06 Jun Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Times
June 5, 2016
Father Shawn Hughes
Homilies are never the creative act of one person. So as we begin to post these homilies on our website I would like to state first and foremost that there will be nothing original in the following. My homilies are a result of my prayer, reading and study as it pertains to the particular gospel of the week. Thus, I beg, borrow and steal from the wisdom of those who have gone before me and together with the Holy Spirit acting in my own prayer considering the needs of our particular parish community here at St. Mary’s, a homily appears by the weekend. If there is something that edifies you I can take no credit for it. ‘Tis the result of the work of the Holy Spirit and those from whom I have gleaned wisdom over time. If there is something that you might wish to discuss I am always available and would welcome any opportunity to speak about the Scriptures.
God bless you.
Two wonderful Scripture stories of sons returned from the dead. Two mothers. Both with sons who have died. One brought back to life by a prophet. One brought back to life by God. Don’t be afraid Elijah tells the widow of Zarephath. Don’t cry Jesus tells the widow of Nain. Great compassion from both.
Just prior to today’s first reading Elijah, the great prophet of the Old Testament receives three commands. Arise from where you are and go to Zarephath and stay in that pagan country. He hears these commands in prayer showing us the essential nature of listening in prayer before setting out on any mission. Arise, Go, Stay!!!! The prophet will be tested with each of these commands through faith, trust, obedience, availability and commitment. Arise. Go! Going involves moving which includes risks, hardships, dangers…facing fears. Zarephath was an evil place. A pagan place. Go. Stay!! The third command to stay was a great challenge to Elijah’s own commitment, trust and vision as a man of God.
Elijah’s provision would come from this poor, destitute, depressed, pagan widow facing starvation. Elijah encounters a woman who would care for him, look after his needs. This woman was not living in a large house; she was not sharing her excess, but rather she was barely existing at the gate of the city, collecting a few sticks since she had no fuel at home to cook even a meager meal. This poor woman would give all she had to care for, to assist the prophet.
What lessons can we learn from such generosity? The widow of Zarephath was challenged by the prophet Elijah to share what little she had, in spite of her desperate circumstances. Because of this poor woman’s generosity and goodness, and Elijah’s faithfulness, God strengthened the prophet’s faith and renewed his capacity for ministry. The Lord used the prophet to bring consolation and peace of mind and heart to the widow and her son.
It is essential to note: when we care for someone, when we give of ourselves; authentic ministry …authentic ministry is always mutual: we set out to help others and we end up being helped and blessed by the very people we set out to help! I always find this myself whenever I visit the sick or the elderly.
And in situations that I am afraid of, or where I don’t know what I will say or do I have found that the Lord provides for me, when I am experiencing weakness, failure, fatigue, trepidation and fear…God always does far more than we can ever ask for or imagine! Recently here at St. Mary’s someone was reluctant, when asked, to take Holy Communion to someone in their building who couldn’t get out. But after a little gentle coaxing, they did so and came back thrilled with the encounter, asking to be able to continue visiting.
Authentic ministry is always mutual: we set out to help others and we end up being helped and blessed by the very people we set out to help.
This striking Old Testament story forces us to ask some serious questions of our own lives. How have I responded to the needs of those around me when I’ve felt that I’ve got little or nothing to give? Do I worry that there will not be enough for me if I give away my money or my time or my talent?
Elijah exhorted the widow with the words, “Do not be afraid.” This same exhortation is repeated throughout the Scriptures, especially over and over again in the Gospels …“Do not be afraid Joseph to take Mary as your wife” “Do not be afraid Zechariah, your wife will bear a son.” The angel Gabriel said to Mary “Do not be afraid for you have found favour with God.” The Angel to the shepherds: “Do not be afraid for I am bringing you tidings of great joy.” Jesus said to Peter: “Do not be afraid, from now on you will be fishers of men.” Jesus says over and over to his disciples “Be not afraid.”
“Be not afraid” was also the continual refrain of Pope St. John Paul II’s long, fruitful, prophetic papacy: “Be not afraid!” How does fear affect our lives and keep us from obeying the spirit of the Lord? Do we cling to those things that cannot help us, forgetting to trust in the goodness of God? I think sometimes we think that coming to Mass makes us so-called “good Catholics.” Yet, coming to Mass is just the beginning!!! We come to Mass to receive the grace and strength from the sacraments to live our faith fruitfully out in the world. Looking for those in need and responding to that need. Pope Benedict said: and you have heard me quote this many times…In his encyclical entitled God is Love (Deus Caritas est) Pope Benedict said…“A Eucharist which does not pass over into the concrete practice of love is intrinsically fragmented.” Pope Francis has repeated similar lines over and over again. If what we do here doesn’t change what do out there, there is something seriously wrong with what we are doing here.
