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Pastoral Letter on the Feast of St. John Paul II

October 22, 2022 (Feast of St. John Paul II)

My Dear People,

On the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, through the story of the 10 lepers, we were reminded about the need to give God praise and thanks in prayer. On the 29th Sunday, in the parable of the widow, we were reminded to pray continually to God and never lose heart. On the 30th Sunday, in a parable unique to Luke’s gospel, we were presented with the foundation for all prayer – humility. Humility is derived from the Latin root humus meaning ground or earth. Humility is about being down to earth. It concerns seeing ourselves for who we really are, with all our faults and shortcomings along with all our God given gifts and talents. On the 31st Sunday, in another story unique to Luke’s gospel, we are presented with another tax collector. The story of Zacchaeus is really the whole story of the gospel in brief of how Jesus came to seek and save sinners, people like Zacchaeus, people like us. This story is a sign of hope to anyone who feels trapped by the sinfulness of their life.

60th Anniversary

October 11 marked the 60th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council in 1962.

Synod Extended to 2024

Pope Francis announced on October 16 that the Synod on Synodality will be extended to 2024. He said, “The fruits of the synodal process under way are many, but so that they might come to full maturity, it is necessary not to be in a rush. …  I trust that this decision will promote the understanding of synodality as a constitutive dimension of the Church and help everyone to live it as the journey of brothers and sisters who proclaim the joy of the Gospel.”  It has been noted by Sister Nathalie Becquart, Undersecretary of the General Secretariat of the Synod, that “all the Bishops’ Conferences and almost all dioceses have really been on board.”


Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal

As Vicar of the Founder, I want to inform you that Dr. Andy Hakin, the President / Vice Chancellor of St. Francis Xavier University has been awarded the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal for his exceptional service to the Province of Nova Scotia in the field of education.



A Pastoral Letter to Young People

This Pastoral Letter was issued by the Most Rev. Raymond Poisson, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) on October 12 in honour of the anniversary of the death of Blessed Carlo Acutis, the first beatified millennial. This 15-minute video highlights the Pastoral Letter and invitations for reflection and further conversations.


Pastoral Letter to Young People

Lettre pastorale aux jeunes

Ukrainian Rite Catholic Bishops of Canada

The CCCB General Secretariat has received from the Ukrainian Rite Catholic Bishops of Canada the attached pastoral letter, translated into three languages. This letter, addressed to the people of Canada, was published on October 17. It is an invitation to a response of faith to the war currently taking place in Ukraine. You can read the letters on our website.


Mass For Shut-Ins Starts its 60th season 
Beginning October 16, Mass for Shut-Ins is aired Sundays 11:30 am on CTV or can be viewed on demand on our Diocese of Antigonish YouTube channel.


Development and Peace-Caritas Canada 55th Anniversary

This October marks the 55th anniversary of Development and Peace – Caritas Canada. It means that we have been fighting to give a voice to our marginalized sisters and brothers in the Global South since 1967. But none of this work would have been possible without your support.



New Bishop of Nicolet

On October 18, the Apostolic Nunciature to Canada announced that Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of the Most Reverend André Gazaille, as Bishop of the Diocese of Nicolet (Québec) and has appointed the Most Reverend Daniel Jodoin, currently Bishop of Bathurst, as the new Bishop of Nicolet.


Book Launch

On October 23, Dr. Peter Ludlow launched his much-anticipated new book, “Disciples of Antigonish: Catholics in Nova Scotia, 1880-1960.” Published by McGill-Queens University Press, Dr. Ludlow’s book carries on the excellent tradition of scholarship on the history of the Catholic Church in Eastern Nova Scotia that was the life’s work of Fr. A.A. Johnston.


On October 15, Rev. Richard Philiposki, S.Chr. (Society of Christ), from Diocese of Las Vegas was appointed Pastor of St. Mary Polish Parish in Whitney Pier.  Father Evo DiPierro will serve as Administrator of the St. Mary Polish Parish, Whitney Pier in the absence of the Pastor.

Congratulations to our seminarian, Mr. David Rankin, who will be installed in the Ministry of Lector on November 6 at St. Augustine’s Seminary.


November 2 – the Feast of All Souls

From the Vatican website, we learn about the Feast of All Souls. Back in the second century, evidence exists already existed that Christians prayed for and celebrated the Eucharist for their beloved dead. In the beginning, they would pray on the third day after burial, then on the anniversary. Later, the 7th and 30th day after death became days on which it became customary to pray for the deceased. Remembering the dead on the 2 November became official in the year 998 when Abbot Odilo of Cluny (994-1048) made it obligatory in all the monasteries subject to him. In 1915, Pope Benedict XV granted permission to priests to celebrate several Masses on this day. The liturgy proposes various Masses on this day, all of which are geared toward highlighting the Paschal Mystery, Jesus’ victory over sin and death.


The offering of Masses for the repose of the soul of the faithful departed is linked with our belief in Purgatory. We believe that if a person has died fundamentally believing in God but with venial sins and the hurt caused by sin, then God in His divine love and mercy will first purify the soul. After this purification has been completed, the soul will have the holiness and purity needed to share in the beatific vision in heaven. Just as we now pray for each other, share each other’s burdens, and help each other on the path of salvation, the faithful on earth can offer prayers and sacrifices to help the departed souls undergoing purification, and no better prayer could be offered than that of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

The Holy Mass transcends time and space, uniting the faithful in heaven, on earth, and in purgatory into a Holy Communion, and the Holy Eucharist Itself augments our union with Christ, wipes away venial sins, and preserves us from future mortal sins (cf. Catechism, #1391-1396). Therefore, the offering of the Mass and other prayers or sacrifices for the intentions of the faithful departed are good and holy acts.

In the early history of the Church, we also see evidence of prayers for the dead. Inscriptions uncovered on tombs in the Roman catacombs of the second century evidence this practice. The testimony of the Church Fathers beautifully supports this belief:  St. Cyril of Jerusalem (d. 386), in one of his many catechetical discourses, explained how at Mass both the living and dead are remembered, and how the Eucharistic Sacrifice of our Lord is of benefit to sinners, living and dead. St. Ambrose (d. 397) preached, “We have loved them during life; let us not abandon them in death, until we have conducted them by our prayers into the house of the Lord.”  St. John Chrysostom (d. 407) stated, “Let us help and commemorate them … Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them.”   This why we offer Holy Mass for our deceased loved ones.


Fraternally in Christ,

+ Wayne Kirkpatrick

Bishop Wayne Joseph Kirkpatrick

Communications Officer, Diocese of Antigonish