Parish Bulletin – 5th Sunday of Lent – 29 March 2020

Catholic Parishes of the Upper Pontiac

Parish Bulletin

Fifth Sunday of Lent – Sunday March 27, 2020

 

This is the first of what promises to be a number of ‘virtual bulletins’ that will be posted online throughout the current COVID-19 crisis. Hope you find it worth reading.

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Jesus is drawing to the end of his earthly mission.  His disciples have been accompanying him for almost three years. And here once again they see Jesus showing divine knowledge: he knew how Lazarus’s sickness would end, and he knew, without any need for a messenger, when Lazarus had died. And yet, even at this late point in his ministry, after three years of continually

  • witnessing Christ’s miracles,
  • and experiencing his divine wisdom,
  • his disciples still don’t understand him; they still don’t know their Lord.

They still misconstrue his words – they think he’s talking about normal sleep when he is really talking about death. They still doubt his good sense and power – they try to dissuade him from returning to Jerusalem, where his enemies lurk. After all this time and experience, they just don’t get it. Any lesser Lord would have long ago given up on these slow and artless followers, but not Jesus.

  • He is a Lord who serves his subjects, teaching them and guiding them to the fullness of life with tireless patience.
  • The needier they are, the more attentive he is, the more eager to give them whatever it takes to help them believe in, trust, and follow him.

And aren’t we just like the Apostles?

  • We have been Christians for so long, heard so many sermons, received Holy Communion so often.
  • And yet, in the middle of life’s ups and downs we still find it hard to figure out what God is asking of us.
  • In the middle of life’s temptations, we still find it hard to trust him enough to follow his will instead of our whims.

But he hasn’t given up on us, and he never will. Our Lord is truly Lord, but he is a Lord who rules by love. Everything in this church reminds us that God never gives up on us.

  • The altar is solid and immovable – like God’s love.
  • The crucifix is front and center, the emblem of God’s unlimited forgiveness.
  • The tabernacle and the sanctuary lamp quietly keep vigil over the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist – perhaps the greatest proof of all that God will never give up on us.

But one item expresses God’s untiring love with particular eloquence: the confessional. The mere existence of confessionals proves that God doesn’t just make empty campaign promises – he puts his love and power into action.

  • He entrusted the forgiveness of sins to his Church, because he knew that his followers would need it.
  • He knew that we would keep being tempted, keep falling into sin, keep experiencing our weakness.
  • He knew that the devil would try to use those experiences to discourage us and distance us from God.

But the confessional is the guaranteed shield against that temptation. Its mere presence is an undeniable witness to the fact that Christ will never give up on us.  No matter what happens, no matter what we do or fail to do, we can always go into that confessional,

  • receive God’s forgiveness, with no room for doubt,
  • get some solid spiritual advice and sacramental grace,
  • and start over again.

God never gives up on us; the confessional proves it. But we often give up on God, settling for being an inoffensive Christian instead of striving to become a saint. Today, let’s reboot our spiritual lives. Let’s get back in tune with Christ’s dream for our lives, and promise to use every means he gives us to make that dream come true

To help us all prepare for the great Feast of Easter, Fr. Tim will be hearing confessions in each of our three communities during Holy Week… but not in the usual way. If the temperature and weather permit, he’ll take a chair out into the parking lot of each church. You can drive up and confess by speaking to him via your rolled-down car window. Once you’ve completed, then you can just drive away with a clear soul and conscience. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, he will do the same thing by sitting in his car with his window down and you can pull up beside him, roll down your window and confess away! Here are the scheduled times for confession:

St. Joseph’s: Holy Monday from 7 to 8 pm.

Chapeau: Holy Tuesday from 7 to 8 pm.

Sheenboro: Holy Thursday from 7 to 8 pm.

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We ask you to pray for the repose of the soul of Helen Hill and Edmond Mainville who have both passed away recently. Their funerals will be celebrated in Chapeau once the COVID-19 virus lockdown has been lifted.

