Update - Our Lenten Parish Mission this year will feature Fr. Gary Schlack March 16th -19th, who will preach at the weekend Masses as well as Monday and Tuesday evening. Fr. Gary is quite knowledgeable on the Shroud of Turin. He will share with us about how the Shroud of Turin can teach us about God’s love for us, and inspire us to love Him even more in return this Lent. Fr. Gary is feeling better and will be able to give the mission, in place of the original time in February which was deferred because Fr. Gary had laryngitis. Fr. Gary, like myself, didn’t grow up Catholic, but powerfully experienced God in his life. His mission homily at all the Sunday Masses will be the same, and he will also preach additional extended homilies on the Eucharist and Confession during the evenings of Monday, March 18th and Tuesday the 19th, at the usual scheduled Mass times (6 PM and 7 PM respectively).
I have a personal website that may be of interest to you, www.frmerkley.com. There, I post homilies and there is other information that may be useful, including a resources page that has helpful websites or apps to help you grow closer to the Lord. I used to update the website more regularly, but often having been too busy throughout the years, I haven’t always had the time to give it the upkeep I’d like. That said, I figured it is up to date enough for you to use and perhaps find some helpful content on! It includes a link to my testimony of how I came to follow God, many of my homilies, frequently asked questions, and other helpful resources. My hope is to continue to improve the website over time.
Bishop Crosby’s Lenten Letter is excellent, and is available in the gathering space. Please give it a read!
“Ask Father” night will take place on March 8th at 7:30 PM. This will be a night where I can give a short talk, and then people are welcome to ask questions about anything, including our Catholic faith in general or things in our parish. My hope is to offer this type of night on a regularly scheduled basis so that we can grow in our faith together.
On Fridays in Lent, we will have the Stations of the Cross and Evening Prayer (from the Liturgy of the Hours). They will begin at 7 PM each week, except for March 8th, when we will start earlier at 6:30 PM before “Ask Father” night begins at 7:30 PM.
The Lenten Bingo cards have been very popular! How is your Lent going so far? Will you win a prize through Lenten Bingo? I hope you do!
Monthly Men’s Recollections which have started in the last couple of months. Where did they come from, and why are they here? For a long time, these monthly recollections have already been in place and were happening at the Cathedral of St. Catherine’s under the direction of Fr. Ben Weber, the rector of the Cathedral (and a good personal friend of mine). Given that many men who attend these evenings are from Hamilton, I was asked if I could take them over, and I accepted the request. As the poster on our bulletin board notes, they occur monthly on Monday nights and include exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a talk for men, confessions, and benediction, among other things. (Next Dates: March 11, April 15, May 13, June 10, July 15, August 12, September 9, October 14, November 11, December 9)
The CCCB have commented on a recent document signed by Pope Francis regarding blessings: “On 18 December 2023 the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith released the Declaration Fiducia Supplicans, which responds to questions that had been raised regarding the possibility of offering blessings to persons living in irregular unions, including same-sex relationships. While explicitly affirming the Church’s traditional understanding of marriage, Fiducia Supplicans allows pastors to bless people who freely request a blessing, seeking divine help to live in fidelity to God’s will. The Declaration makes clear that such blessings must be directed to the persons themselves rather than their situation and that they must be spontaneously requested and are not ritual or liturgical actions.” (The underlining is added here for clarification.)
Bishop Crosby has graciously reduced our interest rate on our parish loan to 0% until November 30th, 2025. This will save us over $30, 000 a year. May God bless our Bishop!
From my Christmas rap at our parish Christmas concert:
“So allow me to invite you, to invite Him in.
Deeper into your heart than He's ever been.
Don't be afraid even if you know you have sinned.
He came here for you, now your 'yes' is His win.”
May you and all of your families continue to enjoy the celebration of Christmas in this liturgical season, and a happy new year when it arrives!
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
Blessings, Fr. Greg
Collection location. I have been asked to note that for those who may not be aware, our Sunday collection basket is currently in the center of the gathering space, where you are welcome to make your offerings before and after Mass. We are so grateful for your generosity that allows us to continue to do so many incredible things here at our parish!
Our RCIA candidates this weekend take a step closer towards becoming Catholic. We pray especially for them this weekend as they become Catechumens. Their rite of acceptance into the order of Catechumens formally welcomes them into a special relationship with the Church as they prepare to become fully initiated members of it. May the Lord continue to pour His blessings upon them!
Liturgical updates from our Diocese. To support a more full, active, and conscious participation in the sacred liturgy (which Vatican II spoke of), and to more fully align with the liturgical norms of the universal Church and of the Diocese of Hamilton, some small changes to our Sunday worship have taken place beginning this Advent. The changes are the result of direction from the Hamilton Diocese’s liturgy office, and they have been evaluated and discussed amongst our own parish’s liturgy committee. May the Holy Spirit and the Blessed Virgin Mary always guide how we worship our good and loving God.
Formed.org is a great website. I’d be so happy and I strongly encourage each person to explore www.formed.org, a fantastic resource for deepening your faith. Consider watching The Search (Season 1), Symbolon, and The Chosen.
I want to give you an update something that comes from our Diocesan chancery office. All parishes in the Diocese of Hamilton are asked to have only two multiple intention Masses each week. The Diocesan norms permit these Masses to be on any day other than Sundays. As a result, and myself having personally touched base with the chancery about this matter, our parish will offer multiple intention Masses on Tuesday night (7 PM) and Saturday night (5 PM) on a weekly basis. I think it is very important that as a parish we act in harmony with the mind of our diocesan bishop and with the rest of our Diocese, to create a family atmosphere of unity and love. Every Sunday we are also required to offer one Mass for the people of the parish (technically called a pro populo Mass, Latin for ‘for the people’). This means we offer Mass each Sunday for all of you, our parishioners! You are being prayed for both in that Mass, and in my personal prayers. Other Masses throughout the week will only be able to have one Mass intention as per our diocesan norms. Please be aware that, as at any Catholic parish, Mass intention dates and times are available on a first come, first served basis. I am thankful for your kind understanding in this regard. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the parish office. We are always very happy to do all we can to accommodate you in this or anything else we can do to serve you! Thank you for your continued support, and may God’s blessings be upon you all.
May God bless you!
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
Fr. Greg Merkley
Thank you to everyone who participated in our One Heart One Soul Campaign, Pilot Wave, we have come to an end of our wave. If you haven't decided, there's still time. You may log on to https://www.oneheartonesoul.ca/give .
(Parish: Immaculate Heart of Mary)
We thank you for your support and prayers.
God Bless you
Every FRIDAY beginning at 7 p.m.