Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Remembering Abp Larry BURKE with family, friends - The Sacred Triduum

Last week, I gathered on two occasions with family, friends and associates of the late Archbishop Lawrence Burke, S.J. to commend him to the Lord and to ask for God's consolation on those who grieve his passing.

The first celebration was in Toronto at Regis College, where Jamaican expatriates joined his sisters Barbara and Marjorie (Madge) for Mass and a reception.

The evening was planned by the Old Boys of St. George's College, Kingston (Jamaica) as well as alumnae of Immaculata and Alpha schools there

Concelebrating were Fathers Jim Webb (Jesuit Provincial), Roland Tullach (ordained by Archbishop Burke on December 30, 2009), Michael Traher, SFM (whose priests served with +Larry in Nassau, Bahamas); Barbara Burke is at the far right

Madge Burke, in the wheelchair, at the reception following Mass

Later, on Saturday, I offered Mass at St. Mary's Parish, Almonte, where his sister Cynthia and her husband George Stewart reside.

The Stewarts of Almonte, ON

Afterwards, Pastor Father Lindsay Harrison and I joined the Stewarts and some friends for supper, during which they presented to me a pectoral cross that had belonged to Archbishop Larry.

* * * * * *

Pope Benedict XVI on the Sacred Triduum

Today at the Wednesday audience, the Holy Father spoke about the coming three days, the highpoint of the liturgical year:

Tomorrow the Church begins her celebration of the Easter Triduum, a time devoted to silent prayer and contemplation of the mystery of the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection. The liturgies of these days invite us to ponder Christ’s saving sacrifice and his promise of new life.

In this Year for Priests, the Holy Thursday Chrism Mass, at which priests renew the promises made on the day of their ordination, will take on a particular significance. May priests everywhere be conformed ever more closely to Christ as heralds of his message of hope, reconciliation and peace!

The Mass of the Lord’s Supper, celebrated the evening of Holy Thursday, recalls the institution of the sacraments of the Eucharist and Holy Orders.

The liturgy of Good Friday, in which we enter into the mystery of Christ’s redemptive death, invites us to contemplate the deep relationship between the Last Supper and the sacrifice of Calvary.

Following the great silence of Holy Saturday, the Easter Vigil proclaims the resurrection of Christ and his victory over sin and death. May the joy of the resurrection even now fill our hearts as we prepare to celebrate the great events of the Lord’s passover from death to the fullness of life.

* * * * * *

The WAY OF THE CROSS (Eighth Station): Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

Mary, my Mother, you were the first to live the Way of the Cross.
You felt every pain and every humiliation. You were unafraid of the
ridicule heaped upon you by the crowds. Your eyes were ever on Jesus
and His Pain. Is that the secret of your miraculous strength? How did your
loving heart bear such a burden and such a weight? As you watched Him
stumble and fall, were you tortured by the memory of all the yesterdays-
His birth, His hidden life and His ministry?

You were so desirous of everyone loving Him. What a heartache it was
to see so many hate Him - hate with a diabolical fury. Take my hand as I
make this Way of the Cross. Inspire me with those thoughts that will make
me realize how much He loves me. Give me light to apply each station to my
daily life and to remember my neighbor's needs in this Way of the Pain.

Obtain for me the grace to understand the mystery, the wisdom
and the Divine love as I go from scene to scene. Grant that my heart, like
yours, may be pierced through by the sight of His sorrow and the misery and
that I may determine never to offend Him again. What a price He paid to
cover my sins, to open the gates of heaven for me and to fill my soul with His
own Spirit . Sweet Mother, let us travel this way together and grant that the
love in my poor heart may give you some slight consolation.

The WAY OF THE CROSS (Ninth Station): Jesus Falls the Third Time

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Last Canon/le dernier chanoine: Mgr Jean Fairfield (1915-2010) - The Ottawa Mass of CHRISM tonight at 7:30

Photo: Canons of the Chapter of the Holy Saviour in Brugues, Belgium

Roman Catholic Canons (from Wikepdia):

A canon (from the Latin canonicus, itself derived from the Greek κανονικος "relating to a rule") is a priest who is a member of certain bodies of the Christian clergy subject to an ecclesiastical rule (canon).

Originally, a canon was a cleric living with others in a clergyhouse or, later, in one of the houses within the precinct or close of a cathedral and ordering his life according to the orders or rules of the church. This way of life grew common (and is first documented) in the 8th century.

In the 11th century, some churches required clergy thus living together to adopt the rule first proposed by Saint Augustine that they renounce private wealth. Those who embraced this change were known as Augustinians or Canons Regular, whilst those who did not were known as secular canons.

* * * * * *

Ottawa's Last Titular Canon

Before Mgr Fairfield died on March 26, less than a day after Mgr Lariviere, they were the only two remaining canons of the Cathedral Chapter of Notre Dame, Ottawa. Thus, their deaths mark the passing of an era. Our resident student in Canon Law indicated that my successors and I have the next 100 years to renew the chapter; otherwise, it falls into desuetude.

The Code of Canon Law (#503) describes the chapter this way: "A chapter of canons, whether cathedral or collegial, is a college of priests which performs more solemn liturgical functions in a cathedral or collegial church." This explains the stalls in Notre Dame Cathedral.

Furthermore, "a diocesan bishop is to confer canonries only upon priests outstanding in doctrine and integrity of life, who have laudably exercised the ministry" (#509.2)

The following obituary notice regarding Mgr Fairfield's passing "to the house of the Father," in French and English, gives some measure of the man I came to know on my arrival in Ottawa, until frail health required his transfer to the John Paul II residence and, a little later, to Residence St-Louis in Orleans.

