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Showing posts with label StAgnes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label StAgnes. Show all posts

Friday, 11 September 2020

Prayer of the Day Prayer to Saint Agnes

Prayer to Saint Agnes 

St. Agnes, although you were only a child, you believed that Jesus was always with you; help us to remember that he is also with us, and to remain true to his presence. 

St. Agnes, you refused to give up your faith; help us to be proved of our faith, to love it, to be strong in it, and to give witness to it daily. 

St. Agnes, patron saint of children, watch over the children of the world; keep them safe from harm; be with them in their hour of need; and always pray for them. 

St. Pray for us. 

Note: Feast January 21st  

(The artwork is oil on canvas, in the backstairs at our parish.)

Relates posts and links:
For other "Prayer of the Day" posts.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

The Third Sunday In Ordinary Time 2019

The Third Sunday In Ordinary Time 2019

Our readings this week are:

First Reading Nehemiah 8:2-6, 8-10 
Responsorial Psalm 19:7, 8, 9, 14 Response John 6:63
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 12:12-30
Gospel Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21

Our first reading this week is from the time of Israel’s return from exile. After the law is read, they mourn. They recognized that they had not been living the law. But Ezra and Nehemiah tell them:

“This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law. Then Ezra said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength”

I think of those today who celebrate sin, who flaunt the laws of God and the laws of nature. I doubt if they had the word of God read to them, they would immediately mourn and convert. I think about the new law in New York State, allowing abortion up to the moment of birth. And the celebrations and rejoicing over this ‘progressive’ law. I think about the vote last year on abortion in Ireland. And I think about the mistakes in my own life. Both what I have done, and what I have failed to do. What I have said and what I have failed to say. And I think about the joy and peace after a good confession. And to be honest I struggle there are some sins I confess regularly. But I am trying. I am striving. I think about this meme from a friend who writes at The Cordial Catholic. 

I also think about a new book ‘Remember Your Death: Lenten Devotional’ by Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble FSP. How many people today live their whole life without thinking about their death. About the four last things, Death Judgement, Heaven, and Hell? 

The response this week is an answer to all of those questions and reflections:

“Your words, Lord, are spirit and life.”

But in order to know that life, we need to be interacting with those words of life. Like the Israelites we need to listen to the word as community. We also need to be studying the word personally. And we need to try and live it. It cannot just be an intellectual activity, it needs to have an impact on our life. 

The reading from Corinthians speaks about the many parts one body. The older I get the more I understand and appreciate this passage. I also believe that God the Father through the Spirit is still giving the gifts of:


I have seen different gifts in my life at different phases. And I have seen them in the lives of friends, family, and fellow parishioners. But one of the things that has served me over the years if persistence, and prayer. Between these two God has brought me through so many things. And I believe he will bring us through what we are facing as a family. And all that comes our way in the future. And then we come to this weeks Gospel.  Jesus declaring the day of the Lord. He publicly claims to fulfill the scriptures. Me trust in that claim is central to my life and trying to live out that belief. And so, I encourage you, if you are a believe grow that knowledge, grow in the faith and in living it out. If you are not, I challenge you to read the gospels with an open heart. For one day we will all die and be called to give an account.

Related Posts:

Sunday, 20 January 2019

The Second Sunday In Ordinary Time 2019

The Second Sunday In Ordinary Time 2019

It is interesting that we have no First Sunday of Ordinary Time, the readings go from the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord 2019 to Monday of the first week of ordinary Time. So, this is the first Sunday after the season of Christmas. Our readings this week are:

First Reading Isaiah 62:1-5 
Responsorial Psalm -Psalm 96:1-4, 7-10 Response 3
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
Gospel John 2:1-12

This year is year C in the cycle of readings. After this year the weekend readings circle back to year 1. But because of the shifting seasons, seldom do the weekends end up on the same day especially at this point in the calendar. Just this week I reviewed, The Church's Year Unfolding the Mysteries of Christ by David W. Fagerberg from the CTS Deeper Christianity Series. And I posted pictures of Church from last weekend, mentioning the end of the Christmas Season. It caused quite the controversy in a specific Catholic Facebook group. And I for the most part just watched the comments. My understanding is Christmas ended last week, and ordinary time began. Some more traditional parishes, especially those that follow the extraordinary form argue Candlemas ends on February 2nd. I did not want to get in the middle of it, and it is splitting hairs. So, for those who follow the ordinary form, the default since 1969 Christmas ended last weekend. Candlemas is 40 days from Christmas day and the 40 days of Lent, 40 years of wandering in the desert both have meaning. But from where I sit it is not worth fighting over. Personally, having been born after Vatican II, and being a revert to the Catholic faith, I know what I grew up with, and do not long for the Latin mass of either variation. But I can respect and appreciate those who appreciate it. But enough about when Christmas ends and let us look at this week’s readings.

