Blessed are you…

A reflection on Luke 6.17,20-26

How hard it is to see our suffering as a blessing!

In our lives we do not look for suffering; good health is preferred to sickness, joy is more acceptable than sorrow, success is more desired than failure, and riches more cherished than poverty!

But Jesus’ measurement for blessedness are things so detestable by our standards; poverty, hunger, grieving and sorrowing, and being hated, despised, and excluded.

So, why these situations and states in order for us to blessed? Why suffering? Why poverty? Why hunger? Why exclusion? I believe the simple answer would be because these all bring us to a profound need, a need for God and for total reliance on Him.

But it is hard to be faithful! There are so many comforts and temptations that distract us and pull us away from God and the path of blessedness. It is kind of like a tug-of-war, with the world as our opponent. It is impossible for us to pull and to resist on our own. We need God pulling with us, for us! He has actually already won the “tug-of-war” so we just really need to let go, fall on our knees, and acknowledge our need for Him.

“Blessed the one who trusts in the Lord”

– Psalm 1 (response)

We will face hardships, temptations, and struggles in this life. We will have the desire to escape into comforts, but we need to remember that we can not face these on our own.

Trust in the Lord with all that you are!

Go to Him and ask Him for help and strength!

And in time you will see the blessedness of suffering as the way of drawing ever closer to him.

Praise the Lord for opportunities to grow more in need of Him and to draw closer to Him; that poverty has become a sure path to eternal riches, hunger has created a way to eternal satisfaction, sorrow and grief have become paths leading to eternal joy, and that rejection has paved the way to an acceptance into an eternity in love.

Jesus is waiting for you today, so come to Him hungry and empty.

Come and allow, not the world but, Jesus to fill you by the power of the Holy Spirit!

I felt so inspired to share this reflection, after sharing it at our Liturgy last Sunday, because this suffering really speaks to us in a very personal way as we have struggled through these past 2 years among so much adversity, all exascerbated with the challenges faced during a pandemic. At times we have felt so low, but it has been prayer, a dependance on God, and the support & encouragement we have received from so many family, friends, and clergy that has carried us. To put it in a nutshell, this passage from Luke(v.21-22 particularly) has almost completely related to our situation and speaks deeply to our hearts.

We have been asked by quite a few people lately, perhaps because we are all out in “public” with things opening up more and people gathering again (as we had a funeral service for an elder earlier this week), “how much longer are you staying?” And we feel as if people are really saying, “why are you still here? With everything that has happened and the church coming to the forefront of controversy with residential schools, shouldn’t you be somewhere else? Wouldn’t it be easier to go home and be with your families?”

So through it all we have been reminded this week, “We love because he first loved us.” Wherever we are, wherever He puts us and calls us to be, it is Gods love that we sink in to, that we accommodate to permeate our hearts, and that we seek to share by first loving those closest to us(our children and each other); allowing His love to shine forth from our hearts as a beacon of hope to all. And, as we heard recently from another person: “I hope you guys grow old here!”

As Lent draws near…

Just stumbled upon a great idea today as we received an e-mail from to pray a novena to the Holy Spirit in preparation for Lent!

“We want to prepare our Lent in imitation of Jesus, who was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert of His Lent.

This Lent, rather than trying to change ourselves by penances and sacrifices of our choosing, we want to be led by the Spirit so that He can guide us in the ways He would like to transform us.”

You can find the article here.


Late 2016 HIGHLIGHTS and … then some more!

Well, here is a long overdue recap of the last few months, by way of pictures. It will be short, in the way of writing, and sweet! Enjoy!!

We had a family photo shoot down at Glenora. We were able to enlist one of our friends, who enjoys photography, to spend some time with us to do this.

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Riding in the RCMP Cruiser during the Terry Fox run. It was a long way for the little ones, but they did make it just past the half way point.


Enjoying ice cream after the run!


Kateri up to her face painting again!