The widow of Zarephath was generous with Elijah. She gave to the limit of her resources, and God rewarded both the widow and her son. Do we have that same radical faith and trust? Do we behave as if we are owners of our talents and resources …or do we act as stewards of our talents, our time and our resources? They are gifts/talents…… they are meant to be shared. We are called to be stewards of them, not possessors of them… not owners of them…. stewards of them.
This reading causes us to make some firm resolutions with our own lives. Let me suggest a few concrete actions based on this story from the First Book of Kings. It is important to consider our own willingness to be generous with both material goods and with our very being, our presence, our time. Perhaps this week we can ask God for the grace to respond charitably to those who ask of us, whether it is a worthwhile charity or the neighbour, friend or colleague who simply needs to talk and to be heard. There isn’t anyone here, myself included, that can’t be more generous with our time…our presence to other people.
Since we first published the opportunities to volunteer in the bulletin we have had many requests from sick people or shut ins to receive Holy Communion. We have had requests for some help with meals immediately following an operation. We have had some requests for people to stay overnight with someone who is dying to give their sole caregiver a break. We need volunteers to respond to these requests. If we, as a Church, are going to say that euthanasia and assisted suicide is wrong, and it is very, wrong. Very sinful. Against everything we stand for as Christians. If we are going to say that it is wrong, then we, as a church are going to have to step up to plate, and care. Care for those who are very sick. Care for those who can’t get out. Care for those who the rest of society says are less dignified, or of less worth, simply because they have grown old, or very sick. We have to make sure that the elderly, the very sick, the less abled…Know they are cared for…Know that we care for them.
You may remember, about two years ago, I quoted Stanley Hauerwaus, a Methodist theologian, from a talk I had attended on end of life issues. He was asked: “What will we do with our elderly people in a hundred years.” He didn’t miss a beat! He immediately said: We will kill them!!!” Then he quickly added: “But hopefully the Christians will be known in society as the ones who care for their elderly, very sick or less abled until the natural end of their lives.”
We need to care. We live in a society that says the exact opposite. Look after number one. Get to the top any way you can. Don’t care about anyone but yourself. This is the exact opposite of who we are called to be as Christians. We are called to give of ourselves. To overcome the inclination to selfishness and to care for those in need. And to do something about it.
A phone call, the offer of help, the offer of a meal, the offer to run someone’s errands, the offer to go to appointments with someone, the offer to help out young parents as their children arrive and their lives become very busy and sleep deprived.
Opportunities to volunteer at St. Mary’s. It’s at all the doors again this weekend and will be on the bulletin boards for you to prayerfully consider. As you prayerfully consider it the question should not be if I am going to help…but where am I going to help? Where am I going to care? Where am I best suited to assist? Every single parishioner, young and old, should be asking, where can I help out? Where can I put my faith into action? Where can I care?
Some of the elderly may think I can barely look after myself. But a quick phone call says I care. An offer to pray, perhaps part or all of a rosary, over the phone says I care.
The widow gave generously when she knew she would not have enough for herself and her son. Yet, she trusted, and gave.
I say to you, arise, go…Go to those places you may feel least comfortable and stay there…remain there…Don’t be afraid. Show you care.
It is my sincere hope that the Christians here at St. Mary’s will become known as the ones who care for their elderly, sick and less abled,…known as the ones who care for their elderly, sick and less abled, until they die a natural death.
We need to care! We need to give of ourselves, our time, our presence…like the widow in the first reading we need to generously give of ourselves!
Mother Teresa was once quoted as saying: “At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.
We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in, I was sick or in prison and you visited me. ” Jesus himself reminds us that anything we do for someone in need is as if we are doing this to Him: “Whenever you did this to the least of my brothers and sisters, You did it to me.” (Matthew 25)
We need to care! And we need to put our caring into action!
OPPORTUNITIES TO VOLUNTEER IN MINISTRYAT ST. MARY’S
THIS IS MY COMMANDMENT, THAT YOU LOVE ONE ANOTHER
AS I HAVE LOVED YOU. John 15:12
PLEASE BE GENEROUS WITH YOUR TIME AND YOUR TALENTS!!!
