Friday, November 30, 2012

Saint Andrew the Apostle is the Protoclete (the "First-Called")

We humbly implore your majesty, O Lord, that, just as the blessed Apostle Andrew was for your Church a preacher and pastor, so he may be for us a constant intercessor before you. 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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The first striking characteristic of Andrew is his name: it is not Hebrew, as might have been expected, but Greek, indicative of a certain cultural openness in his family that cannot be ignored. We are in Galilee, where the Greek language and culture are quite present. Andrew comes second in the list of the Twelve, as in Matthew (10:1-4) and in Luke (6:13-16); or fourth, as in Mark (3:13-18) and in the Acts (1:13-14). In any case, he certainly enjoyed great prestige within the early Christian communities.

The kinship between Peter and Andrew, as well as the joint call that Jesus addressed to them, are explicitly mentioned in the Gospels. We read: "As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men'" (Mt 4:18-19; Mk 1:16-17).

From the Fourth Gospel we know another important detail: Andrew had previously been a disciple of John the Baptist: and this shows us that he was a man who was searching, who shared in Israel's hope, who wanted to know better the word of the Lord, the presence of the Lord.

He was truly a man of faith and hope; and one day he heard John the Baptist proclaiming Jesus as: "the Lamb of God" (Jn 1:36); so he was stirred, and with another unnamed disciple followed Jesus, the one whom John had called "the Lamb of God". The Evangelist says that "they saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day..." (Jn 1:37-39).

Thus, Andrew enjoyed precious moments of intimacy with Jesus. The account continues with one important annotation: "One of the two who heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah' (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus" (Jn 1:40-43), straightaway showing an unusual apostolic spirit.

Andrew, then, was the first of the Apostles to be called to follow Jesus. Exactly for this reason the liturgy of the Byzantine Church honours him with the nickname: "Protokletos", [protoclete] which means, precisely, "the first called".

And it is certain that it is partly because of the family tie between Peter and Andrew that the Church of Rome and the Church of Constantinople feel one another in a special way to be Sister Churches. To emphasize this relationship, my Predecessor Pope Paul VI, in 1964, returned the important relic of St Andrew, which until then had been kept in the Vatican Basilica, to the Orthodox Metropolitan Bishop of the city of Patras in Greece, where tradition has it that the Apostle was crucified.

The Gospel traditions mention Andrew's name in particular on another three occasions that tell us something more about this man. The first is that of the multiplication of the loaves in Galilee. On that occasion, it was Andrew who pointed out to Jesus the presence of a young boy who had with him five barley loaves and two fish: not much, he remarked, for the multitudes who had gathered in that place (cf. Jn 6:8-9).

In this case, it is worth highlighting Andrew's realism. He noticed the boy, that is, he had already asked the question: "but what good is that for so many?" (ibid.), and recognized the insufficiency of his minimal resources. Jesus, however, knew how to make them sufficient for the multitude of people who had come to hear him.

The second occasion was at Jerusalem. As he left the city, a disciple drew Jesus' attention to the sight of the massive walls that supported the Temple. The Teacher's response was surprising: he said that of those walls not one stone would be left upon another. Then Andrew, together with Peter, James and John, questioned him: "Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign when these things are all to be accomplished?" (Mk 13:1-4).

In answer to this question Jesus gave an important discourse on the destruction of Jerusalem and on the end of the world, in which he asked his disciples to be wise in interpreting the signs of the times and to be constantly on their guard.

From this event we can deduce that we should not be afraid to ask Jesus questions but at the same time that we must be ready to accept even the surprising and difficult teachings that he offers us.

Lastly, a third initiative of Andrew is recorded in the Gospels: the scene is still Jerusalem, shortly before the Passion. For the Feast of the Passover, John recounts, some Greeks had come to the city, probably proselytes or God-fearing men who had come up to worship the God of Israel at the Passover Feast. Andrew and Philip, the two Apostles with Greek names, served as interpreters and mediators of this small group of Greeks with Jesus.

The Lord's answer to their question - as so often in John's Gospel - appears enigmatic, but precisely in this way proves full of meaning. Jesus said to the two disciples and, through them, to the Greek world: "The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. I solemnly assure you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit" (12:23-24).

