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Pastoral Letter from His Excellency, Bishop Crosby to the faithful of the Diocese.

On the Pandemic Sacrifices

My dear friends,

The decision to close our churches and suspend public celebrations of the Mass has been a painful one for our clergy, religious, and all the lay faithful in the Diocese. While the sadness of our inability to gather to celebrate the Eucharist is profound, some of the responses to this closure – in addition to falling short of the demands of charity – betray a fundamental lack of understanding not only of why this great sacrifice is being made, but also whose example we follow in so doing.

We know that Holy Communion is the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ, the source and summit of the Christian life. His death is the ultimate sacrifice of love for us – to which we are joined when we participate in the Mass and receive Communion. When we eat His Body and drink His Blood, we say that “we become what we eat”, the Body of Christ.

During these pandemic days we are uniting ourselves closely to Christ by making serious sacrifice for the health and well-being of others. This is not a matter of weakness. In fact, during these days of sacrifice, we live selflessly, as we profess- much as Jesus Christ urges us to live – for the common good. By definition, sacrifice is never easy – and during these days and weeks and months of sacrifice we come closer to Him – we are more like Him – because our sacrifice emulates His! Our children are learning a very important lesson during these difficult days: sometimes we have to give up our freedoms, privileges and pleasures in order care for others – so they might live!

Over the past 22 years, I have been blessed to have served three Dioceses as Bishop: the Diocese of Labrador City-Schefferville, St. George’s Diocese, (the boundaries of which were extended prior to being renamed the Diocese of Comer Brook and Labrador,) and the Diocese of Hamilton. In the first two Dioceses there were remote communities of Catholic faithful who rarely had the opportunity to celebrate Mass, because there were few Priests. The people longed for Holy Communion and gathered and rejoiced when a Priest visited and celebrated Mass with them, so they were able to receive the Body of the Lord. This experience of a long wait between Masses will continue for them into an unknown future.

The fact that they cannot receive Holy Communion, however, does not stop them from praying and nurturing a relationship of love with the Lord: the Rosary is still a staple for prayer, reading the Sacred Scriptures prescribed for the day or for the corning Sunday, sharing reflections and praying with neighbours, saying familiar prayers with family and friends. The faithful in these communities will continue to make this sacrifice for months and years to come. In contrast, in Southern Ontario, where we are privileged to have many parishes and priests to serve them, our pandemic sacrifice will last for a few more months, or for as long as it takes to curb the high numbers of citizens – our brothers and sisters – who contract the dreaded virus.

Since the Ontario Government declared a lockdown in the Province of Ontario effective December 26, 2020, the decision was made, once again, to close our Parish churches in the Diocese of Hamilton. While the current government and public health regulations permit gatherings of no more than ten people for worship (including funerals and scheduled weddings), we are asked to limit all gatherings outside of our homes in order to limit the spread of COVID in the community. In compliance with government and public health directives and out of an abundance of charity, gatherings for Masses in our churches, with the exception of funerals and weddings (up to ten people), even in small numbers are suspended for the period of the lockdown.

The decision to close our churches has not been taken lightly and in no way should it be understood as undermining the central place which the celebration of the Eucharist and the other Sacraments hold for us as Catholics. Our need to gather to give thanks to God remains “our duty and our salvation”; our need for true nourishment, which the Eucharist alone provides, continues. Now, however, we unite ourselves spiritually with our priests who are celebrating Mass daily and we rely on the infinite fruits of the Mass to sustain us.

We continue to pray for one another, for those who are suffering in any way during this pandemic and for those who have died. Let us pray with confidence in God’s mercy, that the promise of an effective vaccine will be realized and we will soon be able to return to gather again in our churches to give God thanks, to worship with the sacred assembly, and to be nourished with the Body and Blood of the Lord.