While he was in residence here, we frequently spoke of his sojourn in Rome and of the themes of his doctoral thesis, the catechetical program found in the works of Pope St. Leo the Great. Priests have spoken to me of his conferences to seminarians, arguing that they ought to be preserved for posterity's sake; perhaps they will be confided to the Archives of the Archdiocese.

Mgr Jean Fairfield at St. Anne's Church, August 2002 (photo by Édouard Champagne)

A la douce mémoire de Mgr Jean Rémi Fairfield qui nous a quitté paisiblement dans son sommeil, à la résidence St-Louis, le 26 mars 2010. Il était âgé de 93 ans.

Mgr Fairfield est né à Rigaud, le 27 novembre 1916. Son père Venceslas Eugène Fairfield et sa mère Marie-Anna Villeneuve eurent sept enfants: Henri prêtre, Laurent, René, Alphonse, Lorette, Dolorès et Jean Rémi. Tous et toutes sont maintenant décédés.

Il fit ses études au Petit et Grand Séminaire d'Ottawa. Il compléta des études supérieures en philosophie et en théologie à l'Université d'Ottawa, ainsi qu'à l'Angelicum, Rome. Sa thèse fut basée sur les écrits de St Léon-le-Grand.

Mgr Fairfield fut ordonné prêtre le 7 juin 1941, par l'Archevêque de Montréal, Mgr Joseph Charbonneau.

Professeur de philosophie et de théologie au Grand Séminaire de 1943 à 1964, il en devint le supérieur en 1965.

En 1967 il fut nommé curé de la paroisse de l'Ascension à Hawkesbury où il y demeura pendant 25 années. En février 1982 il reçu le titre de Prélat d'honneur de sa Sainteté.

Il a pleinement et sincèrement vécu son sacerdoce et il s'est toujours fait un devoir d'être un prêtre exemplaire au service de ses fidèles.

Il laisse dans le deuil ses paroissiens de l'Ascension ainsi que ses confrères et amis nombreux. Sa famille étant complètement décimée, ses neveux et nièces Huguette et Gilles; Pierrette, Pierre, Monique; Maurice, Denise, Micheline, Joseph, Pierre et Hélène sont attristés par son départ.

Ami de la nature, ornitologue à sa façon, fervent de pêche et de ski de fond, il lègue à ses proches de merveilleux souvenirs.

Son neveu, Joseph Pagé, tient à remercier les personnes qui lui ont permis de jouir d'une retraite très agréable à l'Archevêché d'Ottawa, à la Résidence Jean-Paul 11 et à la Résidence St-Louis.

Le service funêbre sera célébré en l'Eglise St-Joseph d'Orléans le 6 avril 2010 à 10h00 heures.

Les visites auront lieu à la maison funéraire Kelly au 2370, boulevard St- Joseph, le 5 avril 2010 de 14h00 à 16h00 heures et de 19h00 à 21h00 heures.

Lors de la cérémonie qui aura lieu au cimetière St-Alphonse de Hawkesbury, le vendredi 16 avril à 14h00 heures, Mgr Fairfield retrouvera alors sa famille pour un séjour de paix et de tranquilité.


In memory of Msgr Jean Rémi Fairfield who passed away peacefully at Résidence St-Louis on Friday March 26th, 2010 at the age of 93 years.

Born November 27th, 1916 in Rigaud, QC, he was the son of the late Venceslas Eugène Fairfield and Marie-Anna Villeneuve and one of seven children: Fr. Henri, Laurent, René, Alphonse, Lorette and Dolorès, all whom have predeceased him. His studies began at the “Petit et Grand Séminaire d’Ottawa” followed by higher studies at the University of Ottawa in philosophy and theology as well as at the Angelicum, Rome.

Msgr Fairfield was ordained June 7th, 1941 by the Archbishop of Montreal, Mgr Joseph Charbonneau. He began his career as a professor in philosophy and theology at the “Grand Séminaire d’Ottawa” from 1943 to 1964; he became superior of the Seminary in 1965.

He was appointed parish priest of l’Ascension Parish, Hawkesbury in 1967 and served until 1992. In February 1982, he was granted the title “Prelate of honour” by the Pope (with the title of Monsignor).

He leaves to mourn him his nieces and nephews Huguette and Gilles, Pierrette, Pierre, Monique, Maurice, Denise, Micheline, Joseph, Pierre and Hélène, as well as former parishioners of Ascension Parish.

Msgr Fairfield was a nature lover, a self-taught ornithologist, an avid cross country skier and fisherman. His nephew Joseph Pagé thanks all who shared with him a very happy retirement at the Ottawa Archbishop's Residence, the John Paul II Residence and the St-Louis Residence.

Friends and family may pay their respects at the Kelly Funeral Home, 2370 St-Joseph Blvd., Orleans, Monday April 5th, 2010, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. The funeral liturgy will be celebrated on Tuesday April 6th, 2010 at l’église Saint-Joseph Church, 2757 St-Joseph Blvd., Orléans at 10 a.m. Interment will be held at 10a.m. on Friday, April 16th at St-Alphonse Cemetery, Hawkesbury

Requiescat in pace

* * * * * *

The UNITY of bishop, priests and people at the CHRISM Mass

The Mass of Chrism occurs once a year in the cathedral of each diocese. It is one of the most solemn and significant liturgies of the church. During these Masses, local bishops bless the oil of catechumens, the oil of the sick, and the oil of chrism.

