Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday within the Easter Octave - Tomorrow "Domenica in albis" - Next Sunday Mass of the Neophytes

The baptism of St. Augustine
Tomorrow is the Octave of Easter, the Sunday on which the new members of the Church wore their white garments (Domenica in albis).  We celebrate that at the Neophyte Mass, which will be celebrated on the Third Sunday in Easter, Sunday evening, May 8 at the 7:30 PM Mass. 

The prayer for today retains the sense of joy that the Church has been blessed by these "new-borns" (reborn in Christ):
Saturday within the Octave of Easter
O God, who by the abundance of your grace give increase to the peoples who believe in you, look with favour on those you have chosen and clothe with blessed immortality those reborn through the Sacrament of Baptism. Through our Lord.

* * * * * *


Easter egg collection

Next week, Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO)'s summer programme, Impact Ottawa begins in some ten parishes (anglophone and francophone).  Earlier this week, I visited the summer program's headquarters on Bronson Place, to bless the residence and chat with the team (pictured below). 

The Archdiocese is looking forward to the arrival of some sixty young men and women from across Canada for this evangelizing moment.  More details in coming weeks.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday of the Octave of Easter - Remembering Catherine of Siena - Prayer for a Royal Couple

The Resurrection, Main Altar Notre-Dame Cathedral, Ottawa

Prayer for Friday of the Octave of Easter

Almighty ever-living God, who gave us the paschal mystery in the covenant you established for reconciling the human race, so dispose of our minds, we pray, that what we celebrate by professing the faith we may express in deeds.

* * * * * *

Giovanni di Paolo, St. Catherine of Siena Dictating Her Dialogues (c. 1447-1449)

St. Catherine of Siena's feast is not observed this year because of the Solemnity of Easter Week.  Here is the prayer for her feast:

Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

O God, who set Saint Catherine of Siena on fire with divine love in her contemplation of the Lord’s Passion and her service of your Church, grant, though her intercession, that your people, participating in the mystery of Christ, may exult for ever in the revelation of his glory. Who lives and reigns with you.

* * * * * *


Heavenly Father,
we ask your blessing
upon his Royal Highness, Prince William and Catherine
as they pledge their love for each other in marriage.
May your love unite them through their lives.
Grant them the strength to serve you, our country and the Commonwealth
with integrity and faithfulness.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday in the Easter Octave - Funeral of Mgr Gratton - Incident on the Road

Collect of Thursday within the Octave of Easter

O God, who have united many nations in confession your Name, grant that those reborn in the font of Baptism may be one in the faith of their hearts and the homage of their deeds. Through our Lord.

* * * * * *

Funérailles de Mgr Jean Gratton

Mardi après-midi je me suis rendu à la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Fourvières pour les rites funéraires célébrés pour Mgr Jean Gratton, quatrième évêque de Mont Laurier.

Voici quelques photos prises à l’occasion :

...and an incident on the way home
During lunch at the Bishop's Office, I heard stories of adventures on the highway in rural dioceses, including the experience of the Sister Chancellor's car hitting a deer one winter day.  Some twenty kilometers south of Mont Laurier, my driver had the same experience as a deer bounded out of the woods and towards our car. 
Steering adroitly, he struck the deer a glancing blow on the driver's side, with the side-view mirrow being smashed and several major dents on the door and front body.  Shaken, we continued on our way
Some pix of the damage:


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday in the Octave of Easter - Anticipating Divine Mercy Sunday - Celebrating Ottawa Priest Jubilarians

Prayer for Wednesday within the Octave of Easter

O God, who gladden us year by year with the solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection, graciously grant that by celebrating these present festivities we may merit through them to reach eternal joys. Through our Lord.

* * * * * *

Second Sunday of Easter (Year "A") - May 1, 2011 CHRIST'S EASTER GIFT OF FORGIVENESS [Texts: Acts 2.42-47 [Psalm 118]; 1 Peter 1.3-9; John 20.19-31]

The Christian Church celebrates the mystery of the Resurrection for the Great Fifty Days leading to Pentecost. This chronology—which separates the early Church's experience of the Risen Lord's appearances into various moments (Jesus' resurrection, His ascension and the gift of the Spirit)—owes a great deal to the schema Luke presents in Acts 1.1-2.4.

