Liturgy & Devotion to Our Mother of Perpetual Help
St. Patrick’s Liturgical Life and Sacraments
Our Liturgical Seasonal Celebrations drew large numbers of both the St. Patrick’s community as well as new faces from other parishes. Christmas 2015 was a beautiful season at our parish with gorgeous decorations, prayerful liturgies and beautiful music.
During Lent, the Stations of Cross were animated by various parish groups, including, the Senior’s Group, Kolping Society, Ignite: Young Adult Ministry, and the Youth Confirmation Preparation Class.
The Easter Triduum was very well attended, showing standing room only for both Good Friday and Easter Vigil masses. Participation in all masses showed an increase from previous years. As well, 10 children received communion for the first time Easter Sunday.
Wednesday Mother of Perpetual Help Novena Masses
Our 6 Wednesday Mother of Perpetual Help masses are always quite full and this year the Mother of Perpetual Help Triduum in June 2015 was overflowing. Fr. Phil Dabney C.Ss.R. led the three days celebration and gave very insightful homilies. On our second evening, the community celebrated the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. We concluded our Triduum celebration with an International Festival of food and celebration in the Parish Hall.
Our Triduum this year was held June 27-29, 2016 and was preached by Archbishop Gerard Pettipas C.Ss.R. from the Archdiocese of Grouard-McLennan, AB. We welcomed over 1000 people on both Monday and Tuesday, and 1500 people on Wednesday.
The weekly devotions to our Mother of Perpetual Help and the Triduum draw thousands of people to St. Patrick’s Church each week. The Redemptorists continue in this mission of “making our Mother known” under this title of “Perpetual Help”, and through this ministry of the devotions, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the Redemptorists continue to effectively serve the Church in Toronto and throughout the world.
150th Anniversary of the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help
From June 2015-June 2016, Pope Francis granted the faithful throughout the world a Plenary Indulgence for participating in the prayer life of every Shrine to Our Mother of Perpetual Help served by the Redemptorists throughout the world. This honour was granted for the 150th Anniversary of the restoration of the Icon to public veneration in Rome.
Here at St. Patrick’s, our year began with the Novena Triduum in June 2015. Throughout the year, we held special talks and presentations on the history and meaning of the Icon, the history of the Redemptorists and the life of St. Alphonsus Liguori, reflecting with Mary during Advent and Lent and finally, growing in our understanding of Redemptorist Life and Mission Today.
On April 26, 2016, 150 years following the procession of the Icon from St. Mary Major to the Church of St. Alphonsus, the Redemptorists and St. Patrick’s Parish Community invited the faithful to join in a procession from St. Michael’s Cathedral to St. Patrick’s Church with the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. We welcomed 1,500 pilgrims for the procession and the Mass in the Church which was presided over by Fr. Mark Miller C.Ss.R., Provincial Superior, and Bishop John Pazak C.Ss.R., Bishop of the Slovak-Byzantine Catholics in Canada. It was truly a beautiful celebration that really marked this year of celebration.
This past year, being the anniversary year for the restoration of the icon at the Church of St. Alphonsus is only the first of three years for the Redemptorists in this mission to celebrate Mary, Our Mother of Perpetual Help. We will continue in the mission and celebration in 2016-2018.
Liturgical Music Ministries
We have 4 liturgical choirs that provide for our liturgical music at St. Patricks: 5:00 PM Saturday Gregorian Choir, under the direction of Surinder Mundra; 10:00 AM German Choir, under the direction of Albert Masters; 12:10 PM Sunday Choir, under the direction of Mark Wood-Salomon; and 5:00 PM Sunday Choir, under the direction of Mark Huang. The music at the 8:30 AM Sunday Mass is provided by cantor Stefan Fehr and Helen Patterson. Our Wednesday organists are Michael Sinkewiec and Michael Taylor.
German Community Sunday Mass 10:00 AM
The German masses are celebrated by five German speaking priests, taking turns on Sundays. The church choir sings during most of the masses and on special feast days we are joined by the men’s choir “Harfentöne”.
