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It was the day of Pentecost, the second biggest feast in the ancient Jewish calendar. Known in the Bible as the Feast of Weeks, it took place “Fifty Days” (hence the Greek term “Pentecost”) after the Feast of Passover, and commemorated the Covenant that God established with his people on Mt. Sinai. Much like in our reading from the Acts of the Apostles, when Moses came into God’s presence on Mt. Sinai it was marked by a great storm and peels of fire. And just like our reading from the Acts of the Apostles, the people were mesmerized and transfixed by such an awesome display.
The Christian account of that first day, when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles, has often been portrayed as being somewhat gentle and quiet, to the point that we almost block out the loud sound, like the rush of a violent wind, a sound that was so powerful that crowds gathered from all over Jerusalem to see what had taken place. That and the tongues of flame, reminiscent of the peals of lightning that surrounded Moses on Mt. Sinai, would have created an instant flashback with the events they were commemorating. Mesmerized, amazed and bewildered, much like the Israelites at the foot of Mt. Sinai, they heard the apostles speak of “God’s deeds of power” in the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, each in their own language.
What happened on the Feast of Pentecost, both in the Old and New testaments, speaks of God’s initiative to enter a relationship with his people. The work God had begun by rescuing Israel from slavery so many years ago, forming them into one people unto himself at Mt. Sinai, is now completed by the mystery of our redemption in Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit. No longer restricted to a particular people at a particular time in their history, the new covenant is made with all people, throughout the ages, who believe in what God has done for them in Christ, repent of anything that is contrary to his teaching, and are baptized. The promised Holy Spirit enables all peoples to live as children of God.
“Now there are varieties of gifts,” St. Paul tells us, and “a variety of services” and “activities” (see 1Cor. 12: 7). None of us are meant to be cookie-cutter copies of one another. Yet, the Spirit is active in each one of us, as we turn our lives to Christ, and allow his self-emptying love to fill our hearts with a new purpose for our lives. No longer living for ourselves, but for him who redeemed us and reconciled us into a perfect communion with God, we witness to the joy of being called into discipleship.
As we gather around his altar, may we do so in solidarity with those who gathered at the base of Mt. Sinai and at the Sound of the great wind in Jerusalem that day, and may we hear God speak to us in our own language and in our own circumstance, as he longs to renew his relationship with us and make of us a people that is totally given to Him, sharing the Spirit’s gift of healing and forgiveness with the whole world.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and its Standing Committee for Family and Life warmly extends an invitation to families, parishes, dioceses and faith communities to celebrate together the National Family & Life Week from 7-14 May 2023. The 2023 celebration of National Family and Life Week has for its theme
Jesus’ words “Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another” (John 13:34).
The Easter message continues to surprise us.
Like Mary Magdalene, we stand weeping outside the tomb. Blinded by our tears, and our inconsolable grief at the state of our condition, we are unable to recognize the Risen Lord.
The surprise comes when Jesus calls Mary by name. Just as Lazarus came out of his tomb at the sound of his name, Mary is freed from her tomb when she turns towards Him and cries out, "Rabbouni!"
By name Jesus calls each one of us from the tomb of our sins and our failure to see Him. At the sound of our name, we respond. No longer weeping at the sight of His tomb, nor imprisoned by a sense of hopelessness, we rejoice at His resurrection, knowing that Christ does not abandon us to sin and death, but calls us to embrace a new life in him.
I pray that Mary's joy, on hearing Jesus call her by name, transform your weeping into joy, so that you may see beyond this "valley of tears", and the negative accounts that overwhelm us, and see the fullness of God's gift that fills us with healing, forgiveness and the power of His mercy.
Happy Easter to you, your family, your friends, and the communities in which you live.
Fraternally in Christ,
Bishop Bart van Roijen
Bishop of the Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador
Last March 29,2023
Chrism Mass: On Thursday (or another day before Easter) the bishop blesses the oils in the cathedral. He blesses holy Chrism for baptism, confirmation and ordination; oil for the anointing of the sick; and the oil of catechumens for those preparing for baptism. The oils are brought to each parish church and there prominently and reverently displayed. They are used in celebrating the sacraments during the year.
