Congratulations Fr. Quinn Gomez!
Congratulations to Fr. Quinn Gomez, FSSP from Calgary on being ordained to the Priesthood for the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter on May 26, 2023, by His Excellency Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone at North American Martyrs Catholic Church in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Fr. Cristino Bouvette had the privilege of attending the Ordination and receiving a priestly blessing from the newly ordained priest. Fr. Gomez also invited Fr. Cristino to preach at his first Mass the next day. Despite joining the Fraternity, Fr. Gomez wants to remain connected with his home diocese. You can view the Ordination photos here | Video
Finding our home
For converts, the journey on the road to Roman Catholicism is as varied as their individual personalities and experiences. My journey was a rather circuitous route, due in part to a neurological disorder – but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Our three children are now adults, but when our youngest was just starting school, she began displaying sudden twitches and jerky movements which seemed out of her control. Our initial concern soon turned to alarm as the movements became more pronounced, and as she also began making odd sounds as well. We checked with our family doctor, who referred us to a pediatric psychiatrist over the Christmas break. After a lot of listening and observing, he gave us his diagnosis: Tourette Syndrome.
In some ways it was a comfort to have a name for the condition, but we also felt anxious about what the future might hold. My husband and I read everything we could get our hands on about Tourette Syndrome and found out that most people learn to cope with this neurological disorder, though it isn’t an easy condition to live with. We also learned that the involuntary movements and sounds are called motor tics and vocal tics.
School became a nightmare for our daughter. She felt humiliated, confused, sad and, most of all, concerned about “disturbing” the other students with her frequent vocal and motor tics. Finally, we made the decision to homeschool her, in an attempt to salvage our collective sanity. I quit my teaching job.
I’ve noticed that, from my childhood, when faced with distressing experiences I seek solace in books. This was no exception. As we launched into the new experience of homeschooling, I buried myself in my spare time in the works of authors I have long loved, including C. S. Lewis. One line from Lewis’ book The Problem of Pain had a profound impact on me: “Pain removes the veil. It plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul.” As I sat one day at our dining room table, reading and absorbing those words with my twitching, barking daughter beside me working on her math lesson, it did indeed feel as if a veil was being ripped off my old perceptions of myself, of God, and of the world. I knew I needed to go deeper and find a better way to cope with this new reality.
C. S. Lewis led me to one of his favorite authors, G. K. Chesterton, whose books I ate up with an eagerness that my husband found rather baffling. Fascinated by Chesterton’s conversion to Catholicism, I then started reading the works of other notable converts – Cardinal John Henry Newman, Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, and Scott Hahn. My concept of our relationship with God was challenged by their insights.
I grew up in the United Church, and my husband and I attended Protestant Churches with our children during the early years of our marriage. But after reading the stories of famous converts to Catholicism I felt drawn, like a magnet, to a little Catholic church in our neighborhood. I had never been inside, even though we had lived just two blocks away for almost twenty years. My husband decided to join me, and as we entered the church building together one Sunday, as Mass was about to begin, we had absolutely no idea what to expect.
At first it felt very foreign, but we kept attending. Before long, we found ourselves signed up for a Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults course (RCIA), with a group of other spiritual explorers. We were increasingly captivated by what we heard every Tuesday night at the RCIA class. In the Catholic Church we found people who were unafraid to gaze on Christ’s suffering, and as I followed their gaze, I was confronted with a love that shook me to the core. I felt like I finally understood Chesterton’s astute comment: “The Catholic church is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.”
Restoring the Feminine Heart
As the highly anticipated "Restoring the Feminine Heart" Women's Conference approaches (May 26-27), the Beloved Daughters Ministry team shares with Faithfully about their event and the ministry's mission. Read on to discover what this exciting conference has in store.
For those who have never heard of the Beloved Daughters Ministry, it's a lay-run women's ministry established in 2020 to support women at every stage of life as they rediscover their identity as beloved daughters of God.