Sincerely in Christ and Mary Immaculate,
(Most Rev.) Douglas Crosby, OMI
Bishop of Hamilton
January 18, 2021

Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God

Dear Friends,

In the next several hours we will say “good-bye” to the year 2020 AD, which has been a tremendous challenge to so many (countries, communities, our own community, families and individuals). And we will welcome the new year of 2021, praying that, as the reading from the Book of Numbers proclaims: “The Lord bless us and keep us; the Lord make His face shine upon us and be gracious to us; the Lord turn His face toward us and give us peace.” And also, as we welcome a new year, we celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God.

“In today’s gospel there is excitement as the shepherds hurry into Bethlehem to pour out what they have heard and seen to anyone who would listen to them. But at the center of this movement and ferment is Mary, the still point around which it all revolves. She says nothing, but in her heart she treasures and ponders all that is happening. The word that Luke uses here for “reflecting on” is symballo, a word in the Greek that literally means to “throw together.” With Joseph at her side and her child lying in a manger wrapped in the swaddling cloths that bind both king and commoner (cf. Wis 7:4), Mary, the contemplative woman, silently holds and “throws together” in her heart the events of divine conception and human birth, heavenly hosts and hillside shepherds. Years of seeking to understand lie ahead of her as the first and most faithful of the disciples of Jesus. In her pondering and remembering, Mary is a model for our reading of the Word of God (our lectio divina), and the conversation between that Word and events of our own lives.

As we gaze on this peaceful woman, we can appreciate how appropriate it is that January 1 has been chosen by the church as the day on which we pray for world peace. Like her, we are called to gaze on the child who is the Prince of Peace. It is his reign, not the Pax Romana, not the Pax Americana, nor any other political maneuvering, that will make peace… a reality in our hearts and in our world. Then humanity will be a people of praise, and all the nations will “be glad and exult.” The responsibility for peace is now in our hands.

Mary’s role as Jesus’s mother renders her a unique witness to the life of the Messiah. She knows of him from Gabriel’s words before he is conceived in her womb, she participates in his birth, and she cares for him as an infant, child, and adolescent. Throughout these intense years of mothering the son of God, she must have heard and seen many things. In Mary we find a model of discipleship and also a model of glorifying and praising God with the entirety of her body, mind, soul, and spirit. In reflecting on all she has heard and seen within her heart, she shows us a way of living deeper each day into the mystery of the incarnation.” (Living Liturgy 2021)

As we find ourselves in the second lockdown of this year and without the possibility of gathering together in our church to celebrate the Christmas Season, please know that you are invited to join in for daily and Sunday Masses on our YouTube channel whenever possible. The schedule for those celebrations is in our bulletin on the parish website. Since this Friday we observe the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, which is a holy day of obligation in normal circumstances, we will have 2 Masses on this occasion: one on Thursday evening at 5pm and one on Friday at 10am. Both will be livestreamed.

Please know that your parish needs your assistance during this time, as this is now the second occasion that we missed a substantial collection (Easter being the first and Christmas the second). It’s not too late to donate to the parish before the end of the year. Donation envelopes can be dropped off through the mail slot at the parish office, they can still be mailed to us, or you can make a donation on our website under the “Donate” tab. Please know that when you donate on the website, the email that you subsequently receive contains the PDF file which should be used for your tax purposes. Thank you to all who are supporting our parish at this time and have been throughout the year.

I would like to mention that in the past a number of our parishioners expressed an interest in Preauthorised Giving. Sometime in the next couple of days, our bookkeeper Jean Goobie will personally contact those individuals who previously filled out and submitted a Preauthorised Giving form to ask if they are ready to begin giving to the parish in this manner. I would invite everyone to think about this option, as it will gradually eliminate the need for donation envelopes, allowing us to go “green” in the near future and avoiding the expense of paying for the envelopes every year. I have posted the form on our website under the “Donate” tab for your consideration.

Also, please note that due to the provincial lockdown, the parish office is closed until January 23 or until further notice. At this time all emails and phone calls are monitored by me and sometimes remotely by our parish staff.

