Thursday, September 10, 2015

Death of Oblate Bishop Peter Sutton and Funeral Details

Many, particularly among the First Nations communties, mourn the passing of Archbishop Peter Sutton, O.M.I., who passed away at the Oblate infirmary at Richelieu (QC) on Sunday, September 5, a month short of his 81st birthday.

He had been Bishop of Labrador City-Schefferville from 1974 to 1986, then Archbishop of Keewatin-Le Pas (MB) from 1986 until his retirement in 2006.

Following prayers this evening in Richelieu and a funeral Mass there at 2 PM on September 11, his remains will be transferred to Ottawa for a Vigil service on September 20 at 7 PM and a funeral Mass the next day, Monday, September 21 at 11AM--both celebrations at Canadian Martyrs Church, 100 Main Street, Ottawa,

Burial will take place at the Oblate St, Theresa Cemetery in Arnprior (ON).

Archbishop Sutton was a very kind man, giving me encouragement from the time of my episcopal ordination.  The photograph above was taken at a visit to him at meal time at the infirmary during the Christmas season 2014.

May God grant him a merciful judgment and the reward of his labours. 

* * * * * 

Monseigneur Peter Sutton, O.M.I., archevêque émérite de Keewatin-Le Pas, est décédé le samedi  le 5 septembre 2015 à l’âge de 80.
Il a été ordonné évêque de Labrador City-Schefferville le 18 juillet 1974.  Le 6 février 1986, il fut nommé archevêque coadjuteur de Keewatin-Le Pas, au Manitoba, et le 19 novembre 1986, a succédé comme archevêque. 

Il sera exposé en chapelle ardente à la Résidence Notre-Dame, au 460, 1re Rue, Richelieu, Québec, le jeudi 10 septembre. Une prière communautaire se tiendra à 19 h 30.  Le vendredi 11 septembre, les visites se feront à partir de 12 h 30 suivies d’une messe à 14 h, présidée par Monseigneur Sylvain Lavoie, O.M.I., lui aussi archevêque émérite de Keewatin-Le Pas.

Le dimanche 20 septembre,  sa dépouille sera amenée à l’église Canadian Martyrs, 100 rue Main, Ottawa à 17 heures pour un service de prière à 19 heures, présidé par le Père Ken Forster, O.M.I., provincial de la Province Oblate Lacombe au Canada.  

Le lundi 21 septembre, la messe des funérailles sera célébrée à 11 heures à l’église Canadian Martyrs et sera présidée par Monseigneur Douglas Crosby, O.M.I., son successeur comme évêque de Labrador City-Schefferville.

Le cortège funéraire se rendra au cimetière des Oblats St. Theresa, 398, rue John, Arnprior (ON),  à 13 heures. L’inhumation se tiendra près de sa tombe à 14 heures.

Que son âme repose en paix!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Mgr Raymond Poisson Évêque de Joliette – New Joliette Bishop

Aujourd’hui, Sa Sainteté le pape François a nommé S. E. Mgr. Raymond Poisson, présentement Évêque auxiliaire à Saint-Jérôme comme évêque de Joliette (Québec).

Né à Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Rouville, le 30 avril 1958, Mgr Poisson a fait un DEC en Sciences de l’administration (1976-1978) au Collège André-Grasset de Montréal. Il a par la suite complété un baccalauréat en Théologie et une Maîtrise ès arts (1983) à l’Université de Montréal puis un doctorat en théologie fondamentale (1987-1989), spécialité ecclésiologie, à l’Université Pontificales Grégorienne de Rome. 

Mgr Poisson a été ordonné diacre le 22 mai 1983 et prêtre en l’église Notre-Dame-du-Sacré-Cœur de Brossard, le 9 décembre 1983 par Mgr Bernard Hubert, évêque de Saint-Jean-Longueuil.

Au moment de sa nomination comme eveque en 2012, Mgr Poisson était recteur de la Basilique Sainte-Anne de Varennes et curé des paroisses Sainte-Anne, Saint-François-Xavier, Sainte-Trinité, Saint-Laurent et Sainte-Théodosie.  