Initially created to host annual women's conferences within the Diocese of Calgary, the ministry adapted to an online presence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through social media platforms, they share blog posts (written by many local women), weekly Sunday reflections, and host Advent and Lenten mini-retreats at various parishes. The ministry offers connection, relatability, and encouragement to women, helping them stay rooted in the truths of their identity in God.
“Restoring the Feminine Heart”
The ministry conference team, guided by prayer and discernment, has carefully chosen the perfect topic and speakers for this inaugural event. With the theme “Restoring the Feminine Heart”, they are eager to delve into the true identity and unique gifts that women possess.
"We hope to be able to provide the beginnings of restoration and healing to women who have experienced wounds in these areas, especially where in today’s society there is much confusion and distortion regarding the identity of the individual." said Rikka, one of the founders of the Beloved Daughter Ministry. The team also hope to shed light on God’s thoughtful design in creating humans male and female in His image and likeness, as well as the gift that we are to each other.
Women going to the conference will be examining how pressures from society, others, and even themselves, have hindered the ability to live out their truest identity. They will unpack how they can freely live out of the giftedness of our femininity.
Jake & Heather Khym
The team is beyond excited to welcome guest speakers Heather Khym (most commonly known as a co-host on the Abiding Together Podcast) and Jake Khym (Registered Psychologist and co-host of the Restore the Glory Podcast).
Jake and Heather Khym are a married Catholic couple from Abbotsford, BC. They are the founders of Life Restoration Ministries. Their ministry is devoted to creating opportunities for Jesus to encounter people, empowering disciples to deepen their faith. They achieve this through evangelization and formation focused on unlocking the heart. On their podcasts, Jake and Heather regularly share personal stories of their own journey towards healing and restoration with great vulnerability.
When asked why Jake & Heather Khym for their first women’s conference, Rikka revealed, “The three of us first heard Jake Khym speak at Rise up 2014 in Calgary and his message blew us away. He spoke into each of our hearts differently, but prominently.”
The launch of the all-female Abiding Together Podcast, featuring Heather Khym, piqued the team's interest even more. One of their team members found great healing through listening to the Restore the Glory Podcast, hosted by Jake Khym (a registered counselor), and Dr. Bob Schuchts (a registered psychologist).
“In listening to the honesty and relatability in which they share their experiences, combined with their professional and ministerial background, we immediately knew that having them speak at this conference would be just what was needed to create an environment of hope and healing for the attendees at our conference.”
"We believe that Jake and Heather can beautifully demonstrate the harmony and unity that can exist within relationships as we each journey towards wholeness."
A Pentecost Gift
Mothers, daughters, grandmothers, granddaughters, aunts, nieces, sisters, and girl-friends! If you are a woman over the age of 18 then there is a place for you at this conference! Nursing infants, and female adolescents 14 years and older coming with their mother or guardian, are also welcome.
Maria added, “This conference is sure to be an enriching and impactful weekend filled with connection, rest and restoration. You can look forward to being amongst a community of lovely women gathering, learning and praying together!”
It is truly a gift for our Diocese to have this conference offered in Calgary, and especially on the weekend of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit will be present and ready to shower the women in attendance with an abundance of graces!
Making an Informed, Moral Choice
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In preparation for the upcoming provincial election, the Catholic Bishops of Alberta wish to encourage all members of the Church to engage in the electoral process. By means of this letter, we offer to our Catholic faithful a reminder of important principles and concerns, which stem from the social doctrine of the Church, to guide the discernment of choices that accord with the Gospel’s vision for the right ordering of society.
Please join with us in prayer for those elected to public office. They are assuming a heavy responsibility, often at great personal sacrifice. May they be granted the strength and wisdom to govern in accord with the precept of charity in service of the life and well-being of everyone.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Catholic Bishops of Alberta
Most Reverend Richard W. Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton
Most Reverend William McGrattan, Bishop of Calgary
Most Reverend Gary Franken, Bishop of St. Paul
Most Reverend Gerard Pettipas CSsR, Archbishop of Grouard-McLennan
Most Reverend David Motiuk, Bishop of the Ukrainian Eparchy of Edmonton
Métis Moochigan in Lethbridge
The noise is deafening and nobody minds. What started as a traditional Métis dance called “Drops of Brandy” has morphed into dozens of elementary students twirling arm-in-arm and jigging wildly to live fiddle and guitar music. It’s a gleeful melee in the true spirit of Moochigan.