The first reading is about the end of the exile. Both for Israel, and for us a followers of Christ. We are strangers in a strange land, and we look forward to a future home in heaven. Three phrases from this reading strike me:

“You shall no more be termed Forsaken.

For the Lord delights in you,

And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.”

If I am completely honest with you, for most of my life I felt and believed the opposite of these phrases. I believed I was forsaken and living under a curse. A curse of things that had been done to me, circumstances, and my own mistakes. I could not imagine God delighting in me, or rejoicing over me. Having worked through several of John Eldredge’s book a few years back, and having been through deliverance ministry, I prayed a prayer:

“Lord Jesus Christ bring me fully alive,
Lord Jesus Christ restore me to glory.”

Praying and trusting that as Jesus stated in John 10:10 ‘I am come that you might have life and have it abundantly.’ I prayed the above prayer like the Jesus prayer, I prayed it while walking to and from campus, I prayed it while working out, while walking to and from work. And though I still struggle at times with believe God would want me, I trust it now and strive to live it out, in my work, in my family and with my friends. And this takes us to this week’s response:

“Declare the marvelous works of the Lord among all the people.”

That is what I attempt to do with these weekly reflections. With reviewing Catholic books. With opening up at times about my own faults and failures. God is so good. And I sing his praise, or in my case I write in praise of him and his works. The second reading is one I have studied often, both when a student leader at Queen’s University and later at the University of Waterloo I have lead several series of bible studies on the gifts of the spirit, and on the spiritual disciplines. And in my own life different gifts have been predominant at different points in my life. I love even just listing the gifts in this passage:

Discernment of Spirits
Interpretation of Tongues

All from the same spirit, all for the common good, a variety of gifts, services, and activities. But we are all one body. One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church!

And this week my prayer for you my readers is that your faith is sparked afresh, anew. That you are renewed this week and begin the fight again. Carry on, battle on, and persevere. 

Related Posts:
The Second Sunday In Ordinary Time 2019

Note: Link to all posts about St. Agnes Parish.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

The Baptism of the Lord 2019

The Baptism of the Lord 2019

The readings for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord 2019, note there are alternate readings for both the first and second readings, and the Responsorial Psalm:

First Reading Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11 or 
                     Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7 
Responsorial  Psalm 1-4:1-4, 24-25, 27-30 Response 1a or
                     Psalm 29:1-4, 9-10 Response 11b
Second Reading Titus 2:11-14, 3:4-7 or
                         Acts 10:34-38 
Gospel Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

Including the three optional readings we have a lot of content that we can use to reflect upon this week. In fact, we could spend several weeks reflecting on these passages and still not do them justice. But I will in this short reflection, try and bring us so paints that struck me and will hopefully be of value to you. 

From the opening of the first option for reading one we have:

“Comfort, O Comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”

These are the words of the good shepherd to his flock, we are that flock. God is the creator and in this case restorer of life. God is encouraging us to hope, to believe. We might me strangers in a strange land, but God is with us. And in his compassion, he promises to alleviate sadness and send forth his mercy. Jesus came to renew the people of God, he came to fulfill what the prophets had foreseen. We are God’s people. When we turn to the second option for the first reading God states:

“Here is my servant, whom I uphold my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him.”

Jesus came and as God’s son he provides the redemption we need. He healed both physically and spiritually. And he can still heal us body, mind, and spirit. If we are open to him and his will. He came that we might have freedom and that we could become children of God. But we are in training, we are called to be saints. We are called to reject evil and pursue good. And we are reminded in the reading from Acts that Jesus will ultimately bring peace and justice to the earth, even if we never see it in our life time. And finally, we come to this weeks gospel reading:

“John answered all of them saying, ‘I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.’”