Le nouvel évêque a été membre du comité d’étude de l’Assemblée des évêques catholiques du Québec sur l’avenir du patrimoine religieux au Québec. Il est actuellement chapelain de l’Association canadienne de l’Ordre de Malte. 

* * * * *
His Holiness Pope Francis today appointed Most Reverend Raymond Poisson, 57, Auxiliary Bishop of Saint-Jérôme since 2012, as Bishop of Joliette.

Bishop Poisson was born on April 30, 1958, in Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Rouville, Quebec. After completing his secondary studies at the Séminaire Très-Sainte-Trinité of Saint-Bruno, he pursued his collegial studies in administration at College André-Grasset and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in theology and then a Master’s degree from the University of Montreal. 

Ordained to the priesthood on December 9, 1983, for the Diocese of Saint-Jean-Longueuil by Bishop Bernard Hubert, he did graduate studies and holds a doctorate in fundamental theology from Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University, with a specialization in ecclesiology.

At the time of his appointment as Auxiliary of Saint-Jérôme, Bishop Poisson was serving as Rector of the Basilica Sainte-Anne of Varennes. He was also a member of a committee of the Assembly of Québec Catholic Bishops that studied future possibilities for Quebec’s heritage of religious art and architecture. Currently, he serves as chaplain of the Canadian Association of the Order of Malta.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Brother Alvin Voisin Served the Jesuit Mission in Humble Tasks

Jesuit Brother Alvin VOISIN died peacefully on July 19, 2015 at the Jesuit Infirmary in Pickering, ON; he was in his 99th year of life and had been a Jesuit brother for 74 years.

Alvin Voisin was born and grew up in St. Clements, ON, the son of Robert Voisin and Louisa Lunz; three of his siblings joined religious communities.

Brother Voisin began his Jesuit life in 1941. Over the years, he worked as a farmer, gardener and dairyman in Ontario: at Spanish, Oakville, Guelph and Pickering.

His first assignment after first vows was to Garnier School in Spanish, Ontario.  He faithfully worked as overseer of the property, gardener and did the usual household tasks that was the life of Jesuit brothers in that era.  After Garnier School closed in 1958, he moved to Loyola Retreat House in Oakville, Ontario to supervise care of its extensive grounds. 

In 1960, Brother Al began his long tenure at Guelph when he went there to work as custodian of the grounds and on the farm. This ended in the year 2000 when ill health brought about his transfer to the infirmary at Pickering.  There was an interruption in his 40-year posting at Guelph from 1979 to 1981, when he was appointed assistant to the minister, Br. Paul Robin, in Pickering because a great deal of renovation work was being done at Manresa Retreat House and his maintenance skills were called upon during those two years of steady work.

A good story-teller whose laughter would fill a room, he delighted in the music of the Greek chanteuse, Nana Mouskouri, managing to attend several of her concerts in North America, and he never failed in his many years of Jesuit life to join the brethren in following the “champagne music” of Lawrence Welk. 

Survived by his sister Mary Forwell of Waterloo, Brother Al will be missed by his friends and Jesuit companions.

Visitation will be at St. Ignatius Chapel, Manresa-Jesuit Spiritual Renewal Centre, 2325 Liverpool Road North, Pickering, ON, on Wednesday, July 22nd from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. (with wake service at 8:00 p.m.).

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 23, 2015 at the St. Ignatius Chapel, Manresa-Jesuit Spiritual Renewal Centre. Interment will follow in the Jesuit Cemetery, Guelph, ON, at 2:30 p.m.

In memory of Brother Voisin, donations may be made to the Jesuit Development Office, 43 Queen's Park Crescent East, Toronto, ON M5S 2C3.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Installation of Fr Peter Tuan Bui, CSsR as Pastor Our Lady of LaVang Parish, Ottawa, ON, July 5, 2015

[Ezekiel 2.2-5; [Psalm 123]; 2 Corinthians 12.7-10; Mark 6.1-6]

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

In a few moments I will formally install Father Peter Tuan Bui as your new pastor. In that ceremony, he will renew the promises he made at the time of his ordination. He will promise to live out his commitment for the next several years with you.  In turn, you are asked to assist him in leading this faith community. I hope that you will say “yes” to him with enthusiasm and joy.

