Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Trinity Sunday (Year B)

In an earlier era, the Feast of the Visitation was assigned to July 2, the day after the end of the octave following the feast of the birth of John the Baptist, who was still in his mother's womb at the time of the Visitation.

In 1969, Pope Paul VI moved it to its current date of May 31, "between the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (March 25) and that of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (June 24), so that it would harmonize better with the Gospel story."

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And Mary rising up in those days went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda. [Lk. 1.39]

How lyrical that is, the opening sentence of St. Luke's description of the Visitation. We can feel the rush of warmth and kindness, the sudden urgency of love that sent that girl hurrying over the hills. "Those days" in which she rose on that impulse were the days in which Christ was being formed in her, the impulse was his impulse.

Many women, if they were expecting a child, would refuse to hurry over the hills on a visit of pure kindness. They would say they had a duty to themselves and to their unborn child which came before anything or anyone else.

The Mother of God considered no such thing. Elizabeth was going to have a child, too, and although Mary's own child was God, she could not forget Elizabeth's need—almost incredible to us, but characteristic of her.

She greeted her cousin Elizabeth, and at the sound of her voice, John quickened in his mother's womb and leapt for joy.

I am come, said Christ, that they may have life and may have it more abundantly. [Jn. 10.10] Even before He was born His presence gave life.

With what piercing shoots of joy does this story of Christ unfold! First the conception of a child in a child's heart, and then this first salutation, an infant leaping for joy in his mother's womb, knowing the hidden Christ and leaping into life.

How did Elizabeth herself know what had happened to Our Lady? What made her realize that this little cousin who was so familiar to her was the mother of her God?

She knew it by the child within herself, by the quickening into life which was a leap of joy.

If we practice this contemplation taught and shown to us by Our Lady, we will find that our experience is like hers.

If Christ is growing in us, if we are at peace, recollected, because we know that however insignificant our life seems to be, from it He is forming Himself; if we go with eager wills, "in haste," to wherever our circumstances compel us, because we believe that He desires to be in that place, we shall find that we are driven more and more to act on the impulse of His love.

And the answer we shall get from others to those impulses will be an awakening into life, or the leap into joy of the already wakened life within them.  [Excerpted from Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God]

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Almighty ever-living God, who, while the Blessed Virgin Mary was carrying your Son in her womb, inspired her to visit Elizabeth, grant us, we pray, that, faithful to the promptings of the Spirit, we may magnify your greatness with the Virgin Mary at all times. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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Trinity Sunday (Year “B”) - June 3, 2012

[Texts: Deuteronomy 4.32-34, 39-40 [Psalm 33]; Romans 8.4-17; Matthew 28.6-20]

In different ways, both the Old and New Testaments witness to God's interaction with people chosen to journey from this world into the mystery of the One God.

The Book of Deuteronomy was often on the lips of Jesus. It gives unique testimony to the love of God in the history of Israel. Telling of God's mysterious predilection for Israel, Deuteronomy reveals a spontaneous and unmerited gift from God, one previously unheard of among the nations of the world:

God chose a nation in bondage in Egypt and made them His peculiar possession, redeeming them from slavery and revealing to them laws and statutes that would ensure Israel's holiness and happiness. For the Deuteronomist, clinging to this Lord—who alone is God in heaven and on earth—becomes the only path to peace and serenity.

The New Testament declares that this redeeming and revealing God became manifest when the heavenly Father worked to save people in an entirely new manner through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Not a break with the past, this saving design flows from God's earlier revelation. In fact, Christ's death and resurrection are said to constitute a new Exodus (this time from the bondage of sin) and his teaching a new revelation to be completely obeyed as the path to eternal life.

In Romans Paul remarks that, when Christians entered into union with Christ by baptism, they received a gift of adoption into the inner life of the Trinity, sharing intimate family life with God. The Holy Spirit was lavishly poured into human hearts to enable them to pray as Jesus did in Gethsemane, “Abba! Father!” (cf. Mark 14.36).

Paul borrowed the legal term ‘adoption’ from the Greco-Roman world in which he lived rather than from Judaism (which did not have such adoptive practices). He applied it to Christians of both Jewish and Gentile background. In his milieu, such an adoption meant the legal assumption of someone into the status of sonship within a natural family.

The Holy Spirit, who effects this adoption of the believer into God's family, causes the Christian to enter into a special relationship with Christ, the unique Son, and with the Father. Thus do Christians become God's daughters and sons, sisters and brothers of Jesus.

For Christians, the only God of the universe became manifest in a totally new way in the person of Christ, the risen Lord. His divinity led the disciples to adore him, even if a degree of resistance persisted among them (“When [the Eleven disciples] saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted”).

This glorified and majestic Jesus declared that the Father had given Him sole authority over all the inhabitants of the earth (“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations ... teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you”).

Baptism in the name of the Trinity would be the sign that people agreed with God's revelation in Jesus (“baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”). Though the Persons of the Trinity are mentioned, use of the singular 'name' in their regard points to the unity of the three.

Only Matthew records Jesus' command to baptize, but the practice of the early Church supports its historical nature (cf. Acts 2.38; 8.12, 38; 9:18, etc.) Early accounts of the church's baptismal practice sometimes refer to the sacrament as having been administered “in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2.38; 10.48) or “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 8.16; 19.5). Clearly, baptismal terminology used by the early church knew various formulations before our Trinitarian formula became normative.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The 600th Anniversary of the Birth of Saint Joan of Arc - Sainte Jeanne d'Arc [memoire facultative]

Sainte Jeanne d’Arc, also known as the Maid of Orleans; Jean D'arc; Jehanne Darc, was one of five children born to Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle Romee: shepherdess and mystic. She received visions from Saint Margaret of Antioch, Saint Catherine of Alexandria, and Michael the Archangel from age 13.

In the early 15th century, England, in alliance with Burgundy, controlled most of what is modern France. In May 1428 Joan's visions told her to find the true king of France and help him reclaim his throne.

Carrying a banner that read “Jesus, Mary”, she led troops from one battle to another. Her victories from February 23, 1429 to May 23, 1430 brought Charles VII to the throne. Captured by the Burgundians and sold to the English for ten thousand francs, she was tried by an ecclesiastical court, and executed as a heretic. In 1456 her case was re-tried, and Joan was acquitted (23 years too late).

“About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they're just one thing, and we shouldn't complicate the matter” - Saint Joan of Arc, as recorded at her trial.

Born: 6 January 1412 at Greux-Domremy, Lorraine, France; died burned alive on 30 May 1431 at Rouen, France; beatified April 11, 1905 by Pope Saint Pius X; canonized May 16, 1920 by Pope Benedict XV.

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Vierge, Libératrice de la France (1412-1431)

Sainte Jeanne d'Arc montre une fois de plus, et d'une manière particulièrement éclatante, deux choses: combien Dieu aime la France et comme il est vrai qu'Il Se plaît à choisir les plus faibles instruments pour l'accomplissement des plus grandes choses.

