St. Philip Neri Roman Catholic Parish Blog.

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Fort Providence ~ The Road Trip

Friday, September 20, 2013, our mission started early at 5:00 am with cool temperatures of 3 degrees and a full trailer.

                             Trailer_Load_night

As we headed out on the Yellowhead highway to Edmonton, we made our way north to Peace River Alberta and the start of the Mackenzie highway. The further we travelled, the serenity of the North country set in.  As we witnessed the highways lined with endless trees in spectacular shades of deep rich autumn colors, we were reminded that God's beauty is everywhere.

After logging 1150 kilometers, Manning Alberta was our first nights rest stop. Thankful for a safe journey so far.

Trailer_by_Manning       Moose

 

Welcome to the Northwest Territories

Traveling along uncrowded highways, we are welcomed to the Northwest Territories by the north of 60 sign. The majestic splendor and tranquility of God's north country is absolutely breathtaking!

As the kilometers rolled by, and the deafening silence of the wilderness assaults our senses, we are reminded that it is in silence that God speaks to us and clarity merges.

River     River_Closer 

As we approached the turn off to Fort Providence we crossed the much awaited new Deh Cho Bridge. This 202 million dollar project replaced the Merv Hardie Ferry that brought us across the mighty Mackenzie River last August.  It was exciting to drive across the completed bridge.

After 1992 kilometers Fort Providence welcomed us with sunny blue skies, 24 degrees, gas prices of $1.45, and those darn old pesky flies!

We_made_it    Ft_Providence_Welcome_Sign

 

Thank you Lord for getting us here safely.

Parish Mission

Your servants in Christ,

Randy & Debra


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Matt’s 10 Awesome Things You Can Do For Fun This Summer

Summer is finally here. Just about all the graduation caps have been thrown, and exams have been passed (or not-so-passed), so now you’ve got all sorts of free time on your hands.

The problem is, of course, that you have no idea what to do! If you need your whole summer laid out for you, or if you have a few spare weeks that need some filling, here are 10 ideas that you can try out.

1. Backyard Camping. Enjoy the wonders and dangers of the great outdoors from the comfort of your own backyard. You’ve probably got a tent in your basement, and where is safer than your front yard’s younger brother, the back yard? There may not be a lake there, but there’s probably a kiddie pool. Watch out for housecats!

2. Water Balloon Fight. A good ol' water balloon fight, that's right. Feel free to add water guns for a bit more excitement. You might want to save this for a sunny day, or else Mother Nature will shower you with rain and win by default. That’s no fun. Also, don't start in the house.

3. Christmas in July. Remember how fun Christmas is? Don’t you wish it happened more than once a year? Well, you can do what you do for Christmas in July! You might not want to light a fire, but you can still have a good time. Jingle bells, jingle bells, it sure is hot today, let's all share some presents and watch Elf right away!

4. Help with VBS. Imagine a world where you can be a knight, or a princess, or a toad, or a king, or a horse, or anything like that. That’s Vacation Bible School this year! There’s some talk about Jesus for good measure, too. Email or call the parish office to help out!

5. Make a YouTube Video. There are lots of awesome movies coming out this summer, so why not make a movie of your own? You can write it, or direct it, or act in it, or do all of those! Do you want it to be funny? Dramatic? Exciting? Get some friends together and create something great. Make sure to give Matt an executive producer credit, though.

6. Photo Scavenger Hunt. Plan one or get someone else to come up with some spots for you to find. Maybe Mom or Dad would be willing to set one up for you if one of your tasks is bringing groceries home. Bonus points if you walk everywhere!

7. Superhero Movie Marathon. Let Batman, Spider-Man, and the Avengers make your day great. Saskatoon isn’t about to be attacked by a supervillian or alien monster, so you can watch it and not worry too much. This is ideal for a stormy Saskatchewan day, as long as the power stays on.

8. Connect with a random family member on Facebook. Check in to see how they are, what they're up to, if they have any long lost family secrets. You know, that sort of thing. They might have a treasure map, a lost fortune, or memories that can tell you more about your family. That last one is probably the best part!

