Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the questions below to see their answers.

The Prayer Connection is a vehicle through which parishioners can learn about and then support each other, primarily through prayer. It further fosters our friendship and unity by providing a means for us to say how God has answered our prayers and testimonies of how He has spoken to us.

Saint John Paul II wrote: "To make the Church the home and the school of communion: that is the great challenge facing us in the millennium.

But what does this mean in practice? Here too, our thoughts could run immediately to the action to be undertaken, but that would not be the right impulse to follow. Before making practical plans, we need to promote a spirituality of communion... A spirituality of communion also means an ability to think of our brothers and sisters in faith within the profound unity of the Mystical Body, and therefore as "those who are a part of me". This makes us able to share their joys and sufferings, to sense their desires and attend to their needs, to offer them deep and genuine friendship.

Let us have no illusions: unless we follow this spiritual path, external structures of communion will serve very little purpose. They would become mechanisms without a soul, "masks" of communion rather than its means of expression and growth." (Apostolic Letter NOVO MILLENNIO INEUNTE)

The Prayer Connection is more than a Facebook-sty;e communication vehicle for us to learn about each other. Through praying for the intentions of other parishioners, we invite the Holy Spirit into a deep and genuine friendship with each other.

Since the Prayer Connection is intended to foster the spiritual unity and friendship with the St. Mary's Parish community, we ask that prayer intentions be for parishioners, their families and the Companions of the Cross. General prayer intentions, such as for world peace, are important but not part of this website.

Besides our specific needs, we are encouraged to post prayer intentions to thank God for good things He has recently brought into our lives. We are also encouraged post how our prayer intentions have been answered and recent testimonies of how we have felt Him speaking to us.

God answers prayer like the most-loving of parents. "Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread?" (Matthew 7:9-10). We then should ask like children with great faith: "So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help." (Hebrews 4:16). There is no request that is too big or too small for God as "even all the hairs of your head are counted." (Matthew 10:30).

Just as a parent knows not all requests are best for their child, so God, in His wisdom, does not always grant our petitions. And sometimes answers are delayed to encourage us to pray more, work harder or learn patience.

God has encouraged us to pray as a community, so please post your petitions and follow-up comments so we can pray along with you.

Sometimes a parishioner may seek support through prayer, but does not wish to fully disclose the situation. For example, sometimes confidentiality is sought for a medical condition. The desired level of confidentiality can be achieved through omitting names, omitting details and/or perhaps asking a parishioner friend to make the posting. So a prayer intention could be something like "for an anonymous parishioner who recently was diagnosed with bone cancer" or "that an anonymous parishioner is able to change jobs."In an extreme situation, it could be called simply a "specific intention".

The spiritual unity that we seek is best fostered when we know some specifics of what we are praying for, but it is more important that we pray together as a parish supporting one another's needs. Even when the details of what and whom we are praying for are omitted, we request the answers to the prayers be shown in the comments to the post.

Yes, some parishioners have committed to actively pray for the prayer intentions, but the point of the Prayer Connection is to encourage all parishioners to support each other through prayer.

No, prayer requests are not reviewed in advance of being accepted on the site. In the unlikely event that an inappropriate prayer request is made, it will be removed and the parishioner posting the inappropriate material will be contacted with an explanation.

The Prayer Connection was developed through the Spirit of Wisdom Community, a small Christian community associated with St. Mary's Roman Catholic Parish in Ottawa, Canada. It was in response to frequent sermons over two years on the need to build a community by Pastor Roger Vandenakker CC.

Pope Benedict XVI teaches “Without in any way detracting from this commandment of universal love, the Church also has a specific responsibility: within the ecclesial family no member should suffer through being in need. The teaching of the Letter to the Galatians (6:10) is emphatic: ‘So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, and especially to those who are of the household of faith’” (Deus Caritas Est Encyclical Letter).

A vibrant community can then serve others better and attract followers to Jesus.

The Prayer Connection program was designed to maintain a high level of confidentiality. Your address and phone number will only be available to the parish leadership.

The confidentiality is further protected by limiting access to the site to registered members of the parish.

The first aspect of the Prayer Connection is to connect spiritually to each other through prayer. The website also provides the ability for parishioners to connect with one another through email without disclosing the email address, to share information about upcoming events and to post needs or offers of service to each other.

If you wish to send an email message to a parishioner but do not have their email address, you can send the message through the Prayer Connection system. While the other parishioner's email address is hidden, the system will direct the message to them. When this happens, your email address will be visible to the parishioner for their reply.

To do this, go to your profile page on the Prayer Connection website and search for the other parishioner. When you go their profile page, a contact form is displayed for you to send the message.

The Church administration also has the ability to send a message to all parishioners on the system or all the parishioners within one of the groups.

The purpose of listing certain ministries is to allow the parish leadership to send bulk email messages to all parishioners interested in that group. Top keep the list to a manageable level, some ministries with a small number of participants have not been identified.

You do not have to be active in a group to receive messages for that group. For example, if you wish to receive pro-life messages, sign-up for that group. Of course, the pastor may decide to send a certain pro-life message to all parishioners rather than only to the identified group.

The Events section is more than a listing of the event. It offers the event organizer the chance to explain more about the event. As well, parishioners can ask questions, make comments, confirm attendance and arrange transportation.

No, this section is also intended to inform parishioners of other Christian events that may be of interest. It is also a place where parishioners can set-up a group to meet for a secular event, like going to a movie or watching a hockey game.

No, you are not making a commitment. If you offer to do a certain service, you may receive an email from another parishioner asking for that help. It is then up to you to respond and provide whatever help you wish to give.

The codes give a general indication of the type of help. The comment box is intended to provide more detail regarding the help so that someone searching the code can have a better idea if sending a message is appropriate.

The system is designed so that every evening you will receive a re-cap of the new postings of the past 24 hours. If you go to your profile on the website, you can adjust the detail you will receive in the email. As well, if you may opt-out and follow prayer requests by visiting the website whenever you wish to read new material.

For security reasons, each member must have a distinctive email address. If you wish to share an email address, we suggest you set-up a free gmail account and then have all messages automatically forwarded to your shared email account. The steps to do this are:

a. Go the gmail page, either by clicking on gmail in the black bar across the top of google.ca (or google.com) or by searching for gmail.

b. click on the red "create an account" box in the upper right and follow the steps to create an account.

c. Once you have your account and are signed-in, you can forward all emails to the address you currently share. Click on the settings wheel in the upper right of the screen and then click again on settings to go to the settings page.

On the settings page, click on the blue "Forwarding and POP/IMAP" tab on the bar across the top and then click on "add a forwarding address." Enter the shared email address, click and next and then click on confirm.

d. Google will send an email to your shared email address. Click on the link they give in the message. It will say you are successful, but you are not finished yet.

e. Go back to the gmail account, settings and then to the "forwarding and POP/IMAP" and select forwarding to your shared account. Save the changes at the bottom of the page. Do not be concerned about the message that the notice about your forwarding will expire in 7 days. It is the notice that expires, not the forwarding.

f. Test the system by sending an email to the gmail account to make sure that it is forwarded to your shared account.

If you do not have internet access, call the parish office (613-728-9811) or the site administrator John Brooks (613-728-8035) and we will arrange for someone to work with you by telephone. We recognize that parishioners without internet access are often in need of support.