“Tuus totus ego sum, et omnia mea tua sunt” I am all yours, and all that I have is yours, O most loving Jesus, through Mary, your most holy Mother. ~ St. Louis de Montfort
To celebrate the month of our devotion to our Blessed Mother, Sacred Arts Guild of Alberta are taking us on a tour around the world with some universal images of Mary. We hope you find them both beautiful and prayerful, and appreciate the inspiration behind each artwork.
At the heart of Catholic health care is a deep respect for the intrinsic value and dignity of every human being and an unwavering commitment to serving all people, from all backgrounds and faiths – especially society’s most vulnerable.
This week is the National Health Care Week (Oct 4-10) - we invite you to learn more about National Catholic Health Care by visiting Catholic Health Alliance of Canada
This is a time for us to reflect and give thanks for the gift of Catholic health care, and for the thousands of dedicated staff, physicians and volunteers who care for those in need. Like the Sisters who came before us, the Covenant family is united by a shared mission that calls on us to serve people from all backgrounds and society’s most vulnerable, according to our values.
During National Catholic Health Care Week, let us give thanks for the courageous gift of Catholic health care during these challenging times—in hospitals, community health centres, or seniors care homes. We pray:
I have been praying the rosary for years, but it never ever entered my mind to actually make rosaries – that is, not until a visiting priest gave me a hand-made cord rosary at one of our Parish Missions. As soon as I saw it, I had the desire to start making rosaries just like that one!
To make a long story short, I obtained the necessary supplies and tools and started making rosaries, not having the slightest idea of how this ministry would unfold.
As a former teacher I thought it would be a wonderful thing to make rosaries with children in the schools – but I didn’t mention this to anyone, because being retired, I didn’t see how this could possibly happen. Of course, our Lady had a plan. One of our parishioners saw me making rosaries and asked me, out of the blue ☺ if I had ever thought about doing this in the schools!!!
I said, ‘Yes! But I need to be invited!” He said “I’m inviting you – I’m a grade 6 teacher at” – get ready for this – “Our Lady of the Assumption School!” Our Lady had a plan and it was to begin in one of her own schools!
So on February 28th 1998 I made my first school visit. When the kids finished making the rosaries, they were thrilled – they were SO proud of their rosaries that they were showing them off to all the other students - naturally all of them wanted to make their own rosary, too - so the teachers had no choice but to invite me back to make rosaries with all the other classes in the school!
After that, news of the program spread by word of mouth, from teacher to teacher, from school to school – over the years we have visited 103 of our Catholic Schools – not only in Calgary, but also in Airdrie, Chestermere, Okotoks, DeWinton, High River and even as far away as Brooks! Every year we make and pray the rosary with between 2,000 - 3,000 students from Kindergarten to Grade 9. Teachers and students alike consider it a high-point of the year – by the end of September we are booked up for the whole school year.
At the same time, friends and parishioners, devotees of our Lady and the Rosary, were inspired to learn to make rosaries too, so we started having weekly meetings. Our membership has grown to over 60 men, women and children, who meet every Tuesday Morning at Holy Spirit Church to pray and make rosaries. When it becomes possible to resume gatherings, you are most welcome to drop in and learn how to make Rosaries and pray and enjoy the warm fellowship which has developed in this very special group.
Totus tuus is a Latin phrase which means ‘totally yours’ - Pope (Saint) John Paul II took it as his motto – consecrating his Pontificate to the care and guidance of the Blessed Virgin Mary. That was -- and is -- the inspiration for the name of our Association. The work is totally our Lady’s work – the group belongs totally to her. And each one of us, individually, strives to belong totally to her as well -- so that through Mary - we can belong totally to Jesus. For that is Mary’s desire for us. As our Heavenly Mother, her priority is to bring us closer and closer to Jesus, so that one day we can be united with Him forever in Heaven.
Our Apostolate is actually two-fold – the first is our ministry in the schools -- the second is making and distributing rosaries worldwide. It is truly amazing how our Lady works things out – we began by leaving a few rosaries in our chapel, giving them to pastoral care workers and then people started taking rosaries on their travels, giving them as gifts to parishes that they visited.
A few years ago, the daughter of one of our Rosary Makers was going to Malawi, Africa and took a gift of rosaries to a Sister there. The Sister gave a priest one of the rosaries, he in turn told other priests about our rosaries and word spread throughout Malawi, so that today we have over 45 connections in that country alone!!
Our Lady knows ahead of time where the needs are and makes sure they are met. For example, a friend called me, saying she and her husband were going to Hawaii and asked if it would be OK for her to take rosaries, even though Hawaii is not a ‘mission country’. I told her I would be glad to give her some rosaries - there must be a reason why she feels the need to take them. She called again when she got back – “You won’t believe it’ she said “ When I gave the rosaries to the Parish Priest in Maui he was overjoyed. He said the parish was starting a Prison Ministry and he didn’t know where he would get enough rosaries!!” And there are many more similar incidents.
Through our Lady’s inspiration and guidance, our world wide mission has grown to include 83 countries -- and this year alone we have already sent out over 40,000 rosaries!
Needless to say, the most important aspect of our ministry is the praying of the rosary.
Through the rosary we are surrounding the world in prayer – which is the true essence and meaning of our Apostolate.
Our Blessed Mother has made it possible for us to respond to her plea which she made in Fatima:
“Tell everyone to pray the Rosary everyday to obtain peace in the world.”
We know that the world needs peace and the rosary is the perfect prayer for peace, because it is all about Jesus, who is the Prince of Peace.
Written by Marta Toltesi. Marta lives in Calgary with her husband, John. They have two children and two grandchildren and have been parishioners of Holy Spirit Parish for over 40 years. She is a retired teacher and enjoys gardening, photography and volunteering in the schools, teaching about the rosary.
To celebrate a nativity is to celebrate the birth of someone or something new. September 8 is the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, also known as her birthday. It was back on September 8, 1995 that Clear Water Academy, a private, Catholic school, first opened its doors in Calgary to a mission that would form Christian leaders for the transformation of society.
On September 8, 2020, Clear Water Academy celebrated its 25th Anniversary since its foundation on the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, Patroness of our school, and the opening of a brand-new Elementary school building dedicated to and called St. Thomas More Hall – a nativity of its own kind.