Then, we will process around the church to the various places where he will exercise his priesthood (the baptismal font, the confessional, the pulpit, the altar) and I will remind him of the spirit that should guide him in his service to you. Pray for him that he may do this generously and well.

Father Bui is a Redemptorist priest whose spirituality focuses on the Crib, the Cross and the Sacrament. Redemptorists follow Christ in his incarnation, death and resurrection and believe that he is always with them. 

They hold the belief that there is always a graced encounter with Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. So their founder Saint Alphonsus wrote about visits to the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Redemptorists proclaim the gospel in simple ways to ordinary people
Recently, Pope Francis asked bishops and priests not to be pilots but rather true pastors, “stewards, not owners, humble servants like our Lady, not princes.” The pope’s words are an invitation for each priest to know the joy of being a shepherd, “as we strive to light a fire in the heart of the world” (No. 271).

The pope offers the sleeping but vigilant St. Joseph, caring for Mary and the Child Jesus, as an image of the pastor keeping watch over his people.

You know that each priest, along with his strengths and abilities, will have weaknesses and St. Paul addresses that issue in today’s second reading.  There Paul speaks of something that troubled him, “a thorn in the flesh”.

Preachers have wondered about the meaning of this term. Some think that the “thorn in the flesh” was a bodily ailment (epilepsy, migraine, malaria, an eye disease, a speech impediment), others think it was something mental (bouts of depression, an experience of despair) or something spiritual (a temptation of some kind).
Whatever it was, the thorn in Paul's flesh seems to have begun around the time of his mystical experiences. Perhaps he needed to be brought down to earth after his heavenly “rapture”.  But Paul did not see it that way.  

So, three times he prayed to be relieved of what seemed to interfere with the effectiveness of his ministry.  The answer to Paul's prayer taught him that the same God who gave him the spiritual experience had also given him the thorn.

Paul's mystical journey came about entirely by God's grace. In reply to Paul's prayer, the Lord Jesus taught Paul a profound lesson. Christ said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness”.

Jesus asked Paul to look beyond himself and see God's power at work in the weakness of his human condition.

Because we do not know precisely what Paul's thorn in the flesh was, we Christians can identify with Paul's frustration and need of divine help as we face our own experience of a “thorn in the flesh”.  We are invited to make Paul's conclusion our own, “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me”.  

God's grace enables us to agree with Paul and proclaim, “whenever I am weak, then I am strong”.

I pray today for all of you—priest and people—that you recognize your strengths and weaknesses as gifts from God, but, above all, that you let Christ’s grace and his strength be at work in you!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Festival de la Parole, Édition 2015

Paroisse Saint Joseph, Orléans, ON
Quatorzième dimanche du temps ordinaire (Année « B ») samedi 4 juillet 2015
L’écharde dans la chair de Paul
[Ézékiel 2, 2-5;(Psaume 122(123); 2 Corinthiens 12, 7-10; Marc 6, 1-6]

Aujourd’hui, nous avons porté notre regard sur le baptême. Nous avons vu comment notre baptême a fait de nous des fils et filles de Dieu, des disciples de Jésus, des envoyés de l’Esprit Saint. 

Prendre conscience de ces vérités, reconnaître cette vie nouvelle qui nous a été donnée alors que nous avons été plongés dans la mort et la résurrection du Christ, nous aide, certes, à mieux comprendre la vie, la mission et les enseignements de l’apôtre Paul.

Les enseignements de saint Paul sont à la fois très profond et très complexes. Saint Paul nous rappelle que c’est surtout la grâce de Dieu agissant en nous qui nous rend tels que nous sommes, qui nous rend capable de faire ce que nous faisons. Il y a toujours un risque, parmi les personnes dévotes, de chercher à s’attribuer à elles-mêmes ce que Dieu a accompli et continue d’accomplir dans leur vie. Voilà pourquoi les propos de Paul que nous venons d’entendre dans la seconde lecture sont si importants pour nous tous. Il est important de bien méditer ces paroles et de les faire nôtres.

