Man Up-date Divine Mercy

Man Up-date Divine Mercy

Divine Mercy

April 2021 Man Up-date

God Squad’s own Deacon Stephen Robinson talks to us about Divine Mercy; what it is and in so doing, gives us a glance into the infinite depth of God’s Love.

 

Now is the time of Mercy.  Now it is needed more than ever.

 

Deacon offers us the antidote this world so desperately needs.

Month of St. Joseph

Month of St. Joseph

Month of St. Joseph In the Year of St. Joseph

by Sean Lynn

Thank you!

I want to sincerely thank everyone for attending our virtual conference on March 19th & 20th. I hope and pray that you were able to get as much out of it as I did! I would encourage you to share it with a friend or someone that needs to hear the message.  


Here is the link to access the conference talks for free:

https://godsquad.ca/2021-conference.

Appeal

That being said, we did incur expenses to be able to offer the conference; including stipends for our host, Father Cristino, and speakers that presented to us from St Joseph Oratory and British Columbia.  

A number of you have already made donations to help. May God bless you richly in our humble attempt to express our gratitude. 

We humbly ask you who can to prayerfully consider making a donation to help us with our mission. Please visit

https://godsquad.ca/donate

to donate online.

 

On the donation tab you can designate your donation to several of our endeavours such as:

  • Conference expenses
  • BBQ Outreach
  • Motorcycle Evangelization
  • “A Dram With Friends” podcast, or
  • St. Joseph Litany Project. 

Or make a donation directly with an e transfer to

donations@godsquad.ca

(please send a separate email to the same address with information for a tax receipt). 

St. Joseph Litany Project Update

In other news we had a very successful fundraiser in January, A Dram For St Joseph!

We are 2/3 of the way to our goal of $35,000.00 for our St Joseph Litany Project.

A big thanks

to all of you who attended and to our sponsors for such a fun evening. We raised over $6,500.00 in the silent auction and thanks to many of you, we were able to sponsor 52 Bishops, priests and deacons.

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Mt 25:40

 We will see what God inspires us to do this summer when we can hopefully come together in person.

Invitation to Divine Mercy

We are entering Holy Week and preparing for the Easter Triduum, looking forward to celebrating the joy of the resurrection!


One of the traditional devotions that we do and encourage others to do is the Divine Mercy Novena. It starts on Good Friday and finishes on Divine Mercy Sunday (The Second Sunday of Easter, the first Sunday after Easter).


God Squad Canada has made it so that you can join us in this novena by going to https://godsquad.ca/divine-mercy-novena and find the daily meditation there for you to read or listen to, as well as the chaplet of Divine 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.”

“Oh, what great graces I will grant to souls who say this Chaplet. Write down these words, my daughter. Speak to the world about My mercy; let all mankind recognise my unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of my mercy; let them profit from the blood and water which gushed forth for them.”    (Diary, 848)

Mille grazie Spolumbo’s

Mille grazie Spolumbo’s

Spolumbo’s Fine Foods & Deli has been a landmark business in Calgary since 1992 when some football friends came together to create a 10 seat deli in Inglewood using tried and true traditional recipes passed down from their families.

spolumbos

Today, Spolumbos is an icon recognized by anyone who lives in or has visited Calgary because it is a dining experience everyone should partake of.  Within the first few years of God Squad being founded, Spolumbos generously donated the food for the conferences for upwards of 500 men, which is no small feat! Since then, Spolumbos has sponsored the conference every year with their generous donations since 2003. 

God Squad would like to recognize and thank them for their selfless service to the organization and the men who have benefited.

We thank them for their undying support and encourage people to participate in our efforts in supporting them at every occasion possible.

Be Not Afraid

Be Not Afraid

I was talking with my loving Wife Michele the other morning about our son Patrick introducing his friends to our low carb, high fat diet that many call keto ( I was thinking of branding it The God Squad Spolumbos, bacon, brisket and bourbon diet).  Michele stated “I wonder how many people have started the keto diet because of us.” Michele and I have lost a bit of weight on it since we started shortly after Divine Mercy Sunday. I found some the weight I lost during this long and cold winter but will continue on getting healthier.  After Michele’s comment I reflected and stated, “Imagine if we were talking how many people we introduced to our faith”

 

We have no problem sharing our diets with everyone: friends, family and co-workers.  Why do we have so much fear sharing our faith with everyone? Why are we afraid to stand up and say life begins at conception? There are so many other truths that our faith carries that we don’t want say to anyone. Is it because people notice when we have lost weight and want to know how we did it?  If that is the case, are people seeing the joy of the gospel in us and wanting that as well? Scripture says,”Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; “1 Peter 3;15  We need to show the strengths of our faith as there are many out there that show the fallen within our faith. The bible says “you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.”1 Timothy 3:15

 
The reason that we gather at the God Squad conference each year is to strengthen one another and challenge each other to strive for that goal that we are challenged with, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1;16.  Do we fall short? of course we do and that is why we have many of our priests at the conference offer reconciliation. Just like a football game where you practice and practice before the big game. You do the play until you get it right then when it is crunch time you execute the play as planned.
 
