This coming week a number of our parishioners will be attending the Archdiocesan Ordinandi Dinner. This is a dinner hosted by the Serra Clubs of the Archdiocese of Toronto to honour the ordination class of St. Augustine’s Seminary and religious who are taking vows. It also recognizes priests who are jubilarians. When I was ordained almost 21 years ago, the dinner was only an idea. It started out small and has become one of the major diocesan social occasions of the year. Attendance will rival that of the Cardinal’s Dinner, somewhere around 1,600. At the end of dinner we listen to a short description by each of the priests-elect of their vocation story. It is very inspiring.
A reminder that ShareLife Sunday is coming up. Your generosity for Haiti has been excellent. The parish has raised something close $25,000 now. The ongoing services that ShareLife funds are also important. ShareLife supports many agencies across the Archdiocese including Catholic Family Services, Catholic Cross Cultural Services and Vita Manor here in Peel Region. Birthright and the DeVeber Institute have received grants in the last year. St. Augustine’s Seminary, the Office of Catholic Youth and Covenant House are also major recipients. Missionary work is supported through ShareLife allocations made by the Pastoral Mission Fund. Parish Social Ministry which has helped to train our Lay Pastoral Visitors also benefits. So this is a major effort to support ongoing work that expresses the Catholic diocesan family’s solidarity with those in need and supports much essential pastoral work in building up the faith here and abroad.
ShareLife Sunday is March 21st. April 25th & May 30th are the second and third collections. The campaign officially closes at the end of July. So you can spread your donations out. While we have many needs at the parish, we also continually need to be outward looking.
I have appointed two individuals to the parish Building Committee. Gabriella Adorjan and Gabriel Ogundele have been appointed to this committee. I expect appointments to this and other committees soon. The Building Committee is a sub-committee of the Finance Council. As you may have seen from our financial report in the fall, the cost of running the parish is substantial. The Building Committee will be looking first in a couple of areas. It will address maintenance and equipment issues that can be handled more effectively and less expensively. The second will be to develop a prioritized plan for significant maintenance. The roofs, the heating and air conditioning units, and the parking lot will all require significant maintenance in the next five years. As well, to make best use of our facilities, we will want make some improvements to our hall and other facilities. You will be updated as these things proceed.
As I reported in my address to the parish in November plans are being prepared to bring greater balance to the sacred space of our church. I have met with a firm that has done work at our cathedral and at St. Paul’s Basilica downtown. I have also met with Fr. Vito Marziliano, the chair of the Archdiocesan Sacred Architecture Committee. I will be writing Bishop Boissonneau soon to describe the process I will undertake. I am hoping to be able to present to all of you a range of conceptual drawings that will help us to envision a sacred space that provides for the practical needs of Liturgy, encourages proper devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and makes the whole space of the church more prayerful and integrated.
In Christ, Fr. Bob