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Message from the Pastor


Pentecost Sunday
May 31, 2020

Greetings in the Lord,

This Sunday we celebrate the great Feast of Pentecost. Unfortunately we find ourselves unable to celebrate this feast as we would normally, nevertheless, it is a time to recall, remember, and wonder at the magnificence of Our Loving God. Pentecost marks the end of the Easter Season and marks the definitive entry of God into the world where He continues to guide and inspire His faithful.

There is a poetic balance to be located in the events of the Ascension and Pentecost. Last week we celebrated the Ascension of Our Lord and recalled the entry of our humanity into the Divine realm. Jesus, fully human and divine, took our humanity to Heaven where He now reigns. This week we celebrate Pentecost when God the Father and God the Son send the Holy Spirit to dwell among us permanently in this earthly realm. Last week we celebrated our humanity being taken into Heaven, and this week we celebrate God’s presence coming among us. There is no denying that Pentecost points to an intentionality on God’s part that He wants to be with us and He wants us to participate in His life and become living witnesses to His Divine love in the world.

Our feast has its roots in the Jewish faith; Pentecost marks the fifty days after the Passover which recalled the reception of the Torah, their Holy Scriptures, the first five books of the Bible. In the Old Testament we see that it is in the wind and fire that God made His presence known to the people, giving them the gift of his Law, the Ten Commandments and thereby establishing a covenant or relationship between Himself and His people. The Covenant with God on Mount Sinai brought the people together, making them one and making them His. Israel’s encounter with God on Mount Sinai is the foundation and guarantee of their existence as a people—the covenant or promise made to them by God. Fast forward to the Pentecost events we are celebrating today and many of the same elements are present. The wind and fire, which enveloped the community of Christ’s disciples gathered in the Upper Room is a further development of the event of Mount Sinai. Pentecost is given a new fullness and meaning; we are reminded that at Pentecost the uniting force or bond between people is no longer the Law, BUT God Himself! We are united with God and one and another through the Holy Spirit. Take a moment and consider the awesomeness of God’s love that is poured into our hearts and makes us one.

At Baptism we become temples of the Holy Spirit receiving God and becoming linked to one and another through the new life that is offered in baptism. This unity between ourselves and one another is captured in the preaching of the Apostles at Pentecost. Recall how the Apostles preached in their own language and everyone understood what they were saying. In a dramatic and awesome way, the “breach” begun at Babel—the confusion of hearts, pitting us one against the other—is bridged. The People of God, a chosen people, who were first formed on Mount Sinai, now becomes enlarged to the point of recognizing no limitations. The new People of God, the Church, is a people that derives from all peoples. The Church is thus catholic, or universal, from her beginning and this is her deepest essence.

While meditating on the reception of the Holy Spirit at Baptism it is interesting to note that the Jewish people never speak of the reception of the Law but rather they always speak of the GIVING of the Law, why? Because they believe that it takes an entire lifetime to properly receive the gift that God has given them. This insight asks us to consider how at Pentecost the Spirit seals the new law and new covenant brought by Jesus. This new law and covenant is written not on stone tablets but on the hearts of believers, just as the prophets promised. It takes a lifetime to fully appreciate the texture and contour of this incredible gift. The Spirit is revealed as the life-giving breath of the Father, the Wisdom by which He made all things. The Spirit came as a “mighty wind” sweeping over the face of the earth, and in the new creation of Pentecost, the Spirit again comes as “a strong, driving wind” to renew the face of the earth. The parallel to the Creation account in Genesis does not end there, just as God fashioned the first man out of dust and filled him with His Spirit, in today’s Gospel we see the life-giving Spirit breathing new life into the Apostles.

As we continue to wait and see what God has in store for us during this trying time, Pentecost offers us a wonderful opportunity to prayerfully recount all the ways in which God has shown His mercy and love. With God’s love ever before us we can be assured that He will never abandon us or leave us to our own devices. Please take heart, take time and take notice of how you are loved.

I would like to thank everyone who has reached out to myself over these past number of weeks and for the generous outpouring of prayers and concern for the parish. I am overwhelmed and humbled, thank you. Many of you have made financial contributions to the parish to see us through these times, unbelievable. THANK YOU! These are trying times emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually. Not being able to receive the Eucharist or be in the presence of Our Lord has taken a toll on many of us. We have lost many parishioners during this time and when we are able to return to Church we will pray for their souls. In the meantime we do not despair, we hold our heads up high and recognise the love of God that will see us through these trying times. I leave you with the mental image given to us in today’s Gospel from St. John.

“It was evening on the day Jesus rose from the dead, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear… Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.”