The first of these (OC = oleum catechumenorum) is used for adult catechumens and infants.

The second (OI = oleum infirmorum) is used for anointing the sick of the parish, whether before or after the enter hospital for serious surgery, or the elderly in the parish, nursing homes or their own homes.

The sacred oil of chrism (SC = sacrum chrisma) is used by the clergy for baptism, confirmation, the ordination of priests and bishops or in the consecration of altars.

All three are basically olive oil; to the chrism is added a spicy perfume, generally balsam, which graces the air with a sweet scent. When I first began to celebrate confirmations as a bishop in Mississauga, I would note that the sweet scent of balsam would get deep into the pores of my thumb and fingers; occasionally I would get a whiff of its sweet scent as I fell asleep.

[Of course, for pastoral reasons, another vegetable oil or perfume may be used.]

From the very beginning of the Church, bishops have blessed oil, as they baptized catechumens at the Easter Vigil and prepared new chrism for the occasion. When they blessed the chrism, they blessed the other oils as well.

In order not to overextend the length of the Easter Vigil with ritual, bishops blessed these oils at the previous celebration of the Eucharist, that is on Holy Thursday. This also allowed time to transport vessels of oil from the cathedral to all the churches in the diocese. Now in some diocesan celebrations, priests and/or parish representatives receive their sacred oils at the close of the Chrism Mass and bring them to their home parish or chapel (e.g. in hospitals, prisons, etc).

For more than a thousand years, bishops blessed the oils at the cathedral Holy Thursday liturgy, but in 1955 Pope Pius XII added a separate Mass earlier in the day at the cathedral for that purpose, the Mass of Chrism.

Today, the Chrism Mass may be anticipated, that is celebrated on a different day shortly before Holy Thursday (Monday to Wednesday evenings in Holy Week are the most popular) to give the celebration independence and so that large numbers of people may join the priests for this special concelebrated liturgy.

Since the bishop is the only minister in the diocese who may consecrate chrism, this Mass highlights his ministry and the union of all the parishes and smaller faith communities with him. Though he cannot baptize and confirm all the candidates for these sacraments in all the parishes of the diocese, there is a sense in which the Apostle of the local church becomes symbolically present in the chrism which the priests and deacons use.

More recently, this Mass of Chrism recognizes the ministry of priests, particularly important in this Year of the Priest.

The bishop invites the members of his presbyterate to renew their commitment of service and to receive the prayers and support of the people.

The Mass of Chrism gathers the faithful of the diocese at their mother church with their shepherd to prepare for celebrations of Christ in all the churches of the diocese all year long.

* * * * * *

The WAY OF THE CROSS (Sixth Station): Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R. Because by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

The WAY OF THE CROSS (Seventh Station): Jesus Falls the Second Time

A preparatory prayer before making the Way of the Cross:

My Lord Jesus Christ,
Thou hast made this journey to die for me with love
and I have so many times unworthily abandoned Thee;
but now I love Thee with my whole heart,
and because I love Thee,
I repent sincerely for having ever offended Thee.
Pardon me, my God,
and permit me to accompany Thee on this journey.
Thou goest to die for love of me;
I wish also, my beloved Redeemer,
to die for love of Thee.
My Jesus, I will live and die
always united to Thee.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Fr. Vincent Morgan, Jesuit Missionary (1918-2010) - The Way of the Cross

Father Morgan served more than 50 years in India

This morning, Jesuits in the Toronto area will gather at St. Ignatius Chapel on the grounds of Manresa Spiritual Renewal Centre for the funeral of Father Vincent MORGAN, who died at the nearby Rene Goupil House, on March 25, in his 92nd year and 70th of religious life.

Father Morgan was born in Hamilton, Ontario on September 11, 1918 and entered the Jesuit Order in 1940. Assigned to the Jesuit mission in Darjeeling, India in 1944, he was ordained there in 1953 and, until returning to Canada in 1996, taught in various institutions there.

Shortly after I had been ordained bishop and moved to Mississauga in 1995, the Sisters at Carmel Heights Monastery in Mississauga were seeking a chaplain at the same time that I was asked whether I knew of a place where Father Vince could do light pastoral ministry.

It was a good match of availability and need; he exercised his ministry there until increasing deafness prevented his being of service, at which point he retired to the Jesuit Infirmary.


* * * * * *

The WAY OF THE CROSS (Fourth Station): Jesus Meets His Mother

As early as the 4th c., Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land would walk the route that Our Lord walked as He made His way to Golgotha for our salvation. When Muslims captured Jerusalem and it became too dangerous to make this pilgrimage, Christians replicated the sites back home in Europe, and there developed the "Stations of the Cross" devotion (also known as "Way of the Cross," "Via Dolorosa," or "Via Crucis").

The devotion consists of meditating on 14 events--that number being fixed in 1731 by Pope Clement XII--which took place during Christ's Passion, from His being condemned to His burial. Franciscans popularized the devotion, which was originally made outside, often along roads to shrines or churches. The Way of the Cross can still be made outside, of course but is usually made inside nowadays, especially during the Season of Lent and most especially on Good Friday.

If you enter a Catholic Church and look along the walls of the nave (where the parishioners sit), you should see 14 representations on the walls which depict 14 events of Christ's Passion that have been singled out for contemplation. It is at these blessed artistic representations, these "stations"--a couple of which are depicted in a blog series that began on Saturday and will continue until Holy Saturday--which can be painted, carved, engraved, of wood, metal, paint on canvas, etc., topped with a wooden Cross--that the Way of the Cross is made during public liturgy. The Way of the Cross can also be made privately, even at home, with or without "visual aids."

