A note from Solomon Ip, writer and compiler of the 2022 Jubilarians stories:
Once again, it seems that there is a very large class of priests this year celebrating their jubilees, and it is a joy to be able to get to know them a little better, and to learn from them all. It is an absolute privilege to be asked to write these articles again, and to sit at the feet of the masters.
As this is being published, I will be in my first full day at St. Joseph's Seminary in Edmonton, studying to follow in the footsteps of these nine fathers I may one day call brothers. I am grateful to each of them that they have let me spend a little time learning how they live out the priesthood of Jesus Christ in their lives, and I hope to carry these lessons forward with me. My deepest gratitude to Lia O'Hara and Deacon Michael Soentgerath for their support in this endeavour.
Interview conducted by Solomon Ip for Faithfully
Interview conducted by Solomon Ip for Faithfully
Submitted by Fr. Shibu Kallarakkal, Pastor of Mother of the Redeemer Parish, Calgary
Our parish, Mary Mother of the Redeemer in Calgary, held the annual Feast of Nations on August 7, 2022 this year. The event is known throughout Calgary with people from all over coming out to celebrate the diversity of cultures in our community. The Feast of Nations provides an opportunity to come together in faith as one family, and to keep us grounded in our own culture while adapting to new ones. To support cross-cultural understanding, this event also honours various cultural and spiritual celebrations which are important to the people in our parish coming to celebrate the Eucharist together. Together they enjoyed international artistic performances and delicious food from different parts of the world. This event helped bring together our English, Spanish and Italian communities while raising funds for our church activities.
This well attended event took place in various Parish facilities like the church, parking lot and lower hall. Our preparation began a few weeks earlier, involving a multidisciplinary team comprised of the general manager, liturgy coordinators, accountants, volunteers, the food handling coordinator, sound equipment and multimedia technicians, maintenance and stage crew, as well as those performing different acts and presentations. Our food stand representatives put their best efforts to showcase their national cuisine, gathering ingredients, and decorating their stands. This year our food stands featured cuisines from Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Italia, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.
The event started after the 11 am Mass with dances followed by the celebration of Cultures Mass at 1 pm by Fr. Shibu Kallarakkal, Fr. Shaiju Ponmalakunnel, and Fr. Pydayya Yajjala, representing a variety of ministry groups and nationalities through a variety of songs and dances. The Introductory Rite for the Mass began with African dance, with their powerful drumming and energetic melodies. Prayers and readings were read in different languages throughout the liturgy as well as a special African rite for the entrance of the Gospel. Representatives from several nations also carried their national flag in the inaugural parade. This Mass highlighted the importance of our Catholic faith, and the faithful's connection to their heritage and religion. Representatives of different ethnic ministry groups offered songs and dances to highglight the importance of their Catholic faith, personal connections to their heritage, and the inescapable link between their roots and religion.
The cultural activities followed the 1 pm Mass with live music, dancing in cultural outfits, food stands from the participating countries (following the Alberta food handling guidelines) and other groups, such as the Catechesis group, Los Montianos (consecrated laity), youth groups such as the Jubilee group who provided face painting and a bouncy castle for kids, Ephphatha and Guardians of Jesus who provided water & pop, and candies, and several sponsors’ stands.
During the Feast of Nations event, various performing arts were performed at the main stage, which encompassed a wide range of acts including dancing, singing, playing traditional music, etc. Throughout the festival area, food vendors from different countries, served by volunteers of the community, were providing a variety of food and drinks for all event participants to enjoy. There were activities for everyone, and it all came together thanks to all the community members who volunteered for this event and generously donated their time, talents, and materials to make the Feast of Nations a success.
Faithful Companions of Jesus
Sisters in religious life celebrate jubilee years as consecrated members in their community to commemorate their vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. Grateful for God's blessing in religious vocation, we invite you to read these wonderful and inspiring stories from some of the 2022 jubilarian sisters in our Diocese. May our life be inspired by their deep relationship with God and service for God's people.
Below are stories from 4 Faithful Companions of Jesus Sisters, submitted by FCJ Calgary:
Sr. Marjorie Perkins, FCJ
Sr. Patricia (Pat) Halpin, FCJ
Sr. Mary Rose Rawlinson, FCJ
Sr. Donna Marie, FCJ
Submitted by FCJ Sisters, Calgary
Understanding circular economy
Our lifestyle and choices affect other people and the environment. We do not live in isolation even when we think that we are making private, personal, and individual acts or decisions that do not involve others. Our action and inaction have consequences on others and the world around us.
As consumers in today’s world, it can be overwhelming to make purchasing decisions that have less of a negative impact on others and the environment, as it is not as simple as it seems. For example, not all recyclables are the same. Not everything labeled as “made from recyclable materials” is actually 100% made from recyclable materials as these materials degrade in quality over time. And just because it’s recyclable doesn’t mean it’s actually being recycled especially when these products do not make their way to the recycling facilities. Recycling materials also require so much energy to process that reusing might be a better alternative to recycling. Our heads spin… we can easily burn out and give up.
In order to make good and responsible choices that support our lifestyle, it is beneficial to understand the concept of circular economy. Watch this six-minute video and learn to see beyond the products as you understand their life cycle and their impact on people and the environment.