Our faith just like a diet will be hard at times but scripture says In this you rejoice,[a] though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, 7 so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:7
 
How many of our friends, family and co-works would want to share our gold? Then lets share our faith that is more precious than gold!
 
I look forward to seeing you at this years conference.
 
God Bless You,

Sean Lynn

 

Be Not Afraid; To Become a Saint: A Reflection

Be Not Afraid; To Become a Saint: A Reflection

I find myself getting old, far too old I think to become a saint. I don’t have enough time. Age has come upon me faster than I ever thought possible. Is that realization some measure of wisdom that comes with age or is it merely a recognition that what I want to accomplish in my life has increasingly fewer days left? A pilgrimage to the Holy Land, a major item on my bucket list, suddenly seemed a bit more urgent.
 

So here I am, walking down the steps to touch the cave wall that was the home of Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth. An unbelievable emotion comes over me. I feel tears streaming down my face and a sense that there are steps in my journey of faith that may not yet be over. I have this overwhelming sense of awe in the love for God that our Blessed Mother Mary had. She was little more than a child, but she had the faith and courage of a lion. Her simple question to the Angel Gabriel was “How can this be, since I have no husband?” Though young, she would have known that if found with child she could have been stoned. Yet her faith and trust in our God was such that she was prepared to give her life. Her answer was simple and complete; “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word.” She didn’t see ahead to the raising of a Son, the boy that was to become the new Adam, the saviour of the world. She didn’t see to the horror and pain of watching that Son be crucified in a most horrible death. She didn’t see that she would be assumed into heaven and become the Blessed Mother of all of us. She didn’t see she would continue to appear to her children in locations throughout the world; Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe, Medjugorje and so many others. She didn’t see her future pain and her future glory, and that makes her yes to God so remarkable.
 
And what of Saint Paul? Approaching Damascus, he was struck by a brilliant light that blinded him. He was as helpless as a child and had to be led by the hand into the city. His original plan was to round up all the Christians and bound in chains they would be led back to be slain. God had other plans and Saint Paul spent the rest of his life discovering and living God’s answer to the one question he asked, “Lord, what do you want me to do?”
 
God calls each of us for his purpose and we are instruments for his greater glory. Not often does it come with the appearance of an angel or a brilliant blinding light. Most often it comes in the quiet voice that calls us or the gentle nudge we often feel to act or respond to defend and evangelize our faith.
 
I have felt God nudge me a number of times in my life. Sometimes I answered yes, but more often I think I answered no, often by not acting. That response was usually due to my own insecurities or fear that I might not be liked or accepted if I took a position that was contrary to the current world view. Then there are all the times when I am so busy with my own life that I am not even paying attention. It seems I have a number of great excuses to turn a deaf ear to God’s nudge.
 
The first excuse I liked to use was; “I need clarity. How do I know this is really God’s will?” At one point I was so afraid of what I felt God calling me too that I asked for a specific sign. Instead of the specific sign, he showed me I was afraid to trust him to provide the graces I needed to follow his request of me. What was missing was the courage I needed to take the next step. Often, we feel we need to have it all figured out and if we cannot see the end we should not start. It is important to realize that the only thing we need to do is to take that first step. When I look back at the times I said no to God, the clarity I sought was there. I just needed to trust that he would also give me the graces I needed to follow the path he had set out.
 
The other great excuse is the fear of asking God the same question St. Paul asked; “Lord, what do you want me to do?” Even I know, that if I ask, I will probably get an answer. That is scary! What if He wants me to do something I don’t want to do? In my selfish ways I inadvertently convince myself that it is better to close myself off to God’s call than be pushed to do something that might cause anguish in my life and disturb the comfort zone I long to be in.
 
Touching these cave walls makes me realize that we are never too old to become a saint. Every soul belongs to God and all things are possible with God. All we have to do is to trust and have the courage to take that first step, only the first step. Each and every morning we must pray and ask; “Lord, what do you want me to do?” The path to sainthood is to pray for the graces and the courage to say yes to the answer.
 
Blessings to you all,
John Paul

What is a Saint?