Jesus is always ready to show us the depth of His love (just as he showed the disciples his hands and side), let us rejoice in His love! Happy Pentecost! Prayerfully Yours, Fr. Robson.

 

Important Messages


A Message from the Archdiocese

Catholic Response to COVID-19

Update from the Archdiocese of Toronto
May 27, 2020

The decision to close our parish churches on March 24, 2020, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic was a very difficult one and we recognize the tremendous spiritual sacrifice of the faithful during this time. We also want to do all that we can to minimize the potential spread of Covid-19 in our community.

We know that you have questions and are anxious to return to your local parish. This update will let you know where we are at present and what we’ve been doing to prepare for the days ahead.

Thank you for your continued patience. We join in collective prayer, anticipating the day that we may all be together once again.

Q. How is the Archdiocese of Toronto preparing for re-opening?

A. Four archdiocesan task forces have been addressing the following pandemic-related issues:
1. Re-opening of churches;
2. Re-opening of offices;
3. Financial implications and related issues; and
4. Best practices that can be implemented post-pandemic.
We are also working closely with the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario (ACBO) to offer dioceses and churches a consistent approach to re-opening across the province. All this work has been done in consultation with health and safety experts.

We’ve held virtual town halls with our clergy and staff, to keep them appraised of our plans along the way. Pastors have been communicating directly with the faithful in a variety of ways – through the parish website, by mail, text, phone and through social media.

Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, has provided regular updates to the faithful. These and other Covid-19 related resources can be accessed by visiting: http://www.archtoronto.org/covid19. You can subscribe to receive these updates if you’re not already receiving them.

Q. Why not re-open the churches now?

A. Throughout this process, we have been part of conversations and meetings with all levels of government to advocate for re-opening places of worship as soon as it is safe to do so. We’ve also discussed the unique nature of our worship spaces, how we plan to create a safe environment for the faithful and we’ve shared our draft plans for re-opening.

While we would all like to re-open right away, we must do so thoughtfully and responsibly, as we do everything possible to ensure the safety of all. As Cardinal Collins wrote in his May 7 statement to the faithful, “We should also recall that we Christians defend the sanctity of human life from the first moment of conception until natural death: in a time of pestilence, that commitment of ours requires us to follow the reasonable norms designed to protect the lives of those around us.”

Q. I understand the Province of Ontario has amended its Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, to allow for drive-in religious services. Can we have an outdoor Mass at my parish?

A. The amendment was passed, however, it contains several restrictions which would not make the celebration of Holy Mass feasible. Parking lot Masses are not permitted in the Archdiocese of Toronto.

Q. When will we re-open churches?

A. That is the question on everyone’s minds. Unfortunately, we can’t give you a firm date at this time. We rely on the direction of the top health officials in our province who have expertise in pandemic planning. Once they indicate it is safe to do so, we will re-open churches when we are confident that parishes can provide a safe environment for the faithful. We are planning for a phased re-opening, similar to what is being done in churches around the world.

Q. What will it look like when we re-open churches?

A. The re-opening period will require a number of changes from our pre-pandemic operations. We anticipate that capacity limits will be necessary once churches re-open, beginning with smaller numbers and increasing as it is safe to do so. Physical distancing (2 metres/6 feet) measures will also be introduced and our desire to socialize as a faith community will be limited for a period of time. Enhanced worship space cleaning measures will also be required at and before every Mass. These require significant supplies and volunteers to ensure they are implemented properly. We are working with experts to finalize the specific measures that will be required.

Q. How about weddings, funerals and baptisms? What is the status of these sacramental celebrations?

A. Weddings and baptisms can proceed at present but are limited by the guidelines of local health authorities to 5 people including the celebrant. Funerals continue with a limit of 10 people. We recognize these numbers create anxiety and frustration for many people. We anticipate as churches begin to re-open these numbers will increase. However at this time, we cannot give an indication of what those numbers will be and when they can happen.

Q. What about First Communion and Confirmation celebrations for children of sacramental age that are scheduled to take place around this time of year?

A. These celebrations are not able to take place at this time. Whether these are re-scheduled to the fall or to a date in 2021 is largely dependent on how soon we are able to return to church in greater numbers. We will continue to keep you informed as plans are finalized.

Q. What about candidates for Baptism or reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church that were scheduled to take place at the Easter Vigil?

A. The Baptism of candidates or their reception into the Catholic Church can take place on an individual basis within the limits imposed by the health authorities, of 5 people, including the minister. Alternatively, these liturgical celebrations should be the focus of attention when churches re-open.

