June 2nd, 2019


Homilies are never the creative act of one person.  Thus, in posting these homilies on St. Mary’s Cathedral’s website I would like to state first and foremost that there will be little 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 and/or the Spiritual Life.

God bless you.

Father Shawn


For 40 days after Easter, after His Resurrection, the Lord Jesus walked this earth.  Over these 40 days he eats and drinks with his disciples and continues to teach them about the Kingdom.  His glorified Body remains veiled under the appearance of his ordinary human nature.  The events that happened after the Resurrection are recorded to convince us of the Resurrection’s truth.  He appeared to the Apostles many times, he allowed Thomas to put his hands in his wounds, he walked with them, ate with them, celebrated Mass with them.  Indeed, he showed them time and again…He was truly Risen!!!! Today we celebrate his Ascension;  the irreversible entry of his humanity into divine glory…into heaven.    


Only the one who “came from the Father” can return to the Father: Christ Jesus. (John 16:28) He himself tells us referring t Himself:  “No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man.” (John 3:13; cf. Ephesians 4:8-10) ” Left to its own natural powers humanity, we,  do not have access to the “Father’s house”, to God’s life and happiness. ( John 14:2) Only Christ can open to us such access that we, the members of his Church, might have confidence that we too shall go where he, our Head and our Source, has gone ahead of us.  


As we heard in our second reading Jesus Christ, the one priest of the new and eternal Covenant, “entered, not into a sanctuary made by human hands…but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.”  (Hebrews 9:24)  Fully God and Fully Man, He has dignified humanity by ascending to the Father,  Fully Man and Fully God.   There, in the Father’s presence, Christ permanently exercises his priesthood, for he “always lives to make intercession” for “those who draw near to God through him”. (Hebrews 7:25) 


Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, precedes us into the Father’s glorious kingdom and intercedes on our behalf there, so that we, the members of his Body, may live in the hope of one day being with him for ever.


Earthly kings may have earthly success;  power, wealth, but they will always remain mortal, vulnerable as all of them will eventually die.  But our King, Our Lord and Saviour because he has risen from the dead and  ascended into heaven, HIS Kingdom is certain…And because of the Ascension eternal…HIS Church will never be destroyed.  If we stay faithful to Our King Our Lord,…our victory over sin, evil, and injustice is assured as is the happiness that comes with such a victory.  This is why we live in such great hope.  


Christ’s Ascension filled his disciples with joy, because they now knew for certain that the Christian cause, everything Christ taught and did,  was true…and not only true could never be defeated.  Christ’s Resurrection and Ascension proves His Lordship.  


This reality that we celebrate today fills us with expectant joy…with confidence…Father Paul Mawalla walked into the sacristy before the 8 am Mass today and instead of saying “Hello” he greeted all of us with “Are you happy in the Lord?”  

That is what this feast is all about,,,as we have prayed all Easter season in the Preface of the Mass…just before the Holy, Holy, Holy… “therefore, overcome with paschal joy,…overcome with Easter joy,…every land exults in your praise and even the heavenly powers, with the Angelic hosts, sing together the unending hymn of your glory…”  What we are celebrating is such a powerful assurance  of hope we are overcome with joy!!!! 


We need to beg the Father to give us such expectant joy, such hope, such confidence!


As we prayed today in the Opening Prayer

“Gladden us with holy joys, almighty God, and make us rejoice with devout thanksgiving for the Ascension of Christ your Son is , exaltation and where the Head, Christ, has gone in glory, the Body, [we the members of the Church,] those who are faithful to him,  are called to follow. Today we are reminded to open our hearts to such holy joys.


Christ’s entire life – his words and works, and above all his suffering death, resurrection and ascension is a lesson.  As our gospel says…Christ is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day,…And because that has happened “repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations.”  Christ’s suffering, death, Resurrection and Ascension are to teach us the way to repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  Nothing is more important.  Sin separates us from God.  God is our only source of lasting happiness.  Jesus says this lesson, repentance,  must be preached in his name to all nations.  The disciples can’t do this by themselves…They need the Holy Spirit…to be clothed with power from on high… 


In the ascension of Our Lord, we come face-to-face with the core of the entire Gospel:  Christ’s saving message being transmitted to all people, through the ministry of the Church, through the power from on high in the Holy Spirit.  Christ tells us he must return to the Father so he can send their Spirit.  He must return to the Father so that the Church can be born and his work continued by the Church. We are assured in the Ascension of Our Lord that God gives his Holy Spirit to those who obey him. (Acts of the Apostles 5:32)


Thus, as the last line of our second reading exhorted us, “Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who has promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23) God is faithful.