Can you picture it, Jesus in line, awaiting his baptism and he hears these words? Then the crowd parts and it is Jesus’s turn to be baptized. After Jesus was baptized, he spent time in prayer. Do we take time after communion to pray, do we take time after mass to pray? Do we use prayer to bookmark mass, our day our week? We are called to live reconciled to God, we are called to strive to be saints. We are children of God, and our sacramental reality of communion and confession should be ever drawing us nearer to God, and to becoming the best version of ourselves. 

And that is my prayer for you my readers this week, that you will feel the call, take up the challenge and work out becoming saints, work at becoming the best version of yourself.

Related Posts:
Note: Link to all posts about St. Agnes Parish.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

The Epiphany of the Lord 2019

The Epiphany of the Lord 2019

The readings for the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord 2019, note there are:

First Reading Isaiah 60:1-6 
Responsorial Psalm Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13 Response Psalm 98:3c
Second Reading Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6 
Gospel Matthew 2:1-12

While preparing the readings this week there were three specific thoughts that really jumped out at me. The second was a continuation of the Gospel reading. They are the themes of:

Loss of Innocence 

So please bear with me as my thoughts flow from today’s specific readings and Herod’s slaughter of the children. First, I want to look at blessing. There are many passages around the theme of blessing and even specific blessings. There is the general blessings on the people of Israel, and the blessing we all receive in the sacraments. There are the blessings of firstborn or the blessing of inheritance. And there is the blessing of the beatitudes. Matthew 5:6 states:

“Blessed is he who does hunger and thirst for righteousness for he shall be filled.”

And John 10:10 is:

“For the thief comes but to steal, to kill, and to destroy, but I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

Both verses were instrumental in my return to the Christian faith. And have had a continual impact on my life over the last 30 years. And both tie to the them of blessing. To really be blessed by God, in my opinion, is not a big house, a new car, a bigger TV. It is not things. It is the people in our lives, people who invest in us and build us up, and the people we invest in and we sacrifice for. But I also believe that we need to be pursuing God. We need to hunger and thirst for him and his ways. We need to always be striving.

The second in some ways is a result of the first and a consequence of the first. Conversion! I once heard in a talk given to university students, that our whole live should be the conversion of working out our salvation. It is the process of becoming. To quote again the prayer of Consecration to merciful love:

“Finally, I believe, my God, that you can and will make me into a saint, even if I won’t see it, even if I have to struggle all my life against vice and sin, even if I have to wait until the very end. This blind hope in your mercy, O Lord, is my only treasure.”

Taken from Father Michael E. Gaitley’s book 33 Day’s To Merciful Love. I am not there yet, but I try each day. But finally I want to turn to the death of the innocent. I cannot help but when I read the gospel passage, I always think about what comes next. When Herod realises that he has been tricked he orders the death of all the boys of a certain age. I know that our passage ends with the gifts to the Holy Family. But I know what comes next. I can see it in my minds eye, I can year it. And my heart aches. Just as it aches for the aborted babies today, for those euthanized by their choice, and as some cases from Europe have come to light at times against their wishes. Even here in Canada there have been news stories of late, about a new practice of removing feeding tubes and choosing to allow patience to die. Or of those in hospital that insurance has offered pay for euthanasia drugs but will not cover treatment. We are in a time of great hurt. A time when many souls are tortured and tormented. And we all need to see God’s blessing and our own conversion.

Related Posts:
Note: Link to all posts about St. Agnes Parish.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

The Feast of the Holy Family 2018

The Feast of the Holy Family 2018

The readings for the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, note there are alternate readings available for both the first and second readings:

First Reading 1 Samuel 1:20-22, 24-28 or Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14 
Responsorial Psalm Psalm 84:1-2, 4-5, 8-9, 10 Response 4a
Second Reading 1 John 3: 1-2, 21-24 or Colossians 3:12-21 
Gospel Luke 2:41-52

When there are options for the readings I am always interested to find out which will be preached from on Sunday. I have read these readings a few times since Christmas. And I reflect on how busy and hectic this time of year can be. From the second option for the first reading, Sirach 3:2-4, 12-14 two sections really stood out for me:

“The person who honours their father will have joy in their own children, and when they pray they will be heard.”


