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From the Pastor's Desk July 10/11 2021

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14th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2021

 

It was wonderful and weird to welcome many back to Mass in Church this past weekend.  I hadn’t seen some for well over 16 months; kids have grown, some heads of hair are gray that weren’t pre pandemic, and some are sporting the trendy bald tops!  While some are still ‘missing in action’, there are a number of new people we’re able to incorporate into our communities.  WELCOME ALL.  I say, “weird” however because the joy of community in Christ isn’t without the anxious caution that we’ve been instructed to exercise for the protection of ourselves and others.  At the time of writing there are only 11 active cases of COVID-19 on the whole Island; a good reason to relax.  Regardless, let’s be kind and forgiving if members of the community want to keep masks on and keep some distance still.  It will be a long journey to ‘normal’.  The PEACE OF CHRIST to you all. 

Thinking a little bit ahead, I’m trying to coordinate two weekends off for holiday, one of which is an annual camping weekend with our 5 children, in law kids, and as of July 1st, 3 grandchildren. We bless the Lord for our first grandson who is still yet to be named…. we were far more decisive by contrast.  The task of finding a replacement priest is near impossible.  The pool of retired and available ‘subs’ is dwindling fast, just as our active clergy for the Diocese is suffering a steady attrition.  The Bishop says urban parishes must now get acquainted with the vocational ‘poverty’ that the rural parishes and Northern Dioceses have known for decades.  I’m actually part of the problem.  Having been UVic/Camosun chaplain for 12 years, I was able to offer academic summer months of holiday/sabbatical replacement.  Not now.  In short, SRL for two weeks later in the summer will only be able to have a single Sunday Mass, and OLOR will be reduced to a Saturday Mass and single Sunday Mass (likely back in the hall to increase capacity).   I foresee in the not-too-distant future no holiday replacement Mass but rather a lay/Deacon led “Liturgy of the Word with Communion”. 

Thinking a little further ahead at OLOR, the Building Committee hopes to have some preliminary drawings for your viewing at the end of the summer.  I envision this is a reason to celebrate as we continue making progress on the building project.  How about a social in which we’ll invite the architect who is still offering his professional services pro bono and provide a venue to share some excitement about our new Church!!

Thinking a little further ahead to September and fall programing, I’d like parish leaders to be putting some plans together.  Scripture Studies, Prayer fellowship, Devotional gatherings, Adult and Children’s catechesis, pastoral care of the sick and homebound, Pastoral Councils and Finance Committees, Evangelizing efforts, KC’s, CWL etc., all need to be coordinated with limited time and space.  My priestly role is kind of a ‘playing coach’ but with the two parishes and building project I will depend much on a highly motivated team with great delegated leadership.  I will ensure that what only I can do, namely celebrate the sacraments and preach the gospel, will by God’s grace be done well.  But making disciples of ‘found’ sinners and seeking the salvation of ‘lost’ sinners is everyone’s ministry.  There’s no life like it!  It’s been said that a priest by himself cannot possibly make the parish thrive, even if by contrast by himself he can make the parish sink… Hmmm?

We’re continuing to administratively limp along a bit out in Sooke. However, I’d like to thank Carol Sweeney who will step into a very part time secretarial role and begun some training with Rita.  She should (baring her own holidays) be available in the office Thursday and Fridays 10-2 while Kerrie will generously continue putting our bulletin together.  Way to go team!

Finally, on the grave issue of increased awareness of the history of residential schools, we’ve been approached by RCMP crime prevention personnel to be proactive.   It wouldn’t be a bad idea for all of us to keep our eyes peeled around the Church.  In pursuit of truth, I have just read an academic paper “Where are the Children” (buried at Residential Schools in Canada) by an Anthropology professor at Lakehead University.  If anyone wants the link let me know.  Meanwhile, let’s seek truth, pursue reconciliation and be agents of peace and healing for the future.

Blessings in Him,

 Fr. Dean

MASS TIMES:

(All Masses are back in the church, no registration required)

Tuesday: 9 am 

Wednesday: 9am 

Thursday: 9am 

Saturday: 5pm

Sunday: 8:30am 

Sunday: 11am 

 

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