With hopeful anticipation we watched our new building come to completion over the summer months. St. Thomas More Hall is beautiful; a proper nod to the excellence that takes place within its walls. In addition to our peaceful new chapel, colourful library, Atrium, and outdoor learning areas, it has large classrooms that easily house our small class sizes, and are outfitted with sinks for optimal handwashing, making physical distancing and other safety protocols much more achievable.
Just two days after the Alberta Government announced the cancellation of in-person classes in early March of 2020, faculty at Clear Water Academy pivoted to CWA Interim Home Learning and witnessed the resilience of our entire community over the months of an uncharted learning environment. Our teachers sent home work packages and held classes over Google Meet, and provided hours of one-on-one support over Zoom. Our morning intercom announcements took the form of videos, and our students worked in new ways to stay engaged in their learning. It was a proud display of the tenacity and the unity of parents and faculty working together for the normalcy of a school routine for our students despite the daily-changing news updates, fears, uncertainties, disappointments in cancelled plans, and threatening despair we were all, in our humanity, experiencing at the time.
We believe that these victories in the practical elements of education were the fruits of our Intellectual, Spiritual, Human, and Apostolic educational model. Since God has given and blessed our mission and since we have, by grace, echoed Mary’s “yes” to fulfill the call, when fear tempted us to panic, our faith reminded us to hope and to persevere. It urged us to be thankful, even, for such a clear return to the heart of trust that comes from knowing that we have a Saviour in Jesus when nothing else seems as it should be.
The long-awaited celebration of our 25th anniversary is of unrepeatable significance as we welcomed our students back to campus. What joy we experienced - with masks, washed hands, and physical distance - to see our students and parents again! It’s safe to say that it has required “all sanitized hands on deck” to implement our School Re-entry Plan that has been prepared for the safety of our faculty, students, families, and greater community.
We are grateful to our faculty for their dedication to the mission they’ve been called to - and to our parents for their trust and partnership with us in the ongoing education and formation of their children. And finally, we are grateful that Jesus resides within our school chapels and that He is known more and more by our faculty, families, and students in every heartfelt prayer, learning activity, kind encounter, and friendly encouragement that make up our days.
“I will go anywhere you want me to go, I will do anything you want me to do, I will say anything you want me to say.” Those are the words that every missionary with Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO) prays every day signifying the abdonment that we will go, do, and say whatever it is the Lord is asking of us. CCO missionaries live with a radical abandonment, the willingness to say yes to God for the mission like biblical figures like Abraham, Isaiah or Mary and saints like St. Francis Xavier. They reveal a heart on fire for Jesus and for souls to know Him. In CCO, our mission is shaped after the heart of those I mentioned above. Our mission statement is: CCO is a university student movement dedicated to evangelization. We challenge young people to live in the fulness of the Catholic faith with a strong emphasis on becoming leaders in the renewal of the world. When CCO missionaries say yes to a career with us and to live out CCO’s unique mission, we say yes to living a life of being abandoned. Now typically, how that plays out is that we are abandoned to our placements which can be anywhere in the country or being abandoned to how God provides for our ministry though our efforts in support raising. However, CCO lived this out in the past seven months in a very unforeseen way. We have had to be abandoned in everything that we do so that our mission can continue despite this global pandemic.
When we say the words “I will go, I will do, and I will say,” we didn’t expect that going means staying at home, doing means starting a Zoom call, and saying is looking for ways to creatively invite university students to place Jesus at the centre of their lives through a video screen. But that’s exactly what happened. Our mission of proclaiming Jesus clearly and simply continued despite every physical limitation that the pandemic has placed on us. Abandonment is never easy; doing mission this way has been difficult. We miss personal connections, students are harder to get hold of, and our missionaries and students are longing for community. But when Jesus calls us to something, He knows exactly how even if we can’t see it. It’s hard to see, but I trust that the Lord has good plans in all this. He knows exactly what He is doing. He has called us to a mission to bring University students to Him and He is asking us to do this by going, doing, and saying the things he is asking of us while physical distancing.
Despite our mission seeming impossible, we have seen great fruit throughout this pandemic. In the Spring, we were in the middle of our campus programming when campuses were shut down and everything was moved online. It was a very sudden turnaround, but despite that we were able to retain 91% of our students through accompanying them online. Then shortly after, we cancelled all of our missions this summer due to travel restrictions. The Lord asked us to still have a mission and to do it online. There we saw over 120 students hear the Gospel message proclaimed to them because students joined an online mission and invited their friends to a faith study. And now this normally would be the time where we would be seeking out new students on campus and since no students are on campus, we have found new ways to find new students wether that be through personal invitations, social media campaigns, or reaching out through our networks.
This year has not been easy for most of us. But in this time, the Father still calls us individually. In fact, He is calling every single Catholic, through their baptism, to proclaim Jesus’ name. That may seem daunting and we may not know how, but what I have seen through this pandemic is that He will always provide a way as long as we are willing to go anywhere He wants us to go, do anything He wants us to do, and say anything He wants us to say.
How often do we make plans, only to have them not go “as we planned”? Perhaps similarly, Mary had an idea of what plans were to unfold for her life. However, when approached by the Archangel Gabriel, her ‘yes’/fiat to God’s will transformed these ideas.
For us, the beginnings of this woman’s ministry, from what we perceived the Holy Spirit’s promptings to be, didn’t even come from a woman. It came from the encouragement of a man. Inspired by his perspective, the three of us gathered over vietnamese cuisine and multiple coffees to iron out our vision of hosting Calgary’s first Diocesan Women’s Conference.
It was the end of January 2020 when what we had was a venue and a date. We had an event before we even had a ministry! We had exactly 4 months to pull everything off and by God’s grace, every door opened for us. We had approval from the Diocese, a theme, amazing speakers, a production team, and tickets were being sold as soon as registration opened. God was very good. Despite the start of COVID-19 precautions, we were optimistic that our event would still occur. That is, until the end of March, where we sadly decided to postpone the event. It was difficult to believe that we were getting all the green-lights in planning over a short period of time, only to have the world literally shut down. Nevertheless,God was still very good. He had and has a plan for us. As a team we perceived this downtime as an opportunity to build a strong foundation for a ministry, that if God so willed, would flourish. We were given this opportune time to create the ministry, reach women locally via social media, create a social media presence and attempt to collaborate with local communities to get the ministry running despite the pandemic.
