St. Joseph's Church Blog

Entry by Father Charles at 02:00 on 2020/06/16

Dear Friends,

The reopening of the churches all came at us very quickly, not leaving us a huge amount of time to make the required measures given to us by the provincial government and the Archdiocese. The priests met with the Archbishop last Friday in Kingston, and many of our parishes are aiming to open up this weekend, June 20th and 21st. Such is the case here at St. Joseph Church. We will follow the usual Mass schedule.

Please be aware that Mass will now be a whole new experience. As we reopen, we are likely to make mistakes, but I trust that we will learn from our mistakes. The church will have a limited seating capacity; I am planning for probably 70 to 75 people per Mass, if people sit in an individual spot. However, families, couples, etc., are able to be seated together. If you plan to wear a mask, please put it on before you enter the church. Everyone is asked to enter and exit using the main entrance of the church. The church will need to be sanitized between each Mass. Also, if you have a condition by which you need frequent use of a washroom, it is advised that you remain home, since we are asked to sanitize the washroom after each individual use. The parish hall/centre will be a restricted area. You are asked not to enter.

In conclusion, for all of this to happen, it is crucial for us to have some dedicated volunteers. I foresee being in need of four volunteers per Mass. This will involve providing direction for people as they enter the church and exit as well. In addition, we will need your help in sanitizing the church after Mass. If you are able to assist, please contact the parish either by telephone or email. I am planning a meeting for this Thursday, June 18th, 7pm in the church. Please, we need you, volunteers, in order for people to gather safely once again.

Thank you, and Gods' blessings,

Father Charles

Entry by Father Charles at 02:25 on 2020/06/11

Dear Parishioners,

While the Provincial Government has given the green light for churches to reopen at 30% capacity, the Archdiocese is taking a slower approach for the faithful to safely return for the celebration of Mass. There are a number of protocols and safety measures that will need to be implemented before this takes place. Archbishop Mulhall will provide us with directives as we slowly move forward.

I encourage you to visit the website for the Archdiocese of Kingston. There you will find a video that was prepared by Father John Hibbard. The video focuses on the reopening of our churches and what you might expect when you return to Mass. If you have access to a computer, I suggest that you watch the video.

I realize that it has been a true sacrifice not being able to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist and in the sacramental life of the Church. I have spoken to many of you who long to once again receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Please be patient. We will get there, but we need to move forward in a safe manner.

Thank you. And I continue to remember all of you in each Mass I celebrate.

With prayers,
Father Charles

Entry by Father Charles at 05:40 on 2020/05/30

Hi Folks,

Again I want to offer thanks and appreciation to the many of you who have continued to offer financial support to our parish. I remain grateful for your generosity throughout this difficult time. I have made every attempt to minimize our expenses as much as possible. We still have our head above water!

Thank you,

Father Charles

Entry by Father Charles at 05:30 on 2020/05/30

Dear Friends:

Happy Pentecost! Yes, we really are celebrating Pentecost this weekend. As I reflect on this, it's hard to believe that our Lenten season of coming together as a faith community was cut short due to COVID-19, we were not together for Holy Week and the great celebration of Easter, we have not been together for the entire Easter season, and now, here we are, this weekend celebrating the feast of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. And we still cannot be together. Someday, as yet we don't know when that will be, God will bring us together as community.

Amidst this pandemic, we have had to continue living our lives. I think of the many personal events that, I'm sure, have happened in peoples' lives - the birth of a new baby, someone's birthday or anniversary, children becoming accustomed to online learning, the death of a loved one - these, just to name a few. I have to believe that God was present in all of these life-changing events.

In this weekend's second scripture reading, St. Paul speaks of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. As the body of Christ, the Church, Jesus has charged us to make God present in the world. For us to do that, we have to open ourselves to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We all have gifts, and it's important for us to believe that. Perhaps you are patient and kind. That's a gift! Perhaps you have a way about you that you can put an end to gossip before it goes very far. That's a gift! Perhaps you have been constantly faithful to your spouse in your marriage. That's a gift! Saying a prayer for someone; offering a smile. That's a gift! Perhaps you have assisted someone during this pandemic, during this time of isolation. That's a gift!

And, so, without us and without us using our gifts, the Church has a certain incompleteness, God's presence in the world can be somewhat weakened.

Again, Happy Pentecost! Happy Birthday to all of us - the body of Christ!

Gods' blessings!