And finally, you are invited to read an article by Fr. Claude, which he wrote for a newspaper in Sri Lanka, on the question of: Was Jesus a present? The article is posted on our website under the “News” tab.

Thank you for your time, everyone. See you in the new year of 2021!

God bless.
Holy Mother of God – pray for us!
Fr. Mariusz

The Nativity of our Lord

Dear Friends,

As we prepare for the celebration of Christmas in couple of hours, I invite you to ponder the Gospel passage that is read at the Midnight Mass and so beautifully announces to us the Nativity of our Saviour:

“In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus
that all the world should be registered.
This was the first registration
and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.
All went to their own towns to be registered.
Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee
to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem,
because he was descended from the house and family of David.
He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.
While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth,
and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” Luke 2, 1-7

“The reading from Luke at the Midnight Mass is sublime, yet popular. Even the 1965 Peanuts Christmas special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, features this gospel passage, read by the character Linus. The master storyteller Luke enraptures us with the story of Jesus’ birth. The simple clause “because there was no room for them at the inn” has inspired innumerable artists, homilists, theologians, and more. But Luke says no more about that episode than those few simple words. He says much more about the shepherds, the angel, and the multitude of the heavenly host. The few verses of this gospel reading light up our imagination, touching on key themes for Luke, such as Jesus as Savior, Jesus as food for the world (laid him in a manger), and the situation of the Christ-event at a particular time and place (with mention of Quirinius and the town of Bethlehem). How appropriate that we read this story of the shepherds keeping the night watch at our Midnight Mass. 

Midnight by definition is a time of darkness, the middle of the night. And yet, it is during this time that light enters the world by the birth of the Christ, the Savior. Such a stark contrast is not by accident in the Gospel of Luke or in our liturgy tonight. We recall how God brings life from death, joy from sadness, and light from darkness. When we face moments of darkness in our own lives, let us recall the Christian faith that is at our core, that sees the birth of a child during the night watch as a profound moment of grace.” (Living Liturgy 2020)

For most of us the celebration of Christmas will be much different this year then ever before. In my own lifetime I can recall only one Christmas when I wasn’t able to participate with the faith community in the celebration of the Christmas Mass because I was in the air force, and on guard duty that night. It is certain that many of us will feel that something is missing from the celebration of the great mystery of our faith, that we are prevented from receiving the One who became one of us so that we can become like Him. I assure you that Fr. Claude and I will remember all of you in the celebration of the Christmas Masses, praying that we can soon be reunited at the celebration of Mass, the center of our Christian faith.

On behalf of our parish staff, youth minister, three deacons, and Fr. Claude, I wish you great joy in your celebration of Christmas. May the One who was born into the simplest of settings be for all of us a great source of deep faith, unbroken hope and charity. May Christ be born in our hearts again and again, and His love transform us and fill us with peace. 

Please join us in the celebration of Christmas Masses on our YouTube channel. The Christmas Eve Mass will be livestreamed on December 24th at 8pm and Christmas Day Mass will be livestreamed on December 25th at 10am. 

Also, our youth have created a video version of the annual Christmas pageant! We hope you’ll have a chance to watch it and enter into the Nativity story through Scripture, photos, and music with this year’s participants. It premieres tomorrow at 12:00pm on the parish YouTube channel at this link:

God bless and Merry Christmas!
Fr. Mariusz

Catholic Education Week 2020

Message for Catholic Education Week

The theme of this year’s Catholic Education Week is “Igniting Hope”. Even in the midst of difficulty, we are a people of hope – hope for the world, hope for the future, hope rooted in Christ. We all need hope.

As we look around us, we see many struggles and challenges. The experience of the COVID-19 pandemic around the world reminds us that life on Earth is not perfect; we do not yet live in heaven.  As Christians, however, we can make sacrifices, and look upon these struggles and difficulties with hope.  To be a resurrection people means that we know our Savior lives!  He is the source of our hope.  This is a great gift we have to offer the world – our hope.

