Articles

The Sweater

Let me confess that I am someone who tends to wear his clothes until they virtually fall apart. My favourite pair of shoes is over ten years old, and my sweaters weren’t much younger, with most pitted with an assortment of tears, holes and other character-defining features. In fact, it wasn’t until I had a business meeting and noticed one of the attendees fixated on my shredded sleeve that I decided, finally, to replace them.

My first thought for the fate of my trusty companions was a quick burial in the garbage. But as the mercury fell dramatically it occurred to me that perhaps a faded or well-worn sweater, for someone less fortunate, was better than none, and so I dropped them in the local charity bin. I won’t lie. My heart skipped a little at seeing my trusty steeds put out to pasture, but at least, I reasoned, it was a noble retirement.

As is often the way, I thought of those clothes going out into the community and wondered whose home they would join. Would they find their way to a cool retro-hunter keen to show off his thrift-shop chic? Would they be part of a workman’s casual wear, perfect for odd jobs around the house? Or would the charity determine that they weren’t fit for duty after all?

Recently, while volunteering at a soup kitchen, a remarkable situation occurred. As I was moving through the crowded hall I noticed an older gentleman shuffling forward. He set himself up at a crowded table and wriggled out of his threadbare jacket. To my surprise I saw that he was wearing one of my recently discarded sweaters. I recognized the torn sleeve, the holes peeking out beneath the armpits, and the frayed edges all around. I couldn’t help but move towards him, and when he saw me he smiled. “Check out my new threads,” he said, rubbing his sleeves happily. “Looking good,” I answered, humbled and abashed. “Yes,” he laughed emphatically, “yes I do.”

If there are such things as life-defining moments, then that was surely one of them. I will never again take my good fortune for granted, and I will always remember that all gifts matter, be they large or small. More importantly, I know that I must go out into the world to offer service. Not just to render good to others, but because my soul needs feeding, and there is no greater meal.

… because you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, says the Lord. -2 Kings 22.19

Related Offices Youth & Young Adult Carillon Religious Education
Related Themes Discipleship

One Rock Celebrates Canada 150 Anniversary

Every year, the City of Calgary welcomes one festival after the other – highlighting the best of everything – including food festivals, flower festivals, and cultural festivals, among many others. This year, the Catholic community will host its eighth annual faith festival, One Rock, with Bishop William McGrattan!

Thousands of young adults, and their families, from across Western Canada, will gather at One Rock, the biggest faith festival in Canada to enjoy a faith-filled weekend!

Young people of today face the most aggressive and invasive life challenges of our time; a constant barrage of deceptive distractions vie for their attention, leading them towards a faithless future. It is in the service of others that we turn our attention to the young people in our parishes, universities and communities, and give them tools to enrich their lives.

At the Wine and Cheese One Rock fundraiser event held a couple of weeks ago, Bishop McGrattan quoted Pope Francis who said to the Canadian western bishops, “We need to listen to our young people and work for them.” We all have to support the festival in every possible way, and promote One Rock to serve our young people for when we do, we are “serving the Lord” [Eph. 6:7].

One Rock has touched the young adults’ lives in different ways. One Rock has produced many good fruits of our faith, including hundreds of young people who now give more to their community and local church.

Enthusiastic attendees from last year said, “Through One Rock, we developed a stronger connection to our faith, which was strengthened through each other. As a result of our experience at One Rock, we have started many youth activities at St. Basil’s parish, such as a scout and guides program, and our own youth summer camp two weeks following One Rock. Ever since last summer, we have been counting down the days until One Rock 2017 and we are very excited to relive some of our best moments as not just a youth group, but as a family.”

One Rock has also been a source of vocations to Catholic priesthood and religious life. One young lady shared that, “One Rock was where I found my vocation by listening to one of the Sisters of Life who was talking about the joy of consecrated life. Right after that, we had time of adoration and I had a beautiful moment where I heard God speaking to me, ‘this could be you!’ One Rock has changed my life!”

This year we are hosting many Canadian artists and presenters who promise to make our music festival more exciting, fun, unique and faith filled! Some of the artists include The Informants, Flood the Stone, and several local talents as well. We are delighted to welcome Leah Darrow and Fr. Raymond De Souza as our main speakers this year! Leah is a former US model, daughter, sister, wife and mother… but most especially she is a redeemed daughter of God! Our Sunday program will showcase the amazing multiculturalism of Canada on its 150th anniversary.

