Some thoughts on Children & Youth at SMM, by some of our youth

On Sunday, 14 October, at the luncheon after the 10.00 am Procession & Solemn Parish Mass for the Feast of the Dedication, some of our young people were invited to share their thoughts on what being a young person at SMM has meant to them. For those who were not able to attend, they have graciously agreed to let us print their answers. The luncheon was intended to help us raise money to support our Children & Youth program. If you didn’t have an opportunity to contribute you still can by sending us a cheque, or by visiting our page on Canada Helps.

The image accompanying this post shows Felicity Burbidge (far left) and Nora Lowe (second from right) with two visitors from the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund who came to talk to our Sunday School about what the PWRDF does.

Nora Lowe

I’ve been here at SMM all my life. I began as an honorary member of the Gallery Choir, where my mum Kathryn sings soprano, and now I serve every Sunday and take part in many church activities. 

When I was quite small, a woman called Elaine Choi ran a Sunday School where we learned hymns and other songs. After that, my siblings and I started going with Father David to the O’Neill Centre Nursing Home for the monthly Mass—we would sing a few songs as part of the service. My sister Clare and I still do that seven years later.

I have happy memories of throwing flower petals as a small child during the Corpus Christi procession, and of playing my violin as part of the adult orchestra for the Children’s Messiah.

When I first got to be a boat girl, I was thrilled. As you know, we usually only have boat boys and girls for processions, but I liked boat-girling so much that Father David told me I could do this job whenever I wanted. I don’t know how the thurifers felt about this, but it was great for me…

From boat-girl, I was promoted to a torch, and then an acolyte, a crucifer and a thurifer. I have always really enjoyed being a member of the servers’ guild and have learned so much from my fellow servers.

Once, several years ago, I heard Beatrice and Lizzie doing the Noah’s ark reading at the Easter Vigil, I knew I wanted to do that too. I was really pleased to be added to the regular group of readers, even if my Mum makes me practice over and over for each reading.

I have one memory of being at church the day after my birthday. I had stayed up very late the night before and was pretty tired in the morning, but I had arranged to serve and play my violin, so I had to come to church. The thing I remember most about that morning is holding baby Florence!

Ever since I was little, I have been concerned whenever I see poor people on the street. When I learned that we could take part in the Out-of-the-Cold dinners at St. Thomas’s Church I told my mum that I wanted to help. For the last few years, we have been preparing and serving food to the people that come. I’ve learned a lot from being there.

When Michael came, I started going to his Sunday School and I have enjoyed learning from him as well as working with him as a junior leader at the Daniel’s Courage summer camp. And of course, I have very vivid memories of my baptism this past summer.

What I like about growing up here at SMM is that there are so many different ways for children to take part, and we can each decide for ourselves which of the various child and adult activities we’d like to do and the roles we would like to have.

Felicity Burbidge

Serving at the Mass

I enjoy serving in the Mass, and like my father, I am a big fan of the Old Rite … But there is a little bit more pressure to be formal and sometimes I still have some memory gaps and I blank out and don’t remember what to do.  It is a good thing my Dad is a MC and he can give me little head nods that help direct me.

When I was a little younger, I was often a boat girl.  I was serving as boat girl at one midnight mass and I guess that I got a little tired because I feel asleep in the middle of it.  I wish I could say that it was the only time that I have fallen asleep during Mass, but let’s be honest here, I fall asleep all the time no matter the occasion.

After being a boat girl, I graduated up to being a torch.  This was still a ways back and I was about 10 or 11 and I had really long hair at the time.  Nowadays the torches have candles with wax stoppers that prevent spillage, but back then things were different.  I remember one time that I accidentally tilted my torch backwards and received a shower of wax falling onto my head.  Well that hurt and the only way to remove the wax was by frequent hair combing and having one of my parents help me to pick it out.

When I was about 14, I got to be an acolyte.  That has been going very well, thanks be to God.

And most recently I have become a Thurifer.  There is a funny story about how I got into that role.  I was out for lunch after church with some members of the congregation and I said “I know all the steps to being a Thurifer,” (never do that! especially when Phyllis McCurdy, the Head Server” is listening).  After I recited all the steps, I suddenly found myself as a Thurifer on Sunday.

All in all it has been lots of fun serving at the Masses, especially when it is the Old Rite, and I always look forward to the season of Christmas because it is the most wonderful time of the year and we get to sing my favourite hymns, like Hark the Herald Angels Sing.

Can You Help?


While many of us enjoy festive meals with family and friends, others aren’t always so lucky. We will provide a Thanksgiving dinner at the usual location, St. Thomas Church, Huron Street on Monday, October 8 for our regular guests at 6:00 pm. The traditional turkey and dessert will be provided by others, but SMM has been asked to provide the other fixings - mashed or roast potatoes, vegetables and cranberry sauce. Please join us if you are free to help.

A memorable Consecration


A packed cathedral witnessed a moving liturgy on September 29, where Andrew Asbil became a bishop who will succeed Archbishop Johnson in 2019. Guests assembled starting at 9:00 am for a mid morning service with lively participation from choirs and ensembles from the Cathedral and Church of the Redeemer, where Andrew has served in recent years.

From a smudging ceremony and acknowlegment that we were on ancient first nations territory, to the long entry procession of diocesan clergy - from music offerings of spirituals, folk songs traditional hymns, a Messiaen motet and even U2 - from the Gospel read in Mandarin, to an an inspiring sermon by the Primate from the presentation, including Andrew’s children, parents, clergy and lay friends, to the consecration itself - from the clothing and gifts - a pectoral cross from his parents, a ring from St. James Cathedral, a crozier belonging to the late Bishop Terry Finlay, and other gifts - and then from Andrew’s thanks and exhortation for all of us to be ready to row the boat ashore on the Feast of St. Michael - and finally to the scores of people waiting to shake hands of the newest bishop in our midst. A great day.

Photos: Michael Hudson ODT

A new role for Alana


Alana McCord has played an important role at SMM for several years. When her father retired from the Diocese of Niagara, her mother Patricia Harton McCord, rejoined the parish and returned to the Gallery Choir, which had launched her professional singing career many years earlier. The entire family became involved in the life of the parish and both Fr. Robert and Alana have played strong continuing roles since Patricia’s death in 2011.

Thus we were delighted to hear of Alana’s becoming a deacon heading for the priesthood with a posting to the Diocese of Ottawa, but sad to see her go. She leaves a large gap in parish life as a contributor in many areas - Sunday school and summer camp teacher, community dinner volunteer, adult formation teacher and parish warden - all combined with doctoral studies at the Faculty of Divinity at Trinity College.

Alana was made deacon by Bishop John Chapman at Christ Church Cathedral, Ottawa on September 13, 2018. She will become Associate Curate in the Parish of Epiphany, Gloucester. We wish her well and know that she will contribute much to this congregation in one of Canada’s newest cities. Before this appointment beginning on October 1, we we pleased that Alana could preside at the SMM’s 11:00 mass as deacon for her first time.

Last Day of Camp


Friday found us getting ready to perform for our families in the afternoon.  The previous day we had heard the final story about Daniel in the Lion's Den - the most exciting part of his adventure - and we enjoyed hearing some of the drama. We join it at an exciting point

When it came time for crafts, there was a surprise.  While the plan was to make Babylonian tablets with ancient writing, something had gone wrong with the recipe.  But the results were perhaps more pleasing than expected - Babylonian Slime!

After lunch and a rehearsal the families arrived.  What they witnessed was a review of the whole week - movement, sounds and stories culminating in the climax of the drama when the campers themselves became the inhabitants of the lion's den. A great week!