Quel sens donner à cette souffrance qui afflige Paul, à cette souffrance dont parle saint Paul  vers la fin de sa deuxième épître aux Corinthiens ? Les chrétiens ont cherché réponse à cette question tout au long des siècles. En effet, après avoir parlé des nombreuses grâces que Dieu lui a accordées (un fidèle du Christ, voici quatorze ans, a été emporté jusqu’au troisième ciel)  saint Paul ajoute : pour m’empêcher de me surestimer, j’ai reçu dans ma chair une écharde, un envoyé de Satan qui est là pour me gifler.

Les exégètes - les spécialistes de la Bible- ont interprété les paroles de Paul de diverses façons. Certains ont vu dans l’expression de Paul ‘une écharde dans ma chair’ une référence à un mal corporel (l’épilepsie, la migraine, la malaria, l’ophtalmie ou bégaiement). D’autres ont suggéré qu’il s’agissait peut-être d’une maladie mentale (dépression, désespoir) ou  même spirituelle (une tentation quelconque). D’autres encore ont surtout mis l’accent  sur l’expression ‘envoyé de Satan’  et ont supposé que Paul évoquait ses persécuteurs ou les chrétiens qui le considéraient comme un hérétique.

Quoi qu’il en soit, saint Paul aurait ressenti cette écharde dans sa chair à peu près au moment où il a eu sa vision et a continué jusqu’au moment où il a écrit cette lettre. Peut-être qu’il avait besoin d’être ramené sur terre après son expérience mystique, après ‘son ravissement’. Mais Paul ne voyait pas les choses comme cela. Aussi, il a prié à plusieurs reprises d’être délivré de cette humiliation qui l’empêchait de mener à bien son ministère.  En réponse à sa prière Paul apprit que ce même Dieu qui lui a donné cette expérience spirituelle lui a aussi donné cette écharde.

Paul savait que de nombreux Corinthiens – comme beaucoup d’autres peuples de l’ancien monde et même certains peuples aujourd’hui – s’attendaient à ce que leurs chefs religieux aient des visions et des révélations, preuves de la bénédiction de Dieu. Avec une telle attente, les Corinthiens ne s’attendaient pas à ce que les visionnaires subissent l’humiliation, encore moins une expérience qui peut évoquer la honte de la Croix. 

Paul eut sa vision et sa révélation au troisième ou ciel le plus haut appelé parfois Paradis. Paul ne fit rien pour provoquer une telle expérience mystique. Elle lui fut plutôt donnée par Dieu. Paul ne se permit pas non plus de s’en vanter car il avait  ‘entendu des paroles ineffables, qu’un homme ne doit pas redire (2 Corinthiens 12, 4).

Cette expérience mystique de Paul lui a été donnée entièrement par la grâce de Dieu. L’écharde dans sa chair lui a apporté une autre révélation. En réponse à la prière de Paul, le Seigneur – on pense ici à Jésus – apprit à Paul une profonde leçon : ‘Ma grâce te suffit, car ma puissance donne toute sa mesure dans la faiblesse.’

Paul aurait pu tirer plusieurs leçons de sa souffrance. Si on endure la souffrance avec patience, on peut renforcer son caractère. On peut, en soi-même, trouver les forces qui nous permettent de faire face aux malheurs de la vie. Au lieu de cela, Paul fut invité à regarder au-delà de lui-même et y voir la puissance de Dieu à l’œuvre dans la faiblesse de sa condition humaine.

Ne sachant pas exactement ce qu’était l’écharde dans la chair de Paul, les chrétiens de chaque époque – et chacun de nous – peuvent s’identifier à la misère de Paul  et reconnaître la nécessité du soutien divin lorsqu’ils ont à affronter leur propre expérience d’une ‘écharde dans la chair’ dans leur vie. Ainsi les disciples sont invités à faire leur la parole de Paul : ‘je mettrai plutôt ma fierté dans mes faiblesses, afin que la puissance du Christ fasse en moi sa demeure.’ À tous les âges, la grâce de Dieu nous permet de dire avec Paul : ‘Car, lorsque je suis faible, c’est alors que je suis fort.’