Services including free babysitting, and shuttle buses from Calgary to the festival site will be offered. Exhibition booths will offer much to browse through and purchase. Camping at the festival site for the weekend is highly encouraged.

Its positive energy is contagious and has people coming back year after year!

Pope Francis exhorted the young people of the world by saying, “The one who evangelizes is evangelized, and the one who transmits the joy of faith receives joy.”

When asked about One Rock this year, a wise young man said, “it is impossible to write about the spirit that the people brought to One Rock; you would have had to be there to have experienced it.” Bring your family and friends and make One Rock part of your summer plans!

One Rock 2017 will take place on August 11, 12 and 13 at the beautiful and awe-inspiring location Tsuut’ina Rodeo Grounds in Redwood Meadows, Bragg Creek area, AB.

For more information, to purchase tickets, or to sign up as a volunteer please visit: www.onerock.ca

Related Offices Youth & Young Adult Carillon
Related Themes Diocesan Event Youth One Rock

Assist with the Inquiry Into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Please read the attached documents concerning two timely issues of special importance to Indigenous People where Catholic parishes, missions and organizations can offer practical assistance. 

Related Offices Social Justice Bishop's Mission Council
Related Themes Human Trafficking

Chrism Mass

During this Mass, the Bishop blesses the oil of catechumens, the oil of the sick, and the oil of chrism. The chrism is freshly prepared for the baptising of catechumens at the Easter Vigil and the other oils are blessed on this day as well. As the Bishop is the only minister who can bless chrism, this liturgy ritualises his presence through the chrism that will be used by priests and deacons of the diocese throughout the year.

During the Chrism Mass, all priests are invited to renew their commitment to service and to receive the prayers of the people. This unique liturgy is an expression of unity of the diocesan Church with her Bishop in preparation for all liturgies throughout the year. All are welcome.

2017 Chrism Mass | Monday, April 10, 2017 at 7:30 PM | St. Mary's Cathedral
Chrism Mass Choir Information

Related Offices Bishop's Office of Liturgy
Related Themes Liturgy Liturgical Celebration

Ritual for the Unspoken Grief

I was away from home and from my husband when my miscarriage happened during my summer pastoral studies in Chicago. I remember answering the door to welcome a colleague during the first few days after the miscarriage. I was not keen for a visit since my pain was still raw, so we both just fell into a long silence after she told me how sorry she was for my loss. When I finally looked up and saw the gleam of tears in her eyes, I broke down and cried with her. Until today I still think of it as the day God wept with me.

When parents experience a pregnancy loss, frequently the grief goes unspoken because secrecy often accompanies the early stages of pregnancy. Support from the community can be rare, as most of the time most friends and family do not know anything about the loss. Even when the grieving parents do share their loss, the many kind comments and sentiments they receive often fail to alleviate the sorrow and guilt parents feel.

Surrounded by ministers who had been shaped by their life experiences and ministries, I was blessed to have been able to confide in those who understood and knew what I had been through. My experience as a liturgical minister did not help in preparing a ritual for my own child. The sorrow was very numbing and I was simply unable to be resourceful.

Looking back, words cannot express my gratitude for my thoughtful colleagues who prepared and organized a Liturgy of the Word to commemorate our loss. It is difficult to put pain adequately into words but rituals speak beyond words alone because they consist of symbolic actions and language. It allowed me to give voice to my pain through prayers and lamentations. It sanctified my experience as I was entrusted to God’s loving care and compassion.

It is truly a humbling experience to be at the receiving end of so much love and support, and to encounter Christ in the face of friends and family. As God’s people, we are not meant to grieve alone. God weeps with us. In the embrace of the community, grieving parents allow themselves to be sustained and cared for as they put the pieces of their lives back together. Our grieving should naturally unite us with the community, a place where both have something to give and receive.

The Diocese of Calgary invites parents, their families and friends to join us in a prayer gathering by attending the Memorial Liturgy for Miscarried and Stillborn Infants on Friday, March 24, at 7:00 p.m. at Sacred Heart Church, 1307 - 14th Street SW. For more information or to RSVP, please visit our website at www.miscarriageliturgy.ca.

Related Offices Carillon Office of Liturgy
Related Themes Liturgy
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