Reflecting on the Magnificat, I am reminded that we are nothing without the Lord and His grace in our life. As humans, we often lack the practice of gratitude. Mary gave a joyful claim: “all generations shall call me blessed.” She recognized the work of God in her life; that He was to make her the Mother of the Saviour of the world! Her ‘yes’ surely was a sign of gratitude, a quality that many acquire through virtuous practice and prayer. When I realized we were no longer able to proceed with the conference, I was disappointed and my motivation seemed to wane. I did not reflect on what God was conveying to us during the initial quiet months of COVID-19 restrictions. I didn’t “ponder” these things as Mary did. It is possible that Our Lady would have been overwhelmed, yet she never questioned Gabriel. Instead, she prayed and pondered everything interiorly. I can now recognize the generous gift God provided us. Our vision for this ministry is to continue saying ‘yes’ even when feeling discouraged. It is important to me that women in Calgary have a space to rediscover their identity and grow in virtue.
The virtue of humility echoes throughout the Magnificat. St. Teresa of Avila defines humility as: living in the truth. The truth of who we are, and who God is. As we grow in knowledge of this truth, everything and everyone is put into proper order. When one knows the truth of who they are, there is no longer the need to compare, or compete. Instead, secure and confident in the Father, one then forgets themselves and is present to others. In Mary, we see this lived out in full. Confident in her identity as a beloved daughter of God- that had already been rooted within through her practice of prayer and virtue- upon receiving her mission, Mary is able to forget herself, and goes with haste to tend to Elizabeth. Similarly, we hope that the Beloved Daughters Ministry becomes a platform for women. That our contributors, resources, and events, will aid women along the journey of growth in prayer, virtue, and friendship as they lean into their belovedness.
After postponing our conference, we were offered the opportunity to host a live-streamed Virtual Pilgrimage through Canmore’s Shrine. Our website launched on August 22, 2020 - the Queenship of Mary, which also happened to be the Shrine’s patron feast day. It was evident that Our Lady had held our hand through all this and so we dedicate this women’s ministry to her.
Mary is our example of how to magnify the Lord. If there is anything we desire, it is to do the same; that our ministry magnifies the Lord.
At St. Mary’s University we are proud of our Catholic identity. Thanks to the generosity of the Catholic Women’s League (CWL), we are honoured to host a leading Catholic speaker for our CWL Annual Lecture in Catholic Studies. On Friday, October 2 (5:30 – 7:30 pm MST), Sister Nuala Kenny, MD will offer this year’s virtual keynote address on “Healing the Church: Diagnosing and Treating the Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis”. Due to COVID-19, our lecture will be held online.
Sexual abuse by Catholic clergy is the greatest scandal of the modern Church. It has caused devastating, life-long harm to victim-survivors and their families and communities. It has resulted in the loss of trust in the Church as a place of holiness, care and justice, and has eroded the credibility of its leaders as disciples of a loving and merciful Jesus. For some, it has precipitated a crisis of faith in God as it has wounded bodies and minds and crushed souls. The Catholic Church is wounded and in need of healing.
As a pediatrician who is also a Professor Emeritus at Dalhousie University, Dr. Kenny is very familiar with the devastating harms of the physical and sexual abuse of children and youth. Among her many accolades, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1999 for her contributions to child health and medical education and she has received a Queen’s Jubilee Medal. As a Sister of Charity – Halifax for over 50 years, Sister Nuala is deeply committed to helping the Catholic Church heal from this crisis. She has been involved in this work since her 1989 participation in the St. John’s, Newfoundland, Archdiocesan Commission on Clergy and Clergy Sexual Abuse. She has authored two books on this topic, Healing the Church (2012) and Still Unhealed: Treating the Pathology in the Clergy Sexual Abuse Crisis (2019). Sister Nuala also served as an advisor to the CCCB Ad Hoc Committee on Protection of Minors (2014-2018) which produced “Protecting Minors from Sexual Abuse: A Call to the Catholic Faithful in Canada for Healing, Reconciliation and Transformation”.
On Friday evening, October 2nd, Sister Nuala Kenny’s virtual keynote address is titled “Dynamics and Diagnosis: A Call for Personal and Ecclesial Reform”. Using her medical background, Sister Nuala will help us properly diagnose the deeper systemic issues that are at the root of this crisis. With this understanding, she will then draw upon the words and actions of Jesus, the Healer, to provide a holistic prescription for healing the Church. To register for this free online lecture, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2020-cwl-annual-lecture-in-catholic-studies-by-sister-nuala-kenny-md-tickets-121260769225
For those who wish to continue this important conversation, on Saturday, October 3rd, Sister Nuala Kenny is facilitating a virtual workshop: “Lessons from Being Church in the Pandemic: Prophetic Possibilities for Pastoral Conversion”. The morning session (10:30 am - 12:00 noon MST) is on “Lessons About Secrecy, Dialogue and Morality”. The afternoon session (1:00 pm - 2:30 pm MST) is on “Lessons About Relationships, Mission and Challenges”. This workshop is a critically constructive reflection on how we, as disciples of Christ, might make sense of what has happened in this crisis and respond both individually and communally. It aims to provide support for laity and clergy who desire repentance and continual conversion to disciples of a loving and merciful God. This workshop is rooted in the “mind of Christ” and in trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to make all things new. The cost of this workshop is $25.00 for both sessions. To register, visit: https://www.stmu.ca/event/cwl-virtual-workshop/
Written by Dr. Peter Baltutis
CWL Chair for Catholic Studies, St. Mary's University.
A special thank you from Bishop McGrattan and all Catholic Alberta & NWT Bishops to all parish volunteers!
Please read the Pastoral Statement from the bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories, called On the Impact of COVID-19 & the Call to Christian Renewal | Download here
In particular, the bishops are inviting Catholics to review the impact of COVID-19 within their homes, schools, workplaces, and society in general, in light of the gospel and the social teaching of the Church. Which values, attitudes and behaviours will we want to hold on to going forward? Which may be in need of remedy or renewal? Through a process of reflection and discernment, the bishops are using this time as an opportunity to inspire and lead a renewal of Christian life in the Church that will impact society in positive ways.