Dans la même veine, l’Évangile de ce jour nous dépeint un Jésus qui se trouvait dans l’impossibilité d’accomplir aucun miracle dans sa propre ville de Nazareth ‘si ce n’est qu’il posa les mains sur quelques malades et les guérit et il s’étonnait du manque de foi des gens de sa ville.’

Jésus déclara que cette expérience a toujours et partout été celle du prophète. ‘Un prophète est estimé partout, excepté dans sa ville natale, sa parenté et sa famille’.

Pour conclure notre Festival de la Parole, demandons la grâce de devenir toujours plus ce que le pape François nous demande d’être des ‘disciples-missionnaires’, des personnes qui apprennent chaque jour de Jésus les vérités du Royaume de Dieu et la nouvelle vie donnée par la résurrection que nous partageons depuis notre baptême. Soyons fiers de répandre cette Bonne Nouvelle autour de nous.

Puisse cette expérience de Paul que nous avons méditée aujourd’hui, nous amener à nous réjouir dans notre faiblesse, et puisse la grâce du Christ nous garder dans la paix et dans la joie ! C’est ce que je vous souhaite à tous et toutes. Amen.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Jesuit Father Michael Stogre was medical doctor and theologian

FATHER MICHAEL JOSEPH STOGRE, S.J. died unexpectedly on June 24, 2015, at the Jesuit residence in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was in his 71st year of life, four days short of his birthday, he had been in religious life for 52 years.

Michael Joseph Stogre was born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, June 28, 1944, the eldest of eight children of Winnifred Quinn and Alexander Stogre. He grew up in Toronto, attended St. Michael's College School and entered the Jesuits in 1962. He completed a B.A. in classics, an M.A. and a licentiate in philosophy at Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington.

As a Jesuit scholastic, he taught Latin and Science at Brebeuf College School, Toronto, 1969- 1970, followed by a year as program director of education for the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace in the Archdiocese of Toronto. During theological studies at Regis College in Toronto he completed a Master of Divinity degree, and was ordained a priest on June 8, 1974. During this period he also taught medical ethics at the St. Joseph's campus, of the George Brown College School of Nursing.

Following his studies for the priesthood, Father Stogre pursued medicine at McMaster University graduating (M.D.) with the class of 1978, which was followed by an internship at St. Joseph's Hospital, Toronto 1978- 1979. From 1979-1986 he was a staff member of the Jesuit Centre for Social Faith and Justice based in Toronto. In that capacity he worked with Amnesty International's Medical group examining political refugees, represented the Jesuits on the Aboriginal Rights Coalition and the Ontario Health Coalition. For two years he served on the board of Southdown, a treatment centre for priests and religious, and its medical therapy committee.

While working at the Jesuit Social Centre, he assisted the Rama Indian Band in starting a health clinic on their reserve, served on their Health and Welfare committee for six years, and worked on a number of environmental health issues in northern Ontario and in Toronto, (e.g. lead contamination in Riverdale, radium pollution in Scarborough and Serpent River). Other involvements included working with the pastoral team of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in preparation for the Papal visit of 1984, serving on the allocations committee of Catholic Charities of Toronto, and the ethics committee of the Catholic Children's Aid Society.

Father Stogre published a number of articles on medical ethics, the health care delivery system, Native Health, and Aboriginal Rights, gave lectures and led workshops on these topics across the country.

From 1990 until 2012 he lived at, and ministered from, the Anishinabe Spiritual Centre (ASC), on Anderson Lake, Espanola, Ontario. Among other ministries he served as visiting Pastor for a number of parishes in the Algoma—Manitoulin area and served on the United Chiefs and Council of Manitoulin’s Health board which negotiated the transfer of health services from the Federal Government to the control of the local communities. He also served a five-year stint as Director of the ASC. In 1992, he completed a doctorate in Christian Social ethics at Ottawa’s St Paul University on Papal Social Thought and Aboriginal Rights.

