Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Memorial: Saint Ignatius of Loyola

O God, who raised up Saint Ignatius of Loyola in your Church to further the greater glory of your name, grant that by his help we may imitate him in fighting the good fight on earth and merit to receive with him a crown in heaven. 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.

* * * * * *
Ignatius, by nation a Spaniard, was born of a noble family at Loyola, in Cantabria. At first he attended the court of the Catholic king, and later on embraced a military career. Having been wounded at the siege of Pampeluna, he chanced in his illness to read some pious books, which kindled in his soul a wonderful eagerness to follow in the footsteps of Christ and the saints. He went to Montserrat, and hung up his arms before the altar of the Blessed Virgin; he then watched the whole night in prayer, and thus entered upon his knighthood in the army of Christ.

Next he retired to Manresa, dressed as he was in sackcloth, for he had a short time before given his costly garments to a beggar. Here he stayed for a year, and during that time he lived on bread and water, given to him in alms; he fasted every day except Sunday, subdued his flesh with a sharp chain and a hair-shirt, slept on the ground, and scourged himself with iron disciplines. God favored and refreshed him with such wonderful spiritual lights, that afterwards he was wont to say that even if the Sacred Scriptures did not exist, he would be ready to die for the faith, on account of those revelations alone which the Lord had made to him at Manresa. It was at this time that he, a man without education, composed that admirable book of the Spiritual Exercises.

However, in order to make himself more fit for gaining souls, he determined to procure the advantages of education, and began by studying grammar among children. Meanwhile he relaxed nothing of his zeal for the salvation of others, and it is marvelous what sufferings and insults he patiently endured in every place, undergoing the hardest trials, even imprisonment and beatings almost to death. But he ever desired to suffer far more for the glory of his Lord.

At Paris he was joined by nine companions from that University, men of different nations, who had taken their degrees in Arts and Theology; and there at Montmartre he laid the first foundations of the order, which he was later on to institute at Rome. He added to the three usual vows a fourth concerning missions, thus binding it closely to the Apostolic See.

Paul III first welcomed and approved the Society, as did later other Pontiffs and the Council of Trent. Ignatius sent St. Francis Xavier to preach the Gospel in the Indies, and dispersed others of his children to spread the Christian faith in other parts of the world, thus declaring war against paganism, superstition, and heresy. This war he carried on with such success that it has always been the universal opinion, confirmed by the word of pontiffs, that God raised up Ignatius and the Society founded by him to oppose Luther and the heretics of his time, as formerly he had raised up other holy men to oppose other heretics.

Loyola made the restoration of piety among Catholics his first care. He increased the beauty of the sacred buildings, the giving of catechetical instructions, the frequency of sermons and of the sacraments. He everywhere opened schools for the education of youth in piety and letters. He founded at Rome the German College, refuges for women of evil life, and for young girls who were in danger, houses for orphans and catechumens of both sexes, and many other pious works. He devoted himself unweariedly to gaining souls to God.

Once he was heard saying that if he were given his choice he would rather live uncertain of attaining the Beatific Vision, and in the meanwhile devote himself to the service of God and the salvation of his neighbor, than die at once certain of eternal glory. His power over the demons was wonderful. St. Philip Neri and others saw his countenance shining with heavenly light. At length in the sixty-fifth year of his age he passed to the embrace of his Lord, whose greater glory he had ever preached and ever sought in all things.

Ignatius was celebrated for miracles and for his great services to the Church, and Gregory XV enrolled him amongst the saints; while Pius XI, in response to the prayers of the episcopate, declared him heavenly patron of all Spiritual Exercises. [Excerpted from Abbot Gueranger, OSB, The Liturgical Year]

Monday, July 30, 2012

OM: St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

St. Peter Chrysologus

In the fifth century, Ravenna, not Rome, was the capital of the Roman Empire in the West, and Ravenna itself became a metropolitan see. St. Peter Chrysologus was one of the most distinguished archbishops of that see.

Peter was born in Imola about the year 400 and studied under Cornelius, bishop of that city, who ordained him deacon. In 433, the archbishop of Ravenna died, and when a successor had been chosen by the clergy and people of Ravenna, they asked Bishop Cornelius to obtain confirmation of their choice from Pope Sixtus III. On his trip to Rome, Cornelius took his deacon, Peter, as his companion; upon seeing Peter, the pope chose him for the see of Ravenna instead of the one selected by the clergy and people of Ravenna.