9. Read a book. Go on, read one. If you like literally anything, there’s an awesome book out there for you. There are even entire buildings that will just let you borrow books, for free, anytime you want. That sure makes it easy! Matt has suggestions if you wanted some, too.

10. Learn something new. What is summer good for if not learning things? Okay, maybe you can learn some more fun things, like how to juggle, or skateboard, or how to write a sonnet, or how to edit the YouTube movie you make, or how to make a photo scavenger hunt, or how to pray the rosary. There are actually endless options!

Whatever you do this summer, make the most of it. It’s a great time, and it would be a shame to let it go to waste.

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Posted by on in Official News

Covenant of Care – Sexual Abuse and Misconduct Protocol

Annual General Meeting Report, April 16, 2013

The information in this report comes from the actual Covenant of Care and Sexual Abuse and Misconduct Protocol document and from Blake Sittler, Diocesan Coordinator of Care.

In our society and indeed in the church itself, experience has shown the need for vigilance and awareness to ensure that all, especially the most vulnerable, may feel and be at peace in a safe environment.

aged_care

The Covenant of Care is a code of conduct designed to create safe and respectful church communities and healthy ministerial relationships, and to protect people from abuse and the harm that results. The Covenant of Care protocol strives to provide proactive protection for children, youth and vulnerable adults, and those who minister, including clergy, employees and church volunteers.

The Sexual Abuse and Misconduct Protocol is designed to ensure that all allegations of sexual abuse and other misconduct are handled responsibly, transparently and with all due care and attention.

Together these two parts form the Covenant of Care and Sexual Abuse Misconduct Protocol, the present version of which is dated October 31, 2012, providing authoritative directives for all who minister within and on behalf of the Diocese of Saskatoon.

The Diocese of Saskatoon expects that all who minister in the name of the church or under church auspices will exhibit a profound respect for all. By first respecting the law of the Gospel, this diocese also respects and abides by the laws of our civil society. Our goal is the prevention of actual abuse, misconduct, compromising and scandalous circumstances, and false accusations.

While trusting in the good will of all, this protocol shall apply to all persons involved in service to children, youth and other vulnerable adults. It will be the responsibility of the pastors, parish life directors and heads of diocesan offices to inform all clergy, employees and volunteers of this protocol. They are to ensure that this protocol is put into effect in their particular parishes and ministries.

The Pastor (and Parish Life Director, if applicable), ideally with Parish Council, will appoint a lay person as Parish Coordinator of Care, and publicize this appointment within the parish.

The role of the PCC is to receive reports and/or allegations of breaches of the Covenant of Care in the event that someone is unable or unwilling to make their report to the Pastor and/ or Parish Life Director. The PCC may also assist in the implementation and maintenance of the Covenant of Care and Sexual Abuse and Misconduct Protocol.

We are asked "to not over interpret the protocol. This document was put together by lay people for lay people. It is not a "black and white, right and wrong" document; it needs to be interpreted in light of the many pastoral situations we all encounter".

"The scandal of abuse by the leadership and volunteers in our Church has radically affected society's trust of us. Our attempts to protect the vulnerable in our Church calls for greater transparency and more effort on our part". "Reduction of Risk" vs. "Creating a Caring Community". The "reduction of risk for vulnerable persons" is insurance language. Our ministry is about more than "reducing risk". Our ministry is about going to those most alone and bringing them into our community and bringing our community to them.

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Posted by on in Spirituality

This is so good, we had to feature Julie Anne's blog again this year! Maybe we'll feature it every year!

 

...So we've almost made it through 40 days of Lent- the wilderness... now we've entered the passion and walk with our God through the horror and the glory of what will take place this week.  Reflecting on this coming week, there's a sense of awe in how God's plan of salvation unfolds...

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Posted by on in Work Thoughts

Year of Faith

2012-2013 Pope Benedict's letter introduces the Year of Faith.

