Pastor's Page

    Fr Scott Michael John Whittemore was born in Victoria and raised in Saanich, BC. He is the youngest of three children born to Marie (nee Schleppe) and the late Robert (Bob) Whittemore.

 Scott sought out and obtained employment during his first year as a teenager, picking strawberries and logan berries on the Saanich Peninsula. Numerous jobs followed, including park maintenance with BC Parks, work with children at a summer day camp and Easter Seal Camps, labour at the tar sands, planting trees, driving taxi, and a variety of other labour and human ministry positions.

 As a young adult, Scott attended the University of Victoria for 5 years, first in Sciences and eventually he completed a Bachelor's degree in rural Social Work. For the next nine years he worked in the Central Coast, residing at Bella Coola, and later at the Queen Charlotte Islands/Haida Gwaii, as a Probation Officer/Parole Officer/Family Court Counsellor before pursuing his vocation to the priesthood.

 Scott's calling to the priesthood took him to the Benedictine Abbey in Mission, where he completed a Bachelor's in Philosophy at Christ the King Seminary. He was sent to the Pontifical Institute of St Augustine's Seminary, Toronto, for their 5 year formation program leading up to a Bachelor's in Theology (from Rome) and a Master's in Divinity. He was ordained to the priesthood on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in 2005, at Immaculate Conception Church, Kelowna.

 Since then, Fr Scott's appointments have included Nakusp and missions; Courtenay and the missions at Hornby Island, Gold River and Tahsis; Ucluelet with Tofino, Ahousaht and various other Nuu-cha-nulth missions on the West Coast; Port McNeill, together with Port Hardy, Port Alice, Alert Bay, Woss and a couple other missions on the north end of Vancouver Island. His most recent appointment has been to Salt Spring Island with outreach to the southern Gulf Island missions, including on Mayne and Pender Islands.

 Fr Scott's extracurricular interests have included playing lacrosse, hiking, fishing, photography, scuba diving, world travel, wilderness backpacking, rock climbing, cross-country and back country skiing, ocean kayaking, and swimming.


Pastoral Letter

June 27, 2020.

All peoples, clap your hands. Cry to God with shouts of joy!

(Psalm 46.2, Entrance Antiphon for Mass on the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time)

The Lord be with you!!!

Just a short note here. I did get out for a 4 day paddle. It was a really good one, including a couple of spectacular wildlife sightings, some treasured solitude, a few shots of adrenaline getting through Porlier Pass, and a lot of exercise. Thanks be to God for all of that and more!!! 

Linda Petrinov is in the hospital in Duncan, dying. She is unconscious. Tony is walking to the hospital 4 times a day to be with her. Please keep them in your prayers.

Noella and Michael Fraser recently became grandparents, again. That would make Larry and Ethel great grandparents, again. Congratulations!!

Congratulations, also, to our high school grads, especially to Samantha Shoore and Jada Myers. God bless you and your future. May your lives be a pursuit of God's calling of you! 

Registration for the Sunday Mass is completely full, with a short waiting list. Lots more room at the Saturday evening Mass. It is an especially good Mass to attend if you are looking for extra safe distancing. 

Here's a link to Bishop Barron's homily for this Sunday: https://www.wordonfire.org/resources/homily/elisha-and-the-shunemite-woman/27754/  i have yet to do mine.

We are transitioning into an altered way of coming together and celebrating Mass, which is likely to be with us for a while. We will get more used to it, and better at it. What i am appreciating so much is the presence of many of you. For the many people unable to be present, for whatever reasons, God bless you and keep you safe!! I am hoping to see you again, some time!

Pax Christi, 

Fr scott

PS  We are getting low on sani wipes. I have been unsuccessful finding some more locally. If anyone can get their hands on some for the parish, would appreciate that. You could leave them with the person at our church sani-station, or at the parish office, along with a receipt for reimbursement. Thank you!!

PSS  We received a donation of masks for the parish. If anyone wants to take one or two, just ask the person at our church sani station.


Pastoral Letter

June 20, 2020.

"The Lord is the strength of his people, a saving refuge for the one he has anointed. 

Save your people, Lord, and bless your heritage, and govern them for ever."

(Psalm 27.8-9, Entrance Antiphon for Mass on the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time) 

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!!

This weekend will be our third one, with the offering of Mass once more at OLG Church. The protocol team continues to have a weekly Skype meeting, to refine what we are doing. Sometimes that means tightening up our protocol, and other times, it means loosening it up. We had music this past Sunday, with no singing - only humming allowed. With lots of practice, we might be able to do a CD under the label of Our Lady of Grace Happy Hummers, or something catchier. 

This week the protocol team discussed the possibility of kneeling. That took us in a variety of directions, including an examination of what would be involved in sanitizing the kneelers. What seemed quite simple, at first, wasn't, and we concluded that standing will continue to take the place of kneeling. I am sorry to those who have a special regard, and rightly so, for kneeling, as a sign of reverence, humility, adoration, worship. . . to God. We are certainly open to further discussion, to see if we can make it possible, without kneeling directly on the floor nor damaging the carpet or kneeler coverings with disinfectant. 

