Jesus is with us till the ends of time!
I wanted to be in touch with you to share some important information:
1. April 26 is the Feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel. This title for Mary has its origins in the little town of Genazzano, Italy. It is reported that on the feast of St. Mark, April 25, 1467 the image appeared in the Church of Santa Maria in the town of Genazzano which is about 30 km south of Rome. Initially, the image of Mary and the Christ child was known as "La Madonna del Paradiso" but it is now known as "Madonna del Buon Consiglio". It is not known when the title was changed. We do know that on July 2, 1753 Pope Benedict XIV established the Pious Union of Our Lady of Good Counsel of which he was a founding member! The Catholic Women's League of Canada have our Lady of Good Counsel as their Patroness!
This Sunday, the Third Sunday of Easter is April 26th. The Sunday celebration takes priority and so there is no official mention of this Feast in our liturgical calendar. In our Sunday mass, I will remember and invite us to pray for the CWL members of the Diocese of Prince Albert. Let us pray especially for them, for all CWL members and for the work they do on behalf of the people of Canada and of the Church!
2. During the week of April 27 - May 1st and May 4th the Parish Office will only be open from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm as Fr. Doug is on retreat! Fr. Doug will return to regular office hours on May 5th!
3. During Fr. Doug's retreat masses will continue to be celebrated at their usual time and live-streamed on Facebook!
4. If you are able to make a donation to your parish during this time please do so! I want to thank those who have mailed in or dropped off donations! A word of thanks also to those who are registered for Pre-Authorized Withdrawals! If you need to make adjustments to your pre-authorized payments because your income has changed please be in touch with us!
5. As spring comes and as our Church yard dries out we need to clean up the Church yard and we need to think about planting some flowers! Now is a good time to start thinking about how we might beautify our Church yard!
6. Thanks to all of you who are self-isolating and are working hard to keep yourself, your family and our community safe! Keep up the good work!
Each year the Diocesan priests in the Diocese of Prince Albert gather for a 5-day retreat. As a Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate our Rule of Life (Constitution 35) states that, “To put ourselves increasingly at the service of God in his people, we will set aside special times each month and each year for deeper personal and community prayer, for reflection and renewal. One week each year will be spent in retreat. Fraternal gatherings and an exchange on apostolic experiences could well precede or follow the retreat.”
For the last 20 years or so it has been my custom to make an 8-day Ignatian retreat. Earlier in the year I had plans to do so in mid-May. Given that things are a little more quiet now and given that there might be some possibility of movement later in May, I have decided to make my retreat here in Meadow Lake at the Parish Rectory from April 27 to May 4 inclusive.
What does that mean?
I will not be in the Parish Office from April 27-May 4.
I will continue to celebrate daily/Sunday mass at the usual times, live-streaming to Facebook and posting it on our Parish Website.
I will not be responding to Facebook posts, messages, comments etc. or adding other content to the website or to Facebook until my retreat is over.
I will not be responding to cell phone calls, text messages or emails.
I will be in touch with Raymond, our Parish Secretary for emergencies only. An emergency would include anointing someone in danger of death as per hospital protocols or a request for a funeral.
What do I do on retreat?
I will spend my day reading, reflecting, praying, listening to a retreat speaker, walking, doing normal housework and resting.
I will leave my computer and cell phone aside.
My TV will remain silent.
I will try to enter into a deeper silence and solitude that I may listen more closely to the voice of the Lord.
I ask that you pray for me during this time that I might become more and more an intentional disciple of Christ and a servant of God’s holy people. I assure you that I will be praying for you and the whole of our world as we live this most unique moment of our history!
4/21/2020 0 Comments
Praying in a time of Tragedy
I suspect that most of us have either read about or heard about the tragedy in Nova Scotia where a man has murdered many people. Some of the people were known to him and some were not. The death toll is not yet certain but as of this morning it is somewhere around twenty people. Twenty people who died for no apparent reason. People who died because they were in the path of someone who was determined to destroy life!
Will we ever know what caused him to do what he has done? I am not sure that there is any evidence at this point to explain why this man has done what he has done. It is certainly not the act of a rational person but suggests a mental illness of some sort. There is no law that can protect us from people who do such things. Yes, we can limit access to guns – a reasonable thing to do. Yes, we can have mental health checks for those who want to own guns - a reasonable thing to do. Yes, we can educate people on the proper use and storage of guns - a reasonable thing to do. In the end, there is a clash between reason and the acts of someone who is no longer motivated by the reason or the logic that benefits the common good. There are no perfect solutions to assure that such events as this event in Nova Scotia never take place. We, all of us, are vulnerable to the unexpected violence of people we know and of people we do not know. We can reduce the probability of something happening, but we can never make that probability zero.