Moochigan, according to organizer and Métis member Jorin Gaudet, is a Métis word which describes a kitchen party, a gathering where food is shared, music is played, and people come together to dance and celebrate. Gaudet, who originally hales from the Métis community of Paddle Prairie in Northern Alberta, said he came up with the idea “to bring Métis culture to life” within his school. Gaudet is a Grade 6 teacher at Our Lady of Assumption (OLA) School of Holy Spirit Catholic School Division in Lethbridge. With collaboration from his friends, and support from a raft of groups and organizations, Gaudet planned an afternoon of activities for the 150 students of OLA.
Students clearly enjoyed the various activities but the whole event was intended for a larger purpose. Principal Calder explained that the school is committed to furthering Truth and Reconciliation principles by finding creative ways to learn about First Nations and Métis peoples. This goal is echoed by the Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops in their pastoral letter to the Métis “That We May Walk Together”. In it the CCCB pledges to facilitate opportunities to make Métis history known. “You have spoken clearly of the need to tell your stories, to make your history, spiritual, and cultural traditions more widely known,” the document says. It then goes on to invite Catholic educational institutions, seminaries and religious houses to partner in this endeavor.
On the 106th Anniversary of Our Blessed Mother’s apparition to three humble shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, Our Lady of Fatima Parish welcomed Catholics from all across the Diocese of Calgary to honour her holy feast day. And just like in Fatima, the crowds appeared!
The church, which was constructed by immigrants from Portugal, was filled with devoted followers of the Blessed Mother. The sanctuary and narthex were overflowing with people who participated in the Rosary, Holy Mass, and candlelight procession. It was clear that the believers were deeply respectful and fervently praying, which indicated that the graces poured through Mary’s Immaculate Heart at Fatima are still being bestowed upon her children today. In each “Ave Maria” and “Holy Mary,” the faithful from across the diocese and from different cultural backgrounds wholeheartedly and with one unified voice entreated to their mother, presenting her with their spiritual bouquets of roses.
In Father Fabio’s homily, he emphasized that “in Nazareth, the Virgin Mary brought the Son of God into the world. But in Fatima, Mary's mission was different: to bring the world to Christ, with a call to conversion, indicating that the Blessed Mother's devotion points out to Christ, our Saviour.”
The message of Our Lady at Fatima continues to live in the hearts of her children, whom she protects within the intimacy of her Immaculate Heart. This universal call to holiness in which the Blessed Mother draws us ever closer to her Beloved Son resounded even more strongly this Saturday. Their smiles and tears were evident signs of their devotion and closeness to the Blessed Mother. Let us, with each passing day, always remember Our Blessed Mother’s most sweet requests: to pray the rosary daily and to do penance to console Her Immaculate Heart and the Sacred Heart of Her Divine Son, Jesus!
In October 13th, the Portuguese-speaking Catholic community of Calgary will celebrate the last apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.
Submitted by Caterina Avila, Our Lady of Fatima Parish. Photos courtesy of Our Lady of Fatima, Parish.
2023 Catholic Education Week
Expansion access to MAiD
Together with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), Bishop McGrattan is urging the faithful to continue to oppose the expansion of MAiD in Canada. The CCCB has just issued an Open Letter to the Government of Canada and a Message to the Catholic Faithful on May 9 re: Permitting Persons Living with Mental Illness to Access Euthanasia/Assisted Suicide. We ask you to share the Bishop's message with your friends and family:
Let us spend the National Week of Family and Life (NFLW) 2023 united in prayer, reflection, and action, demonstrating our active support for family and life. Indeed, families are “guardians of life” when we love one another within our families and in wider society when we show kindness toward and care for the vulnerable and marginalized.
