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!

We Need a Retreat

We Need a Retreat

I am sitting out at Mount St. Francis in Cochrane at a weekend silent retreat.

This was much needed after the kids and grandkids came home for Christmas – Christmas dinner was 23 people and Boxing Day was 40. I’m reading about my favourite saint, St. Joseph, and enjoying the quiet and slow pace. The retreat is focused on the mercy of God, which I have been reflecting on a lot recently.

Many of you know I work as a police officer with youth at risk and have been doing this work for almost eight years. In mid-November, one of the young men I work with was murdered by three other young men that I knew along the way. The young man I was working with was not the intended target but was gone just the same. I tried to comfort myself and my co-workers that God was merciful and I prayed that he was calling out to God in his last moments. I was visiting his mother a few days later when CTV stopped by to do an interview. What his mother said floored me as she forgave the three young men who killed her son. She said Canada is a new beginning from her homeland in Sudan and they don’t want the violence here as it is a peaceful country.

What a testimony to mercy – something we all struggle with.

Three weeks after this murder, another of the young men I work with was murdered. He had been sitting in my office just days before. He too was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was very much a bright light wherever he went. He had worked off several community hours both at my parish and at our annual God Squad conference last year. He was Muslim but very open to discussing faith. At a marriage renewal conference and again at our conference, I suggested he stay downstairs working during Mass, only to turn around and see him at the back of the church. It hit very hard when I got the news that he was dead as I was walking into my son’s play at St. Francis High School.

God was merciful to me as I watched all these young people singing and dancing the play of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. God did not allow me to fall into despair by watching these joy-filled young people entertaining us. Once again I was praying that God have mercy on his soul as I went through the next few days.

This brings me back to sitting at Mount St. Francis on retreat trying to make sense of God’s will in my life with all that has transpired. During this time, they were offering the sacrament of reconciliation and my thought process was I had gone just over a month ago and we have two dynamic priests at our parish, I will wait to go see them. Then I got thinking about St John Paul II who frequented the Sacrament of Confession on a weekly basis and had said: “”We live in a society that seems to have lost the sense of God and of sin. Christ’s invitation to conversion is all the more urgent.”

I was also reflecting on what I was reading on how St. Joseph was the reflection of God The Father to Jesus as a youth and how much I had failed to do this in my own life. Here I was sitting across the hallway from Christ in the person of a priest who was offering me mercy and I was thinking I’ll go later. I immediately got up and crossed the hall and availed myself of the mercy of Christ in confession. It does not matter how dynamic, young or old, race or culture the priest is in the confessional, for he is there in persona Christi – in the person of Christ.

This helps me pray with a clear heart for the souls of the two young men that God have mercy on them and allow them to enter into his rest. St. Augustine said: “It is thanks to the medicine of confession that the experience of sin does not degenerate into despair.”

Join us at our conference March 17-18 at St. Mary’s Cathedral where every year we are blessed to have a number of priests join us to offer the sacrament of reconciliation.

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.