Father Charles

Entry by Fr. Charles at 02:20 on 2020/05/13

Dear Friends,

On Sunday, May 10, I celebrated Mass for the eighth Sunday in a row without a congregation, just me and all the angels and saints who I believe were present, not including all the weekday Masses in between where our church has been closed to the people of God.

Sunday, May 10, was also Mother's Day. And I remembered all mothers at the celebration of the Mass, those living and deceased, those who have been like a mother to us. Thank you to all mothers who have said "yes" to the gift of motherhood. Amidst the current pandemic we are experiencing, mothers, I hope you were able to have contact with your children on your special day.

I came across a beautiful poem that I want to share with all you mothers. Maybe you still have little ones at home, or maybe you have little ones at heart who no longer live at home. I hope you enjoy this as I did!

The Little Things Poem by Kathie Borys

The work undone, the beds unmade
The floor unswept, the meal delayed
My cup of coffee growing cold
The laundry I have yet to fold
“I’m hungry Mom,” the children say
A thousand and one times a day
And, “Mommy, will you read to me?”
And “Mom, why can’t I watch T.V.?”
And “Mom, please hold me on your knee.”
And “Quickly, Mom, I have to pee!”
Then finally everything is set.
The children’s needs have all been met.
And I can really sink my teeth
Into my work with great relief.
Another sound. “Oh dear,” I sigh.
My newborn daughter’s plaintive cry.
Now I must sit amidst debris
And nurse this infant quietly
And dream of who I’d rather be
Distaining mediocrity.
But as this angel snuggles in
And I caress her silken skin
And meditate on beauty here
This tiny hand, this perfect ear
This life, this love, this holiness,
I can forget about the mess
And know with utter clarity
My life is rich as rich can be.
I wonder, when I’m old and gray,
Will I look back upon today
And wish I’d been a better mom
By getting all the housework done?
I’d much prefer a memory
Of children smiling up at me
Of walks and hugs and moments shared
Of taking time to show I cared.

Gods' blessings and safety and wellness to all of you,

Father Charles

Entry by Fr. Charles at 02:30 on 2020/04/23

On top of the COVID-19 crisis, our entire country, and more specifically the people of rural Nova Scotia, is extremely saddened and shocked at the recent tragic events that have happened in Nova Scotia. There are a number of our parishioners who have roots in the Maritimes. I'm sure this tragedy has deeply touched you. I have offered one of my Masses this week for all of the victims of this senseless act of violence, for their surviving family members, and for all of Nova Scotia. Our hearts, our thoughts, our prayers, go out to you. We pray for healing in the midst of all this.

Father Charles

Entry by Fr. Charles at 01:30 on 2020/04/17

Hi Folks,

I also want to thank those of you who have remembered the financial needs of our parish. Your generous contributions have allowed us to 'keep our head above water' during these unprecedented times. Thank you so much!

Father Charles

Entry by Fr. Charles at 01:25 on 2020/04/17

Dear friends,

Let me begin by sharing something really exciting I did on Easter Sunday afternoon. Here in the rectory there are a couple of ways to get to the east living room. I usually get there by taking the same route each time, but on Easter Sunday I decided to add a little diversity in my travels. I took the other route, the one less traveled. Wow! It was a neat experience!

All joking aside, Happy Octave of Easter to all of you!
I think we can all agree, this year's Holy Week and celebration of Easter was one of the strangest we have ever experienced, all because of the coronavirus. I hope this will never happen again. But despite everything, Easter was and is celebrated. How can we not celebrate the joy and the glory of the Resurrected Lord? I celebrated the Sacred Triduum here in the church, on my own, with certain adjustments to the liturgies. As beautiful as these liturgies are, because they do celebrate the richness of our faith, they're just not the same without the people of God gathered together. I know many of you were able to connect and participate via the internet to the great variety of resources that are offered online. Several people have told me of some of the churches they tuned in to. And that's wonderful to hear.

This weekend, we celebrate the 2nd Sunday of Easter, and, as usual, we hear the Gospel story of Jesus appearing to the disciples on the evening of the day he rose from the dead. But Thomas is not there. Later, the other disciples tell Thomas that they have seen the Lord. He doesn't believe them. Then after eight days Jesus appears again, this time Thomas is there. He believes, as we hear him say, "My Lord and my God!"

This Sunday is also Divine Mercy Sunday. We often think of God's mercy as just meaning the forgiveness of our sins. But God's mercy is more than that. It is greatly connected to his love, his compassion, his gentleness. And we see that in the Gospel reading this weekend, the compassion Jesus shows to Thomas, the gentleness he shows to him. Jesus leads Thomas to believe. And that is one huge act of mercy!