At the 10:00 AM German Mass, we have about 8 Altar Servers who provide service at the Mass. For the English Masses, we only have 2 youth who serve as Altar Servers. We are always looking for more! Several of the children who received their first communion this year are looking forward to becoming altar servers in the fall!
This past year, workshops and retreat days were conducted for our Lectors and Extraordinary ministers of communion to pray and reflect on this ministry, and to welcome and orient new volunteers. The pastoral staff are planning to host more workshops for Sacristans, Ushers and Hospitality and Music Ministry.
Children’s Liturgy of the Word
Karen Keays, coordinates the children’s liturgy group during the 12:10 masses. On average we have 15-20 children attending, and the target age group for this is children in grades 1-6. This year we also incorporated catechesis for First Reconciliation and First Communion, of which there were 9 children preparing for these sacraments.
Marriage Preparation and Celebrations
Over the course of the year, Fr. Santo and Fr. Tomy celebrated 20 weddings here at St. Patrick’s Church. Approximately 10 weddings where prepared through St. Patrick’s but were celebrated in other cities and countries around the world.
Sacrament of Baptism
Over the course of the year, St. Patrick’s Parish has celebrated about 50 baptisms of children born in our parish community! This is a significant increase over the last couple of years!
Volunteers serve our liturgical ministries in many capacities: 59 Sunday and Weekday Lectors, 49 Sunday and Weekday Extraordinary Ministers of Communion, Sacristans, Adult Altar Servers. While we have a number of people providing service at our different liturgical celebrations, we welcome the gifts of the community to serve in our liturgy.
A group of dedicated volunteers and members of our parish staff who provide time and effort to bring beauty and symbol to the liturgical space of the church. This year has been one of marked creativity through banners, floral arrangements, and incorporation of new symbols and decoration that have helped to provide beauty to the Church.
Year of Mercy and the Holy Door
During the Year of Mercy, St. Patrick’s, along with 7 other parishes throughout the Archdiocese, were invited to establish a Holy Door of Mercy for the faithful to come and participate in prayer and reflection on this Holy Year, to receive a Plenary Indulgence through the celebration of the Sacraments and special prayers. Many pilgrimage groups visited St. Patrick’s throughout the year. We welcomed approximately 50-70 groups throughout the past year, who travelled as far as the United States.
Our Holy Door was opened in December 2015. The door was created by a group of volunteers from the parish, along with our children catechists and some of the children from the parish. Our door has been a welcomed addition to the parish and a focus of prayer and devotions for parishioners and visitors from around the city on a daily basis. The Holy Door of Mercy will be closed in November 2016, as the Year of Mercy will conclude throughout the Church. The Holy Door will be removed and saved for another Jubilee Year.
Education and Catechesis
Caring for Our Common Home
The Community gathered for a 5 week seminar on Pope Francis’ Encyclical, “Laudato Si”. This Program was facilitated by staff from the Scarboro Mission Society.
150th Anniversary Presentations
As part of the 150th Anniversary of the Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, the parish had the opportunity to gather and learn about different elements of the Icon, through history and prayer as well as about the Redemptorist Congregation and Mission. These presentations were held on a monthly basis, twice on Sundays and twice on Wednesdays.
Year of Mercy Bible Study
As part of the Year of Mercy, a Bible Study was formed to reflect on the different themes and scripture accounts where we learn about God’s mercy for us. The group met for 8 weeks in the Spring. Plans are in the works to have this opportunity offered in the Fall 2016.
RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults)
This year, we did not have any participants for the RCIA Program. We did have one adult Baptized and Confirmed who had been through the program and carried on his preparation with us.
Sacramental Preparation of Children
This year, 9 children were prepared for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Communion. The preparation program was done in conjunction with the Children’s Liturgy of the Word. In the Spring, we prepared 10 of our youth for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Beginning this year, through the mandate of the Archdiocese, Confirmation takes place in grade 7. Children for ALL SACRAMENTS are to register their preparation at the parish before the Fall, even if they attend Catholic School.
Spirituality and Mission
St. Patrick’s Prayer Group
Gathering on a weekly basis for prayer, rosary, praise and worship, meditation, bible study and testimonies, the members pray for the needs of the parish community, families, the sick, those who are most in need, and for unity within the Church. The Prayer Group also sponsors and facilitates the Life in the Spirit Seminar, Prayer Breakfasts, and the All Night Vigil in Advent. Regular participation includes 10-15 members.