Jesus wants to say: Yes, my meeting with the Greeks will take place, but not as a simple, brief conversation between myself and a few others, motivated above all by curiosity. The hour of my glorification will come with my death, which can be compared with the falling into the earth of a grain of wheat. My death on the Cross will bring forth great fruitfulness: in the Resurrection the "dead grain of wheat" - a symbol of myself crucified - will become the bread of life for the world; it will be a light for the peoples and cultures.

Yes, the encounter with the Greek soul, with the Greek world, will be achieved in that profundity to which the grain of wheat refers, which attracts to itself the forces of heaven and earth and becomes bread.

In other words, Jesus was prophesying about the Church of the Greeks, the Church of the pagans, the Church of the world, as a fruit of his Pasch.

Some very ancient traditions not only see Andrew, who communicated these words to the Greeks, as the interpreter of some Greeks at the meeting with Jesus recalled here, but consider him the Apostle to the Greeks in the years subsequent to Pentecost. They enable us to know that for the rest of his life he was the preacher and interpreter of Jesus for the Greek world.

Peter, his brother, travelled from Jerusalem through Antioch and reached Rome to exercise his universal mission; Andrew, instead, was the Apostle of the Greek world. So it is that in life and in death they appear as true brothers - a brotherhood that is symbolically expressed in the special reciprocal relations of the See of Rome and of Constantinople, which are truly Sister Churches.

A later tradition, as has been mentioned, tells of Andrew's death at Patras, where he too suffered the torture of crucifixion. At that supreme moment, however, like his brother Peter, he asked to be nailed to a cross different from the Cross of Jesus. In his case it was a diagonal or X-shaped cross, which has thus come to be known as "St Andrew's cross".

This is what the Apostle is claimed to have said on that occasion, according to an ancient story (which dates back to the beginning of the sixth century), entitled The Passion of Andrew:

"Hail, O Cross, inaugurated by the Body of Christ and adorned with his limbs as though they were precious pearls. Before the Lord mounted you, you inspired an earthly fear. Now, instead, endowed with heavenly love, you are accepted as a gift.

"Believers know of the great joy that you possess, and of the multitude of gifts you have prepared. I come to you, therefore, confident and joyful, so that you too may receive me exultant as a disciple of the One who was hung upon you.... O blessed Cross, clothed in the majesty and beauty of the Lord's limbs!... Take me, carry me far from men, and restore me to my Teacher, so that, through you, the one who redeemed me by you, may receive me. Hail, O Cross; yes, hail indeed!".

Here, as can be seen, is a very profound Christian spirituality. It does not view the Cross as an instrument of torture but rather as the incomparable means for perfect configuration to the Redeemer, to the grain of wheat that fell into the earth.

Here we have a very important lesson to learn: our own crosses acquire value if we consider them and accept them as a part of the Cross of Christ, if a reflection of his light illuminates them.

It is by that Cross alone that our sufferings too are ennobled and acquire their true meaning.

The Apostle Andrew, therefore, teaches us to follow Jesus with promptness (cf. Mt 4:20; Mk 1:18), to speak enthusiastically about him to those we meet, and especially, to cultivate a relationship of true familiarity with him, acutely aware that in him alone can we find the ultimate meaning of our life and death.

Andrew is the Patron Saint of: Fishermen; Greece; Russia; Scotland.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Msgr. Robert Martineau (1936-2012) - Confirmations aux Paroisses St. Remi et St. Gabriel

The Archdiocese of Ottawa lost its second priest in as many days when Msgr. Robert MARTINEAU, P.H. died on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at the age of 76 years.

Born on February 1, 1936 in Ottawa he was ordained June 12, 1962 at St. Mary’s Church by the late Bishop Raymond Windle, then Auxiliary Bishop of Ottawa.

Father Martineau served in several parishes in the Archdiocese (St. Isidore, St. Ignatius, Assumption, St. Augustine and Our Lady of Fatima, retiring as Rector of St. Patrick’s Basilica in 2009. For a number of years he was Regional Vicar for Region IV of the English Sector, a member of the Council of Priests, College of Consultors, Spiritual Director of the Council of Lay Apostolate and Chaplain to Councils of the Knights of Columbus. In 1997, he received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal and in 1999, he was made a Prelate of Honour.

Visitation will be at St. Patrick Basilica, 281 Nepean Street, Ottawa on Friday, November 30, 2012 after the 4:30 p.m. Mass until 9 p.m.