The letter is called " Porta Fedei" which means "Door of Faith".

 We are just completing the first month of acknowledging our call to celebrate our faith. Have you ever read the Vatican II documents? Have you reviewed your Catechism? Yes? Well, good for you!!!

 

There are many practical ways that any of us can spend time renewing our faith within this next year. The way we do choose to do so may be dependent on our lifestyle or where we are in our faith journey.

1. But have you ever thought of watching a DVD about one of the gospels? Maybe this isn't one of the DVDs you would happen to have at home but if you can visit the library at the Catholic Pastoral Centre, there are a number of DVDs there that you could take home to watch. Also, at our parish, we have a DVD about St. Philip Neri called "I Prefer Heaven" which would be awesome to watch. It is time well worth spending and will give you a sense of the person of Philip Neri.

Highly recommended by our pastor, parish council and staff!!!

***** ( five stars)

 2. In many parishes in Saskatoon, there are a number of presentations about our faith. Just about every night of the week, there is a different one. Maybe check out the diocesan website (www.saskatoonrcdiocese.com) and look up some. In our own parish, we have small Christian Communities every Tuesday and Thursday evening as well as during Advent, a small group gathers to focus on Advent and on our year of faith. Call Shirley at the parish for more inforamtion.

3. Reading online about Catholicism or choosing to spend some time with the bible daily will definitely help to grow closer to God and discerning the meaning of your life. Humbly speaking, the knowledge and understanding of scripture, gives your life power beyond belief.... Don't believe me .. give it a try!!!!!

 

God Bless!

(Check out the welcome area for book marks and prayer cards!.... and ask about any type of ministry that you may want to know more about.)

Thank you!

Shirley

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Saturday August 25:

It was absolutely a perfect end to a very productive day of completing the painting on the small church.   Fr. Wes promised us a tour and dinner at the Healing Lodge.  After the six of us attended evening mass we left at 8:00 pm on a peaceful boat ride on the mighty Mackenzie River towards our destination.  These ultra clean northern waters, ultimately named by the Europeans, but to the Dene people it has always been known as ‘Deh Cho’, which means ‘big river’.  The scenic and tranquil Mackenzie River has been the key to life in the region since the days of birch bark and moosehide canoes.  We reached the Healing Lodge (only accessible by boat or snowmobile) 25 minutes later.  Its existence has only been there for seven years when the community band contracted the rural college carpentry students to build a main cook house and cabins on this beautiful land of pines and birch trees by the rivers edge.  The first purpose was to counsel people with addictions.  Now it is also used as a community-gathering place where community people come from all over the area.  The Healing Lodge is also part of school programs where teachers and students are encouraged to participate in puberty programs and leadership programs.  The Dene elders also teach cultural and traditional skills in the picturesque setting.  While our stew and bannock were warming over the open fire we toured the grounds and could feel the spiritual energy of the land and this very special place.  As moonlight guided our boat back to the hamlet of Fort Providence, nestled alongside the mighty Mackenzie, it truly was God’s blessing to a perfect day. Mahsi Cho, Heavenly Creator.

Randy__Debra

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Posted by on in Youth Ministry

 Thursday August 23, 2012

Today it was cooler outside, so working was easier than on the hotter days.  The local radio station made an announcement in the morning that we were welcoming help on the church from any volunteers in the community. At about 10:00 am Leon came walking up and he worked with us for the rest of the day. 20 years ago he helped repaint the church, which was the last time it was painted.  He told us stories while we worked and our pace really picked up with the help of a seventh person. We nearly finished painting the church, but our prayers could only hold off the rain for so long before we were forced to shut things down for the day.  After lunch Anthony and Jennifer went to the radio station and were interviewed live on the local station.  They sounded great! We got a tour of the band office in the afternoon, met their many employees and learned of the services they offer.  For supper we went to Margaret Field’s and we had a barbeque in her outdoor cook house.  We had Banana Boats for dessert (see recipe below).  In the evening we took time to relax at Fr. Wes’ rectory and debriefed on our day.  Father asked us to lead the congregation in song on Sunday, so we spent time planning what songs we will sing.  There will be a baptism so we will sing “Come to the Water”.  Tomorrow we are off to Yellowknife, a three hour drive, to pick up supplies for the church.