The vision of the Fourth Evangelist stresses, instead, the underlying unity of these same mysteries of the risen Lord Jesus Christ. And so, in today's gospel, John notes that on the evening of the day of His resurrection (“the first day of the week”) Jesus conferred the Spirit on the disciples (“Receive the Holy Spirit”).

With the Holy Spirit the apostles were given authority to forgive sins in Jesus' name (“If you forgive the sins of any they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained”). In the Evangelist John's perspective, Jesus' new, risen life, the conferral of the Spirit and the proclamation and celebration of the forgiveness of sins are all intimately connected. Here, too, is the basis of designating this Second Sunday of Easter, which always features this gospel of forgiveness, as “Divine Mercy Sunday”.

The primary meaning of Jesus' charge to his disciples is that they should preach repentance and the forgiveness of sins. Those who heed the appeal of the Church's preaching receive assurance that their forgiveness is ratified in heaven. For those who refuse the apostolic proclamation, their sins remain unforgiven.

A secondary application of the Church's authority to forgive sins touches on the internal life of church members. When sin manifests itself in the lives of Christians following their baptismal initiation (the Easter sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist), the reconciling love of God renews the life of believers.

The Catholic Church intentionally exercises the authority Jesus manifested in his own ministry. And she has done so from New Testament times until today. Awed by the challenge Jesus gave His disciples to discern whose sins are to be forgiven and whose retained, popes and bishops—as successors to the apostles—have recognized a variety of formats to reconcile sinners.

In the Patristic Period, the Sacrament of Penance was celebrated rarely. It affected notorious sinners who were publicly reconciled after a long period of penance. In reaction to the harshness of this discipline, private and frequent confession developed and became widespread under the influence of Celtic missionaries.

Bishops and theologians at the Council of Trent and the Second Vatican Council helped the Church renew the manner of celebrating the reconciliation Jesus offers, the fruit of his death and resurrection. For the Holy Spirit helps the Church recognize whose hearts have been moved by hearing the Good News of the Kingdom to accept God's love and forgiveness.

The account of Jesus' meeting with Thomas shows how Jesus' Easter gift of forgiveness and healing can touch the life of a disciple struggling to believe. When the disciples told him of their meeting with Jesus (“We have seen the Lord”), Thomas could remember only Jesus' suffering and death (“Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe”).

Jesus' challenge to believe evoked from Thomas a profound expression of faith in Jesus' identity (“My Lord and my God!”). This aspiration has found a place on the lips of Christians down the ages. Jesus' rejoinder describes the joy shared by Christians who, though they have not known Jesus in the flesh, yet believe in Him (“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”).

In the second reading, Peter tells how Christians of subsequent generations relate to Christ: “Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy....”

The joy which Peter described appears as a fruit of the Spirit at work among Christians in every age. “They broke bread together at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.” As in the past, the cheerful simplicity of the Jerusalem community sparks the renewal of today's Church.

* * * * * *

Les Jubilaires de 2011/Ottawa Priest Jubilarians

Celebrating 25, 40, 50, 55 years of priesly service

Diner festif avant la messe crismale

The festive meal preceded Chrism Mass on April 19

Abbe Robert Maurice, 50 ans de sacerdoce le 10 juin

Father Antonio Pannunzi, OMI, 40 years a priest on December 8

Mgr Gerard St. Denis, 50 ans de sacerdoce le 17 juin

Msgr Peter Schonenbach, 40 years a priest on May 29

Father Dennis Hayes, CC, 25 years a priest on October 18

Abbe Titus Ndala, 25 ans de sacerdoce le 10 aout

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Images of the Celebration of Easter - Tuesday in the Octave of Easter

Raffaellino del Garbo, The Resurrection (detail), 1510

Collect Prayer for Tuesday
within the Octave of Easter
O God, who has bestowed on us paschal remedies, endow your people with heavenly gifts, so that, possessed of perfect freedom, they may rejoice in heaven over what gladdens them now on earth. Through our Lord.