What is a Saint?

The theme for this years conference is “Be Not Afraid..To Be A Saint! What is a Saint and why do we want to become one? According to the Oxford dictionary 1. A person acknowledged as holy or virtuous and regarded in Christian faith as being in heaven after death. 1.1 A person of exalted virtue who is canonized by the Church after death and who may be the object of veneration and prayers for intercession. The Church has declared over 10,000 to be saints worthy of veneration and models of exalted virtue. That said, I am not sure that the virtue of humility allows us to strive to be a recognized saint within the church. The goal with which we want to challenge the men is getting themselves and those around them to heaven.

 

This week I have had reason to ponder this challenge to its depths. It started with our daughter asking us to pray for the lady she was looking after as she was not doing well. We were able to pray rosaries and the chaplet of Divine Mercy for this lady before she passed on Monday at the age of 63. Then on Tuesday I found out that a young man was murdered who is the brother of my son’s best man and my other two sons are friends with the youngest brother.  This came as a punch in the gut for my boys as they grieved with their friends. Details are still coming but it appears from the family he was coming to the aid of someone else and was shot. Then on Wednesday late in the day I learned that Sam Stambene had died of a heart attack on his way home from school. Sam had coached all 3 of my sons in football and we had worked together as both a volunteer coach and in working with youth at risk over the years. This one seemed to hit like a sledgehammer, as Sam is a few years younger than me and I had known Sam the most out of the 3 people that had passed away within the same week.

 

With society talking about toxic masculinity I would set Sam as an icon of what we promote at our conferences.  He loved his family greatly and he gave of himself for the good of the community. Sam coached over a 1000 young men during his life.  What I respected about him was that he promoted authentic manhood. He pushed the young men to work together and sacrifice for a common goal. He taught self control and discipline with the vision of football being the ultimate team game (I would argue with him that it was rugby). I remember working the sticks on the sideline one game and the game was quite heated. The other team was yelling and swearing when one of the Browns players started to swear back from the sideline to the other team.  Sam and his cousin Joe confronted the player and had him doing push-ups to remind him that Browns don’t play like that. Another time I was working with a youth at risk who missed the try-outs and after some discussion Sam gave him a second chance and worked with him. That young man had missed 60% of grade nine but because the work Sam did with him, he only missed one day of his first semester of high school due to illness before his family moved away. I was so impressed with the years of his coaching I had witnessed that I nominated him a few years back for the NFL youth coach of the year. I could tell many more stories from the football field but I want to focus on Sam’s smile. He always had one every time you saw him. He always brought joy into a person’s day and he will be truly missed.

 

Back to being a saint: There are many ways to get there. Ultimately we count on God’s mercy whether it be the suffering which my daughter’s lady endured prior to her death,  or the sacrifice of Jordan Moore trying to help another citizen which ended his life (Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends). Then there is Sam, who gave 1000’s of hours for the young men of Calgary.  I remember talking to him about God Squad having a BBQ recognizing coaches for what they do.  He stated that there was nothing in place for that, and all he had received was a $6 cafeteria chit. It was obvious that he was not doing this for worldly riches or recognition.  So I pray that he hears these words ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.’  Then we will have a patron saint of football!

 

Register at for this years conference https://live-god-squad-canada.pantheonsite.io/

Financial assistance is available!

 

Sean Lynn

God Squad President

“For such a time as this”

“For such a time as this”

It is interesting times that we find ourselves in, with a Canadian government that won’t allow money to be given to any Catholic charity that want to hire a summer student but won’t/can’t check the box to say they support abortion. We have a provincial government that attacked the Catholic School Board for even investigating the right to teach human sexuality from a Catholic perspective, accusing us of teaching that rape is okay.  We have a new masculinities studies program at the U of C that seem to blame hetro-sexuality for the #MeToo problem. We have a Prime Minister that has a problem with the word “mankind”! These are are all very troubling problems that we must face and work to resolve. That being said it troubles me a great deal to see what’s going on inside our church. How many Sunday masses are there, where it is only women serving on the altar to assist the priest, to do the readings and girls the altar servers. Recently I have witnessed baptisms where there are no Godfathers present.  The question I find myself asking is why? Is there no man in the lives of these families that stands out as a godly man, that they would like to ask to be the Godfather to their child.  Are there no boys serving on the altar because they do not see any men serving within the church?  Is there a shortage of priests because we have not encouraged our young men to discern and follow that path.