Jeanne d'Arc naquit à Domremy, dans la Lorraine actuelle, le 6 janvier 1412; ses parents, Jacques d'Arc et Isabelle Romée, étaient des cultivateurs faisant valoir leur petit bien. La première parole que lui apprit sa mère fut le nom de Jésus; toute sa science se résuma dans le Pater, l'Ave, le Credo et les éléments essentiels de la religion. Elle approchait souvent du tribunal de la pénitence et de la Sainte Communion; tous les témoignages contemporains s'accordent à dire qu'elle était « une bonne fille, aimant et craignant Dieu », priant beaucoup Jésus et Marie. Son curé put dire d'elle: « Je n'ai jamais vu de meilleure chrétienne, et il n'y a pas sa pareille dans toute la paroisse. »

La France était alors à la merci des Anglais et des Bourguignons, leurs alliés; la situation du roi Charles VII était désespérée. Mais Dieu Se souvint de Son peuple, et afin que l'on vît d'une manière évidente que le salut venait de Lui seul, Il Se servit d'une humble fille des champs. Jeanne avait treize ans quand l'Archange saint Michel lui apparut une première fois, vers midi, dans le jardin de son père, lui donna des conseils pour sa conduite et lui déclara que Dieu voulait sauver la France par elle. Les visions se multiplièrent; l'Archange protecteur de la France était accompagné de sainte Catherine et de sainte Marguerite, que Dieu donnait à Jeanne comme conseillères et comme soutien.

Jusqu'ici la vie de Jeanne est l'idylle d'une pieuse bergère; elle va devenir l'épopée d'une guerrière vaillante et inspirée; elle avait seize ans quand le roi Charles VII, convaincu de sa mission par des signes miraculeux, lui remit la conduite de ses armées. Bientôt Orléans est délivrée, les Anglais tremblent et fuient devant une jeune fille. Quelques mois plus tard, le roi était sacré à Reims.

Dans les vues divines, la vie de Jeanne devait être couronnée par l'apothéose du martyre: elle fut trahie à Compiègne, vendue aux Anglais, et après un long emprisonnement, où elle subit tous les outrages, condamnée et brûlée à Rouen (30 mai 1431). Son âme s'échappa de son corps sous la forme d'une colombe, et son coeur ne fut pas touché par les flammes.

L'Église a réhabilité sa mémoire et l'a élevée au rang des Saintes. Jeanne d'Arc demeure la gloire de la France, sa Protectrice puissante et bien-aimée. Elle a été déclarée sa Patronne secondaire par un Bref du Pape Pie XI, le 2 mars 1922. [Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, Tours, Mame, 1950.]

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Saints John of Avila & Hildegard of Bingen to be Doctors of the Church

Saint John of Ávila, Apostle of Andalusia (San Juan de Ávila) (January 6, 1500 – May 10, 1569) was a priest, preacher, scholastic author, religious mystic and saint.

At the conclusion of a special World Youth Day Mass for seminarians at the Cathedral Church of Santa María La Real de la Almudena, in Madrid, Spain, on 20 August 2011, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would soon declare St. John the 34th Doctor of the Universal Church.

On Pentecost Sunday, the Holy Father noted that he make this solemn pronoucement at the Opening Mass of the Synod on the “New Evangelization” and will also add St. Hildegard of Bingen to the list of those who, by their way of life and the wisdom of their spiritual doctrine are worthy of being designated perennial “teachers of the Church”.

St. John of Avila was a parish priest and theologian in 16th century Spain who exercised some influence over ideas concerning the reform of priestly reformation at the Council of Trent. Avila linked the priesthood closely to the Eucharist and regarded holiness as the preeminent quality of a priest, who must serve as a mediator between God and man. To this end, he recommended painstaking selection of candidates followed by rigorous spiritual and intellectual formation within a community. For Avila, renewal of the priesthood demanded the priest's conformity to Christ as both Good Shepherd and High Priest.

Sixteenth century Spain was a golden age of sanctity during which a veritable procession of saints appeared on the scene before and after the Council of Trent and contributed in a multitude of ways to the reform and renewal of the Church. We might mention, for example, such saints as Ignatius of Loyola, Peter of Alcantara, Teresa of Avila, Francis Borgia, and John of God. All of these saints were religious who renewed the life of the Church by founding or reforming communities that became renowned for holiness of life and apostolic zeal. Less often noticed, but definitely a participant in the procession of sixteenth century Spanish saints is St. John of Avila, a diocesan priest who laboured as a preacher, confessor, spiritual director, catechist, evangelizer, educator, and theologian and knew and helped each and all of the saints mentioned above.

Venerated in Spain as the patron of diocesan priests, John Avila was a major figure in the reform of the life and ministry of parish priests who, as shepherds of Christ's faithful, have direct influence on the holiness of the Church. His teaching on the priesthood and its renewal continues to be illuminating for the Church, especially in the contemporary situation in which profound questions have been raised about priestly life and ministry. Avila was profoundly convinced of the holiness of the priestly state and of the holiness of life required of each and every priest. He considered the very holiness of the Church and its members to depend on the careful selection and formation of candidates for the priesthood so that they might be holy and exercise their office of sanctifying others.

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St. Hildegard of Bingen was a most remarkable woman, and one of the greatest figures of the 12th century. This German mystic was a poet and a prophet, a physician and a moralist. She fearlessly rebuked popes and bishops, princes and lay people.

Becoming a nun at 15, Hildegard led an uneventful life for the next 17 years. But more and more she found herself foretelling the future in her conversations. After she became prioress of her community she felt the need to begin writing down the visions and revelations that were coming to her. The archbishop of Mainz examined her writings and declared, “These visions come from God.” Encouraged, she began her greatest work, 26 visions dealing with God and man, creation, redemption and the Church. Full of apocalyptic language, warnings and prophesies, the writing took 10 years to complete. Pope Eugenius III examined the results and cautiously told Hildegard to continue to write whatever the Holy Spirit told her to publish.

With the blessing of the pope, Hildegard, overcoming much opposition, built a larger monastery for her nuns in a place that had been revealed to her in a vision. The new monastery had such things as running water for the 50 women religious who resided there. And Hildegard was able to entertain the community with hymns and canticles for which she wrote both the music and the words. She composed a sacred cantata and wrote 50 allegorical homilies to be used for community reading.

Her more than 300 letters, written to popes and kings, to clergy and abbesses, are full of warnings and prophecies. As was to be expected, she was widely criticized by some, including her own nuns, while others valued her counsel. Despite sickness, she continued to write. One book was on natural history, another on medicine. Some of her ideas on blood circulation and mental illness were far ahead of her time.

Although she has never been formally canonized, the Roman Martyrology lists her as a saint.

Hildegard once said, “These visions which I saw—I beheld them neither in sleep nor dreaming nor in madness nor with my bodily eyes or ears, nor in hidden places; but I saw them in full view and according to God’s will, when I was wakeful and alert, with the eyes of the spirit and the inward ears.”

