We’re on a Mission for God!

We’re on a Mission for God!

We’re on a Mission for God!

 

As a very young man, one my favorite movies was “The Blues Brothers” in which they had the famous line “We’re on a mission for God’. There was nothing that was going to stop them from completing their mission. I am getting excited about leaving in a few days to go on our 3rd annual ride with our good friend Jeff Cavins. As I begin to pack, one the items that I wear when i ride is my God Squad vest. As of January this year the vest became a 3rd class relic when it touched the hand of St Francis Xavier. My hope is that some of the zeal that St Francis X had for sharing his faith will be instilled in myself and the group as we travel to our stops this year. We pray that Jeff will be inspired to share a message of encouragement to those who attend the talks along the way.

 

With recent allegations against high ranking church officials we need to work harder to be the reflection of Christ within the world. I was a young police officer and I remember all too well trying to arrest a black youth who had assaulted a police officer. We were on the ground fighting with 70 other young people encircling us yelling, “This isn’t LA!”. They were referring to the recent headlines about Rodney King being beaten by a few officers. I was a young police officer in Calgary and had nothing to do what had happened in LA, yet many were trying to suggest that I was because I wore a uniform. In the same way, as Catholics, many will label the Church with the sins of a very few; all the more reason we need to be on fire for our Church and show the love of Christ to all who we meet. (1 Peter 14-16) But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear,[a] and do not be intimidated, 15 but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; 16 yet do it with gentleness and reverence.[b] Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. An example of this is when I saw one of the young men I had worked with walking on the street and I offered him a ride, which he gladly accepted. In the past we had had many discussions on the Black Lives Matter movement and police relations. He very much enjoyed these conversions. On this day he jumped in the back and with a laugh and said, “Ain’t karma a bitch”. He was referring to the very recent killing of 5 Dallas police officers, indicating that they got what they deserved. A normal reaction would be to get upset and kick him out of the car and write him off. I was given the graces to stay cool and the wisdom to put it into perspective for him. I simply asked him “What if one of those 5 was me?”, to which he went silent for a moment and replied “I would have to take that bastard out”. We had built a relationship that had transgressed the problems that the world says a white police officer and a young black man should have.

 

We are all called to be on a mission for God and we need to recognize the things in our life that impede us from completing ours. Our missions can be very small, such as washing the dishes for our family. My mission for the 10 days is to fly the God Squad colors over 6100+ kms and be the best disciple of Christ I can.
 
Sean Lynn
 
P.S please join us as we pray the Novena to St. Joseph starting on Aug 6th . I am also looking for some young men to interview for an upcoming project that I believe the God Squad has been called to take on. Email info@godsquad.ca for more information or to volunteer to participate in this project.

Humility

Humility

I am sure all of you have heard we are getting a new Bishop!  

 

I wanted to attend the installation Mass for Bishop McGrattan on February 27 so I sent an email to the Diocese to see if I could get tickets without reading all the information about this. The reply asked if I had an invitation as I wasn’t on any list.  I did not have an invitation and was told that I could try to register online the following week.

 

This all occurred late one night and for a moment I caught myself questioning why I was not invited? I thought I had done a lot of volunteering for the Church. Then I realized that I was not following in the footsteps of St Joseph as a humble man of God. I wondered how many others have served the Church at much greater levels and for much longer. I reflected on the virtue of humility as lived by St. Joseph.  

 

I realized that it came down to wanting to be noticed or recognized for contributions to the Church. I think many of us struggle with this issue of wanting to be recognized by awards and promotions. And pride takes hold of your accomplishments rather than allowing your gifts and talents to shine forth for the God’s glory. C.S. Lewis wrote: “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” (Mere Christianity)

 

Here is a reflection one should ponder from the Catechism, paragraph 2713: “Contemplative prayer is the simplest expression of the mystery of prayer. It is a gift, a grace; it can be accepted only in humility and poverty. Contemplative prayer is a covenant relationship established by God within our hearts.”

 

Contemplative prayer is a communion in which the Holy Trinity conforms man, the image of God, "to his likeness."

 

When I read that I see St Joseph!  It is hard to honour St Joseph without talking about his humility. He does not say one word that is recorded in Scripture. There is not a shrine or spot to commemorate his death and his burial. There was little mention of him by the early Church and if you look at Rome,  the centre of Christendom which has 66 Basilicas, St. Joseph was not honoured with one until 1970.

