Wednesday, 3 June 2020
Sunday, 31 May 2020
Good Shepherd Parish invites you...
Is COVID-19 turning you into a monster? Do you feel like a zombie? Unemotional? Slow? Lethargic? Non-communicative? Join us as we spill the tea.
This is not your average youth group event. This one-hour event happens at your home with 15 other teens. You will not want to miss this "Monster Tea Party".
This is not your average youth group event. This one-hour event happens at your home with 15 other teens. You will not want to miss this "Monster Tea Party".
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Friday, 22 May 2020
A Year of Prayer
A year ago at the Mass of Chrism, Bishop Fabbro announced that beginning on Pentecost Sunday, 9 June 2019, and lasting until the next Pentecost Sunday, 31 May 2020, we would observe a special Year of Prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on our diocese as we seek to be “a mission-oriented Church that forms disciples of Jesus”.
On the day of Pentecost, the disciples were all together “in one place”. We cannot be together physically during the pandemic, but we can be united spiritually during these days which are meant to be an intense preparation for the Great Feast of Pentecost.
Bishop Fabbro is asking that we mark these days, which will bring to a conclusion our Year of Prayer, by a novena to the Holy Spirit. The novena will begin on Friday, 22 May, and continue until Saturday, 30 May, the Vigil of Pentecost. His hope is that all the faithful of our diocese, all our parishes and our families will unite in prayer each day of the novena, and that all of us will include in the different prayers we use, a daily recitation of the common prayer for the Year of Prayer (below).
Link to the Bishop's letter
A Letter from Bishop Fabbro
Year of Prayer
Send forth your Spirit, O Lord,
and fill the hearts of your people
with an ardent desire to follow Jesus,
to be his missionary disciples.
Fill us with joy and a desire to know your word.
May we boldly proclaim the Good News to others;
for when we help others to know that God loves them,
they will know true happiness.
Fill us with a deep desire for the Eucharist.
May we recognize Jesus
in the proclamation of the Scriptures
and in the Breaking of the Bread;
for when we are united with Jesus,
joy is constantly born anew.
Fill us with a true love of neighbour.
May we seek opportunities for reconciliation,
and with big hearts serve those in need;
for in serving them, we know we are serving your Son.
With the help of the Holy Spirit,
may we commit ourselves
to loving you and doing your will.
We make this prayer
through Christ our Lord.
Wednesday, 20 May 2020
In light of the recent Ministry of Education announcement, I share with you a prayer written by my colleague, Mrs. Erin Malone Walls, Campus Minister at St. Joe's High School.
Lord, we pray for all staff and students who learned with finality that we won’t return to school this year.
We pray for daycare kids and preschoolers
who are too young to understand
why they can’t see their teachers and friends,
who miss the stories being read,
the songs being sung and all the creativity of play.
who miss their teachers and friends.
For children who will miss their classes and opportunities,
who thrive through being challenged,
who depend upon school meals,
who have learned to socialize and flourish.
who miss their teachers and friends.
For those who struggle with the loss of spirit and belonging.
For those who miss the competitions in the classrooms,
in the gyms, on the stage.
For those who have spent the year finding themselves
as musicians, athletes, artists, socialites, scholars, and more,
but now feel stuck at home
without a place to fully share who they want to be.
We pray especially for our grade 12 students
who have been planning and looking forward
to the traditional prom and graduation ceremony,
who now have to cope with lost dreams and feelings of disappointment.
We pray for the vulnerable.
For families without options of daycare.
For parents who feel ill-equipped.
For students who depend on the structure of school
in an otherwise chaotic life.
For the children with special education needs.
For those without technology, that have been given unequal opportunity and are feeling left behind.
We pray for all of our staff
who miss the daily interaction with students and colleagues.
Who worry about our students,
who aren’t able to reach out to our students in need,
who don’t get the opportunity
to celebrate our students’ achievements,
who didn’t get to say goodbye.
All-knowing God, losing a school year hurts.
Teach us to live in the reality of our feelings
yet hold on to hope.
Shelter the vulnerable, help those who are broken,
comfort those who mourn.
Be our hope and our strength.
Help us to be that hope for one another.