Dressing up at the McBride Museum, in Whitehorse



Holy Family Apostolate meeting at Maryhouse, in Whitehorse; starting with a meal, then a holy hour, and finishing with reflection and sharing.


A fairly typical Whitehorse run; loading up the groceries and building supplies.


Stopping overnight in Teslin, to visit with Trudy, one of the other Pastoral Administrators in the diocese. Driving was a bit dicey as we hit a snow storm.


Kateri posing with Constable Warkentin


Denise’s mom had flown to Whitehorse and travelled down with us, so she was in town for 2 weeks.



Our new pet, Tuffy


Carving pumpkins in preparation for All Hallows Eve



There’s Tuffy again:)



Our first snowfall, at the beginning of November


Tobias’ first snow:)


Celebrating mommy’s 33rd birthday


Baking Christ the King cookies


Getting ready for our procession on the Solemnity of Christ the King. It was pretty cold out so we didn’t get too many takers



Something we were inspired to try this year; rolling our own beeswax candles for our advent wreaths. A few people from our church community joined us to make some for themselves also.



Celebrating Mass during our Diocesan Retreat for pastoral staff, at the beginning of December, at the Cathedral in Whitehorse. 



Singing for the Christmas concert


Every year Santa shows up after the Christmas concert to bring presents for all of the kids.



Christmas tree hunting. We even found an ‘ethical’ tree (or at least we were told we did!) because we found it underneath the power lines. I guess one day it would have to eventually be cut down anyways:)


A late night skate, across the street, at the Rec with some hot chocolate to warm them bones



Out at another one of our friends’ places, having a winter pre-Christmas party on their pond



Our Nativity Pageant, complete with a live baby Jesus:)


Fr.David Reilander, President of Catholic Missions in Canada, sharing his Christmas message, up close, with the children


Christmas morning, unwrapping Baby Jesus the best gift ever!


Putting Baby Jesus in the manger


The view from our living room window, over to the Rec Centre and the RCMP. It had warmed up just enough for the snow to slide part way down the roof and give us the snow cave feel. It stayed like this for quite a few weeks as we had a pretty long run of colder temperatures.


Putting together our new family puzzle


Aliz helping mommy make biscuits


St.Ann’s Mission in Watson Lake. Joshua went to help one of the other Pastoral Administrators with the major renovations being done in the rectory to make it ready for our two new priests from India. He went for a few days in the middle of December and then for 1 week at the beginning of November.


Celebrating Mass in Watson Lake


Our 2 new priests from India, Fr.Deva(L) and Fr.Suresh(R), and Jean Claude(another of the Pastoral Administrators in the diocese), working on the rectory renovations in Watson Lake


Here is Tuffy’s brother, Sven, who we picked up a few weeks after getting Tuffy, so that he would have a friend to keep him company.



The three magi, following the star and bearing spiritual gifts for the good people of Telegraph Creek, on the feast of the Epiphany!

Now you may have noticed that we do not have too many pictures of the community. To explain, we are wanting to respect the people here that are a part of our church community, and wider community, by limiting the amount of photos we put of them on this blog. We hope you enjoy what you do see though and that it may give you a little snapshot of what is going on up here with us. We will share stories(hopefully), inspirations, and highlights as we feel prompted!

Blessings to you!

New life & Sledding

Well, it appears like we have blasted into the new year, and missed posting our pictures for  most of the fall and into the tail end of 2016! With family life and ministry it seems that life has still happened and time has passed. Sometime soon we will post some highlights for you, but until then….

We ended up getting out to do a few fun things on the weekend.

On Saturday we visited with our friends, who just had a new baby goat born. Kateri was loving holding the animals, including the chickens. We went sledding at their place and stayed for a bit of a visit, warming up inside on hot chocolate!




Then on Sunday afternoon, after visiting with our Church community post Communion Service, we decided to hit the ‘ski hill’ for some more sledding. It has been nice here lately with temperatures dropping down to around 20 below at night but warming up to the mid teens during the day. It hasn’t snowed here in a while, so the hill was mainly ice(or really, crunchy snow), but we all had a blast!



