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Tuesday 19 May 2020


As we prepare for Pentecost Sunday in the Catholic Parish of St. Thomas More Church, Toronto, we ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in these uncertain times.

In particular, we pray that our parish may be used by the Holy Spirit to assist many on the journey that we walk together with our Lord Jesus who is present to us by the grace of the Holy Spirit in the Holy Eucharist and the sacraments that we share as members of the Body of Christ.

In the Name of the Father, + and of the Son, 
and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.

Each day, the Novena begins with this prayer:

O HOLY SPIRIT, our Lord and our God, we adore thee and humbly acknowledge here in thy sacred presence that we are nothing, and can do nothing, without thine operation within us. Come, great Paraclete, thou Father of the poor, thou Comforter of the blest, fulfill the promise of our Saviour, who would not leave us orphans. Enter our minds and hearts as thou didst descend on the day of Pentecost upon the Holy Mother of Jesus and upon his first disciples. Grant that we may have a part in those gifts which thou didst so graciously bestow upon them.

Take from our hearts all that is not pleasing to thee and make of them a worthy dwelling-place for Jesus. Illumine our minds, that we may see and understand the things that are for our eternal welfare. Inflame our hearts with the pure love of the Father, that, cleansed from attachments to all unworthy objects, our lives may be hidden with Jesus in God. Strengthen our wills, that they may be conformed to the will of our Creator and guided by thy holy inspirations. Aid us to practice the heavenly virtues of humility, poverty, and obedience which are taught to us in the earthly life of Jesus.

Descend upon us, O mighty Spirit, that, inspired and encouraged by thee, we may faithfully fulfill the duties of our various states in life, carry our particular crosses with patience and courage, and accomplish the Father's will for us more perfectly. Make us, day by day, more holy and give to us that heavenly peace which the world cannot give.

O Holy Spirit, thou Giver of every good and perfect gift, grant to us the special intentions of this novena of prayer. May the Father's will be done in us and through us; and mayest thou, O mighty Spirit of the living God, be praised and glorified for ever and ever. Amen.

Here is said or sung the Veni Creator Spiritus:

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,

and lighten with celestial fire,

thou the anointing Spirit art,

who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.

Thy blesséd unction from above, 

is comfort, life, and fire of love,

enable with perpetual light

the dullness of our blinded sight.

Anoint and cheer our soiled face

with the abundance of thy grace.

Keep far our foes, give peace at home;

where thou art Guide, no ill can come.

Teach us to know the Father, Son,

and thee, of both, to be but One;

that through the ages all along,

this may be our endless song:

Praise to thine eternal merit,

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

OUR FATHER, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy Name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

HAIL MARY, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Here is said the Proper Prayer for the Day:


Come, O Holy Ghost, the Lord and Lifegiver; take up thy dwelling within our souls, and make of them thy sacred home. Make us live by grace as adopted children of God. Pervade all the energies of our souls, and create in us fountains of living water, springing up unto eternal life.


Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to our souls the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, and power, and beauty. Teach us to love them above and beyond all the passing joys and satisfactions of earth. Show us the way by which we may be able to attain to them, and possess them, and hold them hereafter, our own forever.


Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation, and may merit at last to see the eternal light in thy light; and in the light of glory to have the clear vision of thee and the Father and the Son.


Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide us in all our ways, that we may always do thy holy will. Incline our hearts to that which is good, turn them away from all that is evil, and direct us by the path of thy commandments to the goal of eternal life.


Come, O Spirit of Fortitude, and give courage to our souls. Make our hearts strong in all trials and in all distress, pouring forth abundantly into them the gifts of strength, that we may be able to resist the attacks of the devil.


Come, O Spirit of Knowledge, and make us to understand and despise the emptiness and nothingness of the world. Give us grace to use the world only for thy glory and the salvation of thy creatures. May we always be faithful in putting thy rewards before every earthly gift.


Come, O Spirit of Piety, possess our hearts, and incline them to a true faith in thee, to a holy love of thee, our God. Give us thy grace, that we may seek thee and find thee, our best and our truest joy.


Come, O Spirit of holy Fear, penetrate our inmost hearts, that we may set thee, our Lord and God, before our faces forever; and shun all things that can offend thee, so that we may be made worthy to appear before the pure eyes of thy divine Majesty in the heaven of heavens.