When the Way of the Cross is made in groups, each person first makes the Sign of the Cross, makes an Act of Contrition (i.e., expresses penitence through prayer) and mentally intends to gain indulgences, for himself or another. Then, typically, at each station: a) the leader will announce the name of the station; b) the leader will lead with a statement of praise, such as "We adore Thee O Christ and we bless Thee"; c) the people will respond, with, for example, using the above acclamation, "Because by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world"; d) the leader will read a meditative reading, upon which all should meditate in penitence, thanking God for His sacrifice and uniting himself with that sacrifice (often by identifying with Mary); e) all pray an Our Father, a Hail Mary and a Glory Be; f) traditionally, between the stations, successive stanzas of the hymn called Stabat Mater are sung--a hymn known since at least 1388 A.D. and possibly written by Pope Innocent III who died in 1216 A.D.

The meditations and prayers may vary, but the general outline above is pretty standard. The most popular way of making the Stations of the Cross is to use the meditations written by St. Alphonsus Liguori (A.D. 1696-1787).

The WAY OF THE CROSS (Fifth Station): Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry His Cross

Making the Way of the Cross carries with it a partial indulgence under the usual conditions. To gain a plenary indulgence, the following norms must be followed, in addition to the usual conditions:

The pious exercise must be made before stations of the Way of the Cross legitimately erected.

For the erection of the Way of the Cross fourteen crosses are required, to which it is customary to add fourteen pictures or images, which represent the stations of Jerusalem.

According to the more common practice, the pious exercise consists of fourteen pious readings, to which some vocal prayers are added. However, nothing more is required than a pious meditation on the Passion and Death of the Lord, which need not be a particular consideration of the individual mysteries of the stations.

A movement from one station to the next is required. But if the pious exercise is made publicly and if it is not possible for all taking part to go in an orderly way from station to station, it suffices if at least the one conducting the exercise goes from station to station, the others remaining in their place.

Those who are "impeded" can gain the same indulgence if they spend at least one half an hour in pious reading and meditation on the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Passion (Palm) Sunday - World Youth Day XXV - The Passion/Stations of the Cross

Passion (Palm) Sunday (Year "C") March 28, 2010 - "INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMEND MY SPIRIT" [Texts: Luke 19:28-40; Isaiah 50:4-7 [Psalm 22]; Philippians 2:6 -11; Luke 22:14-23:56]

All of Lent is oriented to the Paschal Triduum, the three-day solemn observance of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter Vigil. Passion or Palm Sunday anticipates the pathos of Jesus' suffering and death, while the triumphal entry into Jerusalem in the processional entrance to the liturgy foretells the glorification of Christ's resurrection.

One of Isaiah's 'suffering servant' poems and Psalm 22, with their eerie evocations of the Passion, illustrate the overarching Lukan theme that 'it was necessary [that is, was the divine will] that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into His glory' (24:26).

Paul's letter to the Philippians likely quotes an early Christian hymn about Christ Jesus' act of emptying Himself of equality with God by His obedience to God's plan that led to a shameful death on the cross. This, Paul claims, merited God's response of raising Him from the dead, highly exalting Him above all creation.

The consequence of this earth-shattering event is the world's coming to know, through proclamation of the gospel, of God's design that, at every mention of the name of Jesus, 'every knee should bend, in heaven, on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father'.

Each evangelist, while making use of ancient Christian traditions concerning the last hours of Jesus, quotes the Scriptures to give to these moments his own reflections on these pivotal moments of salvation history.

For example, Mark gives a stark picture of the brokenness Jesus suffered on the cross ('My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me? [15:34]), while Matthew, as he did with Jesus' infancy, shows how all that happened was 'so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled' (26:56).

John shows that, for the eyes of faith and despite appearances to the contrary, Jesus was in charge of all that transpired in the Passion which was the supreme moment of His glorification ('when Jesus knew that all was now finished, He said [in order to fulfil the scripture], "I am thirsty" [19:28]).

Luke's account of the closing days of Jesus' ministry and His Passion draw out emphases given to the Lord's life earlier. At the time of Peter's confession, Luke emphasized that Jesus' messianic status was not political but religious ('the Messiah of God' [9:20]).

During the messianic act of entering Jerusalem, Luke shows this is not an act of political messianism. Rather he notes that those who acclaimed Jesus were not the citizens of Jerusalem but 'the whole multitude of the disciples'. Their acclamations sought to praise God 'for all the deeds of power that they had seen' in the healings that characterized Jesus' ministry. This is not simply the glorification of Jesus, but praise of God for Jesus.

In the Passion, Luke takes pains to show that the Roman authorities have no cause to fear the followers of Jesus. The accusation against Jesus, that He was 'perverting our nation, forbidding us to pay taxes to the emperor, and saying that He Himself is the Messiah, a king' (23:2) is judged unfounded by Pilate ('I have examined Him in your presence and have not this man guilty of any of your charges against Him'[23:14]). To underline this point, at Jesus' death, the centurion declares, 'certainly this man was innocent'.

Just as Luke depicted Jesus at prayer at all the high points of His ministry (before the choice of the Twelve, at the Transfiguration, prior to Peter's confession), so, too, during the Passion. Jesus' reassured Peter, when foretelling his coming denials, that 'I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail'.