2 April 2023 – Palm Sunday – Year A
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. – Matthew 21:8
Our prayers and deepest sympathies go out to the family, relatives and friends of the Late Monsignor Jim Robertson who recently passed away on Sunday afternoon at approximately 3:30 PM, February 19th, 2023 surrounded by his family.
Visitation will be held at Fillatre’s Funeral Home, 4 St. Mark’s Avenue on Wednesday, February 22 from the hours of 2-4 & 7-9 p.m. and will continue on Thursday, February 23 from the Cathedral of the Most Holy Redeemer, Mount Bernard Avenue 2-4 & 7-9 p.m. with a prayer service starting at 8:00 p.m. from where the Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Friday, February 24 at 10:00 a.m. with Bishop Bart van Roijen officiating.
Interment to follow at Mount Patricia Cemetery.
As expressions of sympathy, in lieu of flowers donations may be made to Sacred Heart Parish in Curling or the Corner Brook Food Bank Network.
The Mass of Christian Burial can be viewed live through the following link
Dear brothers and sisters!
The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke all recount the episode of the Transfiguration of Jesus. There we see the Lord’s response to the failure of his disciples to understand him. Shortly before, there had been a real clash between the Master and Simon Peter, who, after professing his faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, rejected his prediction of the passion and the cross. Jesus had firmly rebuked him: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a scandal to me, because you do not think according to God, but according to men!”
(Mt 16:23). Following this, “six days later, Jesus took with him Peter, James and John his brother and led them away to a high mountain” (Mt 17:1).
The Gospel of the Transfiguration is proclaimed every year on the Second Sunday of Lent. During this liturgical season, the Lord takes us with him to a place apart. While our ordinary commitments compel us to remain in our usual places and our often repetitive and sometimes boring routines, during Lent we are invited to ascend “a high mountain” in the company of Jesus and to live a particular experience of spiritual discipline – ascesis – as God’s holy people.
Lenten penance is a commitment, sustained by grace, to overcoming our lack of faith and our resistance to following Jesus on the way of the cross. This is precisely what Peter and the other disciples needed to do. To deepen our knowledge of the Master, to fully understand and embrace the mystery of his salvation, accomplished in total self-giving inspired by love, we must allow ourselves to be taken aside by him and to detach ourselves from mediocrity and vanity. We need to set out on the journey, an uphill path that, like a mountain trek, requires effort, sacrifice and concentration. These requisites are also important for the synodal journey to which, as a Church, we are committed to making. We can benefit greatly from reflecting on the relationship between Lenten penance and the synodal experience.
In his “retreat” on Mount Tabor, Jesus takes with him three disciples, chosen to be witnesses of a unique event. He wants that experience of grace to be shared, not solitary, just as our whole life of faith is an experience that is shared. For it is in togetherness that we follow Jesus. Together too, as a pilgrim Church in time, we experience the liturgical year and Lent within it, walking alongside those whom the Lord has placed among us as fellow travellers. Like the ascent of Jesus and the disciples to Mount Tabor, we can say that our Lenten journey is “synodal”, since we make it together along the same path, as disciples of the one Master. For we know that Jesus is himself the Way, and therefore, both in the liturgical journey and in the journey of the Synod, the Church does nothing other than enter ever more deeply and fully into the mystery of Christ the Saviour.
And so we come to its culmination. The Gospel relates that Jesus “was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light” (Mt 17:2). This is the “summit”, the goal of the journey. At the end of their ascent, as they stand on the mountain heights with Jesus, the three disciples are given the grace of seeing him in his glory, resplendent in supernatural light. That light did not come from without, but radiated from the Lord himself. The divine beauty of this vision was incomparably greater than all the efforts the disciples had made in the ascent of Tabor. During any strenuous mountain trek, we must keep our eyes firmly fixed on the path; yet the panorama that opens up at the end amazes us and rewards us by its grandeur. So too, the synodal process may often seem arduous, and at times we may become discouraged. Yet what awaits us at the end is undoubtedly something wondrous and amazing, which will help us to understand better God’s will and our mission in the service of his kingdom.