 

He was the closest man to Christ on earth, a reflection of God The Father for Jesus. Yet he was left in obscurity for centuries. Made patron of the universal church in 1870, he is also patron of Canada.

 

The God Squad has always looked to St. Joseph for intercession for the conferences and he has never failed us with his patronage. At our conference, men are challenged to be men of service to their families and society. Over the last 19 years,  I know many have taken up the challenge to be better husbands and fathers.

 

I am sure many of you have not been recognized by society for your work and sacrifice. Your father in heaven does see what you are doing as does your family.  Steve Wood has said many times the goal of having men attend these conferences is that it will make a difference in your grandchildren because of the legacy you have left.  There is no better recognition than hearing the words “well done my good and faithful servant.”

 

Join us to honour St. Joseph on March 17-18 at St. Mary’s Cathedral for our 20th annual God Squad men’s conference.


“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.”
–Saint Augustine

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

It is with a heavy heart that I am writing this letter. We are busy preparing for the 20th annual God Squad conference and just had a meeting to make sure all was on track. One of my tasks was to contact Bishop Fred Henry only to hear the news on the way into work that he had resigned. The media had a field day describing him and his actions over the years with words that did not fit who he is and what he has done for the Calgary diocese.

 
I was reflecting on what a great leader Bishop Henry was for Calgarians and the Catholic community at large. He truly was a shepherd and a father to us. What the media had maligned him for was what I loved him for. They just didn’t understand what he was doing. He was protecting us with warnings that if we take a certain path we are putting ourselves at risk. He was a warning sign of hazard ahead like a police officer giving out ticket for speeding to reduce traffic accidents and deaths. You don’t like the officer but he may have prevented an accident, and all the other cars driving by get the message to slow down.
 
Bishop Henry was a friend to the God Squad right from the beginning. He was installed on March 19, 1998 (the feast of St. Joseph) and opened our first conference with a blessing the next day, eventhough he had family waiting in the car to go out for dinner. Over the years, he celebrated Masses and gave talks and wrote letters of support for our conferences.
 
I remember after one conference having dinner with two of our keynote speakers discussing Bishop Henry and both were amazed how he had all these men enthralled telling a story about a toad. He truly is a gifted communicator. As I reflect on St. Joseph, I cannot help but notice the correlation between him and Bishop Henry. St. Joseph, too, protected his family – day in and day out without thought for himself. I could go on and on listing all the great things Bishop Henry did for Calgary. I believe like St. Joseph he did the will of the Lord in humility and grace.
 
This year’s theme for our annual conference is simply celebrating our 20th annual conference under the patronage of St Joseph. It will take place March 17-18 at St. Mary’s Cathedral with keynote speakers Steve Wood (founder of St. Joseph’s Covenant Keepers) and Damon Owens (Joy To Be and former executive director of TOB institute). The youth talk will be given by Jon Courchene and music by Revra.
 
Please help us celebrate this milestone by sharing your past stories of how the conference has made a difference in your life and bringing someone new with you this year. (Email stories or pictures of past conferences to godsquadbbq@gmail.com)
 
May God bless you and your families!

2017 Annual Men’s Conference

2017 Annual Men’s Conference

 

Our annual Men’s Conference this year is March 17-18th

Conference Schedule

 

An invite from God Squad's Chaplain, Fr. Jonathan Gibson

 

 

Featured Speakers at this year’s conference:

Steve Wood

Steve Wood has led youth, campus, and pro-life ministries. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, he served as an Evangelical pastor for a decade before his entire family converted to Catholicism in 1990. Responding to a challenge from Pope John Paul II to strengthen families, he started the Family Life Center International in 1992. Over the past fifteen years, the Family Life Center has networked with thousands of families in over 68 countries.Steve is also the founder of St. Joseph’s Covenant Keepers, a movement that seeks to transform society through the transformation of fathers and families. Utilizing his books Christian Fatherhood & Legacy, CDs, television, radio, and conferences, Steve has reached tens of thousands of men in the USA, Canada and overseas with a message of Christian faith and responsibility. He is the host of the live Faith and Family broadcasts on EWTN worldwide radio, as well as the host of The Carpenter Shop, a show for men on EWTN television.Steve has also written two books: The ABCs of Choosing a Good Husband and The ABCs of Choosing a Good Wife to assist young adults in choosing a lifetime partner and preparing for marriage.Steve and Karen Wood have been married twenty-nine years and are the parents of eight children.

