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Dear People of the Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador:

Early Sunday morning, in their desire to anoint the body of their Lord, Mary Magdalene and the other women witnessed the empty tomb.  Their first reaction was not joy, euphoria or even surprise, but fear.  Caught off guard and in a moment of panic, their thoughts turned to the worse case scenario, the desecration of the tomb.

The angel’s message to them is the same as the Gabriel’s message to Mary and the angel’s message to the shepherds in the field, “do not be afraid”.  Words of consolation that re-echo throughout the Scriptures and especially from the mouth of the Lord.  How we long to hear these words throughout the ages and in our time, too.  “Do not be afraid, for the Lord is risen.”

It isn’t so much that he “has” risen, but that he “is” risen.  His rising is not just a “past” event, but an ever-present event.  The fact that he is risen is as real and as relevant yesterday, today and tomorrow.  In it we find our peace.

That brings me to our present circumstances.  Like Mary Magdalene and the women, we are experiencing a type of death.  Whereas they beheld the passion and death of their Lord, we in turn experience the loss of many of our securities.  Our lives have been thrown into turmoil, cut adrift, even from one another; we experience panic.  Forced to physically distance ourselves from a large part of our family and friends, and unable to gather together as a faith community, our souls are not at rest.

“Be not afraid,” the Lord calls out over the stormy waters, “it is I.” Do not be afraid at what you are unable to do at this moment, or in this time, but cast your eyes on the one who is risen, whose presence in word, sacrament and community is made even more real by our intense desire for all three.  Though we’ve had to adapt to being virtually present, our desire “to be one” is made stronger.  What we may have taken for granted due to the force of habit is now exposed as a necessity, an urge welling within us.  In this time, when we are undergoing the process of dying on many different levels, let us be open to the new growth that is in the process of being born.

In this I join my prayer to the prayer of many others, that we don’t just wait for the day that we can go back to doing all the things that we were used to doing, a perpetual state of busy-ness, but that, in the light of that which we have learned, that we have experienced together, we will be more intentional in our outreach, more inclusive in the way we structure our lives and more focused on the well-being of others, especially the most vulnerable in our midst.  That, as we experience the pain that comes with this time of dying, we may be equally open to the opportunities and possibilities that will arise, and that we may draw on the grace of God and the power of the resurrection to make it so.

To you, your family, friends and communities I extend my fraternal blessing, and I wish you all a Happy Easter.

In Christ Jesus, our Risen Lord,

Bishop Bart van Roijen
Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador

"So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell the disciples."

(Matthew 28:8)

"...At the conclusion of each Eucharistic celebration, when we are dismissed with the words Go and proclaim the Gospel of the Lord, we are, in a certain sense, re-enacting what happened at the empty tomb on Easter Sunday, over 2000 years ago with Mary Magdalene and the other Mary. These women encountered Christ and were sent forth, with fear and joy, to tell others. They went forth as witnesses, as disciples on mission – missionary disciples...
...For the Christian community, faced with the prospect of not being able to gather together in parishes to celebrate Easter, "the heart of the entire liturgical year", questions arise about how to mark the Easter Triduum in our families in meaningful ways. How can we live as a truly domestic church at home during this time of crisis?...
...As people of faith, our fear gives way to joy in our daily encounter with Christ in the Eucharist, in Spiritual Communion, in the Scriptures, in our prayer, in devotions such as the Rosary, and in compassionate and loving service to one another. These encounters, even if by social media, provide us with the courage and conviction of our faith so that, even in these most challenging times, we can boldly proclaim the death and resurrection of Christ through our words and actions...."
Archbishop Gagnon's full message is found here.
A video version is also available.

Join us for live-streaming at www.facebook.com/dioceseofcornerbrookandlabrador

April 5, Passion Sunday - 10:30am (10:00am in Labrador)

April 6, Mass - 9:00am (8:30am in Labrador); Lenten Mission 7:00pm (6:30pm in Labrador)

April 7, Mass - 9:00am (8:30am in Labrador); Lenten Mission 7:00pm (6:30pm in Labrador)

April 8, Mass - 9:00am (8:30am in Labrador); Lenten Mission 7:00pm (6:30pm in Labrador)

April 9, Holy Thursday - 7:00pm (6:30 in Labrador)

April 10, Good Friday - 3:00pm (2:30 in Labrador)

April 11, Easter Vigil - 7:00pm (6:30pm in Labrador)

April 12, Easter Sunday - 10:30am (10:00 in Labrador)  Today's homily will be addressed to the children of the diocese.  Everyone is invited to listen!

Thank you to all who join us for daily and Sunday Mass.  This will continue while we are not allowed to gather physically.

We are invited to share this prayer as we struggle together to bring this global pandemic of COVID-19 to an end. We are encouraged to light a special candle or lamp as we say the prayer at 6:30 pm daily, ensuring that the prayer circles Earth in light, hour after hour.

Hope, Gratitude, and Solidarity - This ecumenical and interfaith message is a response by religious leaders from across Canada.

The message says: "In spite of present sufferings, which can seem overwhelming at times, the flames of hope cannot be extinguished. Love, which gives life its fullest meaning, continues to seek out the common good in spite of individual difficulties."

Click here to read the message in is entirety.

The Development and Peace Share Lent Campaign goes virtual. More information of the campaign and how you can donate are both addressed in the link above.

 

 


Join Pope Francis in prayer and receive his extraordinary "Urbi et orbi" blessing today, Friday, March 27 at 2:30pm (2:00pm in Labrador) by going to www.vaticannews.va/en

In response to Provincial Health Regulations and for the safety of all those entrusted to our care, the following precautions are to be used at all Catholic Funerals in our Diocese:

 

  • No wakes.
  • Funeral services without Mass (no distribution of communion).
  • Numbers in attendance “as close to zero as possible” (less than 5) with an absolute maximum in keeping with our health authority (presently less than 10).
  • Work with funeral homes to make the service available via live streaming.
  • The front door must be tended by a door attendant (to control cross contamination and guest list).
  • Seating arrangements should be tightly controlled and respect social distancing.
  • All music books should be removed from the pews.
  • Seating area should be disinfected before and after the service.
  • Graveyard service should respect social distancing.

Bishop Bart, in communication with his priests, goes on to say:

"I realize that these are extraordinary measures and that they may not be received well by everyone.  I, therefore urge those who are charged with leadership in our parishes to use the greatest of pastoral skills in communicating with the family and the general public in implementing them.  It is, therefore, essential that we make ourselves available to anyone that might have concerns with any one of these precautions, that we do our utmost to listen to them and, where possible, be proactive in reaching out to those who we know might be most impacted by these precautions."

We  encourage you to continue to support your  parish and diocese during this difficult time. Parish financial obligations continue and your contributions are vital to help your parish find safe and meaningful ways to reach out to people in these challenging days.  Please contact your parish to learn about your options to give.  We are very grateful for your continued support.

Beginning March 22, Sunday Mass will be live streamed on the diocesan Facebook page - Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador. The celebration of the Sunday Eucharist will begin at 10:30am (10:00am in Labrador) with Bishop Bart as the main celebrant.

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