“For kindness to your father will not be forgotten and will be credited to you against your sins – a house raised in justice for you.”

I think about all the people who do not have good relationships with their fathers, or their parents. I think about all the single mom’s I have known over the years. And about the percentage of the prison population that are from fatherless homes. I also think about my own father, and the many kids that have come through his him in foster care. Some who consider themselves lifelong part of the family. They when they go home visit. That have taken our family name. My father’s and step mothers example touched their lives, and they honour them. 

From the Second readings we are reminder of our son ship. That we are children of God. Both of these readings remind us of the calling we have, of our relationship with God, and of our need to live that out in our actions. 

From 1 John 3:1-2, 21-24

“Beloved, see what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.

Beloved, we are God’s children now;

Whoever obeys his commandments abides in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us. By the spirit that he has given us.”

From Colossians 3:12-21

“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body.”

Last weekend at mass Father was recounting a story about a visit with an elderly parishioner.  The woman over 100 years of age stated that "I wish we had more devotion to Joseph like we did previously.” And also “We really have a wonderful faith as long as we practice it.”  And it so hit me when he said those words. Today is one of the days we honour Joseph during the church year. And As Joseph and Mary rejoice when they found Jesus in the temple. So God rejoices when we come home to him. When we honour him, and we practice our faith.

And so I pray for you my readers, that if you are a person of faith, that you live it, and live it well. And if you are not, that you would be open to the truth of Catholicism, of Christianity. And I ask that you pray that my actions live up to my theology. In what I do, and what I choose not to do, in what I say, and what I choose to leave unsaid.

Blessings upon you on this feast of the holy family.

Related Posts:
Note: Link to all posts about St. Agnes Parish.

Sunday, 23 December 2018

The Fourth Sunday of Advent 2018

The Fourth Sunday of Advent 2018

The readings for the Second Sunday of Advent:

First Reading Micah 5:2-5a 
Responsorial Psalm Psalm 80:1-2, 14-14, 17-18 Response 3
Second Reading Hebrews 10:5-10 
Gospel Luke 1:39-45

I have read through these readings a few times now. Nothing has really jumped out at me. It has been a long week. I have been under the weather; my wife has been under the weather for a few weeks. And our youngest was up sick many, many, many times last night. And so I will just post a few pictures and wish you a great fourth Sunday of Advent, and eve before Christmas eve. In the sermon today Fr. quoting an older parishioner stated: “We have a wonderful faith as long as we practice it.” it really stuck a cord with me.

Blessings on you and your families.

(Note: The above picture was drawn by my son in school last year, he was almost 10.)

Note: Link to all posts about St. Agnes Parish.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Gaudete Sunday The Third Sunday of Advent 2018

Gaudete Sunday The Third Sunday of Advent 2018

The readings for the Second Sunday of Advent:

First Reading Zephaniah 3:14-18a 
Responsorial Psalm Isaiah 12:2-6 Response 6
Second Reading Philippians 4:4-7 
Gospel Luke 3:10-18

Each year as Advent begins I hope and pray for a quiet season of reflection and preparation. And each year at some point I begin to feel a heaviness inside, a weight, pressing upon my chest, encasing my heart. This year it is approaching this weekend. I have been wondering this year about ending the blog. It started in 2005 as an archive of reviews and articles be published in newspapers and magazines. And today I have had the urgent impression to leave all social media. But I know that December is not the time for me to make big decisions. This week has thrown me off. I typically work 615-2:15, get up at 5, and am often alone at work until almost 8. This week I was doing a live virtual classroom course. The hours were 830-5. It made for very busy after school time with the kids. And I missed by few hours alone time each day. And so I pray and read, and hope. I reflect and prepare. 

The end of the first reading states:

“The Lord, your God, is in your midst,
a warrior who gives victory;
he will rejoice over you will gladness,
he will renew you in his love.
The Lord, your God, will exult over you with lord singing
as on a day of festival.”

The promise from Zephaniah is twofold, first God has removed his condemnation, and second God promises to never abandon his people. I know that to be true intellectually and spiritually. But there are times I struggle with it emotionally. Today is one of those times. But even as I write those words, and bring them to the light, I am smiling, for I trust in God’s salvation. 