* * * * * *

Jean-Claude Grant has shared with me some photos taken during the early part of this year's Easter Vigil:

* * * * * *

Here are some other photos taken after the Vigil and on Easter day:

Newly-baptized Mounira

Nicole, received into full communion with the Catholic Church

Exchanging greetings following the Vigil
Staffers from the Nunciature in the sacristy following the Vigil

Easter Sunday Noon Mass in the Cathedral Basilica;
some photos:

Monday, April 25, 2011

EASTER MONDAY - Mark the Evangelist - Golden Jubilee of Jesuit Life

Monday within the Octave of Easter

O God, who give constant increase to your Church by new offspring, grant that your servants may hold fast in their lives to the Sacrament they have received in faith. Through our Lord.

* * * * * *


Icon of St. Mark the Evangelist (Emmanuel Tzanes, c. 1657)

O God, who raised up Saint Mark, your Evangelist, and endowed him with the grace to preach the Gospel, grant, we pray, that we may also profit from his teaching as to follow faithfully in the footsteps of Christ. Who lives and reigns with you.

The Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist is not observed this year as it falls in Easter Week, each day of which is a solemn celebration of the Risen Lord.

However, it was on his feast day in 1995 that I was ordained a bishop in Toronto's St. Michael's Cathedral by Archbishop (later Cardinal) Aloysius Ambrozic, the co-consecrators being the late Bishop Thomas Fulton (who had ordained me a deacon and a priest in December 1971 and June 1972) and Bishop Attila Mikloshazy, S.J., who had been my professor of liturgy and theology at Regis College. Long-time friend, Archbishop James Martin Hayes of Halifax gave the homily on that joyous occasion.

So I thank the Lord for these happy, fulfilling and challenging sixteen years in episcopal service. the last four here in Ottawa.

However, this is also the year of another personal anniversary, that of Fifty Years in consecrated life. My confreres, Brother Gerald Horan and Fathers R. Frank Obrigewitsch, Joseph G. Schner and I entered the Society of Jesus at Ignatius College in Guelph, ON in 1961.

Mass of Thanksgiving in St. David's Church, Maple

On April 13, several hundred family, friends and benefactors of the English-speaking Jesuit Province came together in the Toronto area to attend the Jesuit Provincial's Dinner (a fund-raising event in support of the young men in formation and the seniors in the Province Infirmary, who include quite recently Bishop Mikloshazy).

While all the jubilarians are in mind (we have men celebrating 50, 60, 70, 75 and 80 years in the order, as well as 25, 50 and 60 years in the Priesthood), the emphasis falls on the Golden Jubilarians. Here are some photos taken on the occasion (thanks to Marc de Assis, S.J.):

Left to right: niece Patricia Lawson, brother Vince, sisters-in-law Barbara and Renee
with nephews Tim Prendergast and Mark Bayfield

the family table...

grace before the meal...

with friends Vicki, Leanne, Fr. Tom (back) and Ann (seated)...

The recurrence of anniversaries remind us of our gratitude owed, in my case I am truly thankful to God and Our Lord Jesus Christ, to my family and to so many who have been involved in my priestly formation and whom it has been my pleassure to meet in the various place where my ministry has taken me (principally in Guelph, New York, Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, Regina, Rome, Jerusalem, Ottawa). 

The words of St. Paul express the prayer I treasure--"I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now" (Philippians 1.3-5)--as do the words of the psalmist, which find an echo in my heart this day and this year:

What shall I return to the Lord
for all his bounty to me?
I will lift up the chalice of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord,
I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.
(Psalm 116.12-14)

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Message de Pâques 2011 Christ est ressuscité, Alléluia !

Il y a quelques semaines, nous avons été témoins de la souffrance provoquée par le séisme et le tsunami qui ont frappé le Japon, sans compter la menace de la radiation nucléaire. Le monde entier a retenu son souffle et s’est empressé d’aider les sinistrés.

Pour les Japonais, rien ne sera plus jamais comme avant. Ils se rappelleront toujours où ils étaient lorsque le tremblement de terre a frappé et comment cet événement a changé leurs vies.

La Bible nous parle du mystère Pascal – la mort et la résurrection de Jésus Christ – de la même manière: un moment de dimension épique dont la signification dépasse tout ce qu’on aurait pu imaginer.

