Photos courtesy of Maria di Paolo

Altar Server

The Altar Servers assist the members of the liturgical assembly by presenting or arranging vessels and other items used in the celebrations and their reverent and efficient service enables other ministers to attend to their own roles while the liturgical actions unfold with calm, order and appropriate decorum. As members of the assembly who are often visible to all, the Altar Servers also model good liturgical participation.

Altar Servers usually commit to assisting with one of the regular Sunday masses, including the 5:00 p.m. Vigil Mass on Saturday.

Altar Servers must be fully initiated Roman Catholics. If you would like to serve as an Altar Server contact the Parish Office by email or by calling 416-926-7110.

Basil’s Brigade

There is always work to be done around St Basil’s… As a response to the constant need for extra hands, we have assembled our finest on-the-go helpers. By signing up, you will be receiving an occasional email that lists various events, activities, and needs that require a little extra elbow grease. This could include setting-up or tearing-down an event, carrying heavy equipment, stuffing bulletins, selling or baking items for bake sales, cleaning parts of the building, setting up the altar for a new season, etc. The opportunities are as varied as the activities at the parish. Many hands make light work!

This is a noncommittal, occasional volunteer team. Upon receiving an email, you may reply with which tasks you can assist with, based upon your availability. There are no obligatory meeting times, only the listed opportunities that will vary with each season. A good candidate will have elbow grease, a joyful attitude, and a good work ethic! Upon receiving an email, just show up at the designated time and place and be ready to help!

To join the mailing list, email Michael at michael.pirri@utoronto.ca

Basilian Lay Associates

The Basilian Lay Associates hope to respond more fully to our Baptismal call to holiness and service, and to offer support to the Basilian Fathers through prayer, ministry and communal sharing. Each BLA is committed to the Basilian charisms of education and evangelization and share a special relationship with the Basilian community through their prayer and support.

Associates gather once a month for regular gathering of prayer, fellowship and faith development with the Basilian Fathers of the Toronto region. Most often, this occurs on the first Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm near St. Basil’s Church.

Initially, it is only necessary that a prospective BLA be a committed Catholic to attend gatherings. After attending a few gatherings, an initial interview proceeds a “come and see” period to get to know the group better.

Since membership requires public commitment to the Basilian Way of Life, individuals are asked to pray the Divine Office, meet with a spiritual director on a regular basis and attend a retreat once a year. While these requirements may seem formidable at first, they form the basis for a formal, and official, relationship with the Basilian Fathers.

For more information, you can contact Anastasia Oehlert through the parish office at office@stbasiltoronto.org or 416-926-7110.

Choirs

The role of the choir is to support the singing of the assembly, as well as to enhance the assembly’s prayer with other chants and musical settings fitting for liturgy.

The St. Basil’s choirs sing for the 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sunday Eucharists (September-June) and for major feasts of the Church year. Their repertoire encompasses a broad spectrum of musical periods and styles, including Gregorian chant, Renaissance polyphony, and traditional and contemporary hymnody.

For more information on the choir and music at St. Basil’s, please click here.

Christian Meditation Group

Meditation is a way of simplicity, silence and stillness. It can be practised by anyone from wherever you are on your life’s journey. In Christianity this tradition became marginalised and even forgotten or suspect. But in recent times a great recovery of the contemplative dimension of Christian faith has been happening. Central to this now is the rediscovery of a practice of meditation in the Christian tradition that comes to us from the early Christian monks (the Desert Fathers and Mothers) and allows us to put into practice the teaching of Jesus on prayer in a radical and simple way. John Main has a major role in this contemporary renewal of the contemplative tradition. His teaching of this ancient tradition of prayer is rooted in the Gospels and the early Christian monastic tradition of the Desert.

We gather two days a week in the St. Basil Parish Decker Room (Basement Room 006):

• Wednesday – 5:30 pm (co-leaders: Marie Dyach and Elaine Mills)
• Saturday – 3:30 pm (leader Rob Bedolfe)

There are no requirements for volunteering; it is only necessary to be clear about the practice and then to begin – and keep on beginning.

For more information, Elaine Mills is the contact person and may be reached through the Parish Office by email or by calling 416-926-7110.

