PASTOR'S CHRISTMAS MESSAGE:  (December 2017)       
                In the Christmas event, we discover the true mystery of the Incarnation:  out of compassion for his created, out of love for each one of us, God enters human history and embraces our human condition in all its messiness, confusion, anxiety, and anguish. 
Emmanuel —“God with us.”  Christ’s birth manifests the constant and inexplicable love of God for us; his ministry as Messiah teaches us how we can transform our dark nights of despair and sin into the eternal day of God’s peace and wholeness; his embracing of the cross is the ultimate victory of life over death, of good over evil, of hope over despair.  It is nearly impossible for us to fathom the depth of God’s love to become one of us, not for God’s sake, but for our sake.  God takes on our life so that one day we might be recreated in his.
                A certain king was rich and very powerful.  But he was most unhappy, for he desired a wife.  Without a queen, his vast palace was empty. One day, while riding through the streets of a small village, he saw a beautiful peasant girl.  Her grace and beauty immediately captured the heart of the king. The king wondered how he might win her love.  First, he thought of issuing a royal decree commanding her to be his bride — but he soon realized that, if she were forced to obey a royal decree as a loyal subject, he could never be certain that she actually loved him. Next he considered calling on this woman in person, overwhelming her with diamonds and gold and every finery — but he knew he would always wonder whether she had married him only for the riches and power he could give her. Then he thought he would dress as a peasant and meet her in disguise — but such an approach would be too dishonest for a king. The king finally decided to put aside his royal robes, abandon his castle and go to the village and actually become one of the peasants.  He lived and worked and suffered alongside of them.  And in time the king won the young woman as his bride. The great Danish philosopher and theologian Soren Kierkegaard used this parable to describe the mystery of Christmas: that the almighty Creator of all could love us enough to become one of us in order to bring us to himself.  Mary and Elizabeth, in their exchange of greetings, are among the first to understand exactly what is to happen.  It is the mystery of Emmanuel — “God is with us.”   As the great second century bishop Irenaeus preached:  “Because of his great love for us, Jesus, the Word of God, became what we are in order to make us what he is himself.”
                As we read in the Gospels, the light of Christmas can appear in unexpected places, in the middle of long, hopeless nights. The light that is Christ breaks through our grief, our hurts, our divisions, our hopelessness - if we but raise a candle to catch its flame, if we open a small window in our hearts to let that light into our lives. The true gifts of Christmas that Christ gives and enables us to give transform the hearts and lives of those we love : gifts of sharing our wisdom and experience, of compassion and reconciliation, of forgiveness and affirmation.  As we celebrate the dawning of the Messiah this holy night, may we not only grasp the light of God's love but may we seek to become mirrors of that light on every dark night, in every winter.
               I wish you God's blessings, peace, and happiness throughout this Christmas Season and in the New Year, 2018.
Fr. Stephen Liang M.D.

Sept 2017

Every Sunday we make the same journey regularly to Church to attend Mass, yet we miss the beauty that is before our eyes. Why do you go to Mass? How many Catholics do you think would answer by saying, “Because I want to encounter Jesus in the Eucharist.”? I think most people would answer, “Because going to Mass is an ‘obligation’.” Indeed, it is…if you desire to encounter Jesus.

The Eucharist is a tangible reminder of God’s love, and receiving Communion is a call to work to build the body of Christ by loving others and shunning all that sows division within a community, Pope Francis said. The Eucharist should “heal our ambition to lord it over others, to greedily hoard things for ourselves, to foment discord and criticism,” Pope Francis said. “May it awaken in us the joy of living in love, without rivalry, jealousy or mean-spirited gossip.

If you want to become more intentional about encountering Jesus in the Mass, here are three things to keep in mind.

1. The Mass represents Jesus’ passion, sacrifice, and resurrection through the signs of bread and wine. Why is this important? Because we all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Therefore, there is nothing we can do to pay the price for our sins, but justice still has to be served. So, instead of enduring the price of divine justice with our own lives, Jesus paid it on our behalf.

2. Jesus wants us to remember his sacrifice on the cross; therefore, he instituted the Mass at the Last Supper as a means by which we remember his acts on Calvary Hill.