Peter was consecrated and was accepted somewhat grudgingly at first by both the clergy and the people. Peter, however, soon became the favourite of Emperor Valentinian III, who resided at Ravenna and was also highly regarded by Pope St. Leo the Great, the successor of Pope Sixtus.

There were still traces of paganism in Peter's diocese, and his first effort was to establish the Catholic faith everywhere, rooting out abuses and carrying on a campaign of preaching and special care of the poor. Many of his sermons still survive, and it is on the basis of these that he came to be known as "the golden word."

In his concern for the unity of the Church, Peter Chrysologus opposed the teaching of Eutyches, condemned in the East, who asked for his support. Peter also received St. Germanus of Auxerre to his diocese and officiated at his funeral.

Familiar is his dictum: "If you jest with the devil, you cannot rejoice with Christ." Some of his sermons are read in the Breviary. Ravenna, his episcopal city, still harbours treasures of ancient Christian liturgical art dating to his day.

Knowing that his own death was near, Peter returned to his own city of Imola and after urging great care in the choice of his successor he died at Imola about the year 450 and was buried in the church of St. Cassian. In 1729, Pope Benedict XIII declared him a Doctor of the Church. — [Reverend Clifford Stevens, The One Year Book of Saints]

* * *

O God, who made the Bishop Saint Peter Chrysologus an outstanding preacher of your incarnate Word, grant, through his intercession, that we may constantly ponder in our hearts the mysteries of your salvation and faithfully express them in what we do. 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.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pilgrimages Today: "Reek" Sunday on Mt. Croagh Patrick in Ireland - Saint Ann's in Cormac, Ontario

Summer is a time for travel for vacation and rest and to see relatives and friends, but it may also be used, as many people do, for spiritual purposes: a pilgrimage.  An Irish holy journey and one closer to home in Ontario are some of the pilgrimages available.

The annual summer pilgrimage to the top of Croagh Patrick, "the Reek", a holy mountain in the Archdiocese of Tuam, Ireland, which I remember from my ascent in March 2011 is today. 

Some 20,000 are expected to climb the mountain associated with St. Patrick, some barefoot as with the gentleman depicted above.

* * * * * *

Today's Pilgrimage in Honour
of the Feast of Saint Ann
at the Parish of St. Ann in Cormac, Ontario.

Since Thursday, I have been preaching the Triduum, which included a candlelight procession from the parish church to the outdoor shrine last night. 

The closing ceremonies today feature outdoor Masses at 11 am and 2 pm.

Several other photos:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Celebrating Canada's World Youth Day (July 23-28/02) Ten Years On

World Youth Day in Toronto was an historic moment in the life of the Church in Canada. With 320 young pilgrims I took the Ocean Limited train from Halifax to Toronto (27 hours: longer than the trip even to Auckland and Sydney in 2008!) We had a ball and the experiences of a life-time....

On the Pope's arrival, CNN had me commenting on the courage of the Holy Father as he insisted on walking down the steps of the plane to show his determination to give his all to those who had come. We reciprocated with our enthusiasm and affection.

Coming less than a year after 9/11, the WYD was fraught with turmoil and travail all of which contributed to diminishing the number who attended (the clergy sex abuse scandal in the USA, the pope's decision to go to Central America and Mexico immediately after Toronto, the garbage handlers strike until days before the start-up date).

Still, as St. Paul says, "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair...always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible..." (2 Corinthians 4.7-8)

Still 800,000 attended the Vigil and Closing Mass!

So, ten years on, I wish happy memories to all who attended and to those who continue to give thanks to God for the graces of this event in our country and church's life, graces that continue to flow from it to strengthen our church to this day!

Thanks to the WYD CEO, Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB and all his team, who are still doing great things, now at Salt and Light TV!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Photos of Bishop Wayne Kirkpatrick's Ordination and Reception

The Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria was the scene of Bishop Wayne Kirkpatrick's ordination as Auxiliary Bishop of Toronto on Wednesday afternoon.  A reception followed in the Holiday Inn afterwards. 

Cardinal Thomas Collins was the principal consecrator and homilist, while iemeritus Bishop John O'Mara and current St. Catharines Bishop Gerard Bergie (below) were the co-consecrators, joined by the other bishops present.