Also, with further input from Bishop Gary, we decided that for now, Mass attendance will be reserved for parishioners only. That would include those who are part-timers, with their primary residence elsewhere in BC. They too must pre-register. We also have a new parishioner signed up for the Saturday Mass. Please welcome her, if you have a chance.

Our Sunday Mass has full registration, but there are some possible openings. If you have not already registered and want to, and cannot attend the Saturday, 5 pm Mass, please put your name on a waiting list for Sunday. I am considering the possibility of an additional Sunday Mass, like at 8 am. That will be given more serious consideration, if the Saturday Mass fills up significantly more, and there is a substantial number of people on the Sunday waiting list.

Rita D got to Mass last Sunday. She was beaming with joy!!! And so were we. 

Father's Day is tomorrow. God bless each and every man, for the giving of your lives, for others. Our fatherhood is expressed in the begetting of life, parenting, grand-parenting, god-parenting, and other expressions of fathering. We tend to be protective, and teach in word, and example.

Next week, i might be getting out for 3-4 days of kayaking, locally, over to Dionisio Park on Galiano and perhaps to Blackberry Point on Valdez. There is a large tide exchange, so currents will be strong. Weather looks like it will be very good. Daniela will take care of ole Pasquali.

In the Gospel Reading for this Sunday, Jesus says, "Do not fear those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body." How do those words currently relate to the threat of the covid virus? Yes, it can kill the body, or at least inflict it with illness. Fear not!!! The greater fear should be what kills the soul, which is something we very much have control over. Each and every person is called into a saving relationship with Jesus. How are you responding to that invitation? Even under the threat of death, illness or injury, the health of our soul is determined by the choices we freely make. As Victor Frankl discovered in concentration/extermination camps, such as Auschwitz, and wrote about in "Man's Search for Meaning", even when our lives have been stripped of most everything, we still have the freedom to make the most fundamental and important decisions of our lives.

Your telephone calls are still very important to those suffering from physical and social isolation. Loneliness was a contributing factor to the recent loss of one of our parishioners. God rest his soul in peace!!!

Our lives are much more interconnected in the spiritual dimension, let alone in our physical world, than we might think. Let us not live in isolation, as if our little world is all that matters. Jesus showed that our lives are intended to be poured out for others!

Pax Christi, 

Father Scott


Pastoral Letter

June 12, 2020.

"He fed them with the finest wheat and satisfied them with honey from the rock."

(Entrance Antiphon for Corpus Christi Sunday, the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ)

The Lord be with you!!

Last weekend was really wonderful, being surrounded again by physically present people, giving praise, worship, and thanksgiving to God, in spiritual communion with countless others. It was such a joy to have gathered again, around the Eucharistic altar, even if there have been many changes since we were last together. Now, attending Mass is something like the pre-boarding of an airline jet, in the lining up for all of the safety/security measures. It seems to have gone quite smoothly, though, for a first weekend. Your patience and flexibility is very much appreciated. Please remember that all of these new measures are intended to promote the protection of others, especially in consideration that we do have a large number of vulnerable people, whose health is compromised or they are beyond the age of 65, or both.

For everybody's consideration, i would like to repeat some basic instructions:

1.   Safe distance at least 6 feet. That includes in the pews, which means sitting at opposite ends.

2.   Please do not take an aisle seat, when the window seat has yet to be filled.

3.   Please, please, please let go of your historical place of seating. That can lead to a reduced number of people that we can get into the church, with safe distancing.

4.   You must pre-register for Mass. That needs to happen during office hours, and your registration must be confirmed before you show up.

5.   Sunday Masses are pretty well full. Any remaining spots are being reserved for those not able to attend an evening Mass, and for our young families.

6.   Reserve the handicap parking spaces, and the two back rows of pews (in the main body of the church), for those with mobility issues.

7.   If you have not already read the protocol, it is again attached. Please be familiar with it prior to coming to Mass. One modification to the protocol: after Holy Communion, people are welcome to return to their seat; dismissal will happen after the final blessing.

I will be resuming Confession in the parking lot, with different hours, though. Every Saturday, starting immediately, i will be sitting in my pickup from 3:30 to 4:15 pm. Please come during that time, if at all possible. If not, phone me to make other arrangements.

Bishop Gary Gordon has taken over the pastoral care of Pender Island, and relieved me of the need to be commuting there. That happened extremely quickly, and he has already had a Mass for them. I have been pastor there for 5 years, and have enjoyed a very good relationship with many of the people. I am sorry to be departing the people, but i am not sorry to be leaving behind the commute. I have had almost every mission in this diocese, including Ahousaht, Tahsis, Zeballos, Port Alice, Hornby Island, Ocluje, and many more. Going to other Gulf Islands, from Salt Spring Island, has been way more onerous than travel to any of those other missions. I will very much miss some of the Pender folk, and they have appreciated some connection with the SSI folk, such as on our past inter-Gulf Island pilgrimages.