The goal is for all of us to gain insights into living our faith at home and at work, and in our parishes and communities. “Our Catholic faith has much to contribute with respect to promoting human, social and spiritual values for the common good of society,” the bishops note in their letter. “We trust that you, like us, see the urgency to discern wisely the signs of the times and to “reset” our lives so that our collective experience in moving forward accords with the Gospel.”
WEEK 1: Inherent Dignity of Every Human Life
The situation of this pandemic invites us all to re-discover the inherent dignity of every human life and to re-awaken a sense of gratitude, affection and responsibility towards all people, particularly the most vulnerable in our society. #CatholicYYC
Moderator: Dr. Bonnie Annicchiarico (Director, Grateful Advocates for Catholic Education (GrACE)
Panelists: Patrick Dumelie (CEO, Covenant Health, Edmonton) Dr. Troy Davies (CEO, Catholic Social Services, Edmonton) David & Cathy Ann Bouchard (Magdalene House, Red Deer) Sr. Alinda (Mother Superior, Missionaries of Charity, St. Paul, AB)
Parishioners and all viewers are invited to respond to the prepared reflection questions or otherwise to send thoughts/comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Weekly reflections (PDF) can be downloaded with the links below:
Download Weekly Reflection en francais
Watch Discussion PanelsParishioners and all viewers will be invited to respond to the prepared reflection questions or otherwise to send thoughts/comments to email@example.com
Wednesday, September 16, 2020 is Mexico's Independence Day!
To celebrate and to help support Mission Mexico, an outreach program of the Diocese of Calgary, from September 14 through to September 20, the following Mexican Restaurants are collecting donations. We encourage everyone to support these great restaurants (even if its just through take out or delivery) and also support Mission Mexico. Through this initiative, you are helping support not only our these local restaurants by eating their fantastic food, but you are also able to support the dignity-affirming projects that Mission Mexico carries out in one of the poorest regions of the world, helping improve the education, health care, human rights, women's rights, and the youth in building a better future in Southern Mexico.
Thank you sponsors!
The baptism of James Rory Penfold at Sacred Heart Parish, Calgary, August 2020
Photo courtesy of Sacred Heart Parish, Calgary
First Communion of Nadine Canarejo from St. Gabriel Parish in Chestermere
Photo submitted by Fr. James Hagel
Baptism of baby Adelaide Hope Wong at St. Joseph's Parish in Calgary, June 2020.
Photo courtesy of Eleanor Wong
First Communion Celebration at Ascension Parish in Calgary, July 2020
Photo courtesy of Ascension Parish
RCIA Celebration at Ascension Parish in Calgary, June 2020
Photos courtesy of Ascension Parish
To send, or not to send? That is the question many families have been faced with during this back-to-school season.
Covid-19 has prompted parents to either stay the course with adjustments or try something new.
The answer is going to look different than usual for our family. My husband and I decided to homeschool instead of sending our three eldest children back to the local Catholic school.
It was a painstakingly difficult decision. I can’t count the sleepless nights or time I’ve spent analyzing all the angles. I finally surrendered my doubts and fears during an hour of Eucharistic Adoration before the Lord in prayer.
My husband works from home and I am a stay-at-home mother. We have been gifted with five children ages 9, 8, 6, 3 and 10 months. Given such unusual times we decided to continue cohorting together, trying to build up our family identity.
Am I worried my children will miss seeing their friends as often? Yes. Or fall behind in school? Yup. Am I hopeful my children will become each other’s best friends? Indeed. Or that the individual attention I can give will meet their individual needs? I pray, yes. Do I worry I am not enough for my children? Big time. Will I ever be enough for my children? No. Only God is enough.
My goal this year is to see just how weak I can be; how dependent on God I am willing to become for my strength; how low can I humbly go so God can raise our family up to give Him glory. I expect this to be a difficult year, and a holy year filled with joys and surprises. I hope we can follow our passions, so we can more clearly see the mission and purpose God has for our lives. I hope we can remain in search of the face of God in one another and together we can each transform into people more fully alive and share this joy with our community.
Angela and Justin Stastook, parishioners with St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Airdrie, thoughtfully discerned another course of action –– to send their two children back to school. When I spoke with Angela it was clear she and her husband had also carefully weighed all their options.
“There is no correct option, no best option, just options and dealing with them as best you can,” said Angela. “We pray things turn out positively. I pray every day that things get back to normal and we can defeat this (pandemic).”
The couple discerned they needed to keep their dual income, and it wasn’t feasible to facilitate online schooling while trying to work from home. They also thought sending their children to school with friends would improve their mental health.
“The hardest part is we are not going to know. In a month we will find out if it was a terrible decision or a good decision. For me, we can’t hide. We have to do our best to prepare our kids,” said Angela.
“My view of the mission was never not to catch Covid. Covid is here, people are going to get it. It’s just not to overwhelm the healthcare system.
Still, Angela worries about how schools are going to practically enforce social distancing to lessen the spread of Covid-19 and the pressure that enforcing all the safety protocols will place on teachers and administrators.
As vice principal of St. John Paul II Collegiate in Okotoks, Ryan Fox is excited to welcome students back to school and has been working every angle to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible.
“The presence of kids in our building is what feeds us as professionals and we've missed it so much.
However, “Teachers are about to become front line workers in an environment that is scary and stressful for a lot of them. Please be kind and understanding.”
As an administrator Fox is happy to field questions and concerns and he also encourages people to remain positive and even offer a bit of cheerleading.
“Offer suggestions if you have some, recognizing we are mentally exhausting ourselves trying to figure this out from every angle. None of us is as smart as all of us!”
One way to reduce the stress on students is to reduce the stress on teachers and school staff.
“We are doing our absolute best based on the guidelines given to us by our health authority to redesign our entire operations to keep kids and staff safe,” said Fox. “Hearing someone say, 'I'm glad you are doing what you are doing for our kids' goes a long way to reduce stress.”
Fox encourages everyone to be loving and compassionate and merciful. “We all need each other’s mercy. God is with all of us through this.”
