Etobicoke: Salesian Joy Radiates St. Benedict's Parish

Etobicoke New Cooperators
Etobicoke Visitation
The empty crib was filled with prayer intentions
by those who came to adore.
Photo by Elijah Pace

(Etobicoke, ON – December 16-20) – On Friday, December 10, St. Benedict’s Parish had its last Visitation of the year with an Advent/Christmas theme and a witness talk offered by Sr. Joyce Bermejo. Having been a parish tradition since 2012, the Visitation combines adoration, praise, and worship, which is then followed by a moment of food and fellowship at "Mama's House" (a name which gives a nod to Mama Margaret who showed hospitality to so many of Don Bosco’s young people). Over the past nine years, the Visitation has truly become a graced moment for families and individuals to encounter our Lord. 

Unfortunately, the pandemic forced the parish to cease having these monthly encounters for much of the year. When it did become possible to resume this apostolate, “Mama’s House” was not possible due to on-going restrictions regarding indoor gatherings. Faced with such a challenge, the St. Benedict’s Young Core Team, which animates the Visitation, devised an alternative “Mama’s House," which saw the Church parking lot outfitted with fire pits to warm up the brisk evening. The traditional smorgasbord of food normally set up in the church hall was replaced by s'mores, hot dogs, and hot chocolate. The Lord was certainly present and the fellowship was much appreciated by all.

Additionally, Salesian joy truly rained on Gaudete Sunday weekend. On Sunday, December 12, which was also the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Deborah and Derrick Da Costa made their Promise as new Salesian Cooperators at St. Benedict Parish’s 12:45 pm ET Mass. The celebrant was the Director of the Salesian Community, Fr. John Louis Mariapragasam, SDB. FMA Delegate Sr. Alphonsine Roy was also present, having travelled from Montreal.

Knights at St. Benedict's December 2021
Photo by Rosina Di Felice

The gathering also served as the first time the Etobicoke Community gathered in person at the Mary Help of Christians Center since before the pandemic. Attendees were delighted to welcome and bear witness to new Cooperators into the Salesian Family and be with one another.

Last, the Knights of Columbus local council organized a successful almsgiving initiative this Advent that cultivated Christmas joy and brought the light of Christ to those less fortunate. Over the course of two weeks, they sold panettone to parishioners after all weekend Masses, resulting in proceeds of $1,300 to the Society of St. Vincent De Paul. The local charity is a lay Catholic organization whose mission is to live the Gospel message by serving Christ through the poor with love, respect, justice and joy. Ninety-seven percent of all donations made to them are used in mission of direct service to persons in need of all faiths and creeds. 

December 20, 2021 - 2:50pm
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