3. Finally, Jesus teaches that the bread and wine become his real body and blood (John 6:51-58). The God of the universe desires to be intimately part of your life. After receiving Communion, go back to your seat and thank Jesus for His gift to you. Fight every tendency to rush to the car. Can you imagine attending a loved one’s dinner and rushing out the door as soon as you are satisfied without acknowledging the sacrifice she endured to prepare the evening? Acknowledge Christ’s sacrifice.

I encourage you to encounter Jesus in the Mass. Don’t pass him by.

Rev. Fr. Stephen Liang M.D.

Why go to church?

If you're spiritually alive, you're going to love this! If you're spiritually dead, you won't want to read it. If you're spiritually curious, there is still hope!

A Church goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday or Saturday He wrote: "I've gone for 30 years now, and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons, but for the life of me, I can't remember a single one of them. So, I think I'm wasting my time, the preachers and priests are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all".
This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column.
Much to the delight of the editor, it went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:
"I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today.  Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!"

Message from the Pastor

Pastor's Christmas and New Year's Message (December 2015):
The true mystery of Christmas is that God became one of us, lived among us and came to birth through our moments of joy, grief, despair, anger and fear.
Here, in the Christ Child, the sacred is not some abstract concept of theological theory: the love of God takes on a human face, the Word of God becomes "enfleshed" in the child Jesus, enabling us to transform our hearts in that love and re-create our world in that Word of justice and compassion.
Our God knows that our lives are filled with disappointment, pain and despair; he has lived through the storms and crises we all live through; he has given us hope in our world by promising us life in his world.
The challenge of Christmas is to continue to make that love incarnate in our own lives and in the lives of those we love.  
This is the season when families come together. But for many families, it takes more than a festive Christmas dinner. Bringing a family together requires the patience to listen, the selflessness to forgive, the commitment to heal and mend. To be a family is to seek out and bring back whoever is lost, to look beyond behavior to understand what is prompting such anger, bitterness or disaffection, to put aside one's own expectations to respect another's perspective. The Holy Family of Mary, Joseph and the Child understood all too well the struggles and challenges of staying together as a family in their time and place. 
May we give thanks this Christmas Sunday for the gift of family and, in the New Year, 2016, take on, out of love and care for those we love, the hard, Christ-like work of being family to one another.  
Rev. Dr. Stephen Liang M.D.
Alta Vista Christmas Concert : Appreciation and Thanks to IHM parish choir and contributors:
The Alta Christmas Concert held on Sunday, December 6, 2015  was an overwhelming success. It was a magnificent performance. It was splendidly organized, orchestrated, and brilliantly executed by Francine Brisebois, Choir Director; her associate, Joslyn Brodeur; and the organizing committee members headed by Bill and Cathy Rowe, with the participation of Anthony Churko and Suzan Guirguis responsible for pre-concert fundraising and accounting.
The members of our parish choir sang with angelic voices. Dr. Sephora Tang, Psychiatrist, played the violin as an instrumental accompaniment. It was simply magnificent! Thank you to all our singers and musicians for their dedicated and outstanding performance.
Special thanks goes out to our musical guests : tenor soloists Dr. Fraser Rubens and his son Zachary Rubens, the singers of the Kanata Choral Society, the Ottawa Catholic School Board Chamber Choir, and the Instrumentalists of the Ottawa Wind Ensemble.
I wish to express my profound gratitude and thanks to all our participants, as well as my sincere appreciation and admiration for such an enjoyable and awe-inspiring performance. The IHM Choir is a credit to our whole parish.
Our Concert’s success is attributed to a combined team/parish effort consisting of many contributors with numerous talents and skills. Special thanks go out to Monique Jobin, Bob Power, and Brendan Reidand their volunteers' team for their collaboration in  setup tasks and parking lot duties; Suzanne Carr for  decorations; and Helen McGurrin, Moira Matthews and their volunteers' team  for overall reception and hospitality duties.
The Concert supported a very worthy cause, namely our local Heron Emergency Food Centre.
Congratulations to all for a job well done! You have much to be proud for.
Best wishes and God bless!
Fr. Stephen Liang M.D.