Beauty of a church

In Fr. Justin’s homily this past Sunday, he preaches that we find the best place to pray by looking at what is subjectively best for us and what is objectively best.

I’ve been going to Mass at St. Anthony of Padua parish for just over a year and half now. The church is nestled in a residential neighbourhood, but very close to major thoroughfares in all significant directions; in clear traffic conditions, it’s about a 10 minute drive from my home.

It’s not a large church, nor new, nor excessively ornate, but there’s something about the simple beauty that I find helps draws me in to focus on God in prayer more than other churches I’ve been to.

COVID-19: Thoughts from working from home for 6 weeks

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the way many around the world live their lives over the recent months. For us in the Vancouver/British Columbia area, it has been about a month and half since we have had significant measures in place to reduce the spread of the virus.

In this post I will go over the changes that have affected me, and things that I have found worked well.

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Why we Pray and How to Pray

“Prayer.” In youth ministry, it’s one of the most common responses youth give when they can’t think of anything else. Catholics who were raised in the faith from childhood may have been taught reciting prayers such as the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, and other “standard” prayers. Is “prayer” just saying the same words over and over again? Why do we as Catholics pray? And how do we pray to make the most out of it?

In the past two weeks, Fr. Justin Huang, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua parish in Vancouver, preached in his homilies the answers to these questions. I think it was a great reminder for some of us who might be just going through the motions and forgetting the purpose of prayer.

In the following sections, I summarize Fr. Justin’s homilies, but I encourage you to read the full homilies linked to understand the details.

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Blessing of cars and a pledge for safe driving

This weekend was the closest to the feast day of St. Christopher (July 25), the patron saint of travelers. It is a tradition at St. Anthony of Padua parish to pray the following Pledge for Safe Driving and to bless people’s cars with holy water after Mass.

Pledge for Safe Driving

Lord Jesus, You teach us to love others as you love. Help me to drive safely and responsibly: avoiding dangerous acts while driving such as texting, making phone calls, speeding excessively and driving impaired. Please give me the grace to be courteous and kind, and to use my car for Your glory and for the good of others. Come, Lord Jesus, and guide me as I drive.

Relic of Saint Francis Xavier

Part of the forearm of Saint Francis Xavier has been making its way across Canada this past month and this past Wednesday it made an appearance at my home parish, St. Francis Xavier Parish in Vancouver.  Normally it’s displayed in the Church of the Gesù in Rome.

Close up of the relic

Who was Saint Francis Xavier?

Francis Xavier was a Spanish missionary who traveled to numerous countries including India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Japan, spreading the Gospel and converting hundreds of thousands to Christianity.  He was on his way to China in 1552 when he became ill with a fever and subsequently died.

Xavier was beatified by Pope Paul V in 1619 and canonized (full sainthood) by Pope Gregory XV in 1622.  He is known as the patron saint of Catholic missions.