In our publicly funded Catholic schools in Ontario, our hope is alive!  Over this past school year, we have faced our own struggles, including the unprecedented shutdown at schools across Canada.  Through it all, you have been witnesses to hope.  In the weeks and months you spent in your classrooms, you remembered and celebrated the birth of Jesus, and you told the story and prayed together in hope, looking forward to His coming. In parishes across the Diocese, we celebrated Confirmations together and saw scores of young people coming to the Sacraments, continuing their journey of faith, opening themselves to the power of God’s grace. Some are still preparing for their celebrations.  These are experiences of hope – for the young people and their parents as well as for pastors and parishes and teachers and school communities. We began our Lenten preparations together and then found ourselves at home.  We learned about caring for one another through social distancing. We learned that even when we are apart from one another, we are joined as one Body by the foundation of our hope as Christians – the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Publicly funded Catholic schools are places of hope!  I know you have found ways to be people of hope in your communities and beyond.  You have given hope by helping the poor, marching for clean and safe water, reducing your waste, striving for justice for the unborn, witnessing to your faith in Christ courageously in your neighbourhoods and across the globe. I am grateful to the priests of the diocese, the pastoral workers, the chaplaincy leaders, the trustees, administrators, teachers, parents and all involved in Catholic Education for your ongoing collaboration and dedication. Your leadership and the ways in which you work together for the common mission of Catholic Education is a sign of great hope in our communities.

Hope is a work of the Holy Spirit. It is rooted in our faith in Christ. It keeps us steady when times are challenging. It empowers us to be a people ready to proclaim and witness and work for God’s kingdom here on Earth. That hope lives in each one of us – young and old.  And together, as one body, we can allow that hope to give energy to our ideas and activity, our learning and our prayer.

In the words of Saint Paul, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

(Most Rev.) Douglas Crosby, O.M.I.
Bishop of Hamilton

Paschal Triduum at St. Francis Xavier Church

Below is our schedule for Sacred Triduum Masses and other Liturgies which will be livestreamed and/or posted on our YouTube channel.
Please click on the picture below.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord’s Supper – 7:00 PM, livestreamed*

Friday, April 10, 2020

Good Friday, Solemn Liturgy – 3:00 PM, livestreamed*
Stations of the Cross – 5PM, led by the youth of our parish.

Liturgy of the Hours – 8PM, livestreamed*

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Holy Saturday, Rosary – 11:30AM, livestreamed*
Holy Saturday, Blessing of Easter Foods – 12noon, livestreamed*
Liturgy of the Hours – 8PM, livestreamed*

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter Sunday Mass – 9AM, livestreamed*

* If the livestream fails due to technical difficulties, you will be able to view it afterwards on our YouTube channel

Catholic Education Week, 2019

“The theme of this year’s Catholic Education Week Living as Joyful Disciples is both a challenge to us as well as an acknowledgment of the good things already happening in our lives as individuals and as Catholic school communities.”

Please watch the video-message.

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St. Francis Xavier Parish Mission

St. Francis Xavier Parish Mission: The Fullness of Purpose. 

April 7th and April 8th. Are you living God’s purpose for your life?

Dynamic speaker and author Ken Yasinski will be leading a 2 day parish mission,

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Alpha Course

Would you like to explore life, faith and God in a friendly, open and informal environment?

St Francis Xavier Parish is going to be running the Alpha Series this spring.

What is Alpha?

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Lent 2019

Our Lord teaches that prayer is a relationship and a vital necessity. And yet, many of us have difficulty committing to daily prayer. Follow Jesus into the desert this Lent and discover intimacy with God in this 6-week video-based study with daily meditations in the participants guide.

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Reboot Live

With internationally acclaimed speaker and author Chris Stefanick.

Thursday October 26, 2017
7PM – 9:30PM

Tickets are just $26

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