June 2020 Common Good Catholic (Newsletter)
You have your mission: To serve and lead during COVID-19
We hope you’re safe and well as our communities begin to re-open, and life begins to return to normal. We echo Pope Francis’ (always) wise words: that our return to normal should not suggest a return to the normalcy of injustice in our world—that rather than taking advantage of the crisis to find new ways of trampling human dignity and seeking ways to gain personally, we should seek to build on new opportunities to advance the common good, at home and across the globe. This is a time to advance justice and build the Kingdom of God among us.
To that end, we invite you to attend our upcoming webinar entitled You have your mission! An online webinar that will help you find new ways to volunteer, serve others, and love your neighbours during COVID-19. The webinar will be live at 5 pm EST this Wednesday, July 22 – click here to RSVP. Our purpose is self-explanatory: to help Catholic volunteers across Canada find new ways to love and serve their neighbours under these strange circumstances. Many volunteer programs have been closed or suspended as a result of the pandemic. But many creative new ways to serve others have sprung up, and Canada needs Catholic leaders and volunteers to continue shaping the world by supporting their neighbours. This webinar will help you make that happen. Please share with your friends and family looking for new volunteer opportunities!
As always, we hope you find this newsletter edifying and spiritually nourishing. We hope to see you at our webinar on July 22—featuring leaders from across the community and specific ways you can get involved to help others during COVID-19.
Matthew Marquardt & Brendan Steven
Wednesday, July 22
JOIN OUR FREE WEBINAR ON HOW YOU CAN SERVE AND LEAD OTHERS DURING COVID-19
CLICK HERE TO RSVP
WORKS OF MERCY IN OUR COMMUNITY
FAITH CONNECTIONS WITH FONTBONNE MINISTRIES
It can be hard to remain connected to others during COVID-19. Endless Zoom and phone calls only do so much. And of course, it’s even harder to meet new friends during this crisis. Young adults can turn to our friends at Faith Connections, part of the family of Fontbonne Ministries in Toronto. In their own words:
Welcoming young adults (aged 18 to 39), Faith Connections’ wide variety of events are inclusive places to meet young adults who are searching for ways to grow spiritually, deepen their faith, and build community. Anything from a visit to the AGO for “Christ and Culture” to a discussion on politics, the environment, faith or more at “Theology on Tap”, we welcome you to join us.
Our events are open to all young adults: single, married or divorced, differently abled, religious, students, employed or not, spiritually minded or struggling with their faith… all.
Faith Connections’ events are continuing digitally and offer young adults’ wonderful opportunities to grow in faith, solidarity and friendship with one another. Click here to visit their website. And click here to sign up for their newsletter and receive updates about upcoming events.
Read the rest of the conversation by clicking here.
Taking responsibility for our personal faith formation by Father Michael McGourty
We wanted to share a beautiful and necessary reflection from the Archdiocese of Toronto’s Our Faith Alive series, written by Father Michael McGourty—pastor of St. Peter’s here in Toronto, and member of Catholic Conscience’s board of directors. In this article Father McGourty reminds us of our responsibility to grow in faith through our own attentiveness to Christ’s teachings:
The present challenges of our times — the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and our public discussion about race — are raising questions about life and its meaning in the hearts of many. People with deep and meaningful questions search the internet and YouTube for answers. Some of the answers found on the internet are good; others are motivated by evil and harmful groups. It is important that we all be aware of what we are looking at.
As Christians, if we are really seeking life, our answers need to be rooted in Christ. Ultimately, each one of us is responsible for the information that we place our confidence in and the power that we allow it to have over our lives. In this Sunday’s readings, Jesus challenges us to allow His Word to be that which is rooted in our hearts and bears fruit in our lives.
Click here to read the full article. And consider following Father McGourty’s suggestions for deepening your faith this summer:
- Considering reading a Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) from beginning to end.
- Attend a Bible study or watch one online.
- If you are really ambitious, considering reading the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church (or the shorter Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church or YouCat).
