Saint André Bessette Parish
Fall River - Enfield - Middle Musquodoboit
“An Incense Free Parish”
Saturday 4:00 pm - Holy Cross
4:00 pm - St. Rose of Lima (postponed until February 2021)
Sunday 9:00 am - St. Bernard
11:00 am - St. Rose of Lima
Sacrament of Reconciliation:
Holy Cross: As needed upon request.
St. Bernard: 1st Saturday of the month: 9:30 am to 10:30 am.
(location: outside of present Confessional room)
St. Rose: 2nd Saturday of the month: 9:30 am to 10:30 am.
(location: room outside the bathrooms, i.e. the crying room)
Sacrament of the Sick: The Sacrament of the Sick will be made available upon request for individuals, following appropriate safety procedures. Present restrictions do not permit pastors to go into the hospital to anoint sick parishioners, however there are designated priests to anoint parishioners in hospital.
Communion to the Homebound/Sick by parishioners is not permitted at this time. Requests for viaticum (communion for the dying) should be made to Fr. Michael.
January 9, 2021
Dear Friends in Christ:
Blessings this final Feast of the Christmas Season!
PARISH LIFE GROUPS will resume on Monday January 18 at 7:00 pm. We will start once a month on the third Monday of the month until Lent, when we will start a Lenten group. Our topic will be the saints, starting with Saint André Bessette, our parish patron. To participate please sign on the life group link on the parish website and you will receive an email with the zoom link a few days before the gathering. New participants are welcome.
THE BESSETTE GAZETTE will resume publication next week. If you have notices please send them to Claire or Linda at the church offices.
LIVE STREAM MASS IMPROVEMENTS: Since we began broadcasting masses last year we have worked hard to make improvements to the broadcast. Presently we are looking at a new video camera that will enable us to dramatically improve the video quality of what we do. The camera and installation will cost approximately $3000.00. I am requesting donations to support this improvement. Please mark your donation with the word ‘camera project’. Donations of any amount are appreciated. Thank you.
2021 CHURCH ENVELOPES may be picked up at both church offices or at mass. We need some information from each person in order to meet recent requirements of the Canada Revenue Agency in order to issue tax receipts for a charitable donation. At St. Bernard and St. Rose you will be given a box of envelopes with a form and pencil. Please fill out the form with the required information and leave it in a basket by the exit when leaving mass. Your assistance in doing this will ensure we have the required information to issue tax receipts.
MASS SCHEDULE GOING FORWARD: We will continue the following mass schedule going forward, subject to changes mandated by the Nova Scotia Health Authority.
Holy Cross - Saturday - 4:00 pm
St. Bernard - Sunday - 9:00 am
St. Rose - Sunday - 11:00 am (also live streamed on Facebook)
If you were registered for in person mass last fall (before the Advent/Christmas change to only livestream masses) there is no need to register again.
If you have not previously registered for in person mass at the churches in Enfield and Fall River please do so. Please indicate how many people you are registering when you contact us. Names will be accepted for the weekend up until 10:00 am the Thursday before the weekend.
If you wish to attend mass at St. Rose please contact Linda at 902-860-0475 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you wish to attend mass at St. Bernard please contact Claire at 902-883-2660 or email@example.com.
Numbers at Holy Cross are limited to 24 and are sufficient for that church.
Present N.S. Health restrictions allow a maximum of 100 persons per mass at St. Bernard and St. Rose churches. When that number is reached I regret that we will not be able to accommodate any more parishioners.
Your assistance is needed to help keep each other safe and we ask you to care for your neighbour by practicing the following:
Using a Mask - All people at mass are required to wear a mask. If you are unable to wear a mask for mass for any reason please remain home and take in the live stream mass. Masks may only be lowered for the reception of communion and must be back in place immediately afterwards.
Social distancing - While inside the church building, social distancing is required. You will be shown to your seat by an usher and when moving around the church please strive to keep a distance of six feet from other parishioners.
Use Hand sanitizer - When arriving in the church please use the provided hand sanitizer. Together these practices help protect parishioners and your cooperation makes it possible for mass to be celebrated in our churches during the pandemic.
4:00 PM SATURDAY MASS AT ST. ROSE: Before the last in person shutdown an additional mass was planned for St. Rose to accommodate more people in person at mass. I am announcing that the start date for this mass will be February 6, 2021.
Since we have been closed down for a while I have a few reminders:
PARISH OFFICES: Our parish offices at St. Rose and St. Bernard have reopened. We kindly ask you to observe the following procedures when visiting the parish office:
1) Only one visitor at a time is permitted in the office.
2) When waiting to go into the office, physical distancing must be observed.
3) Masks must be worn by staff when a visitor is in the office; visitors must wear a mask in the office.
4) Hand sanitizer must be used when entering the church office.
MASS LIVE STREAMED: The live stream mass may be found on Facebook at St. André Bessette Parish or go to our parish website strosefallriver.com and click on the live mass link/box.
DISTRIBUTION OF COMMUNION: The procedure for distributing communion with two communion ministers at St. Rose and St. Bernard will continue. The ushers will give directions to parishioners on how to proceed to and from a communion station.