Erin Malone Walls, Campus Minister, St. Joe's High School
Monday, 11 May 2020
A Reflection on Mary,
Mother of God and Mother of All of Us
During these unprecedented times in our world, there are so many hidden heroes who are quietly working behind the scenes and literally saving the lives of strangers. These “front line” workers have been called to … as St. Teresa of Calcutta says “do small things with great love.” Our world has become very aware of the value of these individuals and the work they accomplish each and every day.
Our faith also has a person who shares in the similar qualities of our front line workers. This person is our Blessed Mother Mary. We are invited to think about Mary’s life, as it was during her time on Earth. A young girl who was given the task of bringing new life into the world and a life that would change the world. Her “YES” to the plan God presented to her not only changed her life, but changed the world.
Imagine this young girl, unaware of how God’s plan would be fulfilled. Imagine her fear of the unknown, her own doubts about her ability to succeed and raise her son to be the person God called him to be.
She had to trust in the plan God had for her and she promised to fulfill that plan to its completion. Day after day, our front line workers face the same uncertainty. These men and women have to trust in their own skills that God gave them and, have faith and hope in their own actions while they struggle to save lives.
We also have a plan. We are called to trust in our own abilities to succeed at what we have been asked to do. Many of us are experiencing anxiety, depression and frustration. We long for days to be together again. Like Mary, we are people who have been called to change our world for the better. Our actions today are altering the course of human history and years from now, people will look at us to see how we coped with the reality of our human existence.
This week, we can reflect on Mary’s life and the lives of our front line workers. These are people of courage who bring hope. These are people of faith who shine light into the darkness. During Education Week, we looked at “igniting hope” in our world. This week, may we challenge one another to keep the flame of hope alive in our hearts, minds, homes and communities.
Reflection by Campus Minister, Jeff Gendron
Sunday, 10 May 2020
The Life of a Teen in Isolation
By Siobhan O’Donoghue
The ordinary life we all knew has changed before our very eyes and it can be overwhelming with so much uncertainty. This is a time in history that we will all remember. This pandemic has affected all of us in our own ways and it is through this tough time that we are being challenged to improve.
I can’t quite pinpoint the hardest part of this pandemic. Obviously not getting to see my friends is a struggle but I would rather do my part now so that hopefully this can reduce the length of the restrictions we are currently under. School has definitely taken a turn however I don’t mind online classes so far. Personally my biggest struggle is not being able to visit my family who live out-of-town. My grandparents require more help as they are getting older and I worry for them. Being so far and unable to run errands or do simple chores for them isn’t easy.
Even through these tough times I am still working part-time which is both a blessing and a curse. I’m happy to do my part to serve the community and it helps to get out of the house. However putting myself at risk by interacting with so many people seems to go against all the other steps I have been taking to stay safe. Customers also tend to be more intolerant which adds to unneeded stress and frustration.
Throughout this unprecedented period, I have found myself turning to God more than usual. My family and I usually go to church every Sunday. With churches being closed we “go to” church via live stream. It’s definitely a different feeling being just the four of us rather than a whole faith community but it means a lot to still be able to hear the sermon and nurture my faith.
With so much darkness in our world right now I have found myself more grateful for the little things. I don’t want to say that God is trying to punish us but I think that he is trying to readjust our thinking to make us more grateful. We took advantage of being able to go places and to see our families and friends but when everything is over, I hope that people will be more appreciative. God gave us one life and it is our job to make the most of it.
It’s quite simple to be lazy while being stuck at home. Having extra free time has led me to do more of the things I enjoy but didn’t make time for previously. This is a unique opportunity we are being given and should do those things we “never have time for”.
The world may seem like a dark place at the moment but it is important to remember all of our blessings and that there is still good going on in the world. Together we will get through this. And as a great poet once said “You can’t have a rainbow without the rain.”
Monday, 4 May 2020
Sunday, 26 April 2020
What I am looking forward to after isolation
By Nolan Bergeron
When I first walked through the doors of Saint Anne’s in September, I never imagined that my second semester would be spent mainly inside my house. Most grade nines spend their whole year learning at school, but that all changed when Covid-19 broke out; the first world pandemic since the 1918 Influenza outbreak. From my perspective it seemed like events kept getting worse and worse gradually. By March 14, it seemed like someone had pressed pause on the world. Sporting events were postponed, churches and schools were closed, and all school trips were canceled.