Written by Sara Francis for Faithfully. Sara is a writer living in Calgary with her husband Ben and their five children. They attend St. Bernard's / Our Lady of the Assumption Parish.
The ecumenical Season of Creation is observed annually from September 1, the World Day of Prayer for Creation, to October 4, the Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi. Christians and peoples of faith around the world are invited to pray in thanksgiving for God’s gift of creation.
This year, the Season of Creation occurs in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that is impacting worldwide in ways that are inextricably interconnected to the care of creation and the health of humanity. The Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si, echoes this interconnection.
“Everything is connected. Concern for the environment thus needs to be joined to a sincere love for our fellow human beings and an unwavering commitment to resolving the problems of society.” – Laudato Si, No. 91.
In March of this year Pope Francis asked the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (“DPIHD”) to collaboratively create a Commission to communicate the Church’s concern for the human family facing the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, to reflect on the emerging socio-economic-cultural dynamics, and to research and propose timely approaches to move forward. In May, I was invited to be one of twenty participants from Canada and the United States to provide feedback to this newly formed Commission.
The Dicastery has now established a Vatican COVID-19 Commission with five Work Groups:
In this time of pandemic, we are admittedly being challenged and yet history reveals that it is often in such times of adversity that the resiliency and determination of the human spirit emerges and through God’s grace, people of faith accomplish good works. In that spirit of confidence and hope, Pope Francis’ message reflects upon the theme for the 2020 Season of Creation, Jubilee for the Earth, as a time to remember, to return, to rest, to restore and to rejoice:
If these initiatives aren’t enough, we also have in this Season of Creation two events in late September and one in early October that call us to action, to conversion and renewal through the understanding and application of our Catholic Social Teaching.
The first is the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. Pope Francis’ message for the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Forced like Jesus Christ to flee draws attention to the burdens faced by migrants and refugees and the responsibility to provide refuge. He states, “I have decided to devote this Message to the drama of internally displaced persons, an often unseen tragedy that the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated. In fact, due to its virulence, severity and geographical extent, this crisis has impacted on many other humanitarian emergencies that affect millions of people, which has relegated to the bottom of national political agendas those urgent international efforts essential to saving lives. But “this is not a time for forgetfulness. The crisis we are facing should not make us forget the many other crises that bring suffering to so many people.”
The second is the release of an Alberta Bishop’s Pastoral Statement on the Impact of COVID-19 and the Call to Christian Renewal on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. It is entitled “Save your people, O Lord, and bless your inheritance”. There are reflections and resources that accompany the statement which are designed to promote dialogue on the social justice issues that have surfaced during the pandemic in light of the principles of our Catholic Social Teaching.
The third event is the publication on the eve of the Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi of a new encyclical which will reflect upon the Catholic Social Teachings during the pandemic – teachings such as human fraternity, the equal dignity of all people, the preferential option for the poor, the common good, solidarity among all peoples, the responsible care of the environment, and the virtue of striving for justice and peace.
Now more than ever we need to relate to one another as sisters and brothers in one global human family. We are called to recognize the responsibilities we have to each other, and take an active role in helping each person achieve their full potential. And in this Season of Creation, we are being called to live as responsible stewards of creation and thus to see the reflection of God in all of creation.
God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth,
for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money
that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good, advance the weak,
and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light,
help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future,
for the coming of your Kingdom
of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you! Amen.
(Pope Francis, Laudato Si, May 24, 2015)
At the age of 11 was the first time I was exposed to suicide. A young man from our small rural church was reported missing. The men in our community gathered together to search for him, and my father found him. He had taken his life. Almost 5 decades have passed and suicide has continued to be part of my life through various avenues; the attempts of family members, the loss of a family member to suicide, numerous clients who have struggled with despair and suicidal ideation, and the poignant journey of traveling with families who are learning to live with these tragic losses. Fast forward to fall 2020 and suicide is still a grave concern.
A year ago, most of us had not heard the acronym - COVID-19. Today it is the topic of conversations especially as we transition back to school and work places. The landscape of social interaction has been altered. In Canada, we had never experienced a global pandemic and its consequences; we were unable to organize to change in a satisfactory way because change occurred frequently with little warning and minimal personal control. We could only react, and many experienced crisis like job loss.
Two things we know occurs in the aftermath of a disaster - a baby boom (memes suggest the babies born next spring might be referred to as Zoomers or Coronials), and an increase in mental health concerns. The Canadian Poverty Institute has completed a thorough review of the COVID 19’s impact on mental health to date. See report here.
Their research revealed an increase in anxiety from 5-20% and depression from 4-10%. The Distress Centre in Calgary reported a 94% increase in calls in June of 2020 compared to June of 2019. There has also been an increase in suicide related contacts. Research suggests that persons who have experienced reduced income or unemployment, have pre-existing mental health conditions or are front line workers are at a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and attempts. Other psycho-social factors impacting suicidal ideation and attempts are concern for family members, self isolation, family violence, and social media and news exposure. Social media/news, family violence and loss of routine increase concern for children, and the elderly or convalesced persons were also labelled as high risk groups. The events that led to racism awareness superimposed further stress on an already vulnerable society even though racism reduction is also a grave concern.
This information suggests that all of us have been impacted or know someone who may have been negatively impacted by COVID 19. Loving our neighbour at this time involves checking with those we know and asking how they are doing. If you suspect someone may be at risk of harming themselves, it is important to ask specific questions. Emotions deemed concerning are despair, anger and loneliness. If persons seem to be withdrawing, or are quarantining check in to see how they are coping. Connection with another person even if it is electronic can make a significant difference in someone’s experience of isolation.
As for ourselves and family, recognizing and implementing resiliency based practices help maintain our wellness and perseverance.
First, manage our expectations of self and others. The increased stress means most people are probably functioning 5-10% below normal capacity - be charitable - we are all in this together.
Second, balance our activities/work with ones that restore like exercise, play, prayer, or contemplation.
Third, establishing rituals that create routine and predictability such as family game night, attending mass, devotional or reading, or pizza nights. When change is unpredictable without an identifiable end - rituals/routines helps us stay oriented and future focused.
Fourthly, minimize manageable stressors such as reducing social media and news exposure.