Q. Where is Mass televised/offered online?

A. While we recognize it is not the same as attending Mass at your local church, there are many opportunities to watch daily or Sunday Mass. Visit http://www.archtoronto.org/covid19 and click on “Watch the Mass” – you’ll find options for daily Mass with Cardinal Collins from St. Michael’s Cathedral as well as links to parish celebrations offered each Sunday (or in some cases more frequently). The daily televised Mass, produced by the National Catholic Broadcasting Council, airs on a number of networks including Salt & Light Catholic Television, YesTV and VisionTV. Consult your local listings or visit http://www.DailyTVMass.com for a full schedule.

While public Masses are currently suspended, priests across the Archdiocese of Toronto celebrate daily Mass – be assured that your parish priest is praying for you daily throughout this period of pandemic.

Q. How can I help?

A. As noted, we will need significant volunteer assistance as we re-open churches. If you would like to offer your time and talents to assist at your local parish, please contact them and let them know you’d like to help and your availability. You can also visit: http://www.archtoronto.org/covid19 to learn about additional volunteer opportunities with local charities.

We’ve also been heartened by the many parishioners who have asked how they can continue to financial support their parish. A number of donation options are available including credit card, pre-authorized giving or dropping off your donation at the parish office. You can learn more about financially supporting your parish by visiting our website.

THANK YOU

We recognize this is a particularly challenging time for all. Thank you for your patience during this period of closure. Know that we are working tirelessly to prepare and create a safe environment for you and your loved ones. We want to welcome you back as soon as it is safe to do so!

Please join us in praying for all those who are sick and those who have died during this time of pandemic. We also remember in our prayers those caring for the ill, our health care professionals and the countless front line workers labouring during these difficult days.

We will continue to keep you updated as plans evolve.

PS: Please share this message with fellow parishioners. If someone shared this message with you, and you’d like to receive future correspondence, please subscribe.

 

Parishioners are encouraged to join Cardinal Collins for daily and Sunday Masses
via livestream that can be accessed at:

Livestream


Thanks for all your prayers and know that I continue to pray for you. Stay well under these unique circumstances. I hope to celebrate
the Eucharist with you as soon as we are able.

 

Daily Mass can be found here:

CLICK ON IMAGE

 

* ONTARIO: STATE OF EMERGENCY *


Effective Tuesday, March 24, 2020:

All Public Masses & Events (including Way of the Cross) are cancelled.

There will be no access to either the Church or Chapel, even for individual prayer.

All classes and other church events are postponed for the duration of the emergency.

As of 11:59 p.m. Tuesday evening, the parish office will be closed to the public.

Fr. Mark continuing to say a private Mass everyday and including you in his intentions.

 


Visitors and New Parishioners

A very warm welcome to all new parishioners and those who are visiting St. Boniface Parish website.

New parishioners are asked to contact the office at 416-261-5983


SUNDAY MASSES

Saturday: 5:00 pm
Sunday: 7:30 am; 9 am; 10:30 am; 12 noon

CONFESSIONS

Saturday: 3:45 pm to 4:45 pm

WEEKDAY MASSES

Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday: 8:30 am
Wednesday & Friday: 7:30 pm

 

UPCOMING LITURGICAL DATES

Sunday May 24 – The Ascension of the Lord
Sunday May 31 – Pentecost Sunday

 


LITURGY OF THE WORD WITH CHILDREN

This program is offered during the Sunday 10:30am Mass.

This program is suitable for children in Grades 1 to 6.

 


DEVOTIONS

Devotions are important, they help us spend time with God which helps us build our relationship with Him.

Devotions help us focus on Christ; who He is and what He did for us.

At St. Boniface we offer devotions through-out the week;
– Rosary: Tuesday & Thursday following morning Mass
– Mother of Perpetual Help: Wednesday 7:00 pm
– Sacred Heart of Jesus: First Friday at 7:00 pm
– Adoration & Divine Mercy: Every Friday after Mass


OUR PARISH  SCHOOLS

ST. AGATHA – 416-393-5302
49 Cathedral Bluffs Drive, M1M 2T6

ST. BONIFACE – 416-393-5277
20 Markanna Drive, M1M 2J1

ST. NICHOLAS –  416-393-5308
33 Amarillo Drive, M1J 2P7


LINKS

ARCHDIOCESE OF TORONTO
http://www.archtoronto.org
416-934-0606

CATHOLIC CEMETERIES
http://www.catholic-cemeteries.com
416-733-8544

ST. VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY
Help Line: 416-261-3528

TORONTO CATHOLIC DISTRICT SCHOOL BOARD
https://www.tcdsb.org
416-222-8282

CANADIAN CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS
http://www.cccb.ca/site/index.php

UNITED STATES CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS
http://www.usccb.org

THE VATICAN – THE HOLY SEE
http://w2.vatican.va/content/vatican/en.html