The Funeral Mass will be held at St. Patrick Basilica at 281 Nepean Street, Ottawa on Saturday, December 1, 2012 at 10:30 a.m.

* * *

C’est avec regret que nous vous faisons part du décès de Mgr Robert MARTINEAU, p. h., décédé le mardi 27 novembre 2012 à l’âge de 76 ans. Né à Ottawa le 1er février 1936, il fut ordonné le 12 juin 1962 à la paroisse St-Mary par S.E. Mgr. J. Raymond Windle, D.D., évêque auxiliaire d’Ottawa.

Il a desservi plusieurs paroisses de l’archidiocèse d’Ottawa et pris sa retraite en 2009 alors qu’il était recteur à la Basilique Saint-Patrick. Pour un certain nombre d'années, il fut le vicaire régional pour la région 4, secteur anglophone, membre du Conseil des prêtres, du Collège des consulteurs, Conseiller spirituel du Conseil diocésain de l’apostolat laïc et aumônier de plusieurs Conseils des Chevaliers de Colomb. En 1997, il a reçu la médaille Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice et en 1999, il a été nommé Prélat d'honneur.

Sa dépouille mortelle sera exposée en la basilique St-Patrick au 281, rue Nepean à Ottawa, le vendredi 30 novembre prochain après la Messe de 16 h 30 jusqu’à 21 h.

Les funérailles seront célébrées le samedi 1er décembre prochain à 10 h 30 à la basilique St-Patrick au 281, rue Nepean à Ottawa.

* * *

La Solennité du Christ-Roi

La Paroisse St. Remi, Ottawa

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La Paroisse St. Gabriel, Gloucester
(aucune photo de la messe. reception seulement):

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mort d’un prêtre d’Ottawa—Death of an Ottawa Priest - The First Sunday of Advent (Lukan Year "C")

M. l’abbé Édouard LADOUCEUR est décédé le lundi 26 novembre 2012 à l’âge de 92 ans. Né le 14 mars 1920 à Buckingham au Québec, il fut ordonné prêtre le 15 juin 1946 à Ottawa par Mgr Alexandre Vachon, archevêque d’Ottawa. Il a exercé son ministère presbytéral à plusieurs paroisses à Gatineau et à Ottawa. Il fut le curé fondateur de la paroisse St-Dominique à Hawkesbury. Sa dépouille mortelle sera exposée à l’église Sacré-Coeur au 3765 Champlain à Bourget, le vendredi 30 novembre a compté de 13h. Les funérailles suivront à 14h. Souvenons-nous de lui et de sa famille dans nos prières.

Father Edouard LADOUCEUR died on Monday, November 26, 2012 in his 93rd year. Born on March 14, 1920 in Buckingham Québec, he was ordained a priest on June 15, 1946 in Ottawa by the Most Reverend Alexandre Vachon, Archbishop of Ottawa. He exercised his presbyteral ministry in several parishes in Gatineau and in Ottawa and was the founding pastor of St-Dominique Parish in Hawkesbury. Visitation will take place at Sacré-Coeur Church, 3765 Champlain Street, in Bourget on Friday, November 30 at 1:00 p.m. The funeral Mass will follow at 2:00 p.m., with burial later in the cemetery of his native Buckingham.

Requiescat in pace.

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First Sunday of Advent - (Year “C”) - December 2, 2012
[Texts: Jeremiah 33.14-16 [Psalm 25] 1 Thessalonians 3.12-4.2; Luke 21.25-28, 34-36]

Today the Church begins the celebration of a new liturgical year. The scriptural readings in Year “C” are drawn chiefly from Luke's Gospel. In reflecting on Luke's account of Jesus' career this year, Christians will become acquainted with emphases Luke has made his own in presenting the Good News.

More than other evangelists, Luke stresses the “world-affirming” dimension of Jesus' ministry. For Luke locates Jesus not only within the salvation history of God's chosen people but within the history of the whole human race. Thus, Luke refers both to the leaders of Israel and to figures like the Caesars (Augustus and Tiberius) who played key roles on the world's stage where Jesus of Nazareth belongs.

Luke's gospel highlights God's designs as the reversal of human values and expectations. God demonstrated a preferential love for the poor, the afflicted and the outcast as the starting-point for summoning all humanity to salvation. Luke underlines the importance of faith and of prayer, giving prominence to the Holy Spirit's role in the life of Jesus and his disciples.

