A New Season

Dear Brother Knights,

We are entering a new season in our parish life. Fall is coming, Covid is nearing its end (I hope) and a new Parish priest is to be installed soon. I’m reminded of several passages from scriptures. In Luke, 4:38-44, we are told of an incident when Jesus went to the home of Simon. Simon’s Mother-in-law was sick, and he healed her. Later, he healed many others who were brought to him by the people of that town. By the end of a long night, “At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving.”

I think we all have that mentality in our lives. We don’t want to let go of what we see as a good thing and are a bit afraid of the new thing to come. I have seen and heard many things over the course of the past several years that brought this to mind over and over again. Things like “Well that’s not how we do it” or “I miss the old way…” or “I’m not being fed …”. Jesus’ response to the people (verse 43) is pretty clear. “I must proclaim the good news … to other towns too”.

Jesus is alive and moving and he is in each of us. His Word comes to us through many people, and we need to be able to see and hear his word in all His forms and from all His messengers. We are about to receive a new priest and with that will come new ways, new kinds of messages and the old ways will need to be released so as to make way for the new. If you pour new wine into old wine skins, the new wine will burst the wineskins, and both will be lost (Luke 5:37). Jesus is telling us that we must renew ourselves so we can accept the new wine. If we try to squeeze the new into our old, wrinkled wineskins, it will not end well for us or for the new wine.

I know I’m “stretching” things a bit here, but I see the new priest, Fr. Hibbard, as the new wine. Our old ways as the old wineskins that need to be replaced with new skins. We need to see the Word of the Lord coming from our new priest and not hold to the Word as we heard it from one of our former priests. We must see the Word in the new ways our parish will operate and not hold to the old ways from previous priests. This is a new and exciting time for us. It can be a bit scary and nerve-wracking too. Let’s renew ourselves in the Spirit, so we can accept our new wine and thrive in it. Let us welcome our new priest,
Fr. Hibbard with open arms and joyous anticipation of renewal and growth.
I cannot wait!

Vivat Jesus!

Michael Mombourquette
Grand Knight

Remembering Brother Michele “Mike” Boffa



April 15, 1940 –  
August 9, 2021




In Loving Memory

BOFFA, Michele (Mike)
1940 – 2021

At his home in Kingston, on Monday, August 9, 2021 in his 82nd year. Beloved husband of Teresa (nee Russo) Boffa and dear father of Luigi Boffa (Angela) and Adam Boffa. Affectionately known as “Nonno” to his grandchildren, Olivia, Liana and Anna Boffa. Dear brother to Lucia (Tony) Garofalo of Kingston, and Giuseppina (Antonio) Stelluto and Adamo (Maria Grazia) Boffa, both residing in Italy. Predeceased by brother Antonio (Costanza) Boffa and sister Filomena (Donato) Minicozzi. Fondly remembered by numerous nieces and nephews.

In accordance with Mike’s wishes, cremation at James Reid Crematorium will be followed by the Funeral Mass of Christian Burial at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church (1111 Taylor-Kidd Boulevard) on Tuesday, August 17 at 1:30 p.m., with Reverend Leo Byrne celebrating. Interment at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery at a later date.

Covid-19 protocols are as follows. For those wishing to attend the Funeral Mass, please call the James Reid Funeral Home at 613-544-3411 daily between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Attendance is limited therefore pre-registration is mandatory. Those unregistered guests who arrive at the church are not guaranteed a seat. Please wear a mask. Physical distancing will be monitored. The family and the funeral home thank you for your co-operation.

As expressions of sympathy, donations may be made to The Heart & Stroke Foundation or the Children’s Wish Foundation in Mr. Boffa’s memory. Online condolences may be shared at jamesreidfuneralhome.com.


Remembering Brother Lionel Byrne

Lionel Byrne

In Loving Memory

On the morning of July 7th, 2021, in his 81st year, Joseph Lionel Byrne (Lionel) passed away at home in Kingston Ontario, with his loving and devoted wife Judith (Judi), of nearly 48 years, by his side.