This Sunday we focus on the great gift from Jesus the Christ: the eternal gift of his Body and Blood, poured out for us on the cross, and remaining with us in the Eucharist. Come let us adore Him!!

Peace in Jesus the Christ,

Fr Scott


Pastoral Letter

June 5, 2020

Blessed be God the Father, and the Only Begotten Son of God, and also the Holy Spirit, for he has shown us his merciful love.

(Entrance Antiphon for this Sunday, the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity)

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you!!

Good news!! Our Lady of Grace Church will be open for Mass this weekend, for the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, and St. Teresa's Chapel will be open for a Liturgy of the Word Service the following weekend, on Corpus Christi Sunday. I want to thank those who helped so much with their various contributions toward the establishment of safety protocol, the special preparations of the physical spaces, and the provision of protective equipment and materials, like hand sanitizers and disposable gloves. This has been a multi-team effort, and not an easy task, involving a multitude of considerations, points of view, discussions, and decisions. The goal has been to gather again as a People of Faith, taking new measures to protect one another from the potential transmission of a covid infection. 

This is a good time, during this low risk time of infection, to put into practice new habits intended to protect each and everyone of us from some future covid infection. As we go on, we will refine some of our practices, to maximize the protection of each and every person, so that we can come together without the threat of passing on some serious infection. Your cooperation, patience and input in that direction is appreciated.  

In the COVID-19 Updates page, you will find a copy of the protocol that has been articulated. Please ensure that every adult intending to be present, has read the protocol, or had it read to them. That is essential. It will make the re-opening experience go more smoothly for everybody. Thank you!! 

Since every person intending to attend Mass, will need to enter the church through the main door, it is really important to reserve those handicap parking spaces for people with mobility issues. If any person is planning to accompany somebody who needs mobility assistance, please consider coming to your first Mass on your own, to become familiar with all of the changes. We would like to leave the back two rows of seating, in the main part of the church, for those with mobility issues. In the annex, we would like to leave the back row or two for some of our young families, though they are in no way being restricted to those pews. Please do not sit at the aisle end of a pew, IF there is nobody seated on the other end of the pew - ie. against the wall. That is problematic. People will need to enter the church with some detachment from their historic places of seating.  

Many people will choose to not yet attend, so as to maximize their safety and protection from any potential infection. We will start small and carefully. Please do not forget the people who are still living very much of an isolated life, needing a telephone call or two, and prayer. There will be no Zoom rosary during this transitional time, though perhaps something later on, at a different time than recently established.

Our life in the Trinity is mostly a mystery. Thanks to God the Father's plan, Jesus "put a face on God" when he took on human nature and a human body. It was through the incarnation of Jesus, that we learned so much more about ourselves, our calling, and our God, including the trintarian nature of God: three Persons, yet one God. Through Jesus, heaven was opened up for humanity, and the Church was established to help us get there. The Holy Spirit was sent to animate the Church, as a human soul gives life to the body. 

Soon, the scattered family of St Teresa's Chapel and Our Lady of Grace Parish will begin to gather together, as a people of faith and worship, hope and praise, courage and thanksgiving, light and love. Will see some of you very soon!!

Go forth, safe distancing, 

in the Life and Love of Jesus!

In the Holy Trinity,

Fr Scott


Pastoral Letter
May 30, 2020.

The love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Spirit of God dwelling within us, alleluia.

(Romans 5.5; cf 8.11, Entrance Antiphon for Mass on the Solemnity of Pentecost Sunday.) 

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with each of you!

This Pentecost Sunday brings an end to our Easter Season, with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Jesus had promised to send the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, after he had ascended into heaven, to guide and teach us in his ways. The Holy Spirit would become the animating Spirit of the Church, making Jesus present to us, and within us. The gifts of the Holy Spirit would help Christians witness to Jesus, with courage and perseverance, conviction and passion, wisdom and truth, light and peace, love and joy. Come Holy Spirit, en-kindle in us the fire of your love.

So our churches are opening up. Just a small crack, at this time, but enough to let the Light of Christ shine out to us. Two small groups are helping me establish protocol, applying the many directives Bishop Gary made known last week. It is an interesting, challenging, and tiring process. The group from Our Lady of Grace Church have started off with a different emphasis than the group from St Teresa's Chapel. Next week we meet again by way of video-conferencing, to rework and refine the protocol. The aim is to maximize the safety of each person intending to be present at one of the liturgies.

There will be two Masses at OLG Church: Saturday, 5 pm and Sunday, 10 am, but no other Masses. If there were other Masses, such as a weekday Mass or two, you would still be allowed to attend only 1 Mass each week. If interested in attending one of the 2 scheduled Masses, you must register ahead of time. Please phone (250-537-2150) or email the parish office (ourladyofgrace@shaw.ca) to register. We might be ready to open for the weekend of June 6 & 7. We'll let you know next week, but you can still begin registering for a Mass time, and your registration must be confirmed by the parish office. That means registrations must take place before Friday, noon, at which time the parish office is closed for the weekend. If you normally attend the Sunday, 9 am Mass, please consider shifting to the one on Saturday, 5 pm.

