Friday, November 13, 2015

Church #52 St. Joseph's Cathedral Basilica

Maybe it is just me.... but it is not as big as it looks....

From the inside anyhow.

So today I am happy to report that they did not shut down the LRT line for "testing"..... AGAIN....So I was actually able to take the train down town and then walk a few block to the church. It was a kind of a bleak rainy day, but I was able to get this photo from under my umbrella.

Also, If you want a good look at this place, I suggest the Church's website where you can get a full interactive visual.

I walked into the giant main 3 door entrance, and encountered a wide cement set of stairs up to the main floor, as the building wafted with the sent of incense. There were three things about this church that surprised me right off the bat:

 #1. Despite being a catholic church, I did not have to be there at 8am. The church had multiple                  service through the day. The options were 8:30 am, 10:30 am, 12:15pm and 5 pm.

#2. I got there a bit early, but by the time the service started 95% of the space in the pews was taken         up. This place was FULL!

#3. As you well know I like to record the age range and demographics of a church, and I can tell you         this one had a lot of families with slightly older kids, (but not necessarily a lot of young kids,               maybe they were in the Sunday school/daycare?) This church was diverse, but I can tell you that         that at-least 75% of this churches population is Filipino.

Even though remembrance day was not officially until Wednesday, the front of the church was already set-up with a wreath.

Seeing this church I feel is a strong example of how immigrants are helping preserve the christian roots of country, not destroying them. (not to say that all of Canada's roots are Christian, but some of them definitely are). Because lets be honest, us "old stock" 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, (I myself am 2nd-3rd mattering how you count it) generation Canadians have done a terrible job of keeping our churches alive. A few of them are holding out and doing well, but the bulk of them are simply dying out with their patrons. Diversity among the congregation is a big part of the reason this church can still open it's doors every Sunday. I call 'em like I see 'em.

One of the first announcements made after the church procession entered, was that there were pamphlets available at the back door that had to do with petitioning the Prime Minister to protect the environment.

In-between different parts of the service there was a talented young African-Canadian lady that sang a variety of hymns and worship songs at the front. I quite enjoyed it.

So the teaching today was the story of the widow with the two copper coins. I am not sure exactly what part of scripture it is taken from. Because it is listed in both Luke and Mark. But lets go with Mark.....

Mark 12:38-40 (HCSB)

38 He also said in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who want to go around in long robes, and who want greetings in the marketplaces, 39 the front seats in the synagogues, and the places of honour at banquets. 40 They devour widows’ houses and say long prayers just for show. These will receive harsher punishment.”

Mark 12:41-44 (NIV)

41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

In the first part of the scripture is a warning of those who may attempt to abuse their power in the church. And Jesus's emphasis that we need to care for the widow, the orphan and the alien (traveler) for they have nothing. 

It was also mentioned that we need to be carefully that when we do good acts, they are actually motivated out of love. When the scribes pass the treasury, they contribute a large amount, but it is all in the name of keeping up appearances. The widow puts in her last two coins as a statement of faith. Apparently in the Greek translation the word they used to describe this giving was actually "Bios" which literately translates to the word "life". This woman gave so much more, because she was literately at the end of her rope and gave her "life" to God. While the scribe gave many times more, it was all worthless, as it was give out of pride.

"We are all poor in love"

"If we do things as good Christians out of pride and appearance, there is no room for Gods love." 

But what kind of caught me, was a comment about how currently we need to question if sometimes our "tolerant and inclusive attitudes" are motivated by pride?..... Tolerant and inclusive of what?  You could fill a lot of things in that blank...

Members of the gay community?

And if so, is the support of these people/groups wrong? Or just wrong when it is done out of pride and not from Gods love? I will let you ponder on that...

So when time came to accept communion, you could tell that they anticipated a large crowd. I watched the priest bless 12 gold cups of wine and 5 bowls of rice crackers. I took communion that day. And as I was in the line-up I saw the congregation being patrolled buy a very strict looking (Filipino?) priest. I honestly could not even focus on receiving communion because I found this guy so intimidating... seriously.

P.S. So the wine today was real wine. White wine to be exact. And even thinking about it now, I am still trying to wrap my head around what it was. It was definitely sweet, but it was not a moscato or an ice wine. The flavour was very rich and well rounded. and I am not sure what percentage it was but it almost tasted fortified? Honestly, I think this one will just remain a mystery...

Also, Photographers! I seriously suggest you sneak in here! There is some serious eye candy in this church!

Adios my friends!