Monday, May 28, 2012

KofC Ontario State Convention, Toronto

On the Victoria Day weekend I attended the Knights of Columbus Ontario State Convention at the Doubletree Hotel at the Toronto International Airport.  It was good to see large numbers of fellow knights from across Ontario, particularly a good contingent of francophone and English-speaking Knights and their Ladies from the Archdiocese of Ottawa.  A few days before, Knight Armand Lafond had come by my office to present me with a cheque, the proceeds of the Annual Dinner in favour of my charitable fund (below).

Here are a few photos from the Convention:

Former Staff Deputy Art Peters and Rick McLaughlin

More brother Knights

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This week, I will be in Niagara Falls at the Carmelite Retreat Centre for one of the sessions of the HAMILTON PRIESTS RETREAT, which I commend to your prayers.  Blogging will be lighter until the weekend.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Solemnity of PENTECOST: The Birthday of the Church

God's Grandeur
By Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889)

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

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Almighty ever-living God, who willed the Paschal Mystery to be encompassed as a sign in fifty days, grant that from out of the scattered nations the confusion of many tongues may be gathered by heavenly grace into one great confession of your name. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial of St. Philip Neri, Founder of the Oratory

Cyril Leeper, St. Philip in ecstacy during Mass
(as viewed by Fr Jonathan Robinson) 2012

Today, the Church remembers St. Philip Neri, founder of The Congregation of the Oratory

Happy Feast Day to the members of the Toronto Oratory, who have responsibility for the parishes of St. Vincent de Paul and Holy Family and who direct St. Philip's Seminary. 

Congratulations also to Father Jonathan Robinson, who two weeks ago celebrated the Golden Jubilee of his priestly ordination.

In Canada, St. Philip Neri is the patron of the home missions, Catholic Missions in Canada.

Saint Philip Neri, one of the glories of Florence, was born of an illustrious Christian family in that city of Tuscany, in 1515. His parents lived in the fear of God and the observance of His commandments, and raised their son to be obedient and respectful. Already when he was five years old, he was called good little Philip. He lost his mother while still very young, and it seemed he should have died himself when he was about eight or nine years old. He fell, along with a horse, onto a pavement from a certain height. Though the horse landed on top of him, he was entirely uninjured. He attributed his preservation to a special intervention of God, destined to permit him to dedicate his life to the service of God.

He fled from a prospective inheritance to Rome, where he desired to study, and there undertook to tutor the two sons of a nobleman who offered him refuge. He led so edifying a life that word of it reached Florence, and his sister commented that she had never doubted he would become a great Saint. He studied philosophy and theology, and after a short time seemed to need to study no longer, so clear were the truths of God in his mind. He always kept the Summa Theologica of Saint Thomas Aquinas near him for consultation; this and the Holy Bible were his only books.

Saint Philip seemed surrounded by a celestial splendor, the effect of his angelic purity, which he never lost in spite of the many dangers that surrounded him; he came victorious from every combat, through prayer, tears and confidence in God. He often visited the hospitals to serve the sick and assist the poor. At night he would go to the cemetery of Saint Callixtus, where he prayed near the tombs of the martyrs.

He attracted a number of companions who desired to perform these devotions with him. He loved young boys most of all; he wanted to warn them against the world’s seductions and conserve their virtue in all its freshness. He would wait for them and talk to them after their classes; and many whom his examples impressed consecrated themselves to God. Assisted by his excellent confessor, he founded a Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity for the relief of the poor, convalescents, and pilgrims who had no place of refuge. He gave lodging to many in the great jubilee year of 1550, even receiving several complete families in the houses he had obtained.

At the age of 36 he was not yet a priest, and his confessor commanded him under obedience to receive Holy Orders, which he did in the same year of 1551. He joined a society of priests and heard many confessions. Saint Ignatius of Loyola called him Philip the Bell, saying he was like a parish church bell, calling everyone to church, but remaining in his tower — this because he determined so many souls to enter into religion, without doing so himself. He himself was about to follow Saint Francis Xavier’s renowned examples, by going to India with twenty young companions, but was advised by an interior voice to consult a saintly priest. He was then told that the will of God was that he live in the city of Rome as in a desert.

The famous Society of Saint Philip, called The Oratory, began when a group of good priests joined him in giving instructions and conferences and presiding prayers; for them he drew up some rules which were soon approved. He became renowned all over Italy for the instances of bilocation which were duly verified during his lifetime. Many holy servants of God were formed in the Oratory, a society of studious priests, made ready by ten years of preparation in the common life for a service founded on sacerdotal perfection. Saint Philip died peacefully in 1595 on the Feast of Corpus Christi at the age of 80, having been ill for only one day. He bears the noble titles of Patron of Works of Youth, and Apostle of Rome. [Source: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 5.]

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Father, you continually raise up your faithful to the glory of holiness. In your love kindle in us the fire of the Holy Spirit who so filled the heart of Philip Neri. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

A Visit to Salt + Light TV Staff - OM: St. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi

Among my varied activities last week while I was in Toronto was a visit to Salt and Light TV.  There I concelebrated Mass with Father Tom Rosica CSB, the CEO, and afterwards delighted in lunch and conversation with these dynamic young (and young-at-heart) people involved in contributing to the new evangelization through the new media (tv, radio, apps, blogs, etc.--you name it, they're into it!)

A few more photos follow:

When I had this blog entry ready for posting, I noticed that the Salt and Light TV blog mentioned my visit as one of many that take place regularly; to read about it, go to

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Today's liturgy allows for three possible optional memorials: St. Bede the Venerable, Pope St. Gregory VII and the mystic featured above.

Mary Magdalen of Pazzi, a highly gifted mystic, had made a vow of chastity at the age of ten. She entered the convent of the Discalced Carmelite nuns in Florence, because the practice of receiving holy Communion almost daily was observed there.

For five years her only food was bread and water. She practiced the most austere penances and for long periods endured complete spiritual aridity. Her favorite phrase was: "Suffer, not die!" Her body has remained incorrupt to the present day; it is preserved in a glass coffin in the church of the Carmelite nuns at Florence.

Purity of soul and love of Christ are the chief virtues which the Church admires in St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi. These virtues matured her spiritually and enabled her to take as a motto, "Suffer, not die!"

Purity and love are also the virtues which the Church today exhorts us to practice in imitation of the saint. We may never attain her high degree of holiness, but we can at least strive to suffer patiently out of love for Christ. [— Excerpted from Pius Parsch, The Church's Year of Grace.]

O God, lover of virginity, who adorned with heavenly gifts the Virgin Saint Mary Magdalene de'Pazzi, setting her on fire with your love, grant, we pray, that we, who honor her today, may imitate her example of purity and love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Blessed / Bienheureux Louis-Zepherin Moreau

The Canadian Church honors Blessed Louis-Zephirin Moreau today. He is the founder of the communities of the Sisters of Saint Joseph and the Sisters of Sainte Marthe. He also participated in the founding of numerous other institutions and pious works. He died on May 24, 1901.