This was extremely shocking news for me, as Saint Anne’s band trip to New York City was planned for April 22-25. I had been looking forward to this trip ever since it was announced in September. I knew the trip would have been an amazing experience, as I had attended the 2019 Nashville/Memphis band trip, which was a blast. New York would have been an awesome trip, but I’m sure many others can agree with me that it’s one of the last places we want to be right now.
Though these are very uncertain times, we can still be optimistic and look forward to doing the things we love. I am most looking forward to seeing my friends and family, as well as continuing to play music with all of my friends in the band. I am also eager to start learning in person with my teachers and classmates, since Google Classroom isn’t my ideal choice of education.
Despite all the churches being closed, there are still many ways we can connect with God. Thankfully, there is a way to watch mass on YouTube livestreams. My family and I tune into a stream every Sunday, and I can say it feels good to still have faith and a connection with God amidst all of this.
In conclusion, I think we can all say that we are looking forward to getting back into routine with our normal lives. I would like to thank all of the healthcare workers on the front lines who are risking their lives to save others. I know that we are all in this together, and that we will overcome this virus very soon.
I will end off with a quote of hope that reads: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”
A Reflection On Hope
By Noah Gascon
2020 will forever be known as the year our world stopped turning. None of us have ever experienced anything like this crisis in our entire lives.
For many, what started out as a school closure announcement on a Thursday evening before march break, has exploded into one of the greatest challenges our society has faced in decades. Life as we know it has been put on hold. The most vulnerable members of our community are being affected the most. Our economy is treading on thin ice. These are definitely not normal times.
However, this crisis has brought the best out of so many of us. As I go for my walks everyday, kids in my neighbourhood are drawing “Thank you” messages for our frontline workers in their driveways with chalk. People around the world have been coming outside at 7pm every night to give a thunderous applause to our healthcare superheroes. Neighbours are checking up on one another to stay safe. Volunteers are stepping up to help keep our communities fed. Friends and family have helped in keeping our small businesses afloat. Nurses and Doctors have provided patients of all stripes with compassionate care even in these emotionally straining times.
These actions are what truly represents our God given human spirit. All of these wonderful things have been happening because of the unique spirits that God has instilled within all of us. I have never believed that good things happen out of thin air. There is always a spiritual presence that lies within our decisions to do good in our everyday lives. Churches being closed have cut many people off from traditional ways of being with God. However, I’ve always believed that God lies in places beyond the church. His spirit is what is causing us to come together even when we’re apart. Today, many more people are living in the image that Christ always wanted for all of us. He wanted a world where people looked out for one another and that’s exactly what we’re seeing today, you just have to look out your window.
In addition to this, we’ve all had the opportunity to have deeper reflections on our personal lives and what really matters to us. This pandemic has exposed us to our collective blindness of what we used to take for granted. The trip to the grocery store, the visit with Grandma, the night at the movie theatre, seeing friends and extended family or even being able to go to school are all things we never thought would vanish.
Although I’ve missed all of those things, I’ve realized that there is a deeper meaning to life and we must appreciate every moment we have with each other. I mourn with all the families who have lost loved ones to this deadly virus and won’t have the opportunity to do that.
I look forward to being reunited with friends, family and co workers when this is all over. This is a major storm but God would never put is through something that us and him could not weather together. A very wise person once told me that life wasn’t worth living if there wasn’t hope. The fantastic news is that there is so much hope every day even when it may not seem like it.
You just have to look at how God is working in ways that we wouldn’t expect. I promise, we will get through this... together.
Thursday, 23 April 2020
Why Your Critics Aren't The Ones Who Count (Editted)
Brené Brown - Why Do We Hide Our True Self?
Casandra Brené Brown PhD, LMSW is a professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host. Since 2016, Brown has held the Brené Brown Endowed Chair at the University of Houston's Graduate College of Social Work.
She is also a visiting professor in management at McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.