Many blessings to you all!

Ice Fishing

We are getting a true northern experience up here! Last Monday the kids had a day off school, as it was a professional day for the teachers. And we wanted to do something outdoors with them, being that the weather had warmed up to above zero after a couple weeks of sub 20 below. The skating rink was covered in snow and melting from the rain the previous day, so when ‘Grandpa’ Jim offered to lend us his auger we decided ice fishing would be a great thing to do. He even decided to join us, as it was too icy on the roads for him to go hunting as he had planned to do that day. ‘Grandpa’ Jim and ‘Grandma’ Kitty are the kids’ adopted grandparents 🙂  (Being that their grandkids don’t live in town they take the opportunity to shower our kids with love, and hugs, and treats!) We went up to Sawmill Lake, a couple kms above town, and drilled 4 holes. The ice was about 18 inches thick! It was a perfect day; a couple degrees above zero, partly overcast. The kids lasted quite a while, especially with the snacks!



Kateri caught the first fish!



A Christmas Reflection

While I don’t normally share so much in a deep way with others in writing this seemed to be a good opportunity to share a little about what has been happening in our lives through my(Joshua’s) experience of Advent and the coming of the Christmas season. I find it helps me to process thoughts, feelings, and events when I write them down. As such, I wrote this last Friday, the evening before our Christmas Mass, however I had written it down on paper. I find that my creative flow is stifled by the keyboard so whenever I reflect it is by writing down my thoughts on just plain old paper with a pen. So I am transferring it here for your benefit, hopefully! Enjoy!!

As I await in joyful expectation the arrival of the Christmas season my heart is yearning and leaping, it seems almost as a bride awaiting the coming of her bridegroom to her.

At the turn of every season of the Church I find myself opening up to what the Lord has to offer me or teach me. In prayer I ask to be led deeper, but what is so different about this Advent, about this year? Why do I feel the ardent yearning, this great desire for my true lover. For he is surely already near to me, indeed with me!

Amidst the fullness of life with 5 children(age 7 and under) we have been the worst this year with maintaining a daily Advent prayer. It has been busy, with being in Whitehorse for the first week of Advent, however grace filled with being able to enter into the mystery and depth contained in this beautiful season, and in our faith during our pastoral retreat. Coming back and feeling like I haven’t really caught up with certain “business” things(letting go of control) and leaving to go to Watson Lake in 30 to 40 below temperatures to help with renovations at the rectory there and returning with oozing power steering fluid and air in the system, arriving back safely I’m sure on the many rosaries prayed during the five and a half hour drive. Then having to deal with a squealing alternator, which I will more than likely have to replace next week with the new one that just arrived with the new drive belts today. And this week, with all of the preparations, God has called me deeper in prayer and I am really just encountering a new zeal and love for Him. He has led me into prayer this week, helping me to recognize in a new way the importance of starting my day with a substantial committed prayer time, even being joined by one of my daughter’s one morning.

I continue to recognize His blessings in my life that, even being what seems so far away from family, all I need is Him yet being blessed with so much more. He has even blessed me with breakdown in entertainment technology, (as silly as it may seem that the old iPhone I have that I would watch youtube videos on no longer supports youtube videos, and it happened two weeks into Advent.) so that I have had more time in prayer and reflection while washing the dishes; really one less thing to pull at my time and attention has made a big deal for me. Sometimes it is just so hard to let go of things on our own, although hard at first I can now thank the Lord with a fuller heart.

So with fresh snow on the ground, a beautiful time of adoration on Wednesday evening, and anticipation for Mass(the last one here being three weeks ago) I can run with joy and awe and hail Him as the lover of my soul, my Saviour in whom is wrapped up my heart.

