St Mary Star of the Sea

Roman Catholic Church, Mississauga, Ontario

Follow us on Twitter: @PCStellaMaris 

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Pastoral Letter from Father Michael Simoes


March 25 2020

My dear faithful of St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish,

As we navigate through these turbulent times, I wish to update you on how the parish community is responding and provide you with words of encouragement and hope. In times of adversity, we have the option to stay the course, being purified and strengthened as community or we could give in to fear which leads to despair and fractures the community. It is my joy that we have let love call us into this time of purification so that we might be healed, be free from any disordered affection and cherished in the arms our Our Lord and Our Lady.

...Love your neighbour as yourself. (Mark 12:31)

With public masses both on the weekend and on the weekday being suspended and with the further directive that we can no longer offer the Church for private prayer, there are many ways that the Lord is working in our life. The first is that parishioners are showing great love of neighbour by establishing calling programs to support those who are homebound and isolated. For many in our community, the Church building is not just a place of worship, it is a place where people come together and the bonds of friendship are formed. With the support structures in place, despite the challenges of no longer having the Church building as a place for meeting, these friendships are still able to grow. In this way, we are following the directive from St. James to be doers of the word and not just hearers.

Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. (Rev 3:20)

With all this activity, we can also note that there is a newness of life coming forth in the interior rooms of our heart. While we are being challenged by not having access to the Church and the Eucharist, many people are participating in Mass through live-streaming options and keeping Holy the Sabbath day. With non-essential extracurricular activity suspended, parents have time to spend with their children. We are learning about the importance of private prayer to stay connected to Jesus personally as well as prayer as a family, the domestic church, keeping the community of life and love centred in Jesus.

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. (Mark 16:15)

Since I miss seeing you at the doors of the Church following Mass on the weekends and weekdays, I have been working on projects to help me connect with you outside these walls through social media. In addition to our parish website, we now have a parish Twitter account “@PCStellaMaris” and a Facebook account “St Mary Star of the Sea Parish”. Through these new media, I will work on giving weekly reflections on the Scriptures for the feast as well as other information to keep you informed and connected to the life of the parish in these uncertain times. If you send an email to StMaryStaroftheSeaMI@archtoronto.org we will then be able to add that email address to our database and we can get information directly to your email inbox as well.

...for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Cor 9:7)

With our Church not available for private prayer, and public Masses suspended, our parish still relies on your financial support for parish salaries, programs and ongoing operating costs (heating, water, electricity, etc.). It will be a challenge for our parish to maintain operations without the weekly offertory collection. Collections of this sort have deep religious significance. In the season where we are asked to pray and fast, we are also asked to give alms and by giving to the parish we can strengthen our relationship with God and grow in holiness, as we would with prayer and fasting. Below you will find ways to support our parish at this time:

1) Drop off or mail your regular weekly offertory contribution to the parish office.
2) Contribute to our parish offertory by credit card. You can make a one time or recurring contribution to our parish offertory or other special funds.
3) Contribute through pre-authorized giving. You can obtain a form from the parish office or you can download the enrolment form from our website. Please call the office for more information.
4) You can contribute to the offertory via on-line banking. To do this, we need to send you your unique account number. Please e-mail campaign@archtoronto.org. In the body of the email provide your name, address, parish name and municipality. Your account information will be emailed to you, which you can use to set up the Archdiocese of Toronto as a payee in your on-line banking. Your gift will be forwarded to the parish. You can make a one time or recurring gift to your offertory.

If you have any questions about contributing through your credit card, pre-authorized giving or on-line banking, please contact me MSimoes@archtoronto.org or Marilyn 905-278-2058 at the parish office or you can contact the Development Office at the Archdiocese of Toronto, 416-934-3400, ext. 540. We are here to help you.

We recognize in these times that God is always here to help us both personally and communally. I keep each of you in my prayers and at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. May we be together soon and worship the God who is love and out of that love sent His Son into the world to save us from all evil.

In Our Lord and Our Lady
Father Michael


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