Come, O Holy Comforter, and grant us a desire for holy things. Produce in our souls the fruits of virtue, so that, being filled with all sweetness and joy in the pursuit of good, we may attain unto eternal blessedness.

The following prayer concludes the Novena each day:
O GOD, who as at this time didst teach the hearts of thy faithful people by sending to them the light of thy Holy Spirit: grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgement in all things, and evermore to rejoice in His holy comfort; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth with thee in the unity of the same Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

Wednesday 13 May 2020

From a letter to Diognetus -- for consideration in time of pandemic

Here are some excerpts from the patristic reading designated in the Liturgy of the Hours -- Office of Readings for today (May 13, 2020).  

The  Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus (A.D. 130) points to Christians -- the Body of Christ, the Church, as the persecuted witness to truth in the world but not of the world.

Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. 

. . . . And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labour under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country . . . . They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law.

Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. 

They suffer dishonor, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.

To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen. 

. . . . the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.

Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members 

. . . . It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together, and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together.

The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven. As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function . . . .

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Asking the Prayers of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in time of Pandemic

O clement, O loving, O sweet Mother Mary, 
We, your children of every nation, 
Turn to you in this pandemic. 
Our troubles are numerous; our fears are great. 
Grant that we might deposit them at your feet, 
Take refuge in your Immaculate Heart, 
And obtain peace, healing, rescue, 
And timely help in all our needs. 
You are our Mother.
Pray for us to your Son.

Sunday 10 May 2020

5eme Dimanche de Pâques / 5th Sunday of Easter 2020 - Dom Charles Gilman

Following is a homily for the Fifth Sunday of Easter preached at the Abbey Church of Sainte-Marie des Deux-Montagnes, Quebec.  The homilist is our friend Dom Charles Gilman OSB  who is chaplain for the nuns of the abbey,  A former Anglican and a new Canadian, he is a great friend of STM and the Ordinariate.  He offers counsel and prayers for us in this time of pandemic.
Fr. Hodgins, Jane and Dom Charles at the Abbey entrance statue of Ste Anne and BVM


Cardinal Newman was often involved in controversies both within and without the Catholic Church in his time. One such conflict arose because of his emphasis on the importance of “Consulting the laity in matters of doctrine” which came from his appreciation of the “Sensus fidelium”, which is defined in the Catechism as "the supernatural appreciation of faith on the part of the whole people, when, from the bishops to the last of the faithful, they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals.” When asked by his bishop “Who are the laity?” the saintly Cardinal simply replied, “the Church would look foolish without them.”

For the last three weeks we have been considering appearances of the Risen Christ. The Church itself and the sacraments are manifestations of the Risen Lord Jesus. «But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.» The entrance for us into this divine fellowship is our baptism and it is extended in the whole sacramental life of the Church including the ordained ministry.

The first reading today tells of the institution of the diaconate. All the orders of ordained ministry, symbolically, above all in the liturgy, reflect to the people of God some aspect of their baptismal vocation. Deacons remind us of our duty to proclaim our faith in word and deed, especially in self-giving service to others however it is possible for us to do this. 

Cluny was known for the glory of its liturgy, but not as well known for its almshouse, which served the poor and needy day and night. This was certainly a fruit of the life of the praise and prayer of that famous Abbey. From that heritage, the monks of Solesmes have an almshouse to serve the poor and other houses of our congregation maintain shelters for the homeless. Even now there are many near us who are suffering from isolation during the time of confinement. With permission, a phone call to one such person can be a means practising the diaconia of our Baptism.

The Holy Father has reminded us that Our Lady is more important in the plan of salvation than any Bishop or for that matter anyone in the ordained ministry of the Church. May She, who knew full sacramental grace from the first moment of her existence, through her total participation in the Risen life of her Divine Son, lead us by Her intercession through Him who is “the Way, the Truth and the Life” into our complete participation with Her in the eternal love of God.

br. Charles Gilman, Chaplain

Le cardinal Newman a souvent été impliqué dans des controverses à l'intérieur et à l'extérieur de l'Église catholique de son temps. L'un de ces conflits est né de son insistance sur l'importance de "consulter les laïcs en questions de doctrine", qui venait de son appréciation du "Sensus fidelium", qui est défini dans le Catéchisme comme «le sens surnaturel de la foi qui est celui du peuple tout entier, lorsque, ‘des évêques jusqu’au dernier des fidèles laïcs’, il apporte aux vérités concernant la foi et les mœurs un consentement universel.». Quand son évêque lui demandait "Qui sont les laïcs ?" le saint cardinal a simplement répondu : «L’Église aurait l'air ridicule sans eux.»