 

I remember a young women asking a question many years ago at our parish retreat.”Where are the Catholic Heros?”  That was an excellent question which I took to heart.  We know watching our kids grow up that they mimic what they see. Do our young men witness men being an active part of the church.  How many are ready to step up and step out to be seen?  There are places in the world where the men have died to practice their faith. Here where we have had the freedom to practice our faith openly for over a century. With this freedom we continue to take it for granted to the point where many have come to believe that it’s Mom’s job to deal with all matters pertaining to faith. We confused liberty, which is a painful and amazing ascent, with the liberties of unconstrained where we rush down without any hope.1

 

We need to begin teaching our young men virtues over values. Having good values is a fine thing, but the battle of morality is not so much about knowing what is right as it is doing what is right.  The difference between wanting to do the good and actually doing it is tremendous.2

Fr. Jerome will be talking about this subject at this years conference; “WANTED: Men of Virtue Warring Against a Culture of ‘Values’” . Fr Raymond d’Souza will help us recognize where we stand today with his talk; Living Time So That We Know When It Is Such As This”. Fr. Cristino will challenge our young men at the conference with his talk “What Were the ’90’s’?: Speaking Truth to a New Generation”.

 

You can start by assessing where God is calling you to serve in your home and your parish. I want to challenge you to consider getting screened to fulfill the requirements of the Diocese to work with the youth.  I know its a pain to do but rarely is it easy to accomplish great things. It is going to take courage to step out and be seen.  We will have an example this year of courage and strength as Fr Jonathan will share his conversion from the Anglican faith with his talk; “Entering the Barque of Peter for such a time as this” Men come and be challenged and nourished at this years conference to be the man God is calling you to be! Have the courage to invite someone that needs to hear the message!

 

To register go to https://live-god-squad-canada.pantheonsite.io/

Financial assistance is available!

 

Sean Lynn

God Squad President

 

  1. Saint Joseph Shadow of the Father – Andrew Doze, Alba House 1992 page 105.
  2. Boys to Men – Tim Gray and Curtis Martin, Emmaus Road publishing 2001, page 11

The Man Behind the Arm

The Man Behind the Arm

I had the honour and privilege to volunteer at the Relic Pilgrim of the incorrupt arm of St Francis Xavier at Saint Albert the Great Parish in Calgary, Alberta on January 21, 2018.  Now you might think that by the title of this article that I am going to talk to you about the man of Saint Francis Xavier, or maybe the man behind coordinating ushers (or uber ushers as I like to call them) for the relic, God Squad’s very own Sean Lynn.  No, I’m going to talk to you about the man who was literally standing behind the relic itself:  Me, or more precisely, I’d like to share with you this powerful experience.

 

I have seen some relics in my life.  Altars have relics.   I’ve seen skulls, bones, and even the head of St John the Baptist in the Church of St Sylvester in Rome.  As a cradle Catholic, I have come to see relics as a normal part of the culture and have come to take them somewhat for granted.  This is not something that I am proud of.  It emanates the stench of skepticism and apathy.  The Council of Trent (Sess. XXV) teaches us that “the holy bodies of holy martyrs and of others now living with Christ [—whose bodies were the living members of Christ and ‘the temple of the Holy Spirit’ (I Cor 6:19) and who are by Him to be raised to eternal life and to be glorified] are to be venerated by the faithful, for through these [bodies] many benefits are bestowed by God on men.”[1]  The Church has long since had popular piety towards sacramentals such as the veneration of relics, pilgrimages, scapulars, rosaries and medals.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that sacramentals such as these are sacred signs that “prepare men (read mankind) to receive the fruit of the sacraments and sanctify different circumstances of life… Among the sacramentals, blessings occupy an important place.  They include both praise of God for his works and gifts, and the Church’s intercession for men that they may be able to use God’s gifts according to the spirit of the Gospel.” (CCC 1677-1678)[2]

 

After my experience standing behind the arm I found my soul singing:  “Blessed are you, O Lord, merciful God, and blessed is your holy and honorable name. Blessed are you in all your works for ever!”  For the great work of St Francis Xavier continues today, not only through the inspiration he gives the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), but through blessings and intercessory prayers he offers to those who come to him in prayer and in person such as in a time like this.

 

 

Many people came to see and pay homage to the relic.  Close to 5,300 came on January 21st.  I personally saw close to 3,000 of them.  I had the perfect vantage point.  I saw them all so clearly.  They were literally at arm’s length.  I was standing behind the relic.  My mission was to count the pilgrims and ensure no kissing bandit would knock the relic over.