Campfire Banana Boats

Banana

Small Marshmallows

Chocolate chips

Slice the bananas lengthwise and stuff with marshmallows and chocolate chips.  Wrap tightly in tin foil and place directly on the coals of the campfire. Remove after 5-10 minutes, open up tin foil, and enjoy the ooey gooey dessert with a spoon.

 

Amy Gueguen

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Posted by on in Parish Spirituality

{phocadownload view=file|id=69|target=s}Stewardship as Gift

 

If we, as devout Catholics, believe that our Baptism gave us the gifts as priest, prophet and king, then, have we got an unlimited supply of ministry as life. Ministry and life as one and the same. God calls us by name as a child in His kingdom and God did not mean that lightly, right? He sent us His only Son! He gave us the Bible. You know, ....Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. Then of course, the Holy Spirit living in us and all that means to each of us.

 

Do we believe? Do we listen? Have we listened? How do we know we have listened or how do we know we believe? That is where our use of gifts given come into play. This means knowing ourselves. This means knowing what we believe about our faith and how we live our faith each day. Knowing our gifts and using them prudently for our parish, takes effort... takes time... takes commitment... takes courage... takes moving out of our comfort zone...takes love.  When we listen to our heart and love the life we live, things are effortless, timeless, non threatening, and transform us into a person we never thought was in us. Let go, and let God!  We need to listen and act upon that listening in a responsible manner allowing the Holy Spirit to strengthen our gifts every time we use them for the building of the kingdom. That is love! That is joyful and energizing!

 

Will this mean reaching out to others in the parish? Do we perhaps need to discern where our gifts could be used to help our parish? Always. The wonder and the beauty is what we are always changing physically, mentally and spiritually. Now to focus on service to our Saviour. This can look differently for each of us and is evident in many different ways.

 

Now what about collaboration? To some, that may be a huge word, and no doubt it is. Sofield and Juliano define, collaboration as "the identification, release, and union of all the gifts of ministry for the sake of mission." ( Collaboration , pg. 17) Without collaboration in the parish, we would be in a sad state of affairs.

 

These two authors explain that there are four levels of collaboration, namely,

co-existence, communication, cooperation and then collaboration. My theory is that in group situations, one slots themselves into these levels depending on their commitment to the big picture.  The following diagram may picture what happens at any parish level in terms of general parish community participation. Do you agree?

 

Collaboration (not a whole  pile)

Cooperation (less than lots)

Communication(less than lots)

Co-existence (Lots)

  

 

But what if.....this is the model we would have in a parish.....↓

 

    ♦  Co-Existence ( lots too)

    ♦   Communication (lots)

    ♦   Cooperation ( lots)

    ♦  Collaboration( lots)

 

We want the above in our parish.

 

 Is this too idealistic?  Am I on the right train of thought?

Is this a possibility? Why is this not happening in parishes in general? Remember the good old days, when the parish was the gathering center of the community?  Acknowledging that there is still some of this in all parishes,  is definitely not an argument at all. The issue is more aligned with the questions... are our priorities different than God's for all of us?.... is our Lord the center of our being or what is? .... do we only make time for Jesus and our parish community for about one hour once a week?...

Do emails... facebook... twitter.... TV.... get about one hour of our time per week???

Okay... now, I am sure you know where I am going with this.... maybe it is easy for us to get to our technological device... but the Lord modeled for us sacrifice beyond the little one of giving our time and talents to God in His house.

Now, I think there will be some comments this time... I invite them too. ... This is dialogue worth having again and again in the church. Jesus stirred up the status quo, should we support the status quo too?  Are we doing so, whether we conscious of it or not? 

How brave are we? Do we have the courage to stand up for our beliefs?