His extraordinary life started on April 1st, 1941, in Bobcaygeon Ontario. Born to Zeta (Simpson) Byrne and (Thomas)Leo Byrne he was oldest of 13 children. Lionel spent much of his youth in Fenelon Falls Ontario doing his best to keep his 7 brothers out of trouble. He graduated from high school and then entered, in good Irish Catholic tradition, St. Augustine’s seminary in Toronto. He also studied at Loyola University Chicago. Lionel was ordained in 1965 and was a pastor for 7 years in the Peterborough diocese.

Lionel left the priesthood and travelled extensively throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Upon returning to Canada, he found employment in Orillia Ontario. He worked here while he waited to begin his Master of Social Work at Carleton University. It was while working at the Huronia Regional Institute that he fell in love with a feisty redhead that would become his partner in life. Lionel and Judi (Clements) were married on October 5th, 1973 in Ottawa Ontario.

Lionel and Judi began their nomadic style life with their move to Halifax. Upon graduating with his Masters of Social Work, they moved to Fort Smith, North West Territories, with their young son Sean. Here they lived and worked until Lionel made the decision to join the Canadian Forces as a Military Social Worker. At 35, he was the oldest cadet, but graduated top cadet after 16 weeks of basic training in Chilliwack British Columbia. Their family grew in 1977 with the birth of their daughter Erin, in Victoria B.C.

The military moved them to Ottawa, Kingston (RMC), Lahr West Germany, Ottawa, and finally Trenton. Lionel officially retired from the Military in 1995, but quickly returned to work for the military as a civilian. Lionel took on the role of Director of the Military Family Resource Centre for a few years, but eventually returned to his true vocation of counselling. Lionel continued to work in this role until the age of 75. By this point he and Judi returned to Kingston to live close to their four grandchildren Anna, Claire, Simon and Luna. Lionel’s most cherished times were always those spent with his family, in particular those moments when was he was cheering on his grandchildren at the hockey rink or taking advantage of naptime with Luna.

Lionel will be deeply missed by his wife and soulmate Judi, his son Sean and his wife Laura, his daughter Erin and her husband Jonnie Walker and their children Luna, Anna, Claire and Simon respectively; He leaves behind his brothers and sisters, Mike and wife Nancy; Gary and his partner Carol; Greg and his wife Carol; Paul and his wife Joan; Stephen and his partner Marilyn; and his sisters Linda; AnnMarie and her husband Richard White; Philomena and her husband Marty Childs; Ruth Ann and her husband Roger McInnis; and Sister-in-law Pat. He is predeceased by his parents Zeta and Leo and his brothers Kevin and John, and his sister Janice. He will be missed by his mother-in-law Florence Clements of Orillia; his sisters and brothers in laws Joanne and Peter Ward, Joyce and Earl Giffen, Janice and Ken Laing. His many nieces, nephews, and great nieces and nephews will miss their Uncle Lionel. Lionel’s life’s vocation was motivated by faith, family and a genuine care for others. He held many titles over his lifetime and his impact was far reaching. Aside from ‘Dad’, his favorite title, by far, was ‘Grandpa’.

Family and friends will be received on Wednesday July 14th from 2-4pm at The Gordon F. Thompkins Funeral Home on 435 Davis Drive, Kingston. Visitors must call the funeral home in advance at 613-546-5150 to reserve their attendance. There will be a private family funeral with interment to follow at Cataraqui Cemetery.

A special thank you to Dr. Sladic, Dr. Peters, Dr. Thomas, the staff on Davis 5, and the PSWs who supported Judi in caring for Lionel at home. Not to be forgotten are the many friends and neighbors of the Emerald St. community.

Please consider making a donation, in his name, to the Parkinson’s Society or a charity of your choice.


(With thanks to G.F. Tompkins Funeral Home -Township Chapel)

What will be our response?

