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Fr Matthew’s Homily for the 5th Sunday of Easter

Read the readings for this Sunday here.

5th Sunday of Easter – Prayer of the Faithful – May 1/2


Fr Matthew’s Homily for the 4th Sunday of Easter

Read the readings for this Sunday here.

Apr 24-25 -Prayer of the Faithful – 4th Sunday of Easter

Fr Matthew’s Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Easter

Read the readings for this Sunday here.

Apr 17-18 -Prayer of the Faithful – 3rd Sunday of Easter

Fr Matthew’s Homily for Divine Mercy Sunday

Read the readings for this Sunday here.

Apr 10-11 -Prayer of the Faithful – 2nd. Sunday of Easter – Divine Mercy

Fr Matthew’s Homily for Palm Sunday

Read the readings of this Sunday, here.

March 27-28 – Prayer of the Faithful – Palm Sunday

Fr Matthew’s Homily for the 5th Sunday of Lent

Read the readings of this Sunday, here.

March 20 – 21 – Prayer of the Faithful

Fr Matthew’s Homily for the 4th Sunday of Lent

Read the readings of this Sunday, here.

March 13-14 -Prayer of the Faithful – 4th Sunday of Lent

Fr Matthew’s Homily for the 3rd Sunday of Lent

Read the readings of this Sunday, here.

March 6-7 -Prayer of the Faithful – 3rd Sunday of Lent

Fr Matthew’s Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Lent

Read the readings of this Sunday, here.

Feb 27 – 28 Prayer of the Faithful – 2nd Sunday of Lent

Fr Matthew’s Homily for the 1st Sunday of Lent

Read the readings of this Sunday, here.

Feb 20 – 21 -Prayer of the Faithful – 1st Sunday of Lent

Fr Matthew’s Homily for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Read the readings of this Sunday, here.

Feb 13 – 14 -Prayer of the Faithful – 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Marcel Laforêt about Father Damien, missionary who ministered to lepers on the island of Molokai, Hawaii. Click to see the full painting.

A Leper for Christ: Saint Damian of Molokai and Solidarity

Pre-Lenten Novena

NOVENA IN HONOUR OF THE MOST HOLY FACE OF JESUS

If you are looking for a prayerful way to prepare for the beginning of Lent, here is an excellent opportunity: beginning this Sunday, Feb. 7, and ending on Tuesday, Feb. 16 – we can pray this novena – focusing on the astounding gift of Jesus’ Passion that he accepted for our sake, to save us from the weight of sin. Please view or download the set of prayers HERE.

Fr Matthew’s Homily for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

“The Healing of the Mother-in-Law of Saint Peter​” by Rembrandt van Rijn, c. 1650s

Read the readings of this Sunday, here.

Feb 6 – 7 -Prayer of the Faithful – 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Fr Matthew’s Homily for the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Read the readings of this Sunday, here.

Jan 30. 31 – Prayer of the Faithful – 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Fr Matthew’s Homily for the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Christ Calling the Apostles James and John, 1869 by Edward A. Armitage

Read the readings of this Sunday, here.

Jan 24th – Prayer of the Faithful

Prayer Cards

We are pleased to present a selection of Prayer Cards, suitable for printing for your use. Adobe Acrobat is necessary to open and print the full sized version. Clicking on the thumbnail image will open the full sized Prayer Card. Please scroll down to view the complete collection

St.Roch

St.Bernard of Clairvaux

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Our Lady of The Assumption

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St.Charles Borromeo

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St.Thomas Becket

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Our Lady of Mount Carmel

St.Thomas Aquinas

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St.Therese of Lisieux

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St.Nicholas

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St.Michael the Archangel

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St.Margaret Clitherow

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St.Kateri Tekiwitha

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St.Jean de Brébeuf

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St.Isaac Jogues

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St.Andre Bessette

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Mary, Untier of Knots

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Holy Archangels

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St. John of the Cross

 

Fr. Matthew on the Devotion to The Divine Mercy

From Fr. Matthew.