The transfigured heart
Five o’clock. First light was beginning to peek through the blinds of our fifth wheel camper. I pushed past the temptation to remain snuggled under the blanket and forced myself out of bed. I was going to do it - I was going to climb a mountain (okay, a hill) to watch a sunrise and sit in the presence of my Heavenly Father.
My family was spending the first week of August at Dinosaur Provincial Park, joining my in-laws for a four-day adventure in the hoodoos. Our first evening at Dinosaur Park, we’d trekked to the highest point to get a full 360 of the oddly picturesque World Heritage Site. It’s an incredible anomaly among the flattest of prairie, and it’s one of the most breathtaking landscapes I’ve ever experienced. Anybody who’s been to Dinosaur Provincial Park, 43 kilometers northeast of Brooks, knows exactly what I’m talking about: after driving through miles of prairie, the world suddenly opens up. Sandstone-striped hills, hiding who knows how many millions of fossils, seem to go on forever. Standing at the top of the mountain (okay, again, hill) and breathing in the majesty of God’s creation, I had the bright idea to climb again one morning during our trip to take in a prairie sunrise over the hoodoos and hills.
Our first night camping was fraught with high winds, deafening thunder, and sheet lightning, which encouraged me to sleep in snugly that first morning (cozied up to my nine-year-old daughter, who tucked in with us at the first roll of thunder.) The following day, however, my internal alarm went off three times before I finally arose to first light at 5 am, pulled on a hoodie, and quietly slipped out of our camper while the rest of my family snoozed away.
It was quiet and dark enough that I felt a little bit disconcerted (I’ve seen a rattlesnake or two at the park), but as I began my ascent, my desire to be with God on a mountaintop (hoo-doo top?) outweighed my fear. The climb was steep and slippery in running shoes, and I laughed at myself as I huffed and puffed towards the top, bolstered by Al McGuire’s quote: “There’s no one who’s dropped on top of the mountain. You’ve got to work your way to the top.” After slips and slides and gratitude that I had no witnesses, I arrived at the apex, took a deep breath, looked around, and prayed:
Lord Jesus Christ,
Take all my freedom,
And my will.
All that I have and cherish
You have given me.
I surrender it all to be guided by Your will.
Your grace and love and wealth enough for me.
Give me these, Lord Jesus,
And I ask for nothing more. Amen.
I’d never heard Saint Ignatius of Loyola’s prayer until Father Raul Hernandez, former pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Brooks, introduced me to it. It’s a prayer that I hold dear to my heart; it’s the prayer that I turn to most often, especially when I’m experiencing something uncomfortable or discouraging.
I’m writing about a mountaintop experience, which juxtaposes quite jarringly with the valleys my soul had been experiencing as of late. I’d been suffering from bouts of crippling anxiety since school let out. When I’m not teaching, my mental health tends to take a dip - I slug through the valleys of dark days, sustained prayer and platitudes (as well as adherence to exercise and diet.) God has given me many tools to help me keep my head above water when anxiety sets in.
When I’d finally made it to the top of the hill, I realized that I wasn’t alone: having neglected a good dose of Deet, I was joined by mosquitos, happy to keep me company as I attempted to pray and settle quietly into God’s presence. It was almost laughable - I’d stolen a moment to myself to be still, and I was busily swatting away the most loathesome of insects. It was tempting to sink into defeat, something that anxiety preys on greedily, but my repeated dedication to Jesus kept me mountaintop for over an hour. Praying… and swatting.
I watched the sandstone ground warm from grey to brown as the slow light began spreading its way westward over the hills, painting everything the colour of morning. I listened to coyotes howl from the south, answered by packs from the north. I watched a flock of Canada geese in their V formation, and listened to birds honk along the shores of the Red Deer River. I sank into the majesty of God’s kingdom here on Earth. Mosquitoes and all, it was a literal mountaintop (okay, hilltop) experience.
On August 6, we celebrated the Feast of the Transfiguration. After I shared that I was writing about my mountaintop morning, a dear friend of mine noted how, when prompted by Peter to set up camp at the top of the mountain, Jesus and His disciples came back down shortly after. They didn’t even stick around much longer after God acknowledged His Son. “We can’t stay in the mountaintop experiences. Even the disciples didn’t,” she noted sagely. She then asked, “what kind of transfiguration did you experience that morning?”
My mountain morning allowed for a transfiguration of my hurting heart. Anxiety doesn’t just slip away at will, but God always brings me back to His love, despite the temptation to despair. Climbing the mountain may not have entirely quelled my anxiety, but I was reminded of God’s great love for me as He painted the skies, and I returned to my family with an assuaged soul (and a million mosquito bites.) His grace and his love were in abundance that morning. Give me these, Lord Jesus, and I ask for nothing more. Amen.
Statements & Resources
Residential Schools within the boundaries of the Diocese of Calgary
There were 25 residential schools in the Province of Alberta. See: Residential Schools in Canada Map. Four of them operated by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) were within the boundaries of the Diocese. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary did not run any residential schools. Below are links to the four residential schools:
Learn about Residential Schools
Truth & Reconciliation Commission
A brief guide about Treaty & Alberta Treaty Map (Alberta Teachers Association)
Crisis line for Indian Residential School survivors and family: 1-866-925-4419
Catholic Pastoral Centre Staff and Guest Writers