Aujourd’hui l’Eglise au Canada peut feter «le bon Mgr Moreau » quatrième évêque de Saint-Hyacinthe (1875-1901)

A la suite du décès du troisième évêque du diocèse de Saint-Hyacinthe, le 15 juillet 1875, M. l'abbé Moreau écrit au cardinal préfet de la Propagande en ces termes: Par ces lettres en date du 10 juillet courant, Charles LaRocque m'a nommé Administrateur du diocèse avec tous les pouvoirs qu'il pouvait me communiquer en vertu du 16e Décret du dernier concile Provincial de Québec approuvé par le Saint-Père, le 1er septembre de l'année dernière. C'est en obéissance à ce Décret que je me hâte d'annoncer à votre Éminence la triste nouvelle de la mort du Vénérable Titulaire du diocèse de Saint-Hyacinthe et ma nomination à la charge d'Administrateur du même diocèse, Sede Vacante.

Le 22 octobre suivant, Mgr Agnozzi, pro-secrétaire de la Propagande écrivait à l'abbé Moreau pour lui faire part de la décision du pape Pie IX qui venait de le désigner comme successeur de Mgr Charles LaRocque en le nommant au siège épiscopal de Saint-Hyacinthe. Mgr Louis-Zéphirin Moreau devenait ainsi le IVe évêque de Saint-Hyacinthe.

Le nouvel évêque est originaire de Bécancour dans le diocèse de Nicolet où il voit le jour le 1er avril 1824. Sa mère, Marie-Marguerite Champoux et son père Louis Moreau appartenaient à deux respectables familles de cultivateurs. Très tôt, il manifeste des signes évidents d'une vocation sacerdotale. Il fait ses études au Séminaire de Nicolet. A l'âge de vingt ans, il manifeste son désir de devenir prêtre. Accepté tout d'abord par l'évêque de Québec, il doit interrompre ses études théologiques en raison d'une santé fragile. Devant cette situation, Mgr Signay croit plus prudent de demander à M. Moreau de se retirer définitivement du Grand Séminaire. Après quelques mois de réflexion, il s'adresse donc aux autorités du diocèse de Montréal afin d'y être admis au nombre des futurs prêtres. Mgr Ignace Bourget qui est alors évêque du diocèse de Montréal est sur le point de partir pour un voyage à Rome. Il accepte donc M. Moreau comme futur prêtre dans son diocèse et le confie aux bons soins de son auxiliaire, Mgr Jean-Charles Prince. Louis-Zéphirin Moreau reçoit l'ordination presbytérale le 19 décembre 1846.

Lorsque Mgr Jean-Charles Prince devient le premier évêque de Saint-Hyacinthe, en 1852, le jeune abbé Moreau l'accompagne à titre de secrétaire. Dans les diverses fonctions qu'il exerce auprès des trois premiers évêques du diocèse, M. l'abbé Moreau s'est mérité l'affection et l'admiration de tous par le rayonnement de ses vertus. Il fut entre autre curé de la cathédrale à deux périodes différentes, de 1854 à 1860 et de 1869 à 1870. On le retrouve comme procureur de l'évêché de 1860 à 1866 et vicaire général du diocèse de 1869 à 1875. À quatre reprises, il fut administrateur du diocèse en l'absence de l'évêque titulaire ou pendant la vacance du siège épiscopal, à la mort de Mgr Prince et sous les deux évêques Joseph et Charles LaRocque. Il est élu évêque de Saint-Hyacinthe par le pape Pie IX en novembre 1875 et reçoit l'ordination épiscopale le 16 janvier 1876, en la cathédrale de Saint-Hyacinthe.

Le IVe évêque de Saint-Hyacinthe laissera pour ainsi dire une marque indélébile de son passage à la tête de cette Église diocésaine. Il sera proche de ses prêtres et dotera le diocèse du Chapitre-cathédrale qui existe encore. Il aura à coeur de développer l'éducation en ayant recours à plusieurs communautés religieuses, tant féminine que masculine. Il fondera lui-même deux communautés religieuses : les Soeurs de Saint-Joseph à qui il confie l'éducation de la foi des jeunes dans le monde rural et la communauté des Soeurs de Sainte-Marthe pour répondre aux besoins du Séminaire de Saint-Hyacinthe et du clergé en s'adonnant aux tâches ménagères.

Homme d'une grande piété et grand ami des pauvres, il s'est déjà gagné une réputation de sainteté durant son vivant. Les gens l'appellent le bon Mgr Moreau. Il s'endort définitivement dans le Seigneur le 24 mai 1901. Le 10 mai 1973, l'Église, de façon officielle, reconnaît l'héroïcité de ses vertus, et le 10 mai 1987, Mgr Louis-Zéphirin Moreau est déclaré bienheureux par le Pape Jean Paul II, à Rome. Il est le premier évêque d'origine canadienne à être déclaré bienheureux. []

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Solemnity of Pentecost (Year "B") - May 27, 2012

[Texts: Acts 2.1-11 [Psalm 104]; Galatians 5.16-25; John 15.26-27; 16.12-15]

Easter, the new Passover, and Pentecost -- the Jewish celebration fifty days later -- are the hinges of the Church's liturgical year. The Greek Old Testament twice used 'Pentecost' to designate the 'feast of weeks', the second of Israel's three great annual pilgrimage celebrations (the third is the feast of 'booths' in the fall).

In the Hellenistic era, the covenant God made with Noah (Genesis 9.8-17) was renewed, but after the destruction of the Temple Pentecost was associated with God's bestowal of the Torah on Sinai. For Luke, Pentecost fulfils Jesus' promise to his followers that they would be empowered once they had received the Holy Spirit from on high (Acts 1.5, 8; cf. Luke 24.49).

The evangelist does not tell his readers where the early community was gathered when the Holy Spirit came, only that 'they were all together in one place'. Tradition suggests the group of believers numbering about 120 persons -- the minimum number in Jewish law to establish a new community -- met in 'the room upstairs' (Acts 1.13). Whatever its precise location, there they gathered around the apostles, 'with certain women including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers', and devoted themselves to prayer.

Powerful symbols describe the Spirit's coming: there was 'a sound like the rush of a violent wind'; also 'divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them'. These were the outward signs of the invisible reality, that 'all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit'. The subsequent external manifestation of the indwelling Spirit was that these all 'began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability'.

Elsewhere in Scripture the 'Spirit' is likened to the .wind' (cf. John 3.8). In fact, pneuma in Greek has both meanings. The noise made by the violent wind of the Holy Spirit was so palpable that its sound seemed to have 'filled the entire house where they were sitting'. In the past, God's presence at Sinai had been accompanied by a loud sound (cf. Exodus 19.16-19), while a turbulent wind had been associated with the theophany to Elijah (1 Kings 19.11-12) as well as his ascent to God in the flaming chariot (2 Kings 2.11).

God had been revealed to Moses in the flaming bush (Exodus 3.2) and the image of a fire was often featured in moments of divine presence. John the Baptist foretold that God's coming in judgment would be manifest in a divine, cleansing fire (cf. Luke 3.16). Luke's description of the divided flames says that a tongue came to rest on each person. It is interesting to note that in Jewish tradition fire occasionally was said to rest on the heads of rabbis when they studied or disputed about God's law.