One of the reasons I am often drawn to the Responsorial Psalms is they give hope. This is one of a few responsorial psalm that is not from the book of Psalms. This week it is from the prophet Isaiah. The response this week is:

“Shout aloud and sing for joy; great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

And the second section is:

“Give thanks to the Lord,
call on his name;
make known his deeds among the nations;
proclaim that his name is exalted.”

And that is the great thing about being Catholic. No matter how hard things get, we can look back at God’s faithfulness, to us personally, to our parishes, to our dioceses, and to the church as a whole. I look back on the lives of the saints and am encouraged, and challenged. And this ties to the beginning of the second reading:

“Rejoice in the Lord always;
again I will say, rejoice.”

The gospel message today is especially important at Christmas.  John the Baptist responds to different groups of people who ask what they should do. He responds to the crowd in general, to tax collectors, to soldiers.

“Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.”

“Collect no more than the amount proscribed for you.”

“Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.”

I know it is taking the phrase out of context but what really struck me is ‘Be Satisfied’! What would our world look like if we were satisfied with our car, with our home, with our clothes? With our relationships, with our job, with our social standing? I believe the world would be a radically different place if we learned to truly separate needs from wants. And It is something I am struggling to figure out, what do I need, what do I want. Which of the wants can go by the wayside.  The gospel today ends with the statement that Jonn proclaimed the good news. That is our job as Christians, as Catholics. What we believe should be shaping our life. What we believe should shape our relationships, our work, our families, and our witness. Few of us will be ‘John’s’ preaching from  the desert. But we are all called to witness by our life. And what do we have in excess that we can share, at this holiday season, and throughout the year.

As always I end with a prayer. I pray that the light of the season shine in your heart, in your spirit and in your life. Let the fire of hope enkindle the flames and spur you on to action. 

Note: Link to all posts about St. Agnes Parish.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary & The Second Sunday of Advent 2018

Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary & The Second Sunday of Advent 2018

The readings for the Immaculate Conception Saturday December 8th:

First Reading Genesis 3:9-15, 20
Responsorial Psalm 98: 1-4 Response 1a
Second Reading Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12 
Gospel Luke 1:26-38

The readings for the Second Sunday of Advent:

First Reading Burach 5:1-9
Responsorial Psalm 126:1-6 Response 3
Second Reading Philippians 1:3-6, 8-11 
Gospel Luke 3:1-6

What really spoke to me from the readings from both masses this weekend are the responses for the responsorial psalms.

“Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things.”


“The lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.”

I have written several times in these reflections on the mass reading about my desire to live more joy. Seeking to live joy and striving for a saintly life have been the quest. And each year that passes I feel the need for both more keenly. Each day I pray a “Consecration To Merciful Love” from the study 33 Days to Merciful Love by Father Michael E. Gaitley. Part of that prayer is:

“Finally, I believe, my God, that you can and will make me into a saint, even if I won’t see it, even if I have to struggle all my life against vice and sin, even if I have to wait until the very end. This blind hope in your mercy, O Lord, is my only treasure.”

I also pray that my actions live up to my theology. The last two decades have been a process of learning to be and learning to be better at being. Part of the growth over that period, is due to honest self examination, and daily examination of conscience. I am no where near where I would like to be as a husband, as a father, as a friend, as a man. But I am working on it. And the progress may be slow, and there may be back steps. But I pray, I seek, I hope, and I trust in God. 

And how does that tie to our readings this week? The Lord has done marvelous things, and great things for us, and in us. I am not where I want to be, but I have seen growth. And true growth not just change. I am not the man I was last year, or 10 years ago, or 25 years ago. Heck there are times I am not the man I was last week, or even yesterday. But I do sing to and for God. I do celebrate the joy coming into the world. And for the last few weeks I have been listening to Matt Maher’s new album ‘The Advent of Christmas’ I usually struggle during the holiday season. More a season of blues and looking back with regret. But this year is different. It is more purple and hope, then blues and despair. 

Ans so I pray: Lord fill us with your joy, help us to recognize all you do for us, and have done for us, and help us to sing a new song unto you. Forever more. 

Note: Link to all posts about St. Agnes Parish.