Luke shows that conversion implies a change in one's behaviour and accentuates the presence and contribution of women among Jesus' disciples. Above all, Luke emphasizes the orderly transition from the ministry of Jesus to the mission of the Twelve Apostles. He shows that God blessed the transition from early church patterns in the apostolic era to later structures governed by elders appointed in apostolic succession. Though many of the early church's struggles might appear to have been chaotic, the development of the Church came about following a divinely-ordained plan so that people's faith might be firmly grounded (Luke 1.1-4).

During this liturgical year, we will see how Luke explores dimensions in the disciples' experiences with Jesus that get below surface appearances. For example, Peter's sense of unworthiness at his call (Luke 5.1-11). Or a forgiven woman's love overflowing into tears that bathed the feet of Jesus (7.36-50). Or a cleansed leper's joy that had to say “thank you” (17.11-19) and the recollection by the Emmaus disciples that their hearts burned within them as Jesus opened the meaning of the scriptures to them (24.13-35). These themes and others are found in parables and narratives unique to the Third Gospel.

We should not be surprised then, that when Luke came to transmit Jesus' words concerning the end of human history, the theme of the First Sunday of Advent, he gave them a special focus (Luke 21.5-36). In his account, Luke highlighted Jesus' role as the prophet who could and truly did foretell the future. All through the Acts of the Apostles, Luke shows that Jesus correctly foretold the persecution of Christians after Pentecost (Luke 21.12-19).

As they read Luke's two-volume work late in the first century, Christians would have been aware that Jesus also had accurately predicted the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD (Luke 21.8-11, 20-24).

Accordingly, they would have had confidence in Jesus' predictions about happenings still to come, the theme of today's gospel. Jesus' words about the end speak of the cosmic portents that will take place and of the reactions then of people who do not understand what these happenings mean (“people will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world”).

Christians who are taught by Jesus, however, are to have a different outlook. They are urged to hold their heads high because “your redemption is drawing near.”

Jesus warned that there remains a danger even for Christians. It derives from “the worries of this life” which may overwhelm their hearts and so weigh them down that they abandon themselves to “dissipation and drunkenness.” In that case, the Day of the Lord may suddenly spring on them “like a trap.” One's only defence against this is “being alert at all times, praying for strength to escape” and to stand confidently before the Son of Man on Judgment Day.

In the second reading, Paul informs the Thessalonians that, ultimately, it is God's work in Christian lives that makes it possible for them to grow in love, to be strengthened in holiness and to be blameless before God when Jesus comes. God, then, is the ground of Christian hope in the future.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Stained Glass Window in House of Commons Commemorating Legacy of Indian Residential Schools

Yesterday, I joined residential school survivors, government, church and other officials at the unveiling of the work of art designed by Metis artist Christi Belcourt (above) for display in the Parliament of Canada (just outside the House of Commons where it will be viewed by thousands of visitors each year) commemorating the legacy of the Indian Residential Schools and created to be an expression of hope for a bright future in which Native and non-Native Canadians are reconciled.

There were prayers, speeches, songs and drumming by Aboriginal, Inuit and Metis people from across Canada.  As Archbishop Gerard Pettipas, CSsR of Grouard-McLennan and Chair of the Corporation of Catholic Entities Party to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement (CCEPIRSS) was unable to be present, I was pleased to represent him for this special and historic occasion. 

Here are some photos taken on this occasion:

Monday, November 26, 2012

St. Jean Berchmans & altar servers - City Hall Service & Dinner for Interfaith Housing Initiative

This young saint of the Society of Jesus was born in Flanders, the oldest of five children. He grew up in an atmosphere of political turmoil caused by a religious war between the Catholic and Protestant sections of the Netherlands. He studied at the Gymnasium (secondary school) at Diest and worked as a servant in the household of Canon John Froymont at Malines in order to continue his studies.

In 1615, the Jesuits opened a college at Malines, and St. John Berchmans was one of the first to enter. He was an energetic student and was a leader among the students. In 1616, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Malines and came under the influence of Father Antoine Sucquet. The young Berchmans developed a strong and deep spirituality based on the loving practice of fidelity. St. Aloysius of Gonzaga was his spiritual model, and he was influenced as well by the example of the Jesuit English martyrs.