This Sunday afternoon I will have a private Holy Hour in the church, beginning at 2:15. At 3 o'clock I will pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. I invite you to consider praying the Chaplet at the same time. I really believe, even though we are not physically together, our prayers can be united as we lift this time up to the Lord.

The words, "Jesus, I trust in you," are associated with the Divine Mercy Chaplet. As we continue to journey through this world crisis, may we believe and trust that our Lord is indeed walking with us and that his compassion, gentleness, love and mercy will see us through.

Blessings,
Father Charles

Entry by Father Charles at 03:45 on 2020/04/07

Dear Friends:

I hope everyone is doing well as we do our best to isolate ourselves. I have spoken to many people personally (observing safe distancing of course), as well as contacting a number of parishioners by telephone. And what I am hearing from everybody is that, we have never experienced anything like this before in our life that affects the whole globe, worldwide. I have to agree.
On EWTN they make reference to Holy Week as the week that changed the world. And, indeed, through Jesus' death on the cross which lead to the glory of the Resurrection, the world has been changed. God's people have been given great hope through Jesus' love for us.
'The week that changed the world' - I think we can also say that COVID-19 has changed the world forever. The unknown, the uncertainties of it all, can bring much fear and anxiety to us. But hold on to that hope, and trust that God will lead us through these difficult times.
Holy Week, 2020, will be very different for everyone this year. The holiest week of the year, and we cannot come together as a community, as we always have, to celebrate the richness of our faith that the Church offers us through the sacred liturgies. Hopefully many of you will be able to participate through the many online and television broadcasts that are available.
Archbishop Mulhall has given directives to the priests for celebrating the liturgies of Holy Week. When priests are alone, as I will be, certain adjustments are in place. I will celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday. On Good Friday at 3pm., I will read the Passion according to St. John as well as the Universal Prayer. Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil), I will do the Office of Readings for Easter Sunday. And then, of course, I will celebrate the Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord on Easter Sunday morning.
Dear people, I believe many people are hungering for spiritual nourishment during this time of crisis. The world is suffering right now, no question about it. We see suffering and death worldwide as a result of the coronavirus. If we can unite all of this suffering to the suffering and death of Jesus as we journey with him to Calvary this week, who knows, we might be transformed and brought to a newness of life that we could never have imagined. Let's pray for that! May we open our hearts to the many graces that can flow from this week.
Finally, this is a difficult time for all. It's a difficult time for us priests because we can't be close, physically, to the people we are called to serve. I invite your prayers for us. I invite your prayers for me. Know that you are in mine.
Despite the many changes we are experiencing, I pray that you all will find the blessings and joy that come with the celebration of Easter.
Happy Easter!! Father Charles

Entry by Father Charles at 01:25 on 2020/04/07

Hi everyone. Regarding Confession:

Drive thru Tim's; Drive thru McDonald's; Drive thru Confession.
Well, not quite. I am going to call it: Park - Confess - Receive God's Forgiveness and Mercy.

I will be outside in my vehicle, near the entrance to the parish office, to hear your confession if you are comfortable with this. Simply drive up beside me, but I do ask you to leave the physical distancing of 6 feet between us.

The times I have scheduled for confession are as follows:
Wednesday, April 8th - 11am to 12
Thursday, April 9th - 11am to 12
Saturday, April 11th - 2pm to 3pm

God's blessing to all.

Entry by Fr. Charles at 01:00 on 2020/03/31

Holy Hour

This Friday, April 3rd, is the First Friday of April, and I invite you for a Holy Hour. Since we are unable to gather in the church, I will offer Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with a little different plan. The Blessed Sacrament will be in the front window of the parish hall. Please just remain in your vehicles and spend an hour in the presence of our Lord. If you do exit your vehicle, please remember safe distancing!
The Holy Hour will be from 11am to 12 on Friday. I will offer all the prayers in the parish hall. At the end, if it isn't pouring rain, I will come out to the front and bless you with Jesus' presence.
You can offer whatever prayers you wish or simply have some quiet time as our Lord is with us. Perhaps we can pray for an end to the coronavirus. Also let's remember all our doctors, nurses and healthcare workers, our governments and public health officials who strive to keep us safe.
God bless all of us.