Wednesday, 22 April 2020
Talking To Kids About COVID-19
Mar 24 • 2020
Coping with the uncertainty around COVID-19 is challenging for most adults, and kids may be having an even tougher time during the pandemic. Social isolation, being off school for an extended period of time, and uncertainty about what all this means for their friends and family are just a few of the concerns young children and teens may have at this time. Here are some things that may help. It is important that if you are co-parenting that both parents are on board on what you are doing and saying to your child, as different messages will confuse and possibly make your child more worried.
Managing Parental Anxiety
It will be challenging to address your child’s anxiety if your own fears feel out of control. It’s easy for kids to forget that you may have fears about your own parents, your finances if you aren’t able to work during this time, or just the stress of parenting 24/7 as kids are asked to stay home. Check in with friends, family, or a mental health professional during this time to ensure you’re coping well. Your health matters too!
Open the Dialogue, Ask Questions, Talk About It
Despite the constant news feed and information overload, your child may be confused or unsure of what is really going on. Ask them what they know, what their worries are, and what they want to know. Don’t be afraid to talk about it, and make sure you address any myths they may have about the illness. Children may be afraid of seeing their peers again after the social isolation phase ends, so let them know you’re looking out for them and things will inevitably return to normal. It’s OK to provide a little reassurance during this time. Don’t be afraid to tell your child you’re anxious too – normalize their worries by helping them know it’s OK and healthy to worry a little (it keeps us safe!) but that we never want to let worry take over and become unhelpful.
Parents Can Say:
“Right now, on the news and all around us, there is a lot of talk about this new virus/people getting sick, what have you heard about it? Is there anything you want to know more about?”
“I know we are watching a lot of news right now and I’d like to talk to you about any questions you may have or maybe something that’s hard to understand?”
“Mom/Dad/Caregiver don’t have all the answers right now, but let’s talk about what I do know”
“Doctors and scientists are studying to learn more about this virus so they can help us figure out the best way to beat it. So far we know that to help beat it we can wash our hands after we blow our noses, cough, sneeze, go to the bathroom, before we eat, or when we come home from being outside, But we need to wash them for at least twenty seconds so let’s come up with a Hand-Washing Song together (easy to find kid versions on YouTube/Google) to help us learn how long we should be washing for.”
If you are working in a profession/job where you have direct contact with individuals affected by COVID19, your child may have specific questions and concerns about your safety. Being open, honest, and direct can be effective:
“I know you’re worried about me getting sick and that’s OK. I agree it can feel scary sometimes for me too but I want you to know I am taking extra special care to stay safe and keep all of us safe too. I want you to remember that even if I do get sick this flu is mostly dangerous for older adults and people whose bodies have a tough time fighting off flus and other germs so I won’t feel good but I’ll be OK.”
For younger children:
“This is a serious flu that makes some people very sick. Most people are just fine even if they get sick, but it’s important to wash our hands and stay home while this flu goes around.”
Even if we’re not sick and your friends don’t feel sick it’s important that we work together to stop this flu from spreading, and that means we are not able to see our friends right now. But once this virus/flu goes away, then we can all hang out again.”
To encourage your child to wash their hands, parents can make a game of it
“I know I am reminding you to wash your hands a lot. Let’s make this into a game. If I hear you singing our “Handwashing Song” that we’ve been practicing each time you wash your hands, we’ll put a sticker on your chart. When you have x number of stickers you can choose a prize. Remember you only earn the sticker if you wash your hands when you need to, no stickers for extra washing when we don’t need to wash. Can you remind me again when are the right times to wash our hands?”
“Another thing that doctors are saying is that we need to be further away from people then we are used to, that’s why we haven’t been able to see Grandma and Grandpa as much. So instead, let’s video call them so we can see how they are doing.” – Following the videochat, you can say “See? Was Mr. Worry right or wrong – grandma/grandpa/etc are just fine! That Mr. Worry just LOVES to make us worry more than we need to doesn’t he!?”
For younger children you can show them how much space we need between people by having them extend out their arms and swing around to make their “space bubble.” And use words like “Don’t be a space invader”
“Scientists still are learning more about this virus so we can find other ways to beat it, so even though I don’t have all the answers right now, Mom/Dad/caregiver will let you know when I learn more about it.”
