This is a big week. It is appropriate that in the glow of our recent celebration of Easter, we celebrate the First Communion of our grade two children, and the Confirmation of our grade seven children. Both are taking place this week. The Confirmation, to be presided by Bishop Monroe, will be held this Thursday, May 9th, at 7:00 p.m. The First Communion, to be presided by Fr. Gabriel, will be celebrated this Saturday, May 11, at 12:30 p.m. I can think of two good reasons for participating. The first is that they are important and beautiful experiences of Church. The second is that your presence is an important way of manifesting your support and solidarity with the children who will receive these Sacraments. And it is important that we manifest our support to them. After all, we are Church. They are the children of our Church, and in this sense, our children. I hope many parishioners will come out for these events, even though they’re not directly related to the children receiving the Sacraments.
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On another note, we celebrate today, a very special event: the 15th anniversary of St. Mary’s Street Ministry! Archbishop Miller will be with us to mark this event at the 11:15 mass. Even though we can’t all be present at that mass, let us send up a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the existence in St. Mary’s Parish of this ministry of compassion to the poorest of the poor – those, for the most part, born with mental health issues like foetal alcohol syndrome or schizophrenia, or born into dysfunctional families, and therefore condemned to a life of suffering and a probable early death on the streets of Vancouver. I take this opportunity to thank Mildred and all those who together with her exercise this ministry on our behalf.
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Finally, on a personal note, an update on my condition. I had hoped that starting now, in May, I could start easing back into parish life. That is still my hope, but I realize much more clearly now, just how slow and painful recovery from ankle-replacement surgery is, and just how gradual my return to normal will have to be. My most basic problem now is that though I am clearly making progress, I am unable to remain seated or standing, let alone walking, for any amount of time, without serious pain. For this reason, it is plain to me now that it will still be a while, I can’t say how long, until I will be able to fully re-integrate my functions as pastor and be present among you. I thank you all for your support and your understanding, and I am so bold as to ask for your continued prayer for my recovery. All my hope is exclusively in your prayer and in the providence of God.
God bless, and happy Easter Season to us all,