- Read the Bible over the course of the year; there are editions of the Bible that have been broken down into daily readings for a year.
- Watch Bishop Robert Barron’s series “Catholicism.”
- Watch Cardinal Thomas Collins’ Lectio Divina series.
SERVING YOUR COMMUNITY
CONTACT YOUR PARISH AND VOLUNTEER TO SUPPORT THEIR RE-OPENING!
Across Ontario, parishes are re-opening for daily and weekend Masses. But just because our parishes are re-opening, doesn’t mean the threats of coronavirus have disappeared. Many parishes are implementing strict policies around social distancing, mask-wearing, cleaning of shared spaces, and more to ensure parishioners are kept safe. You can help ensure our parishes re-open safely.
We strongly encourage you to reach out by email or phone to your parish priest to see if you can volunteer and support the church’s re-opening.
If you live in the Archdiocese of Toronto, click here for the Archdiocese’s search engine of local parishes – simply input your postal code, find your parish, and click the link for their contact information.
FROM THE HOLY FATHER
HOW A CANADIAN STREET PRIEST BECAME A CATHOLIC CARDINAL OVERNIGHT
We read with great interest the Globe & Mail’s recent profile of Cardinal Michael Czerny, the newest Canadian cardinal and among Pope Francis’ closest advisors on issues dear to the Holy Father’s heart—the environment and refugees. Cardinal Czerny is undersecretary for the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery of Integral Human Development, and one of those who helped draft the landmark Laudato Si encyclical.
“The question is how you help others who are suffering,” Cardinal Czerny says in the article. Amen!
Read the full profile by clicking here.
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
CAN YOU VOLUNTEER AND HELP ST. FRANCIS TABLE?
Readers of the Catholic Register will have recently read about the difficult situation facing St. Francis Table, a ministry of the Capuchin friars serving meals to vulnerable neighbours in Toronto’s west-end. Like so many Catholic charities and ministries, operations have suffered during COVID-19 because of declining donations and volunteers.
In normal times, up to 250 three-course meals are served daily and its mission of service has been helped over the years to a large degree through the efforts of school groups and other volunteers… (Brother John) Frampton (animator of St. Francis Table) says these volunteers have not been able to help out because of the pandemic… Donations are also down and together with fewer volunteers, that has affected the number of meals being served. Normally St. Francis Table would have nine restaurant sittings a week, but health restrictions have turned St. Francis Table into a takeout restaurant for now.
“Right now, we’re only doing six meals a week, Monday through Friday, lunch and dinner on Tuesday. If we had more volunteers, we’d be able to do more,” said Frampton.
Are you able to help St. Francis Table? Please consider donating or volunteering your time to support this critical Catholic ministry in Toronto. Click here to donate.And click here to contact St. Francis Table about volunteering.
A CATHOLIC CONSCIENCE PRAYER FOR CANADA, IN HONOUR OF CANADA DAY
Catholic Conscience President Matthew Marquardt offered this prayer for our country to mark Canada Day. You can find it and share it on our Facebook page.
St Joseph, Patron of Canada, pray with us, please, that as free citizens we might choose to form ourselves in accordance with the values of truth, freedom, justice, and love; the principles of the common good, solidarity, subsidiarity, and the dignity of life; and the virtues of prudence and humility, and thereby select and support leaders who will:
• Celebrate life, freedom, and the dignity of all people, so that each of us might be encouraged and enabled in our journeys back toward God, throughout the entire course of our lives on earth;
• Respect all creation, so that we and future generations alike might enjoy the bounty and the copious fruits of God’s love;
• Ensure truly dignified work for all, and encourage us in our work so that each of us might work with God as faithful co-creators of a beautiful, fruitful, and dignified world;
• Show the world the gentleness, humility, and strength of the example Canada can set for the world; and
• Remind us always that we are all here together – one family, one community, for the good of all, including the poorest, most marginalized, and most lonely among us.
Lead us, Saint Joseph, to the Most Gentle Shepherd.