Okay.... enough, Shirley... right.... this may be only my first instalment about stewardship but a word...

God bless those in our lives who have the courage, the stamina, the voice to stand up and model in their lives the Catholic way to build the kingdom of God... those are the ones to emulate.

Now it is time for me to pray!!!! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on in Youth Ministry

We all are doing great and are energetic as we proceed on our journey - itch free driving and entertaining scenery, great bonding and friendship between the missionaries, and good humour from Randy Barwick :)

Last night (Sunday, August 19) was wonderful as we were welcomed by Marie, the Youth Coordinator at the Archdiocese of McLennan. She treated us to good food, great hospitality, and socializing. We almost forgot we needed to set out early today.

We are now headed to our final destination, Fort Providence, and have about eight hours to get there.

Watch out for our photo collection as soon as we arrive and settle in at Fort Providence.

Reporting live from an unnamed road!

Anthony

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Catholic is a "doing" thing not merely a label!!!

No I am not nuts! I haven't lost my marbles yet! Never would I claim to be the brightest crayon in the box ( or is that woodshed?)

 

However, I do ask, can one legitimately claim to be a disciple of Jesus but just in name only? Anytime, I read/study the gospels or listen to God's word, it never seem to sound like... just sit there and don't do anything and magically you will build the kingdom of God... and do it joyfully too!!!!

Are you kidding me??

A name or label is just that literally. If we were meant to take the Word of God literally, well, then, there are some very weird interpretations of the bible that anyone could argue may not have exactly the dogma of the Church in mind.

Yes, just like anyone else, I want to do whatever I want, whenever I want, wherever I want. Yes, I want to have a never ending flow of money in my bank account, the latest vehicle ( Toyota of couse or can I say that here?), a house that cleans itself, the latest cell phone and yadda yadda yadda!!! Every once in a while, I want that material stuff a la carte!!!

But if I am honest with myself, ( is there any other way?) I want peace ( I'd even settle for a little less than world wide), love ( for all!!... but can you have peace without love?) and faith( unwavering ever!!!).

AND believe it or not, without my living out my Catholic faith and I like to believe that it is a strong one... I probably wouldn't be living the awesome life I am today!!!

What about YOU???? Of course, I am in no position to make any judgements of any kind nor do I want to do that. If you looked deeply into your heart, are you doing what it is God calls you to do in your servant leadership role. The parish needs " upteen zillion" volunteers to minister in so many different ways. At our parish, we are blessed to have so many people step up to the plate and if it wasn't for them, we couldn't provide the activities that we do here. Are we short of volunteers? Really, what kind of question is that? There have been very few instances where there are too many volunteers. That is a rare circumstance indeed.

So finally, my point... we are made to live in relationship and that implies living respectfully and responsibly with each other. We need to support and build each other up in every instance in our parish too. The church building doesn't clean itself and the masses aren't celebrated in a vacuum. Sacramental celebration, a sense of belonging and purpose, and faith formation don't happen by snapping your fingers. It take time, effort, planning and more but most of all the church needs me and it need YOU!

No machine ever ever will replace us, the huan touch... the pulse of God's kingdom.

God come to us and show us what it is that is the hope to which you have called us!

Blessings! ... and..... I invite your comments!!!!

Shirley

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on in Parish Spirituality

 

 

We have made it through another Triduum! And with flying colors!!!

What a joyful way to bring God's people together right from

Holy Thursday through to Easter Sunday!!!!

 

Why??....    YOu ask....

 

People came together to pray..... together for Eucharist... to serve in hospitality at the Vigil, to share warm smiles to welcome visitors and parishioners, to decorate the church each time for the significance of the day and a lot of time was put in by a team of people!!... young people to altar serve.... numerous people to distribute communion... sacristans to keep everyone organized... awesome readers to  proclaim  the Word....people joined together to sing as the choirs  provided outstanding music ministry.... and Fr. Matthew Ramsay who celebrated his first Triduum with a prayerful passion, reverence and led the people in celebrating the season.