Contemplative Women of St. Anne

The Contemplative Women of St. Anne was founded in the Archdiocese of Toronto (at St. Basil’s Church) in 2012 to provide for study, prayer, growth and support for women who desire, or are already practicing, lives of contemplative prayer.

The community guides and upholds individual discernment, while exploring and sharing the wisdom of women saints and doctors of the Church. We concentrate our studies within the feminine mystical tradition of the Church, enriching the essential experience of silence.

The spiritual core of the vocation is to learn the stages and degrees of attentive love for and with Jesus, in order to purify and open the heart and will to God alone. It is an interior path.

A contemplative woman of St. Anne desires deep intimacy with the heart of Jesus and complete surrender to God.   In the past such desire was fulfilled by entering the cloister or monastery and taking vows as a religious.

Not able to follow a traditional religious life, a contemplative woman of St. Anne is nonetheless a religious woman and welcomes a way to commit herself within her own living reality as single or married.

The Contemplative Women of St. Anne community offers spiritual companionship, prayerful encounter and dedicated learning, while addressing the challenges of being contemplative in the modern world.

We exist as a community of lay women contemplatives that offers mutual support for deepening contemplative prayer in an ongoing process to interior unity with the heart of Jesus. We do this by studying the wisdom of women saints and mystics and by the practice of creative arts (in line with women’s monastic tradition). We offer prayer for each other’s intentions, the Church and the needs of the world.  We are carriers of contemplative love in solitude as well as in the company of others.

We meet at St. Basil’s once a month (on Sunday afternoons) for 2.5 hours and every two weeks for an hour of “Common Prayer.” Members are Catholic women who naturally have a contemplative disposition and desire community to share and to grow. To become a full member requires 3 stages of discernment and formation. We anticipate welcoming new interested members in January 2018.

Lucinda M. Vardey is the contact person and may be reached through the parish office at office@stbasiltoronto.org or 416-926-7110.

Eucharistic Minister

The Extraordinary Ministers of Communion serve the Eucharistic life of the community. They are acknowledged by the bishop at the request of the Pastor to assist the celebrant and other Ordinary Ministers during the liturgy in sharing the Eucharistic body and blood of Christ.

Extraordinary Ministers of Communion assist with serving the eucharistic at all of our masses. Ministers for our Sunday masses, including the 5:00 p.m. Vigil mass on Saturday, serve according to a schedule. Typically ministers serve two to three times in every two month period.

All Extraordinary Ministers of Communion must be fully initiated Roman Catholics. Previous experience is not necessary and training is provided.

If you would like to serve as an Extraordinary Minister of Communion, please contact the Parish Office by email or by calling 416-926-7110.

Flower Guild

The flower ministry is one of giving glory to God through beauty. We beautify our altar and church with flower arrangements and/or plants using our various talents in creativity and practicality as well as our availability.

We alternate from meeting weekly on Saturdays for the arrangement and/or during the week for watering and maintenance. We have a schedule which allows anyone to contribute as much as s/he feels called to do.

There are no specific requirements needed for to partake in the flower ministry other than a willingness to contribute time and care.

We welcome anyone who enjoys working with flowers and creating arrangements or watering them to keep them fresh. Please join us – the more the merrier! You can contact Mario Manza through the parish office at office@stbasiltoronto.org or 416-926-7110.

John Ford First Sunday Food Drive

The First Sunday Food Drive gathers food and monetary donations for the social justice ministries at St. Basil’s.  This includes:  St. Vincent de Paul, Out of the Cold, and The Miller Group.

Inspired by the voice of the founder, John Ford, the ministry also gives a voice to the needs of the local community and good work of parishioners as they respond to those needs.  This is done by capturing and sharing stories (as they are appropriate) and conveying those to the parish community.

On the first Sunday of each month, two volunteers will stand in the vestibule and collect food and donations. There are also two volunteers who pick up the donations and deliver the non-parishables to the food bank on the following Monday.

A willingness to be here on a Sunday for certain Mass times to collect donations.

Contact the Social & Community Coordinator, Michael, (416) 926-7110 for more information.

Magdala

Magdala is a conciliary (a place to gather and listen to God’s word from the lips of God’s people). Its mission is to foster, promote and share feminine sanctity and wisdom through the love of Jesus Christ.