The prayer of Jesus on the Mount of Olives becomes an agony which leads Him to pray more intensively, 'Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from me; yet not My will but Yours be done'.

With the comforting brought by the angel, Jesus regains His serenity and invokes the Father's pardon of those who crucify Him ('Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing'). Likewise, on the cross, Jesus final prayer is one of confidently entrusting Himself to God, 'Father into your hands I commend My spirit' with words that echo those of the psalmist (31:5).

* * * * * *

WORLD YOUTH DAY XXV (March 28, 2010)

A quarter century ago, John Paul II began the event that has become an international institution: World Youth Day (WYD). WYD alternates between an international gathering at 2-3 year intervals (think Toronto 2002, Sydney 2008, Madrid 2011) and the other years when it is celebrated in each diocese, usually on Passion (Palm) Sunday.

This morning at 10 o'clock young francophones and anglophones will join me for a Mass with special involvement by, and prayers for, our youth (18-35). This will be broadcast live on SRC's Jour du Seigneur. Here is a report on this year's theme, which reprises John Paul II's message 25 years ago:

In his Letter to Youth for the 25th Anniversary Edition of World Youth Day, Pope Benedict XVI told the world's young Catholics to not let life's difficulties lead to discouragement:

"Instead nurture in your heart great hopes for fraternity, justice and peace. The future is in the hands of those who know how to seek and find strong convictions in life and hope"

The Ottawa Archdiocese, like many around the world, will mark World Youth Day XXV this Palm Sunday, March 28. Youth from our local church will gather with me at the Cathedral at 10 o’clock this morning for a Passion Sunday liturgy that will be broadcast live on Radio-Canada’s “Jour du Seigneur”.

In his message, the pope asks young people to build a world that lives solidarity and justice.

The Holy Father notes that changing the world means “allowing your talents and potential to bear fruit and committing yourself to constantly growing in faith and love.”

The theme the pope chose for the 2010 celebration was the same as the one Pope John Paul II selected for the very first World Youth Day. It comes from Jesus' encounter with the rich young man in St. Mark's Gospel: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

The Holy Father remarked in his message that 2010 marks the 25th anniversary of the institution of World Youth Day. In it, he urged young people to not be afraid of confronting difficult questions about life such as, What makes life a success, and what gives meaning to life?


These questions, he said, need real answers that will meet “your authentic expectations for life and happiness.” Such answers, he added, will come from listening to God, who has a loving plan for each and every person on earth.

Pope Benedict remarked that the sadness felt by the rich young man in the Gospel account when he left Jesus is the same sadness that “springs in the heart of everyone when he doesn't have the courage to follow Christ and carry out the right choice. But it is never too late to answer him.”

Jesus showed how the Ten Commandments are essential guidelines for forming a conscience built on divine law, developing a sense of good and evil, and living a life of love, the Holy Father said.

“The commandments don't limit happiness, but rather show how to find it.” Following God's law goes against the modern mentality, which advocates a life completely free from limits, rules and objective norms and values so as to be able to follow one's own desires, he said.

But such a lifestyle doesn't bring true freedom, he said. Instead, it turns people into slaves to their immediate desires and to idols such as power and money.

* * * * * *

The WAY OF THE CROSS (Second Station): Jesus Carries His Cross

The Significance of the Passion of Our Lord (from the Spiritual Exercises Blog, March 27, 2010)

Think: What is the significance of a single act of sacrifice by one man so long ago? Why aren’t the teachings of Jesus hanging over our altars instead of Crucifixes? Why do we pay so much attention to the crucified Christ when He walked among us as resurrected for far longer than he hung upon the cross?

A Grace to Seek: a feeling of compassion toward Christ as He begins His painful sacrifice for us. We ask for a real sense of the importance of it all.
Reflection: The Passion of our Lord has always been food for the Catholic soul; in the sacrament of the Eucharist, in the image of the Crucifix, and in prayerful contemplation.

The Passion is where we find our God’s loving cry and self-offering, from His condemnation before Pontius Pilate to His lifeless body in the tomb. This cry has carried on through nearly two millennia and is discovered anew in the heart of all the forgiven today. We see ourselves in the suffering Jesus, our sins marking His back while our hearts break along with His; we betray Him and are betrayed with Him. We shun Him and we are shunned with Him. We see ourselves in His
crucifiers and we weep with His friends at the sight of Him being taken down from the Cross motionless.

“Behold the Lamb of God, Behold the one who takes away the sins of the world.” In English we understand “takes away” to be something like “removes” or “negates.” This is true that Jesus does this to the sins of the world. But another way to read “takes away” is to see it as “bears away” or “carries away.” When John the Baptist exclaimed “Behold the one who takes away the sins of the world,” he had been calling people to a conversion away from their sins. Now he saw the One who would bear away their sins on His back.

And so we are healed. We have been attacked by sin like deadly serpents in the desert. But when we turn our eyes upon the one held high and suffering death, we find our remedy. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” That is why we turn to look at the Cross. That is why the death of God on the Cross can appear so sweet to us while it is an insult to the Jews. That is why we proudly wear a symbol of the Crucifix around our necks while the pagans laugh at us as if we are mad. We know the truth about all of this and it transforms us: His death is our salvation and so we find hope in it. Nothing clears away the dullness of sin from our eyes like a long hard look at Christ’s suffering body.