It was his realistic appreciation for the value of ordinary things, a characteristic of the Flemish mystical tradition, which constituted his holiness. He was affable, kind, and endowed with an outgoing personality that endeared him to everyone. In 1618, he was sent to Rome to study philosophy and was an exceptional student. He requested after ordination to become a chaplain in the army, hoping to be martyred on the battlefield.

In the summer of 1619, the intense heat of Rome started to affect his health and he began progressively to get weaker. The doctors could not determine what was wrong, and for two years he was continually sick, requiring medical care, and as the summer of 1621 came, it was clear that he would not last long. He died peacefully on August 13, 1621, and numerous miracles were attributed to him at the time of his funeral.

He was beatified by Pope Pius IX in 1865 and canonized by Pope Leo XIII in 1888. His body lies in the church of St. Ignatius in Rome, where Aloysius of Gonzaga is also buried. [Symbols: Standing with hands clasped, holding his crucifix, his book of rules, and his rosary.]

* * * * * *
scholastique jésuite (1599-1621)

Ce jeune Saint, patron des novices, naquit à Diest le 13 mars 1599, dans le diocèse de Brabant, en Belgique. De condition modeste, les parents de saint Jean Berchmans étaient profondément chrétiens. Une atmosphère de piété, de foi et de pureté angélique régnait dans leur foyer. C'est au sanctuaire de Notre-Dame de Montaigu que le pieux enfant fit le voeu de chasteté perpétuelle.

A l'âge de seize ans, une charité anonyme lui permit d'entrer au collège des Jésuites de Malines. En lisant les écrits du bienheureux Pierre Canisius et la vie de saint Louis de Gonzague mort vingt-cinq ans auparavant, Jean Berchmans se sentit attiré vers la Compagnie de Jésus. Il obtint difficilement le consentement de son père qui fondait sur lui ses plus belles espérances.

Entré au noviciat de Malines, Jean s'y distingua par sa grande fidélité à observer la Règle et par une singulière amabilité de caractère. Dans le procès de sa canonisation, les témoins ont déclaré ne jamais l'avoir vu enfreindre une seule de ses Règles. «Plutôt mourir, disait-il, que de transgresser la moindre Règle.» Accomplir les actions communes d'une manière non commune, telle fut la ligne de conduite à laquelle le saint novice demeura toujours fidèle.

Son exercice le plus cher était de faire le catéchisme aux petits enfants pauvres. A son édifiante piété, il alliait une gaîté qui charmait tous ceux qui avaient quelques rapports avec lui. Sa charité prévenante, son caractère doux et enjoué, sa fidélité absolue à toutes les exigences de la Règle le firent surnommer par les novices: "l'Ange de la maison" et "le Saint joyeux". Celui qui avait écrit: «Si je ne deviens pas un saint maintenant que je suis jeune, je ne le serai jamais», poursuivit son idéal de sainteté en vivant chaque journée dans un total abandon à Dieu.

Sa confiance en Marie était sans limite. "Mon frère, confia-t-il un jour à un religieux, dès que j'ai songé à m'avancer dans la perfection, j'ai posé pour fondement de mon édifice, l'amour de la Reine du Ciel..." Devenu veuf, son père entra dans les Ordres et fut ordonné prêtre; vers le même temps, saint Jean Berchmans prononça les voeux traditionnels d'obéissance, pauvreté et chasteté.

Ses supérieurs l'envoyèrent à Rome à pied, en compagnie d'un confrère, pour y compléter ses études. Arrivé au collège romain, le saint religieux occupa la chambre de saint Louis de Gonzague. Berchmans imita ses vertus tout en se montrant moins austère et plus gracieux. L'étude de la philosophie et des mathématiques à laquelle il s'appliqua ne diminua en rien sa ferveur angélique.

C'est à Rome que sonna son départ pour le ciel, à l'âge de vingt-deux ans et cinq mois. «C'est une mort toute divine, mes remèdes n'y peuvent rien», affirmait le médecin impuissant. Saint Jean Berchmans reçut les derniers sacrements avec une indescriptible ferveur. Avant de quitter la terre, le Saint eut à subir une dernière épreuve: le démon l'assaillit à deux reprises à l'article de la mort.

Le pieux moribond serra son crucifix dans ses mains défaillantes, son chapelet et son livre des Règles: «Voici mes armes, dit-il, avec ces trois trésors, je me présenterai joyeusement devant Dieu.» Il renouvela ses voeux de religion et recouvra la paix. Prononçant les noms bénis de Jésus et de Marie, saint Jean Berchmans s'endormit paisiblement dans le Seigneur. Le vendredi 13 août 1621, la cloche du collège romain annonçait le départ de cet ange terrestre pour les demeures éternelles. Léon XIII l'a canonisé le 15 janvier 1888.

Accorde nous, Seigneur, de te servir dans la droiture et dans la foi, a l'exemple de saint Jean Berchmans qui te consacra la pureté de sa jeunesse.

* * * * * *

Ottawa's Multifaith Housing Initiative
10th Anniversary Service & Dinner


The mission of the Multifaith Housing Initiative (MHI) is to provide and to promote affordable home space, to encourage harmonious relations amongst tenants of diverse backgrounds, and to mobilize the resources of faith communities and others for these purposes.

MHI enables grassroots action for affordable housing solutions: MHI is a faith-based organization that, to date, includes members from Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim and Unitarian faith communities, sharing a common value: the desire to help others in need. MHI has decided that the most effective way to respond to the growing housing affordability crisis is to raise sufficient capital through donations and low interest loans to purchase existing lower cost rental units with the goal of maintaining them as affordable housing for lower- income households.

MHI on November 17 held an interfaith service in the Council Chambers at City Hall followed by a festive dinner in the gathering space next to the Chambers.  Here are some photos from the occasion.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Christ the Ruler of the Universe

Christ the Pantocrator, Cathedral of Cefalu, Sicily

Almighty ever-living God, whose will is to restore all things in your beloved Son, the King of the universe, grant, we pray, that the whole creation, set free from slavery, may render your majesty service and ceaselessly proclaim your praise. 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 characteristic marks of the Church are in accordance with God’s plan, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: “it is Christ who, through the Holy Spirit, makes his Church one, holy, catholic and apostolic, and it is he who calls her to realize each of these qualities” (no. 811).

Specifically, what makes the Church catholic is the fact that Christ in his saving mission embraces all humanity. While during his earthly life Jesus’ mission was limited to the Jewish people, “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mt 15:24), from the beginning it was meant to bring the light of the Gospel to all peoples and lead all nations into the kingdom of God. When he saw the faith of the centurion at Capernaum, Jesus cried out: “I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 8:11).

This universalist perspective can be seen, among other things, from the way Jesus applied to himself not only the title “Son of David”, but also “Son of Man” (Mk 10:33), as in the Gospel passage that we have just heard. The expression “Son of Man”, in the language of Jewish apocalyptic literature inspired by the vision of history found in the book of the prophet Daniel (cf. 7:13-14), calls to mind the figure who appears “with the clouds of heaven” (v. 13).

This is an image that prophesies a completely new kingdom, sustained not by human powers, but by the true power that comes from God. Jesus takes up this rich and complex expression and refers it to himself in order to manifest the true character of his Messianism: a mission directed to the whole man and to every man, transcending all ethnic, national and religious particularities.

And it is actually by following Jesus, by allowing oneself to be drawn into his humanity and hence into communion with God, that one enters this new kingdom proclaimed and anticipated by the Church, a kingdom that conquers fragmentation and dispersal. [Pope Benedict XVI, November 24, 2012]

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Memorial of St. Andrew Dung-Lac & Companions, Martyrs - Les martyrs du Vietnam - Trip this week to Toronto, Niagara Falls

O God, source and origin of all fatherhood, who kept the Martyrs Saint Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions faith to the Cross of your Son, even to the shedding of their blood, grant through their intercession, that, spreading your love among our brothers and sisters, we may be your children both in name and in truth. 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.

* * *

On June 19, 1988, Pope John Paul II canonized a group of 117 martyrs who died for the Roman Catholic Faith in Vietnam during the nineteenth century. The group was made up of ninety-six Vietnamese, eleven Spaniards, and ten French. Eight of the group were bishops, fifty were priests and fifty-nine were lay Catholics. Some of the priests were Dominicans, others were diocesan priests who belonged to the Paris Mission Society. One such diocesan priest was St. Theophane Venard. (His feast day is November 6.)