We will have another Zoom rosary this Sunday, at 9:30 am. Same link and password as the last few weeks: 

https://us04web.zoom.us/j/76543746747?pwd=kFBM0FaZm1INXAzV2dnSStPaWVQQT09Password: 4Uv3SQ

Looking forward to the beginnings of the gathering together of our parish family, and to seeing your faces.

In the words of Jesus: "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so i send you" (to be missionary disciples).

God bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit!

Fr Scott


Pastoral Letter
May 23, 2020.

Men of Galilee, why gaze in wonder at the heavens? 

This Jesus whom you saw ascending into heaven will return as you saw him go, alleluia. 

(Acts 1.11, Entrance Antiphon for Mass on the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord.)

 Dear Christian Family, 

This weekend we celebrate the ascension of Jesus into heaven. The greatness of this event, is that Jesus brought our humanity into heaven for the first time. Through Him, with Him, and in Him, our humanity has been elevated above the dignity of angels, and is seated next to God the Father. That is the glory of the ascension. It is our glory before God! 

Attached (on the covid-19 page) are three documents recently sent out by the diocesan office. Sounds like quite a number of people have already received them. One is a pastoral letter from Bishop Gary on re-opening our churches. The next two documents have many directives for doing that. Next week, i will be forming a small group of people on both Salt Spring and Pender to discuss the implementation of these directives. It is even more complex than it looks. We will need some time to put it all together, to maximize the protection of all who will be involved in our divine liturgy. Pentecost Sunday will not necessarily be our opening day. You will be informed, though, when we are ready.

In the meantime, we will continue to have our Zoom rosary on Sunday, at 9:30 am. Same link and password as the last two weeks: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/76543746747?pwd= kFBM0FaZm1INXAzV2dnSStPaWVQQT09Password: 4Uv3SQ Give me a call or email, if you want to join, but are unsure of how to do that. Just don't wait until Sunday morning. 😐

On the OLG website, check out the sung blessing over Canada, done by an assortment of Christian denominations from across Canada. You'll find it on the homepage: http://www.ourladyofgrace-saltspring.ca/. And on the Covid-19 page is an encouraging Ascension Sunday message from Cardinal Bo. "This day, he said, is the celebration of victory of light over darkness, life over death, hope over despair, good over evil, God over Satan."

I am hoping to see some of your beautiful faces, soonish!☺

The Lord be with you!

Go in peace!

Trusting in the resurrected and ascended Lord,

Jesus the Christ, 

Fr Scott


Pastoral Letter
May 16, 2020.

Proclaim a joyful sound and let it be heard; proclaim to the ends of the earth: 

The Lord has freed his people, alleluia. 

(Isaiah 48.20, Entrance Antiphon for Mass on the 6th Sunday of Easter)

Dear Past and Present Parishioners, 

There is talk of re-opening the churches for Mass. Alleluia!! Each bishop will have his own variation of what that will look like. It sounds like the Mass will be very different, though, from what we are accustomed to, and may include: no singing (perhaps we can hum instead); no Sunday Missals or missalettes; no Servers or Sacristan; no procession of the gifts or the passing of the collection basket; no lingering in the church; Holy Communion to be distributed in the hand, beneath a plexi-glass barrier; sanitization protocol; and of course physical distancing, which will limit the number of people present . . .. When ready, Bishop Gary will be releasing the details. Then, it will take some time to properly prepare the churches and people. These are precautionary measures to minimize the risks of spreading a covid infection. It is not yet time for us to be moving into the norm that we were so used to, and desire. I am sorry! I know the changes will be difficult to "get our heads around", including for me.

Our parish AGM was scheduled for May 3. That did not happen, obviously, and we will be forgoing it completely this year. Because we are not a registered society, but a charity, it is not mandatory, though laudable to have these AGM's.

Thank you to those who showed up this week to help with the grounds at OLG Church: weeding, planting, and raking up fir cones. The yard is looking really good. Please come by to see it, if you can, including the garden in front of the church. That project has been a lot of work, but it has gone well and is near completion. I will attach a couple photos of it. There have been some generous donations toward the cost of the plants and soil. Thank you.

During this past week, not much has been added to our parish website, except a selection of videos, podcasts and articles from Ascension, including a video "Forgive and Forget": Is it Really Possible? (http://www.ourladyofgrace-saltspring.ca/domestic-church-resources)

Please continue your prayers and your telephone outreach. Both of those activities are invaluable, and each person can do them. Those are important ways that we can extend the love of God to others. We will continue with our Zoom rosary this Sunday, same time (9:30) and place, and the same link and password as last week: 

https://us04web.zoom.us/j/76543746747?pwd=TkFBM0FaZm1INXAzV2dnSStPaWVQQT09Password: 4Uv3SQ 

I continue to have daily Mass, except on Mondays. At those times, and at other times in the day, especially near to the end of it, i visit with you in prayer, and present you to God our Father, through Jesus, our Lord and Saviour. I also continue specific prayers, for specific people, with specific burdens, sufferings, hopes and needs, as we all journey in this blessed life to our ultimate goal of eternal life in heaven. God bless you, and . . .