Brother Knights,

I heard recently that certain people close to the Lord have been receiving a word, telling us that the Church will suffer great persecution. Certainly, if we listen to the news or follow certain people on social media or even certain of our family members, we might feel like the Church is in deep trouble. There have been scandals over the abuse of Children by priests, financial scandals, even calls to boycott the Church over lack of payment of the recompense monies due from the agreement with the Truth and Reconciliation commission. Lately, the news has been filled about graves being identified on the properties of various residential schools, many of whom were run by Catholic Orders for a period from the late 19’th century to near the end of the 20’th century.

What are we to think of all this? I have heard some people jump in with energetic defense of the Church in various ways, and I’ve heard those chime in on the attacks, even certain people who I thought were faithful Catholics have gotten caught up in the rhetoric against the church. So what is the truth? How are we to respond?

I think our response needs to depend on who will be receiving our response. If the person listening is among those many who have been injured then argument is useless and will only serve to divide more. If the person listening is caught up in false claims about things, perhaps they can be reasoned with, but emotional engagement tends to make impassioned discussions of the facts hard to do. For these people, due respect is needed, allow the injured their story, allow the angered their anger and do not respond in kind, but be kind instead. Love and compassion for those who have been wounded is the only response that has a hope of working.

But what of our own personal thought processes? What of discussions among ourselves or others, who are all struggling to make sense of these things? First of all, in this discussion, I want to accomplish two things. I want to try to guide us to a recognition of the truth and I want us to recognize the path forward.

There is a good summary of resources that Father Shawn has been collecting and is listed on the Cathedral web site at https://stmaryscathedral.ca/residentialschools/
Much of what I am writing here uses references from that list.

The news media unfortunately writes headlines with the words “Discovered … and … unmarked graves” when it refers to the grave sites being identified at various locations. These two things together make many people think that no one knew about these graves and that they were “mass graves”, like we might imagine was done if someone had been deliberately trying to hide the graves. Dr. Scott Hamilton, in a report to the Truth and Reconciliation commission “Where are the Children Buried?” offers several scenarios as to how the grave sites arrived at the condition they are in now. Some of them are part of community grave yards and are still maintained. Others were lost to time as schools burned down or were abandoned and the properties re-verted to nature. There is one report by the parish priest in one community (Ft. St. James, B.C.) during the Spanish Influenza pandemic, where most of the children and all the teachers and principal got sick. 78 people dies, including some children, some teachers and some from the surrounding community. The priest describes the situation where by people were dying so fast, they finally resorted to digging a single large grave for the growing numbers of bodies.

So were those graveyards proof that someone tried to hide them? Are they proof that there was some evil plot by the Church? Are they proof that the children were buried without any sense of decorum or respect. Dr. Hamilton’s report makes it clear that most of them were originally marked by wooden crosses, since they were buried by the Orders who were running the residential schools. So, no. They were not hidden, just lost to time and nature. They were not mass graves of a large numbers of children dying together in some atrocity, although there were times that because of disease or pandemic when multiple people were dying at the same time. Generally, they were grave sites of the deceased children whose numbers built up over the decades those schools were operating. The death rates dropped off precipitously in the years after WWII when public health standards were much higher, to the point that death from then on in the schools were rare. So, in the early years, when public health standards were pretty poor, there were high death rates at some schools, especially due to disease sweeping through the children. Several cases of such horrible times are described in Dr. Hamilton’s report.

Another issue that comes up is the issue of students being abused. I have heard people recoil in horror and anger and others completely deny it. Did abuse happen? I can clearly recall times in my own school where teachers did things that I thought were abusive but I was too scared to “tell”. So if abuse was happening in my “white” schools, where the teachers were the same ethnic grouping as the students, it’s impossible to imagine that somehow it was not happening in those schools. Moreover, in those schools, the teachers came were mostly “white” and the students were all from various indigenous bands. Prejudice was far more prevalent and acceptable back then, especially, prejudice by the white population against anyone who was not white. We, as a people, thought we were better than they were. We thought we were doing them good by teaching them to become more like us. Even those teachers who had genuine compassion and love for their charges were, in essence, doing them harm by their very act of telling those children that their heritage was no good, that they were inferior and needed to adapt to better ways. Now, imagine a teacher who, in a regular school might have been prone to abusing children. That teacher, in a residential school, would have felt very little restraint keeping them from abusing the children.