Ces trois dernières semaines, nous avons examiné des apparitions du Christ ressuscité. L'Église elle-même et les sacrements sont des manifestations du Seigneur ressuscité. « Mais vous, vous êtes une descendance choisie, un sacerdoce royal, une nation sainte, un peuple destiné au salut, pour que vous annonciez les merveilles de celui qui vous a appelés des ténèbres à son admirable lumière.” Pour nous, l'entrée dans cette communion divine est notre baptême et il est étendu dans toute la vie sacramentelle de l'Église, y compris le ministère ordonné.

La première lecture d'aujourd'hui parle de l'institution du diaconat. Tous les ordres du ministère ordonné symboliquement, surtout dans la liturgie, reflètent pour le peuple de Dieu un aspect de sa vocation baptismale. Les diacres nous rappellent notre devoir de proclamer notre foi en paroles et en actes, en particulier dans le service désintéressé aux autres, quelle que soit la possibilité que nous ayons de le faire. Cluny était connu pour la gloire de sa liturgie, mais pas autant pour son aumônerie, qui servait les pauvres et les nécessiteux jour et nuit. C'était certainement un fruit de la vie de louange et de prière de cette célèbre abbaye. De cet héritage, les moines de Solesmes, ont une aumônerie pour servir les pauvres et d'autres maisons de notre congrégation maintiennent des abris pour les sans-abri. Aujourd'hui encore, beaucoup de ceux qui nous entourent souffrent d'isolement pendant la période de confinement. Avec la permission, un appel téléphonique à l'une de ces personnes peut être un petit moyen de pratiquer la diaconia de notre Baptême.

Le Saint-Père nous a rappelé que la Sainte Vierge est plus importante dans le plan du salut que n'importe quel évêque ou, en fait, n'importe qui dans le ministère ordonné de l'Église. Qu'Elle, qui a connu la pleine grâce sacramentelle dès le premier moment de son existence, par sa participation totale à la vie ressuscitée de son Fils divin, nous conduise par Son intercession à travers Celui qui est "le chemin, la vérité et la Vie" à notre pleine participation avec Elle à l'amour éternel de Dieu.
fr. Charles Gilman Chaplain

Monday 4 May 2020

Fourth Sunday of Easter – The Good Shepherd

The empty tomb affirms that God has made Jesus both Lord and Messiah, as St. Peter asserts in the readings this Sunday. 

He is the “Lord,” the divine Son who David foresaw at God’s right hand (Psalms 3; 110:1; 132:10–11). Jesus is the Messiah that God had promised to shepherd the scattered flock of the house of Israel (Ezekiel 34:11–14, 23; 37:24).

Jesus is the Good Shepherd who is sent to us, the people who are like sheep without a shepherd (Mark 6:34; Numbers 27:16–17). By adoption we are incorporated as the children of Israel: Jesus’ brothers and sisters.  He also calls to all those who are far off—whomever the Lord wishes to hear His voice.

The call of the Good Shepherd, then, leads to the waters of Baptism, to the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation, and to the table with the overflowing cup of the Eucharist, as alluded to in the beloved Psalm 23, the Shepherd’s Psalm – The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

On this 4thSunday of Easter, we hear Jesus’ voice calling us his own. He awakens in us the response of those who heard Peter’s preaching. “What are we to do?” they asked.

We have been baptized; but we go astray like sheep, as we hear in today’s Epistle. We always need to repent, to seek forgiveness of our sins, to separate ourselves further from corruption.

We are called to follow in the footsteps of the Shepherd of our souls. By His suffering He bore our sins in His body to free us from sin. But His suffering is also an example for us. From Him we should learn patience in our afflictions, to hand ourselves over to the will of God.

Jesus has gone ahead, through the dark valley of evil and death. His Cross has become the narrow gate through which we must pass to reach the empty tomb and the verdant pastures of abundant life.

Acts 2:14, 36–41
Psalm 23:1–6
1 Peter 2:20–25
John 10:1–10