Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

Tastes of Heaven goes virtual again

  • April 20, 2022

The annual Catholic Missions In Canada Tastes of Heaven Gala scheduled for April 28 is back in a virtual format for the second straight year.

Adam Helmers, Catholic Mission’s digital communications officer, said sticking with a livestreamed approach made sense for two reasons. The first is attracting a nationwide viewership while also satiating stakeholders who still don’t feel quite comfortable for a large-scale in-person gala.

The annual event moved from a sit-down dinner to a virtual dinner due to pandemic restrictions against gatherings. This year there will be a wine tasting paired with fine chocolates, as well as a cooking demonstration.

Much of the evening’s itinerary is dedicated towards how Catholic Missions is restoring its “old normal” activities, said Helmers.

“(President) Fr. David Reilander and (stewardship officer) Joe Gennaro will specifically talk about how things are opening up again, and how Catholic Missions In Canada will start increasing its funding for those different initiatives that are getting started up again,” said Helmers.

Those areas are missionary sustenance, education of seminarians, repair and maintenance of mission churches, religious education programs and formation programs for lay leaders. Only missionary sustenance remained funded during the pandemic lockdown.   

Reilander and Gennaro were able to travel to the Northwest Territories, Yukon and destinations along the Pacific coast to chronicle the ongoing evangelization efforts of Catholic Missions’ missionaries. A multimedia presentation of their travels will be showcased during the gala, which includes Reilander’s interview with Whitehorse Bishop Hector Vila.

Catholic Missions is rebranding its missionary achievement award from the St. Joseph’s Award to the St. Philip Neri Award. St. Philip Neri is the patron saint of Catholic Missions In Canada. Trudy Moessener, pastoral administrator at the Mission Teslin Parish — also known as the Immaculate Heart of Mary — and a member of the Madonna House Apostolate, will be the first recipient of this rebranded recognition.

Helmers said steadfast support from donors helped CMIC weather the storms of 2020-2021. He hopes the gala will help cultivate a desire within more Canadians to give.

“Not all missions are foreign missions,” he said. “Some of the most in-need missions are here in Canada. Take the opportunity to learn more about the needs at home.”

Register at The mailing deadline has passed to receive the bottles of wine from Waupoos Estates Winery and the chocolate from Donini Chocolate that will feature in a tasting led by winemaker Amy Baldwin. But they will still get to watch her presentation and the cooking demonstration from Christian Pritchard, executive chef of Aurora Importing & Distribution.

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