The Lord be with you!

Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord!

Peace and Love in the Resurrected Christ, 

Fr Scott 


Pastoral Letter
May 9, 2020.
O sing a new song to the Lord, for he has worked wonders; 
in the sight of the nations he has shown his deliverance, alleluia.
(Psalm 97.1-2, Entrance Antiphon for Mass on the 5th Sunday of Easter)

Dear Parishioners,
We are at the 5th Sunday of Easter, already, and something close to 2 months has passed since there was public Mass. It really has gone quickly for me. How about for you? Most people seem to be weathering the covid isolation quite well, though not without some anxieties or deprivations, extra stresses and considerations; some are thriving with their more home-centered life; and a few are not doing well at all. The isolation they were already experiencing, pre-covid, has really intensified and has even disrupted their will to live. Please keep up your prayers and telephone outreach!!

A happy, blessed Mother's Day to all mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers, godmothers, and to all women who exercise their motherhood in a variety of ways. God bless you for the giving of your lives, so that others may be nurtured, encouraged, cared for, and know the love of God through you.

Talking about the gift of self. Did you catch the news about 29 staff workers at a nursing home in Villanova, France? They locked themselves in the nursing home for 47 days, so as to continue to take care of the residents, while at the same time reduce the chances of them bringing a covid infection into the facility. Isn't that heroic and heart warming, to say the least? Lives would have been transformed by such tremendous acts of love.

About 600 people joined online with Bishop Gary on May 1, for Mass and the consecration of our country and diocese to the protection and care of Mary, Mother of the Church. As pastor, i added my consecration for all of you.

Still looking for some help with OLG grounds. Marlene and Arnica have been doing more around here, but i know there are more parishioners than just the two of them. Lucille has been cutting down broom bush at St Paul's, and Leon is cutting the hay there. Well, I am exaggerating. He is making sure the cemetery and church grounds don't look like a hay field, but cared for. Thanks Leon, and Lucille, and Marlene and Arnica.

We have so much to be grateful for: life and love, food and clean water, shelter and places to walk or garden in, family and friends, our mothers . . .. In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus says, "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me." We can be especially grateful for the gift of faith that keeps us believing and following Jesus the Christ. He also tell us,  "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Thanks be to God for the gift of His Son and the gift of faith for us to believe, even if we might have unbelief too.

On this Sunday, when we give thanks for our mothers, let us also remember to give thanks to our spiritual mother, Mary. She is not only the Mother of God, but ours too. Jesus gave her to us, to be our mother, when he was hanging on the cross. He gave her to all "beloved" disciples of Jesus, our Risen Lord and Universal Saviour.

The Lord be with you!
Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life!!

Yours in the Risen Christ,
Fr Scott

Pastoral Letter
April 25, 2020.

Cry out with joy to God, all the earth; O sing to the glory of his name. 
O render him glorious praise, alleluia.
(Psalm 65.1-2, the Entrance Antiphon for Mass on this 3rd Sunday of Easter.)

Dear Parishioners,
Since Easter, many of the Mass Readings have been testimonies and accounts of people actually seeing and meeting the Risen Lord. Mary Magdalene was the first. Often times, people did not initially recognize the risen Jesus. Mary thought he was the gardener. Do you remember that? Well, i thought, for a moment, that Jesus was here on the church property, along with one other person. But it turned out that the gardeners were actually Marlene and Arnica Langevin. They have brought a lot of beauty, which was hidden by all kinds of weeds, to the garden beds behind the church. (I hope the wheat didn't get pulled out with the weeds, or am i getting confused with some story Jesus told?)

So, life is going on here at OLG Church, though with a very diminished presence of people. Daily Mass continues for you, and for the whole world. (I had a few post-Easter days booked off to visit my mother. That will not be happening, now, though i MIGHT get out for a few days paddling. If so, i will still be offering up Mass, but not at the regular 9 am time.) We have had good attendance for our ventures into virtual parish life, with the Stations of the Cross, rosary, and Chaplet of Divine Mercy. We made our first attempt to have a Parish Council meeting by way of Zoom, thanks to Joyce. The Family Apostolate had a humble response to Julie-Ann's virtual gathering, also with Zoom. She had this wonderful idea of our parish families geo-caching stories about miracles. If you have not already heard of "geo-caching", i'm going to leave it with you to "Google" that, or ask around. Janine emailed to our young parish families, a reflection and an assortment of puzzles and other activities related to last Sunday's Mass Readings, so the children could have a Liturgy of the Word at home. Parishioners are continuing to send in, transfer and drop off financial donations for the parish - and food for the poor pastor. Emails and phone calls really quieted down this week. 

Your phone calls to other parishioners is especially life-giving to some, and are helping to be one of few parish connections in this time of so much physical isolation. Please keep the calls going, and remember theLord's Prayer when you are washing your hands, for an end to the spread of covid, for the protection of those on the front lines in various ways, and for the recovery of those who are inflicted with covid. Your prayers, in union with the victorious Lamb of God, are important!

