Watch this week's message from Father Don
Happy Advent, my friends,
Advent is a time for looking forward with hope, in our case, hope that our parish will slowly grow into a vibrant community of missionary disciples. It is a beautiful hope but one that, realistically, must be viewed against the background of the present struggles of the Catholic Church in the Western world.
According to the October archdiocesan census, the number of Sunday mass attenders in Vancouver has declined 25% from pre-pandemic levels (20% at All Saints). As only 20% of self-identified Catholics were attending Sunday mass before COVID, the present figure is closer to 15%. This is a serious problem that requires a serious solution if further decline is to be prevented.
At All Saints, this serious solution takes the form of Divine Renovation, a Canadian model for parish renewal. Divine Renovation insists that lasting parish renewal will require the spiritual renewal of both individuals and parish communities. The secular culture in which we live is anti-religious, shaped by consumerism, and neglectful of the interior life. To thrive in this environment, we need to work together and grow in deeper closeness to Christ.
The prophet Isaiah offers us these words of encouragement: "In the days to come... MANY people shall say ‘Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord... that he may teach us his ways and we may walk in his paths.’" For Christians “going up the mountain” means drawing close to Jesus so that we might learn his ways and walks in his paths. Each of us is invited to turn to the Lord and say “Jesus, I want to be close to you, teach me how to live, show me what is important, fill me with your healing love.”
At the start of this new church year, let us wake from sleep and start climbing the mountain of the Lord - for our own good and that of future generations of Catholics.