Pope St. Leo the Great put it this way:  “For to-day not only are we, [those who faithfully follow Christ,] confirmed as possessors of paradise, but have also in Christ penetrated the heights of heaven, and have gained still greater things through Christ’s unspeakable grace.”  Leo the Great. (1895). Sermons. In P. Schaff & H. Wace (Eds.), C. L. Feltoe (Trans.), Leo the Great, Gregory the Great (Vol. 12a, pp. 186–187). New York: Christian Literature Company.


Father Paul’s greeting really struck me:  “Are you happy in the Lord?”  Today’s feast assures us that we have every reason to be. 





The Chief medical Health Officer of Kingston has ordered that Masks must be worn at all places we gather indoors. That includes us here at the cathedral. We can’t supply everyone with a mask so please come with one. We would have a limited supply available for a loonie at the entrance of the cathedral.
Please read and observe the six key principles outlined below.

1) The key principle is that we come to Mass to worship God. Out of justice and exercising the virtue of religion we must give God what is God’s due. That quite simply is worship, adoration and praise. Thus, the absolute essentials of Mass will be included so that the Sacramental praise of God will take place and we will be exposed to one another for as brief a time as possible.

2) The second key principle is that the health and safety of parishioners, staff and clergy here at St. Mary’s are essential and require our utmost concern and attention. Therefore, the dispensation from the obligation to come to Sunday Mass by Archbishop Mulhall continues to be in effect. Those who are sick, elderly or have other critical health concerns should not come at this time. However, that is left to your discretion. Should you make the choice to come, knowing the risks, you are most welcome.

3) The underlying principle of all of our restrictions in isolating, physically distancing, wearing masks etc. is the common good as we live out the Lord’s commission to “love one another.” We are to care for each other and at this time we are called to be as prudent and careful as we can to protect the health of everyone else and ourselves.
4) The principle for the next few weeks will be brevity. The received scientific wisdom is that the virus spreads within groups who spend a prolonged period of time together. Therefore, we will be reducing the Mass to the bare essentials.
5) Singing is considered more dangerous than speaking so you are asked to please not sing at all throughout the Mass. I will not be singing either.
6) If you have any sickness, are elderly or have a critical illness you should remain at home. The dispensation from the obligation to come to Mass continues through this time of 30% capacity. Of course, if you choose to come you will not be turned away. We will continue to live- stream the Masses until we are back to a more normal arrangement.

The Chief medical Health Officer has ordered that Masks must be worn at all places we gather indoors. That includes us here at the cathedral. We can’t supply everyone with a mask so please come with one. We would have a limited supply available for a loonie at the entrance of the cathedral.
We will pray a shorter Penitential Rite.
The Gloria will be said not sung. There is to be no singing by the congregation during the Mass. Only by a cantor or as we have today a physically distanced choir in the choir loft…3 metres apart.
We will only have one reading followed by the Psalm
The second reading will be omitted.
The choir will sing the Alleluia on Sundays. During the week it will be omitted. Please do not join in.
The Gospel.
A very brief (3-4 minute) homily will follow.
The Creed will not be prayed.
There will be no petitions. Please prepare your own petitions and offer them in your heart during the Mass.
There will be no procession of the gifts.
There will be no regular collections at this time in the Masses. It will happen later. Ushers will be at the doors to receive your offering as you leave.
The Eucharistic Prayer will be prayed. This is the Most Important Part of the Mass.
The Our Father
Sign of Peace. This is a time when we won’t shake hands. Please do not wave to each other or give the two finger sign of peace. Neither of these reflect what is the intention here…You are recognizing the presence of God in the other person and praying they know God’s peace. The most appropriate gesture is a slight bow or nod of the head to the other person. You have seen me do this at the sign of peace to all of you at every Sunday Liturgy.
Please be seated.
Then the ushers will direct you to the place where you will receive Holy Communion. Please do not leave your pew until an usher has indicated you should do so.
Another usher will be close to the Communion Station to receive your Sunday Offering.
When it is your turn to receive Holy Communion. You will stand 6 feet away on the red line. The person distributing Holy Communion will say “The Body of Christ”. You will say “Amen”. Then move forward within arms length and receive the Host. Once you have received go straight out the nearest exit and make your Thanksgiving on your way home.
Aisles 1 & 5 will come forward to receive Holy Communion and leave by the side doors.
Aisles 2, 3 & 4 will go to the back to receive Holy Communion.
Aisle 2 will exit by the exit closest to the rectory.
Aisle 3 will exit out the centre door which you came in
Aisle 4 will exit out the door by the washrooms.
You are strongly encouraged to receive Holy Communion in the hand. Receiving on the tongue endangers the person giving Holy Communion and yourself, the person receiving Holy Communion. If you wish to insist on receiving on the tongue please wait until the very end as the person giving Holy Communion should sanitize their hands after each communicant. The usher will pass you by and will come back to you after everyone else has received. Please don’t leave your pew until that has taken place.