À la plénitude des temps, deux tremblements de terre ont marqué un tournant dans l’histoire du monde. En effet, l’évangéliste Matthieu nous rappelle que la terre a tremblé à la mort et à la résurrection du Christ (Mt 27, 54; 28,2)

Nous ne connaissons pas l’intensité de ces séismes, mais nous savons qu’ils ont profondément marqué la vie des personnes qui en ont été témoins.

Au moment de la mort de Jésus, au Calvaire, lorsque le centurion et ceux qui l’accompagnaient ont senti la terre trembler et ont vu ce qui se passait, ils furent saisis d’une grande frayeur et dirent : ‘‘Vraiment celui-ci était le Fils de Dieu !’’

Le matin de Pâques, après le tremblement de terre, les gardes ont connu eux aussi la crainte; ils ont été bouleversés et devinrent comme morts lorsqu’un ange est venu rouler la pierre qui était devant le tombeau.

L’ange dit aux femmes qui étaient venues embaumer le corps du Seigneur, de ne pas avoir peur. Il leur dit que Jésus, le Crucifié est ressuscité d’entre les morts et leur demande d’aller l’annoncer aux disciples.

Notre cheminement de foi est semblable à celui de ces femmes et des disciples qui, après avoir rencontré le Seigneur ressuscité, ont cru en Lui. Remplis de l’Esprit-Saint, ils ont commencé à répandre la Bonne Nouvelle de l’amour et de la miséricorde de Dieu.

Lorsqu’elle touche nos vies, la nouvelle de la résurrection de Jésus produit des effets semblables. L’expérience du Christ ressuscité nous bouscule, ensuite nous voulons partager cette Bonne Nouvelle à laquelle nous croyons.

Transmettre le message du Christ est difficile dans notre culture. Les temps dans lesquels nous vivons font appel à une nouvelle évangélisation – à de nouvelles manières de répandre la Bonne Nouvelle qui nous est révélée dans le Christ Jésus.

Certaines personnes que nous rencontrons semblent avoir pris leurs distances de la foi chrétienne et sont comme immunisées contre elle. C’est comme si elles avaient reçu de petites doses d’annonces de la foi qui finissent par donner un enseignement chrétien incomplet. Cela leur en a caché le vrai sens, les amenant à mal saisir le véritable message du Christ. Déçues, ces personnes se sont mises à chercher ailleurs le sens et le but de leur vie.

Il faut avouer qu’il n’est pas facile de parler du message de Jésus de nos jours, de parler de cette foi qui nous libère de tout ce qui nous emprisonne.

Connaître le Christ change tout notre être! Je vois cela chaque fois que j’entends des jeunes parler de la transformation que le Christ produit chaque jour dans leur vie. Les personnes plus âgées racontent également comment leur vie a été transformée lorsqu’elles ont compris réellement le message de Dieu, du Christ, et de l’Église.

Nous devons nous rendre compte cependant qu’à notre époque aucune personne n’est complètement fermée à la grâce de Dieu. Toute personne peut être touchée par le beau message de Jésus et par nos exemples sincères de service et de pardon, faits par amour.

Ceci vient nourrir notre espérance en ce Temps pascal et nous incite à vouloir proclamer notre foi en Jésus partout et toujours : où nous étudions, où nous travaillons, là où nous sommes.

Il peut être encourageant de se rappeler comment le message chrétien s’est répandu rapidement dans l’ Empire romain – cet empire qui fut parfois hostile à la chrétienté – dans cette société qui fut en son temps beaucoup plus cruelle, égoïste, violente et désordonnée sur le plan sexuel que la société dans laquelle nous vivons aujourd’hui.

La Bonne Nouvelle du Royaume de Dieu, le Christ et son message peut encore nous guérir aujourd’hui et nous apporter réconfort et paix. Nous devons nous rappeler de cela et oser proclamer ce que nous avons vu, entendu et ressenti grâce à la liturgie, à la Parole de Dieu et dans notre Communion pascale.

Puisse le Seigneur donner à tous les disciples du Christ le goût et le zèle de partager la Bonne Nouvelle qu’ils ont reçue comme don de Dieu !

 Joyeuses Pâques !