Entry by Fr. Charles at 08:00 on 2020/03/26

Act of Spiritual Communion

At this time, during COVID-19, the faithful people of God are not able to receive the Eucharist at Mass. Here is an Act of Spiritual Communion to pray at Communion time if you are watching the Mass online or on television. You can pray it then or even in the midst of your daily routine. It's a beautiful prayer. Blessings, Father Charles

My Jesus,
I believe that you
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love you above all things,
and I desire to receive you into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment
receive you sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace you as if you were already there
and unite myself wholly to you.
Never permit me to be separated from you.
Amen.

Entry by Fr. Charles at 07:00 on 2020/03/26

RE: COVID-19 and Its Impact On Our Parish
Dear Parishioners of St. Joseph Church,
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

We are indeed experiencing a time of great crisis when the whole world lives in fear and with the uncertainty that comes with the coronavirus. It has changed the way in which we have to live our lives. I'm sure that all of us just wants to return to our familiar routines, the way in which we go about our day to day activities.

This pandemic has also had a great impact in the life of the Church. Churches have had to close their doors. God's people cannot gather as a community to celebrate the great gift of the Eucharist. Church activities have pretty much ceased for the time being. On Sunday, March 22, the 4th Sunday of Lent, I celebrated Mass privately here in the church. As priests, whether we celebrate Mass privately or with a congregation, it is always a privilege. But I was saddened last Sunday not seeing all the familiar faces who would normally be here, gathering as a faith community. I missed you. I continue to celebrate the daily Mass, and I lift all of you up to the Lord in a special way.

We have had to close the parish office, following the directives of Archbishop Mulhall, and employees have been asked not to come in. I am aware that a few of our parishes in the archdiocese have been able to broadcast the Mass online and have posted various resources on their websites. I am not a "techie" sort of person, so my ability to do that is limited. However, I will be checking parish email and will do my best to reply to any concerns you may have. Or please do not hesitate to call the church.
I have always been hesitant about asking for money in the parishes where I have served, but, as you are probably aware, this pandemic that has caused us to suspend our Sunday Masses has had a tremendous impact on our financial resources. We rely enormously on the Sunday collection to pay our expenses.

I understand that we are all living in a time of great crisis, and we are all touched in one way or another by COVID-19. In prayer, I invite you to evaluate how you can continue to financially support St. Joseph Parish to ensure that we can carry on. Perhaps some of you are in a position where you are able to do a little bit more while others may need to scale back.

Mother Angelica, who was the founder of the Eternal Word Television Network, used to say to her viewers, "Please remember us between your gas and electric bill." We have a beautiful church and parish centre here at St. Joseph, and our expenses are great - employee salaries, various programs, operating costs of electricity, water, heating, etc., all funded through your generosity. I pray that you will continue to remember us between your own personal bills.

You can drop off or mail your donation, preferably a cheque. There is also the option of automatic withdrawal from your account. In addition, maybe there is an elderly parishioner who could leave their envelope in his/her own mailbox, and you could pick it up for them for drop off here at the church. May we all participate in our own way of continuing the ministry of Christ and his Church.
On March 25th, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, the 1st reading from Isaiah reminded us, "the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel," for God is with us.

My dear people, none of us knows what the outcome of all this will be. But it is important for us to trust that God is with us, God will be with us. God will embrace us. We need to embrace God and embrace each other and support one another.

As we do our best to follow the direction of our government and public health officials, may we and all our loved ones be kept safe as we journey day to day through this crisis.

In conclusion, as pastors we have a responsibility to pray for the people entrusted to our spiritual care. As your pastor here at St. Joseph Church, know that I pray daily for all of you. I pray we will soon, and very soon, be able to gather together again as a faith community.

May God bless all of you.

In Christ,
Father Charles

Entry by Fr. Charles at 04:00 on 2020/03/26

Asking for the Intercession of St. Rosalie

I was recently reading about St. Rosalie. In 1625 during a terrible plague, the people of Palermo, Sicily, processed through the streets with the relics of St. Rosalie to intercede for the city. The plague ended, and she was proclaimed the patroness of the city of Palermo. Since reading about her, I have been praying this prayer to her for an end to the coronavirus. I thought you might like to pray it, too. Blessings, Father Charles

O God, our Father, mercifully look upon your people who come to you, and grant through the intercession of St. Rosalie, who turned away from earthly delights to the joys of contemplation, that we may be delivered from all harm here on earth and one day be welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven.
St. Rosalie, we pray to God for our families and friends. We ask your intercession for the victims of the coronavirus and for an end to its spread. Through your powerful prayers, may we obtain health, life, and eternal salvation. Amen.

St. Joseph's Catholic Church of Belleville | 399 Victoria Ave. | Belleville ON | 613.968.9950 | Copyright 2020