The ancient world valued highly ecstatic speech because it was thought to derive from direct possession by the deity. Paul's discussion of the phenomenon of glossolalia or 'speaking in tongues' (cf. 1 Corinthians 10-12) suggests that ecstatic, babbling speech was known at Corinth. Luke stresses not the ecstatic but the communicative feature of this religious experience ('all heard them speaking in their own languages'). One commentator tries to resolve the two types of speech by suggesting the hearers thought they heard and recognized words of praise to God in their own dialects ('in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power').

The sequence in the list of nations present at the first Christian Pentecost ('Parthians, Medes and Elamites ...') has long fascinated interpreters, but no one has yet been able to give a satisfactory explanation for its origin (a list of nations where Jews resided?) or the order in which regions are mentioned.

The catalogue of nations begins in the east and moves westward, from Persia and Iran towards modern Iraq, with Judea -- where Jerusalem is located -- suddenly appearing in the midst of the pattern. Next, areas of Asia Minor are mentioned, then Egypt and the region west of it; finally comes Rome, capital of the Empire, where Acts will terminate. 'Jews and converts' suggests that mix of God's people and Gentiles who would be fashioned by 'the Spirit of Truth' into the mystery called 'the Church'.

In Galatians, Paul shows that the Spirit helps believers overcome the 'desires of the flesh' to produce 'the fruit of the Spirit'.

* * * * * *


On Sunday evening, several of us bishops took turns carrying the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament in a procession from St. Joseph's Oratory to the Cathedral of Mary, Queen of the World in downtown Montreal.  Kyle Ferguson, the new national coordinator of Canadian Catholic Campus Ministry Association, sent the following report to Salt and Light TV's blog.

On Saturday evening about 450 young people accompanied by Bishops Lepine (Montreal), Dowd (Montreal), Lacroix (QC) and Prendergast (Ottawa) took part in a Eucharistic procession which started at St. Josep’s Oratory and cut right through the heart of downtown Montreal arriving at the Cathedral: Mary Queen of the World.

For five kilometres, the four bishops walked shoulder to shoulder sharing the task of carrying the monstrance every step of the way. As one got fatigued the other bishop stepped up and took on the weight for his brother bishop. It was an incredible witness of episcopal friendship, collaboration and solidarity.

When we turned onto St. Catherine’s Street, Bishop Lepine, the Archbishop of Montreal, held the monstrance high and quite bravely lead us down the middle of St. Catherine’s with 450 young people joyfully clapping, singing and bearing witness to Christ in the midst of the glamour, glitter and sensuality of St. Catherine’s night life as it unfolded.

In this act, it was as though the Archbishop was reclaiming the city and its people to Jesus. Those who passed by were visibly touched by this public witness to Christ, many stopping to applaud us, take pictures, join in the procession, or with arms tightly crossed to their chest watch curiously. The procession did not go unnoticed!

People, young and old, were being drawn to their apartments and shop windows to witness not a protest of aggression unfolding, but a procession of love outpouring. Moreover, spectators were being drawn out of themselves, out of the mundane and into the mystery and joy of the Christian faith. To say the least, it certainly was a juxtaposition to the recent protests in Montreal.

I really think the bishops of Quebec should be commended for this act of bravery. I am certain that the bishops of Montreal received no shortage of advice telling them to cancel this procession given (a) the current circumstances of the city and its student protests, and (b) the precarious position, in general, of religion and its public displays in Quebec society. Yet, despite these serious concerns, they went ahead and took the risk.

The Quebec Church, I think, provided a great witness to three things this weekend: first, that we need to be bold in our proclaiming of the Gospel, yes, we must listen and be attentive, and have charity rooted in everything we do, but we cannot hide out light under the bushel basket; second, being bold will involve vulnerability and risk and if we try to mitigate all risk and vulnerability from our efforts we end up burying our talents in the sand; and third, the unity and community of our Church is essential for effective proclamation and witness – no person is an Island, we need to stand together.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Waiting for the Holy Spirit - St. Rita of Cascia (Optional Memorial)

The Living Water of the Holy Spirit

The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of living water, welling up into eternal life (John 7:38).

This is a new kind of water, a living, leaping water, welling up for those who are worthy. But why did Christ call the grace of the Spirit water? Because all things are dependent on water; plants and animals have their origin in water. Water comes down from heaven as rain, and although it is always the same in itself, it produces many different effects, one in the palm tree, another in the vine, and so on throughout the whole of creation. It does not come down, now as one thing, now as another, but while remaining essentially the same, it adapts itself to the needs of every creature that receives it.

In the same way the Holy Spirit, whose nature is always the same, simple and indivisible, apportions grace to each man as he wills. Like a dry tree which puts forth shoots when watered, the soul bears the fruit of holiness when repentance has made it worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit. Although the Spirit never changes, the effects of his action, by the will of God and in the name of Christ, are both many and marvelous.

The Spirit makes one man a teacher of divine truth, inspires another to prophesy, gives another the power of casting out devils, enables another to interpret holy Scripture. The Spirit strengthens one man's self-control, shows another how to help the poor, teaches another to fast and lead a life of asceticism, makes another oblivious to the need of the body, trains another for martyrdom. His action is different in different people, but the Spirit himself is always the same. In each person, Scripture says, the Spirit reveals his presence in a particular way for the common good.

The Spirit comes gently and makes himself known by his fragrance. He is not felt as a burden, for he is light, very light. Rays of light and knowledge stream before him as he approaches. The Spirit comes with the tenderness of a true friend and protector to save, to heal, to teach, to counsel, to strengthen, to console. The Spirit comes to enlighten the mind first of the one who receives him, and then, through him, the minds of others as well.

As light strikes the eyes of a man who comes out of darkness into the sunshine and enables him to see clearly things he could not discern before, so light floods the soul of the man counted worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit and enables him to see things beyond the range of human vision, things hitherto undreamed of.
[from a catechetical Instruction by St. Cyril of Jerusalem]

Grant, we pray, almighty and merciful God, that the Holy Spirit, coming near and dwelling graciously within us, may make of us a perfect temple of his glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

* * * * * *

Since St. Rita was the patron of my home parish in Montreal, I have always maintained an interest in her story, which was recounted to us particularly on her feast day, May 22.  Pope John Paul II restored her feast as an optional memorial when the new Roman Missal was published in the year 2002.

St. Rita was born in Spoleto, Italy in 1381. At an early age, she begged her parents to allow her to enter a convent. Instead they arranged a marriage for her. Rita became a good wife and mother, but her husband was a man of violent temper. In anger he often mistreated his wife. He taught their children his own evil ways.

St. Rita tried to perform her duties faithfully and to pray and receive the sacraments frequently. After nearly twenty years of marriage, her husband was stabbed by an enemy but before he died, he repented because St. Rita prayed for him. Shortly afterwards, her two sons died, and St. Rita was alone in the world. Prayer, fasting, penances… of many kinds, and good works filled her days.

She was admitted to the convent of the Augustinian nuns at Cascia in Umbria, and began a life of perfect obedience and great charity. She had a great devotion to the Passion of Christ. "Please let me suffer like Thee, Divine Saviour," she said one day, and suddenly one of the thorns from the crucifix struck her on the forehead. It left a deep wound which did not heal and which caused her much suffering for the rest of her life.

For several months before Rita died, she was unable to get out of bed. A legend about St. Rita tells us that a friend visited her and asked if there was anything she wanted. Rita said that she wanted a rose that was blooming in the yard of the house where she grew up. The friend knew that this was impossible. It was winter, and roses do not bloom in the snow.

The woman left Rita and began to walk home, sad that she was not able to give Rita the one thing she had asked for. Along the way, the woman passed Rita’s childhood home. To her amazement, a single colorful rose was blooming on the branch of a rosebush. The woman picked the rose and hurried back to the convent to give it to Rita. It was as if God was rewarding Rita for all the thorns in her life with the miracle of the rose. You will sometimes see artwork of St. Rita holding roses.

Rita of Cascia died on May 22, 1457 and was canonized in 1900. Along with St. Jude, she is the patron saint of impossible causes. St. Rita’s example reminds us to put our faith in God, who raised his only Son, Jesus from the dead and promises us that we, too, will share everlasting life with him in heaven.

* * * * * *

Bestow on us, we pray, O Lord, the wisdom and strength of the Cross, with which you were pleased to endow Saint Rita, so that, suffering in every tribulation with Christ, we may participate ever more deeply in his Paschal Mystery. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

* * * * * *

Monday, May 21, 2012

Centenaire de la paroisse Saint-Bernardin Parish's Centennial

This past weekend was very busy: a Jesuit priest's ordination in Toronto on Saturday morning, followed by the opening ceremonies of the 109th State Assmbly of the Knights of Columbus of Ontario that evening, yesterday morning presiding at a Mass of Thanksgiving for the Centennial of the Village and Parish of St. Bernardin (whose feast on May 20 gave way to the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord) and, finally yesterday and today the middle and closing part of the Montee Jeunesse/Youth Summit in Montreal.

A report on these events will be given in coming days, especially the wonderful procession with the Blessed Sacrament in the streets of Montreal (from St. Joseph`s Oratory to the Cathedral of Mary Queen of the World & St. James) and the news that the next Youth Summit-Montee Jeunesse will be held in the Archdiocese of Quebec in 2014!

Meantime, here is my homily at yesterday's Parish Centennial Mass with photos courtesy of Rhéal Lafrance.

 Solennité de l’Ascension du Seigneur – 20 mai 2012

[Textes : Actes 1, 1-11 (Psaume 46[47]); Éphésiens 4, 1-13; Marc 16, 15-20]

Les anniversaires sont des moments importants dans la vie des paroisses, comme ils en sont dans la vie des personnes, des familles, des peuples. Ils permettent de regarder le passé et de l’apprécier à sa juste valeur. Ils invitent à considérer le présent en discernant ce qu’il recèle de beau et de bon. Ils impliquent aussi un regard vers l’avenir.

Au cœur des anniversaires des paroisses, il y a toujours une messe, une eucharistie. Le mot eucharistie signifie action de grâce. L’eucharistie de ce matin en ce 20 mai 2012, jour de la fête de votre patron saint-Bernardin… – mais qui cède cette année sa place pour fêter l’Ascension du Seigneur – est un moment important dans les fêtes du centenaire de votre paroisse et a pour but de rendre grâce pour l’histoire de votre communauté chrétienne. Pour toute l’histoire : celle d’hier, celle d’aujourd’hui et même celle de demain qui est à construire.

Il y a de cela déjà plusieurs années, les évêques du Canada décidèrent de transférer la solennité de l’Ascension du Seigneur du quarantième jour après Pâques ‘‘le jeudi de l’Ascension’’ au septième dimanche de Pâques. Puisque l’Ascension est porteuse d’une vérité tellement précieuse pour les disciples du Christ, les évêques décidèrent qu’il valait la peine de la déplacer afin de permettre au plus grand nombre de fidèles de célébrer cet événement et d’en percevoir la profonde signification dans le cadre du mystère pascal.

Le départ de Jésus dans la gloire le jour de l’Ascension, ne signifie pas qu’il ait quitté notre monde. Au contraire, son absence physique s’est traduite par une nouvelle présence parmi tous les peuples, pour tous les siècles à venir. Le jour de l’Ascension, le Christ ne s’est pas placé en dehors du temps; il s’est plutôt investit dans le temps, pour tous les temps! J’aime bien rappeler, particulièrement lors des anniversaires comme celui de ce matin, la parole de Jésus qui affirme : ‘Je suis avec vous tous les jours jusqu’à la fin du monde.’

Le jour de l’Ascension Jésus ‘‘est entré dans le ciel même, afin de se tenir maintenant pour nous devant la face de Dieu (Hébreux 9, 24). L’Ascension nous parle également de notre propre destinée, car Jésus est allé nous préparer une place dans la maison de son Père (Jean 14, 2-3) De retour auprès de son Père, il nous fait don d’une force intérieure, celle de l’Esprit Saint, qui nous permet de nous mettre en marche pour la mission qu’il nous a donné ‘‘d’aller faire des disciples partout dans le monde’’ (Matthieu 28, 19).

Cette mission que Jésus a confiée à l’Église nous est décrite ce matin dans l’évangile de Marc (16, 9-20) et nous fait voir comment l’Église a toujours considéré la Résurrection et l’Ascension du Christ comme constituant les éléments fondamentaux dans l’histoire de la foi et le point de départ du travail missionnaire des premiers chrétiens et de la mission de salut de l’Église.

L’évangile d’aujourd’hui ne débute pas avec les paroles de Jésus dans lequel il reproche à ses disciples leur difficulté de croire (16, 14). Il commence plutôt avec le commandement que Jésus nous fait : ‘‘Allez dans le monde entier. Proclamez la Bonne Nouvelle à toute la création’’, texte semblable à ceux que l’on retrouve dans les Actes des Apôtres (Ac 1,8) et dans l’évangile de Matthieu (Mt 28, 18-20).

Il est bon de se souvenir que ces paroles du Seigneur sont à l’origine de toute démarche en Église et certainement de la décision de fonder de votre paroisse en 1912. Votre paroisse a été fondée par mon prédécesseur Mgr Charles Hugh Gauthier à partit d’un détachement de territoire des deux paroisses voisines, Saint- Bernard de Fournier et Saint-Grégoire-de-Nazianze de Vankleek Hill.