This portion of the Spiritual Exercises has us work first on our compassion for Christ. We must allow ourselves to see Christ’s sufferings and we must permit ourselves to long for an end to those sufferings. This exercises that part inside of us that can grow cold if we have become too acquainted with the pleasures of sin. Caring for Christ more readily disposes is to caring for the least of His people. We must recognize His glorious entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday as His triumphant entrance into the reality of defeat at the hands of sin that we all suffer. And we must allow ourselves to want to be near Him.

And so the Holy Week grieving really begins now. Should we think it too much to shed a tear for the one who endured so much for us? All of those poor people we see on the television suffering in faraway lands cannot feel our compassion. This can have a chilling effect on us and we can be coldly indifferent without much immediate consequence. But Jesus knows our heart. Will He find us cold? Or will we let ourselves remember and care, feel something deep for our Savior as He suffers for us. Will we look Him in the eye, or think of it all as a distant historical fact? We must apply ourselves to this task. We must take all of the power of our imagination and put it to work on the true object of our love if we are to increase our love.

Above all, depend on God’s grace.

Pray: Oh God, help me to consider what compassion I must offer at the foot of the Cross. How can I refuse anything to You, my Lord and my Creator, Who has done and suffered so much for my sake. You have given all that You have to me; You have given your sufferings, Your toil, Your thoughts, Your love, Your life, and the very last drop of Your heart’s blood for me. Let me give You all I have: all my affections, all my love, all my desires, my whole heart, my sufferings, my efforts, my sorrows, my joys, my life, my whole self. Amen.

The WAY OF THE CROSS (Third Station): Jesus Falls the First Time

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R. Because by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Week in Review - Photo Round-Up: Visit to St. Patrick's, Fallowfield

Although I don't have a Blackberry, during the past week there were a good number of dates to enter into my Palm Pilot as I was appointed to the Insurance Management Board and the Commission of Priests of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario (ACB0).

During the ACBO spring plenary, we re-elected our executive for a second two-year mandates (President: Archbishop Thomas Collins; Vice-President: Bishop Anthony Daniels; Executive Members: Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe and Archbishop Brendan O'Brien), discussed educational, financial and numerous other matters over three days.

On the first evening we attended the launch of the Nelson Education-Novalis Publishing produced book on World Religions: A Canadian Catholic Perspective designed for use in Grade 11 (info: Toronto: Novalis, 2011; ISBN 978-0-17-624245-9).

Mgr Paul-Andre Durocher of Alexandria-Cornwall, chair of the ACBO Education Commission that oversaw preparation of the text on World Religions

On Wednesday afternoon, we met with MPPs at Queen's Park to discuss with them Catholic education; Thursday was the regular session of OPECO, a gathering of bishops with French-speaking Catholic education leaders in the Province.

There were also extracurricular sessions during my time in Toronto:
#On Sunday evening and Monday morning, I stayed overnight at St. Augustine's Seminary and celebrated Mass with the Ottawa sems and met with the seminary rector.

#On Monday and Tuesday evenings, I visited overnight with Jesuit Provincial Father James (Jim) Webb in St. Jamestown and dined on Tuesday with the Jesuit community at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.

#On Wednesday evening, I joined ex-patriate Jamaicans for a Memorial Mass for the repose of the soul of Archbishop Lawrence Burke, S.J. of Kingston in Jamaica at Regis College.

In the coming days, I will post photos of these events, as well as give an account of the Catholic Office of Life and the Family's (COLF) 9th Bioethics Seminar on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide at Ottawa's Crowne Plaza Hotel.

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Visitation of St. PATRICK'S Parish (Nepean)

Last Saturday and Sunday, Episcopal Vicar Father Joseph Muldoon and I journeyed to St. Patrick's Parish, Fallowfield, one of the Archdiocese's civilly-recognized heritage sites.

The parish community is quite lively, as was clear at all three of the Lord's Day Masses (5 o'clock on Saturday and 9 & 11 o'clock on Sunday).

On Saturday evening, we posed for pictures, then sat down at a delicious catered buffet supper in the Monsignor Paul Baxter Centre. Afterwards, representatives of the parish finance and pastoral councils and other representatives spoke about their achievements, the challenges they face and their hopes for the future.

Father Muldoon and I took lots of notes which will assist us as we work with St. Patrick's and other neighbouring parishes to chart the future of these dynamic faith communities.

On Sunday morning, besides presiding and preaching at the Eucharist and greeting people at the door before and after the Mass, we mixed with families and individuals at the delicious hot brunch served by the Knights of Columbus, who are quite active in the parish.

Father Joe, who has ties to the Parish, and I were guided on a tour of the grounds and the cemetery before he dropped me off at the airport for my trip to Toronto and the series of meetings mentioned above.

In April sometime after Easter, we will return for a school activity to complete the Visitation formalities.

The strikingly beautiful St. Joseph's altar (with the Cure of Ars added for this Year of the Priest)

Joy-filled parish staffers

Saturday afternoon's anticipated Lord's Day Mass

Meeting parish reps in the Msgr Paul Baxter Parish Centre

Parish representatives pose for a photo before Saturday evening exchange with the bishop

Knights of Columbus Honour Guard takes part in the closing procession

A family enjoys the brunch in front of the KofC recruiting table

Echanging greetings after Sunday Mass

Families enjoy the Knights of Columbus-sponsored brunch after the Sunday Masses

Father Joe poses before the tombstone marking the graves of his Monaghan great-aunts

Father Joe Muldoon and Father Steve Amesse in front of historic St. Patrick's, Fallowfield

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The WAY OF THE CROSS (First Station): "Ecce Homo": Jesus Is Condemned to Death

"Show mercy, Lord, to your praying Church, and kindly turn to those who incline their hearts to you: do not allow those you have redeemed by the Death of your Only-Begotten Son to be harmed by sins or weighed down by adversities. Through Christ our Lord."