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All of the churches in our diocese of Pembroke are closed until further notice. The buildings are locked to ensure that they are kept from any virus. At this point, all of the pews in each church have been washed with a bleach solution to have them ready to go on a moment’s notice once the prohibition of public gatherings in finally lifted and we can resume celebrating the sacraments publicly once again. This means that there can be no funerals, weddings, or baptisms celebrated until that date as well. If you had planned to be wed this Spring or Summer in one of our Churches, please get in touch with Fr. Tim asap to work out whether or not the ceremony can still proceed.

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Due to the lack of revenue coming in with the suspension of Masses, we have been forced to lay-off Pauline Lepine, our Parish secretary until we restart our regular schedule. If you need something from the parish office, please call Fr. Tim at 819-689-5232 and he will try to help you. At this point, we are NOT taking any reserved dates for Masses as we don’t know how long this period will be before we can start up again.

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Please remember to pray for the sick: Lisa Lariviere, Dan Kelly, Barbara Coventry, Leonard Duff, Fran Flavelle, Earl Lepine, Annie Gaudette, Sandra Fletcher- McGuire, Roseanne Gagnon, Viola Fleury, Joanne Souliere, Patsy Lariviere, Ida-Mae Turner, Kerry Kelly, Kim Warren, Paul Dennie, and Judy Sullivan.

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If you have anything that you want to be included in this digital bulletin, please either call Fr. Tim (819-689-5232) or email them to the parish office (uppontiac@gmail.com)

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Looking for some material to keep kids occupied while the schools are closed? Peggy Shannon from the Chapeau Gallery says they have an amazing selection of child-friendly movies and books you can purchase or borrow. Just call her at 819-689-5141 and work out a time when you can connect at the Gallery.

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Notes from Fr. Tim:

1) These are indeed strange times! None of us has ever faced anything like what we are experiencing these days with everyone sheltering at home to try to avoid the COVID-19 virus. But the current restrictions are both unavoidable and necessary to save the lives of many people. If you wonder if this is much ado about nothing, I ask you to consider the following. Canada has a population of approximately 35,000,000 people. Medical experts tell us that probably 50% of us will contract the virus before the end of the year. That amounts to 17,500,000 souls. Of this group, experience in other countries shows that approximately 6% (1,050,000 people) will require hospitalization to survive the virus’s effects. Currently, there are 71,412 beds in all the hospitals in Canada, almost all of which are used for all the medical events that afflicted us before the arrival of the COVID-19 virus in our country. Clearly, there are far, far too few beds if all of this million+ Canadians get sick in a short span of time. Staying in our homes and practicing social distancing is the only way we can have a chance to keep the rate of spread of the virus down to a level where the hospitals will be able to some chance of being able to save them. We all then need to do our part. So stay home… stay safe… and pray both for our country as a whole, and especially for the medical professionals many of us are going to depend upon in the months ahead.

2) The Parishes of the Upper Pontiac is going online! At least that’s the plan. We are currently waiting for the arrival of some equipment which will permit me to begin to live stream Masses and other devotions from the St. Joseph’s sacristy chapel. You will be able to participate in these events by connecting to our new page (Catholic Parishes of the Upper Pontiac) on Facebook as well as on a YouTube channel I am working to set up. It’s not as good as being together in the real world, but even a virtual connection between me as your pastor and you as my parishioners will be a blessing these days. Watch here for the announcement as to the date and time these digital Masses will start.

3) Another item I’m working on is an online digital portal through which people can make a donation to help pay our bills. It will be found here on the parish blog and hopefully on our new Facebook page as well. It should be up and running before the middle of next week. I thank you in advance for your anticipated generous cooperation with this initiative.

4) I promise that I’m praying for you each and every day. Please be kind enough to offer a prayer for my intentions as well so that I can continue to serve when needed without contracting the virus myself. As someone who suffers from COPD myself, the odds are getting sick with that bug will be a real and present danger to my health. So, I thank you in advance for helping to keep me safe and functioning on this side of the sod!

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