A FINAL FEW WORDS: The past several months have been difficult for everyone as we try to adjust to a new reality. I am especially concerned about our parishioners who live alone, who have had limited contact with people and have been unable to join the gathered community for months. Please keep them in your prayers and consider safe ways to reach out and support them.
The motto of Archbishop Dunn, Nihil nos separabit a caritate Dei (“Nothing will separate us from the love of God”) expresses the experience of all who share in the Paschal Mystery and reminds us of the need to always remain rooted in God’s love.
With this in mind, let us continue to find ways to reach out and care for one another, to pray for one another, and do the best we can during the current pandemic.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Michael J. P. Walsh,
Homily - Baptism of the Lord B 2021
Today is the feast of Our Lord’s baptism by John the Baptist. Since sacraments had not yet been instituted the baptism of the Lord was not a sacrament but rather marks both the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry and his identification with us. Jesus would later choose baptism to be the initiation into a lifestyle of the renewal of the Jewish faith he lived.
So much has happened in our understanding of all that surrounds the sacrament that I thought today would provide a good opportunity to talk about baptism.
Wm. J. Bausch in A New Look at the Sacraments tells us that in the Roman Empire where our church has roots, a “sacrament” meant an oath or pledge of allegiance a soldier took to the Roman Emperor. For us it is a public allegiance to follow Jesus. An old catechism definition of a sacrament is: “A visible sign of invisible grace”. We remember that Jesus never used the word, “sacrament” - it is a church word.
We need to reflect on our understanding of baptism. When I was in my first parish assignment I answered the phone one Sunday morning between masses. The woman on the other end of the line said: “Hello, I would like to get my child done.” I replied ; “Rare, medium or well.” The pastor was standing next to me and hit me on the arm when he heard what I said. The woman then asked: “Is this the Catholic Church?” I proceeded then to give her the directions she needed to arrange the baptism.
I know that many people have words or phrases they use to describe various things. When it comes to baptism, we need to be careful not to cultivate Baptism as a magical ceremony – where water is poured, special words are said that would remove original sin from the soul and nothing further needs to be done.
Today, both parents and godparents are present and all publicly promise to teach the Christian truths and to raise the children to love God and neighbour as oneself. Baptism is not simply something one and done - it is a lifestyle. Baptism has an impact on our daily vocabulary, our attitude toward life, and our conduct. It affects - or should affect - how we pay our taxes, work with co-workers, talk to and about our neighbours and how we choose to be entertained. A visible Christian lifestyle in the world is the best evangelizer.
For our pledge to take root, we need other believers to help us by their example. Faith is more caught than taught. Our early practice of this lifestyle comes from our parents and family. If their practice was good, our practice tended to be good. If their practice was poor, our practice tended to be poor. (Even then, there is no guarantee.) That is why you can expect to see a greater emphasis on support for families from our catechetics program. When we are old enough to know right from wrong in the atmosphere of our parents and family, we choose to keep – or not keep - this pledge for ourselves. Not to decide is to decide negatively.
Like marriage and priesthood, baptism involves a vocation. Baptism is a variation of the sacrament of marriage: The Lord and we took each other for better, for worse; for richer for poorer; in sickness and in health... until death do we unite. It is about a relationship.
We hear today of “the uncatechized baptized.” This is a seeming contradiction: people who go through the motions of a ceremony, but have not experienced the personal, life-altering conversion and faith formation that is essential. I have had many people come to me for a baptism certificate when they planned to get married who told me the last time they were in a church was for their baptism, something which causes me to experience deep sadness. It was rightly said after the last Vatican Council that one task of the church going forward was to convert the baptized. I believe that as a church we need to take the opportunity before us now to support parents and godparents fulfill the promise they made the day their child or children were baptized.
The question is asked: Why don’t we baptize people when they are old enough to choose for themselves? A brief few thoughts.
To raise a child religiously neutral requires us to be religiously neutral ourselves. It would mean having our children live among us as non-Christians. Also, it would be an impossible task, precluded by the very nature of faith and the commitment that faith requires. It would be like not immunizing your child, spiritually. Later, they may repudiate their baptism, but they cannot object later to having been baptized any more than they can object to their parents’ setting up an educational trust fund, if they later decide against further education.
I recall something from my teenage years. I cannot remember what it was, but I did something foolish. My father told me: “That is not our way.” I have remembered those words many times over the years when confronted with making a decision. I have made many mistakes over the years, but have never forgotten that I am to live “the way”. The way is what early Christians called following Jesus and his teachings. The way of baptism, via sacramental initiation into this lifestyle, must be lived by all the baptized every day.
Today is the last day of Christmastime in the liturgy. Monday begins “ordinary time.” Christian life is not lived in the more spectacular Christmas and Easter times, but in the long hauls in between. Ordinary time provides us with the time to be faithful to our pledge, faithful to our sacrament of baptism, faithful to our vocation: Ordinary people living as faithful Christians. Amen.
Saint André Bessette Parish
Fall River - Enfield - Middle Musquodoboit
Rev. Michael J. Walsh, J.C.L.