Magdala is formed in response to Pope Francis’ invitation –

1.  to develop a profound theology of women,

2.  to interpret and understand the feminine dimension of the Church,

3.  to advance participation of women in all levels of Church and society.

Magdala offers discussion, education, relationship and community. Meeting once a month, subjects and themes to be shared include awareness and knowledge of feminine principles, influences from scripture and culture, defining feminine genius and natural/spiritual maternity.

Future subjects will explore feminine virtues and the wisdom and work of female saints along with participants’ individual life and faith experiences.

Magdala is a Toronto-based initiative for complementing and contributing to a series of seminars scheduled for 2016-2018 in Rome entitled Towards an Intrinsic Feminine Theology.

Magdala offers a place for women in the Church to recognize and embrace who they are in God.

For more information contact:

Emily VanBerkum: emily.vankerbum@utoronto.ca

Michael Pirri: michael.pirri@utoronto.ca

Marriage & Family Life Prayer Ministry

To ask God to open the hearts of individuals, married couples and families must live in a way that would bring joy, peace, hope and love to their lives. There are be prayers for marriage and family every day of the month.

Members are encouraged to pray on their own on their designated day of the month. Additionally, the group gathers once a year on or around the feast of St. Joseph, Patron of Families. During that time, we celebrate Mass, have light refreshments, and invited speaker leads a session on prayer or topic of their choice.

There are no requirements for joining except, an openness to prayer for marriage and family in their own way or using guide book

The coordinators are Dane and Anne MacCarthy, who may be reached through the parish office at 416-926-7110 or at office@stbasiltoronto.org.

Miller Group

As an important community outreach initiative, the Miller Group provides simple, but nutritious, packed lunches for those in need. Members help to shop for supplies, prepare sandwiches and pack and distribute the lunches.

Within each activity (Purchasing, Preparing sandwiches, and Distribution), members rotate on a scheduled basis every 4 weeks. Purchasing happens according to the schedule of the shopper. Sandwiches are prepared on Sunday afternoons at 2:30 pm in the Parish Kitchen. Distribution occurs on the same day, between 3:00 and 4:00 pm. Volunteers are always welcome to join on a regular (weekly) or occasional basis.

There are no volunteer requirements to work with the Miller Group, except for friendliness and reliability. You are also welcome to come by and simply have a cup of coffee/tea with the patrons anytime. Many of them are excellent conversationalists.

Veronica Courtois is the coordinator for the Miller Group, and may be reached through the Parish Office by email or 416-926-7110.

Ministry of Visitation

There are many in our community who are not able to come to the church, so we go to visit them.  Some of these are sick and others are elderly, or perhaps they have difficulty walking outside during the harsh winter months.

There are no formal gatherings, but ministers go out as they are needed.  Many ministers are sent at the end of Mass on Sunday to visit once a week, those who have requested a visit.  Other ministers are also family or friends of those receiving a visit. In the end, it is up to the minister and recipient to arrange a schedule or a one-time visit.

Those who would like a visit by a minister need to live within the St. Basil’s Parish boundaries.  All visitors need to be trained, and must also serve as a Eucharistic Minister and complete the necessary background checks.

If you would like to receive a visitor or sign up to be a visitor, you can contact the parish office at office@stbasiltoronto.org or 416-926-7110.

Out of the Cold

The Out of the Cold program was initiated in 1987 by the students of St. Michael’s School with the support and guidance of Sister Susan Moran of the order of Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow. The program was established after a group of students befriended a homeless man who had frequented the area near the school. Within a couple of weeks the relationship between the Students and the homeless man, he unfortunately died. This impacted the Students deeply and with Sr. Susan they began discussing what they could do to alleviate homelessness. The plan was simply that the faith group volunteers would open their doors one day a week for a period of approximately 23 weeks as well as provide food and hospitality to the homeless which are considered Guests of the program. Today there are 19 different programs – all with the same simple purpose: to provide food and hospitality for those who need it most.

We gather every Tuesday from 10:30 am – 1:00 pm.

There are no requirements to joining, all we ask is that you bring a generous heart, and be willing to serve, learn and listen to those who are our guests! You can come one week and miss the next or for the whole time or just for what you can give.