Divine Mercy

The Feast of Corpus Christi – A Brief History

The Feast of Corpus Christi

A Brief History

In the early 13th century a Norbertine Nun in the city of Liege, Belgium named Juliana de Cornillon, received a vision instructing her to promote a feast day honouring the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. With permission from the local bishop, Robert de Torote, this feast began to be celebrated, at first only within that diocese, but gradually throughout all of Europe. By August 11, 1264 Pope Urban IV had issued a papal bull (Transiturus de hoc mundo) which declared Corpus Christi a feast day to be celebrated throughout the entire Latin Rite. This was the very first papally sanctioned universal feast in the history of the Latin Rite. A substantial contributor to this papal bull was St. Thomas Aquinas who composed the hymn Tantum Ergo Sacramentum to be sung during this feast. After the death of Pope Urban IV, this feast was suspended until 1311. From that point it continued to grow in popularity.

Traditions began to develop surrounding the feast day. Jesus, in the Eucharistic Host, was to be placed in a monstrance which was elevated by the priest who would process before the people. A canopy would be held above the priest and Our Lord as protection from the weather. The idea of throwing flowers comes from an ancient tradition. When a king would enter a city, the people would greet him with flowers and petals to express their love, loyalty, and to proclaim their joy at being in his kingdom. In 1496, at a cathedral in Florence, Italy, the tradition of children dressing in white was established. By 1613 celebrations had become more elaborate in places like Mainz, Germany where hundreds of children dressed in white, representing the nine choirs of Angels, processed before the Blessed Sacrament. Other “angels” strewed flowers before the Eucharistic Lord. These traditions became a way for the people of God to proclaim Jesus as King in a special public manner.

Throughout the centuries the Feast of Corpus Christi faced suspension from popes, and suppression by the Protestant Reformation. Even so, to this day it remains a well known and loved celebration of the Church’s belief in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

One saint who had a particular fondness for this feast day was St. Therese of Lisieux. She said:

“I loved especially the processions in honor of the Blessed Sacrament. What a joy it was for me to throw flowers beneath the feet of God! Before allowing them to fall to the ground, I threw them as high as I could, and I was never so happy as when I saw my roses touch the sacred monstrance.”

Sources: atxcatholic.com, wikipedia.com, catholicculture.org

The Holy Rosary- Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Apostolic Letter

The Holy Rosary is the chief prayer offered to Mary and probably closest to the hearts of the faithful for the past 800 years. In 2002, Pope Saint John Paul II wrote an apostolic letter devoted to the Rosary of the Virgin Mary. It is a beautiful document that teaches, meditates on the mysteries of the rosary, and encourages us in our prayer. It is with this document that the Holy Father introduces the Luminous Mysteries, which focus on the public life of Christ.

Here are some highlights of this valuable letter:

  • “The Rosary, though clearly Marian in character, is at heart a prayer [centered on Christ]…it has all the depth of the Gospel message in its entirety.”
  • Praying the Rosary is to “contemplate the face of Christ in union with, and at the school of, his Most Holy Mother. To recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate, with Mary, the face of Christ.”
  • “Against the background of the words Ave Maria (Hail Mary),the…life of Jesus Christ [passes] before the eyes of the soul…they put us in living communion with Jesus through…the heart of his Mother.” Also, “the Rosary can be a means to embrace all the events that make up the lives of [all people],” along with “our personal concerns and those of our neighbour, especially those…who are dearest to us.”
  • The pope also gives valuable suggestions on how to pray the Rosary well, focussing on ways to better understand its richness, symbolism and how to harmonize it with the demands of daily life.”
  • The pope concludes: “I look to all of you, brothers and sisters of every state of life, to you, Christian families, to you, the sick and elderly, and to you, young people: confidently take up the Rosary once again. Rediscover the Rosary in the light of Scripture, in harmony with the Liturgy, and in the context of your daily lives.”