Legion of Mary
A group of faithful volunteers who dedicate themselves through the intercession of Mary by meeting weekly at the Church. Members participate in the life of the parish through visitation of families, the sick, and through collaboration in apostolic and missionary undertakings sponsored by the parish. Current membership is 6.
For the past 17 years, the St. Patrick’s Senior’s Club have met monthly as a means of sharing and support for the local community. Through hospital and home visits, sharing of lives, scripture study, celebration of member’s birthdays, pilgrimages and spiritual talks, the Senior’s Club provides a valuable opportunity for growth of its members in their senior years.
On a weekly basis, a group started by the late Br. Edgar Hoffman C.Ss.R. has met for the past 15 years to pray through scripture reading, faith sharing, and “Maranatha” meditation.
The Kopling Society is a community of men and women founded by Fr. Adolph Kolping in Germany to foster fellowship and service through faith. The local Society meetings on a regular basis, with communion breakfasts every second Sunday of the month, with about 30 members in attendance. As one of the many outreach services, the members participated in the annual Parish Bazaar that raised funds for Redemptorist Missions in Africa, and raising funds for other special projects. The Society also gathers with family, supporters and friends for the annual Christmas Party. At this particular celebration, Fr. Mark Miller, Redemptorist Provincial and Praeses will celebrate the Mass and the National Praeses for the Society will be the main speaker. The Society participates in an annual retreat at Marylake Monastery in King City.
Rosary Prayer Ministry
From Monday to Saturday, following the 7:30 am Mass, a group of 10-25 people join in praying the Rosary. Following the noon Mass each day, a group of 12-15 people join in praying the Rosary. Every year on December 8th, all those present for the rosary consecrate ourselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary before the Holy Icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help using the St. Louis Marie de Montfort reflection. This takes place both after the morning rosary and the afternoon rosary which is followed by a luncheon to thank all those praying and leading the rosary at St. Patrick’s.
First Friday Holy Hour
Following the First Friday Mass at 12:10 PM, the congregation is invited to stay for a time of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament for one hour. The intentions and the prayers for this time have ranged from praying for vocations, entering into the Advent Season, the Lenten Season, Prayer for Pope Francis, and Prayer for World Peace, and Prayer for the Year of Mercy.
Repairs and Maintenance of Church Property
The big project from this past year was the repaving of the Parking Lot across the street from the Church. The fence and gate were erected to assist in traffic control and reserve the lot for special occasions. The entire project cost about $80,000.
Future Maintenance and improvements on Church Property
As part of the Family of Faith Fundraising (our Parish Portion that we get back), we are considering work that needs to be done on three specific areas: Lighting in the Church, Pews and Flooring in the Church. Our preliminary estimate is roughly $500,000 for an entire project. We are currently investigating contractors and potential costs for each project. From the Family of Faith Contributions for our Parish, we will receive approximately $90,000 that will go towards these projects. The remainder will come from a local fundraising campaign. There will be more information to follow over the next year.
Parish Community Life
Coffee Hour following the 10:00 AM German Mass
Each week, following the 10:00 AM Sunday Mass in German, approximately 30 parishioners gather for fellowship, wonderful bake goods provided by different parishioners and a hot cup of coffee. Parishioners are invited to contribute to the fund box, and proceeds are given to various charities.
Coffee Socials, Hijacked by Hot Chocolate, Ice Tea Socials
Occassional opportunities for the community to gather after Sunday Masses on the front steps of the Church with Coffee, Hot Chocolate or Ice Tea. We are looking at possibly having Sundae Sundays soon as well!
Open Door Wednesday Lunch Program
Once a month on Wednesdays, following the 12:00 PM Novena Mass, lunch is served in the parish hall to 70-100 guests for fellowship, and celebrating the seasons throughout the year. This is a special time for some of our older congregants to socialize with others who are attending the noon Mass on Wednesday.