Note: Day 1 can begin anytime! We want to ensure everybody has the opportunity to join in and take part in this wonderful experience. Don't worry if you missed the start of NFLW, you can join in and start participating in the daily prayers and activities from any day.
Source: National Life & Family Week Daily Prayers & Activities, CCCB, 2023
Evening of prayers for Syria
A beautiful evening of prayers for Syria was held on Friday, May 5, 2023 at St. Mary's Cathedral. Archbishop Joseph Tobji from Aleppo, Syria, Bishop McGrattan, priests, deacons, and faithful from the oriental churches in Calgary and the Diocese attended the event. In addition to the ongoing conflicts, people in Syria are also facing the aftermath of a devastating earthquake and the tragic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these immense challenges, the people of Syria are bravely rebuilding their lives. We express our deep appreciation to everyone who participated and prayed with us for our brothers and sisters in Syria.
A special thank you to Fr. Daniel Fares, the chief organizer, volunteers and staff of St. Mary's Cathedral for the beautiful reception after the prayers. Let us continue to keep the people of Syria in our thoughts and prayers.
Photos and videos courtesy of Our Lady of Peace Maronite Church and Office of Communications.
More photos are available here.
Funeral Mass of Fr. Gilles LeBlanc was celebrated on Saturday, May 6, 2023 at Sacred Heart Church in Calgary followed by a graveside service at St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Father Gilles LeBlanc was born on May 18, 1949, in Bouctouche, New Brunswick. He is pre-deceased by his parents Frederick and Suzanne LeBlanc and his brother Paul LeBlanc. He is survived by his siblings: Andrea Acherly, Ronald LaBlanc, Gladys Bordage, John LaBlanc, Reggie LeBlanc. He was ordained a priest in 1985. He passed away peacefully on May 2, 2023 at Providence Care Centre.
Visit the obituary page at https://www.evanjstrong.com/obituary/FrGilles-LeBlanc
Fr. Gilles LeBlanc's Pastoral Assignments
Father Gilles LeBlanc was ordained a priest on April 26, 1985, at St. Mary’s Cathedral by Bishop Paul J. O'Byrne. Fr. LeBlanc began his pastoral assignments as an Assistant Pastor at St. John’s, Calgary, in June 1985, followed by St. Mark’s in Calgary in August 1985, serving until 1987. He then served as an Assistant Pastor at St. Ann's in Blairmore from July 1987 to 1988. In 1989, he accepted a pastoral assignment as Pastor of St. Andrew’s, Vulcan, Champion, and Carmangay, where he served for two years. Later in his ministry, Fr. LeBlanc was assigned at St. Anthony’s in Calgary from 2006 until July 2008. His last pastoral assignment was at St. Patrick’s in Medicine Hat from August 2008 until his retirement in June 2010.
Please join us in remembering Fr. Gilles by viewing these beautiful photos of his funeral mass, captured by Victor Panlilio. Let us all pray for his eternal rest and the souls of all the faithful departed, and may they find peace in the loving mercy of God.
Photos courtesy of Victor Panlilio | See all photos here
What if religious life is for me?
I did not think much about the question the first time because I was confident that religious life was not for me.
I have been actively involved in the Church and a charismatic community called Singles for Christ. I was trying my best to walk the talk and live the faith. I want to be a living witness to how I overcame trials and used them to fuel the desire to become a better version of myself.
I never mentioned the stirring within about religious life to family or friends but to my spiritual director. At the time, I was advised to process the idea: know the reasons for pursuing the vocation and that I was not running away from something. I took the advice to heart. Yet at the back of my mind, maybe this is just a phase in my life, and eventually, this question will gradually disappear from my thoughts. However, in the past six years or so, the question stayed. It lingered. I would ask this question during my quiet time, prayer time, when I am on the bus, train, or driving, especially when I see religious people, and I would laugh at myself every time. There is no way I am heading in that direction!