In January of 2013, he was assigned to the Francis Xavier Community in Vancouver, B.C. There he worked as assistant pastor of St. Mark’s parish, which included university and hospital chaplaincies on the University of British Columbia campus.

Visitation will be at the Kearney Funeral Home 450 West 2nd Avenue, Vancouver from 3-5 and 7-9PM on Monday, June 29, with the funeral celebrated at St. Mark’s Parish, 5935 Iona Drive, Vancouver at 10AM on Tuesday, June 30 (a reception to follow).  Burial that same day will be at Gardens of Gethsemane, 15800 32nd Avenue, Surrey, BC.

A memorial service will be held in Pickering, Ontario at the St. Ignatius Chapel of Manresa Retreat Centre on July 6, 2015 at 7:30PM.

Requiescat in pace.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Chers frères et sœurs dans le Christ, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ: Welcome all of you who have come to celebrate the Eucharist here in the Cathedral Basilica of Notre Dame, as we celebrate in awesome wonder the ordination of two priests for service in the Archdiocese of Ottawa. 

On this day of their priestly ordination, I greet Richard Lorenz and Gerard Plant and offer a special word of welcome to their parents, as well as their relatives and friends who have come from western Canada, where both were born, from elsewhere closer to Ottawa and from Japan.

I welcome particularly warmly Father Edwin Gonsalves, Rector and several staff members and seminarians of St. Augustine’s Seminary, where both men took part in their formation for the priesthood.  Thank you for all you did to prepare Rick and Gerard for this day.

I welcome my auxiliary bishop, His Excellency Christian Riesbeck and Ottawa diocesan officials—the vicars general and episcopal—my brother priests and deacons, and the religious women and men. I am pleased that some of the Ottawa seminarians are here to assist by serving at the altar; soon enough, we pray, it will be your turn to be ordained.

* * * * *

[Jeremiah 1.4–9; Psalm 89; 2 Corinthians 4.1–2, 5–7: John 17:6, 14–19]

Chers frères et sœurs dans le Seigneur, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ: In the Gospel of Mark, which provides the gospel passage for most Sundays this year, we read, “Jesus went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve… to be with him, and to be sent out to proclaim the message, and to have authority” (Mark 3.13–15). This passage points to the three-fold challenge of discerning, shaping, and living the call to be a diocesan priest: vocation, communion, and mission.

First, vocation.
The first reading from Jeremiah tells the truth that God has a plan for each of us, from the moment of our conception in the womb of our mother. With the gift of life comes the invitation to live in an intimate relationship with God. On this occasion of a priestly ordination, we give thanks to the parents who shared with us, as co-creators with God, the gift of life. They also provide for us, through baptism, the rebirth to eternal life.

Then, for the baptized disciple, comes the sifting out of desires, attractions, and experiences to determine how in this world you will live your life with God. How will you fulfill his purposes for you? Each aspiring seminarian and priest, over time, comes to see that Christ is inviting him to intimacy with him. Christ then calls them to be sent out on mission.

Rick and Gerard, may you find time, each day of your priestly life, to nourish your personal and intimate companionship in prayer with Jesus. He is your teacher, your friend, and—for all time—the Lord of your life.

Vocation; now communion.
When a man believes that the Lord is calling him to serve the faithful as a priest, he enters seminary and undertakes a period of formation. That formation is at once human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral. During this time, he enters into a process of solidarity with his local church: with the bishop, the priests and religious, parishioners, and people in need. Here is the formation of communion. This is fellowship in a common purpose, as Jesus and the apostles formed in their common life together.

The expression of this is in the sense of the presbyterate, this band of brother priests who team up with the successor to the apostles in the diocesan church. Rick and Gerard, you are entering into a wonderful band of priests here in the Archdiocese of Ottawa. The men are mainly English-and French-speaking, but there are others, too, whose ministry is carried on in their mother tongue. Many are from this local area, but others are, like you, born elsewhere in Canada or in other countries on most of the world’s continents.

As he did with his twelve apostles, Jesus is drawing us into a band of brothers. Do all you can to foster that unity and fellowship that we are called to share. Work on your French. Take part in pastoral days, the priests’ retreats, and study days. Don’t skip regional meetings. Contribute your insights. Take an active part in discussing the pastoral challenges we face. Seek the solutions the Holy Spirit is moving us to embrace.

Realize in fact the vision that St Paul proposed to us in the second reading. Refuse to practice cunning but openly state the truth. As the disciples of Jesus experienced, disagreements will arise. Rivalries may threaten. Do all you can to manifest to everyone, including brother priests, “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Vocation, communion; now mission.
The gospel passage we heard tonight is from Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer, in which Our Lord asks the heavenly Father to protect his disciples as he sends them out. They are to love the world but not to be of the world. This has always been a continuous task of discernment. How to undertake the New Evangelization is going to be the continuous task of the newly-ordained in this time in the Church’s history.

So, too, is seeking ways to minister to families who are struggling with the strains of life today. The circumstances are all too familiar: marital breakdown, blended families, young couples fearing the commitment of marriage—all the issues to be discussed at the Synod on the Family in Rome this October. Finally, under the direction of Pope Francis’ leadership, show the loving gaze of the Father and of Jesus on all who yearn for the grace of forgiveness, hope, and new life, especially in the coming Year of Mercy.

Never be afraid to show God’s merciful compassion to all whom you encounter. Jesus has prayed for you and your mission. Trust him to guide you in carrying it out.

Vocation, communion, mission. As we have reflected on the challenge of the priesthood today, let us listen to the Church’s traditional charge to the ordinands and to us who accompany them on this pivotal occasion in their lives:


Since these our brothers are now to be advanced to the Order of Priests, consider carefully the nature of the rank in the Church to which they are about to be raised. They are to serve Christ the great Teacher, Priest, and Shepherd, by whose ministry his Body, the Church, is continually being built up here on earth into the People of God and the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Priests, joined to the priestly office of Bishops, will be consecrated for the preaching of the Gospel, the sanctification and nourishment of God’s people, and for divine worship, especially in the Lord’s Sacrifice. With the help of God, they should go about all these duties in such a way that you will recognize them as true disciples of him who came not to be served, but to serve.

Now, dear sons Richard and Gerard, you are to be raised to the Order of the Priesthood. For your part, you will exercise the sacred duty of teaching in the name of Christ the Teacher. Impart to everyone the word of God, which you have received with joy. Meditating on the law of the Lord, see that you believe what you read, that you teach what you believe, and that you practice what you teach.

In this way, let what you teach be nourishment for the People of God. Let the holiness of your life be a delightful fragrance to Christ’s faithful, so that by word and example you may build up the house which is God’s Church.

Likewise, you will exercise in Christ the office of sanctifying. For by your ministry the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful will be made perfect, being united to the Sacrifice of Christ, which will be offered through your hands in an unbloody way on the altar, in union with the faithful, in the celebration of the Sacraments.

Understand, therefore, what you do, and imitate what you celebrate. As a celebrant of the mystery of the Lord’s Death and Resurrection, strive to put to death whatever in your members is sinful, and to walk in newness of life.

Remember, when you gather others into the People of God through Baptism, and when you forgive sins in the name of Christ and the Church in the Sacrament of Penance; when you comfort the sick with holy oil and celebrate the sacred rites, when you offer prayers of praise and thanks to God throughout the hours of the day, not only for the People of God but for the whole world—
remember then that you are taken from among men and appointed on their behalf for those things that pertain to God.

Therefore, carry out the ministry of Christ the Priest with constant joy and genuine love, attending not to your own concerns but to those of Jesus Christ.

Know that in doing so you have the support of the angels and saints, your patrons, and above all Our Blessed Mother Mary; stay close to her under her title of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron of the Americas and Guiding Star of the New Evangelization.

Finally, dear sons, exercising for your part the office of Christ, Head and Shepherd, while united with the Bishop and subject to him, strive to bring the faithful together into one family, so that you may lead them to God the Father through Christ in the Holy Spirit. Keep always before your eyes the example of the Good Shepherd who came not to be served but to serve, and who came to seek out and save what was lost.

[Photo credit: Steph Willems]