A team of about ten dedicated volunteers are instrumental in the smooth running of the program. They are responsible for set-up, food preparation, serving and clean-up. Generally the lunches consist of soup and sandwiches, but throughout the year, there have been special meals to celebrate various holidays i.e. Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. The Open Door program has been possible due to the free-will monetary donations from the guests as well as the generosity of the parish.
German Community Celebrations
This past year, the German Community at the parish have gathered for many a festive occasion. The Fall Kirchweihfest, the Christmas Dinner, the annual parish Bazaar, the Lenten Soup Lunch for Sharelife, and finally the Mother’s Day celebration and Dinner.
Annual Parish Bazaar
Each November, the Parish held its annual Bazaar raising money for Redemptorist Missions in Africa. Over 30 volunteers from the Kolping Society and the entire Parish were present to make the day a success – lending a hand, selling raffle tickets, staffing tables and providing a wonderful assortment of baked goods. The combined effort netted over $9000.00 for the Redemptorist Missions in Africa. A special thanks to Maria Luxbacher for all her hard work to make the Bazaar a success. They are always looking for more volunteers to support the cause.
St. Patrick’s Church Dinner and Dance
This year, the community gathered to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a Dinner and Dance. Highlights of this event included: Music Selections by the Irish Choral Society, a Silent and Live Auction, great Music, Children’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, a Dessert Auction and wonderful centerpieces that guests were able to take home.
As an annual event, the parish plans a day at Stratford to see one of the featured performances at the festival. This year, the busload of about 32 people attended Stratford this year to see “A Chorus Line”!
Parish Community Life Ministry
A team of dedicated parish volunteers who assist a number of parish functions providing support to social events in the parish community. Some of these events have included the Funeral Receptions and Special Occasions. They also provided the refreshments for all the workshops, seminars, and lecture series held at the parish this year. These teams do everything from set up to clean up, baking and buying. They are the heart of hospitality of many events hosted at St. Patrick’s.
Harfentöne (German Men’s Choir)
Throughout the year, the Men’s Choir have delighted the ears through song in both liturgical celebrations, socials in the parish and out in the community. The choir has participated through song in the singing at the Triduum Mass for Our Mother of Perpetual Help, sung at the German 10:00 AM Mass for the Kirchweihfest, followed by the Kirchweih Dinner and Fall concert. The Christmas Concert, following the German Community Christmas Dinner in December was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the season. The choir has provided the music for the German Christmas Mass, the memorial mass for deceased members and benefactors and the Mother’s Day Concert. Thank you to Dr. Richard Heinzle, conductor, and Linda Marcinkus, pianist for their direction and support.
Community Choirs hosted at St. Patrick’s Facilities
A number of choirs use St. Patrick’s Church for rehearsals and concerts throughout the year, as St. Patrick’s, through it’s architecture provides wonderful acoustics. These choirs are: “Toronto Chamber Choir”, “Tallis Choir”, and the “Irish Choral Society”. All are welcome to come!
Parish Pastoral Council
The work of the Parish Pastoral Council this year has continued to focus on the pastoral needs of the Parish as we plan our future, while still responding to the pastoral needs for the present. This past year, the council has been made up of 3 members of the Parish Pastoral Team, and 4 members of the parish. In the coming year, the membership of the council will expand to 7 members. We look towards a new year of service and counsel for the parish in collaboration with the Parish Pastoral Staff.
Parish Finance Council
The work of the Parish Finance Council continues to be an oversight committee to the Parish finances and financial operations. Meeting at least 4 times a year, the Council works to forecast expenditures and incomes, while providing leadership and consultation to all business operations, facility management and human resources.
Parish Volunteer Ministry
Parish Volunteer Screening Program
The Parish Volunteer Screening Program or Strengthening the Caring Community is a process designed by the Archdiocese to create and maintain a safe environment. To date we currently have over 450 volunteers in service at St. Patrick’s. Many are considered “low-risk” in the description of their ministry. Those who work with children, vulnerable persons, or who have some responsibility in the ministry that they carry out, are considered, “high-risk”. This ministry is coordinated by our Parish Administrator, Irene Mihaljek, and her Team of dedicated volunteers, conducting interviews and seeking references for volunteer positions at the parish.