Finally, if you notice that yourself or someone close to you seems persistently stressed, please consider connecting with professional resources. These include but are not limited to a spiritual director, your pastor, an agency like Catholic Family Services (Rapid Access Counselling program), The Distress Centre or a therapist in private practice (or you can go to Psychology Today and put in your preferences for a therapist and a list is generated).
Today, on World Suicide Prevention Day, let us pray that through love of neighbour we can continue to interrupt the desire that suicide is a solution to overwhelming change and stress. May God look with mercy on all whose afflictions bring them distress, confusion and isolation, and may God give to them understanding helpers and the willingness to accept help.
The contents of the backpack were easy to take out. A change of clothes, some carefully-chosen toiletries, a hand-written card and a hand-made bracelet. “They were also life-changing”, says one of the first women, a survivor, to receive one of the specially-prepared backpacks assembled by caring members of St. Michael’s council of the Catholic Women’s League.
The woman received the backpack when she arrived at RESET, a Calgary-based agency that helps women ages 16 and older escape sexual exploitation and trafficking. Bringing nothing but the jeans and T-shirt she’d worn for three days, the woman says she, “can’t put into words how much it meant to have something to change into. I cried when I read the card, and wore the bracelet on my ankle for three straight months. It’s now hanging on my wall.”
St. Michael’s CWL, with help from councils at Holy Name, Holy Spirit, St. Peter’s, St. Bonaventure and St. Albert the Great, launched the IWIN – I’m Worth It Now backpack initiative in late 2019. IWIN has already distributed eight of its first 12 packs in partnership with Calgary Police Service and RESET Society of Calgary (formerly Servants Anonymous). Another 18 will be assembled this year, says project lead Kristin Fahlman.
Kristin had previously participated in a project to combat human trafficking overseas and had learned of a similar backpack program operating in Florida, but did not know of the need to help survivors here. After attending a local conference about human trafficking in Canada, she knew God was calling her to take local action to address this issue.
When the conference ended, the Holy Spirit led her to Detective Paul Rubner, a Calgary Police Service officer who works on the front lines of human trafficking in Calgary. “I introduced myself and explained my idea. He was extremely enthusiastic and, as it turns out, he was the key person in Calgary who would know how to implement distribution system for the backpacks.”
Research shows human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing crimes in Canada, affecting people from all walks of life. It is also one of the most lucrative of criminal activities, with traffickers profiting up to $600,000 per victim, per year.
“We chose the name IWIN because we want survivors to know that they are worthy; worthy right at this very moment. It doesn’t matter what their past looks like. It doesn’t matter if they have plans for their future or not. They are worthy of love and respect,” says Kristin.
Each backpack is linked to a “prayer warrior” who receives a bracelet that matches one in a backpack. Survivors are told that someone else has a matching bracelet—and is now linked to them in prayer.
The next group of backpacks will also include hand-made reusable face-masks made by CWL members. “Two masks were added to each of the remaining packs and the plan is to include them in all future backpacks,” explains Kristin.
To learn more about IWIN and how you can assist, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edited by Joy Gregory for Faithfully, on behalf of the Catholic Women's League.
Photos submitted by Jan Myhre, Calgary Diocesan CWL.
Anyone who knows me well knows I love salty snacks. My appetite for salty snacks is insatiable. In accepting the invitation to write for Faithfully, I would wager that my journey as a Catholic educator is much like my fanaticism of salty snacks; I am always left thirsting for more.
My journey began at home. My parents instilled sound Catholic roots. We were a hybrid family of sorts as my mother’s family practiced in the Ukrainian Catholic tradition; Dad’s family practiced in the Roman Catholic rite. We had well-rounded faith experiences and traditions that I grew to love and yearn for after I left home. My children grew up in a small Northern BC parish. During those years I was teaching in the public school system as the advantage to attend Catholic school for my children was a 90-minute bus ride one way. However, during those years I worked alongside a wonderful vice principal who happened to be the deacon of the local Anglican parish; a drought for theology and learning about faith was non-existent.
Fast forward 20 years later, I have been blessed to teach with STAR Catholic Schools (Leduc) and it’s as if my craving won’t diminish. I am constantly seeking out ways to improve my craft; there is joy in those moments. I love witnessing others, especially students, on their journey toward Christ.
Two years ago when my superintendent came to the school to tell me that the division selected me for the CCSSA Excellence in Catholic Education Award I was so stunned I cried. Receiving recognition for a faith that I boldly and proudly share is one of my greatest treasures. Evangelization comes in many forms. It is touching that the Division claims I am influential in modelling our faith. When Administration say my work is all done in His name, I know I am at home. Catholic Education is meant for me.
In January 2019 our Division set out on our GrACE journey. Since then, I’ve lost track of how often people inquire if I am involved in GrACE because it is “perfect for you!” The legacy we have in free publicly funded Catholic Education in Alberta is undeniably one of the best gifts. Our schools are deeply faith-filled, our teachers are models of the faith; our parishes are the backbone of our faith communities. It takes seconds to share a meaningful message about our Catholic identity. Although a journey in faith requires a daily commitment, one that for me seamlessly occurs, opportunity awaits. Be bold, be brave, share your love for Catholic Education.
Yes, I’m still thirsting for more. I don’t know if it has something to do with the ‘cheezies’ I ate while writing this article, or truly I am ‘salt of the earth’; called by Christ to be salt of the earth and light to the world (Matthew 5: 13). Be influential, be an advocate, and share your story. Be a Grateful Advocate for Catholic Education.
I moved to Edson in the summer of 1997, only days after my wedding, to join the Living Waters Family. I have been a proud member of this family ever since, working at both Vanier and Holy Redeemer. As an educator, I have never known working outside of a Catholic, faith-filled, school environment. Information on working in a non-Catholic school has only come to me from conversations with other teachers, parents, students and my own personal observations. All I can say for certain is that the “feeling” when entering a Catholic School is unique from entering any other school. No matter where the school is, that feeling is unmistakable.
On September 25th, 2014 I experienced one of the darkest days of my life. A close friend, who was also a former staff member and wife to a current staff member, passed away suddenly. I wish I was a gifted enough writer to properly convey the loss that I felt that day for our school community, my family and friends, myself and her husband. I was devastated. When I arrived at work shortly after 8 am that morning I was immediately met by weeping students and staff members. Never before had I felt such sadness and loss.