So, was every child who went to those schools abused? Some people have tried to deny that abuse happened, except in rare cases. I don’t think that is correct. Was every child sexually assaulted, or criminally physical-ly assaulted? I doubt it but I don’t know. I like to believe that most people are good and would not have engaged in such criminal behavior. However, I would like to point out three things:  1) By today’s standards, most forms of corporal punishment that were used, even in my own childhood, would be considered criminal now. 2) Those Children came from a culture where that form of punishment was not done so even teachers who did not bend the rules when applying punishment, from the children’s perspective, were abusive. And finally, 3) We had parents and community support if we felt wronged. Those children had no one to turn to and even when they returned home, they had been told that their community was somehow “Less” than ours. So, in essence, yes. Every one of those children was abused in one way or the other.

Some will defend the Church by saying that it was merely trying to evangelize those people, to save their souls. Well consider that the early Church converted people individually, by showing them Christ’s love in their lives and their actions. I’m pretty sure many of those Children did not see Christ in the teacher who was “correcting”, nor in the whole system that did them so much harm. We need to show them Christ in our lives. We still need to evangelize but NOT by trying to force an entire population. We need to convert them by ex-ample, by showing them Christ’s love in our own lives. By looking forward at how we can better understand them and by respecting them where they are.

So, what now? What can we do? We have inherited a mess. And we need to take humbly accept our own historical guilt but we also need to take courage as we look to the future.

There was an interview on CBC with the Chief of the Cowessess first nation, Chief Cadmus Delorme, where the discovery of over 751 graves near Regina was announced just recently, which came after a multi-year re-search project, partially funded by the Regina Catholic Archdiocese. You can find the recording on the Cathedral home page or directly at this link. It’s not easy to listen to but it’s good. https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1914227267751. If someone has a right to be angry, Chief Delorme and his people do. Yet, that is not the message he is portraying. He is looking to the future, to reconciliation, not backwards, for revenge. “I love living in Canada… There is an accidental racism and ignorance in this country, when it comes to history… We are not asking for pity. We’re asking for understanding. We’re asking for you to stand beside us as we are gaining our control again, as indigenous people in our treaty relationship… This country would be some much more well off when indigenous ideology and understand was welcomed in and not just brought in on certain days of the year”

Are you ready to try to understand what we all inherited? And to work together to make this a better country for everyone?

As a follow up comment, Remember my opening statement about the prophecies of tribulation for the Church? Those same prophecies about the hard times coming include prediction of a rebirth of the Church, of a re-invigorating of Christ in the lives of the faithful. Let’s pray for this outcome. I think we have been suffering from the tribulation now for a while. We need to remember that we have hope. Hope in Christ.

Vivat Jesus!

Michael Mombourquette
Grand Knight

Remembering Brother Paul Michiels



10-Sep-1935 – 03-Jun-2021





In Loving Memory

1935 – 2021

Paul went home to heaven, peacefully at 7 p.m. on June 3 in his 86th year. He was surrounded by his loving wife, Joanne and all his family. We will always cherish those final hours and are forever thankful to have had that time with him at home. (Special thank-you to the amazing palliative care team for making his journey easier.)

Paul was a lover of music and a soloist in his church choir, a member of the Knights of Columbus and was a very active member at his parish. Singing and gardening were his passions and his amazing tenor voice will always be etched in our souls.

He leaves behind his wife Joanne, sisters Ingrid (John), and Paula, son Robert (Karen), daughter Wanda (Paul), granddaughters Kacey and Jessi (Jeff), great-grandchildren Evely, Colton and Cooper and his many nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his mother, father and brother Bill.