 

Then of course, there are those who work behind the "scene" contributing time and generous efforts to glue it all together, namely our St. Philip staff !!!

 

Last but not least ( we save the best for last), Fr. Ron provided strong support and advice on everything and we truly appreciate our rock and cornerstone, our parish priest!!!

 

The blessings at St. Philip parish

are bountiful and ever reaching!!

 

God is very definitely present in our joy

 as we work together to build the community of

 

 St. Philip Neri parish!!! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on in Spirituality
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Posted by on in Work Thoughts

Thanks for the warm welcome here at the parish!! I have been meeting a lot of people and also trying to get used to the new position here!!

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Tagged in: Welcoming
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Christmas Blog 2011- Julie Anne Hilton

“What Can I Give Him?”

An old Christmas song that has resounded with new meaning for me this year....

“In the bleak midwinter, frosty winds made moan.

Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone.

Snow had fallen snow on snow, snow on snow,

In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,

Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;

But His mother only, in her maiden's bliss,

Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

Oh what can I give Him, poor as I am?

If I were a Shepherd, would I bring a lamb?

If I were a Wise Man, would I do my part?

Yet what can I give Him?  Give my heart.

In the bleak midwinter, frosty winds made moan.

Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone,

If I were a Wise Man, would I do my part?

Yet what can I give Him? Give my heart.”

Sometimes I feel like my heart is stuck in the bleak midwinter.  Bleak- that's a good word to describe the times when we feel far away from God, when our own struggles and the struggles of those we love, seem to overwhelm us.  We don't want to push God away, but also don't know how to invite Him close.  There might be many reasons why we feel far away from God.  Have you struggled with health problems, lost someone you love, been through a separation, divorce or break up?  Have you felt down, struggled with anxiety and worry, wrestled with temptation or just wished that your life circumstances were different?  As life moves along, I've realized that there is a lot of difficulty and pain in life, and there are many times when I feel like the outlook is bleak.  As I write this, I am exhausted and feeling trapped with worry over my daughter's health problems (so these messages are a challenge to myself, as well as to any of you who are reading it!).  Yet in all of this, in the cramped, messy, broken and sometimes cold stable of our hearts, Jesus wants to be born anew.

What can I give Him?  Give my heart?  Maybe my heart isn't the most welcoming place right now- it seems to be full of frustration, sadness, stress, loss, hopelessness, busy-ness, exhaustion and apathy.  I'm sure that Mary felt completely overwhelmed by her life circumstances, and yet here she is at the centre of God's entry into our world!  I'm sure the wise men were frustrated at how long and hard their journey was, but they kept going and kept searching for His presence.  The shepherds came to seek, despite much fear and trembling, and I'm sure they had a hard time trusting what the angels told them.  If I truly want to give Him my heart then I have to do it even when I can't see Him, even when I can't feel His presence.  I need to keep seeking Him despite my own doubt and despair.  Maybe I can allow the Holy Spirit to be the star, guiding me to Him and helping me to trust, no matter how hard the journey is.

How can we give Him our hearts?  This Christmas, let's ask our God to find new ways to come into our hearts.  Let's let Him transform our holidays into a time of grace.  We can come to the stable seeking Him, asking His forgiveness for our failings and seeking the light of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Are we ready to receive the gifts He has for us- His peace, hope and endurance for our journey, and ultimately the eternal joy of heaven?  Let us seek Him and ask Him to be here with us, no matter what state our hearts are in.

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Posted by on in Spirituality

It is so easy to take what we have for granted. But when we really stop and think of how special something is, we will realize how blessed we are. Even though we should try to be thankful often, this time of year really draws our attention to it. Family is our most important blessing. They are our lives and our loves and they are part of our very being! Sometimes we take them for granted and don't appreciate how much they really mean to us.

Another blessing is the beautiful summer we had and the wonderful weather continues. I think we appreciate it even more since the previous two summers were not as nice.