Damon Owens, international speaker and evangelist, is the founder and executive director of Joy To Be (joyTOB.org) a new 501(c)(3) non-profit ministry of Stewardship: A Mission of Faith centered on St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. Following four-years as the first executive director of the Theology of the Body Institute, he served as Chairman of the 2016 International Theology of the Body Congress. He previously founded Joy-Filled Marriage New Jersey, and New Jersey Natural Family Planning Association, non-profit organizations dedicated to building a marriage culture through training, seminars, and conferences. Damon and his wife Melanie taught Natural Family Planning (NFP) for 14 years, and served as NFP Coordinators for the Archdiocese of Newark (NJ).
A Certified Speaker for the Theology of the Body Institute, National Trainer for Ascension Press, and presenter at the 2015 World Meeting of Families, Damon keeps a full international speaking schedule at conferences, marriage seminars, universities, high schools, seminaries, and parishes on the good news of marriage, sexuality, Theology of the Body, Theology of the Family, adoption, and NFP. Damon currently lives outside Philadelphia with his wife Melanie and their eight children.

 

Jon Courchene

Jon Courchene is originally from Lanigan, Saskatchewan. After graduation Jon spent four years doing various types of youth ministry, including two years as a Deanery Youth Ministries Coordinator in the Diocese of Prince Albert. With a renewed desire for retreat ministry, Jon joined FacetoFace Ministries in 2007. After completing a Bachelors degree in Social Work, Jon began working full time with FacetoFace. He is now the Executive Director and co-leads the FacetoFace School Retreats.

 

March 17th and 18th, 2017 at St. Mary's Cathedral, Calgary, AB.

Doors open at 6pm on Friday, 7:30am on Saturday.

Special Student rates. Priests and Deacon’s may attend at no cost!

Financial assistance is available – please contact us

 

Men’s Ride of Mercy with Jeff Cavins

Men’s Ride of Mercy with Jeff Cavins

img_2367The first Men’s Ride of Mercy was so successful last summer that organizers are already planning a bigger event for next year. Combining barbecues and motorcycles, after all, is an easy way to get men’s attention.
Sean Lynn, founder and president of God Squad Canada, which held its first annual Men’s Conference March 1998 in Calgary, said the idea’s genesis came after Pope Francis had declared a Year of Mercy and his hope that people would go out into the community and evangelize.
“So I thought it was an appropriate name,” said Lynn, explaining that the idea came about on a tour of Israel with international author and speaker Jeff Cavins. Both are avid bikers. They talked about their love of motorcycles and
voila the idea for the ride was born.img_20160807_122559083
img_20160807_121905001“We wanted to see if this was something that would get men’s attention or something they would like to do in fellowship with Catholics – to spread the good news. We had the barbecue trailer. We had Jeff’s theme. I was praying the novena at all the stops in honour of St. Joseph just to share some of the richness of our faith.”dsc01147
The ride took place August 7 to 15th and covered eight locations and about 5,000 kilometres through Saskatchewan, Alberta, Montana and South Dakota. They stopped and spoke at churches on their journey.
img_2381They were joined by several men for different legs of the journey with 10+ riding one day.

Divine Mercy Novena

Divine Mercy Novena
dmj
Please join the God Squad in praying this Novena that begins on Good Friday and ends on the Sunday immediately following Easter.
Jesus asked that the Feast of the Divine Mercy be preceded by a Novena to the Divine Mercy which would begin on Good Friday. He gave St. Faustina an intention to pray for on each day of the Novena, saving for the last day the most difficult intention of all, the lukewarm and indifferent of whom He said:

 

“These souls cause Me more suffering than any others; it was from such souls that My soul felt the most revulsion in the Garden of Olives. It was on their account that I said: ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass Me by.’ The last hope of salvation for them is to flee to My Mercy.”

In her diary, St. Faustina wrote that Jesus told her:

“On each day of the novena you will bring to My heart a different group of souls and you will immerse them in this ocean of My mercy … On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My passion, for the graces for these souls.”