* * * * * *

Prayer for Sunday of the Resurrection

O God, who on this day, through your Only Begotten Son, have conquered death and unlocked for us the path to eternity; grant, we pray, that we who keep the solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection may, through the renewal brought by your Spirit, rise up in the light of life. Through our Lord.

* * * * * * 


A few weeks ago, we saw the suffering in Japan that followed the earthquake, tsunami and threat of nuclear radiation. The world held its breath and hurried to help.

For the Japanese, nothing would ever be the same. From now on people would tell each other where they were when the earthquake struck. And how all these happenings had changed their lives.

The Bible describes the Paschal Mystery—the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—as just such a moment, one of epic proportions and shattering significance.

Two earthquakes revealed that the end times had broken into our world. The evangelist Matthew tells us that at Jesus’ death and again at his resurrection the earth shook (Matthew 27.54; 28.2).

We are not informed of the magnitude of these seismic movements, only that they touched people’s lives profoundly.

On Calvary, when the centurion and those with him keeping watch over Jesus saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified. Then they confessed, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son!’

On Easter morning after the earthquake, the guards shook and became like dead men when the angel rolled back the stone from the tomb.

The angel urged the women who had come to anoint the body of their Lord not to fear. Jesus the crucified, he announced, had risen. They were to go and report this to his disciples.

Our faith experience should parallel that of the women and disciples who, on encountering the risen Lord, became believers. Filled with the Holy Spirit, they began spreading the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness.

The news of Jesus’ resurrection, when it touches peoples’ lives, has similar effects. First the experience of the Risen Lord shakes us up. Then it challenges us to share the news we have come to believe.

Such sharing of the Christian message will be difficult in a culture like ours. Our current world circumstances require us to conceive of a new way of evangelizing—spreading the Good News revealed in Jesus Christ.

Some people we meet seem to have been immunized against the Christian faith. Perhaps earlier on in their lives they got a mild and ineffective dose of the Christian story, which they took to be the real thing. Unimpressed, they turned away, looking elsewhere for meaning and purpose in life.

Ours is not an easy world in which to speak the message of Jesus, who summons us to a new way of being free from all that holds us in bondage.

Knowing Christ changes us to the core of our being! I see this whenever I hear young people speak of the transformation Christ works in their lives each day. Older people, too, tell what happens to them when notions about God, Christ and the Church become real.

We should realize that none of the people of our world are completely resistant to grace, to the beautiful message of Jesus, and to examples we can give of genuine service and forgiving love. This should give us hope at Easter and help our resolve to proclaim Christ where we study, work and play.

It helps to recall how the Christian message spread rapidly in the ancient Roman Empire—one at times officially hostile to Christianity—in a society which was much more cruel and uncaring, violent and sexually chaotic than today's society.

The Good News of the Kingdom, Christ and his message can still bring healing, health and peace. In all our struggles and disappointments, we must remember this and dare to proclaim what we have seen, heard and touched through the liturgy, in God’s word and in the sacrament of our Easter communion.

May God give all Christ’s followers zeal to share the Good News we have received as God’s gift!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

HOLY SATURDAY / Samedi saint - Chemin de la Croix 2011, Ottawa Way of the Cross

« Eveille-toi, ô toi qui dors »

"Que se passe-t-il? Aujourd'hui, grand silence sur la terre; grand silence et ensuite solitude parce que le Roi sommeille. La terre a tremblé et elle s'est apaisée, parce que Dieu s'est endormi dans la chair et il a éveillé ceux qui dorment depuis les origines. Dieu est mort dans la chair et le séjour des morts s'est mis à trembler.

C'est le premier homme qu'il va chercher, comme la brebis perdue. Il veut aussi visiter ceux qui demeurent dans les ténèbres et dans l'ombre de la mort. Oui, c'est vers Adam captif, en même temps que vers Eve, captive elle aussi, que Dieu se dirige, et son Fils avec lui, pour les délivrer de leurs douleurs.

Le Seigneur s'est avancé vers eux, muni de la croix, l'arme de sa victoire. Lorsqu'il le vit, Adam, le premier homme, se frappant la poitrine dans sa stupeur, s'écria vers tous les autres: « Mon Seigneur avec nous tous! » Et le Christ répondit à Adam : « Et avec ton esprit ». Il le prend par la main et le relève en disant: Eveille-toi, ô toi qui dors, relève-toi d'entre les morts, et le Christ t'illuminera.

