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Cycling the Race with Perseverance

For the last three years, hundreds of people have come together to raise funds for charities serving the vulnerable, displaced, and exploited at a little event with a big heart called Ride for Refuge. The diocesan Elizabeth House program is one of about 20 charitable beneficiaries supported by this event.

As I was reviewing the route map, I was struck by the perseverance it takes to ride a bike for 10 km, especially on the hilly sections! That is the cycling distance chosen by most of the participants in Ride for Refuge. It’s an even greater commitment for the participants who ride the 25 or 50 km options! These dedicated people make a big difference with their commitment. Elizabeth House has received more than $32,000 through the efforts of the devoted riders. For those seeking something a little less challenging, a 5 km cycling/walking route appropriate for all ages is also an option.

Commitment to a cause is not the only “race” we can run. The Epistle to the Hebrews calls us as believers to a different type of race: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” [Hebrews 12:1-2, RSVCE].

Often our “Christian” race sets us apart, with trials and pain. We carry on in obedience to our Lord for receiving salvation and grace.

Single motherhood is also a race of perseverance. Choosing to carry an unplanned pregnancy to term in a crisis situation often subjects a woman to shame, hostility, and rejection. If her life has been complicated by brokenness at home or in relationships, carrying her baby to term can be an even more daunting decision. During this Year of Mercy, we are called to assist in healing the wounds of those who are struggling. We cannot make the choice to carry the child for a young woman. We can, however, assist her healing journey to parental wholeness by making sure Elizabeth House exists. We can “race” alongside the women we serve by providing a safe place in which to complete their pregnancy and access programs to seek out a desired life change, healthy parenting tools, and life skill education. Ride for Refuge is one way to raise the necessary funds needed to run the Elizabeth House “race.”

We’d love to have you and your team of friends and family join us on Saturday, October 1 to participate! Volunteers are needed as well! See Diocesan Dates on page 21 of the September edition of the Carillon for details.

Related Offices Carillon Charities & Development
Related Themes Social Justice Fundraiser Charities

Mass Intentions

First of all then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people. 1 Timothy 2:1

The practice of requesting a priest to offer the Mass for a specific intention, even when one cannot be physically present at the Mass, is a longstanding tradition in the Church. The Church considers the Mass to be the greatest prayer of intercession. It is the perfect offering of Christ to the Father because it makes present the Paschal mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection. As the priest offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, he does so in persona Christi, as a mediator between God and humanity, so that the person for whom the Mass is offered obtains special graces. Through Mass intentions, the fruits of the Spirit flow and help communities grow in care for their members.

Still, there is more to this matter of intentions. Did you know that any Catholic may offer up the Mass, in which he or she participates, for any good intention? To do so is a genuine exercise of the royal priesthood of the faithful. Personally, as a young man sitting in the pew, I found it much easier to focus and pray during the Mass when I also focused on offering the Mass for someone. There are times when you may not want to be at Mass or when you are distracted. But when you are able to refocus and pray for one person, or another, you can offer your struggle for them. We do not just come to church for ourselves but we come for one another, and to pray as a community, for the community. When each of us has someone special to pray for, it can help us enter into the mystery of God’s love for each one of us.

As a priest now, I like to remind people to bring their own intention to Mass. You might request a Mass to be prayed for Mrs. Smith next week since she is seriously ill, but you also need to pray for Mr. Smith, who may be about to lose his wife. So, in addition to the Mass intention you requested for Mrs. Smith, you also offer your attention and your participation at the Mass for Mr. Smith.

I believe that if we each came to Mass with an intention and really focused on offering our full participation for someone else, we would experience greater participation in the Mass. I also believe we would grow in our care for one another and come to understand more deeply that the Mass is not only about me and God but about the needs of my brothers and sisters in the greater community.

There are many intentions, reasons, and motivations for our presence at church. We may not be aware of all these reasons at every Mass we attend, but some should apply every Sunday. How many of these apply to you?

  1. I Keep holy the Sabbath (Third Commandment), which for Christians is Sunday, the day of Resurrection.
  2. I Receive the Eucharist.
  3. I give praise and glory to God in community.
  4. Private worship is not enough for me. Christians are called to gather as the Body of Christ!
  5. I make an offering to God of my time, treasure, and talent.
  6. I pray for my brothers and sisters.

Sometimes young people say that they go to church only because their parents make them. In this case, we can say to the parents, “Well done good and faithful servants!” When parents bring their children to church, they fulfil a promise to raise their children in the practise of the faith. This promise was made on their wedding day, and at the baptism of each of their children. Parents, godparents, and friends can help young people participate in the Mass by encouraging them to arrive with an intention, just as we can deepen our own spirituality of the Mass by taking to heart St. Timothy’s exhortation: “I urge that supplication, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for all people.”

Related Offices Carillon
Related Themes Catechist Formation Eucharist Liturgy Mass

The TRUE Meaning of Being a Steward of Christ

With a new school year upon us, many parishes in the Diocese are already busy organizing their “Stewardship Weekends.” During these weekends, parishioners can sign up to take part in parish ministries. To aid parishes and parishioners, the Diocese is pleased to introduce Tracy Earl Welliver, a Catholic speaker, author, teacher, and stewardship coach with more than 20 years experience in parish ministry. He will host a speaking series focusing on The TRUE Meaning of Being a Steward of Christ. The talks will explain how we do not merely volunteer for Christ when we serve Him in different ministries in the parish, but that we give our lives to Christ by serving in the Church because we truly love Him!

Tracy is currently the Director of Parish Community and Engagement for Liturgical Publications, Inc., having previously served for 22 years as Pastoral Associate at Saint Pius X Catholic Church in Greensboro, NC. In 2009, this parish won the Archbishop Murphy Award for excellence in stewardship from the International Catholic Stewardship Council. Tracy has spoken on stewardship, engagement, and catechesis all over North America, Australia, and New Zealand.