Explain It In Their Terms
So many phrases are tossed around that are confusing – virus, “social distancing”, quarantine, contagious disease, etc. It can be easy to overestimate a child’s verbal ability, so start by explaining it in the simplest terms possible. Help put it into perspective, especially for young children. Kids may worry about their grandparents or worry about their peers during this time – if possible try to communicate with them via videoconferencing so they can talk and see with their own eyes and ears that most people are doing just fine. Anxiety makes us predict the worst and we can expose kids to the truth in times like this to see that anxiety isn’t always right.
Use What Works
Strategies that work for other worries and anxiety work now too. Ask your child to use their Realistic Thinking skills and generate alternatives to worried thoughts like “What else could happen instead?” or have them sort their worries into helpful worries (that help us wash our hands and stay safe) and unhelpful ones (that cause of to avoid things or just think and think with no action). Many resources for children can be found on Anxiety Canada’s website at https://www.anxietycanada.com/free-downloadable-pdf-resources/
Parents Can Say:
Let your child know that anxiety is OK and normal, and giving anxiety a name helps everyone see anxiety as separate from the child. Some popular names are Worry Bully, Mr. Worry or Worry Dragon, or any name that makes sense, and is not scary, to your younger child can be used.
Parents can say:
“Mom/Dad/Caregiver is worried about this virus too and it’s OK to feel worried or anxious about things we don’t understand because a little worry helps keep us safe. But we don’t want the worry to get too big because then the Worry Bully may take over and we won’t be able to enjoy life.”
If you notice your child is worrying too much, parents can say/do:
“Let’s not watch the news too much as it will just feed your worries about this virus, maybe just one or two times a day is all you need to know what is going on”
For younger children:
“It seems like Mr. Worry is trying to scare you about the virus/this serious flu, let’s boss him back by making a list of the helpful worries and the ones that are not helpful.”
“Let’s not think about what may happen in the future right now or spend too long focused on the Worry Dragon. Let’s go and do a puzzle together (or some other activity in the present)”
“It sounds like Mr. Worry is trying to tell you what is going to happen in the future again.” We can’t know the future but what we can do is make sure we do everything the scientists and doctors are telling us to do to keep safe, like washing our hands, staying home and trying not to touch our face.”
“It’s important for us all to remember this isn’t going to last forever and we’ll be able to see and play with friends again – we just can’t do that right now, but when the doctors say it’s safe we can do all that fun stuff again.”
Make It Into A Game
“Let’s have a contest and see who can touch their face the least and whoever wins gets a prize. Parents will be watching to see if anyone touches their face and if I spot anyone touching their face we add one point to your score. Each day we’ll count up our points and whoever has the lowest score that day gets a small treat. Whoever has the lowest score at the end of the week gets to pick the movie we’re going to watch Friday night (or other choices like what’s for dinner that night, a favorite dessert, etc).”
For younger children it can help to include visuals so parents can set up a jar and every time that someone touches their face in the family (parents included) they have to put (a dime/quarter) in the jar and whoever touches their face the least wins the money in the jar at the end of the day. Buttons, marbles, poker chips, or even candies can be used to fill the jar depending on what your child enjoys.
We can’t expect children to understand or even be OK or happy with staying home and not seeing their friends. Explain to them you’re not happy either but that you’re working on this together. Take a break from the news and social media and take this time to play with your kids and help build an even better parent-child relationship during this time. With school closures, try to build in new routines and predictability to help kids adjust to the changes in their lives. Kids still need consistency, fun and attention even in the midst of all this anxiety and uncertainty.
Parents Can Say:
“I know it’s hard for you not to be able to see your friends or go places. It’s hard for me too, I miss my friends and activities. Let’s focus on what we can do right now. We can (e.g., practice those math problems, do laundry together, put those photos in an album like we have been wanting to for so long but never had the time) or go and do something fun.
Let’s stop watching the news or checking instragram/snapchat/facetime and instead let’s (play a game together, bake, use it as an opportunity to catch up on our favourite series, go outside and make a snowman, throw around a ball etc)”