Love is giving of self to others. When we put our lives at the service of others, when we live in order to give and not to take, we may call ourselves disciples of Jesus. Loving each other as Jesus loved us. This is a key reason why it is important that we know each other here at Mass. In the words of Blessed Mother Teresa, “Love cannot remain by itself – by itself it has no meaning. Love has to be put into action and that action is service. It all depends on how much we love one another.” How do we live it? Here at St. Mary’s Cathedral, there are many opportunities to live out the great commandment Jesus gave us to love one another.
PARISH PASTORAL CARING
Eucharistic Ministry to the Sick: Extraordinary Ministers of Communion bring the Body of Christ to sick and homebound parishioners. This is truly a spiritually rewarding experience for all involved. Communion is taken to those who are sick in nursing homes or homebound each week after Sunday Mass or on weekdays after the noon Mass. Training is provided.
Visiting the Sick: Pastoral Visitors are a tangible presence of the parish community and provide an important parish connection to those they visit. By just being with and spending time with the sick, the homebound or the elderly, Pastoral Visitors become carriers of Christ’s love, compassion and joy. Visits are scheduled on a weekly basis at a mutually convenient time.
Assisting elderly or shut–in parishioners with errands and shopping: Many sick or elderly parishioners require assistance with shopping or errands. Often the person just needs someone to accompany them to the shopping mall or to the grocery store. If you are going shopping, why not consider shopping for those who cannot get out or take someone with you who may not have the opportunity to do so?
Volunteer Driver: Volunteer drivers are a lifeline for those who otherwise would not be able to attend Sunday Mass. These volunteers provide transportation for elderly or infirm parishioners to and from the Sunday Mass the volunteer normally attends.
Palliative Care Ministry: Volunteers in our palliative care program provide ongoing support for parishioners coping with a long term or life threatening illness and provide respite care for their caregivers and family members. Respite care, designed for the sick but often referred to as a gift of time for the caregiver, gives the caregiver a period of temporary relief from the responsibilities of caring for individuals with chronic physical disabilities or who are palliative. Volunteers provide daytime or overnight respite care at the request of the family. Training is provided.
Meals Program for the Sick or Infirm: Volunteers who love to cook generously prepare and deliver hot, nourishing meals to parishioners who are sick and alone, or to families dealing with the serious illness of a parent or other family member. Volunteers are assigned to prepare a meal one day per week as required.
Seniors Lunch Program: Takes place on the first Wednesday of every month except during July and August. Volunteers generously prepare and serve delicious homemade lunches to our seniors in a friendly, pleasant atmosphere. Musical entertainment and sing-alongs are added features of these social events. Duties include room set up, decorating, help with meal preparation and clean up. Our elderly parishioners have served our parish in years past. Now it is time to honour them!
Hospitality Sunday Ministry: This committee’s main purpose is to foster friendship, fellowship and deepen relationships among parishioners. The Hospitality Committee prepares treats and coffee after Sunday Masses on alternate weekends. Hospitality volunteers provide a welcoming presence for everyone entering through the Cathedral doors and create a friendly environment for people to get to know one another. Responsibilities include set-up, serving, and cleanup.
Winter Coat Distribution Program: The annual Winter Coat Distribution program operates at St. Mary’s Parish Centre, Monday to Friday from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm throughout the months of November, December and January. Numerous volunteers are needed to assist the homeless and those in need find warm clothing to keep them safe during the harsh winter months.
Teams of two volunteers are scheduled for one afternoon per week.
Christmas Day Dinners Ministry: Our annual Christmas Day dinners for those who are alone or who are unable to prepare a meal for themselves are held at St. Mary’s Parish Centre and at Holy Family School in Rideau Heights. Numerous volunteers are needed each year to assist with set up, food preparation, decorating, serving the meals, clean up and take down. Volunteers often remark that these are the best Christmases they have ever spent!!!
Child Care Ministry: Older ladies in the parish assist with and provide childcare support for mothers with young children. Volunteers who enjoy being substitute grandmothers are needed to spend time with children thus giving young mothers time to go shopping, attend appointments or just have some down time for themselves. Volunteers are paired with a family to provide childcare as requested.
Parish Reception Committee: Volunteers prepare receptions for our Parish Celebrations and Special Events as well as the Valentine’s Day Tea, the St. Patrick’s Day Lunch and Concert, the Easter Vigil Reception, the Strawberry Social and the Garden Party. Duties include set up, food preparation, serving and clean up.
Pastoral Caring Prayer Ministry: Weekly hour of Adoration in St. James Chapel every Monday from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Our intercessors pray for the needs of our parish and for the intentions of individual parishioners. Everyone is welcome to join us in praying for our parish community.
