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Pastor: Fr. Gigi Philip
Administrative Assistant: Cynthia Livera

Sunday Masses
Saturday5:00 PMEnglish,
Couples for Christ Choir
Sunday9:00 AMItalian
Italian Choir
10:30 AMEnglish,
Children's Liturgy
12:00 PMEnglish,
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Tuesday7:00 PMItalian,
Devotion to Padre Pio
Wednesday7:00 PMEnglish,
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St. Norbert - 60 Maniza Rd. 416-393-5309
St. Robert  - 70 Bainbridge Avenue 416-393-5297
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Madonna   - 20 Dubray Avenue 416-393-5506

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(Lunch break 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM)
100 Regent Road
North York, Ontario M3K 1H3
Phone: 416-636-0213
Fax: 416-636-9431
Saturdays 4:15 - 4:45 PM and upon request
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Visit Vocations Toronto at, a resourceful site in answering these questions.

Knights of Columbus
Meetings 3rd Thursday of the month
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Youth Group
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for Sunday, February 21, 2010

We are now in the liturgical season of Lent, preparing for Easter, at this time three things are traditionally recommended to us: Prayer, Fasting & Almsgiving.

Lent is a time of sober reflection, reassessment and rededication of our lives to God. We review our lives, seek forgiveness, do penance and recommit ourselves to Christ. This is all done within the context of the Passion of the Lord, which we are constantly reminded of during Lent as we build up to the solemn re-enactment of the passion and resurrection of Christ at Easter.

It could be asked - why are we so sorry for our sins during Lent particularly, surely this should be the case all the time? Yes, but perhaps it is because during Lent we are made specially aware of the sufferings of Christ, particularly through such devotions as the Stations of the Cross.

We quickly see the connection between our sins and Christ's sufferings and we are sorry and seek to make amends. This is a very natural and human thing to do; but we realise that nothing will be sufficient to make up for our sins - yet we do feel a strong need to do something to make amends and so we do penance even if we realise that this is a mere drop in the ocean.

We do penance because we are sorry for our sins, sorry for the pain they have inflicted on Christ and on others, even though we know it is only token and can't ever make up for it. But because we do penance which is an ecclesial and sacramental activity it unites us with Christ himself in his passion. It becomes not a merely individual activity but something of cosmic proportions, it makes us part of Christ's redemptive work.

But what about prayer fasting and almsgiving, the three ways the Church has given us for penance particularly during Lent.

These three things almost sound trite after what I've been saying about participating in the passion and being part of something of cosmic proportions. Surely this can't be brought about by merely rattling off a Hail Mary, giving up sugar or putting a few coppers in the poor box.

If we are really serious about Lent and are prepared to undertake the task of re-conversion to Christ, of becoming more and more conformed to his image and living out in our lives the implications of his passion, then we will also take seriously the means the Church gives us. We will want to get below the surface and find out what they really mean.

Now I'm sorry if I disappoint you but I am only going to give you one way of looking at these three forms of penance; but perhaps it will be of some help and may get us beneath the surface, St John tells us that God is love and he who lives in love, lives God and God lives in him. Love then is God's basic attitude towards us and love, as you know, always requires a response - even being ignored is a response, albeit a negative one.

So if what we are dealing with is a relationship then I'd like to look at prayer, fasting and almsgiving as aspects of our relationship with God.

Under the heading of prayer I mean my personal attitude to God. What are the channels of communication between us like? Are they open? If they are open, just what state are they in? Is it just a one-way link, me telling God what he should do, or is it like the so-called 'hot-line' between the super-powers, only for emergencies? Or is it like my grandmother with the telephone, she knew quite well how to work it but didn't ever use it because she was afraid of it? I'm sure there's an analogy to fit your own particular situation.

The point I want to make is that prayer is the actual content of your relationship with God. And what the church is saying is: get those channels of communication open and in frequent use, don't allow anything to obstruct them. And if you don't seem to be getting much response don't worry because in a way this too is a response, hang on in there and wait for God; make your prayer a listening and not a telling.

So prayer focuses on our direct relationship with God and not merely on the saying of prayers. During Lent then we don't just pray more we think about the whole pattern of prayer in our life. And we ask what does it mean? Where is it going? Have we developed or are we still at the primary school stage? Is our prayer just an example of obsessive activity? Or is it a major stimulus like a high-powered fertilizer forcing us to grow as persons, forcing us to be more fully human and therefore closer to God?

As regards fasting, I see this as shifting the focus to self. It is about me and how I see myself as a human being situated in the material world. It is about my priorities and the value I place on material things, how I occupy myself and how I measure my worth.

For example, how can I be a God-centred person and yet judge my success in life by the standards of the consumer society?

By the simple heading of fasting the Church is trying to indicate a whole attitude towards life, an attitude towards self and material things. The values and attitudes of someone who sees the need for fasting and actually does fast are worth acquiring and they ultimately lead one to God. Yes, the material world and material pleasures are good and wonderful in themselves, but they are created things and in ultimate terms the creator is much more important than what he creates.

To absorb ourselves then, merely with material things and to see no need for sacrifice is to devalue ourselves. We who are made in the image of God cannot ultimately be satisfied with anything less than God himself.

Lent is for reviewing, let us then review our lives and ask the question, how does a redeemed child of God actually live in the world of material things? And having answered the question for ourselves then make a serious attempt to swing the balance a bit, and maybe we will see the need for something a little extreme like a real fast with the idea that the pendulum will swing back to a position of right relationship with the world. Not rejecting it in favour of some pious nirvana where we exist on communion hosts and holy water, but neither wallowing in ostentatious wealth like some twentieth century Dives.

Just as I have done with the other two Lenten priorities I'd like to broaden almsgiving out a bit and not restrict it to charitable handouts. I see almsgiving as a symbol of our relationship with other people and the key word here is giving. Becoming a 'giving' person.

I have related prayer as a symbol of our relationship with God and fasting as a symbol of our relationship with the material world, the other part of the equation is other people and I think that this is at the root of almsgiving.

I think it is all summed up in the use and misuse of the word 'charity'. Charity means 'love', but society has misused it and it now means money doled out by those trying to salve their consciences. No wonder no one wants charity! Love then is the keynote and in our Lenten review of life we ask ourselves whether love is in fact what characterises our relationships? Are we turned in on ourselves or turned out to others seeing in them other Christ's, each in the process of dying on their own cross?

If that's how we did see others then we certainly would be moved. Which one of us doesn't have the cross in his or her own life, which one of us doesn't expect other people to make allowances for us? If this is so then why are we so hard hearted?

Almsgiving isn't doling out money to the vagrant sitting in a Broadmead shopping street with dreadlocks, a can of cider and a big dog. Almsgiving is giving our whole lives to others in the name of the man who died to redeem the whole world. And yes, it will involve putting our hand in our pockets now and again, but it will never be out of distain or disgust or merely out from duty or embarrassment.

We will be keen to maintain other peoples self respect and be willing to put up with other people's idiosyncrasies in the knowledge that its surely much harder for them to put up with us.

These have just been a few thoughts on the subject; it's been a bit long but there is, after all, an awful lot to be said ...or rather an awful lot to be done.

Readings of the day:
First Reading:
Second Reading:

Homily from Father Alex McAllister SDS - RC Church of Christ the King


Reflections are available for the following Sundays:


St. Norbert's Church - Toronto