They all came, great and small, young and old, able bodied and infirmed.  Most had filled in prayer cards; many had rosaries, handkerchiefs, medallions, crucifixes or some other religious artifact they wanted blessed by the saint.  They’d approach, some with timidity, others with great piety.  Others would stare like out of curiosity; especially the children.  These were a joy.  They displayed such wonder and awe.  One such girl, about 10 years old, didn’t seem to get it.  She was clearly incredulous.  Her parents (I assume) told her to touch the glass that it would bless her.  “How is this going to bless me?” she snorted with that pre-teen attitude and in all honesty as she left down the centre aisle.   After a half a dozen steps, she stopped, turned around and took a picture with her cell phone.  The look on her face made me think that she didn’t get it but that something was happening and that this arm was too weird not to take a picture of.
People want to touch the relic.  “If only I can touch…” is the hope that lies in every Christian heart. (Mt 9:21) (Acts 19:11-12)  Clearly people were moved by the Saint or by the Holy Spirit or both.  Many had tears in their eyes, some were out right crying.
 

 

An old man was wheeled up in a wheelchair.  The lines parted like the Red Sea.  All had their eyes on him.  He had only one good arm.  He had brown eyes, full of hope and tears.  The attendant awkwardly manoeuvered him so that he could get his good arm and his rosary close to the relic.  He fought back tears and sobs but you could tell he received great joy in this once in a life time opportunity.

 

One lady I’ll never forget.  She was about my age, give or take a couple of years.  She had a number of articles she wanted to touch the relic with.  But that’s not what was so extraordinary about this experience.  She was crying and saying:  “I will complete my mission, I will complete my mission.”  The force and fervour of her prayer moved me and I sense the Holy Spirit move within His Church and act through this woman.  This was a great consolation for me.  I too, even in my older years, can still be moved by the Spirit to do His work:   For no mission of the Holy Spirit is too big or too small, at any age; even if it’s simply to be an uber usher.

 

I want to thank the God Squad and in particular Sean Lynn for the opportunity to serve in the Kingdom of God in this way.  It was a wonderful experience.  I experienced a conversion of the soul; I saw missionaries rise up through this pilgrimage and I saw souls being touched in ways that I believe led to healing; including mine.
Yes, my soul is still singing out:

“Blessed are you, O Lord, merciful God,
and blessed is your holy and honorable name.
Blessed are you in all your works for ever!”
[1] University of Dayton, International Marian Research Institute, “All About Mary” https://udayton.edu/imri/mary/r/relics.php
[2] Catechism of the Catholic Church PART TWO: THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY; SECTION TWO: THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH; CHAPTER FOUR: OTHER LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS; ARTICLE 1: SACRAMENTALS http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c4a1.htm

Merry Christmas and Praying for the New Year

Merry Christmas and Praying for the New Year

The God Squad would like to take the time to thank all of you for your prayers and support in 2017. It has been a busy year for us. It started off with the retirement of Bishop Henry which was a shock and a surprise. The Bishop has supported The God Squad from our very humble beginnings by opening our first conference.

 

We celebrated our 20th annual men’s conference in March where we were blessed to have Bishop McGrattan (our new Bishop) open the conference. It was an honour to have Steve Wood join us again as he did for the first conference, Steve stated ours was one of the “best men’s conferences in North America” as he was impressed by all the young men present. The reason they are there is because you bring them year in and year out!

 

It was another busy BBQ year for the God Squad outreach ministry. We did church anniversaries, high school retreats, youth jail stampede breakfast and several other similar events. The biggest of all was feeding 700+ for July 1st when Bishop McGrattan consecrated the Diocese to Our Lady.

 

We also sponsored another ride with Jeff Cavins; spreading the Good News to Montana, Idaho, BC, and Alberta. It was incredible talking to people wherever we stopped along the way. We are hoping to build on these stops by encouraging men to attend our annual conference and hosting mini conferences which we will live stream.

 

2018 is shaping up to be another busy year with our conference being confirmed for Mar 16 & 17th at St Peter’s parish. Our speakers will be Msgr Owen Keenan, Fr. Raymond DeSouza, Fr. Jerome Lavigne. Fr. Cristino Bouvette, the vocations director for the diocese, will speak to the youth, and Fr. Jonathan Gibson, an ordained parochial vicar, will share his conversion story. Registration is open now!

 

God Squad has also been asked to take the lead on being ushers for a historical event. The relic of St Francis Xavier will be visiting Calgary Jan 21 & 22nd, 2018 and we need some of you to assist with covering the shifts. Please sign up if you are able to assist https://www.volunteersignup.org/343EJ

 

Once again we would like to thank you and ask you to keep praying for us as we try to reach men and challenge them to be faithful husbands and fathers. This includes working with past speakers to develop a resource for young men to help them have the tools to transition to manhood.