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Recently Holy Cross Priory hosted the House of Bishops of the Diocese of Toronto for their monthly meeting. The Bishops joined us for our daily Eucharist and the community joined the Bishops for lunch; after which we talked together about our progress in finding new ways and places to serve – particularly outreach to parish leadership and to those seeking a spiritual home outside the organized church. (Above, from left to right: Br. Charles; Br. Christian; Bishop Kevin Robertson; Br. David, Prior; Archbishop Colin Johnson; Bishop Riscylla Shaw; Br. Leonard; Brother Reginald. Missing are Bishop Jenny Andison and Bishop Peter Fenty who left early on other business.)

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The Rev’d. Ross Bliss, a transitional Deacon in the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster, was received as the newest Associate of Holy Cross Priory, Toronto, during the Eucharist at our annual Easter Party April 20, 2017. Ross has just completed his M.Div. at Huron College in London, Ontario, and is returning to Vancouver for ordination to the Priesthood and parish ministry. (Above, from left to right: Br. Leonard Abbah, Director of Associates, The Rev’d Ross Bliss, and Br. David Bryan Hoopes, Prior.)

Members of the monastic community at Holy Cross Priory, several Priory Associates, and members of our extended Priory community gather around The Rev’d Ross Bliss following his reception as an Associate.

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From the Priory’s newsletter for Easter 2017:

“In an attempt to make the resurrection of Jesus a “respectable” teaching, we are prone to offer platitudes about hope and love and renewal. Or we can be merely existential in deciding how any teaching about the resurrection may be of any value to one’s daily life. Our answers may be dull, safe, and ordinary. Few want to celebrant the dull, the safe, the ordinary.” — Br. David Bryan Hoopes OHC

Download the full Easter 2017 newsletter here

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Amongst all the media stories of shootings and violence that daily disturb us, one amazing and encouraging story appeared in early July of 2016. It was the account of the successful arrival, after a flight lasting five years, of the probe Juno within the orbit of the planet Jupiter. As the Juno probe approached Jupiter’s orbit a remarkable video was filmed showing Jupiter’s four moons, Callisto, Europa, Ganymede and Io, moving around the planet. Dr. Scott Bolton, NASA principal investigator, said: “In all of history, we’ve really never been able to see the motion of any heavenly body against another … This is harmony at every scale. I think Galileo would really have enjoyed the movie. Watching this amazing video, I felt so moved by this glimpse into the universe. It was a reminder to me that God is in control and the mysteries of creation are way beyond our present knowledge and vision.

In the year 1610 the controversial Italian Galileo Galilei discovered the existence of moons that orbited around the planet Jupiter. He deduced that Jupiter has four moons by observations of varying positions of the points of light using a telescope that he developed. These and other observations caused him serious issues with the Church because they challenged the accepted Aristotelian view that all the heavenly bodies revolved around the earth. Galileo was investigated by the Inquisition, charged with heresy and made to recant his theory that the Earth moves around the Sun. It is widely held that subsequently he uttered the words, “And yet it moves.”

Human beings seem always to think that we know it all. It takes so long for major scientific discoveries to be accepted, and sadly, it has often been the Church that has been slowest to accept change. Our view of God is restricted by our own hubris. God is so much greater than we can realize and we hesitate to dream of what is possible.

That beautiful little video gives me renewed hope in the power of God to enable us to change the world we live in for the better. Human beings have so much talent, so many possibilities, and if we choose we can do so much good. The grace of God is there for us but we do need to become more adventurous, more trusting, and more faithful in receiving it and allowing God to use us to do His work in the world.

As Christians we believe that Jesus, Son of God, took our human form and came to live as one of us, showing what is possible. We were baptized into God’s family and nothing is impossible if we accept the implications of the baptismal covenant. So let us pray for new vision, new hope, and fresh determination to become what God wants us to be and to change the violence and strife in the world into His Kingdom of peace.

Our Gracious and Eternal God,
Praise be to you for the wonders of creation.
Thank you for the men and women
who share with us new glimpses of the universe.

Open our eyes and minds
that we may be willing to search out new knowledge
and understand more and more of You
our loving Father.

Look with mercy upon the world in which we live.
Forgive us for the problems we have make
and enable us to seek ways to cooperate with each other
to heal and renew the world.

May we look afresh, day by day,
to Jesus our Saviour;
being willing to be formed
into His likeness as part of our family.
Thank you for His example and
for the gift and grace of the Holy Spirit
to change us to your glory.
Amen.

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Br. Richard Vaggione OHCBr. Richard Vaggione OHCDear Friends,

After 19 (cumulative) years in Canada, I am being transferred to our Order’s monastery at West Park, New York. I’m getting just a little too tottery to remain in a house with as many stories (and steps!) as the Priory, so the Superior has decided to send me to West Park, where everything is on a level. I will even have a new status: “Monk in Assisted Living”. This means that, among other things, I get a spiffy new monastic cell, and – for the first time in my 36 years of religious life – my own shower! To say that my feelings are mixed is an understatement. I had five wonderful years here in the 80’s as priest-in-charge of St. Matthias Bellwoods Avenue, and then another 14 more recently in a variety of ministries, including teaching at Trinity College. I have put down roots and become a Canadian as well as a U.S. Citizen, but that just means that now there’ll be a Canadian at West Park once again! (I plan to display my Canadian flag proudly.) My thanks to the monastic community here in Toronto, and to all of you for these many years. I will keep you in my prayers; please keep me in yours. I can be reached by e-mail at vaggione@rogers.com or by phone at 845-384-6660, ext. 3022.

Once again, thank you.
RICHARD PAUL VAGGIONE, OHC

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