I pray this also for all of you, that you may find yourself open to Him and His great love for you. Ask the Lord, as I now remember doing near the beginning of this Advent, to help you to encounter His great love for you in new ways. He will not disappoint you, and maybe even surprise you!


“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.” – John 1.1-3

(An excerpt from the Christmas Gospel reading for Mass during the day)


May the Lord richly bless you and your family this Christmas season!



Your “YES”

I am always struck by the Gospel story we hear today(Luke 1.39-45), especially the line; “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” And Elizabeth’s reception of Mary, and Christ in her womb, is such a beautiful image for us to ponder and imitate.

In truth, it was Mary’s “Yes” to God working through her that brought Him forth into our very midst.

Mary’s life, and more specifically her response to God, is such an example and a witness to us. How do we respond to God’s promises in our lives? How do we respond when he seeks to work through us? How do we respond when we see Him working through others for us?

For a few moments today I thought it would be good for us to dwell in Mary’s Spirit, in her thoughts, in her witness.

I am going to play a song and a little reflection. The song is based on Mary’s response, in Scripture, to God inviting her to share in His plan. And I would encourage you, as you listen, to place yourself in the presence of the Lord with the words of Paul’s letter on your heart, “I have come to do your will, O God.”

Click here for the video, as the link wouldn’t copy!


Scripture for reflection:

Micah 5.2-5

Psalm 80

Hebrews 10.5-10

Luke 1.39-45

Mercy & Expectation

Today we celebrate “Gaudete” Sunday, meaning “Rejoice” in Latin. As we are now over half way through the season of Advent, a time of waiting and preparation for Jesus’ coming, it is a time of joy filled anticipation and rejoicing, as we hear from both Paul and the prophet Zephaniah. “The Lord is near.” (Phillippians 4.5) “Sing aloud… Rejoice and exult with all your heart.” (Zeph. 3.14)

I also want to mention that earlier this week(Dec 8) Pope Francis inaugurated this Church year as a Jubilee Year, a holy year, marking the 50th year since the close of the second Vatican Council. A Jubilee is a year of celebration and outpouring of God’s graces, and the particular theme for this year is Mercy. Pope Francis is inviting us to reflect on the mercy of God and has released a document highlighting the key concepts and point for reflection for this year; “How much I desire that the year to come be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God! May the balm of mercy reach everyone, both believers and those far away, as a sign that the Kingdom of God is already present in our midst!”

While in Whitehorse last week, during our pastoral retreat we had the opportunity to ponder and reflect on this document and so I wanted to share two key points that connect closely with the readings today.

Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy; Jesus embodies the mercy of God the Father. For our salvation we need to contemplate the face of mercy; Jesus Christ. I could simply leave you with that and you would have enough to contemplate for a while.

But, what is mercy? In a nutshell, forgiveness, forbearance (all our sins committed yet unpunished as to our due. God endures with us and is patient with us), and compassion (specifically for the suffering). These translate from God to us, and from ourselves to others.

In the Gospel today(Luke 3.10-18) many people were coming to John to be baptized. They were looking for something more, they were filled with expectation and asking him, “What should we do?” In other words, they were not content with their lives and saw that they needed to make changes.

Have we come to this realization yet? How do you need to change your life in order to prepare for Christ? What do you need to do to be expecting Him?

I think our answer is quite simple, from the wisdom of Pope Francis; Contemplate the face of mercy, the face of Christ. Unlike the people in the Gospel, who were coming to John, we have the knowledge of whom we are to expect! Should we not be that much more open to receiving him and allowing him to change us? Should we not be that much more filled with joy? And should that not show in our lives?

As we rejoice in the expectation of Christ’s coming during this third week of Advent and as we open ourselves to the graces that this Jubilee of Mercy has to offer us, I would encourage you today to contemplate the face of Jesus Christ; whether it be the child in the manger or the man on the cross, in the face of a neighbour, a child, or someone on the street! He is the “good news” that John the Baptist proclaims! He is the Father’s mercy and love to you! Rejoice!


