Migration has been a reality of our world since ancient times. It has always been a sign of the strength of the human spirit to overcome adversity and strive for a better life. Today, a great number of people move to other places, some by choice and others not. No matter the circumstances, all share the desire to live a safe, peaceful life.
The Church has been celebrating World Day of Migrants and Refugees each year since 1914. World Refugee Day has been marked by the UN on June 20 since 2000. This year, join us on June 29, the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, for a special mass to celebrate World Day of Migrants. This is an opportunity for the faith community to reflect upon the role migration has played in our history and tradition, pray for migrants and refugees around the world, and raise awareness about the causes, challenges, and opportunities involved with migration.
Recent tragedies around the world have lead to a dramatic increase in global migrants and refugees, putting a great many men, women, and children in danger. As Christians, we are called to share the burden of those suffering hardship, to open our doors and hearts to the weary and marginalized. The Church recognizes in migrants the image of Christ who said, “I was a stranger and you made me welcome” [Mt 25:35]. As Pope Francis says, “The phenomenon of migration is not unrelated to salvation history, but rather a part of that history. One of God’s commandments is connected to it: “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” [Ex 22:21]; “Love the sojourner therefore; for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt” [Deut. 10:19]” [Pope Francis, September 8, 2016].
On World Day of Migrants, we remember Mary and Joseph, migrants of their time – the hardships they faced, the importance of their journey, and God’s greater plan for them. We can see these same elements in every migration story, and must take the opportunity to reflect on shared human experiences and how we can be a part of the solution to a global challenge. After all, “no one is a stranger in the Christian community, which embraces ‘every nation, tribe, people and tongue’ [Rev 7:9]. Each person is precious; persons are more important than things, and the worth of an institution is measured by the way it treats the life and dignity of human beings, particularly when they are vulnerable” [Pope Francis, September 8, 2016].
Join Bishop William McGrattan on June 29, 7:00 p.m. at St. Mary’s Cathedral to celebrate World Day of Migrants and live the words of Pope Benedict: “The Church is God’s family on earth” [Deus Caritas Est].
In 2015, the first Walk for One Rock took place over a period of two days. When Fr. Joseph Nagothu heard Bishop Henry’s request for priests to get more involved, he decided to respond to the invitation and began the Walk for One Rock to raise more awareness for the One Rock Festival. The desire was that many others would participate in this walk. The journey began at St. Rita’s Parish in Rockyford, Alberta, home of the first One Rock Festival. The participants made the 80 km journey by foot to St. Thomas More Parish in Calgary. This pilgrimage walk created the opportunity to spread the word about this great festival of faith, as well as to raise necessary funds for it. Together the pilgrims walked, sang and prayed, all rejoicing in the name of Jesus. Some walked the whole distance, and others the distance that their time would allow.
It was an enriching experience where we were able to spend time with others who believe in Jesus. While walking we met strangers on the journey, and shared bread together thanks to the generosity of volunteers who prepared sandwiches, and provided places for us to stop along the way to be refreshed. To journey together with love and faith in God, can be considered the reward for having had the strength to complete the journey. Not only was there a spiritual reward, but the participants were welcomed to a huge feast prepared by the parishioners of St. Thomas More Parish.
Inspired by the Lord and everyone who participated in the walk, we rejoiced! We all shared a memorable experience, and were not discouraged by the challenges that were encountered. Having the chance to dedicate your actions, your time and yourself fully to the most worthy cause in our lives ensured memories for a lifetime. Now you can be a part of the experience this year!
Another Walk for One Rock will be taking place on Friday, June 9, and for a $5.00 entrance fee all are welcome to join several priests of the Diocese for this occasion. Again, we will start at St. Rita’s Parish in Rockyford, and finish in Strathmore. The walk should be full of spiritual and physical rewards for all who participate. Those who wish to participate or donate please go to www.onerock.ca for more information.
If you make a donation to the Diocese this year, you will notice your tax receipt speaks to the integral part of stewardship to our faith.
Biblical stewardship is more than giving of time, talent and treasure. “True generosity has no limits. When we say that mature disciples are to answer the call of Jesus Christ regardless of the cost, we are inviting good stewards to embody this type of generosity. We can be the person who does not respond to the call, be the person who responds and gives what is required, or finally, be the person who seeks to give above and beyond what is required. God doesn’t just give us what we need, but He gives us more than we need. Made in His image, we are called to do the same. If we try to live in this manner every day, then we might just succeed on leaving this world a little better than the way we found it” [Tracy Earl Welliver, Catholic Stewardship Coach].
At the core of all the charitable work we as Catholics engage in is a desire to live Christian stewardship in all we do, striving to make the world a better place. Each parish has elements of community outreach; many parishioners volunteer with or donate to their favourite charity. At a diocesan level, the Together in Action (TIA) Granting Program is one very tangible way in which our efforts to make the world a little better can be measured. We wanted to share a story with you in celebration of your generous giving to TIA and to encourage all of us to find other ways to make a difference in our communities around southern Alberta.
This year, Catholic Family Service (CFS) is celebrating 60 years of providing for the needs of people in Calgary and the surrounding area. The Diocese is honoured to partner with this amazing organization through the TIA granting program and this year marks 20 years of support of CFS’s Family & Schools Together (F&ST) program. This ground-breaking program, recognized by the United Nations, has connected families with their schools and communities since 1996. Recognizing that feeling connected and being part of a community has a big impact on our quality of life, the program works to give parents the support they need to be positive role models within their family and the community. Parents are empowered through education, group sessions and mentoring to: be leaders and role models for their family; be involved in their child’s school; and ensure their children are healthy and thriving both socially and academically.