During the Covid restrictions, the family will have a mass celebrated and the urn placed at Glenhaven Memorial Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to “The Kidney Foundation of Canada” or the Kingston Humane Society.Online condolences at www.gftompkinstownship.ca

Elections, a Draw and Looking Forward

Dear Brother Knights,

We are coming up on our Council elections this month. I am hoping some of you are going to step up and join the executive. We are looking to fill a few positions for this coming fraternal year. Let me know if you are interested, please. Call me GK Michael @ 613-650-7530.

As you may know, since COVID hit us last spring, we have been unable to raise funds for any of our charity commitments. Last year we had collected some money (and distributed it) from revenue we received from the Ontario State Raffle, for which we traditionally sell paper tickets in person and in the mall. We had actually made most of our sales before the first lock-down happened last year. Howard Gallivan has been doing a great job of running this (with Dale Tupah’s enormous help and also the help of so many other members). This year, we have no money to use to help our various charities because all events have been cancelled until further notice. While a few of these charities themselves are on hiatus and don’t need the money, many of them are actually in a desperate state because their own revenue has dropped too, and they still have expenses. We want to continue to help them.

This spring, we started participating in a new fund-raising venture, an Ontario-state on-line 50/50 draw. We started selling in early April and so far, we are in first place provincially by nearly a 25% margin over the second-place council. Keep up the good work. For any of you who do not know what this is about, let me explain briefly. The Ontario-state Raffle has been transformed into an on-line 50/50 raffle. We will get a larger percentage of the revenue from selling 50/50 tickets than we would have by selling the paper tickets because there is much less overheat cost to the on on-line program. So this is actually a more efficient charity event with a higher fraction of proceeds going to charity. Please support our council and by extension, its charities by purchasing a few tickets and by promoting sales to your family and friends. The link to buyCode to scan tickets that will get credited to our council is found on our web site http://kofc9652.com. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the poster advertising the draw. Or, keep a copy of the link on your cell phone or print a copy of the QR code (right) and keep it in your pocket so you can show and your friend can point his cell-phone camera at it to get instantly transported to the site where you can buy your tickets.
Or type the link directly into your browser

This year has been tough on all of us with so many new kinds of pressures we have never faced before. Our council has been facing these as best we can and has continued to carry out our mission using remote technologies, like Zoom and the good old telephone. Our zoom meetings are the first and last Tuesdays of the month at 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm with some socializing afterwards. If you have zoom, you can start it and use meeting ID: 948 3988 0913 with passcode 834615. You can even join us by regular telephone if you don’t have a computer, smart phone or network access. Just pick up any phone and dial
1 613 209 3054. Then use the meeting ID and passcode to log into the meeting and voila, we can all hear you and you can hear us all. Hopefully, the pandemic restrictions will be lifted soon (once we are all vaccinated) and we can resume meeting in person.

I pray for you all and I am looking forward to the day we can all meet and share a snack, a drink, shake hands and hug again. Maybe by the fall. May God bless you all.

Vivat Jesus,

GK Michael

A trial and a blessing

Hello Brother Knights.

Well, March is here, and we have come full circle on COVID-19. There is a light at the end of the tunnel but it’s still a long tunnel. This year has been both a trial and a blessing. Everybody knows the trials this year has presented, isolation at home, loss of security, missing friends and family, tired of seeing the inside walls or our own little homes. But there is also great blessing in our trials. We have seen people rally to help others all over the place. We have established a new live-stream capability at our masses. This will help many shut-ins to still attend mass, long after we stop needing to isolate because of COVID. Baptisms and Funerals can now be attended by far away relatives and friends who otherwise could not be here with us.