Volunteer Ministry Fair
In October 2015, the parish hosted a Volunteer Ministry Fair to showcase and promote the different ministries in the parish so that established and new parishioners can learn about different volunteer opportunities and ways to serve in the parish community.
Volunteer Appreciation BBQ
In June 2015 and again in June 2016, we took the time to honour and celebrate the hard work of the many volunteers who serve the community and show our appreciation for the gifts, time and effort made throughout the year. These gatherings really highlight the joy and generosity of our community to build one another in faith, community and service. This year we welcomed over 200 of our volunteers and families for this festive celebration of our parish community.
Family and Children Ministry
Pray and Play
Weekly gathering of parents and infants and toddlers for some play time, prayer and conversation on Wednesdays following the 9:30 am Novena Mass.
Mom’s Night Out
A group of mothers gathering on a monthly basis to share faith and fellowship using a resource of videos, discussions and treats.
Seasonal Family and Children Faith Formation Events
Our Family and Children Ministry has been very involved in gathering children and their parents for different faith formation activities that have revolved around the liturgical seasons. Several times, Neumann Hall was packed with action, with almost 40-50 children and their families. These parties included: All Saint’s Day, Advent, Mardi Gras, Love this Lent, Palm Sunday, and Pentecost!
Santa Claus Parade After Party
We welcomed about 60 children and their families after the Santa Claus Parade in November 2015. This annual event welcomes parishioners, guests and the general public to some fun, hot chocolate, Advent and Christmas resources as the season comes closer.
Little Miracles Prayer Team
A new ministry for families expecting a child. When the mother is in labour, she contacts our Family and Children coordinator, who activates the Prayer Team members who light a candle and offer a prayer for the family. There is lots of interest in this activity from families and from prayer team members of all ages.
Youth and Young Adult Ministry
Ignite! Young Adult Ministry
Over the past year, we have welcomed 40-50 young adults through the “An Evening on Sin and Redemption AT Sin and Redemption” across the street! Topics have included “”There’s Something about Mary: Super Mom!”, “Stop and Smell the Mistletoe”, “You Say Goodbye, I say Hello!”, and “Let’s Talk about Faith, the Faith, the Faith”. In addition to the Pub Nights, our Young Adult Ministry and Parish Community Life Committee has included a welcome BBQ at the beginning of the School Year for people in the neighbourhood, especially for students. We welcomed 450 people at the front of the Church for a burger and to meet one another. Other events included the Holy Smoke! S’mores and More!, “What does YOUR Church look like”, and the Lenten Evening: “What’s Love got to do with it?”, “99 Problems” Improv day. This ministry is organized and planned by a team of volunteers.
Table for Two – An Evening for Engaged and Married Couples
In its 7th year, “Table for Two” has been an opportunity for engaged and married couples to come and enjoy a romantic dinner for two, focusing their dinner and conversation on one another. This year we hosted 30 couples on a cold winter night. By all accounts, it was a night to remember. Of the 30 couples, 13 couples were new, 4 couples returned for the first time, 12 couples have been back for more than 3 times, while 1 couple has been there all 7 years.
High School Retreat Program
St. Patrick’s has been home for the initiative of High School Retreats begun by the Redemptorist Youth and Vocation Ministry. This program, now part of St. Patrick’s Parish, continues to welcome students from across the GTA for a day long retreat with the theme, “We are called to act with Justice”. The Team, comprised of Sr. Eileen Power CND, and a number of university student volunteers, and adult volunteers have conducted over 20 retreat days per semester, inviting students to come and learn more about the call to follow the Gospel through service and justice in the community and in the world. Overall, we have welcomed over 2000 students to the program over this past academic year.
Young Neighbours in Action
For the past 3 years, St. Patrick’s has hosted approximately 55-60 youth from the United States and St. Patrick’s Parish for Young Neighbours in Action for High School Students (age 15-19). This service immersion experience is a live in program where the participants work in different social service agencies during the day, and reflect on their experience, learn about Catholic Social Teaching, Prayer and Reflection during the evenings. St. Patrick’s has a small but faithful group of youth who participate. The program is well supported through the work of many volunteers. For the summer, 2016, Young Neighbours in Action will not be taking place due to the lack of USA registrations, however, St. Patrick’s will be hosting a home-grown program, “Hands4Christ” for our high school youth and our children in elementary school.