Tracy currently writes the weekly reflection, Everyday Stewardship, published in bulletins and digital media around the country, and The Main Thing Blog at www.tracyearlwelliver.com. He is the author of the book, Everyday Stewardship: Reflections for the Journey, and the resource pack Challenge, Choice, Vision, both published by Liturgical Publications. He has a BA in theology from DeSales University and a MTS from Duke Divinity School.

Below are the dates, parish locations and times that Tracy Earl Welliver will be speaking throughout the Calgary Diocese. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to hear this excellent stewardship speaker! For more information please call Eden D‘Souza at (403) 218-5520 or email eden.dsouza@calgarydiocese.ca.

Related Offices Stewardship Carillon
Related Themes Stewardship Parish Life

Spiritual Reading with Purpose

When was the last time you picked up some spiritual reading? I mean picked up a book? Do we still have the luxury of time for deep, thoughtful reading? And is there still a place for physical books when we spend so much of our time online? The Church has a clear idea about what spiritual reading is. Distinct in its subject matter and purpose, it is a seeking out of wisdom from trusted spiritual ancestors. Confined to the following sources we read with the purpose of growing in holiness:

  • Scriptures
  • Teachings of the Church
  • History of the Church
  • Lives and thoughts of saintly people
  • Reflections on any of the above

Is holiness unfashionable now? We are required to seek it, and the practice of spiritual reading is a proven method for absorbing spiritual advice from the greatest practitioners of our faith. Here is what we are striving for: “When I read holy books then the spirit and body are illumined and I become the temple of God and the harp of the Holy Spirit, played by divine powers through them I am corrected and through them I receive a kind of divine change and I am made into a different person” [St. Gregory the Theologian]. As St. Ambrose says of God, “we address him when we pray; we hear him when we read.”

The Catholic Pastoral Centre Library contains many treasures for spiritual reading. To engage with such books gladdens the heart and strengthens our faith. As part of the Catholic Pastoral Centre Open House on September 13, you have an opportunity to find some new guides among the books we will be offering at our Feed Your Faith Book Sale. The Library has downsized a little, although we are still very much in business with a strong and current collection of books, magazines and DVDs. We can now make available, for a small donation, many great books that are either duplicates or perhaps not best fitted for our collection. These include historical items and one or two from previous bishops’ collections. There are treasures to suit all tastes. Come and browse the tables and for a donation to our Feed the Hungry program feed your faith, or the spiritual life of a friend or family member!

Has “spiritual reading” become an old fashioned luxury without merit in the modern world? No, it is a requirement for us to seek God in whatever way we can. We need the strength and inspiration available to us through past and present spiritual masters through the written word.

And can we find these resources digitally? The Internet has enabled the spread of wonderful spiritual literature and that is to be praised. But is there a downside to the flickering digital screen. The sheer physicality of a book helps us remember and absorb the text from the geography of the page. Studies suggest that we learn better from a printed page and that reading is easier on the eye. We can pass on books and share them more easily, and digest their lessons best. They can become life companions.

Drop by for the Book Sale and Open House at the Catholic Pastoral Centre on September 13!

Related Offices Carillon Library
Related Themes Books Suggestion Catholic Faith Resources Theological Reflection

The Strongest Stem

Its strongest stem became a ruler’s scepter. Ezekiel 19:11

THE MACE HAS BEEN A STAPLE OF UNIVERSITY ceremonies for over six hundred years, with Oxford University first using one in the 16th century. Alternately a weapon of war and of diplomacy, the Mace has been used in both parliaments and universities as the symbol to start proceedings, to ward off evil, or to call people to attention. In the university context it is also representative of the institution’s authority to grant degrees, and as such, the Mace—bearer always leads the procession of professors and students into the graduation hall.

One of the most exciting times for any university is convocation, when we have an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our student community. This year St. Mary’s University had the pleasure of awarding a record—number of degrees, but also of presenting our new mace. The Rose Family Memorial Mace was crafted by the prestigious British firm of Thomas Fattorini, by appointment to Her Majesty the Queen, manufacturer of insignias and awards. The mace was designed and donated by one of our own professors, Dr. Linda Henderson, to celebrate the university’s 30th year as an educational institution.

The mace honours the achievements and spirit of the Rose family, including patriarch Harold Henry Rose, and Dr. Henderson’s late sister Janet Rose, a pioneer in cartography and in the geomatics industry, whose company produced an extraordinary 3–D imaging map of our entire campus. It is for this reason that the mace includes a small compass rose on its finial. As our Campus Minister, Nancy Quan pointed out at the dedication ceremony, a compass rose is “a directional keeper” It is a “harbinger of where we are going, and of the direction we want to take. A compass lets us know when we have gotten off track or when we have missed the mark. By orienting us it helps us to look forward with purpose, but it wisely reminds us to keep looking over our shoulders to keep track of where we have come from. Where we come from does indeed matter. It shapes our vision.”

The mace also features the St. Mary’s star in several places, as well as our Coat of Arms. The design combines a hardwood staff with a hallmarked sterling silver head, a lucite stone in which floats the St. Mary’s star, and it bears our university crest on two sides enameled in four colours and finished in 24 karat gold. Needless to say the rose, as the symbol of Mary our namesake, is important for us as a university. It also has a particular resonance to the Rose family after whom the mace is named.

With our Rose Family Memorial Mace, along with our Coat of Arms and our new university flag, granted recently by the Chief Herald of Canada, St. Mary’s is preparing to take on the next 30 years with renewed focus and purpose.

Related Offices Carillon
Related Themes Catholic Education
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