As I made my way through the foyer, I saw something I will never forget and to this day brings a smile to my face. Our Superintendent and her Deputy Superintendent were there offering condolences to staff and students. They probably didn’t hear the news until 6 am that morning and drove to Edson (an hour drive) before I was even able to make it to the school, to be with us in our time of grief. I honestly can’t remember what they said to me that day but I clearly remember the feeling; the feeling that God is with us and that, eventually, we’d be ok.
We have a chapel in our Catholic school, which was a great source of comfort for me. Over the next days and weeks, I would spend a few minutes at the beginning and end of the day sitting in quiet, sobbing, reflection. As I sat there suffering, Jesus was there too suffering on the cross with me and for a few moments each day, I didn’t feel alone.
Our Principal, who is a deeply religious man, was also a great source of comfort to me. He and I engaged in many conversations about life and death throughout that school year. Listening to him talk about his faith helped me to heal from this great loss. I can really never thank him enough for that time, and since he retired, I miss our theological talks.
Would any of this be possible in a non-Catholic school? Of course. Catholics are not the sole custodians of empathy and compassion. However, the fact that we can bring faith into our grieving process for our staff and students cannot be overstated. It helped me immensely and I cannot imagine what that time would have been like for me without my Living Waters Family.
Pope Francis releases a video message accompanying his prayer intention for September, which this month is for respect for the planet’s resources: that we “take care of Creation responsibly”.
We are squeezing out the planet’s goods. Squeezing them out, as if the earth were an orange. Countries and businesses from the global north have enriched themselves by exploiting the natural resources of the south, creating an “ecological debt.” Who is going to pay this debt?
In addition, this “ecological debt” is increased when multinationals do abroad what they would never be allowed to do in their own countries. It’s outrageous. Today, not tomorrow; today, we have to take care of Creation responsibly.
Let us pray that the planet’s resources will not be plundered, but shared in a just and respectful manner.
No to plundering; yes to sharing.
Each year, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation is observed on September 1. The international celebration marks the beginning of the Season of Creation, which extends to 4 October, the feast of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of ecology.
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There was a mountain of laundry.
“What a cliché,” I thought as I begrudgingly grabbed some little-boy pants and started to fold. I stood there, barefoot, pregnant with our fifth child, and supremely irritated at the mundane task before me.
“I’m a cliche,” I thought bitterly as I continued to fold and form large piles of the clothing I’d washed for my family. The negative thoughts about housewifery and motherhood continued to spiral around me as I experienced what I now realize was one of the lowest moments of pre-natal depression.
Then, as I progressed through little pairs of jeans and t-shirts and mismatched socks, I started to uncover a piece of paper I’d stuck to the laundry room wall months before: “Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,” read the Memorare in my own handwriting, “that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession was left unaided…” I might have dropped an expletive. I was not having a receptive moment. Probably I was more of a Zachariah, liable to be struck dumb for my doubt than like a Blessed Virgin, who immediately opened her womb up to God, proclaiming herself the handmaid of the Lord.
I prayed the Memorare that day with the laundry, feeling a bit sheepish about my initial reaction. However, that’s exactly why I have placed that card in the laundry room, because I know that it is during loathed tasks that I need reminding of God’s grace. I ran and got the statue of Mary that had been my great-grandmother’s and decided she might do more good there instead of on my dresser upstairs.
Sacred Art at the Dinner Table
The texts, statues and images I have around my home are attempts to redirect my focus back to the heart of God, and I can’t help but think of the art of the churches I’ve visited throughout my life. As I am distracted at Mass by any number of things that might befall a mother of five, I see the vivid depictions of the Stations of the Cross and my mind is bounced back to the holy.
Afterall, that is the purpose of Sacred Art – our statues, paintings and other works that can be found not only in church, but in our homes – which the Catechism of the Catholic Church says “draws man to adoration, to prayer and to the love of God.” (CCC 2502)
Growing up, my mom shared her love of beautiful art with us. As a convert to Catholicism, her appreciation for depictions of Christ or beautiful images of the Holy Family or the Blessed Virgin translated into incorporation of sacred art into our décor. The collection grew to the point where even an unobservant stranger couldn’t walk into our house and miss the fact that we were Catholics. Years later, I realized I’d followed in the tradition of my parents. A young friend of my oldest child sitting at the dinner table looked around at the décor, which includes two crucifixes, images of the Good Shepherd and the Annunciation, and a chalkboard featuring a quote from a saint or the Bible, and remarked, “You guys have lots of Catholic stuff here.”
That might be one of the moments that I realized that our home could be a place not only of welcoming, but of evangelism too, and if not that, at least a place where our visitors can see visible signs of the faith we try to live.
Our Lady of the Backyard
We are not unique of course, as Catholics worldwide “advertise” their faith with sacred imagery inside or outside the home or business or in their vehicle. From the art inside Rome’s catacombs, to traditional Byzantine iconography, and some more modern interpretations, faithful Catholics have created and displayed sacred art for centuries. Outside of many churches, you can find examples of statues of Christ, Mary, and the saints providing us with beautiful places to stop and pray.
As I reflect on that, I think about the perception of people of faith throughout the world. Non-Christians express that the Church is to them an antiquated and sinking ship; feminists look at us as a sign of a patriarchy they want to demolish, and people of all kinds see our statues and art as signs of misplaced authority and abusive power. Though we want these misconceptions to be cleared up, I think we know that it isn’t enough to simply display sacred art, we need to be pointing with our very lives to the love of God.
In the meantime, perhaps we may become bolder in our use of the images that point to our love of God. When we moved to our home nine years ago, I shared the dream of a little Marian shrine and garden modelled after little grottos I’d seen in other people’s yards. Finally, when the Covid-19 pandemic had us all at home, my husband Joseph got to work building our now much-loved stone grotto, complete with a handmade wooden version of Our Lady.
Our Lady of the Assumption and of Our Hearts
With the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary coming up on August 15, this has me thinking of ways we can celebrate this new space as a family. We’ve braved the mosquitos to pray a rosary there, and also a few family prayer sessions on particularly hot evenings. In times of unrest, that is where I’ve gone this summer instead of my bedroom. To highlight the summer of newfound worship space, perhaps a crowning of our statue is in order, with the kids processing in song along with something simple like angel food cake or some other favourite celebratory food.