" C'est moi ton Dieu, qui, pour toi, suis devenu ton fils; c'est moi qui, pour toi et pour tes descendants, te parle maintenant et qui, par ma puissance, ordonne à ceux qui sont dans les chaînes: Sortez. A ceux qui sont dans les ténèbres: Soyez illuminés. A ceux qui sont endormis Relevez-vous.

« Je te l'ordonne: Eveille-toi, ô toi qui dors, je ne t'ai pas créé pour que tu demeures captif du séjour des morts. Relève-toi d'entre les morts : moi, je suis la vie des morts. Lève-toi, oeuvre de mes mains ; lève-toi, mon semblable qui as été créé à mon image. Eveille-toi, sortons d'ici. Car tu es en moi, et moi en toi, nous sommes une seule personne indivisible.

« C'est pour toi que moi, ton Dieu, je suis devenu ton fils; c'est pour toi que moi, le Maître, j'ai pris ta forme d'esclave ; c'est pour toi que moi, qui domine les cieux, je suis venu sur la terre et au-dessous de la terre; c'est pour toi, l'homme, que je suis devenu comme un homme abandonné, libre entre les morts; c'est pour toi, qui es sorti du jardin, que j'ai été livré aux Juifs dans un jardin et que j'ai été crucifié dans un jardin.

« Vois les crachats sur mon visage ; c'est pour toi que je les ai subis afin de te ramener à ton premier souffle de vie. Vois les soufflets sur mes joues : je les ai subis pour rétablir ta forme défigurée afin de la restaurer à mon image.

« Vois la flagellation sur mon dos, que j'ai subie pour éloigner le fardeau de tes péchés qui pesait sur ton dos. Vois mes mains solidement clouées au bois, à cause de toi qui as péché en tendant la main vers le bois.

« Je me suis endormi sur la croix, et la lance a pénétré dans mon côté, à cause de toi qui t'es endormi dans le paradis et, de ton côté, tu as donné naissance à Eve. Mon côté a guéri la douleur de ton côté ; mon sommeil va te tirer du sommeil des enfers. Ma lance a arrêté la lance qui se tournait vers toi.

« Lève-toi, partons d'ici. L'ennemi t'a fait sortir de la terre du paradis; moi je ne t'installerai plus dans le paradis, mais sur un trône céleste. Je t'ai écarté de l'arbre symbolique de la vie; mais voici que moi, qui suis la vie, je ne fais qu'un avec toi. J'ai posté les chérubins pour qu'ils te gardent comme un serviteur; je fais maintenant que les chérubins t'adorent comme un Dieu.

" Le trône des chérubins est préparé, les porteurs sont alertés, le lit nuptial est dressé, les aliments sont apprêtés, les tentes et les demeures éternelles le sont aussi. Les trésors du bonheur sont ouverts et le royaume des cieux est prêt de toute éternité. "

Homélie ancienne pour le Grand et Saint Samedi

Dieu éternel et tout-puissant, dont le Fils unique est descendu aux profondeurs de la terre, d'où il est remonté glorieux: accorde à tes fidèles, ensevelis avec lui dans le baptême, d'accéder par sa résurrection à la vie éternelle. Lui qui règne.

* * *

Something strange is happening—there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness....

The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and Hell trembles with fear. He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, He who is both God and the Son of Eve.

The Lord approached them bearing the Cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone, ‘My Lord be with you all.’ Christ answered him: ‘And with your spirit.’ He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: ‘Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.

‘I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in Hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in Me and I in you; together we form one person and cannot be separated.

‘For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, Whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

‘See on My Face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On My back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See My hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

‘I slept on the Cross and a sword pierced My side for you who slept in Paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in Hell. The sword that pierced Me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

‘Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly Paradise. I will not restore you to that Paradise, but will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The Bridal Chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The Kingdom of Heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.’ (from an ancient homily for Holy Saturday)

* * * * * *

Prayer for Holy Saturday
The Easter Vigil in the Holy Night
O God, who make this most sacred night radiant with the glory of the Lord’s Resurrection stir up in your Church a spirit of adoration, so that, renewed in your body and mind, we may render you undivided service. Through our Lord.