Our Council 9652, has risen to the challenge and we have not missed a meeting this year but we did have to switch quickly to doing our meetings virtually. Our on-line zoom meetings have been a lot of fun and a great relief from the monotony of staring at our own four walls. It has been so good to see the faces of friends, brother knights, fellow social-distancers. We have shared many a laugh and gotten serious work done too. I am blessed to be a member of such a good council. Our meetings are still at the usual times, Last Tuesday of the month is our Planning meeting, where we set the agenda and work through the details for the coming general meeting, the first Tuesday of the month. Both meetings are at 7:00 pm on the respective Tuesdays and both can be found on Zoom using the Meeting ID: 948 3988 0913 and Passcode: 834615. If you don’t have a computer, tablet or smart-phone, you can call into the meeting using 1 613 209 3054. Then, you can type in the same Meeting ID and passcode and you will be able to join into our discussions, our work and our fun.

This lent, have you made it to confession? I know that sometimes it may feel like a chore and there are times when I shy away from confession, particularly when I have something to confess that I’m particularly not proud of. I have been able to attend about once a month for the past while and It has been such a relief each time I do. This past confession, Fr Shawn caught me off guard. I was leading up to confession a certain sin and I said something like “I’m feeling pretty bummed right now…”. He interrupted me and said (with a humorous tone in his voice). “You know that’s a sin too!” Great! I had not even started my confessions and I had already ‘fessed up to another sin I didn’t even realize was one. Fr. Shawn explained that despair means we are not trusting in the Lord. It means we don’t have faith in those moments. We read about Abraham in the readings on the Second Sunday of Lent. Abraham must have had some internal misgivings when he led his only son Isaac to the high mountain because he had been told to sacrifice him as a burnt offering. What kind of thoughts went through his head? Yet, despite the almost inevitable misgivings about the mission, he headed out with his son, made the altar and was fully prepared to carry it out, Knowing that somehow, God would make it right. Are we so sure that God can make things right for us? Are we willing to have faith in the Lord that will sustain us in our times of doubt and fears. This year has certainly put that kind of faith to the test for me. Yet, I know God is here with me now. I know he will be there for you all too.

God bless everyone and Good spring (Lent).

Vivat Jesus!

Michael Mombourquette
Grand Knight

God is with you

Dear Brother Knights,

We are rapidly approaching the end of the calendar year and what a year it has been. There are so many ways in which we are hoping next year will be a better one. Let’s make sure that it is better spiritually for us as well as all the other ways we want 2021 to be better. The Lord loves us and wants us to love him as well. As we read in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

With that love and grace from God in our hearts, we can do anything. We are tasked with becoming the ‘movers and shakers’ in our world. We often think that the only things that get done are initiated by the “big impersonal governments” or by those un-named “They”, who do things. It’s the small little actions of the world that make the biggest changed in our world. Saint Theresa of Calcutta (aka Mother Theresa) didn’t start out as some high-powered person with all the right contacts. She was a member of the Sisters of Loreta, in Ireland and was quite happy in her life there. It was on one of her missionary trips that she first heard the call to ministry to the poor. And, like we heard of Mary at the annunciation, she said yes to God’s call. That yes, made all the difference.

Are you ready to say “Yes” to God? He may not be calling you to give your life to the poor like St Mother Theresa but until you say Yes, you won’t know, will you? Most of us can say “Yes” to god every day in little things that don’t turn out to be global news, but which can make a huge difference to individuals around us. Does your spouse need your attention? Is a co-worker feeling a need? Does a parishioner feel alone or distant from God and others? When you are presented with these situations, that may be God giving you an opportunity to say “Yes” to a need He is presenting to you. Don’t be afraid. God is with you. He is waiting for you, just as we are waiting for him in this season of advent.

On another note, I want to bring a few things to your attention.

There will be a new format for our meetings going forward. We will discuss this and implement the new format in the new year. There are not too many big changes, but I’ll go over them in January with the members.

This month, instead of an executive meeting on the last Tuesday of the month, we will have a Zoom social. Join us on Zoom or by phone, Tuesday, December 29 at 7:00 pm for a gathering of friends and family (all are welcome). Do you have a talent you want to share? Can you sing a song? Can you tell a story? Are you good at jokes? Let me know and I’ll make sure you get your moment to share your talent with the rest of us. So, rosin up that bow, tune that guitar, warm up your singing voice (or your story-telling voice), dig out those dancing shoes. Let’s all share in the joy of the Season of Christmas this year virtually.