The disciples’ experience on Mount Tabor was further enriched when, alongside the transfigured Jesus, Moses and Elijah appeared, signifying respectively the Law and the Prophets (cf. Mt 17:3). The newness of Christ is at the same time the fulfilment of the ancient covenant and promises; it is inseparable from God’s history with his people and discloses its deeper meaning. In a similar way, the synodal journey is rooted in the Church’s tradition and at the same time open to newness. Tradition is a source of inspiration for seeking new paths and for avoiding the opposed temptations of immobility and improvised experimentation.
The Lenten journey of penance and the journey of the Synod alike have as their goal a transfiguration, both personal and ecclesial. A transformation that, in both cases, has its model in the Transfiguration of Jesus and is achieved by the grace of his paschal mystery. So that this transfiguration may become a reality in us this year, I would like to propose two “paths” to follow in order to ascend the mountain together with Jesus and, with him, to attain the goal.
The first path has to do with the command that God the Father addresses to the disciples on Mount Tabor as they contemplate Jesus transfigured. The voice from the cloud says: “Listen to him” (Mt 17:5). The first proposal, then, is very clear: we need to listen to Jesus. Lent is a time of grace to the extent that we listen to him as he speaks to us. And how does he speak to us? First, in the word of God, which the Church offers us in the liturgy. May that word not fall on deaf ears; if we cannot always attend Mass, let us study its daily biblical readings, even with the help of the internet. In addition to the Scriptures, the Lord speaks to us through our brothers and sisters, especially in the faces and the stories of those who are in need. Let me say something else, which is quite important for the synodal process: listening to Christ often takes place in listening to our brothers and sisters in the Church. Such mutual listening in some phases is the primary goal, but it remains always indispensable in the method and style of a synodal Church.
On hearing the Father’s voice, the disciples “fell prostrate and were very much afraid. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, ‘Rise, and do not be afraid.’ And when the disciples raised their eyes, they saw no one else but Jesus alone” (Mt 17:6-8). Here is the second proposal for this Lent: do not take refuge in a religiosity made up of extraordinary events and dramatic experiences, out of fear of facing reality and its daily struggles, its hardships and contradictions. The light that Jesus shows the disciples is an anticipation of Easter glory, and that must be the goal of our own journey, as we follow “him alone”. Lent leads to Easter: the “retreat” is not an end in itself, but a means of preparing us to experience the Lord’s passion and cross with faith, hope and love, and thus to arrive at the resurrection. Also on the synodal journey, when God gives us the grace of certain powerful experiences of communion, we should not imagine that we have arrived – for there too, the Lord repeats to us: “Rise, and do not be afraid”. Let us go down, then, to the plain, and may the grace we have experienced strengthen us to be “artisans of synodality” in the ordinary life of our communities.
Dear brothers and sisters, may the Holy Spirit inspire and sustain us this Lent in our ascent with Jesus, so that we may experience his divine splendour and thus, confirmed in faith, persevere in our journey together with him, glory of his people and light of the nations.
Rome, Saint John Lateran, 25 January, Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul.
The Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador serves the Catholic population Labrador and the western portion of the island of NL.
The motto of the Diocese is -- COR ET ANIMA UNA (in Latin), -- ONE HEART AND SOUL -- taken from the Acts of the Apostles 4:32.
The Diocese is a combination of 28 Parishes & Mission.
With 18 Parish Priests and 1 Director of Parish Life.
The Diocesan Bishop and Pastoral Leader is Bishop Bart Van Roijen
The Diocese is committed to giving witness to the Gospel Values expressed in its ministries & services.
It broadens its scope towards family apostolate to embrace a more inclusive approach, including married couples, single parents, children, young people, the elderly and vulnerable in our community.
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A Catholic Commitment
to Healing and Reconciliation
The fund seeks to support projects that are determined locally, in collaboration with First Nations, Métis and Inuit partners.