Monday, April 27, 2009

April 27--St. Peter Canisius; NET Canada Team; St. Hyacinth Polish Parish

Today the Jesuits recall at Mass their brother St. Peter Canisius, priest and doctor of the church. Peter Kanis (Canisius is the Latin form) lived from 1521-1597 and is honored for his heroic defense of Catholicism through teaching, preaching and writing catechisms (I believe he was the first Jesuit to have a book published and this while he was still in formation!) But that was only the beginning; he was also one of the giants of the young Society of Jesus, serving as the first provincial of Germany, a post he held for 14 years. A man of great energy, he founded 18 colleges and authored 37 books; his catechisms went through 200 printings in his lifetime alone.

I chose to focus on him at the morning Mass I offered with a team of young evangelists working at Annunciation of the Lord Parish in Gloucester. They are serving with one of the parish-based National Evangelization Teams of Canada (NET Canada); there are also three travelling teams. Since arriving in Ottawa I have served on NET's Board of Directors and get to preside at their commissioning service in October and their Mass of Thanksgiving held in late May-early June.

It was a joy to speak to them of Canisius and to show how he, like they today, shared in the renewal of the Church. The time before and after the Reformation and Council of Trent was a time calling for great creativity and zeal, as does our age.

At Mass, Deacon Jonathan Blake, newly-returned from Toronto's St. Augustine's Seminary served with me. I invited them all to his priestly ordination this coming Saturday.

There followed breakfast (we were joined by Annunciation's pastor, Msgr Robert Latour), a tour of the Archiepiscopal Residence--(they were introduced to each of predecessors via a thumb-nail sketch--and at the end of this were given a tour of the cathedral and the sacristy (before it opened to the public at 11:30, as early on Monday mornings it is closed for cleaning).

This evening, I visited St. Hyacinth Parish for the Polish-speaking faithful, directed by the Assumption (Polish) Province of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and confirmed twelve young people in grades 6-9. Father Janusz Jajesniak, O.M.I. has been pastor since last summer--transferred from Edmonton--and is learning to find his way around Ottawa. He informed me that this weekend Catholics in Poland (and abroad) will celebrate the 600th anniversary of the designation the Blessed Virgin Mary as Queen of Poland.

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