Last week i wrote of the blessed palms waiting for your return. Attached is a photo of some of them. On the home page of our website, check out The Bells of Banffhttp://www.ourladyofgrace-saltspring.ca/ 
   
We continue to look for ways to promote our connection as a parish family, in spite of our physical distancing and isolation. We are all spiritually united in the Body of Christ, so that what you do in your home - the domestic church - in union with Jesus, can be efficacious and ultimately lead to the salvation of souls. Be heroic in your prayers and creative in your acts of charity.

Peace and joy in the Risen Lord and Saviour, 
Jesus the Christ, 
Fr Scott



Pastoral Letter
April 18, 2020.
Christ is Risen!!! Alleluia!!
This is our Easter chant, our confession of faith, our hope, joy and meditation. Christ is risen from the dead, becoming a new creation, a new reality for humanity.

It was a rather odd experience this year, celebrating the Easter Triduum without your visible presence. Just the same, it still was and is a very beautiful set of liturgies to be a part of. I hope you were able to connect with them, in some way.

I did get tired of hearing my voice during the Easter Vigil. There were four Old Testament Readings, Epistle and Psalm Readings, and of course, a Gospel Reading. It is much better having a variety of voices and personalities for all those Readings. The church was decorated with Easter lilies, together with the most beautiful collection of daffodils i have ever seen. There must have been about 10 different kinds, grown to honour our resurrected Lord. I wish you could have seen them. There are a few photos attached, including one of the sanctuary during Good Friday - a stark contrast to the Easter decorum. 

Palms have been blessed and are awaiting to be taken to good homes. They will be available when we are on the other side of this pandemic and are allowed to resume our public liturgies. This year, there is a mixture: the usual variegated kind that are imported, some local ones donated, and some crosses that Daniela has made with the leaves.  

Directing your attention, again, to our parish website. On the Domestic Church page, there are 50 ways for families to celebrate the 50 days of Easter. On the COVID-19 page, there is Pope Francis' "Urbi et Orbi" Easter message and blessing. There is also the Easter Vigil homily of Archbishop Pizzaballa, at a Mass near to Jesus' tomb - the holy sepulcher.

Our Parish Council had set a date for our spring yard cleanup at Our Lady of Grace Church, lunch included. This will not be happening; however the weeds are still happening and there is a need to do some other Spring cleanup on the grounds. If interested, or willing for some other reason, please contact me, and i can give you some direction and open up the hall for access to the bathrooms. You will need your own tools, though a wheelbarrow or two should be available. The grounds are looking beautiful, just the same, with spring-time blooms. Out front of the church, that very visible flower bed is under going a transformation. I hope to have it re-landscaped, so that it adds beauty to our church and property, and reflects something beautiful and life-giving of our God and faith community.

I am hoping that we can get our Parish Council and Finance Committee meetings going again, albeit physically distant. CWL could be doing the same, and perhaps something with our catechism classes. We need to pursue alternative ways to continue to be a parish family. I also hope that you are finding the time and motivation to reach out to other parishioners via the telephone. Drive in Confession continues each Saturday, 4-5 pm.

Praying for each of you, and especially for those whom i know have some serious trials or inflictions. May God console you, heal and restore you, and perfect each of you in the image and likeness of his Son, Our Risen Lord and Saviour. God bless you all!!!!  

Pax in Jesus, the Risen Christ,
Fr Scott 


Pastoral Letter
April 10, 2020.

Dear Parishioners,
We are on our way into the Holy Triduum. Last Sunday was Palm Sunday, marking the start of Holy Week, and yesterday we had Holy Thursday. I have included a couple of photos of the church sanctuary from those days. Today the altar is stripped. 

On Sunday, i found some local palms on the back steps of the church. The ones ordered had yet to arrive. Yesterday, some lilies were delivered. Both of these appearances were unexpected, timely, and helpful in reflecting something of the special days we were celebrating, on those days, throughout the world, albeit, without the physical presence of the flock. Definitely missing you and your visible presence, but continuing on with the Masses, and today will be our Good Friday Service at 3. Tomorrow will be the Easter Vigil at 9 pm. On Sunday will be an Easter Mass at 10 am.

Our website has on-going additions to the two new web pages. On the COVID-19 page, there are two excellent messages from Cardinal Tagle of the Philippines and Bishop O'Toole of England, relating our faith to Covid-19. Also, there is a letter from numerous Christian leaders of BC. Included in the letter are many suggestions of living out our faith during this difficult time: http://www.ourladyofgrace-saltspring.ca/covid-19-updates

I am trying out an on-line, parish Stations of the Cross via Zoom, at 2:15. It might take some time and patience for us to adjust to it. Planning to do something similar with the rosary. Thanks to all the people who responded to my email on the rosary. Further responses are still welcome. 