Scripture for Reflection:

Zephaniah 3.14-18a

Isaiah 12

Philippians 4.4-7

Luke 3.10-18

Hiking & Camping & Life, oh my!

Hello! We’re back! Yes, we’re still here, still in action. After a month of being all over the place we have had a chance to sit down and gather our pictures and our thoughts, so enjoy:)

At the beginning of June, Josh had the opportunity to take a 9 day trek through the wilderness of Mt.Edziza Provincial Park with his brother, Jordan, and one of the RCMP officers from in town. The three of them left from Telegraph Creek, taking a boat ride across the Stikine River and then trekking in to Buckley Lake, south past the West flank of Mt.Edziza, and skirting down the Chakima Creek Canyon to Mowdade Lake, covering 131 kilometres! Here is a quick snapshot of a trip of a lifetime!


The topographical map we used for our trek. If you would like to take a look at our actual route, click here!


An a.m. farewell!


The spoils of Buckley Lake. Amazing what you can catch with a tin can fishing rod!


Buckley Lake


Approaching Mt.Edziza


Approaching the north slopes of Mt.Edziza. Eve cone located on the right of the picture.


Approaching Eve Cone


Eve Cone


On the rim of Eve Cone


Looking out at Mt.Edziza from the top of Eve Cone


Day 4 camp, above Elwyn Creek


The sun setting on our camp at the end of Day 4


Greeted by spectacular views over every rise


Stopping for a picture at a trail marker/cairn


Day 5 camp, at Sezil Creek


Traversing over the tundra, west of Mt.Edziza



One of many stunning bluffs





We had traversed through the snow, from the right side of the little lake; a little more snow than we had expected.


Scanning ahead for the next trail marker/cairn




Sitting in camp on day 7, staying dry out of the rain, for a day


Our way out!



Coming down into the Chakima Creek valley


Chakima Creek: “Avalanche Zone”


Another avalanche through the Chakima Creek valley, covering the creek in sections


We made it! Lunch at Mowdade Lake


The kids checking out Grandpa’s plane before he leaves to pick us up at Mowdade Lake




St.Theresa’s Heart Garden. Click here to find out more!


From our front patio to yours:)


Kateri receiving the Owl Star Award, for student achievement! Standing with her teacher, Ms.Calijou.


Isaiah loves making potato head mix-ups:)





“I really enjoy eating sand, for some strange reason.”


Hanging out at our friend’s place, up the road near Glenora.



The mosquito’s got me again! Aliz seems to have quite the reaction to mosquito bites!



Her eyes were completely shut when she woke up in the morning, poor thing!



… Still smiling though!

Towards the end of June we left town for a trip to Juneau, Alaska. Denise was taking a course for teaching the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.


White Pass train station in Carcross (Caribou Crossing)


Carcross General Store


Stopping for treats


The road down to Skagway



Playing at the park in Skagway, Alaska


Waiting, and dancing, for the ferry, with cruise ships in the background



On the ferry!



Playing games on the ferry, in the kid’s corner.


Enjoying breakfast


Our crib, for 2 weeks


Helping wash and dry the dishes


Receiving their Junior Ranger badges!


Happy Father’s Day! Playing at the park, after going to church.


Stopping for a pose on the trail out to Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls


Mendenhall Glacier



At the base of Nugget Falls








Reach for the sky!






At the touch tanks, at the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery





Oh my!





The fish ladder at Macaulay Salmon Hatchery


At the ocean.


On the wharf





Taking the tram up Mt.Roberts



Douglas Island on the other side of the channel


Up Mt.Roberts. Our little eaglets.




Eating a grilled cheese and fried tomato supper in the parking lot


It was really wet! Thankfully, friends in Juneau shared some shelter.