I am grateful to photographer Denis Cahill, who shared with me some of the many photos he took of this happy occasion.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Feast Day & Triduum at Shrine of St. Ann, Cormac, ON (July 26-29)

Who does not know about the great shrine of Ste. Anne de Beaupre in Canada, where miracles abound, where cured cripples leave their crutches, and where people come from thousands of miles to pray to the grandmother of Jesus?

At one time, July 26 was the feast of St. Ann only, but with the new calendar the two feasts of the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary have been joined and are celebrated today.

Our information about Mary's parents comes from an apocryphal Christian writing, the Protoevangelium Jacobi (or Proto-Gospel of James), written about the year 170. According to this story, Joachim was a prominent and respected man who had no children, and he and his wife, Ann, looked upon this as a punishment from God. In answer to their prayers, Mary was born and was dedicated to God at a very early age.

From this early Christian writing have come several of the feast days of Mary, particularly the Immaculate Conception, the Nativity of Mary, and her Assumption into Heaven. Very early also came feast days in honor of SS. Joachim and Ann, and in the Middle Ages numerous churches, chapels, and confraternities were dedicated to St. Ann. The couple early became models of Christian marriage, and their meeting at the Golden Gate in Jerusalem has been a favorite subject of Christian artists.

Ann is often shown in paintings with Jesus and Mary and is considered a subject that attracts attention, since Ann is the grandmother of Jesus. Her two great shrines — that of Ste. Anne d'Auray in Britanny, France, and that of Ste. Anne de Beaupre near Quebec in Canada — are very popular. We know little else about the lives of Mary's parents, but considering the person of Mary, they must have been two very remarkable people to have been given such a daughter and to have played so important a part in the work of the Redemption.

There is a church of St. Anne in Jerusalem and it is believed to be built on the site of the home of Sts. Joachim and Ann, when they lived in Jerusalem.  [Father Clifford Stevens, The One Year Book of Saints]

* * * * * *

O Lord, God of our Fathers, who bestowed on Saints Joachim and Anne this grace, that of them should be born the Mother of your incarnate Son, grant, through the prayers of both, that we may attain the salvation you have promised to your people. 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.
* * * * * *

Throughout Canada, particularly in Quebec and among the Native Peoples, there has always been a vibrant devotion to Saint Ann.  One such place is at the Shrine of St. Ann in Cormac, Ontario (in the Pembroke Diocese) about +/- two-and-a-half hours' drive west of Ottawa. 

This July, I accepted to preach the feast day Mass tonight and the three addional days of the annual gathering, which will close on Sunday afternoon with Mass at 2:00PM (there is also an earlier Lord's Day Mass at 11 o'clock Sunday morning. presided by Bishop Michael Mulhall). 

The other devotions begin with the Eucharist each evening (tonight [Thursday], Friday and Saturday at 7 o'clock):  I will use the forthcoming Year of Faith to structure my presentations. Everyone is most welcome!

For further information and other details, including directions, please consult the Shrine's website: http://www.cormacpilgrimage.com/

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Apostle St. James - Sunday 17B: Miracle of the Loaves & Fishes

Saint Jacques le Majeur, fils de Zébédée et de Salomé, était frère de saint Jean l’Évangéliste. On le surnomma le Majeur, pour le distinguer de l’apôtre du même nom surnommé le Mineur qui fut évêque de Jérusalem.  

Il était de Galilée et vint au monde douze ans avant Jésus-Christ, Octave-Auguste étant empereur. Il exerçait la profession de pêcheur, ainsi que son père et saint Jean, son frère. Un jour qu’ils nettoyaient leurs filets dans une barque, sur les bords du lac de Génésareth, Jésus appela les deux frères, et à l’instant, quittant leur barque et leur père, ils se mirent à Sa suite et furent bientôt agrégés au collège des Apôtres. Le divin Sauveur leur donna à tous deux le surnom de Boanergès, enfants du tonnerre, sans doute à cause de l’activité de leur zèle.

Le choix que Jésus fit des deux frères pour être, avec saint Pierre, témoins de Sa transfiguration, et plus tard de Sa prière au jardin des Oliviers, montre assez l’affection dont Il les honorait. Ce fut apparemment ce qui les enhardit à Lui faire demander par leur mère les premières places dans Son royaume. Le Sauveur ne leur promit que la souffrance, et du reste, eux-mêmes, après la Pentecôte, n’eurent plus d’autre ambition.