At a retreat organized by CFC-Singles for Christ, I had the opportunity to hear a Sister of Providence speak about their mission. Their charism of serving the underprivileged - those who are ignored, victims of injustice, marginalized, and voiceless - spoke deeply to me.
Over time, the asking, “What if religious life is for me?” became frequent. I want to believe that the best tool for discernment is action. So, I mustered the courage to act and reached out to the Sisters of Providence.
In November 2021, I started my Come-and-See journey with the Sisters in Calgary, and by February 2022, I moved to Edmonton to continue the journey. I was immersed in community life. The experience became an occasion of growth and self-knowledge—an opportunity to understand others and myself. I felt loved and supported by the Sisters, and it caused me to appreciate the vocation to religious life.
On February 18th, 2023, I entered as a candidate and the ceremony was held at the Providence Centre Chapel in Edmonton, with friends, family, Sisters of Providence, and Sisters from other congregations present.
As I continue to learn about myself in the context of religious life, I trust in divine providence in this journey of unfolding the question that led me here, “What if religious life is for me?”.
A future of hope
Fr. Tim's Holy Week in Gamètì
Our Resurrection Faith
Today we enter the Octave of Easter. The days of this coming week are celebrated as Solemnities which invite us to relive liturgically the experience of Easter.
This week will be especially significant for the 32 individuals who received the Sacraments of Initiation at St. Mary’s Cathedral Easter Vigil. That evening we heard the Gospel of Matthew proclaimed and how the women who were going forward to see the tomb as the first day of the week was dawning. They discovered that the stone had been rolled away, they entered the empty tomb and thus came to believe in the resurrection. This was the first way in which the faith and belief in Jesus’ resurrection was received. The empty tomb is the first step in their journey of faith.
Then the Angel instructed the women to go forward and to tell the disciples to return to Galilee where they will see him. It is through these post-resurrection appearances of the risen Lord that the women, the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, Peter by the shore of Galilee, Mary, Thomas and the apostles gathered in the upper room came to believe. This was the second way in which their faith in Jesus’ resurrection was confirmed.
Gradually as the disciples came together and shared these experiences of the risen Lord, they were drawn by the Holy Spirit to remember their first encounters with the earthly Jesus in Galilee. They began to recall what he had taught them, that he must first undergo his passion, a death on the Cross and be raised up on the third day. In rereading the Old Testament scriptures in light of the risen Lord they also both confirmed and strengthen their resurrection faith. This was the third way in which they came to believe and give witness to Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
These pathways of experience allowed for the disciple’s hearts to be strengthened in the faith of the resurrection and how the Holy Spirit empowered them to pass this witness on to successive generations. Pope Francis in his Easter Vigil homily reflected on why it was so important for the disciples to return to Galilee. First, it was necessary for them to leave the enclosure of the upper room. To let go of their fear, to emerge from hiding and a state of paralysis so as to embrace a new future in going forward. Secondly, they were being led to retrace their steps, to return to where they first encountered Jesus in Galilee and where they received the personal call to follow him as his disciples. He noted that this signifies a return to “the grace of the beginnings, to regain the memory that regenerates hope, the ‘memory of the future’ bestowed on us by the Risen One.”
Each year during Holy Week I make it a pastoral priority to meet with those who will be baptized and confirmed at the Easter Vigil. It is an opportunity for me to listen to their Galilee experiences and how they had come to know the Lord personally. It is sometimes the circumstance of one’s life. For the young adult or university student it may be the simple search for meaning and purpose. In others it is the example of a person’s faith such as the witness of a spouse, friend or family member. It is when we recall in our lives this encounter with the Lord, the beginnings of the foundation of our faith and belief, that we respond like the first disciples to the Lord’s call to return to Galilee to celebrate the Risen Lord. This can strengthen each of us in moving forward in lives of faith and our belief in the resurrection.