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mgr Roger Larivière (1913-2010)

Yesterday, the Lord called home the dean of our priests, Mgr Roger Larivière, several weeks short of his 97th birthday.

Born at Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts (QC) on April 15, 1913, Roger Larivière was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Alexandre Vachon close to seventy years ago on June 7, 1941. His ministry was primarily in diocesan administration, where he served as diocesan treasurer for many years.

Still, this did not keep him from pastoral activities, including the foundation of parishes (Our Lady of Divine Love, Pendleton and Resurrection of Our Lord, Ottawa) and regular pastoral services in distant locales: he could regale his listeners with accounts of skiing to Sunday ministry at St. Declan's at Brightside.

Endowed with a keen intellect and a detailed memory, our conversations in the dining-room of my residence often brought to light little known facts about (and opinions on) diocesan history. His appetite was robust until a couple of months ago when a series of physical afflictions led to his hospitalization and decline.

May the Lord, whom he served with devotion, grant him a merciful judgment and lead him to the refreshing waters of eternal life. Funeral details foresee visitation at Kelly's on Somerset on Sunday from 2-4 and 7-9, and the Mass of the Resurrection on Monday afternoon, March 29 at 2PM in Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica.

Requiescat in pace

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Annunciation of the Lord - Visit to Seminarians

Lent's austerity is again interrupted by a solemn feast in honor of the Annunciation.

From Pius Parsch, The Church's Year of Grace:

The Annunciation is a mystery that belongs to the temporal rather than to the sanctoral cycle in the Church's calendar. For the feast commemorates the most sublime moment in the history of time, the moment when the Second Divine Person of the most Holy Trinity assumed human nature in the womb of the Virgin Mary.

Thus it is a feast of our Lord, even as it is of Mary, although the liturgy centers wholly around the Mother of God.

A further excerpt, this one from The Liturgical Year by Abbot Gueranger O.S.B.:

A tradition, which has come down from the apostolic ages, tells us that the great mystery of the Incarnation was achieved on the twenty-fifth day of March.

It was at the hour of midnight, when the most holy Virgin was alone and absorbed in prayer, that the Archangel Gabriel appeared before her, and asked her, in the name of the blessed Trinity, to consent to become the Mother of God.

Let us assist, in spirit, at this wonderful interview between the angel and the Virgin: and, at the same time, let us think of that other interview which took place between Eve and the serpent. A holy bishop and martyr of the second century, Saint Irenaeus, who had received the tradition from the very disciples of the apostles, shows us that Nazareth is the counterpart of Eden.

In the garden of delights there is a virgin and an angel; and a conversation takes place-between them. At Nazareth a virgin is also addressed by an angel, and she answers him; but the angel of the earthly paradise is a spirit of darkness, and he of Nazareth is a spirit of light. In both instances it is the angel that has the first word. 'Why,' said the serpent to Eve, 'hath God commanded you, that you should not eat of every tree of paradise?' His question implies impatience and a solicitation to evil; he has contempt for the frail creature to whom he addresses it, but he hates the image of God which is upon her.

See, on the other hand, the angel of light; see with what composure and peacefulness he approaches the Virgin of Nazareth, the new Eve; and how respectfully he bows himself down before her: 'Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with thee! Blessed art thou among women!' Such language is evidently of heaven: none but an angel could speak thus to Mary.

Scarcely has the wicked spirit finished speaking than Eve casts a longing look at the forbidden fruit: she is impatient to enjoy the independence it is to bring her. She rashly stretches forth her hand; she plucks the fruit; she eats it, and death takes possession of her: death of the soul, for sin extinguishes the light of life; and death of the body, which being separated from the source of immortality, becomes an object of shame and horror, and finally crumbles into dust.

But let us turn away our eyes from this sad spectacle, and fix them on Nazareth. Mary has heard the angel's explanation of the mystery; the will of heaven is made known to her, and how grand an honor it is to bring upon her! She, the humble maid of Nazareth, is to have the ineffable happiness of becoming the Mother of God, and yet the treasure of her virginity is to be left to her! Mary bows down before this sovereign will, and says to the heavenly messenger: 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word.'

Thus, as the great St. Irenaeus and so many of the holy fathers remark, the obedience of the second Eve repaired the disobedience of the first: for no sooner does the Virgin of Nazareth speak her fiat, 'be it done,' than the eternal Son of God (who, according to the divine decree, awaited this word) is present, by the operation of the Holy Ghost, in the chaste womb of Mary, and there He begins His human life.

A Virgin is a Mother, and Mother of God; and it is this Virgin's consenting to the divine will that has made her conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost. This sublime mystery puts between the eternal Word and a mere woman the relations of Son and Mother; it gives to the almighty God a means whereby He may, in a manner worthy of His majesty, triumph over satan, who hitherto seemed to have prevailed against the divine plan.

Never was there a more entire or humiliating defeat than that which this day befell satan. The frail creature, over whom he had so easily triumphed at the beginning of the world, now rises and crushes his proud head. Eve conquers in Mary. God would not choose man for the instrument of His vengeance; the humiliation of satan would not have been great enough; and therefore she who was the first prey of hell, the first victim of the tempter, is selected to give battle to the enemy.