Après la dispersion des Apôtres, saint Jacques le Majeur vint en Espagne, dont Dieu le destinait à faire la conquête. Il la parcourut en tous sens et la féconda de ses sueurs ; mais il ne put convertir que neuf disciples. N’est-ce pas un sujet de consolation pour les prédicateurs dont les efforts ne sont pas toujours couronnés de succès ? Dieu Se plait ainsi à éprouver Ses envoyés ; ils sèment, d’autres recueilleront la moisson.

Du reste, saint Jacques eut une grande consolation : la sainte Vierge, vivante encore, lui apparut et lui demanda de construire, en son honneur, une chapelle qui serait une protection pour l’Espagne. La sainte Vierge a maintes fois prouvé depuis aux Espagnols qu’ils étaient sous sa sauvegarde : ce peuple si fier a trouvé dans la fermeté de sa Foi le courage indomptable qui fait les héros.

Saint Jacques revint à Jérusalem, y prêcha la Foi de Jésus-Christ et convertit beaucoup de personnes. L’Apôtre gagna à Jésus-Christ deux magiciens qui avaient cherché à le confondre par les pratiques de leur art diabolique. Un jour qu’il prêchait, une émeute, préparée à l’avance, se souleva contre lui ; on le conduisit au gouverneur Hérode, en disant : « Il séduit le peuple, il mérite la mort. » Hérode, homme sans conscience, visant avant tout à plaire, commande de trancher la tête au saint Apôtre, l’an 44, saint Pierre étant pape et Claude empereur romain.

Le glorieux martyr appartenait à l’Espagne, qu’il avait évangélisée. Sa dépouille mortelle y fut conduite par quelques disciples. Il n’est peut-être pas au monde un ancien pèlerinage plus célèbre que celui de saint Jacques de Compostelle. En diverses circonstances, saintJacques a été le défenseur de l’Espagne contre les Sarrasins.

* * *

Almighty ever-living God, who consecrated the first fruits of your Apostles by the blood of Saint James, grant, we pray, that your Church may be strengthened by his confession of faith and constantly sustained by his protection. 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.
* * * * * *

Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year "B") - July 29, 2012
[Texts: 2 Kings 4.42-44; Psalm 145; Ephesians 4.1-6; John 6.1-15]

This Sunday's telling of the miracle of the loaves, with reflection on Jesus' extended discourse for the next several Sundays, offers an extraordinary opportunity for believers to meditate on Jesus' teaching about the gift of himself as the Bread of Life.

The whole of the sixth chapter of John features bread. Beginning with the bread that Jesus gave abundantly to crowds on the mountaintop, Jesus went on to speak of a mysterious bread that he would give them to “eat”—his very own flesh. This was such a “hard saying” that it led some disciples to abandon him. Others, including the Twelve led by Peter, were moved to cling to Jesus' teaching, confessing that Jesus possessed and shared with them “words of eternal life”.

The transition from the “little” that lay at hand prior to the miracle (“five barley loaves and two fish...but what are they among so many?”) to an overflowing abundance afterwards (“they were satisfied”), even with loaves left over (“they filled twelve baskets”), parallels Elijah's miracle in the first reading.

Elijah took “20 loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain” and fed 100 people, fulfilling God's word that “they shall eat and have some left”.

Jesus' gift of the bread (“he distributed to them ... as much as they wanted”) took place on a mountain, the traditional place where God is encountered. The number fed—“about 5,000 in all”—and Jesus' command to the disciples that they arrange them in groups (“make the people sit down”) parallels the organization of God's people in the wilderness (cf. Exodus 18.25 and Deuteronomy 1.15).

Afterwards, Jesus contrasted two kinds of food, the perishable and imperishable (“Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you”). With anxiety about the necessities of life comes the personal temptation to trust in both the bread from heaven—a free gift from God—and the bread of this earth, which one earns by the sweat of one's brow.

In keeping with the irony that is so frequent in John's gospel, the crowd misunderstood Jesus' words about “working for” imperishable food. For Jesus, the only necessary work is to believe in the one on whom God “has set his seal,” the one sent into the world by the Father. “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent”.

The Hebrew words “man hu” for “manna” literally mean “what [is] it?' Moses offered the correct theological interpretation, “it is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat”.

Citing the manna story, Jesus reinterpreted it several ways. The giver of manna, he argued, was not Moses but his Father. And God's giving heavenly food was not merely a past event, but a reality continuing up to now.