Wherever you are reading this, take a look at your surroundings (even if you are in a small room). If you really looked you could probably come up with many things or reminders of people and memories you are thankful for. Take the computer you are sitting at as you read this. Because of that technology, we have access to long arms of knowledge and communication literally at our fingertips. Think of those inspirational or educational emails we get from our friends. They really make us stop and think of how lucky we are. One of the emails that comes to mind is the one about a typical person complaining about various health issues that can go wrong with us, until we see someone who doesn’t have use of those body parts at all. For example, we complain about how tired our legs are after having to walk for a long time until we see someone who has no legs. Someone was telling me the other day that she was thankful for the pain of an unexplained illness she went through a few years ago. Now that she is better, she gives thanks for her health every day.

Sometimes, when something not so great happens, I wonder: “What did I do to deserve this?” I still do this because of course I would like everything to go smoothly and the way I want it to go. I also think that someone is working against me and that I have the worst luck. But how many times have you heard that hardships build strong character? We usually don’t see this until the hardship is long gone.

But probably because of the ‘hardships’, when something good happens to me sometimes I am in awe and I still ask, “What did I do to deserve this?” Other times I just expect things to go right. Apparently, there is no pleasing me!

Whoever came up with the everyday ‘to do list’ that tells us to think of 10 things to be thankful for everyday, really opened my eyes to how much I really have  and have been given. I used to think of all the negative things going on in my life but, even though I will always be a work in progress, I see more of the positive these days.

What do you have to be thankful for?

Have a Blessed and Thankful Thanksgiving!

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Posted by on in Life Issues

So we just had our 3rd child in August, and once again, life has taken on a whole new level of “Busy-ness”.  Again I am overwhelmed by the experience of bringing a new life into this world.

I had a lot of help - Curtis likes to joke about how useless he feels in the delivery room, wishing he could help more, wishing he could take the pain away.  I tell him, “Just wait, your time for helping will come once we get home with this one!”  We are blessed and humbled when we think of God allowing us to have these children, and that He trusts us with them!  The miracle of being pregnant is still amazing to me, especially after we struggled with infertility for several years before deciding to adopt, then started the adoption process, sent in all of our paperwork, and a week later found out that I was pregnant!  Alexandra was our first miracle, for more reasons than just thinking we couldn't have kids.  2 years later Lucas was our second miracle, and now Elliot brings that number up to 3.  After having a miscarriage after Lucas, it is even more striking to me how much of a miracle each of our children are.

I think we all have a responsibility and calling to bring life into this world.  This will obviously happen in very different ways, depending on our circumstances.  We had a glimpse of infertility, and the pain of realizing that we might never be able to have children was very difficult to bear.  We know many couples who can't have children and the struggle that they've been through in trying to deal with that reality.  We've seen some of them bring an amazing love and life into the world by adopting, and we've seen them find ways of being life-giving to the people around them.  There is a calling in all of our lives, every day, to bear life to those around us and to be life giving.  I often think of Mary, and how she literally brought Christ's life into the world, and how we need to look for opportunities to bring Christ's life into our world.

How can we do this?  Well I'm sure there are many theologians who have amazing writings about how we bring Christ into this world. I am not a theologian, which is obvious in so many ways. :)

I do, however, think that there are practical ways that we can each bring life into the world, so I would challenge each of you to think back on your day and try to come up with an example of how you brought forth life today.  When I think about my day, I see the mundane tasks of laundry, errands, diaper changes, feedings, brushing hair, brushing teeth, diaper changes, feedings, making lunches, packing snacks, diaper changes, feedings, dishes, sweeping... hmmm, don't see too much life there (nothing worth writing home about anyhow...).  But if I challenge myself to look deeper, and if I challenge myself to try a little harder to see the opportunities that God places before me, then I see life in my day.  I see how Lucas smiled and gave me a big hug after I changed his diaper.  I remember hearing “I wuff you mommy” when I put his sandals on to go out the door.  I remember that I did pause to kiss Alex on the forehead before she got on the school bus this morning, and how much it meant to Lucas to go stand outside with us to help Alex get on the bus.  These are small things.  But as Mother Teresa of Calcutta said “We can not do great things. We can only do little things with great love.”