The Gospels which we will hear proclaimed during this upcoming Easter Week recall the richness of these post-resurrection accounts of Jesus to the disciples in Galilee. This is the Easter experience which caused the disciples not to proclaim the tragedy of Jesus death but rather in sharing their resurrection faith in the promise of eternal life with a joy, hope and confidence given through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
As we move forward together in this Easter season let us be remined of Pope Francis exhortation that, “this is what we are asked to do: to remember and keep going forward,” and, “rediscover the grace of God’s resurrection within (us)”. It is through the renewal of our baptismal promises at Easter, and in receiving and believing the Word of God during this Easter season that our ‘resurrection faith’ can be strengthened.
+Most Reverend William T. McGrattan
April 10, 2023
Doctrine of Discovery
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (“CCCB”) is grateful that the Dicastery for Culture and Education and the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development have issued a Joint Statement addressing the concept of the “Doctrine of Discovery,” including the question of certain papal bulls of the 15th century which, according to some scholars, served as the basis for the aforementioned ‘doctrine.’
Contrary to this claim, numerous and repeated statements by the Church and the Popes through the centuries have upheld the rights and freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, for example the 1537 Bull Sublimis Deus. Indeed, Popes in recent times have also sought forgiveness on numerous occasions for evil acts committed against Indigenous Peoples by Christians. Having heard a strong desire from Indigenous Peoples for the Church to address the ‘Doctrine of Discovery,’ today’s Joint Statement from the two Dicasteries further repudiates any concepts that fail to recognize the inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Specifically, the Joint Statement affirms:
“In no uncertain terms, the Church’s magisterium upholds the respect due to every human being. The Catholic Church therefore repudiates those concepts that fail to recognize the inherent human rights of indigenous peoples, including what has become known as the legal and political ‘doctrine of discovery’.”
The Joint Statement further emphasizes that the ‘Doctrine of Discovery’ is not part of the teaching of the Catholic Church and that the papal documents under scrutiny by some scholars – particularly the Bulls Dum Diversas (1452), Romanus Pontifex (1455) and Inter Caetera (1493) – have never been considered expressions of the Catholic faith. At the same time, it acknowledges that these papal bulls did not adequately reflect the equal dignity and rights of Indigenous Peoples; that they were manipulated for political purposes by competing colonial powers; and that Indigenous Peoples suffered the terrible effects of the assimilation policies of colonizing nations.
Furthermore, the Joint Statement expresses support for the principles in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the implementation of which would help to improve the living conditions of Indigenous Peoples, to protect their rights, as well as to support their self-development in continuity with their identity, language, history, and culture.
The CCCB, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences are together exploring the possibility of organizing an academic symposium with Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars to further deepen historical understanding about the ‘Doctrine of Discovery.’ This idea of a symposium has likewise received encouragement from the two Dicasteries that issued today’s Joint Statement.
In closing, the CCCB echoes Pope Francis’ statement from Quebec City in July 2022, cited in today’s Declaration, that “never again can the Christian community allow itself to be infected by the idea that one culture is superior to others, or that it is legitimate to employ ways of coercing others.”
30 March 2023
Solidarity Sunday 2023
Food Loss & Waste
Learn more about this unique vocation here.
Rite of Election: Chosen by God
On Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023 the whole community gathered to witness something truly special: a joyous Rite of Election that welcomed 170 catechumens into St Mary's Cathedral as members of the Elect! This event marked the culmination of their profound spiritual journey and preparation for receiving Initiation Sacraments at Easter Vigil.
The Bishop also calls to the Godparents, urging them to accept the responsibility entrusted to them in the Lord. He asks them to show their support and love for the chosen individuals by providing guidance and instruction so that they may partake in God's sacraments.
Let us pray to the Lord for all the Elect and for ourselves, that we may be renewed by one another’s efforts and together come to share the joys of Easter.
Glory be to Jesus Christ!
Dearly Beloved in Christ!