The Rosary is prayed 30 minutes before every Mass in our parish churches. Please join us!

May – The Month of Mary

For many centuries, the Catholic Church has set aside the entire month of May to honour Mary, Mother of God. Not just one day in May, but the entire month. The custom of focusing on Mary in a special way during May spans many cultures around the world, and can easily be called  globally ancient. The month of May has been important since before Christianity began – both ancient Greeks and Romans celebrated the pagan gods of blossoms and fruitfulness or fertility – Flora and Artemis. May is springtime, when new growth is clear all around us in nature. Many western cultures have come to associate May as a month of life and motherhood.

The Church has kept an entire month dedicated to Mary since at least medieval times (August was the choice early on), but it wasn’t the month of May commonly until the 1700’s.

The Raccolta, a handbook of Catholic prayers from the mid-1800’s, describes May this way:
“It is a well-known devotion, to consecrate to most holy Mary the month of May, as the most beautiful and florescent month of the whole year. This devotion has long prevailed throughout Christendom.”

The ways Mary is honoured in May is as varied as the people who honour her. It’s common for parishes to have a daily recitation of the Rosary during May. Also, it’s a long-standing tradition to crown a statue of Mary during May in the parish.  Often, the crown is made of beautiful blossoms representing Mary’s beauty and virtue.

During May, at church and at home, remember Mary in a special way often. Notice and visit Mary in here in our parish churches. Our crowned statues are in the grotto inside the church, and in the garden courtyard of Our Lady of the Assumption. Mary’s crowning was beautifully celebrated May 1.

Saint Bernard says:
“In danger, in anguish…call on Mary. May she never be far from your lips, from your heart…If you follow her, you cannot go astray;
if you pray to her, you cannot despair; if you think of her, you cannot be mistaken. If she sustains you, you cannot fall; if she protects you, you have nothing to fear; if she guides you, do not tire.”

 

The Exsultet – its history and origins

“This triumphant hymn and wonderful sacramental is the prelude to the Easter solemnities. It is a majestic proclamation of the Resurrection of Christ, a dramatic invitation to heaven and earth to join with the Church in joy and jubilation.”

This article at Catholic Culture sheds light on the origins and developments in the history of this great sacramental hymn.

The Exsultet by Dom Jerome Gassner, O.S.B

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The Exsultet in an 11th Century manuscript from Rochester Cathedral

The Easter Sequence:


 

Victimae paschali laudes immolent Christiani. Agnus redemit oves:
Christus innocens Patri reconciliavit peccatores.
Mors et vita duello conflixere mirando:
dux vitae mortuus, regnat vivus.
Dic nobis Maria, quid vidisti in via?
Sepulcrum Christi viventis, et gloriam vidi resurgentis:
Angelicos testes, sudarium, et vestes.
Surrexit Christus spes mea: praecedet suos in Galilaeam.
Scimus Christum surrexisse a mortuis vere:
tu nobis, victor Rex, miserere.
Amen. Alleluia.

May you praise the Paschal Victim, immolated for Christians.
The Lamb redeemed the sheep:
Christ, the innocent one, has reconciled sinners to the Father.
A wonderful duel to behold, as death and life struggle:
The Prince of life dead, now reigns alive.
Tell us, Mary Magdalen, what did you see in the way?
I saw the sepulchre of the living Christ, and I saw the glory of the Resurrected one:
The Angelic witnesses, the winding cloth, and His garments.
The risen Christ is my hope:
He will go before His own into Galilee.
We know Christ to have risen truly from the dead:
And thou, victorious King,have mercy on us.
Amen. Alleluia.

