Thursday, July 9, 2009

Seminarian from Gozo; NET Canada Leaders; Youth off to Steubenville, OH

Last evening, it was a joy to welcome to my residence a seminarian from the Island and Diocese of Gozo, Malta.

Mr. Daniel Grech, 21, spent the past year as a pastoral intern at Divine Infant (DI) Parish, Orleans. Today he leaves for some time with priest friends from Gozo serving in the Toronto Archdiocese and he departs by air on July 22, arriving home the next day.

Joining us were Fathers Frank Brewer, pastor and mentor for the pastoral year, Paul Nwaeze, pastoral assistant at DI, Joseph Muldoon, episcopal vicar and Jonathan Blake, recently ordained.

The conversation was betimes light-hearted, occasionally serious, and always friendly. Daniel’s closing report to the parish on Sunday evening included a video presentation on his first encounter with snow (something Father Paul could relate to as he had a similar experience arriving from Nigeria several years ago) as well as many photos of his various experiences (I can remember our time together in Toronto over Christmas at the CCO “Rise Up” Conference).
Besides the photo taken before the image of the Transfigura-tion, we took photos on the patio outside my quarters.

The experience seems to have been a positive one all around for the Seminary in Gozo (Father Frank took his mentoring seriously and has volunteered to take another seminarian next year), for Daniel (he especially loved visiting the grade school children in the parish schools) and for the Parish (many asked how someone so youthful could take the plunge and enter seminary). We await the arrival in the fall of John Paul Cefai.

“Sahha, Daniel!” “Merhba, John Paul!”

Earlier in the day, I had an opportunity to meet with James Mikulasik, Founder and President of NET-Canada, a body dedicated to evangelizing high school aged youth in Canada and Ireland and the CEO, Joe Vogel.

We explored the highs and lows of the ministry of this year’s seven teams (five in Canada, including one based at Annunciation of Our Lord Parish in the Ottawa Archdiocese) and two based in Ireland (as NET-Ireland takes shape), considered options for the future and blue-skied the coming year and its manifold activities.

NET Canada Team stationed at Annuncia-tion Parish 2008-2009, at year-end liturgy in Archbishop's Chapel, Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica

Since the time of Most Reverend Marcel Gervais, the Archbishop of Ottawa has had an important role in the structure and guidance of NET Canada and I am pleased to be part of this exciting missionary enterprise that brings the blessing of God’s Good News to so many who are just waiting to embrace the joy of their faith, encounters with Christ in the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion and to explore fellowship with other followers of Christ, deeply encouraged to find they are not alone.

Thanks to so many benefactors and volunteers who make this possible and to the young people from across our country who serve each year as witnesses to their peers and heralds of the gospel. God bless one and all!


Tomorrow, buses taking some eighty high school youth and chaperones to a High School Youth Conference at Franciscan University of Steubenville leave the Diocesan Centre at 5am!

Wisely or not, I will be on the buses with them (I did this several times in Nova Scotia as hundreds of teens shuttled the sixteen hours each way to “Steubenville East” at the Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette in Attleboro, Massachusetts and back) and was happy when in 2007 “Steubenville Atlantic” began to be offered in Antigonish, NS, a mere three hours away!

Accordingly, blogging will be unpredictable until our return late Sunday night. Please keep us all in your prayers.

1 comment:

  1. The Archbishop of Ottawa certainly has a welcoming and open heart for everyone. Know that you are assured of the prayers of "a young priest" in the Caribbean !