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I would further this and say that the little things that we do can have the power to change our hearts, and to help us bring life to others.

“Lord, help us each to bring forth life, wherever you have called us to be today.  May we bear you in our hearts and love the people around us today, as you would have them be loved.  Make us open to hearing your call to bring your life into this world, especially when we feel dry and deserted.  Help us to see the ways that you bring life to our days - in the people around us, in our work, in our play, in our conversations.  We need your life in us Lord.  Amen.”

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A steward is one who manages another’s property. God is inviting us to take care of His home… and especially His people. Will we accept the invitation?

When my children were young, I thought that taking them to church on Sunday and saying our daily prayers was enough for our spiritual well-being. But after a few years of keeping a low profile, I still felt like a visitor in church. The only connection I had with the church was going to Sunday Masses. Something was missing. I needed to get involved with my children. When they were old enough to attend, I began assisting with children’s liturgy and when they went through sacramental preparation, I went with them. It was like I was learning to grow in my faith along with the kids. Soon they began altar serving so my husband and I decided that we could also serve, as welcomers. Years before, when we first were welcomed into the parish, I was so appreciative of the way we were treated like long lost friends, that I thought maybe we could try to pass on some of that enthusiasm to others and make them feel welcome, too. After a few years we got braver and had another ‘spiritual growth spurt.’ Becoming a Eucharistic Minister was a little intimidating because you are up in the sanctuary and in front of everyone. But I thought if our kids can altar serve in front of everyone, why can't we try?

 

As many others have done, I had the privilege of taking the Lay Formation program to learn more about the Catholic faith. What an enlightening experience after taking “going to Church on Sundays” for granted for so many years. It’s like my eyes were opened and I could see a deeper layer of our faith. I highly recommend the course to everyone.

 

Now that our kids are on their own, I am still having growth spurts. Who knows where my spiritual journey will take me? It is always a personal learning and growing experience. We start out with baby steps into the unknown but as we grow we become more confident in what we have to offer. Little do we realize that we get so much more in return.

 

In our parish, I see so many young families and people of all ages and heritages getting involved, that I am in awe of them and their sense of stewardship. Without being aware of it, they set generous but humble examples of stewardship (taking care of God’s home and family) by helping with social justice activities and fundraising, helping with youth events like VBS and youth groups, helping to serve at Liturgies and functions, taking communion to the sick, and offering to help when anyone is in need (including our staff), to name just a few things. Basically, we pitch in and work together to make God’s home a community — a family home. (For examples of stewardship over the years, reread Pat Clarke’s blog: The St. Philip Neri Training Camp.)

 

We are all invited to take baby steps and get involved. Try one new thing this year. You will grow spiritually from it and as I said earlier, the benefits outweigh the sacrifices.

Through stewardship, we are JOYFULLY BUILDING UP THE CHURCH!  


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Posted by on in Youth Ministry

Following the prayer request of our Lord Jesus from God the father, ‘that all may be one’ – cf John 17:21, I am delighted to have been incorporated into the happy family of God here at St. Philip Neri parish, to serve as Youth Minister.

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For a week in July, St. Philip was transformed into a jungle where about 75 kids took part in Pandamania Vacation Bible School.

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After it was announced that I would be moving to Holy Family, people said to me, “so I hear you’re moving on…”

To which I would reply, “After nearly 13 years, the staff and parish council finally got together and organized a mutiny!”

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Mass and Liturgy Schedule

Office Hours:

Monday thru Friday 8:30am – 12 noon & 1:00pm – 4:30pm

Phone:306-343-0325

Fax:306-343-0900

Mass Times:

Saturday 5:00pm

Sunday 9:30am & 11:30am

Summer

Saturday 5:00pm

Sunday 10:00am

Weekday masses Tuesday thru Friday 8:30am

(Rosary ½ before weekday masses)*

 

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