Every morning from May 25 to June 18, a small group of walking pilgrims will gather in front of Notre Dame Cathedral for the start of the 12-day trek to St. Joseph's Oratory in Montreal, which may be extended by an additional 18 days of pilgrim life en route to the shrine of Ste. Anne-de-Beaupre, just beyond Quebec City.
The Chemin des Outaouais crosses the Ottawa several times, so that journey towards Montreal can take in shrines on either side of the river.
The stopping points before reaching Montreal are: Oreleans, ON; Gatineau-Masson, Thurso, Plaisance, Montebello, QC; L'Orignal, Chute-a-Blondeau, ON; Rigaud, Oka, Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac and Laval, QC. The shortest daily trek is 15 km, the longest, 26, and the average 19.
The hikers stay in makeshift accommodations and pay a nominal $10 per night for their lodging and, if available, $10 for supper and $5 for breakfast.
Abbe Daniel Berniquez and I greeted the first relay on this rather cool morning just before 8 am and offered prayers and a blessing.
May they all be kept safe, find the Lord and his peace in their activity and grow in friendship with their fellow travellers.
This evening I was privileged to preside at the concelebrated Mass for the Canadian Catholic Historical Association, holding its annual convention at Carleton University during the Learned Societies Meeting (May 25-26).
In Halifax, I had the joy of welcoming the Society to Saint Mary's University in 2004 and celebrated Mass in Canadian Martyrs Church that year.
As there is no chapel on campus, Mass was offered in a classroom and was followed by a reception and dinner.
Each year, the CCHA focuses on a matter of local interest and Frank McEvoy offered a tour of St. Patrick's Basilica yesterday in the afternoon. The papers given today began with a unit devoted to Ottawa Catholic life:
Session # 1. Focus on Ottawa
Elizabeth Smyth (OISE/UT), From the Ottawa Valley to the Four Corners of the World: Reconceptualizing the Identity of the Grey Sisters of the Immaculate Conception
Mark McGowan (St. Michael's College, University of Toronto), J.J. O Gorman, Ottawa and the Imperial Irish, 1914-1919
Fred McEvoy (Ottawa), Fr. Aeneas M. Dawson and Canadian Expansionism
The next two sessions took place in the late morning and early afternoon:
Session # 2. Women in the 20th Century Church
Christine Lei (Nipissing University), Setting up Shop - The Arrival of Sisters of Social Service in Hamilton, Ontario
Marilla McCarger (University of Western Ontario), 'For League Members and Their Friends': Gender, Ethnicity and Class in the St. Louis Catholic Women's League, (Waterloo, Ontario) 1924 - 1945
Jacqueline Gresko (Corpus Christi College, University of British Columbia), The Sisters of the Assumption Teaching Japanese Canadians During World War II - Nation, Homeland, Territory
Session # 3. The Impact of the Laity
Gabriela Kasprzak (University of St. Michael's College)
Nationalism in a Catholic Weekly? The Case Study of Gazeta Katolicka in Interwar Canada
Joshua Blank (Carleton University), Pitching, Pies and Piety: Early 20th Century Saint Hedwig Parish Picnics (Renfrew County, Ontario)
Ryan Topping (St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan), Catholic Studies and the Study of Catholicism in Canadian Universities and Colleges: History and Prospects
Tomorrow's papers are as follows:
Session # 4. Developments in the Canadian Church Before and After the Second Vatican Council
Peter Baltutis, (University of St. Michael's College), Rooted in the Vision of Vatican II: Youth Corps and Its Efforts to Empower Young Catholics in Catholic Social Justice, 1966-1984
Robert Dennis, (Queens University), Going back to the Land in the 1930s: Lived Religion and Living Otherwise in Toronto
Heidi MacDonald (University of Lethbridge) and Elizabeth Smyth (OISE/UT), Public History? Motherhouse Museums in Canada, 1962-2008
Session # 5. Saints and the Faithful
Emma Anderson (University of Ottawa)
Nationalist Saint: Jean de Brebeuf and the Politics of Canadian Identity
Donald Boisvert (Laval University), Gerard Raymond: The Making of a French Canadian Adolescent Saint
Laura Smith, (University of Toronto), Nearly all the back township have neglected their Lenten duty: Lay Initiative and Obstacles to Clerical Control in Nineteenth Century Rural Ontario