On raconte que les nouveaux paroissiens désiraient un nom semblable à leur ancienne paroisse… pas facile à trouver avec Saint-Grégoire-de-Nazianze, mais plus facile avec Saint-Bernard. Chose certaine Mgr Gauthier vous plaça en 1912 sous la protection de saint Bernardin. Ce saint franciscain devient prêtre et son prieur lui donna la charge de la prédication… charge qu’il assuma fidèlement toute sa vie. On dit qu’il prêcha partout… particulièrement sur les places publiques cherchant toujours à parler d’une manière concrète, directe, insistant sur l’importance d’une vie chrétienne authentique et sur la première place à donner au Christ. Vie mystique, vie morale et vie sociale sont chez saint Bernardin inséparables. Par sa parole et son exemple, il annonça l’Évangile avec grand succès jusqu’à la fin de sa vie. Saint Bernardin a répondu à l’appel du Seigneur ressuscité : ‘‘Allez dans le monde entier. Proclamez la Bonne Nouvelle à toute la création’’. Le Christ a fait des dons à son Église pour que la mission continue. Il le fait toujours aujourd’hui… Cela dépend aussi de nous, du sérieux avec lequel nous construisons le corps du Christ.

Vingt prêtres se sont succédés comme pasteur de votre communauté depuis l’abbé Alphonse Sénécal en 1912. De nombreuses personnes généreuses se sont engagées depuis la fondation de votre paroisse pour faire de Saint-Bernardin une paroisse vivante et chaleureuse. De ce terreau de foi ont surgi des vocations sacerdotales et religieuses. Aujourd’hui encore de nombreux baptisés travaillent pour soutenir et servir la paroisse et depuis quelques années j’ai mandaté deux personnes de votre communauté pour aider les prêtres dans leur charge pastorale.

Après avoir envoyé ses disciples en mission, Jésus fut ‘enlevé au ciel’; cela nous révèle que cette action fut accomplie sous la puissance de Dieu le Père. Et Jésus ‘s’assit à la droite de Dieu’ – cela confirme que Jésus est le Seigneur de l’Univers et de toute activité humaine. Le Christ ressuscité et glorieux est toujours à l’œuvre alors qu’ils proclament son message de vie par toute la création. Voilà pourquoi nous pouvons dire que l’Ascension du Seigneur et la mission apostolique de l’Église sont intimement liés.

Les dernières paroles que l’on retrouve dans l’évangile d’aujourd’hui sont fort semblable à celles que l’on retrouve dans les Actes des Apôtres, ils nous font voir que le jour de l’Ascension marque le début de l’action missionnaire de l’Église et de la proclamation de l’Évangile. Monté au ciel, le Christ demeure présent à son Église : ‘‘le Seigneur travaillait avec eux et confirmait la Parole par les signes qui l’accompagnaient’’.

La communauté chrétienne qui est ici à Saint-Bernardin a connue des joies mais aussi des défis… en 1986 vous avez apprit que l’église présentait des faiblesses de structure… elle devait être fermée et démolie. En peu de temps la communauté de l’époque - ça fait déjà plus de 25 ans - décident de reconstruire une nouvelle église plus petite et plus adaptée. Elle devient source de fierté et rappelle encore aujourd’hui la présence de la communauté des croyants dans votre petit village de l’Est ontarien.

Votre paroisse a cent ans. Elle n’est plus ce qu’elle était. Elle n’a pas à redevenir à ce qu’elle a été. Regardez en avant. Allez de l’avant. Continuez à travailler avec les paroisses de votre unité pastorale… c’est une source sûr pour l’avenir de l’Église dans votre région. Soyez chaque jour des chrétiens et des chrétiennes dignes de ce nom. Faites honneur à Dieu en vivant dans la joie et dans l’espérance. Dieu vous bénira. Il vous fera porter du fruit. Et n’oubliez pas : il compte sur chacun et chacune d’entre vous pour relever les défis du temps présent et construire l’Église qui vient.

Jésus ne nous demande pas de convaincre, de prouver… mais de témoigner avec joie de notre foi. Il nous invite à être des chrétiens audacieux, joyeux de croire, et qui donnent envie de le devenir. Que nos visages révèlent à nos frères et sœurs la joie du Christ ressuscité! Et rappelons nous que de retour auprès de son Père, Jésus nous fait don d’une force intérieure, celle de l’Esprit Saint, qui nous permet de nous mettre toujours en marche pour la mission qu’il nous a confié!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

St. Vincent's Archbabbey Seminary & College, Latrobe, Pennsylvania

On May 11, I flew to Pittsburgh, en route to St. Vincent's Archabbey Seminary in Latrobe, PA, where at the invitation of Archabbot Douglas Nowicki, O.S.B. the seminary conferred on me a degree of Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa) during a Service of Vespers and I delivered the Address at the seminary's convocation.

The legendary Benedictine hospitality was very much in evidence and I was pleased to get to know the abbey and the seminary (its history dating back to the first abbot in the USA, Abbot Boniface Wimmer, who founded a large number of institutions that began by serving German Catholic immigrants and later extended their ministrations to every other ethnic group, mainly--in keeping with the monastic tradition--in rural areas). 

St. Vincent's College, with some 1800 students, is also a going concern, served by numerous monks from the archabbey's community numbering over 160, and many lay Catholics who share the vision of the monastic community.  They have recently redone their science complex, which is now state of the art, and are delighted with the Fred Rogers Conference Centre, where a festive dinner was held and which fosters the values and hosts the archives of the TV series, Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.

It was a very happy experience as the remaining photos, made available by the archabbey's communications office, show:

Friday, May 18, 2012

New Toronto Auxiliary Bishop - La Montée Jeunesse commence ce soir dans l’Archidiocèse de Montréal – Youth Summit Begins


Today it was announced in Rome that His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Msgr. Wayne Kirkpatrick, P.H., currently Chancellor of the Diocese of St. Catharines as Titular Bishop of Aradi and Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto.

Congratulations, Your Excellency! 

May God grant you many happy years of episcopal ministry.

* * * * * *


The latest embodiment of the Montée Jeunesse/Youth Summit begins this evening in Montreal and runs through Victoria Day, Monday, May 21. 

The MJ/YS began several years before the 2008 Eucharistic Congress in Quebec to engage young Catholics in the missionary dimension of the Eucharist. There was a follow-up in Quebec in 2009 and the MJ/YS moved to Ottawa in 2010.  Now it's Montreal's turn. 

Procession with the Blessed Sacrament on the Interprovincial Bridge
from Gatineau to Parliament Hill during Montee Jeunesse in May 2010

A good number of youth and young adults, accompanied by youth ministers, religious and priests from Ottawa will attend.  I will join them after the Centennial celebration at Paroisse Saint-Bernardin on Sunday morning.  I am looking forward to the presence of peace-loving and non-confrontational youth in the streets of Montreal.

Montée Jeunesse 2012

* * * * * *

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Discussing Issues on a Pastoral Day at the Diocesan Centre

Yesterday and today the two sectors (Francophone and Anglophone) gathered at the Diocesan Centre to discuss matters of interest in the Pastoral Life of the Archdiocese.

Abbe Andre-Louis Naud, liturgist from the Archdiocese of Quebec, was the featured speaker on Wednesday.  My photos from that day are on the other memory card that I left at home, so I won't be able to post them until my return from Toronto and Montreal (where I will attend the Youth Summit on Sunday and Monday).