Day 1  | Day 2  |  Day 3  |  Day 4  |  Day 5  |  Day 6  |  Day 7  |  Day 8  |  Day 9

Feast of Divine Mercy

 
 

Check Out Fr. Jerome’s video on Divine Mercy

The Marks of a Man of God’s Mercy

The Marks of a Man of God’s Mercy

popeFrancis
Never have there been so many children growing up without fathers. This massive cultural experiment is being played out in real time and with many unintended, and likely catastrophic, consequences.

 
But for every poison, there is an antidote. Pope Francis highlights a remedy for us. That spiritual medicine is, of course, the mercy of God, which comes to us most fully in the very person of Jesus Christ. As God Squad prepares its 19th annual men’s conference, this year at St Bonaventure Parish in SE Calgary, on March 4 and 5, our theme is Men of God’s Mercy.

 
Is it over dramatic to say that our image of masculinity is broken? Archbishop Thomas Olmsted, of Phoenix, has produced a video which declares that there is a huge problem in the way men today live out their manhood. The film, A Call To Battle, begins by saying that the average boy today will spend more time watching television before he is six years old than he will spend talking to his father over his entire earthly life.

 
Whether single or celibate or married, a man sets a fatherly example of protecting life. From the cross, Christ shows us God’s love and mercy. He shows us how to die to ourselves so that others can have life. But, what would that look like in us? Here are some visible ‘marks’ of a Man of God’s Mercy to consider.

 

 

Such a man:

 

 

  1. Recognizes that any authority he has over people in his family, workplace or community, comes from God.
  2. Knows that every member of his family, created in God’s image, has an eternal destiny for which he is at least partly accountable.
  3. Understands that a man’s purpose is not fulfilled in success but in service.
  4. Has the humility to put down the stone in his hand when he realizes he is wrong to be angry.
  5. Whatever he is addicted to (alcohol, porn, work success, etc), he will get on his knees and place his weakness before the God of Mercy.

 

This year’s speakers include Tom Peterson, founder of CatholicsComeHome.org, who was a 25 year award-winning corporate advertising executive whose life radically changed after a Catholic men’s retreat.

 
We also have Ben Akers, Professor of Theology at the Augustine Institute in Denver, with a fantastic background in promoting learning of the Catholic faith. Local presenters include Fr Myles Gaffney, Calgary Diocesan Vocations Director and God Squad Chaplain. You will be amazed at what you learn from him about God’s mercy.

 

Joe Zambone, musician and presenter, will lead our youth talks for those 14 and over.
Deacon Stephen Robinson

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

stained-glass-646928_960_720
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! (I’m a little late) It is hard to believe that it has been nine months since our last conference. It has been an extremely busy year with barbeque outreach doing more events than we’ve ever done before. We have barbequed for the youth in jail, high school retreats, pancake breakfasts at churches and the for the police service. 2016 does not appear to be slowing with 2 events booked for January. I will be calling on some of you to help this year as I would like to see 2 full teams to meet the demand for these catering events that continues to grow.

 

 

We have just entered into the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy called by Pope Francis. He gave us a pathway leading into Christmas to be God’s Men of Mercy for 2016, which is why we are going to use that as our theme for this year’s conference. The conference will be held at St. Bonaventure Church on March 4th & 5th, 2016. We are blessed to have Tom Peterson from Catholics Come Home and Ben Akers from the St. Augustine institute as our keynote speakers this year. Fr. Myles Gaffney, our spiritual director, will also share with us what it means to be a man in this year of mercy. Music and a youth talk will be delivered by Joe Zambon, a Canadian recording artist. These talks will help us grow as men of God in the world for our families, for our faith, and for our community. Please register early at our website www.godsquad.ca where you will have the option to order a God Squad belt buckle as well. They will only be available as a pre-ordered item until Feb 25th, 2016.

 

 

In 2016, as stated, our hopes are to get a second barbecue team set up, which I need your help to make happen. It’s not much of a commitment. If we could create a pool of men who will be trained on pulling the trailer and setting up to cook for the events, that would be extremely helpful.

 

 

Another exciting endeavor this year will be attempting a men’s motorcycle ride with our good friend Jeff Cavins. We will be starting at a point in southern Saskatchewan, making our way up to mile zero of the Alaska Highway. The current plan is that we will be returning south through Jasper, Lake Louise, and Banff down through Waterton to Whitefish and then over to Yellowstone. I invite as many men as are able to join us for the whole trip or on specific legs. We are still working out exact details and costs. The hope is to have the barbecue trailer join us on this trip so that we can stop at parishes along the way and spread the gospel message of being men of faith.