What do we do now? I think there are gestures that we as people of faith can do to support people who are struggling. The first gesture is reflected in the first reading from our mass today. We need to reach out and care for one another. It is not a grand gesture - it is a small thing. We need to be concerned about the well being of each other. It does not mean taking over someone’s life – it does mean reaching out and expressing care and concern for the other. Little gestures of kindness ground us and remind us that we matter. When we care for one another we can also notice when a friend or family member is struggling. We are in a place where we can support and care for them.
Having said that, it is true there are times when there is nothing we can do. This type of helplessness touches us and frustrates us and can lead to anger, resentment, paralysis, thoughtful action or in-your-face behaviors or even further violence. At times our only recourse is to do the best that we can do given all the information we have, ask for help and ask God to intervene. Today, there is much sadness in the lives of countless people as a result of what happened. The impact of this tragedy reverberates across the country and around the world.
I suspect that many people will place this event in the hands of God. Some will lobby governments to do something. Some will feel shame and sit in silence. Some will blame others. At moments like this there is something that we as believers can do! We can do what the followers of Jesus did following his arrest – we can accompany those who suffer. As believers let us do what we can to alleviate the suffering of those who have been touched by this tragedy and secondly, let us place this event into the hands of God and listen for the wisdom that comes from the God who loves us.
I have no idea what God will say to us who pause to listen. I suspect God will speak different things to different people. We know the Holy Spirit is at work in the world. We know that the Holy Spirit does different things in different people, always building up the Body of Christ. The response we hear in prayer will always be about creating, sustaining and nurturing life. God will never invite us to destroy life! The passion of our God if for life! God is constantly calling us to move towards the light and the life that is around us!
As the details of this tragedy become known I invite us to sit before our God and pose this question: God, what will you have me do? As you listen, notice that God will always affirm and encourage gestures that support life! From chaos comes order, from individualism comes community, from death comes life, from Good Friday comes Easter Sunday. May we take the time to listen and discover the new life that will flow from this tragedy. As certain as there is a sunrise, so too will there be new life. Let us seek it with our whole heart!
4/13/2020 0 Comments
Easter Week - Monday
The City of Meadow Lake could use our help! If you can help please be in touch with Neil! He sent this email to me asking for our assistance!
Here's what we are looking for on Tuesday.
The project is to deliver a bag of informational items to every residential door in town (The information is related to coping with the pandemic, and also general emergency preparedness).
We need people to deliver these packages along an assigned route, starting at about 10AM Tuesday and carrying on till it's done. We'll try to set up the routes so that each one is do-able in an hour or two, and we'll stagger shifts throughout the day so as to minimize congestion at the pickup point.
Delivery does not involve any contact with residents: you just hang a bag on the doorknob or mailbox and then go on to the next house. No knocking, no need to talk to anyone.
Specific instructions will be provided, and our top priority is protecting everyone's safety from any chance of contagion.
Two people from one household, plus a vehicle, would make an ideal delivery team: one person driving, one delivering.
(As an option, people are encouraged to wear the identifying vest or uniform of their organization - K of C for example - if they have such)
People interested in either assignment can send please me an email (email@example.com) or text me 306-236-7139 and tell me what time on Tuesday they would like to start.
We really, truly appreciate people giving their time to help with this!
Fire Chief / Deputy EMO Coordinator
City of Meadow Lake
4/11/2020 0 Comments
Holy Saturday, April 11, 2020
Good afternoon folks!
I hope that this Holy Saturday has been a blessed time for you! No doubt it is different from most of the Saturdays that we have had in our lives! I am missing the preparation that usually comes with this day! I am happy though for the time to explore how God has been present in my past. I appreciate also the opportunity to explore how God is active in this present moment and I have wondered how I/we might nurture hope in the God who promises us new life!
I have no idea what the future holds but I continue to remind myself of the faithfulness of God and the desire of God that we may have life and have it abundantly!
I have been flipping through our hymn books and was reminded of this beautiful song and the times I have heard it presented! Here is a powerful version that nurtures hope and reminds me of the goodness of God!
4/9/2020 0 Comments
Normally our parish and our diocese are sustained because of our Sunday collections. Since we have not been gathering as a faith community our income has seriously declined. Given the restrictions by our Sask Health Authority and the Provincial Government many of you have been unable to work and are unable to make donations. I understand that very well. Please remember us in your prayer.
Some are still able to contribute to our parish through the Automatic Withdrawal System that has been set up.
