Letter from Fr. Keith (June 5)

Dear Parishioners and Friends of St. Dunstan’s,

In the history of our cathedral parish, this week stands in stellar significance. After almost 11 weeks, we returned to the public celebration of the Eucharist. Granted, gatherings capped at 15, but gathered nonetheless! We reminded ourselves of the Lord’s promise, Where two or more are gathered in my name, I am there among them (Mt. 18:20). Whenever a portion of the Church meets for Eucharist, in mystical reality, the whole Body of Christ assembles. As we prayed, we were mindful of the union of the physically present to “out absent brothers and sisters.”

As a reminder, I want to repeat the following from last week’s letter:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday this week, we will celebrate the Eucharist at 9 am, downstairs in Glastonbury Hall. We must limit the number, including myself, to 15. Those wanting to attend, please use this email address to let us know: massatstdunstans@gmail.com For those without email access, please call 902-894-3486. Leave a message, if necessary. Please include your name and the names of those in your household who plan to be there, with your phone number. You will be notified as to the Mass you will be scheduled to attend. These are unusual times. For that reason, and in order to accommodate as many people as possible over the four days, no one should anticipate coming daily.

Use the Dorchester St. entrance. Doors will open at 8:50. Kindly observe physical distancing of 2 meters / 6 feet between yourself and others while waiting outdoors. At this time, no lingering in the building after Mass please, and once outside, we are asked to maintain the needed separation.

Public Health directives state that anyone who feels unwell or has travelled outside Prince Edward Island over the last two weeks should not attend. Further, according to guidelines posted on the PEI Government website, “take extra precautions if you are at increased risk, especially those who are aged 65 years and older, have a compromised immune system, and/or have underlying medical conditions.” Would you be so good as to make those who may not see this letter aware of the Masses and the procedure and precautions to follow?

Prior to attending, please read the diocesan protocol prepared in consultation with the provincial Office of Public Health by following this link: http://dioceseofcharlottetown.com/bishops-letter-protocol-for-funerals-rites-for-15-people/

This week, we celebrate Trinity Sunday. “Trinity” expresses the fundamental Christian belief that God, who is One, lives as Three equal, eternal and distinct Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Trinity is a mystery, the central mystery of Christian faith. Mystery surpasses our ability to comprehend, to understand in the manner we come to figure out a mathematics problem or to absorb something we have read.

Our inability to understand the Trinity doesn’t mean we aren’t called to reflect upon and ponder the mystery. Quite the opposite, in fact. The mystery of faith has profound—and practical—implications for our personal lives, for the life of the Church, for the life of the world. The mystery of faith—in its many aspects—is unrivalled in its relevance to the life we share. 

Let’s take a moment to ponder one implication of Trinity: God who is One in Three, Three in One; God who is Perfect Unity in complete diversity. Remember what the Book of Genesis tells us about ourselves. So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God, he created them; male and female he created them… (Gen. 1: 27).

Created in the image of the Trinity, St. Paul goes on to remind us, For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members of one another (Rom. 12: 4-5).

This has profound implications for our healing and our restoration. In the mystery of our creation and our redemption, we are united within ourselves and with each other. Our personal brokenness, the fractured relationships that exist between individuals and among nations have a radical potential, coupled with a deep—even if sometimes hidden—desire to be mended and healed. Alienation, no matter how profoundly we may experience it, does not reside at our depths. There, we are one.  The Unity of the Three distinct Persons of the One God lives in and among us. The tensions that sometimes divide us within our own hearts and put us at odds with others, the rivalries that pit nations, one against another: as individuals, as families, as communities, as countries—the Trinity reminds us—we have the capacity, at all those levels, to live as one. That’s how The Father, in the beginning, made us to be. That’s how he, in the Son, re-created us to be. That’s how the Spirit, today, empowers us to be.

The Trinity is the essence of cooperation and harmony. In the Trinity, we live and move and have our being (see Acts 17:28). The Trinity is the source of humanity’s in-dwelling ability to heal racial divisions, to build bridges, to work together to find solutions to all kinds of pressing concerns and to share and implement those solutions when they are found. Our separate uniqueness need not be our undoing. It, rather, is meant to enrich who we are together—fully alive, to the glory of God, who made us sharers in the Divine Life. In our faith-inspired response to that gift, we put flesh on the oft-recited words, “Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.”

Thursday, my sister and I were able to visit our Mom at the Prince Edward Home, and to make an appointment for another, this Tuesday. We look forward to the day when those visits won’t involve physical distancing! Please continue to pray for all associated with Long-Term Care.

We plan to live-stream the Mass from SDU Place this Sunday at 10:30. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/stdunstansbasilica

I hope you will find joy this week in the beauty of nature unfolding all around us. Let us pray for one another, and for all whose well-being is supported by the love that motivates that prayer. May all we think, say and do, friends, be in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Peace be with you and yours,

Fr. Keith

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