Planning for a new Youth Ministry (grades 7-12)
Plans are in the works to expand our ministry to youth once again. A number of years ago, a group of vibrant youth from our parish were involved in biweekly youth group events. We are planning to revitalize and revision what this program could mean for our parish beginning in the fall! Adults interested in working with the Youth of the Parish should contact Karen at the Parish Office.
Out of the Cold
Over the past 25 years, St. Patrick’s has been home to the Out of the Cold Program on Sunday nights from November to March. This past season, our average number of guests served for dinner was 220. Every Sunday night, we reached our listed capacity of 80 guests. We continue to be signs of welcome and hospitality to the most vulnerable in our society today, through homelessness, persons with physical and emotion challenges. The Leadership of our program is under the direction of a team of dedicated volunteers. We have almost 100 volunteers for just Out of the Cold who volunteer on a biweekly basis to help make our Sunday dinner one of welcome to our guests.
Justice and Service Ministries
Justice and Service Group
Meeting on a monthly basis, this group works to coordinate and support the following initiatives.
During times of provincial and federal election, Catholic Voice, becomes a vehicle for public awareness for candidate and party policies, and opportunity for those policies to be considered and discerned through the lens of Catholic Social Teaching either through the internet or from gatherings like the Catholic Voter Information Session and the “Come and Meet the Candidates for MPP”.
Asha Deep School and Orphanage – India
The fundraising initiatives for Asha Deep were quite successful this past year – Oktoberfest, the Advent Giving Tree totalled over $10,000. With these funds, the school and orphanage were able to continue their project towards the establishment of a Poultry Farm which will provide them with an income as well as fresh eggs and poultry for the school community. Barbara Galbraith continues to visit the school on a regular basis, and will bring English school and children’s books in the summer 2016 as the school establishes an English Medium Program.
The Social Justice and Service group are planning for another mission trip the Fall of 2016.
Development and Peace
Members of the parish have participated in workshops with Development and Peace, and have provided a number of educational materials to share with the parish, focusing on Lenten fundraising activities in conjunction with the Sharelife Campaign, and introducing the sale of fair trade coffee, chocolate and other goods. Through the work of Development and Peace, St. Patrick’s continues to link and monitor issues effecting the environment, agriculture, and economic injustice in Canada and the world.
Refugee Resettlement Committee
The Justice and Service Committee has expanded its outreach to Refugees through ORAT (Office of Refugees, Archdiocese of Toronto) to support the sponsorship of families and individuals who are current refugees in Syria and from Thailand. This energetic group of volunteers have continued to provide time and energy to complete paperwork and requirements for having St. Patrick’s Church and Community welcome refugees through sponsorship and resettlement. Much time and energy has gone out through the volunteers involved, but especially from Matthew Marquardt who has tireless worked to help inspire and support the work of this committee. As a parish, we continue to support their work and efforts as we wait to welcome our resettlement families to Toronto.
Everyone Loves Statistics!
Registered Persons and Families 4900
Average Attendance on Sundays 1500
Average Attendance on Wednesdays 2000
Sunday Envelope Users 424
Wednesday Envelope Users 300
Parish Pastoral Staff
Fr. Santo Arrigo C.Ss.R. Pastor
Fr. Tomy Kizhakkethundathil C.Ss.R. Associate Pastor
Irene Mihaljek Parish Administrator
Maria Luxbacher German Community Liaison
Loretta Conte Parish Secretary
John Pavao Caretaker / Maintenance
Nelson Franco Caretaker / Maintenance
Karen Keays Family and Children Coordinator
Alfredo Gomez Business Office
Daisy Wasay Sacristan / Office Support
Paolo Almonte Caretaker
Parish Pastoral Council
Fr. Santo Arrigo C.Ss.R. – Pastor
Fr. Tomy Kizhakkethundathil C.Ss.R. – Associate Pastor
Irene Mihaljek – Secretary (Parish Administrator)
Parish Finance Committee
Julie Liu – Chairperson
Fr. Santo Arrigo C.Ss.R. – Pastor