To volunteer for any of the above Pastoral Caring ministries or for more information please contact: Ann Lyng in the Parish Offices at 613-546-5521 ext. 5 or email@example.com
Hot Meals Program Ministry: The St. Mary’s Cathedral Hot Meals program is located at St. John the Apostle Church and operates weekly on Saturday morning. Teams of volunteers dedicate one Saturday morning every three or four months to provide a delicious home cooked lunch for those in need. The meals, supplied and served by volunteers, are cooked on site. Karen Leavitt at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cathedral Choir: “To sing is to pray twice” St. Augustine. Since we are a cathedral, as well as a parish, and with our splendid organ, we strive to continually maintain a high standard of music. Music is an integral part of our Liturgy and is an exceptional way to praise God. The choir sings each week at the 10:30 am Sunday Mass as well as the Easter Triduum, Christmas and other Liturgical Feasts and special occasions. Choir members commit to regular practices on Monday evenings from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. The choir gathers on Sunday at 9:30 am to review the music for the 10:30 am Mass. If someone has told you that you have a great voice or if you just love to sing, consider becoming a member of the choir. Members of all age groups are welcome. The ability to read music is not absolutely essential. At the 7:30 pm Sunday Mass the music is accompanied by keyboard and guitar. If you love to sing, are 16 or older and interested in joining the choir, please contact Catherine, director of all things musical, at email@example.com to set up a meeting to discuss the possibility of joining.
Altar Servers: The primary role of the altar server is to assist the Priest in the celebration of the liturgy during Mass. This is done through specific actions. Servers carry the cross, the processional candle(s), hold the book for the Celebrant when he is not at the altar, carry the incense and censer, present the bread, wine, and water to the Priest during the preparation of the gifts or assist him when he receives the gifts from the people, wash the hands of the Priest, assist the Priest and deacon as necessary. Servers are needed for Sunday, weekday and funeral Masses and are assigned according to a pre-arranged schedule. Please contact Nick Beadle at firstname.lastname@example.org
Extraordinary Ministers of Communion: have perhaps the most awe-inspiring role of all – to distribute the Body or Blood of Christ to the Faithful at Mass. Extraordinary Ministers assist only if there are not enough Priests or deacons, as they are the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Extraordinary Ministers of Communion serve according to a pre-arranged schedule and must be fully initiated Catholics. If this is a ministry you might be willing to consider please speak to other extraordinary ministers about their experience of giving the Lord to others at Holy Communion and speak to one of the priests. Please contact Ellen Hawman at email@example.com
Lectors: The Lector serves by proclaiming Sacred Scripture during the Liturgy of the Word. Lectors proclaim the first or second reading at Mass and also lead the Prayers of the Faithful at Mass. The lector must believe that Sacred Scripture is the Word of God and have deep respect for God’s presence in that Word. Lectors should have strong, clear voices and the ability to read aloud, confidently, with the aid of a microphone. Lectors serve according to a pre-arranged schedule. Please contact Ellen Hawman at firstname.lastname@example.org
Children’s Liturgy: The Children’s Liturgy of the Word is an age-appropriate Liturgy of the Word offered at the 10:30 AM Mass. Children, prior to First Holy Communion age and under, are welcome and encouraged to attend. Just before the Liturgy of the Word begins for the assembly, the children are invited to come forward for a blessing and then go with the weekly leaders from the Cathedral to St. James Chapel. During this special time, the volunteer leads the children through prayers, songs and readings that are at an appropriate level for children. The children learn about the same Scripture readings as the rest of the assembly but are taught a simplified main message of the readings. Volunteers are needed to teach the lessons each week, as well as to assist with the supervision of the children. This is a great opportunity for adults and middle school/high school youth to help these eager youngsters learn the Word of the Lord. Please contact Laura Raycraft at email@example.com
Greeters: A Greeter’s role is to welcome people to the celebration of Sunday Mass and other Liturgical feast days. Greeters arrive a little early and stand near the entrances to the church and, in a spirit of hospitality, welcome people entering the Cathedral while handing out the weekly bulletin. Speak to Father Shawn.
Ushers: Duties include greeting people, showing them to their seats, assisting people with special needs and most especially taking up the offertory collection. They also arrange for people to present the offertory gifts.
Presenters of the Offertory Gifts: Members of the congregation present the gifts of bread and wine, which are to become the Body and Blood of Christ, to the Priest. These gifts are a symbolic offering of ourselves to God the Father. At each Mass, two members of the congregation are needed to bring the gifts in the procession. People volunteering for this service normally sit in the pew immediately in front of table bearing the gifts. Please volunteer to do this at the Mass which you attend. Also, if you are asked to do this ministry please be generous and say yes. The same presenters should not be taking up the gifts at every Mass. Speak to Father Shawn.
