Brothers and sisters in Christ,
Last month I greeted you by declaring that we were officially transitioning to spring. For that, I am sorry! What an Easter weekend! After returning from Anna’s surprise Birthday trip, it took us 6 hours to drive from Edmonton to Cold Lake, in which he had the undercarriage of our car and windshield damaged. Then, we had no power from Friday through to Sunday. We spent the bulk of our Easter weekend camped out on the floor of my office in Assumption Church. However, through it all, we journeyed with you, our brothers and sisters, as we celebrated the passion, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ! Despite all the bad weather, He is Risen! Alleluia, Alleluia! As Father Nong said on Saturday evening during the Vigil, that night is the most important night of the year. And our Lord is the most important thing in our lives. All else pales in comparision to the sacrifice he made to save us from sin and to open the gates of heaven!
This past month I had the honour of representing St. Dominic and Assumption parishes at the local Ministerial meeting. Various pastors and persons in ministry (our own Sister Celine also attends these meetings) have an opportunity at the Ministerial meetings for fellowship as well as discuss issues and successes that they have had. We are all working for the same goal, building up the Kingdom of God. It is nice to have an opportunity to focus on our similarities, rather than our differences. This concept was behind the inter-denominational prayer service for peace which we co-hosted at the Lutheran Church. It was a wonderful opportunity to come together with the three other denominations to share in worshiping the Lord. We are building upon this with a joint Lutheran-Catholic study series called Together in Christ, which starts on April 20. I hope to see some of you there! The season of Lent provided me with several opportunities to participate in the Stations of the Cross, something which Anna and I especially enjoy bringing Aspen to. It is a wonderful way for her to understand the sacrifice Jesus made for us. I had a busy Camp St. Louis month, with a trip to Edmonton for a TEAM meeting where we finished our program planning for the year, a committee meeting, a counsellor reunion, and we also had our Perogy Fundraiser which was an amazing success! Thank you to all those from Cold Lake who came out and supported us! In between that, we had a social justice meeting, I attended several faith formation sessions, Marian Hours, and volunteered at the food bank. This past month was also an important one for me, as I was welcomed into the Knights of Columbus. The Knights do so much to support our clergy as well as pro-life advocacy, it was an honour to be welcomed into their ranks. It was an honour to be asked to lead the Silver Rose vigil on their behalf! We also had our first formation session of the year, which was on homiletics! I wanted to thank Paulette Dery, as she was my “congregation” and gave me some wonderful feedback on my very first homily I wrote! I received lots of feedback and wonderful instruction at our formation weekend (faciliated by Fr. Sylvain Cassavant from St. Joseph Seminary). As a family, we have started the last round of Aspen’s sacramental prep. She is so very excited to be confirmed and recieve her first eucharist. Please pray for her as she journey’s towards the reception of these two sacraments! While on Anna’s surprise 40th bday/”thank you for everything you sacrifice for my ministry” trip, we attended Chrism Mass in Las Vegas. I had a chance to meet with the pastoral associate for the cathedral. It was interesting to see how their diaconate is doing, as well as to observe how they do things in their liturgies! We arrived back just in time to attend the Good Friday service. I always enjoy serving at Mass (as I did on Good Friday and Easter Sunday), but it was also a blessing to be able to “take the night off” for the Vigil and just spend time in prayer and worship with Anna and Aspen. After Aspen’s confirmation she will start serving as an altar server, so we are enjoying the times when we are able to attend Mass as a family. Lastly, I had the pleasure of attending a surprise priestly anniversary celebration for Father Nong. As I write this, he will be landing in Vancouver, waiting for his connecting flight to the Philippines. I pray he has a safe journey home!
For school, I’ve finished up my Synoptic Gospels course and I am just in the middle of writing my final exam for my Moral Theology course. I am taking Holy Orders as well as Intro to Human Development for diaconate formation. Our formation weekend is next weekend and it is on youth ministry. It will be a nice weekend, as we have the aspirants joining us. I have one more course (simply entitled Jesus) for my diaconate formation and then I have the summer off this year (for diaconate formation). Typically I take optional summer courses, but this year there are no courses I need, so I get to take a breather! Unfortunately, I still have courses for my Masters, so I will be taking Contemporary Catholic Philosophy and Metaphysics. The good news is that my Metaphysics course finishes at the end of July, so I will have the entire month of August with no school. This will be the first consecutive 4 weeks without school since I started formation 3 years ago.
My challenge to you this month is to take the joy that you feel today, knowing that Christ is Risen, and keep that feeling close to you over the entire Easter season. Remember that we have just started Eastertide, and this entire season is a single joyful feast!
God bless you and keep you safe.