Archive for August, 2015

Pope Francis announces September 1 as “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation”

Monday, August 31st, 2015


Pope Francis declared September 1’st World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation for the Catholic Church, thus joining the Orthodox Church which has observed the day since 1989. The Pope made the announcement in a letter to the heads of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. A part of the Pope’s letter has been posted below. To read the complete letter click here:  

LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE “WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE CARE OF CREATION”

As Christians we wish to offer our contribution towards overcoming the ecological crisis which humanity is living through.  Therefore, first of all we must draw from our rich spiritual heritage the reasons which feed our passion for the care of creation, always remembering that for believers in Jesus Christ, the Word of God who became man for us, “the life of the spirit is not dissociated from the body or from nature or from worldly realities, but lived in and with them, in communion with all that surrounds us.” (ibid., 216).   The ecological crisis therefore calls us to a profound spiritual conversion: Christians are called to “an ecological conversion whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them.” (ibid., 217).  Thus, “living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.”(ibid).

The annual World Day of prayer for the Care of Creation offers to individual believers and to the community a precious opportunity to renew our personal participation in this vocation as custodians of creation, raising to God our thanks for the marvellous works that He has entrusted to our care, invoking his help for the protection of creation and his mercy for the sins committed against the world in which we live.  The celebration of the Day on the same date as the Orthodox Church will be a valuable opportunity to bear witness to our growing communion with our orthodox brothers.   We live in a time where all Christians are faced with identical and important challenges and we must give common replies to these in order to appear more credible and effective.  Therefore it is my hope that this Day can involve, in some way, other Churches and ecclesial Communities and be celebrated in union with the initiatives that the World Council of Churches is promoting on this issue.

  Whilst I look forward to the widest possible cooperation for the best start and development of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, I invoke the intercession of Mary, the Mother of God and of St. Francis of Assisi, whose Canticle of the Creatures inspires so many men and women of goodwill to live in praise of the Creator and with respect for creation.  I support this pledge along with my Apostolic Blessing which I impart with all my heart to you, my dear Cardinals, and to all those who collaborate in your ministry.



Back to School Reflection by CPT Reservist Rosie Williamson,olm

Saturday, August 29th, 2015

 

 


Back to school for most children is an exciting time when they meet new and old friends and share stories about their summer vacation.  In Hebron, the soldiers and checkpoints of the occupation impose a very different reality on the return to school.  To reach their schools the children here must pass through checkpoints with metal turnstiles where armed soldiers frequently search their backpacks.  Older siblings firmly hold the hands of the younger ones.  School teachers and other adults also face this daily humiliation.  On their return home, after the school day is over, the whole experience is repeated.
 
At the least provocation, Israeli soldiers will shoot tear gas at the school children. Most often this occurs as collective punishment when a small group of boys throw stones or are accused of doing so.  This sometimes results in the closure of the school for the day, a frequent occurrence during the previous school term here.
 
The use of tear gas against civilians is highly problematic.  The CS gas used by the Israeli Defense Forces is banned under international law as a chemical weapon for warfare. While Israeli police rarely use it against Jewish protesters inside Israel, the military sees fit to use it widely in the West Bank. The gas, of course, not only affects the boys and youth throwing stones or those who have been accused of doing so, but also the hundreds of other children who happen to be walking to school, as well as the people living in the neighborhoods surrounding the schools.  Tear gas causes respiratory problems and other health issues, and in some cases, has sent children to the hospital.  Badly aimed canisters have also set fire to homes surrounding the checkpoint areas.
The extreme use of tear gas is one aspect of Israel’s multifaceted military strategy of mass intimidation and collective punishment.  

Learn more here:


Christian Peacemaker Teams

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Reflection for the Feast of the Assumption – August 15, 2015

Monday, August 24th, 2015

Suzanne Marshall, Mary Deighan and Christine, our recent leadership team, are now passing their responsibilities over to the new team of Frances, Christine and Mary Gauthier. God has been generous in giving us sisters that still have the competence and compassion to guide the community. They are leading us through our ongoing transitions toward the new reality….that of sharing life with other congregations at Presentation Manor. The Chapter directional statements shaped by the community itself have been and will be their mandate.

Terraced hill at Ein Karem (Seetheholyland.net)

Terraced hill at Ein Karem
(Seetheholyland.net)

Jesuit retreat directors often recommend putting yourself in the picture of some Gospel setting. We can easily do that here after just hearing that familiar reading from Luke’s Gospel. Mary, our sister, is now the bearer of the Word incarnate in her young body. She is going with haste up into the hills toward Ein Karem to visit her old cousin Elizabeth who is also miraculously pregnant and needs her assistance. But a few verses earlier in that same Gospel, the pattern of Mary’s life had been established:


At first she had been alarmed when the angel Gabriel, sent by God, brought her the news that she was to conceive and bear a son who was to be named Jesus. She had asked how that could be? So the angel had calmed her fears and assured her that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the power of the Most High would cover her with its shadow and her child would be called Son of God.

So she gave her FIAT!

And then with her heart full of love and compassion, Mary set off to the hills as soon as she could, to be with her elderly cousin in her need.