Story time and crafts at the library


Aliz’s favourite thing to do at the library



Isaiah’s favourite thing to do at the library


Family game night at Heritage Coffee Shop


Making pizza to cook over the fire



Shrine of St.Therese




Playing after church, at St.Paul the Apostle



Free Toddler Time at “The Rock Dump”




Downtown Juneau. Can you believe the stairs to these houses?!


Yes, these are the stairs to someone’s house! Take note the mailbox at the bottom!


The Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The smallest Cathedral on North America.


Douglas, across the bridge/channel from Juneau


At sandy beach, on Douglas




Dinner at The Island Pub


“Complimentary puzzles while I wait for my food? No way!”


A branch off of the Juneau Airport Dike Trail



Juneau Airport Dike Trail


Chillin by the fire at the campsite


Games night with our friends that we met on the ferry. We got to hang out with them a lot, as we had discovered that we were staying at the same campground.



Sleeping on the floor of the ferry on our over-night boat ride to Haines, Alaska


Guessing the feces specimens at the Haines Junction Interpretive/Visitor Centre


Our Lady of the Way, Haines Junction


Our Lady of the Way Church was made from an old bunker that was used during the building of the Alaska highway.




Visiting with Renee, our friend and member of Madonna House at Mary House in Whitehorse


Above the Tahltan River, on our way back in to Telegraph Creek


Welcoming Fr.Terry Larkin(far left) and Project Brotherhood(Rita, second from right, and others not in picture) for Mass and Potluck Supper. (Far right Rob Lacroix, lay volunteer from Iskut, 3rd and 4th from right: Diane & Maria, parishoners). Summer time is quiet at St. Theresa’s as most of the faithful are busy at their fish camps.



Celebrating Aliz’s Baptism anniversary


Frogs at Sawmill Lake


Fishing with my tin can fishing rod, on my birthday!







A froggy home


Sadly our frogs only lived for three days.


We made you a cake daddy!


Happy Birthday Daddy!


Our two blondies


At 6 mile, on the beach


Supper at a fish camp


Josh & August Brown, cutting wood for the winter


Went to visit Josh & August in action!


The spoils


Working on building a wheelchair ramp at the church




The finished product!


I was constantly looking for my ear plugs. For some strange reason they were highly popular with the kids!



Oh, is that how you use them?



Visiting Edna, at her camp. Her cabin was built in 1936. We enjoyed trying our first dried salmon.


Edna’s family’s fish camp is the site of an earlier settlement of the Tahltan people.


An old church



Another old church




The smoke house



An air band performance!



Fr.Vincent blessing/dedicating the new sign! Donated by our twin parish St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Victoria. Now people can find us!


Fr. Vincent Travers is a priest from Ireland who comes every summer to the Whitehorse diocese to help our priests. It was wonderful to meet him. Seven years ago  Fr. Vincent visited St. Mary’s in Chilliwack. He had just returned from the Yukon and spoke to the faithful during his homily about the role of the laity in serving in Northern communities. That homily was the spark that ignited our whole journey north! Fr. Vincent said, “You never know the impact your words will have on others!”


Good Friday

The death of Jesus Christ, on which we contemplate and reflect today, in the gospel, can be a hard reality to face. Jesus, the Son of God, is mocked and scorned, alienated and abandoned, executed like a common criminal, ALL FOR US.

But WHY?

We can stand today, along with the mother of our Lord, the mother of the Church, at the foot of the cross. If we do stand here, with purity of heart, we open ourselves to enter into this mystery of love, a love that goes beyond anything this world can offer. Standing here we see the cross, we see the innocent and kind Son of God hanging there, battered and bloodied, fastened to the tree in such a cruel way.

Our loving Lord willingly choosing that brutal death in order that we might be saved, BECAUSE he loves us. Through his Passion and Death on the cross our God rescues us from ourselves!

Today, let us ask ourselves and meditate on, “What is my response to this?”

And let us open ourselves, our hearts, to receiving His deep and life-shaking love for us; His love that says, “I do this all for you. I choose YOU”, as he stretches out His arms to embrace us and free us.