St. Andrew Dung-Lac, who represents this group of heroes, was a Vietnamese diocesan priest. He came from a poor, non-Christian family and was taught by a Christian lay catechist. He worked in the missions with the priests of the Foreign Mission Society of Paris. He was imprisoned and repeatedly tortured during the persecutions of Minh-Meng, the emperor of Vietnam between 1820 and 1840 who was famed for his persecutions of the Christians. Among the many Vietnamese and international martyrs who died alongside St. Andrew Dung-Lac was Saint Peter Thi.

This feast day, and the witnesses of the lives of the martyrs, give testament to the sufferings inflicted on the Vietnamese Church, which are among the most terrible in the long history of Christian martyrdom.

* * *
St. André Dung-Lac était prêtre au Viêt-Nam. Avec ses compagnons, il eut à souffri le martyre. Parmi eux, 10 missionnaires français, 2 missionnaires espagnols, 96 Vietnamiens dont 37 prêtres et 59 laïcs, hommes et femmes.Ils furent tous canonisés en même temps par Jean-Paul II le 19 juin 1988, lors d’un de ses voyages en Asie.


L’oeuvre de l’évangélisation, entreprise dès le début, du XVIème siècle, puis établie dans les deux premiers Vicariats Apostoliques du Nord (Dâng-Ngoâi) et du Sud (Dâng-Trong) en 1659, a connu au cours des siècles un admirable développement. A l’heure actuelle, les Diocèses sont au nombre de 25 (10 au Nord, 6 au Centre et 9 au Sud). Les catholiques sont environ 6 millions (presque 10% de la population). La hiérarchie catholique vietnamienne a été érigée par le Pape Jean XXIII le 24 novembre 1960.

Ce résultat est dû aussi au fait que, dès les premières années de l’évangélisation, la semence de la Foi a été mêlée sur la terre vietnamienne au sang abondamment versé des Martyrs, tant du clergé missionnaire que du clergé local et du peuple chrétien du Viêt-Nam.

Tous ont supporté ensemble les fatigues de l’œuvre apostolique et ont d’un même cœur affronté aussi la mort pour rendre témoignage à la vérité évangélique.

L’histoire religieuse de l’Eglise du Viêt-Nam enregistre qu’il y a eu en tout 53 Décrets, signés par les Seigneurs TRINH et NGUYEN et par les Empereurs qui, pendant trois siècles XVIIème, XVIIIème, XIXème : exactement 261 ans (16251886), ont promulgué contre les chrétiens des persécutions l’une plus violente que l’autre. On compte environ 130.000 victimes tombées un peu partout sur le territoire du Viêt-Nam.

Au cours des siècles, ces Martyrs de la Foi ont été ensevelis d’une manière anonyme, mais leur mémoire est restée toujours vivante dans l’esprit de la communauté catholique.

Dès le début du XX siècle, dans cette foule de héros, 117 personnes - dont les épreuves sont apparues les plus cruelles - ont été choisies et élevées aux honneurs des autels par le Saint-Siège en 4 séries de Béatifications : en 1900, par le Pape LÉON XIII, 64 personnes en 1906, par le Pape S. PIE X, 8 personnes en 1909, par le Pape S. PIE X, 20 personnes en 1951, par le Pape PIE XII, 25 personnes.

Ces Bienheureux peuvent être classés comme suit : 11 Espagnols : tous de l’Ordre des Frères Prêcheurs (Dominicains) : 6 Evêques et 5 Prêtres. 10 Français : tous de la Société des Missions Etrangères de Paris : 2 Evêques et 8 Prêtres. 96 Viêtnamiens : 37 Prêtres (dont 11 Dominicains), 59 Laïcs (parmi eux 1 Séminariste, 16 Catéchistes, 10 du Tiers Ordre Dominicain et 1 femme).

" Tous ceux-là viennent de la grande épreuve : ils ont lavé leurs vêtements, ils les ont purifiés dans le sang de l’Agneau " (Apoc 7, 13-14), et leur martyre a eu lieu aux différentes périodes : 2 ont subi le martyre au temps de TRINH-DOANH (1740-1767) 2 ont subi le martyre au temps de TRINH-SAM (1767-1782) 2 ont subi le martyre au temps de CANH-TRINH (1782-1802) 58 ont subi le martyre au temps de l’Empereur MINH-MANG (1820-1840) 3 ont subi le martyre au temps de l’Empereur THIEU-TRI (1840-1847) 50 ont subi le martyre au temps de l’Empereur TU-DUC (1847-1883)

Sur le lieu de supplice l’Edit royal, placé à coté de chaque martyr, a précisé le mode de sentence : 75 condamnés à la décapitation, 22 condamnés à l’étranglement, 6 condamnés à être brûlés vifs, 5 condamnés à être écartelés, 9 sont morts en prison des suites des tortures.