 

 

In closing, the God Squad would like to thank you for your continued support of our ministry. We ask that you continue to pray for us as we work to call men to lead their families growing in holiness.

 

 

Keeping The Faith
Sean Lynn

Keep Holy The Sabbath

Keep Holy The Sabbath
Blessed are the Clean of Heart

Picture from the Mt of The Beatitudes that seemed to fit with our conference theme

Many of you know that I was part of a group going to Israel with Jeff Cavins. Jeff has spoken at many God Squad events over the years, always able to capture the men’s attention and imagination. It was incredible to be in Israel with him and his wife Emily. I have led many of the Great Adventure Bible Studies over the years, in which Jeff made the bible come alive. Here I was in Israel visiting many of the sites he had spoken of.

sabbath4

We were 180 strong leaving Tel Aviv for our first stop at Caesarea Maritima a great port built by King Herod. We spent 3 nights in the north on the sea of Galilee visiting a large number of the sites where Jesus walked and taught. We learned of the culture and cities that we travelled, Muslim and Jewish towns side by side. We heard the call to prayer throughout the country and witnessed the Jewish people celebrating the Sabbath. These things were most evident during our time in Jerusalem. In the Orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods barriers go up to stop people from going into the area or insiders from leaving. Their national airline does not fly on the Sabbath. The government apparently fell after two pilots flew new fighter jets from the US on the Sabbath, as it was unnecessary work!  They take this faith thing seriously!

sabbath2We visited the Mt. of Olives and Bethlehem, The Garden of Gethsemane, The Upper Room and the spot where Peter denied Jesus. The whole time we were receiving great teachings from Jeff and attending the Holy Mass daily. It was slowly soaking into my soul that I need to be a stronger father when it came to setting an example of taking a day of rest to spend time with my children. Where it really took hold was completing the Via Dolorosa at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre standing at the tomb of Jesus. I touched the rock he was crucified on, I kissed the stone where his body was wrapped and I entered the tomb where he was placed.

sabbath1Jeff reminded us several times about God speaking in a still small voice. The Lord was telling me to set aside a day to spend with my family to enjoy the blessings I have received.

I pray that I am able to put into action what I learned on this pilgrimage in the days and weeks to come – to keep the commandment “keep Holy The Lord’s Day”.

sabbath3There is so much more to write about this trip that I hope to unpack in the days and weeks to come. I pray that I can share them in a coherent manner with you. I continue onto Rome now to complete our pilgrimage where I will pray for God Squad Canada and the up-coming conference.

Shabbat Shalom!

Sean Lynn

 

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God”

HOLY OF HOLIES

HOLY OF HOLIES

ChurchI was praying at the Adoration chapel within St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, taking in the wonder of being present there. I was trying to make sense of all I have seen and learned in the last 2 weeks in Israel. It has been rather overwhelming. We traveled up and down the country of Israel walking where Jesus and the generations before him walked.

We made our way to Jerusalem where every Jew would go to the temple to present a sacrifice. The temple housed the Holy of Holies (the Ark of The Covenant), where the High Priest could only enter once a year. He would have to purify himself to enter the Holy of Holies for fear of death upon entering without doing so.

WesternWallHere we were visiting almost 2000 years after the temple was destroyed and the Ark was taken out a century before that. You can go today and see people praying at the wall that is as close as a Jew can get to where the Holy of Holies was. If you follow the tunnel system you will find women praying in a spot that is considered the closest a Jew can get to where the Holy of Holies was (Muslims control the Temple Mount).

There are thousands of prayers daily with many written and inserted into cracks on the wall. These prayers are collected up and buried in the Jewish cemetery as a communication between you and God.

Jesus changed all this with his becoming man and dying for us. He has made it possible for anyone to approach him in the tabernacles of the world. From the grand Basilicas to the small simple chapels we can approach God, He is truly present. We can receive Him body, blood, soul and divinity at Mass. Looking at the Western Wall, my wife Michele commented “its just a rock”. We have Jesus!.

In closing you don’t need to travel the world to find God. He is at your local parish waiting for you. You can enter the Holy of Holies without the fear of death. You can go and be with God!

Keeping The Faith

Sean Lynn