Wednesday, April 29, 2009

April 29--St. Catherine of Siena: Blessing of a Chalice and Paten; Death of a Missionary to Brazil; Famille Myriam Beth'lehem

Each morning we have Mass at 6:30 in the house chapel, which I concelebrate unless I have another Eucharist scheduled. Deacon Jonathan had asked me to bless the chalice and paten given him by his parents for his ordination. This was done and the sacred vessels were used for the first time at this morning's Mass.

We have a striking painting of St. Catherine of Siena by the French-Canadian painter Antoine Plamondon (1804-1895) on my corridor and I think often of her life and teaching as I pass by the depiction of one of the first women (with St. Teresa of Avila) designated by Pope Paul VI as a doctor of the church.

The morning was my time for preparing the homily for Saturday's ordination. On arriving at the office I met Abbe Gilles Marcil who had spent the morning addressing funeral plans for a missionary to Brazil with whom he had served. The mission began in the fall of 1959 before the Quebec dioceses of Hull (now the Archdiocese of Gatineau) and Mont Laurier were established from the territory of Ottawa. Abbe Jean-Roch, though born in Ottawa, was a priest of Gatineau and the last of the Canadians active in the mission territory.

Abbe Gilles was frustrated that it would have proven more complicated to import cremated remains for burial here than to have an embalmed corpse flown back; in the end, with the family's consent, the decision was taken that the burial should take place in Brazil. The funeral, therefore, took place today after the priest's sudden passing (probably from a heart attack). It was clear that the loss of this priest-associate had moved Abbe Gilles deeply; I promised to offer Mass for the repose of the soul of his former associate tomorrow. Eternal rest grant to him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.

This evening I walked over to Eglise Sacre-Coeur, directed by the Oblate Fathers, for a meeting with members of Famille Myriam Beth'lehem, a new movement of lay and consecrated persons (including two priests) based in the Diocese of Baie-Comeau. I met some of the leaders when attending Mgr Jean-Pierre Blais' installation on March 11.

These mentioned that visits take place in Ottawa once a month on a Wednesday evening, with representatives coming from their residence in Montreal to encourage those following this Marian spirituality. In summarizing their gift to the church, they speak of the three yeses: the first yes to one's baptism, then a second one to Mary and the third to the Church.

There were close to twenty in attendance, about half of them Haitian immigrants who find the joyful spirituality in accord with their outlook on the faith (we sang a closing "Magnificat" in Creole).


  1. Hey!

    Very cool that you're blogging---and it gives me quite an appreciation for how busy the life of a Bishop really is! Thanks---this is a very valuable exercise.

  2. Thank you for your writting. It is beautiful to be able to connect to your journey. It has been a blessing to be able to pray for you with the information you provided. Thank you for being a great Bishop. My son, age 3 1/2, still talks about when you visited our parish (almost one year ago). He loves the picture of you and our family which we placed on our fridge.