We know that the ties that bind and make us strong go beyond just our immediate families. Relationships with friends and neighbours, schools, teachers, coaches, etc. are just as important to our health and well-being. Knowing we are not alone in our life journey can make all the difference. As one program parent explained it:
Our family enjoys every component of F&ST! My husband and I especially like being in Parent Group and find it very helpful to talk with other parents who are facing the same challenges as us. Each week our family is becoming more and more connected through F&ST. Our house is calmer after the program, my stress levels are reduced and we have started opening up our communication at home.
We all have gifts and talents that we can share by volunteering in our local communities with organizations like CFS. And by supporting TIA with your contributions, you are helping CFS and more than 40 other charities locally and internationally help make the world a better place! Thank you for working Together in Action with your fellow Catholics.
For a number of years, I have been helping with this program to make our parish and our church more safe for the vulnerable. What I believe is that we are making progress with our Model Code of Conduct, Police Information Checks, and abuse prevention training for the parishioners who help in our high and medium risk ministries.
It is so important to be aware of our seniors and children. While being around the elderly, I notice how they are so wonderful and helpful to all and they have so much knowledge to share with us. By getting to know them, we begin to see what they are going through, and what abuse some have received from people in their lives. Some just stay silent, but we all must be aware and reach out to them.
The deathly silence of some of those victims, our own elders, brings to mind Isaiah’s description of the suffering servant, “Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so he did not open his mouth” [53:7]. And again, “He was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities…” [53:5]. This reminds us of the truth that many vulnerable suffer by the sinful actions of others.
Isaiah says that this suffering and this iniquity would make us whole, that “by his wounds are we healed.” But we know that healing is a long way off for many, even some very close to us. There are no excuses for violence and abusive behavior. We are only very slowly learning that, if someone is abused mentally or physically or sexually, blaming the victim is never justified.
Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the UN, says that “this world is in trouble and I am urging us to work for all of humanity.” We know that we are children of God and as St. Paul has explained, the Spirit we have received gives us the grace to cry “Abba, Father” and to be free from the fear of being slaves [Rom 8:15]. With the grace of the Holy Spirit and the willingness to question and change our lives to help each other in strengthening our parishes and protecting our vulnerable, we can realize God’s desire for all people to live as his beloved children.
The Most Rev. William T. McGrattan, Bishop of the Diocese of Calgary, has issued a decree of partial indulgence to be granted during the Jubilee Year of Fatima.
The partial indulgence can be obtained by visiting the Our Lady of Fatima Parish at 4747 30 St. SE, between the dates of April 18, 2017 and December 31, 2017 (see visiting times below). Those who seek to obtain this partial indulgence must "devotedly pray before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima," invoking her intercession.
In addition, the faithful must be reminded, according to the Code of Canon Law, the following:
- "To be capable of gaining indulgences, a person must be baptized, not excommunicated, and in the state of grace at least at the end of the prescribed works" (Canon 996 § 1)
- "To gain indulgences, however, a capable subject must have at least the general intention of acquiring them and must fulfill the enjoined works in the established time and the proper method, according to the tenor of the grant" (§ 2)
In addition, the Holy Father Pope Francis has also granted a plenary indulgence which can be obtained throughout the Jubilee Year, which began on November 27, 2016 and ending on November 26, 2017.
This plenary indulgence is granted through the following:
- By making a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Fatime in Portugal, and "devotedly participate in a celebration or prayer in honor of the Virgin Mary." In addition, the individual must also pray the Our Father, recite the Creed, and invoke Our Lady of Fatima
- By visiting, with devotion, and praying before an image of Our Lady of Fatima that is displayed for public veneration, during the anniversary days of the apparitions (the 13th of each month from May to October 2017). In addition, the individual must "participate there in any celebration or prayer in honor of the Virgin Mary" and pray the Our Father, recite the Creed, and invoke Our Lady of Fatima
- For the elderly and infirm: praying before an image of Our Lady of Fatima and spiritually uniting to God, through the Blessed Mother, all their "prayers and pains, or the sacrifices of their own lives"
To obtain the plenary indulgence, the faithful must fulfill the ordinary conditions: go to Confession, receive Holy Communion, pray for the intentions of the Holy Father, and be truly repentant and have firm resolve to be detached from sin.
Click here to read Concession of Plenary Indulgence, issued from the Shrine of Fatima, in full.
Our Lady of Fatima Parish: Centennial Celebrations and Visiting Times
Address: 4747 30th St. SE. Visiting times are the following: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday (3PM - 8PM). Saturday (10AM - 6PM). Sunday (8AM - 2PM)
- Wednesday, May 10, 2017:
- 6:30 PM - Rosary Followed by Holy Mass
- 8:00 PM - All Generations Will Call Me Blessed: A concert in honor of Our Lady in 5 languages
- Thursday, May 11, 2017
- 6:30PM - Holy Mass
- 7:30 PM - The Rosary Rediscovered: Experience the beauty of the Rosary in its choral recitation, live classical harp music, and teachings by recent Popes
- Friday, May 12, 2017
- 6:30 PM - Rosary followed by Holy Mass
- 8:00 PM - Dramatic performance of the Fatima apparitions (English)
- Saturday, May 13, 2017
- 5:00 PM - Rosary
- 6:00 PM - Solemn Mass presided by Bishop McGrattan, followed by candlelight procession
- Sunday, May 14, 2017
- 12:00 PM - Holy Mass, folowwed by dramatic performance of the Fatima apparitions (Portuguese)