Today, on our calendars we mark a year since a new stage of the Russian-Ukrainian war began with brutal cruelty and destruction, cynicism and falsehood. Every day of the past year has been a repetition of February 24, adding to the bitter statistics of losses and multiplying the grief experienced by many. Thousands of innocent men, women and children have lost their lives; many have been tortured, held in prisons and camps, and forcibly deported. Millions are forced to wander around the world, having lost everything, seeking refuge far from their homes. Many cities and villages have been erased from the face of the earth, leaving only traces in the history and memory of those who lived there. Countless are the deep emotional wounds from the losses, tragic memories, and longing for relatives, inflicted by the war on those who survive and are suffering - especially the children!
This war is not limited to the context of armed battles, but also occurs in the struggle for consciences, spiritual values and ideals with all the evils that war entails. Most importantly, it requires from everyone a clear choice for good or evil. The war challenges us to demonstrate our love for Ukraine, for its God-given freedom, political and human rights. War challenges the very sincerity of our love for our neighbor and the Lord God. Every Ukrainian in and outside of
Ukraine is called to discover a deeper awareness of his or her national, political and ethnic identity. The enemy are those who want to stop this process and plant other values which contradict the truths of the Christian faith, the foundations of our spirituality and our Ukrainian identity. And they are looking for all kinds of insidious ways to achieve their goals.
We, the Ukrainian Catholics in Canada, call upon all people of good will to steadfastly resist the spread of the evils of war, the killing of innocent people, and the destruction of the nation of Ukraine. Let us draw our strength from the Lord at all times in our struggle (cf. Ps. 26:1). As the Apostle Paul says , let us gird ourselves with the belt of faith and take the armor of justice, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the spiritual sword to "resist the wiles of the devil" and "against the principalities, against the authorities, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the spirits of malice in the heavenly spaces" (Eph. 6:11-12). Fervent and constant prayer to the Lord is our weapon against which enemy forces are powerless, and with it we draw the grace of God. We pray not to succumb to feelings of hopelessness and oppression, excessive worries and cares (cf. Ps. 137:7).
Let us take the psalmist's words, "Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path" (Ps. 118:105) closer to heart and listen to God's voice in our lives. The word of God teaches us goodness, truth, love, understanding and ability to make right decisions that are sometimes very difficult, especially during times of deep tragedy and loss. In His word, we will find God who is near to us in solidarity, offering us comfort and healing.
Let us continue our works of mercy for the needy in Ukraine and those who seek refuge here in Canada, as a humble manifestation of our sincere faith and for the greater glory of God. In doing so, we share the time and talents with which the Lord has blessed us, knowing that everything will return a hundredfold. By giving temporal goods now, we will receive eternal goods in the future.
In solidarity and compassion with our brothers and sisters in Ukraine, who continue to suffer from the lack of food, water and other basic necessities of life due to the ongoing war, let us renew our practice of fasting and abstinence to remind ourselves of the many blessings we enjoy in our peaceful, daily lives here in Canada.
More than ever, we need to support each other through prayer, kind words and good deeds. A person who receives something through you will thank the Lord and praise Him always. "Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Heavenly Father" (Mt. 5:16).
The outcome of this war is crucial and will have global significance and consequences. We pray for victory, which will be realized only when we put all our efforts together. Let us unite, pray, and work for the common good! Let this Lenten season be an opportunity to reach new spiritual heights and to better ourselves so that we can carry out our part in bringing to an end the tragedy of war.
May God bless the Ukrainian people both in their homeland and throughout the world. May He grant them the strength of a strong Christian faith, of enduring good health and the support of a multitude of people of good will. May He grant victory over evil and peace to Ukraine!
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
+ Lawrence Huculak, OSBM
Metropolitan Archbishop of Winnipeg
Apostolic Administrator of Saskatoon
+ David Motiuk
Eparchial Bishop of Edmonton
Apostolic Administrator of New Westminster
+ Bryan Bayda, CSsR
Eparchial Bishop of Toronto
+ Andriy Rabiy
Auxiliary Bishop of Winnipeg
Catholic Pastoral Centre Staff and Guest Writers