November – Month of Praying for the Dead

In November the Church  remembers our Faithful Departed, as is recommended in the Scriptures of the Old Testament: “It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.”(2 Macch. 12, 46). This is found  not only in public and private prayers but also in the offering of the Mass for the repose of the souls of the departed. Similarly, in November the Church prays for all who are in  Purgatory, awaiting for the day, when fully purified ,they will join the company of the saints in heaven. The celebration of Mass is the ultimate means that  the Church can provide for charity for the dead. However, the faithful can also relieve their sufferings through  prayers, sufferings and penances, or other acts and prayers that have indulgences attached to them.

William-Adolphe_Bouguereau_The_Day_of_the_Dead_(1859)HAC for Fr.Nathan – image – Bouguereau – 1859

There are many indulgences, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, that can be obtained during  November. During November  the Church also meditates on the Communion of Saints, which is the  link with the faithful who have already reached heaven (Church Triumphant), the faithful departed who are still expiating their sins in Purgatory (Church Suffering) and of the pilgrim faithful here on earth (Church Militant). “In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others. Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified of the punishments for sin.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1475).

November:  The Souls of the Faithful:

Let me see if I can recall, if I can remember
The wintry days of the month of November
The wind above my head blew and swirled
The dark clouds before me were unfurled
The leaves clinging to the windswept trees
Gave up their struggle, to the fierce breeze
My breaking heart sunk deep into my chest
And a myriad of memories became my guest
The souls of the faithful are in God’s hands
Life, a precious gift, lived as God’s commands
We walk this green earth for only a few years
Our tiny steps accompanied by joys and tears
All crammed into the little time we are given
Until we set our sights upon walking in heaven
I pray for the departed loved ones, I will remember
A sacred intention, in the month of November.

Fr. Patrick Brennan
2013 copyright, with permission

 

Chalking of the Door – An Epiphany House Blessing

“Chalking the door” is a way to celebrate and literally mark the occasion of the Epiphany and God’s blessing of our lives and home. With time the chalk will fade. As it does we let the meaning of the symbols written sink into the depths of our heart and be manifest in our words and actions the Latin words, Christus mansionem benedictat, “May Christ bless the house.”

A traditional way of doing this is to use chalk to write above the home’s entrance, 20 + C + M + B + 19. The letters C, M, B have two meanings. They are the initials of the traditional names of the three magi: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. They also abbreviate the Latin words Christus mansionem benedicat, “May Christ bless the house.” The “+” signs represent the cross and 2019 is the year.

Blessing the Chalk:

The following prayer is taken from the book, The Twelve Days of Christmas, by Elsa Chaney.

LEADER (Priest, if present, or father of the family): Peace be to this house.

ALL: And to all who dwell herein.

ALL: From the east came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasures they offered precious gifts: gold for the great King, incense for the true God, and myrrh in symbol of His burial.

ALL PRAY: The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). During the Magnificat, the room is sprinkled with holy water and incense. After this is completed,

ALL: From the east came the Magi to Bethlehem to adore the Lord; and opening their treasures they offered precious gifts: gold for the great King, incense for the true God, and myrrh in symbol of his burial.

LEADER: Our Father…And lead us not into temptation

ALL: But deliver us from evil.

LEADER: All they from Saba shall come.

ALL: Bringing gold and frankincense.

LEADER: O Lord, hear my prayer,

ALL: And let my cry come to you.

LEADER: Let us pray. O God, who by the guidance of a star didst on this day manifest Thine only-begotten Son to the Gentiles, mercifully grant that we who know Thee by faith may also attain the vision of Thy glorious majesty. Through Christ our Lord.

ALL: Amen.


Instructions for Blessing the Home

Using the blessed chalk mark the lintel of your front door (or front porch step) as follows:

20 + C + M + B + 18 (for 2019, in this example)

while saying:

The three Wise Men, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar followed the star of God’s Son who became human two thousand and sixteen years ago. May Christ bless our home and remain with us throughout the new year. Amen.

Then offer the following prayer: Visit, O blessed Lord, this home with the gladness of your presence. Bless all who live or visit here