Here are some photos of the presentation by Julie Salach-Simard from the Catholic Centre for Immigrants on the parish sponsorship program for refugees and the luncheon afterwards:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Ascension: The Glorification of Jesus at God's Right Hand - Ordinations in Halifax, Toronto

The Solemnity of the Ascension (Year “B”)—May 20, 2012
[or Ascension Thursday, May 17, 2012]

[Texts: Acts 1.1-11 [Psalm 47]; Ephesians 4.1-13; Mark 16.15-20]

The last twelve verses of Mark's gospel (16.9-20) are known as the Longer, "Canonical" Ending. While these verses are recognized by the Church as illuminating Christian faith and remain normative for subsequent generations, Mark almost surely did not pen them.

The Greek word ‘kanon’ means a ‘measuring rod’ and suggests a ‘rule of faith’ when used of ‘normative’ writings chosen by Church authorities for inclusion in the New Testament. What is true of the Longer Ending of Mark applies also to a two-verse Shorter Ending printed at the close of the gospel.

Manuscript traditions show the Longer and Shorter Endings of Mark attempting to overcome the abrupt ending of Mark 16.8, whether the evangelist intended to end his gospel this way or a part of the original gospel was lost.

Close inspection of the verses in the Markan Longer Ending shows that they contain a pastiche of appearances by the Risen Jesus found in other gospel traditions.

Thus, the apparition to Mary Magdalene in Mark 16.9 echoes John 20.11-17 (with a possible allusion to Luke 8.2), while Mary's role as messenger in Mark 16.10 parallels what we find in John 20.18. The disciples' unbelief—Mark 16.11, 13—perhaps derives from Luke 24.11-41, whereas the appearance “in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country” (16.12) recalls the journey to Emmaus (cf. Luke 24.13-35).

Jesus' rebuke of the Eleven's unbelief while they were at table (Mark 16.14) evokes John 20.24-29, and the evangelising commission (Mark 16.15) may reflect Matthew 28.19 or Luke 24.47. The description of the Ascension (Mark 16.19) may allude to Luke 24.50-51 or suggest the theology of Jesus' presence at God's right hand found throughout the Epistle to the Hebrews (beginning with 1.3, 13).

Those parts of the Longer Ending not accounted for (Mark 16.16-18, 20) go beyond Jesus' Resurrection and Ascension to speak of the Church's missionary preaching activity. Mark 16.16 stresses that faith and baptism guarantee salvation, likely drawing on the Lord's command to baptize found in Matthew 28.19-20.

A virtual summary of the Acts of the Apostles is found in Mark 16:20: “and they went out and proclaimed the Good News everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it”.

Mark 16.17-18 lists some ‘signs’ found in the Acts of the Apostles. An oddity is the reference to disciples surviving snake handling (possibly a reference to Paul's experience in Acts 28.3-6) and withstanding the effects of poisonous drinks as ongoing characteristics of Jesus' followers. The word for ‘snake’ is the same one found in the Greek Old Testament (the Septuagint) in the account of the serpent's temptation (Genesis 3.1-15). Perhaps a metaphorical meaning should be inferred, that the curse of the serpent has been overcome in the age of salvation.

Mark 16.9-20 has a notable collection of words not found in the rest of the gospel, giving the Longer Ending a second-hand flavour. Indeed it departs notably from the lively style found elsewhere in Mark 1.1-16.8. Still the canonical conclusion serves as a sequel to Mark's ending by communicating the conviction that the promises made by Jesus in Mark 14.28 and 16.7—of his ongoing relationship with the disciples in Galilee and beyond—were realized in the life of the Church.

The secondary ending stresses the call to Jesus' disciples to pass from disbelief to belief about the resurrection. The witnesses who reproach their stubbornness of heart increase in number and authority: from Mary of Magdala, to the two travellers to Jesus Himself.

A later addition to Mark 16.14 shows that the early Church struggled with issues such as sin and temptation blaming its disobedience in part on the Devil: “And [the apostles] made excuse, saying, ‘The age of lawlessness and unbelief is under Satan who does not permit the truth and power of God to prevail over the unclean things of the spirits. Therefore, reveal your righteousness, now’”.

Jesus' reply to the disciples' struggle noted that, while Satan's authority had been exhausted and other terrible things approached, his death took place so that people might “return to the truth and sin no more, that they may inherit the spiritual and imperishable glory of righteousness that is in heaven”.

While the Longer Ending of Mark appears incongruous, it recalls that the church remains a believing, confessing and worshipping community, as it was from the beginning after Jesus' Ascension.

* * * * * *


This is the season for priestly ordinations and I rejoice particularly in the ordinations of two men I have gotten to know over the years. The first is Father Craig Cameron, who will be ordained Saturday by Archbishop Anthony Mancini.

Father Craig Cameron will be ordained as the first priest
of the newly-amalgamated Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth
at St. Mary's Cathedral-Basilica, Halifax at 10 o'clock
on May 19, 2012

The second ordinand is a fellow Jesuit, Gerard Ryan, whom I will ordain at Toronto's Our Lady of Lourdes Church the same day.

Gerard Ryan, SJ (right), a native of Tipperary, Ireland, will be ordained for the Province of the Jesuits in English Canada on Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 10 o'clock.

Congratulations to them and to others being ordained to the priesthood in these days; may they have long and fruitful ministry in the Lord's vineyard!

Ad multos et faustissimos annos!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

St. Isidore, Farmer - New Leader of Jesuits in English Canada

St. Isidore the Farmer's feast is observed in the United States but is not in the Canadian calendar of saints. 

There are two parishes in our Archdiocese dedicated to him: a francophone parish in the east (Saint Isidore-de-Prescott) and a parish in Kanata North-South March (which has just moved into a newly-constructed church of the site of earlier churches):

When he was barely old enough to wield a hoe, Isidore entered the service of John de Vergas, a wealthy landowner from Madrid, and worked faithfully on his estate outside the city for the rest of his life. He married a young woman as simple and upright as himself who also became a saint-Maria de la Cabeza. They had one son, who died as a child.

Isidore had deep religious instincts. He rose early in the morning to go to church and spent many a holiday devoutly visiting the churches of Madrid and surrounding areas. All day long, as he walked behind the plow, he communed with God. His devotion, one might say, became a problem, for his fellow workers sometimes complained that he often showed up late because of lingering in church too long.

He was known for his love of the poor, and there are accounts of Isidore's supplying them miraculously with food. He had a great concern for the proper treatment of animals.

He died May 15, 1130, and was declared a saint in 1622 with Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Teresa of Avila and Philip Neri. Together, the group is known in Spain as "the five saints."

Patron: Farmers; farm workers; ranchers; rural communities; Madrid, Spain; death of children; for rain; livestock.

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The Jesuits in English Canada were recently informed that Father Peter Bisson, 54 and a native of Edmunston, NB, has been named by the Very Reverend Adolfo Nicolas, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, to succeed Father James Webb as Provincial of the Jesuits in English Canada effective May 31. 

Father Bisson has been serving as the assistant to Father Webb, who is stepping down for reasons of health. Please keep both of these fine men in your prayers.