I will send the link next week by email to all the knights so you don’t have to type in all those letters and numbers. Or you can just open up zoom, click “Join a meeting” and enter the meeting id and passcode.

Vivat Jesus!

Michael Mombourquette
Grand Knight

Let’s all dream

Hello Brother Knights,

Well, this has been a tumultuous early autumn already. Our Pope made some statements in his new biography film that left some people shocked and others rejoicing. The elections in the US have done similar things, both here and in the US. COVID’s second wave is hitting us much harder than the first, also leaving many of us shocked and creating division and anger. There seems to be a lot that is happening that is tearing us apart from each other. I don’t really want to focus on any of those things in this letter. There is so much more in any one of these than I can address in a few paragraphs, but I do want us to keep all this division and stress in the back of our minds as I proceed.

Our goal, to quote a famous current-day evangelist, is to become the “best versions of ourselves”. Matthew Kelly has been using this talking point for many years now. So, how do we become the best version of ourselves. In a retreat (virtual) I attended this week, Matthew gave us some advice I like and wish to share with you. First of all, we need to recognize the world we are living in. The big trends currently happening in our lives (like some examples I gave in the first paragraph) are soul destroying. We are dehumanizing each other (think of how you or your friends have spoken about “the other” in any of those scenarios I mentioned above) We need to re-humanize history, our past, our present and our future.

Jesus is the expert with all the guidance we need. It’s written in those four books we call Gospels. We need to remember that we are all Human beings. Not so different from each other. We all have our hopes and dreams. But what are your dreams. How were they formed? What will happen to them? Many of us have already stopped dreaming and are merely existing day-to-day. To regain our hope, our dreams, we need to face our past, our present and our future openly.

Our past needs healing. There isn’t even one person reading this who doesn’t have some hurt or pain from the past that still needs to be healed. We need to remember to make a distinction between want we did in the past and who we were/are. I can look back on many incidents in my past and feel regret over my decisions. There are two ways I can look back on these. Shame or Guilt. They may sound similar, but they are not at all the same. If I look back on some incident and feel shame, I am experiencing what St. Thomas Aquinas called a soul-destroying useless emotion. We are essentially some mistake we did with who we are. That’s shame. Guilt, on the other hand is the acceptance of the wrongs we did. It allows us to recognize where we need to improve without the attached feelings that we are Bad.

Our present is in trouble too. We need to re-engage our present, fully experience the moment. Today, it seems one of the points we are often proud of is how ‘busy’ we are. We have so much to do, we cannot even stop to enjoy the day. Ye shall know them by their fruits. The Fruits of busy is Stressed, Burned out, Feelings of inadequacy and anxiety. Tell me, if you had a friend who made you feel all those things would you consider them a true friend? “Busy” is not our friend either. Slow down. Spend time in prayer, pray the rosary, read scriptures, read a good book, or just silently meditate. Actually, that last option is one of the least used prayer methods but also one of the most important ones. Saying the rosary can be a bit like that, in that we repeat the same prayer over and over, as a form of centering prayer. I use it as a meditative prayer itself, allowing me to focus my reflections on specific moments in Christ’s life (Mysteries).

Finally, our future. We need to dream again. We need to realize that With God, we can do lots of things that by our-selves seem impossible. How can we dream? When you dream, don’t prejudge them. Don’t discount them before they even got formed. Like, “I want to go to see Rome”, followed by “Ya but I’ll never be able to afford it or I’m too busy”. Let’s dream, let’s write down all our dreams. It’s amazing how just writing them down can make them seem possible.

Let’s all dream of a future where we get to live life to the fullest, in Christ, with God and with all our family and neighbors together as fellow dreamers. Dream on Brothers and Sisters. Keep that list of dreams and watch. You’ll be amazed at how many of them you will actually be able to reach.