If you would like to sign up for Automatic Withdrawal please make use of the following form! If you would like to drop off your envelopes at the Parish Office please do so but remember our Parish Office hours. If you would like to mail in your donation envelopes please feel free to do that!
Any help that you can give the parish is really appreciated.
Development and Peace continues to seek your contributions as well. We missed this collection on the Fifth Sunday of Lent. Please feel free to send in your envelope and we will pass it along to Development and Peace!
Thanks for your generous contributions to our parish and to the various organizations who are reaching out their hands for your assistance at this time!
Our Lady of Peace Parish
504 – 3rd Ave East
Meadow Lake, SK S9X 1H5
Phone (306) 236-5122 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pre-Authorized Payment Authorization
New_________ Modify_________ Delete_________
Credit: Our Lady of Peace Parish
Financial Institution 003752 01578
Account Number 889
Trans Type: 10010 – 2461440
Debit: Name of Your Financial Institution: ________________________________
Financial Institution Address: _____________________________________
Your Account Number: __________________________________________
Frequency of Withdrawal: __________________________(Weekly/Bi-weekly/Monthly)
Start Date: ______________________________________(Year/Month/Day)
Amount: ________________________________________(Canadian dollars)
Expiry Date: _____________________________________(Year/Month/Day)
***************Please Attach Void Cheque*********************
Send Inquiries to: Pat Bencharski
Our Lady of Peace Parish
504 – 3rd Ave East
Meadow Lake, SK S9X 1H5
Phone: (306) 236-5122
Thank you for your support of Our Lady of Peace Parish!
4/9/2020 0 Comments
Today is Holy Thursday! Tonight we will celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper! This will be the first time in my 37 years as a priest that I will not be able to celebrate this mass with a congregation! This is a first time! The washing of feet is an optional ritual in the liturgy but for me it is an essential reminder that I am at the service of the People of God. After reading John's account of the washing of feet (John 13) it clear to us that we had better not forget it. John does not share the details of the Institution of the Mass - he gives us great details around service - the washing of feet - take off your robes of power and authority and privilege, bend down and wash the feet of your brothers and sisters! In his time foot washing was done by slaves - the least important of the slaves! No action of service is out of bounds for us who serve the people of God!
Today, Thursday, April 9th the Parish Office will be closed until Monday, April 13th at 10:00 am.
It is never to late to drop off your contribution of Cans for "40 Cans for Lent"! Bring them in on Easter Monday!
You pay God a great compliment by asking great things of him! St. Theresa of Avila
4/6/2020 0 Comments
Monday of Holy Week
Parish Office Hours for Holy Week (April 6-9):
Raymond will be in the Office from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm Monday to Wednesday. He will not be in Thursday and Friday!
Fr. Doug will be in the Office from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm Monday to Thursday. He will be available on his cell phone outside office hours.
The first week of Easter (April 13-17) the Parish Office will be open as per usual!
4/3/2020 1 Comment
Palm Sunday of Holy Week
Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week.
For Catholics it is the 'heads up' liturgy that reminds us that we are entering into a very sacred time. If we don't know it yet this is a great reminder....
During this extraordinary time of COVID-19 restrictions we are trying to maintain our awareness of this sacred season.
Rituals, like praying the Stations of the Cross, fasting, special efforts at almsgiving and efforts to grow our faith lead us to a more profound celebration of the sacred mysteries of our faith.
In light of that we are gong to try to make palms available to our parishioners:
On Sunday, April 5th, palms will be distributed from the MAIN DOOR OF THE PARISH OFFICE. All people will be asked to REMAIN IN THE VEHICLE. Fr. Doug will 'glove up' and he will hand you a palm. We will try to maintain the appropriate distance. Fr. Doug will be available FROM 12:00 noon UNTIL 1:30 pm.
He will then travel to ST. JUDE'S, GREEN LAKE and offer palms FROM 2:30 UNTIL 3:30 pm from the back of his vehicle. Again people will be asked to REMAIN IN THEIR VEHICLE to receive the palm and then return home.
Let us continue to pray for one another as we enter into Holy Week in preparation for the Easter Triduum, the Great Three Days (sundown on Holy Thursday to sundown on Easter Sunday).
Hi! My name is Fr. Doug Jeffrey, OMI and I am the pastor of the Meadow Lake Cluster. I serve the faith communities of Our Lady of the Smile, Waterhen, St. Jude's, Green Lake and Our Lady of Peace, Meadow Lake. I arrived in the cluster on August 15th, 2019. You can see more information about me on the home page!