“St. Basil’s has grown to be much more than just the neighbourhood parish. At first, St. Basil’s gave us a place to worship with beautiful liturgy and music. With the birth of our son, it became a spiritual home for our new family, where we have begun to build friendships with others who are trying to live Christ-centred lives in the middle of the city.
We didn’t expect an urban downtown parish to have so many young families and be so supportive of our roles as parents, but this parish nurtures our vocation to family life. The parish has encouraged us to share our experiences with others through the marriage preparation course. We are blessed to have such a beautiful community to continue to raise and grow our family.”
“Student life is not easy and by that I mean there are times when you experience downsides due to stress and anxiety. But there is always that emptiness in your heart that’s always ambitious for something more. St. Basil’s has been a blessing to me in my life because the sacred space has inspired me to be active in my spiritual life as well as spent more time with God but it’s also the encouraging community that’s always there to welcome you.”
“Now that I have become a parent, it became important to me to have my baby baptized. The preparation class helped me understand my responsibilities in guiding and teaching my child as a Roman Catholic.
St. Basil’s has been my parish for over 7 years, I’m happy to have the St. Basil’s community in my child’s life.”
“Student life can be extremely hectic, as we try to balance our many different obligations, and it is often easy to put faith on the back burner. As a student living and working on campus, I have been able to find my spiritual home at St. Basil’s Church.
St. Basil’s has become a place of solace and encouragement for me, where I can bring my hopes, struggles and joys as I discern God’s will for my life.
Through serving as a Liturgical Minister, I have also been able to learn about the many different opportunities and resources that are available to engage and support students. I am very thankful to be a part of the St. Basil’s community; my experience here has truly enriched my university years, and has helped me to grow in my faith life and as a person.”
“It’s hard to navigate Christian life as an inter-denominational couple. It’s even harder to find a parish community where a Catholic wife and a Protestant husband can both feel comfortable and connected. For us, coming to St. Basil’s and becoming active members of the community was purely coincidental—or was it?
While we may not know exactly what brought us to St. Basil’s, we certainly know what has kept us here. The community of people whom God has gathered together makes this place special. In the relatively short time that we have been active in the community, we have been blessed to have built friendships with incredible people who inspire us to live out the Gospel, challenge us to grow in holiness, and support us unconditionally.
If you open your heart and trust in God, you will find people beyond the doors of St. Basil’s who will change your life. We know—it happened to us!”
“We have been a part of St. Basil’s church for over a year now, and we have decided to baptize our daughter Aliyah there. Not only is it a beautiful church, but the staff and parishioners are very friendly.
The baptism prep class provided us with information of what to expect, and gave us an opportunity to meet other parents planning a baptism. It was nice to share our thoughts with each other.”
“The journey of faith has been a long one for me; it is a continuing one that evolves, as do I with it.
Growing up, I had known God to be angry and punitive. He had to be feared. Nothing escaped him and every indiscretion and sin would be accounted for. Looking back, I realized that my devotion was based on fear and my actions were carried out only to ensure that I would bypass the gates of Hell. My prayer was also negotiated. I promised devotion in exchange for passing exams, for the cure of illnesses or the like.
Therefore, some years ago, when my father was taken unexpectedly, I was angered that God had chosen not to ‘save’ him and keep him alive. Growing anger diminished my relationship with God. In the following years, I showed up at Mass as was required, but though I was physically present, I had ‘checked out’ spiritually. As time passed by, restlessness took residence within my heart and grew with each passing week.
Seeds sown in the past, depending on the seeds themselves, can have the capacity to serve as a compass in the realm of free will. Time and again, I would feel called to reunite with God. Years later, upon reflection, I realized the call had occurred because historical consultations with my spiritual compass had always resulted in favorable circumstances. At this time, St. Basils was the parish I was frequenting as it was close to my place of residence – close to home. I found it a very placid place to be in.
Shortly after, I moved and subsequently changed parishes. The restlessness had now grown by leaps and bounds. Then one day, I came across the St. Philip Neri chapel and started volunteering there. That was the start of my journey on answering the call to reunite with God. Since then, my journey has included reflective retreats, changing parishes to find the ‘best fit’, relinquishing baseless rules, being pushed out of my comfort zones, journeying to the Holy Land, teaching kids, spiritual dance and movement with the handicapped, a pilgrimage to Oberammergau and improving my understanding of theology. In general, I was peeling back the layers and discovering the person beneath. This not only led me to determine who I am and want to be; they also cast God in a new light, as a kind and gentle God.
On a side note, I feel called to point out that recently I came across a painting of the Road to Emmaus, which resonated greatly with me. I felt a similar resonance at Emmaus during my trip to the Holy Land.
My faith and spirituality today are my own and not imposed on me. I no longer fear God, but have come to regard him as a friend. I communicate and deal with him as I would with any dear friend. My relationship with him is completely childlike, unsophisticated and simple. In trusting him, I have started to rediscover the lost child in me. The restlessness has abated and oddly, once again I find myself ‘home’ at St. Basils.