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On Wednesday, I flew to Toronto for several activities around the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario's Insurance Management Board (IMB) fall meeting that I attended on Thursday morning.

On Wednesday afternoon, Novalis Publishing Editor Joseph Sinasac sponsored a reception and book launch for my third and latest volume in the Living God's Word series: Reflections on the Sunday Readings for Year C, the year devoted to Luke's gospel.

Regis College, where I had been a student and professor was the venue; they were as always gracious hosts.  Novalis offered a discount to those purchasing the three volume set, so I got lots of exercise signing books. 

For more info or to place an order for the new volume or the series, see:

Joe Sinasac explains the genesis of the series (he had been my editor at the Catholic Register, 1994-2005)


Five of this year's crop of Ottawa seminarians are in local parishes this year doing a pastoral internship, so I invited the other five studying at St. Augustine's and St. Philip's seminaries in Toronto to join me for supper on Wednesday evening in downtown Toronto. 

We had a wonderful meal and a chance to get caught up on news "back home".

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On Thursday afternoon, following the IMB meeting, I drove to the Mount Carmel Retreat Centre in Niagara Falls to attend the Mass and closing banquet for priests ordained between 7 and 13 years for service in Ontario dioceses.  I encountered a joyful group who had been there for several days reflecting on their experience in the early years of priesthood and now were being entrusted with pastoral responsibilities as pastors and other leadership roles. 

I shared presence at this happy gathering with Bishop Wayne Kirkpatrick who would preside at the closing liturgy on Friday morning.

Friday, November 23, 2012

OM: St. Clement, Pope & Martyr, St. Columban, Blessed Miguel Pro - Confirmations (St. Albert et Vars)

St. Clement is the third successor of St. Peter who ruled the Church from c. 92 to 102 and is mentioned in the Canon of the Mass. Pope St. Clement wrote a letter to the Corinthians, which is one of the most ancient and precious documents surviving from early Christian times; it shows his profoundly religious spirit, wholly imbued with the mystery of the things of God and love of Christian unity.

Almighty ever-living God, who are wonderful in the virtue of all your Saints, grant us joy in the yearly commemoration of Saint Clement, who, as a Martyr and High Priest of your Son, bore out by his witness what he celebrated in mystery and confirmed by example what he preached with his lips. 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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The most famous of Irish monks, St. Columban was born around 525-530. Well educated and desiring to be a "pilgrim of God," Columban traveled to France and founded several well-disciplined monasteries as centers of religion and culture. Because of difficulties he decided to return to Ireland. A shipwreck directed him towards Rome and to the founding of his final monastery, at Bobbio in Italy. The aged Abbot died on this date in 615. His feast was moved from November 21. It is celebrated on November 23 by Benedictines and Ireland.

O God, who in Saint Columban wonderfully joined the work of evangelization to zeal for the monastic life, grant, we pray, that through his intercession and example we may strive to seek you above all things and to bring increase to your faithful 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.

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Blessed Miguel Pro was born in Guadalupe, Mexico, in 1891. The Mexican government began a major persecution of the Church in 1911. Fr. Pro completed his studies in Belgium and was ordained a Jesuit in 1926. He returned to Mexico and performed his ministry heroically until November 23, 1927. He was caught and condemned for being a Catholic priest.

Fr. Miguel Pro ended his life facing the firing squad with his arms outstretched until he became a living cross. He called out the words, Viva Cristo Rey! as his body was wracked with a hail of bullets. He was proclaimed "blessed" by Pope John Paul II on September 25, 1988.

Our God and Father, who conferred upon your servant Blessed Migueal Agustin Pro the grace of ardently seeking your greater glory and the salvation of others, grant, through his intercession and example, that by faithfully and joyfully performing our daily duties and effectively assisting those around us, we may serve you with zeal and ever seek your 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.

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La célébration de la confirmation des jeunes se poursuit.  Dimanche passe, j’ai présidé l’Eucharistie dans deux paroisses : à la paroisse de Saint-Albert et à la paroisse de St. Guillaume de Vars. Voici quelques photos:


Fromage St-Albert!

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