As principal patroness of our congregation, whose name we bear, Mary gives us the very best example we can have, in her complete acceptance of the will of God and her life of service to others.

All of us here today have received an invitation as Mary did. We felt a calling to religious life and eventually made our own FIAT. But it`s the trying to live a life worthy of that calling that requires so much faith….. belief that each of us is the simply unique and absolutely precious child of God…created in unconditional love….( to use the words of the great spiritual writer, Beatrice Bruteau.) It is that conviction that allows us to share this love freely with others as Mary did with Elizabeth.

Now back to our discursive meditation! We see Mary reach Zechariah`s house, enter and greet her cousin. As soon as Elizabeth hears Mary`s voice, John the Baptist leaps for joy in his mother’s womb. And Elizabeth herself cries out in a panegyric of awe and blessing. We have all seen beautiful paintings of this scene. Of course, there is no word from Zechariah but as Elizabeth’s husband and the father of John, he must have been intimately caught up in the Great Mystery unfolding as indeed we are ourselves.

Then Luke introduces Mary`s Magnificat by simply writing, “And Mary said…”  And we heard her familiar Canticle reminiscent of other great songs of praise from the Old Testament.

This day presents each of us with an opportunity to renew our own FIAT and to promise Frances, Christine and Mary Gauthier, our new leadership team, our love, our prayers and our support. With them we can pray as St. Paul advised the Ephesians to do, “for the grace to live in humility, and patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”. May it be so!

Patricia Kay O.L.M.

Our Lady’s Missionaries Celebrate August 15, 2015

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

Continuing the Chapter theme of ‘Embracing Life with Gratitude’, Our Lady’s Missionaries celebrated the transfer of their leadership at a Liturgy on the feast of the Assumption, presided over by Fr. Jack Lynch.

Appreciation was expressed to Suzanne Marshall, Mary Deighan, and Christine Gebel for their devoted service over the past four years and a blessing was given on the new leadership team of Frances Brady, Christine Gebel and Mary Gauthier for their courage and generosity.

Patricia Kay O.L.M., in a thought provoking reflection based on the Scriptural readings of the day’s feast, referred to Mary, Mother of God as Patroness and model of the community. During the Liturgy, each sister received a copy of the Chapter Directional statement from the recent Chapter of 2015.

Sr. Myra Trainor, olm

Sr. Myra Trainor & Fr. Jack Lynch

Sr. Myra Trainor & Fr. Jack Lynch


13’th General Chapter of Our Lady’s Missionaries June, 2015

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Group

 

The 13’th General Chapter of Our Lady’s Missionaries was held at the Scarboro Mission Center from June 14’th to June 19‘th. To help us focus on our Chapter business, we concentrated on our inspirational theme ” Embracing Life With Gratitude”.

Every sister participated in some way – from Delegate to Prayer Partner.

Sisters Veronica Dunne and Denise Kuyp from Our Lady of the Missions Community were our Chapter facilitators. Their competent experience guided us through the Chapter agenda allowing each participant to address agenda items with much freedom and ease.

During the Chapter session a new leadership team was elected. Sister Frances Brady is now our Congregational Leader with Christine Gebel and Mary Gauthier as team members.

We remain grateful to our facilitators Denice and Veronica along with Louise Malnachuk and Mary Diamond, our secretaries. We again remain grateful to Scarboro Missions and their entire staff who provided help and care during our Chapter.

We cannot forget the importance of our benefactors and friends who have supported us through the years in so many different ways. We ask God’s blessings on all and we will remain always grateful .

Noreen Kearns, olm

Srs. Denise Kuyp & Veronica Dunne

Srs. Denise Kuyp & Veronica Dunne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer Partners

Secretaries

Secretaries

 

Gift Box at King and Church

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

The Faith Alliance is a collation of groups and individuals who are motivated by faith, trying different ways to eliminate Human trafficking in Toronto and around the world. One of the projects now being used to bring awareness of the need to stop this abuse of vulnerable people is the “Gift Box”.

The Gift Box is a large “walk in box” symbolizing the way in which the traffickers entice their victims into a box of false promises. On the inside walls of the box are legibly written true stories from persons who have been victims of Human trafficking.

Toronto has hosted the Gift Box this summer outside St. James Cathedral, located on King St. East, a very busy and popular area in downtown Toronto. On August 7, 2015 just outside the Gift box and the surrounding area, I and several volunteers distributed information, and asked the public to sign petitions to our Provincial Government to form an Action Plan to stop Human trafficking.

On that particular day the volunteers worked their way along King and Church Streets, giving out information and requesting signatures to be sent to the Provincial Government. The people coming and going, some on lunch break, others on their way to meetings and still many visitors from various countries, showed great interest in the project.

The majority encountered were interested and wanted to help stop Human trafficking. Most took time and signed the petition. It was an inspiring and hopeful experience for each one us.

Sr. Noreen Kearns olm

The Gift Box Project has both a website and a FB Page:

Faith Alliance To End Human Trafficking

Facebook Page of Faith Alliance To End Human Trafficking

 

Unwrap The Truth

 

 

 

 

 

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