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Samedi saint

La célébration de la nuit du Samedi Saint au dimanche de Pâques est « une veille en l'honneur du Seigneur » durant laquelle les catholiques célèbrent Pâques, passage des ténèbres à la lumière, victoire du Christ sur la mort. C'est pourquoi, dans la nuit, le feu et le cierge de Pâques sont allumés, puis la flamme est transmise aux fidèles. 

C'est aussi durant cette veillée - ou Vigile pascale - que sont célébrés les baptêmes d'adultes. Ils sont aussi l'occasion pour les fidèles de renouveler les promesses de leur baptême.

Pour les enfants, les jeunes et les adultes qui vont être baptisés au cours de la vigile pascal, Pâques résonne en événement inaugural de leur vie de chrétien.

A l'issue de leur chemin catéchuménat, vécu depuis plusieurs années, cette nuit pascal constitue un sommet pour leur initiation chrétienne ; Sommet signifié par l'ensemble de la liturgie qui célèbre la mémoire de Jésus Christ.

Au cœur de la vigile, les rites spécifiques aux sacrements d'initiation sont parlants : La plongée dans l'eau, symbole de mort et de vie, passage à la résurrection dans le Christ. On est baptisé au nom du Père, du Fils et du St Esprit.

Au sortir de l'eau, les nouveaux baptisés seront revêtus du vêtement blanc. Ils le porteront au cours de certaines célébrations du temps pascal.

S'ils sont confirmés ce soir là, il y aura le rite avec le Saint Chrême, la marque de l'Esprit Saint.

Avec toute l'assemblée, ils recevront le cierge allumé. Tel des porteurs de la lumière de foi dans leur vie, ils participent à la liturgie eucharistique et communient pour la première fois.

Ce qui est beau à voir et non moins significatif, c'est la joie rayonnante de ces nouveaux baptisés. Cette émotion profonde et toute simple mais qui en dit long sur la transformation humaine et spirituelle qu'ils sont en train de vivre. Ils sont les mêmes hommes, les mêmes femmes qu'auparavant mais tout autre quand même puisque résolument disciples de Jésus de Nazareth.

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The Way of the Cross was a beautiful experience again yesterday for the fourth year in a row (recently, I learned that there had been an earlier instance in 2003 with twelve marchers).  God blessed us with wonderful weather (sunshine, ten degrees Celsius).  We were young and old, francophone and anglophone, from all races and continents.  Christ, lifted up from the earth on the tree of the Cross, continues to draw all to himself (John 12.34).  

Special thanks to all in Communion and Liberation (CL) who helped make it such a wonderful experience of solidarity.For more information on CL's purpose and goals, including the biweekly school of community, cf.  The next School of Community will meet at Notre Dame Cathedral Offices, 56 Guigues St., Ottawa on Friday, April 29 at 8:30PM.

Merci à la communauté de Communion et Libération (CL) d'Ottawa pour l'organisation du Chemin de la Croix d'hier.  Ce mouvement ecclésial offre beaucoup à ceux et celles qui veulent vivre leur foi avec élan et un joie de vivre, et aussi témoigner de leur foi dans la société contemporaine.

La communauté CL d'Ottawa se réunit à la cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Ottawa, 56, rue Guigues; la prochaine réunion aura lieu vendredi prochain, le 29 avril à 20h30.  Pour de plus amples informations:

The start at St. Patrick Basilica

“If someone were to catch sight of his homeland from afar, separated by the sea, he would see his destination but lack the means of reaching it. So it is with us… We glimpse our goal across the sea of the present age… But to enable us to go there, the One who is our goal came to us… he brought us the plank by we can make the passage. No one may cross the sea of his age, unless he be carried by the cross of Christ… So do not forsake the cross, and the cross will carry you.”

These words of Saint Augustine, taken from his Commentary on John’s Gospel (2,2) introduce us to the prayer of the Way of the Cross. The Way of the Cross is meant to help us cling to the wood of Christ’s cross through the seas of life. It is not merely a sentimental, popular devotion; rather, it expresses the core of the Christian experience: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mk 8:34).

The closing at Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica