Sunday, March 18, 2018

Archbishop-elect Jose Bettencourt's Arms and Motto Interpreted

Coat of Arms of Archbishop José Avelino Bettencourt


At the focal point of the arms is a triple, inlaid eight-pointed star in the shape of a Greek cross, which recalls the words of Saint Paul in the Letter to the Philippians: “You will shine among them like stars in the sky, as you hold firmly to the word of life” (2:15-16).

The threefold star evokes the Church’s faith in the Triune God, as expressed in the ancient Nicene Creed.  Its cross-like shape alludes to the mystery of our salvation in Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, while the third inlay represents the Holy Spirit, Patron of the Azoreans.  The eight points of the star refer to Mary, the Mother of God, and to the mystery of the Incarnation.  Mary is present as Mother of the Church and Patroness of Lusitania (Terra Mariae), also invoked since the seventeenth century as “Our Lady of the Bettencourts”.

The chevron is the heraldic symbol of Saint Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, Patron of Canada and the Archdiocese of Ottawa, as well as the Archbishop’s namesake.

A black lion, the symbol of courage, rampant on an argent shield, is from the arms of the first Bettencourt to be granted this distinction in the later part of the first millennium.  It is found among the seventy-two shields in the Hall of the Coats of Arms in the National Palace of Sintra (Portugal), and appears etched in basalt over the house of the same name in Angra do Heroismo (Azores). 

The two lions on the chevron allude to the two branches of the Bettencourt genealogy united by the marriage of the Archbishop’s parents (Silveira Bettencourt and Soares Bettencourt).

The Latin motto – FIDES SPES CHARITAS – is drawn from the conclusion of Saint Paul’s hymn to love in the First Letter to the Corinthians:  Now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love” (13:13).   The deep red colour of the shield symbolizes love, strength and faithful service, while the scroll contains the armorial bearings of four of the various distinctions conferred on Archbishop Bettencourt: Commander of the Military Order of Christ (Portugal); Conventual Chaplain Grand Cross ad honorem of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta;  Commander of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem;  and Insígnia Autonómica de Reconhecimento of the Azores.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Msgr. Msgr. Gérald Joseph LeBlanc (1935-2018)

Saddened to learn of the death of Msgr. Gérald LeBlanc, whom I got to know during my years as Administrator of the Diocese of Yarmouth (2002-2007). 

He was a fine human being, a devoted and zealous priest and a supportive companion to me during the five years I was associated with the clergy, religious and faithful of Southwestern Nova Scotia.  

Msgr. Msgr. Gérald Joseph LeBlanc, Priest of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth, died on March 11, 2018 in Halifax.

Born in Wedgeport on September 11, 1935, the youngest son of Éloi and Laurianne LeBlanc, after his early education in Wedgeport, he attended Collège Ste-Anne in Church Point (1951-1955), studied with the Eudists in Québec (1955-1959), and then the Grand Séminaire, Montreal (1959-1963).

Father LeBlanc was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Yarmouth on May 23, 1963 in Wedgeport by Most Rev. Albert Léménager. He did post-graduate studies in Pastoral Counselling (Ottawa) and Pastoral Theology (Montreal).

Father Gérald served as assistant priest in the parishes of Stella Maris, Meteghan (1963); and St. Ambrose Cathedral, Yarmouth (1965). He served as pastor of the parishes of St. Peter's, West Pubnico, and Immaculate Conception (1971); Stella Maris, Meteghan (1983) as well as St-Alphonse de Ligouri (1990); St-Michel, Wedgeport including the faith communities of Melbourne, Comeau's Hills and Pinkney's Point (1996); and for a second time at St. Peter's and Immaculate Conception, Pubnico, (2005-2017).

From 1992-1993, he was the Administrator of the Diocese of Yarmouth, and from 1993 to the present Vicar-General of Yarmouth and later of Halifax-Yarmouth. In this capacity, he served on numerous diocesan councils.

In 2004, on the occasion of Père Gérald's 40th anniversary of ordination Saint John Paul II appointed him Honorary Prelate of the Church, which carries with it the title of Monsignor.

Msgr. Gérald is survived by his nieces and nephews, Guy Pothier, Philip (Mary) Pothier, Claudine (Paul) Renault, Lorraine (Richard) Phaneuf, Colleen LeBlanc, Phillip (Joanne) LeBlanc, Lorie (Michael) Stewart and Joanne (Andrew) LeFrank. He was predeceased by his siblings, Ona, Iva, Chester, Joseph and niece, Dianne Pothier. A special thank you to Claudine and Paul Renault, for their hospitality while they generously accompanied Msgr. Gérald in their home through their ministry of care and compassion during his final months of life.

Visitation will be in l'Église St-Pierre, 1144 Rte. 335, Middle West Pubnico, Tuesday, March 13th from 3-9 p.m., with Vigil prayers at 8 p.m.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, March 14th at 2 p.m., Most Rev. Anthony Mancini, Archbishop of Halifax-Yarmouth, presiding, in l'Eglise St-Pierre.

Interment will be in the parish cemetery of St-Michel, Wedgeport. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to “the ministry of care and compassion” in trust to the parish of St-Pierre, or a charity of your choice.

Requiescat in pace.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Msgr. Jose Avellino Bettencourt Named Bishop, Apostolic Nuncio

This morning in Rome it was announced in Rome that Pope Francis had named Msgr. Jose Bettencourt, a priest of the Archdiocese of Ottawa Titular Bishop of Cittanova, an ancient see in Calabria and an Apostolic Nuncio.
Born in the Azores on May 23, 1962, Jose Bettencourt emigrated at a young age to Canada with his family. His widowed mother and his younger brother’s family live near the church of Senhor Santo Cristo, Ottawa’s Portuguese-language parish.

Msgr. Bettencourt (left) at his home parish, Senhor Santo Cristo

Archbishop Marcel Gervais ordained him a priest on May 29, 1993 after his studies at the University of Ottawa and St. Paul’s University. Father Bettencourt served briefly in his home parish and Holy Redeemer Parish, Kanata before entering the diplomatic service in 1999, gaining a doctoral degree in Canon Law from the Pontifical Gregorian University.
Father Bettencourt served at the Apostolic Nunciature to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and then moved to the Secretariat of State of the Holy See. Since 2003 he has been Chaplain of His Holiness.
On 14 November 2012, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Msgr. Bettencourt Head of Protocol at the Secretariat of State, with responsibility for contacts with embassies accredited to the Holy See and to the central Vatican authority.
Pope Francis will preside at Archbishop-elect Bettencourt’s episcopal ordination in St. Peter’s Vatican Basilica on March 19, the Solemnity of St. Joseph.
Ad multos et faustissimos annos!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Edmonton Auxiliary Gregory Bittman named Bishop of Nelson Mgr Bittman Evêque de Nelson

It was announced today in Rome that Pope Francis has appointed the Most Reverend Gregory Bittman, currently Auxiliary Bishop of Edmonton (Alberta), as the new Bishop of the Diocese of Nelson (British Columbia),


Aujourd'hui on a annoncé que Sa Sainteté le pape François a nommé Mgr Gregory Bittman, actuellement évêque auxiliaire d’Edmonton (Alberta) comme nouvel évêque du diocèse de Nelson.(Colombie-Brittanique). 


From the Edmonton archdiocesan website:

Gregory J. Bittman was born on March 5, 1961, in Edmonton, the eldest of three boys. He attended St. Edmund School and St. Joseph High School before earning a diploma in nursing from the Misericordia Hospital School of Nursing and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Alberta. He worked as a nurse for several years before entering the seminary to study for the priesthood.

In 1991, he obtained a Master’s of Divinity Degree from Christ the King Seminary in Mission, B.C., and in 2009, he obtained a Licentiate in Canon Law from the Catholic University of America. He was ordained to the priesthood on August 15, 1996, at St. Joseph’s Basilica by Archbishop Joseph MacNeil.

He began his priestly ministry as Associate Pastor of Holy Family Parish in St. Albert and Administrator of Sacred Heart Parish, Gibbons (1996-97), then was appointed Pastor of Our Lady of the Prairies Parish in Daysland (1997-99), Christ-King Parish in Stettler (1999-2000), and the parishes of St. Agnes and St. Anthony, Edmonton (2000-01).

Father Bittman is a pianist, amateur organist and avid runner. He holds a black belt in karate and enjoys scuba diving. He is known for his work as an apprentice home renovator as well as being a doting uncle to 10 nieces and nephews.

Father Bittman was appointed Chancellor of the Archdiocese in 2000 and was named as Judicial Vicar in 2009. He is an ex officio member of the College of Consultors, the Presbyteral Council, the Clergy Personnel Committee, the Project Review Board and the Finance Committee in the Archdiocese of Edmonton. He has also served as Spiritual Director to seminarians over the last few years.

Father Bittman was appointed the first Auxiliary Bishop of Edmonton by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on July 14, 2012. He was ordained to the episcopate on September 2012, the Feast of St. Gregory the Great, at St. Joseph's Basilica.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Reverend Reginal MacNeil dies at 95, in this his 70th year as a priest

Father Reginald Mac Neil died on January 31, 2018 at the age of 95 years.  Born in Glace Bay, N.S., on March 24, 1922, he was the son of late Michael J. Mac Neil and Mary Margaret O'Keefe.

Surviving is his sister, Mrs. Patricia Maria Gallant (David). He is also survived by Colette Lemoine, who cared for him during his retirement years. Two brothers, Rev Bernard J. Mac Neil of Sydney, N.S. and James O'Keefe Mac Neil of Dorval, Qc predeceased him. Also surviving are eight nieces and nephews, twelve grandnieces and nephews and four great- grandnephews.

A graduate of St Ann's High School, Glace Bay High School and St. Francis Xavier University, after studies at the Holy Heart Seminary in Halifax he was ordained as a Catholic priest on May 23, 1948.

The first nine years of his ministry were in Nova-Scotia at Holy Redeemer Parish in Sydney, followed by short terms at Boisdale, New Glasgow and West Bay.

In 1957, Father MacNeil enlisted as a Catholic Chaplain in the Royal Canadian Airforce and served in Goose Bay, Labrador; Comox, B.C.; Uplands, Ottawa; Winnipeg, Manitoba, as well as Zweibreüken and Lahr in Germany. He completed his military service at National Defense Headquarters in Ottawa and retired in 1980 with the rank of Colonel. In 1984 he was inducted into the St. Francis Xavier University Sports Hall of Fame.

Remaining in Ottawa after retirement from the military Father Reg served as Spiritual Director of the Ottawa Cursillo Movement for 25 years, assisted at Holy Cross Parish, was Chaplain at St Joseph's Junior High School and served at the Army Cadet Camp in Vernon, B.C. He also assisted at Our Lady of Fatima for 20 years and during his last years of ministry he served the seniors at The Westwood Living in Ottawa. He also continued studies at St. Paul University in Scripture and Theology, wrote a religion column for the Ottawa Citizen for eight years and also wrote for Novalis publications: Living with Christ, Homiletic Service as well as for the Cursillo NewsLetter during the same period.

The Mass of Christian Funeral took place this morning, Saturday February 10, at Our Lady of Fatima Church with Archbishop Prendergast presiding, many priests concelebrating and deacons, religious sisters and many lay people assisting. Father Harold MacNeil, who is also from Glace Bay gave the homily and Most Reverend Brian Dunn, Bishop of Antigonish presided at the burial at Hope Cemetery this afternoon.

Memorial donations to the Ottawa Cursillo Movement or to the Shepherds of Good Hope would be appreciated.

Requiescat in pace.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Décès : Animatrice générale Sœurs de la Charité d’Ottawa (1992-2004)

SOEUR CLAIRE MALETTE (Dominique-du-Rosaire) Sœur de la Charité d’Ottawa, est décédée à Ottawa, le 15 janvier 2018, à l’âge de 87 ans, dont 65 de profession religieuse.

Née à Buckingham, Québec, elle est la fille de feu Eugène Malette et de feu Marguerite Legault. Outre sa famille religieuse, elle laisse dans le deuil ses frères Raymond (feu Georgette Lefebvre), Gérald (Diane Caron), sa sœur Louise (Michael Hughes) ainsi que de nombreux neveux et nièces.

Elle fut prédécédée par sa sœur Alice (feu Robert Phillips) et son frère Laurent (feu Thérèse Gagnon).

Elle fut l’animatrice générale de la Congrégation des Sœurs de la Charité d’Ottawa de 1992 à 2004.

La dépouille reposera à la Maison mère, 27, rue Bruyère, Ottawa, le lundi 22 janvier 2018 à 12 h 30.

La messe des funérailles sera célébrée en la chapelle le même jour à 14 h 30.

Une offrande de messe ou un don à Procure des missions É.B., 27 rue Bruyère, Ottawa, ON, K1N 5C9, serait apprécié.
Requiescat in pace.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Father Alexis Frederick Kirsten served Jesuits as an Administrator

Father Alexis Kirsten, Jesuit priest, died on January 17, 2018 at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Ontario. He was 70 years of age and had been in the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits for 47 years.

Alex was born on June 5, 1947 in Woodstock, Cape Town, South Africa, son of Alexander Edward Kirsten and Lilian Kathleen Veret. He studied Zoology at the University of Guelph and later Theology at Regis College in Toronto.

Ordained a priest on June 2, 1979 by Cardinal Carter, Father Kirsten held a variety of administrative positions across Canada: President of St. Paul's High School in Winnipeg; Director of Martyr's Shrine in Midland, Ontario; Jesuit Treasurer and Director of the Rene Goupil Centre in Pickering, Ontario.

He will be missed by family, friends and his Jesuit companions.

There will be a Visitation on Sunday evening, January 21, 2018 from 7-9 p.m. at St. Ignatius Chapel, Manresa-Jesuit Spiritual Renewal Centre, 2325 Liverpool Road North, Pickering, ON. A wake service will be held at 8 p.m.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, January 22, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Ignatius Chapel Manresa-Jesuit Spiritual Renewal Centre.

Interment to be held at the Jesuit Cemetery, Guelph, Ontario at 2:30 p.m. 

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Jesuit Development Office, 43 Queen's Park Crescent East, Toronto, ON M5S 2C3 would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.