The result of so glorious a triumph is that Mary is to be superior not only to the rebel angels, but to the whole human race, yea, to all the angels of heaven. Seated on her exalted throne, she, the Mother of God, is to be the Queen of all creation. Satan, in the depths of the abyss, will eternally bewail his having dared to direct his first attack against the woman, for God has now so gloriously avenged her; and in heaven, the very Cherubim and Seraphim reverently look up to Mary, and deem themselves honored when she smiles upon them, or employs them in the execution of any of her wishes, for she is the Mother of their God.

Therefore is it that we, the children of Adam, who have been snatched by Mary's obedience from the power of hell, solemnize this day of the Annunciation. Well may we say of Mary those words of Debbora, when she sang her song of victory over the enemies of God's people: 'The valiant men ceased, and rested in Israel, until Deborah arose, a mother arose in Israel. The Lord chose new wars, and He Himself overthrew the gates of the enemies."

Let us also refer to the holy Mother of Jesus these words of Judith, who by her victory over the enemy was another type of Mary: 'Praise ye the Lord our God, who hath not forsaken them that hope in Him. And by me, His handmaid, He hath fulfilled His mercy, which He promised to the house of Israel; and He hath killed the enemy of His people by my hand this night. . . . The almighty Lord hath struck him, and hath delivered him into the hands of a woman, and hath slain him.'

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Ottawa seminarians from Saint Augustine's Seminary and St. Philip's Oratory Seminary (in Toronto)

On Sunday evening, after flying from Canada's capital to Ontario's capital Island Airport, I was met by our seminarians from SAS (Matthew Keshwah, Hezuk Shroff and Hermy-Jasmin Nimorin) who picked me up at the Royal York.

We then headed west to Parkdale to pick up our philosophy student Jonathan Kelly at St. Philip's and headed north to a Red Lobster restaurant (finally I would cash in a gift card I had received at Christmas 2008) and enjoyed each other's company, building team spirit.

Then, after a drop-off at the Oratory, we headed east to St. Augustine's Scarborough campus and meetings with each sem and the seminary rector.

Before our exchange, Hermy shared with me his work on developing is skills on the guitar (on the left).

Please pray for our seminarians (Matthew Chojna is serving his pastoral internship at St. Patrick's Parish, Fallowfield), asking that the Lord increase their number.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Archbishop Oscar Romero's anniversary - 30 years ago today

Today marks the thirtieth anniversary of the day Oscar A. Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, in El Salvador, was assassinated. His death took place on March 24, 1980, while he was celebrating Mass in a small chapel in a cancer hospital where he lived.

The fourth archbishop of San Salvador, Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdámez (August 15, 1917 - March 24, 1980), after a conversion during his episcopal ministry, drew close to his people and preached a prophetic gospel, denouncing the injustice in his country and supporting the development of popular and mass organizations. He became the voice of the Salvadoran people when all other channels of expression had been crushed by the repression.

As he finished giving his homily during Mass, Romero was assassinated by a military group, which provoked an international outcry for reform in El Salvador. After his assassination, Romero was succeeded by Monsignor Arturo Rivera.

In 1997, a cause for beatification and canonization into sainthood was opened for Romero, and Pope John Paul II bestowed upon him the title of Servant of God. The process continues. He is considered by some the unofficial patron saint of the Americas and El Salvador and is often referred to as "San Romero" by Catholics in El Salvador.

Outside of Catholicism, Romero is honored by other religious denominations of Christendom, including the Church of England through the Calendar in Common Worship. He is one of ten 20th century martyrs depicted in statues above the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey in London.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bishop St. Turibius of Mongrovejo (1538-1606) - Memorial Mass for Archbishop Lawrence Burke

Together with Rose of Lima and Martin de Porres, Turibius is the first known saint of the New World, serving the Lord in Peru, South America, for 26 years.

Born in Spain and educated for the law, he became so brilliant a scholar that he was made professor of law at the University of Salamanca and eventually became chief judge of the Inquisition at Granada. He succeeded too well. But he was not sharp enough a lawyer to prevent a surprising sequence of events.

When the archdiocese of Lima in Peru required a new leader, Turibius was chosen to fill the post: He was the one person with the strength of character and holiness of spirit to heal the scandals that had infected that area.

He cited all the canons that forbade giving laymen ecclesiastical dignities, but he was overruled. He was ordained priest and bishop and sent to Peru, where he found colonialism at its worst. The Spanish conquerors were guilty of every sort of oppression of the native population. Abuses among the clergy were flagrant, and he devoted his energies (and suffering) to this area first.

He began the long and arduous visitation of an immense archdiocese, studying the language, staying two or three days in each place, often with neither bed nor food. He confessed every morning to his chaplain, and celebrated Mass with intense fervor. Among those to whom he gave the Sacrament of Confirmation was St. Rose of Lima and possibly St. Martin de Porres.

[Occasionally I have proposed to my Confirmation candidates their example, arguing that, if a couple of them became saints as Rose and Martin did, perhaps I, like Toribio, might get considered for having conferred on them the Holy Spirit to guide their lives in the way of Jesus!]

His people, though very poor, were sensitive, dreading to accept public charity from others. Turibius solved the problem by helping them anonymously.

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Remembering Archbishop Larry Burke before the Lord

* * * * * *

Tomorrow evening, I will preside at a Commemorative Mass that will be offered for the repose of the soul of the late Archbishop Lawrence Burke, S.J., fourth Archbishop of Kingston (in Jamaica).

Venue and time: the Chapel of St. Joseph at Regis College, 100 Wellesley Street West, Toronto (corner of Queen's Park Crescent East) at 7:30 PM; reception to follow.