Today we can be with Jesus, as He is with us through all that we experience. Today we can accompany Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, praying with Him, as He prays for us. Today, He looks to have been defeated by the power of sin and evil, as He takes it all on, for us. Today He dies for us and is buried in a tomb, truly dead. Let us enter into the tomb with Him, as He destroys the power of human death, so that we can journey with Him, to eternal life and resurrection of the body.

God bless you, 
as we pray and journey together
through, with, and in the Passion of Jesus the Christ, 
to the other side - the Light and glory of the Resurrection.
Fr Scott


Pastoral Letter
April 4, 2020.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father 
and the Lord Jesus Christ! 

That is the Mass greeting often responded to, poorly. Do you recall it? The other two greetings seem to work much better.

This Sunday is Palm/Passion Sunday. I'll be celebrating the Mass at 10 am, privately. For some odd reason, likely covid related, the palms have yet to arrive. Usually they get here somewhere around the Wednesday prior to. Whenever they do get here, i'll bless them and make them available to you, when we are on the other side of this covid crisis. OLG Church has the crosses and statues covered. (See attached photo.) They have been that way since last Sunday, the 5th Sunday in Lent.

I would like to encourage you to check out our parish website, if you haven't already:   https://sites.google.com/site/ourladyofgracesaltspring/home. In particular, the two new pages. On the COVID-19 page, we have added a letter from religious leaders of Canada in response to the covid-19 pandemic. We have also added a simplified version of a decree by the Apostolic Penitentiary. The decree provides for covid-related plenary indulgences. On the Domestic Church Resources page, you can partake in a virtual retreat through Ascension Press (though much of it is over now), or join our bishop for on-line Mass and a Mission.

Through baptism, we share in the common priesthood. There are two significant roles to the priesthood. The first is to make sacrifice for the love and salvation of others. That can be exercised in numerous ways, both small and heroic, and sometimes it is the small sacrifices that are done heroically. The other role is bringing Jesus to people and people to Jesus. Intercessory prayer is one way we can do that. 

I am hearing that some people are really having a difficult time praying, even though we need it more than ever. This difficulty highlights how much we can be encouraged to pray when we are praying with others. I hope we can discover and apply new ways of doing that, during this time of physical distancing.

Through thick and thin, in season and out, we need to try to keep our eyes on Jesus. He reveals to us our true likeness and image, and leads the way to our Father. He is our Saviour, who knows our human sufferings and is present in them.

Missing your presence in the pews!!  

Peace in Jesus the Christ,
Fr Scott


Pastoral Letter
March 28, 2020.
The Peace of Jesus be with you! 

During this surreal time of threat and spread of covit-19, it is easy to get anxious, stressed, or fearful of the future. This can be expressed in anger, sadness, edginess and more. These are real human emotions to be acknowledged, named, and allowed to some extent.

At the same time, we need to remember Jesus, and trust in Him. He is the victorious Lamb once slain. Evil never had the last word in His life, nor does it have to in ours. God is stronger. With Jesus, we too share in the victory of good over evil, life over death.

Let us continually turn to God, first in praise and thanksgiving for the gift of His Son, for the gift of faith, and for the multitude of other gifts in our lives. Second, to share our fears and anxieties, and seek out guidance, strength, comfort, peace and protection. Third, to extend our prayers beyond ourselves, to our family and neighbours, to our friends and the local homeless, to the sick and vulnerable in other countries, to those on the front lines in medical and health care, to those still working in various essential services, to our government leaders . . .. This is a time we Christians need to be praying more, not less.

We are a people of faith, and these days we have been denied our gatherings together for Mass, the Easter Triduum, Eucharistic adoration, Liturgy of the Word, Stations of the Cross, a Penitential Service, the rosary, Liturgy of the Hours, prayers for healing, potlucks, our faith study, CWL, prayer shawl ministry, family apostolate, feeding the poor, Christian Services at Lady Minto and Heritage Place, after Mass coffee and fellowship, taking Holy Communion to the sick or isolated . . .. It is a lot that we do as a small faith community, which has now been temporarily suspended. There has been a lot of loss to what we do as a People of Christian faith.

It is my hope and prayer that we will use this time to build up the "domestic church". The Holy Family was the first domestic church, with Jesus at the center of their home life. During our current time of significant isolation, i pray we will nurture and foster a home life where Jesus becomes more central, more often. I pray that we may welcome and live the mystery of our salvation through Jesus, at home, more frequently and more deeply.

Our parish web site now has a page named "Domestic Church Resources" - http://www.ourladyofgrace-saltspring.ca/domestic-church-resources - where you will find numerous resources to help foster the domestic church in your life - at your home. Check out the various Masses you can connect with. Do click onto the Form page and see the many ways you can feed your faith with Lenten reflections, Bible studies, faith studies, movies, documentaries, and more. Look over Scott Hahn's, The Quarantined Catholic Hub

I continue to offer up Mass 6 days a week, for each and everyone of you in general, for many of your specific needs that have been brought to my attention, and for all of the southern Gulf Island people. You can join me, in spiritual communion, during these private Masses at Our Lady of Grace Church. They are being held Tuesdays to Saturdays, at 9 am, and on Sundays at 10 am.

