongly in you,” she really meant, “The love of God sounds strongly in you.” Justice Amy knew the love of God, knew that she was loved by God. And so she was not afraid. Not afraid of the attacks, or nasty insinuations, or false accusations, or put-downs.

And so I believe she can be trusted with the most difficult legal decisions that come before her, as she can be trusted with the everyday decisions of home and family and everyday life that have come before her, and still do so. Because she knows she is loved, loved, loved by God. And she loves him back, and that love will lead her to handle the choices and decisions of her life with wisdom and capability and love.

And so it should be for each one of us, brothers and sisters. If we let God into our hearts, if we let him love us, as he so much wants us to… let us pray

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Weekend Masses for the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time https://www.stphilips-church.com/2020/11/14/weekend-masses-for-the-thirty-third-sunday-in-ordinary-time/ Sat, 14 Nov 2020 14:48:16 +0000 https://www.stphilips-church.com/?p=5431
Click the image above to visit the parish’s YouTube channel to view the recording of the Mass.
Click the image above to visit the parish’s YouTube channel to view the live-stream of the Mass (start time is 10:30am EST, when it is taking place) or to view the recording of the Mass (available shortly after Mass has completed)

To view this week’s parish bulletin, click here.

To read Fr. Bob’s homily for this weekend, click here.

To make an act of spiritual communion, click here.

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Click the image above to visit the parish’s YouTube channel to view the recording of the Mass.
Click the image above to visit the parish’s YouTube channel to view the live-stream of the Mass (start time is 10:30am EST, when it is taking place) or to view the recording of the Mass (available shortly after Mass has completed)

To view this week’s parish bulletin, click here.

To read Fr. Bob’s homily for this weekend, click here.

To make an act of spiritual communion, click here.

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Bulletin of November 15, 2020 https://www.stphilips-church.com/2020/11/12/bulletin-of-november-15-2020-2/ Thu, 12 Nov 2020 22:14:47 +0000 https://www.stphilips-church.com/?p=5426 Here is the Bulletin of November 15, 2020. Don’t forget to order your own Missal at this link (deadline to order is this Tuesday, November 17th).

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Here is the Bulletin of November 15, 2020. Don’t forget to order your own Missal at this link (deadline to order is this Tuesday, November 17th).

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Bulletin of November 15, 2020 https://www.stphilips-church.com/2020/11/11/bulletin-of-november-15-2020/ Wed, 11 Nov 2020 15:39:00 +0000 https://www.stphilips-church.com/?p=5421 Here is this week’s bulletin of November 15, 2020.

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Here is this week’s bulletin of November 15, 2020.

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