By contrast with the earlier manna, the food Jesus spoke about is “true” bread and it is his hearers, not their ancestors, who are the true beneficiaries of God's gift (“it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven”).

When the crowd asked Jesus for this bread, his startling answer was, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry and whoever believes in me will never thirst”. The deeper meaning of this truth will become evident in Jesus' further instruction in coming weeks.

All of Jesus' teaching will be a call to go beyond the miracle of the loaves in order to believe in the gift of life found in his words and the gift of himself in Communion.

The challenge to believe also undergirds the summary of Christian life in Ephesians. Through Christ's saving deed, disciples live a unity of mind and heart. For “there is one body and one spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one LORD, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all”.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Optional Memorials: Saint Sharbel Makhluf - in Ireland, Saint Declan

Ottawa's Maronite Parish is under the patronage of St. Sharbel, a monk and priest mystic, who died in 1898. 

A little known church in our Archdiocese is the mission church of the parish of the Holy Name of Mary in Almont, dedicated to the Irish saint recalled today, St. Declan; the church is located at Brightside (sometime referred to as French Line). 

Herewith brief notices of each saint whose memory may be recalled at Mass today:

St. Sharbel was a Lebanese monk, born in a small mountain village and ordained in 1858. Devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, he spent the last twenty-three years of his life as a hermit. Despite temptations to wealth and comfort, Saint Sharbel taught the value of poverty, self-sacrifice and prayer by the way he lived his life.

* * *

O God, who called the Priest Saint Sharbel Makhluf to the solitary combat of the desert and imbued him with all manner of devotion, grant us, we pray, that, being made imitators of the Lord's Passion, we may merit to be co-heirs of his Kingdom. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

* * * * * *

St. Declan, the first bishop of Ardmore in Ireland, was baptized by St. Colman, and preached the faith in that country a little before the arrival of St. Patrick, who confirmed the episcopal see of Ardmore, in a synod at Cashel in 448. Many miracles are ascribed to St. Declan, and he has ever been much honoured.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Optional Memorial: St. Bridget

O God, who guided Saint Bridget of Sweden along different paths of life and wondrously taught her the wisdom of the Cross as she contemplated the Passion of your Son, grant us, we pray, that, walking worthily in our vocation, we may seek you in all things. 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.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Christ and St. Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene & the Risen Lord Jesus
(Chartres Cathedral)

Show favor, O Lord, to your servants and mercifully increase the gifts of your grace, that, made fervent in hope, faith and charity, they may be ever watchful in keeping your commands. 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.

The feast day of St. Mary Magdalene is not celebrated this year as the focus of Sunday emphasizes the Risen Lord Jesus Christ.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

OM St. Lawrence of Brindisi - Vacation: A Stop in Barry's Bay

O God, who for the glory of your name and the salvation of souls bestowed on the Priest Saint Lawrence of Brindisi a spirit of counsel and fortitude, grant, we pray, that in the same spirit, we may know what must be done and, through his intercession, bring it to completion. 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.
* * *
St. Lawrence of Brindisi - His name was Julius Caesar, and he was born at Brindisi in the kingdom of Naples in 1559. Educated in Venice at the College of St. Mark, he entered the Capuchins and was given the name Lawrence. Finishing his studies at the University of Padua, he showed a flair for languages, mastering Hebrew, Greek, German, Bohemian, Spanish, and French, and showed an extraordinary knowledge of the text of the Bible.

While still a deacon, St. Lawrence of Brindisi became known as an excellent preacher and after his ordination startled the whole of northern Italy with his amazing sermons. Sent into Germany by the pope to establish Capuchin houses, he became chaplain to Emperor Rudolf II and had a remarkable influence on the Christian soldiers fighting the Muslims when they were threatening Hungary in 1601.

Through his efforts, the Catholic League was formed to give solidarity to the Catholic cause in Europe. Sent by the emperor to persuade Philip III of Spain to join the League, he established a Capuchin friary in Madrid. He also brought peace between Spain and the kingdom of Savoy.

His compassion for the poor, the needy, and the sick was legendary. Elected minister-general of his order in 1602, he made the Capuchins a major force in the Catholic Restoration, visiting every friary in the thirty-four provinces of the order and directing the work of nine thousand friars. He himself was a dominant figure in carrying out the work of the Council of Trent and was described by Pope Benedict XV as having earned "a truly distinguished place among the most outstanding men ever raised up by Divine Providence to assist the Church in time of distress."

