PARISH NEWS and UPDATES
 
 

Message regarding Bill C-7 from The Catholic Bishops of Alberta and NWT

October 29, 2020

Dear Faithful in Christ,

We bring to your attention two important legislative matters currently before the House of Commons. Since they each represent a direct and worrisome challenge to human dignity and freedom, it is necessary that we be aware of them and make our views known to the federal government.

The first is proposed legislation, Bill C-7, that seeks to expand access to assisted suicide and euthanasia in Canada. We know that these practices in themselves are inherently immoral. This particular Bill would remove the eligibility requirement that a person’s death be “reasonably foreseeable”, and thus effectively extend provision of euthanasia and assisted suicide to those who are not dying. This would place vulnerable citizens, such as persons with disabilities and mental illness, at serious risk. In the case of people who are dying, it aims to remove key safeguards set down in 2016, such as a 10-day reflection period and the ability to consent at the time of the provision of assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia to hasten one’s death. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is among the signatories to an inter-religious statement expressing opposition to Bill C- 7. The Bishops have, in addition, issued their own statement detailing their concerns with this legislation.

Our ask of you is to contact your Member of Parliament to:

 insist that Bill C-7 be paused to allow comprehensive consultation with Canadians on this grave matter that affects the inherent dignity of every person in our society;

 urge that Parliament acknowledge every person’s right to life is inherent and inalienable, not to be taken away by others;

 advocate for universal access to excellent palliative care as the humanely appropriate response to suffering at the end of life;

 promote meaningful protection of conscience rights for healthcare workers and institutions who conscientiously object to assisted suicide and euthanasia.

The second piece of legislation, Bill C-6, pertains to what is called “conversion therapy.” The Bill aims to prevent coercive practices contrary to the dignity of the human person, a goal that we support. However, its language and definition are open to interpretations that could lead to unacceptable overreach in application, to the detriment of parental rights and religious beliefs and practices. The Bishops of Canada have issued a statement on Bill C-6.

Our ask of you is to contact your Member of Parliament and insist that Bill C-6 be

revised to protect and uphold:

 the fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding the welfare of their children, specifically their freedom to instruct them in accord with their religious and ethical beliefs;

 the right and freedom of every Canadian to voluntarily seek support to live in a manner consistent with their faith identity and beliefs, and in accord with their personal convictions;

 the right and freedom of the Church and other religious communities to counsel and support persons who choose to live their lives and sexuality in accord with moral teachings and the dictates of conscience;

 the right and freedom of the Church and other religious communities to share their religious and ethical beliefs regarding human sexuality.

Thank you for your attention and action on these matters of serious concern. May our Lord both inspire and bring to accomplishment our efforts to embrace and protect the suffering and vulnerable, and to honour and uphold our rights and freedoms.

Yours in Christ,

Catholic Bishops of Alberta and NWT
 
Supporting parishes financially during COVID-19
April 21, 2020
 
Bishop Paul Terrio issued the following message inviting the faithful to support, where possible, their ‘spiritual home’ during the COVID-19 pandemic: 
 
As we, all live though this experience of ‘lock-down’ due to the COVID 19 pandemic; we face many new challenges but also new opportunities. With our ‘staying home’ we discover or perhaps rediscover how important being together as family really is to us. However, the closing of so many businesses and public institutions like schools brings with it a serious reduction of or loss of regular income.
 
I pray and hope that you are able to access government assistance programs so that you can care for your families and homes. Certainly looking after your family is your first responsibility. However, you also have a spiritual home, your parish which, also has needs and requires care. Your parish now, has no income or revenue.
Therefore, I write to ask you to, according to your means and after first caring for your family, to please support the parish, which is your spiritual home.
 
How to do this?
 
The first and traditional way is to mail a cheque with your collection amount to your parish or even to the diocesan office.
 
The other option is to make an electronic funds transfer on-line. To do this go to: etransfer@dostp.ca and follow the steps. Among those steps, be sure to indicate which parish the donation is for in the message box.
 
I repeat that your first obligation is to your family and loved ones but any small amount you can give will make a difference. We are all touched by this strange pandemic and as an expression of solidarity with you, the parishioners, I am happy and grateful that your priests have all accepted a serious reduction of their salary during the pandemic.
 
Above all, let us continue praying for one and another and trusting in the protection of the Good Shepherd and his Blessed Mother.
 
+Bishop Paul Terrio
Bishop of St Paul in Alberta
 
Read the original message here.
 
 
Bishop Terrio encourages faithful to pray for priests on Holy Thursday
April 9, 2020
 
Bishop Paul Terrio has shared a letter with the Diocese encouraging the faithful to pray for their priests:
 
“I invite you to pray in a special way this Holy Thursday for all our priests because like you all, they find it painful to not be able to celebrate Mass with you. However, in a special way, today is painful for them because we cannot be together for the renewal of their ordination promises. … Let us ask the Good Shepherd to renew them in the sacrifice of their lives and their comfort for the service of all of you, his people.”
 
Adding: “And please pray for me, also!”
 
The Bishop also acknowledged the restrictions that are in place due to the ongoing public health crisis: “We are all called to charitably sacrifice our physical presence at Mass for the good of our brothers and sisters health but we can still spiritually participate from our homes through prayer.”
 
Read the full letter here.
 
 
Diocese issues guidance on response to COVID-19; Masses and parish activities cancelled March 16, 2020
Bishop Paul Terrio has issued a statement on COVID-19 with guidance on how parishes in the Diocese of St. Paul are to respond to the prevention and preparedness towards the pandemic. Effective March 16, 2020, all Masses and parish activities throughout the Diocese have been cancelled or postponed. Visit here to read the letter and learn more.
 
 
Diocese implements several measures of prevention and caution in response to COVID-19, dispensation from Mass for those over 65 and prayer from Bishop for the situation
March 14, 2020
 
Earlier this week, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak a global pandemic. In response, the Diocese of St. Paul has put several measures in place to prevent the spreading of COVID-19. We must temporarily withdraw:
  • Communion from the cup
  • Communion on the tongue
  • Holy Water fonts are to be emptied
  • At the Sign of Peace, refrain from shaking hands, a simple bow, nod, or “Peace be with you” to your neighbor is appropriate.
  • Pastors, deacons and extraordinary ministers of the Holy Communion are to wash their hands before and after distributing communion.
These measures are to diminish the risk of contamination from a disease that threatens the common good of our communities. Given that the elderly are at a higher risk of infection, Bishop Terrio has also granted dispensation from Sunday Mass for all parishioners over sixty-five, until further notice. While the Government of Alberta is asking organizers to cancel any events that have more than 250 attendees, this request does not extend to places of worship, grocery stores, airports or shopping centres. The public are reminded that if they need information on COVID-19, to visit alberta.ca/covid19
 
 
Bishop Paul Terrio has also shared a prayer with the faithful to use during this pandemic:
 
Prayer against the Coronavirus
 
Almighty and merciful Father,
We thank you for the life that is your gift,
For the providence, that sustains us,
And for your wisdom that directs the course of our days.
 
Forgive our sins against your love,
Against each other and against your creation.
 
The threat of an infection of coronavirus is upon us today.
This disease causes fear among us and has claimed some lives.
We humbly beg you, loving Father
To deliver us from this and other diseases.
Heal those who are afflicted and stop the spread of the virus.
Strengthen us in charity to care for each other.
 
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
 
Amen.
 
Click here for a PDF of the prayer.
 
 
Diocesan News: New appointment at St. John the Baptist parish, Diocesan support of Development and Peace 
March 7, 2020
Bishop Paul Terrio has recently shared two messages of interest to parishes. 
 
The first concerned some changes to parish assignments. The most relevant to our community is that Fr Anthony Thomas IMS is now associate pastor at St. John the Baptist parish in Fort McMurray. Father Anthony had been serving at St. Anne’s in Barrhead. Read the memo from Bishop Terrio regarding all appointments here.
 
Bishop Terrio has announced that the Diocese will be starting up the St. Paul Diocesan Caritas fund next year. St. Paul Diocesan Caritas will take the place of the Diocese’s support Development and Peace Canada (D&P) and 2020 will be the last year the Diocese supports the D&P program. Bishop Paul explains:

“Development and Peace does not offer aid in Canada. Our neighbors to the north, the Diocese of Mackenzie-Fort Smith, now depends on the Alberta Bishops for support. The permafrost is now constantly moving, so that repair and maintenance of buildings is a new and important task.
Also, Development and Peace Canada has difficulty accepting episcopal oversight and supervision.”
 
Bishop Paul further adds, “dioceses are called to establish Diocesan Caritas offices if they do not already exist, because the Church wants each diocese to be involved directly in its charity and out-reach to those in need.”
 
Following in this tradition, beginning in 2021 our Diocese’s special envelopes will have St. Paul Diocesan Caritas donation envelopes included. These donations will be distributed in the following way:  
  • 50% to the North
  • 25% to Chalice (the Canadian child sponsorship program)
  • 25% to the Church in Need, that is the Middle East and the Ukraine
Bishop Paul’s memo may be read here or by clicking the image to the right.
 
 
 
 
Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Pastoral Letter and federal survey
January 21, 2020
 

The Catholic Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories have issued a Pastoral Letter on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, titled Remaining True to Christ: Now and at the Hour of our Death. The letter comes as the federal government looks to expand legislation on euthanasia and assisted suicide. As well, the Department of Justice is looking for feedback until January 27 on “eligibility criteria and request process” for euthanasia and assisted suicide. Share your opinion here. Please note: As per a message from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, “the survey already assumes that access to euthanasia/assisted suicide will be expanded,” however there are three sections to provide comments in which those opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide may express:

“… dissatisfaction with the assumption built into the survey that euthanasia/assisted suicide will be expanded; giving medical personnel the right to presume consent for vulnerable populations (including minors, the depressed, the mentally ill, and the cognitively impaired); the inadequacy of the “safeguards” and the need to promote stronger ones; and the urgent need for viable alternatives to MAiD [Medical Assistance in Dying] through more adequate government funding for palliative care, home care, and hospices.”
 
Find the Pastoral letter below:
 
Remaining True to Christ
Now and at the Hour of our Death
A Pastoral Letter
from theCatholic Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories
 
Introduction
 
The legalization in Canada of euthanasia and assisted suicide occurred in 2016. Now, people can request their own death in certain circumstances, and in advance of possibly intolerable pain or difficult situations. Since legalization, and as of the end of December 2019, more than 900 people in Alberta have chosen to die by these procedures. Nearly all of them have been euthanized. …Continue reading the Pastoral Letter
 
 
 
Message from the Alberta Bishops on Catholic education
November 15, 2019
 
Dear Catholic Education Stakeholder and Supporter,
 
Catholic Education is alive and well in Alberta, educating more than 180,000 students across our province. Excellent academic learning within a faith-based community is the hallmark of Alberta’s Catholic Schools. In our celebrations of Catholic Education Sunday on November 3, the Bishops of Alberta reminded us of the responsibility we have to support, protect and advocate for this publicly funded gift. (Please see the letter from the Alberta Bishops).
 
The government of Alberta has recently created and distributed a survey asking Albertans to provide feedback on choice in education. The survey link is here. The deadline for response is December 6.
 
It is essential that all who support Catholic education take the time to make their voices heard. In a recent public forum, Archbishop Smith of the Edmonton archdiocese stated: “There have been Catholic divisions throughout the country that we’ve lost largely because of apathetic Catholics. We have to encourage everyone to be resolute because so much is at stake. We can never grow apathetic where we’re delivering authentic Catholic formation to our children.”
 
Here’s what you can do to support Catholic schools:
1. Read the letter from the Bishops of Alberta.
2. Complete the survey and ensure that you speak directly in support of Catholic education!
3. Forward the survey link to friends, family and supporters and encourage them to do the same. We need the government to receive a strong, passionate response to the questions they are asking!
 
Thank you!
 
GrACE
Grateful Advocates for Catholic Education
 
 
GrACE Twitter: @GrACE4cathed
 
GrACE email: gracedirector7@gmail.com
 
Bonnie Annicchiarico, PhD
Director | GrACE
Box 2201, Brooks, AB, T1R 1C8
T: 403-409-9943 E: gracedirector7@gmail.com