For more information, simply call the parish office at 416-926-7110 or at office@stbasiltoronto.org.

Seniors Gentle Fitness Classes

No matter how old you are, it is important to stay in shape, but it helps when you are in a nice environment with people you like.

Our Gentle Fitness Program is taught by a certified instructor, who has been teaching for more than 30 years. Her approach is designed for seniors, and can accommodate all fitness and mobility levels.

We gather Wednesday morning at 10:00 AM on a weekly basis in the Ardèche hall. Entrance to the hall is through Scollard Park on the West side of the building.

Each class costs $7.00. No registration is necessary for your first visit – all you need to do is show up!

Simply call the parish office at 416-926-7110 or drop by to check it out.

Singing Club

Singing Club has been meeting at The University of St Michael’s College since fall 2009, coming together weekly in term time, just for the pleasure of singing. We sing songs people love to sing – covers of top 40 hits to the songs we grew up singing and still love to sing.

We gather Thursdays from 1:00-2:00 PM in the Decker Room.

The only requirements are an enthusiasm for singing—there is no audition and no one is required to sing solo.

For more information visit our Facebook or from the group’s coordinator Michael O’Connor (michael.oconnor@utoronto.ca). Or just turn up!

Society of Sharing

Our goal is to improve quality of life, and reduce social isolation and vulnerability, among seniors and adults with physical disabilities living in downtown Toronto. We accomplish this by recruiting, screening, and matching volunteers with clients to provide the following programs and services: Friendly Visiting, Medical/Shopping Escorts, Socialization Groups, and Telephone Reassurance.

Our Friendly Visits, Telephone Reassurance, and Socialization Groups are offered weekly. Our Medical/Shopping Escorts are provided as needed.

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old, must complete our training and screening requirements, and must be willing to commit 2-4 hours weekly, for at least 6 months to 1 year.

To find out more about our client programs and services, please contact us at 416-413-0380 ext. 222 or info@societyofsharing.org. If you require services that are not offered by our agency, we can help connect you to additional community resources.

If you are interested in volunteering, please visit our website at www.societyofsharing.org to view our volunteer application process, or contact us at 416-413-0380 ext. 224 or info@societyofsharing.org.

St. Vincent De Paul

Members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul are dedicated to helping the poor and disadvantaged in our area. Members visit Neighbours-in-Need in their homes and help with food and clothing vouchers. We also request beds and furniture from our warehouse which are delivered free of charge. From time to time, we are able to assist people to pay ultility bills. Most imporantly we listen to people when we visit.

We meet on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 6:30 pm in the Decker room (or the parish hall if it is free). Members go out on visits in pairs Monday to Friday.

In order to volunteer, there is an application process to become a member, which includes an application form asking for the name and address of three references. In addition, there is a criminal record check which the conference pays for. Lastly, there is an interview and a covenant form. All paperwork is then sent to the Central office and then the member is invited to an Orientation session, after which he/she gets a pin and a certificate.

Barbara Bobb is the contact person and may be reached through the Parish Office by email or 416-926-7110. St. Vincent de Paul also has a direct line at 416-926- 1300 ext. 3468.

Sunday Baking Company

St. Basil’s hosts a Bake Sale on special days of the year. But these aren’t just your average Bake Sales… behind every cupcake and cookie, there’s a pair of hands and a heart with vision in tasty aesthetics. You could be one of those hard working hands who works closely with one of the best bakers in the city.

Upon joining, there is a lesson with Irene Dale that lasts for one Sunday morning/afternoon. After that, you will independently produce baked goods for the Bake Sale. When there is an upcoming Bake Sale (Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, etc), you will be contacted to see if you can contribute, what you can contribute, and if you are able to sell. If you are only interested in selling and not baking, you are most welcome to help sell at one or more Masses on Saturdays or Sundays.

This is an intimate and committed group with a passion for intricate baking tasks. If you are interested in learning, are already experienced and want to learn more, and are readily available for Sundays (when baking and selling goods happens) we’d be happy to have you!

For more information, or to check availability for baking lessons, or to volunteer to help sell baked goods, please contact Michael, Social & Community Coordinator