Though I’m sure our neighbours understood that we were Catholics before, this permanent fixture that can be spied over the fence has given us a few small opportunities to confirm it. Now, because we’ve overtly announced it, I am conscious of the path I must follow to strengthen my faith and the faith of my children so that our neighbours don’t see a statue signifying our devotion but also see a bunch of hypocrites. This is not to say we act perfectly all the time, and certainly we don’t need to put on a show of perfection for our neighbourhood (don’t worry – we’ve shattered any grand illusions with our boisterous crew and hot tempers), but the overt sign inspires me to make efforts to strive for our faith to flourish inside our home too.
Through this writing, I am humbled to realize how far I have yet to go. Certainly, I’ve padded the image of myself as a faithful church-lady with art and statues but be assured that this church-lady needs all the grace she can get. In these times of pandemic and the uncertainty it brings, a little wavering and questioning is to be expected, but I’ll confess that sometimes I have utterly failed to point the way to Christ in my own family. Without airing too much dirty laundry, I am reminded that Our Lady probably didn’t have tantrums demanding that St. Joseph “just take Jesus and go!” This is exactly why I need the reminders all around me, because even when I am failing, God is not. He is faithful, and in spite of my frequent need to stalk out to my garden lately to air my grievances, I know deep down that Our Blessed Mother only wants me to know His faithfulness too.
Written by Jessica Cyr for Faithfully. Jessica is a mom of five who attends St. Bernard’s parish in Calgary, AB.
For the August edition of Faithfully, we asked sacred artist Maria Muszynski, founding member of Sacred Guild of Alberta, a Lay Association in the Diocese of Calgary, to share about her journey in the sacred arts.
Why becoming a sacred artist?
I was born an artist. But why the sacred arts? I have been journeying towards this path my whole life. A journey shaped by childhood experiences, unexpected circumstances, and twists of fate.
My father was a Polish soldier who fought with the Allied army and my mother was a refugee in a displaced persons camp. After the war, by chance, they both decided to settle in Calgary. My mother converted to Catholic Christianity when she agreed to marry my father. Mother’s side of the family were Russian Orthodox and we celebrated Christmas and Easter (twice!) with the extended family. On occasion I attended the All Saints Russian Orthodox Church and feasted my eyes on the iconostasis which separated the sanctuary from the nave. From the cadence and the passion of the choral voices singing the liturgy in the loft, to the intense images that were illuminated by hundreds of candles lit by the faithful – all of these elements left an indelible impression that shaped my sensibilities and my soul.
In comparison, the Queen of Peace Polish Catholic Church - which was the church we attended - was innovative on the outside (built in 1968 and shaped like a gleaming white teepee) but bereft of warmth inside because of its plain concrete walls and lack of imagery (minimalism and constructivism was “in”). Only a framed copy of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, Queen of Poland, resided above the altar. Over the years, as the population of Polish immigrants increased, many contributed their talents to the beautification of the church. Today the stained-glass windows, once plain, resonate with stories while the walls are warmed with carved traditional architectural features and religious imagery. It is a testament to the transformational power of art and faith.
I began my personal journey into the sacred arts when St. Mary’s University offered a Sacred Arts certificate program. The first course I took was Painting in the Western Renaissance Tradition. Other courses followed – traditional iconography, calligraphy and illumination, and even stained glass. A trip to Italy to see the glories of Rome, Florence and Ravenna was a special highlight. In 2014, I was one of 5 students to complete the requirements for the certificate in the Foundations of Sacred Art. The Sacred Arts Guild of Alberta (SAGA) was conceived by a handful of like-minded souls who wished to delve even deeper. SAGA brings in local and international specialists in illumination, iconography, calligraphy, sculpture - and in the near future Byzantine mosaic - to nourish the skills and spirits of our guild membership leading to a wonderful resurgence in the creation of sacred arts here in Alberta.
Share about other artists who inspired you
My journey has taken me through many mentors most notably iconographer Peter Murphy, David Clayton (The Way of Beauty) and the brilliant illuminator Jeb Gibbons. I am also inspired by the traditional work of Aidan Hart, and the contemporary style of Philip Davydov, among others. I am drawn both to the classical Greek/Byzantine and Romanesque style of icons, and to Marian images in particular because of my Polish heritage. Like Saint John Paul, faith in Mary kept me strong through many trials and tribulations including surviving cancer.
Sacred art is not ‘art’, it is theology, it is a way of praying and connecting with God and all His wonderful creation. I am humbled that people have expressed their admiration of what I do, but I thank the spirit of God who moves through me when I sit and begin the first line. Every stroke is meditative and reflective and prayerful. It is an act of salvation, my connection to the divine. Peter Murphy and Aidan Hart believe that a fragment of heavenly reality is revealed within the sacred image, as it is revealed in the holy Scriptures and through the blessed sacrament. It is ‘extraordinary’ in every sense of the word.
Any advice for novices in sacred art?
The best advice for beginning sacred artists is to be mindful while you are working – hold the focus and pray. Breathe. Practice your drawing skills which is key. Find a good teacher or mentor who inspires you. Learn from everyone you can and practice. The typical stereotype of the hermit monk writing icons alone in his hovel does not fit today, so find and join a community of similar-minded artists. And practice more. Do not worry about the medium you use because it is the message of the image and the intent of the artist that are more important.
Writing an icon is like praying twice. “Lord Jesus Christ, God of all, enlighten us, imbue the soul, the heart, the intellect of Your servant.” So begins the iconographer’s prayer. And is it still relevant today? In the age of Covid-19 and all its’ uncertainties and anxieties - more than ever.
The joy of our Catholic Faith cannot be hidden. It naturally flows from the conviction of the heart and the mind and shows itself in the choices we make and in what others may perceive of us.
Our Lord says in Matthew 5:14-16, "You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven."
Even if we may be persecuted for naturally showing our personal beliefs, we must be ready to show and explain the reason for our hope in Christ... and hopefully, through the way that we love.
"But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence."
Catholic Pastoral Centre Staff and Guest Writers