"Drive through Confession" worked well last Saturday, and will continue from 4-5 pm each Saturday. Lent is a penitential season, do come by.

Please remember to reach out by telephone, and often, to those who are now isolated at home, especially those living on their own. When you are washing your hands, pray the Lord's Prayer for the end of the spread of covit-19. 
In solidarity with one another, united to Jesus the Christ, we can do more than survive, we can thrive and be a sign and instrument of hope, faith and love in the weeks and perhaps months of physical isolation ahead of us. Let us not be socially distant anymore, in our physical distancing. Let us not be spiritually distant in our Christian faith, but more connected than ever with God, through Jesus. 

This is a time we Christians need to be praying so much more, not less.

i have been receiving more telephone calls and emails than usual. Thank you so very much for your thoughtfulness, support, feedback, suggestions, questions, and sharings. I might be cutting back on my responses, but that does not mean your contact is not appreciated. If any person never received my first pastor's letter (last week), and wants a copy, just let me know.

Be not afraid, we have a Saviour!
God bless and protect all of you and your families.
In Jesus the Christ, 
Fr Scott

Pastoral Letter

Friday, March 20, 2020.

Dear Parishioners,

        The Peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit be with you!!

        I hope that most of you have already gotten a version of this email from me, with the accompanying memo from Bishop Gary. He sent it out on Wednesday. I asked a number of people that day, to help with the distribution of it.

        Since then, Daniela and I have completed an extensive email list for most of our parishioners, as well as a phone list for those without email. God bless her for so much help! We will try to maintain some kind of contact during this time of social distancing and isolation.   

        The memo from Bishop Gary, asked that we suspend all Masses, immediately. We have done that. I am sorry. It is a radical step, but a cautious and temporary one. In some ways, it could feel like the Church is abandoning our people in time of need, but we will discover ways to connect and lessen the distance.

        I have and will continue to offer Mass, privately, in Our Lady of Grace Church. I will offer Mass from Tuesdays to Saturdays, beginning at 9 am, and on Sundays at 10 am. In his most recent memo to the priests, Bishop Gary made it clear that we are not to be allowing others to be present. But you can be present, if you want, in spiritual communion with me during that time, maybe even from the comfort of your La-Z-Boys (and Girls).

        It is also possible to connect with Mass on the internet, and on TV. Daniela will send out a memo as to where Mass can be found on the televisionSalt and Light can be found on most televisions. EWTN usually requires a special subscription, but it is minimal and worth it. Each of these stations have Mass televised. 

On-line Masses can be found at:

 https://dailytvmass.com/     

www.ewtn.com/tv/watch-live  

and https://www.wordonfire.org/daily-mass/ (Bishop Barron)

        The parish website - http://www.ourladyofgrace-saltspring.ca/ - will be used for some announcements or postings, but we realize it reaches a small number of people, so it will not be the sole means of communication. A new page has been added for our Covit-19 updates. There is a good letter on it from our Canadian bishops. We also hope to add a page for resources that will help to promote our life of prayer and connection with the Church.

        We need to pray for one another, for the health and protection of our families and flocks; for caregivers, health and medical personnel; for those front line people who keep the groceries and gasoline flowing; for the world of people beyond our own little (but important) worlds; and for a miraculous end to the spread of Covit-19. 

PLEASE PRAY!!!! That is something we Christians can be contributing!

        As we have heard many times: Wash your hands often, and for 20 seconds! That is the time it takes to pray one Our Father. I have been offering up that prayer, at each hand wash, for the end of the spread of this virus. Perhaps you can get into that habit too.

        During this season of Lent, the Sacrament of Confession has a special place. I will be united with other clergy, in other places, offering "drive through" Confession. The payment is your sin, and the take away is God's mercy and forgiveness. Sounds like a better deal than an A&W drive through, though i really like their burgers. I'll either be in my silver pickup or seated in the parking lot of OLG Church. An orange cone will designate the boundary of safe distancing; if you run it over, you are too close.The hours will be 4-5 pm, Saturdays. Additional arrangements might be made in the future, especially for those without vehicle use. If a carload of penitents arrive, each person will need to take the penitent's seat, while the others are walking the parking lot (praying?). Take advantage of this, while the weather is good.

        Give somebody a call and pray the rosary with them, if that is a form of prayer they do. I do this with my mother, at least weekly, now. That time of prayer spent with her, is more substantial and meaningful than the conversations we usually have. There are a growing number of initiatives for praying the rosary with others, distantly. Here is an on-line one, live each day, at 1pm: https://www.facebook.com/AscensionPress/  

        As people become more isolated, please take time to make regular telephone calls to those who are especially isolated and vulnerable to this virus. Chat, see if they need any help or support, offer words of hope and encouragement, try some humour, pray together, rejoice in all the goodness we share, give thanks for the Life of Jesus and the gift of faith...

        Entrusting each of you, and our flocks and families, into the care of Our Lady, as we pray:

Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son,
as you did at the wedding in Cana.

Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.

For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.

In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.

We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.

Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.


God bless you, 

in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Fr Scott