FAITH FORMATION PROGRAMS
Our faith formation programs are focused on deepening our personal relationship with Jesus within an environment of prayer and community.
Catechesis – Faith Formation Studies: These study sessions present parishioners with the opportunity to better understand our Christian faith and gain a greater love for God’s Word through spiritual and thought provoking presentations and small group discussions. The sessions encourage participants to experience a personal relationship with Jesus. Courses usually consist of a DVD presentation followed by a small group discussion on the presentation. Sessions typically run in the spring and fall. Watch your weekly newsletter for dates and times.
St. Andrew School of Evangelization: The St. Andrew School of Evangelization was formed in 1981 and has grown as an international Catholic organization to assist each parish in becoming, in the words of Pope Francis, missionary disciples. Through the courses offered, ordinary Catholics receive the formation to make their faith come alive. The courses consist of interactive teaching, Scripture study, prayer, theme-oriented music, independent personal reflection and the Sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation. Courses are offered three times per year typically in February, May and November. Please contact Ann Lyng at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cathedral Decorating Committee: The role of this committee is to decorate the interior of the Cathedral for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and other special occasions. This Ministry honours God and the congregation by creating an aesthetic ambience through beautiful floral arrangements that are pleasing to the eye and conducive to worship. This is not simply a functional ministry, but one of worship as well. If you have a creative flair for design, this ministry may be what you are looking for! Meetings are at the call of the Chair. Please contact Janice Lumb at email@example.com
Cathedral Gardening Committee: The purpose of this committee is to add to the beauty of the grounds of the Cathedral. When plantings are done it is always with the idea of building connections between the different areas of the gardens, as well as within, to create a flow of colour, texture and design. We notice that there is an increase in the number of people taking pictures of the gardens as well as the Cathedral. Those participating in events such as baptisms, confirmation, weddings etc. are seen with their families in front of the gardens. A sense of pride is growing in the gardens, as well as in the community. Gardens provide a spectacular backdrop for functions such as receptions under the tents and our annual Strawberry Social. If you have a green thumb and a working knowledge of plants and gardening, this may be the ministry for you! Volunteers are needed for the spring and fall clean up, bulb and flower plantings, and ongoing maintenance. The committee meets as required throughout the season. Please contact Ann Lyng at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cathedral Tour Guides: Guided tours of our beautiful Cathedral are offered from July 1 to Labour Day, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm every weekday except Wednesday. New volunteers are needed. The time commitment is three hours per week but the experience you get to meet tourists from around the world is immeasurable! If you enjoy meeting people and sharing the history of our magnificent Cathedral with others, then you may wish to volunteer as a tour guide. Please contact Ellen Hawman at email@example.com
Eucharistic Adoration: The value of an hour spent before the Blessed Sacrament is beyond all that you can imagine! The time that you spend with Jesus is more precious than any other time. You will experience a peace of heart that the world cannot give, that only Jesus can give you. It will give you the strength to face the difficulties of life. You will discover the love that Jesus has for you personally. There is no better place than in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament to present our requests and share with Him our needs. You are invited to spend time with Jesus In Eucharistic Adoration in St. James Chapel any time Sunday from 11:30 am to 9:00 pm, Monday to Friday from 8:15 am to 8:00 pm and Saturday from 8:15 am to 5:00 pm. Please contact Natalie Holland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moms and Tots Group: Open to all mothers in the Kingston Archdiocese for faith formation and fellowship. Babysitting is provided. Meetings are held on the first and third Tuesday each month from 10-11:30 am at St Mary’s Parish Centre. Please contact Clare Zuiker at email@example.com.
Refugee sponsorship: This committee helps to resettle refugees from abroad who qualify to come to Canada by providing financial and emotional support for the refugees for the duration of the sponsorship, typically one year. This includes assistance for housing, food, clothing, medical, dental and education needs. Please contact Angela Gambin at firstname.lastname@example.org
Screening Committee: Screening is a process designed to create and maintain a safe environment for children and other vulnerable adults, to foster an appropriate match between the volunteer and a particular ministry, to protect the volunteers and employees and to safeguard our limited Church resources. A typical screening committee consists of 2 to 5 members who are responsible for the screening of their volunteers. Normally, the Rector selects the committee members. Committee members must participate in a three-hour mandatory training session offered by the Archdiocese at which time they receive the necessary information and resources for the task. Following this training, and in collaboration with the Rector, the screening committee members are responsible for ensuring a safe environment within the parish community. Please contact Ellen Hawman at email@example.com