Vivat Jesus!

Michael Mombourquette
Grand Knight

Questions, Blessings and Awe

Dear Brother Knights,

This has been a difficult few months for us all. There have been so many adjustments and changes to our lives as a result of COVID-19. We certainly would never have believed it if someone had told us last September that we would have spent half the next year in our own houses. As we begin to peek out from hiding, we are encountering a rise in the number of cases that threatens to drive us back into our cubbies. What are we to make of all this? We did try a few ways to get together. We had some of our meetings by zoom to continue to encounter each other, at least visually and eventually graduated to hybrid meeting whereby some people came to my back yard (with social distancing) and others joined by zoom. It was largely a success in that we were able to meet but Still there were quite a few people shy at coming out in public again. And, I don’t blame them for their concern.

In all this, How does God fit in? What are we to make of all this death and disease? Has God abandoned us? Is this a plague from God for having sinned (and boy have we sinned as a people), or at least, a message from God telling us to “Straighten up” and get our act together? A recent survey by Chicago School of Divinity suggested that 1/3 of Catholics believe that and nearly half of Evangelicals.

It’s a common question we have been asking in one form or another for millenia. It’s the question of Suffering. Natural suffering has confounded us since the dawn of time. Why is it here? Why are we as a people facing this tribulation? In Numbers, Chapter 21, we read of the case of the Israelites griping against the Lord and suddenly they find they are being invaded by serpents, who bite them and they die. At God’s instruction Moses fashioned a bronze Serpent and put it on a staff.

Symbol of Healing

Anyone who was bitten would look on it and live. We still use that same symbol in our medical profession as a symbol of healing.

So, God does allow us to encounter suffering. He may even will it when we are not following His way. But, is this what is happening now? Unfortunately, we may never know ourselves. In the generations to come, revelation may indeed show our descendants that we were being punished but I believe this Suffering is not the hand of God, that he is not killing his people for being sinners. I believe it’s up to us to use this opportunity God has given to us to change ourselves and to come to recognise the ways we have been living that are unhealthy, both physically and spiritually.

For example, we are now looking at how our stores and our church is being cleaned fastidiously to prevent the spread of the contagion. How we are all keeping watch over where we put our hands and how long it’s been since we last sanitized or washed them. We are wearing masks to protect others (evidence shows that’s the biggest effect, the protection of others from us, not the protection of us from others.) We are recognising ways that we may never be the same again and hopefully we will be a safer and healthier society for it.

We are also seeing dramatic changes to our spiritual lives as well. Now, here is our biggest opportunity to see a positive outcome. Many are longing for the Eucharist, Treasuring the hope of being able to return to Church and receive Holy Communion once again. Yet, how many of us took it for granted and for how many years? How many of us took Mass for granted, and for that matter God? Suddenly, we are confronted with the realization that these things are not mundane, to be just expected. No longer can we just ‘show up’ on Sunday and get our fix for the week. We must seek out ways to gather in the Lord, seek out the means to attend confession and to participate in Mass.

Many of us have been able to attend online. Thanks to the super efforts of a few dedicated people, we have been able to feel some of that togetherness in the chat alongside the video screen. How I loved to see the Baker wish me a blessed Sunday or see prayers we had sent in by chat actually being pronounced on the altar! The few times I have been blessed to actually attend Mass these past 6 months left me with a profound sense of relief and awe at receiving the Eucharist. That first time, after Cynthia and I had sung for one of the virtual masses, Father Amato, told us we could come to the altar and carefully slide one host off the patten and take it. It was awe inspiring. I was almost in tears of joy. How many times in the past have we felt so truly grateful for the ability to receive? To pray with others? To listen to the homilist in person? There are so many blessings I have been taking for granted for so long. I think it will be an equally long time before I ever do again. How about you?

Vivat Jesus!

Michael Mombourquette
Grand Knight