In 1619, he undertook a journey to see King Philip III of Spain on behalf of the oppressed people of Naples who were ruled by a tyrannical governor. Lawrence reached Lisbon where the king was residing, and it was there that his last illness overtook him. His body was carried back to Spain and buried in the church of the Poor Clares at Villafranca del Bierzo.

Lawrence was canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1881 and declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope John XXIII in 1959. [Excerpted from Clifford Stevens, The One Year Book of Saints]

* * * * * *


On my way to vacation at my sister Marion and brother in law John Bayfield's cottage at Lake of Bays, a half-way stop has been de rigeur since the Kerrs (Annmarie, Colin, Isaiah, Sarah Grace, Rebecca, Stephen and baby Laurel), friends from my time in Halifax, took up residence there five years ago. 

Though they are leaving for Ottawa soon as Colin takes up the role of principal of Maryvale Academy, there is a new reason to visit as Oblate Father Joseph Hattie has become chaplain at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy. Recently, Father Joe had a bout of serious illness that hospitalized him in Pembroke.  He is still recovering from this and has been told by doctors to slow down, something difficult for this zealous priest.  Please keep him in your prayers.

Earlier this week we celebrated Mass at St. Hedwig's Church, where Father Hattie resides, then went out for lunch at Wilno.  Some pix of this gang of friends from around the table:

* * * * * *

I am away for some R & R until the end of the month: blogging reduced.

Friday, July 20, 2012

OM: St. Apollinaris - Parishes of Fitzroy Harbour & Constance Bay

According to tradition, St. Peter sent St. Apollinaris to Ravenna, Italy, as its first bishop.

His preaching of the Good News was so successful that the pagans there beat him and drove him from the city. He returned, however, and was exiled a second time.

After preaching in the area surrounding Ravenna, he entered the city again. After being cruelly tortured, he was put on a ship heading to Greece. Pagans there caused him to be expelled to Italy, where he went to Ravenna for a fourth time.

He died from wounds received during a savage beating at Classis, a suburb of Ravenna.

A beautiful basilica honouring him was built there in the sixth century.

* * *

Mosaic of the Last Supper in the Basilica of St. Apollinaris (Ravenna)

Pope John Paul II to the Archbishop of Ravena on July 23, 1999:

The renowned and ancient Archdiocese of Ravenna, which you lead with zeal and wisdom, is preparing to celebrate the 1,450th anniversary of the dedication of the Basilica of St Apollinaris in Classe, consecrated by Archbishop Maximian in 549, barely a year after the dedication of the Basilica of St Vitalis.

The event is especially important because the basilica, a church of rare beauty, is considered the cradle of the Christian faith in this region and preserves the body of its first Bishop, St Apollinaris, who evangelized Ravenna in the second half of the second century and later became patron of the city, the Diocese and the entire region.

During the celebration of this significant event, I would like to be united in spirit with the people of Ravenna, who are giving fervent thanks to the Lord for the countless benefits they have received throughout their long history of faith. The city, famous for its memories of a glorious past and for the splendid monuments that adorn it, owes its greatness to the skill and diligence of its children, who were and are the attentive and hard-working artisans of its civil and economic development. It also benefited from some particular circumstances which made it a very important political and cultural centre, open to dialogue with the East.

From here shone the last rays of the Western Empire in the turbulent period of its tragic setting; from here came the providential fusion of young energy from the peoples of Northern Europe with the cultural riches of the Roman genius; from here the first witnesses to the Christian faith spread to the surrounding region. Among them St Apollinaris holds a significant place as the first Bishop of the Church of Ravenna, who, by his labour and suffering, laid the firm foundations of the city's Christian history.

* * *
Direct your faithful, Lord, in the way of eternal salvation, which the Bishop Saint Apollinaris showed by his teaching and martyrdom, and grant, through, his intercession, that we may so persevere in keeping your commandments as to merit being crowned with him. 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

* * * * * *



Last weekend, I took responsibilty for the Lord's Day Masses at the parishes at the far western edge of the Archdiocese, St. Michael's in Fitzroy Harbour and its pastoral twin parish, St. Garbriel's in Constance Bay.  These are small congregations but warm and welcoming ones. 

A few photos: