Saturday, January 31, 2015

Michaelite Named London Bishop

Today, His Holiness Pope Francis appointed Reverend Father Józef Dabrowski, C.S.M.A., 50, currently Superior of the North American Vice-Province of “St. Kateri Tekakwitha” of the Congregation of St. Michael Archangel (—the “Michaelites”) and Pastor of Saint Mary Parish in London, as Titular Bishop of Case of Numidia and Auxiliary Bishop of London.

Aujourd’hui Sa Sainteté le pape François a nommé le Père Józef Dabrowski, C.S.M.A., présentement Supérieur de la Vice-province de l’Amérique du Nord « Ste. Kateri Tekakwitha » de la Congrégation de l’Archange Saint Michel et Curé de la paroisse Saint Mary dans le diocèse de London, évêque titulaire de Case de Numidia et évêque auxiliaire à London.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Knights of Columbus Pioneer Council 485—115 Anniversary Mass

St. Basil’s Church, Ottawa, 3rd Sunday Ord.Time (“B”) January 25, 2015
[Jonah 3.1–5, 10 [Psalm 25]; 1 Corinthians 7.29–31; Mark 1.14–20]

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I am delighted to be with you here at St. Basil’s Church for this celebration of the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, on which we also give thanks to the Lord for the Pioneer Knights of Columbus Council #485. Your predecessors established your council 115 years ago during the episcopacy of Ottawa’s first archbishop, Thomas Duhamel, whose crozier I bear this morning for the occasion.

Every Sunday, we celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord and our own baptism, which was the moment each of us entered into communion with the Paschal Mystery. Christ’s Resurrection has forever changed the world and invites our continuing transformation.

The prophet Jonah, from whose book we heard a passage, anticipated symbolically the resurrection of Jesus. Jonah was brought back to life on earth after three days in the belly of a great fish. He was converted, that is, “turned around,” in his orientation towards the things of God. He heard the call of the Lord to go on a missionary voyage “a second time.”

Paul describes his experience of an encounter with the Risen Lord Jesus by saying that “the present form of this world is passing away.” Thus, we need to live in a paradoxical way (“those who mourn as though they were not mourning, those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing” and so on). 
He prescribed a degree of detachment even in marital relations and business dealings to concentrate more on the things of God.

All three scripture readings introduce us to people called to a special ministry. Not only did they undergo conversion themselves through their encounter with Christ Jesus, but they proclaimed conversion as well. And this wasn’t as easy as it might sound. Conversion is a continuous and difficult reality.

Peter, Andrew, James, and John immediately left trade, possessions, and family to follow Jesus unreservedly. But the rest of Mark’s gospel shows that they struggled before fully accepting the new mind-set of Jesus.

Both Jonah and Paul also went through turmoil before they yielded to God’s invitation to change their way of viewing the world. Jesus’ challenge to “repent and believe in the Good News” may be more difficult than it first appears.

We all remember from the Jonah story when he was swallowed by a whale, then vomited onto dry land after uttering a prayer of thanksgiving for deliverance. Let’s not forget that the reason Jonah was in the depths of the sea was that he was fleeing from Nineveh after God summoned him to preach judgement and repentance. After Jonah proclaimed repentance and Nineveh repented, he brooded because the effect of God’s mercy left his oracle of judgement unfulfilled. Jonah was truly a reluctant prophet.

The Book of Jonah also traces a change in the prophet’s role from that of delivering oracles of judgement to one of persuading people to a change of heart. For God’s decrees can be reversed through repentance.

When Mark tells his story of Jesus, after John had been arrested, Jesus came into Galilee preaching conversion (“repent”). Jesus’ preaching contained a further appeal to “believe in the good news.”
John the Baptist predicted the imminent arrival of one who would baptize with the Spirit. That time had arrived (“the time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God has come near”). Near, but not yet here, in full power. In Jesus’ ministry, the Kingdom of God has entered into history, even though its full appearance is yet to come.

Paul plays on this tension between the “already” and “not yet” aspects of God’s Kingdom. Christ’s kingdom has “already” come into our world by the Paschal Mystery and the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, but it is “not yet” fully achieved in our hearts and lives.

Jesus chose to rely on fellow evangelists to spread the good news. In today’s gospel, He called others to fish for people. This alludes to the former livelihood of four Galileans and the way in which Jesus transformed their lives by His call: “follow me and I will make you fishers of people.”

Cardinal Lacroix wears a fishhook on the lapel of his suit coat. When I asked him about it, he said that we don’t usually win people to Christ with a fishnet—one among many—but one “fish” at a time!

That call to fish for people, catching them up in God’s great fishnet, even if we hook them one at a time, is the invitation that Pope Francis keeps stressing. He reminds each of us of the obligation we have taken on by virtue of our baptism to share our encounter with the Risen Lord with others. God uses us to lead others to enjoy eternal life, life in all its fullness.

This brings me to the wonderful apostolate of the Knights of Columbus that we are honouring at this Mass. The hundreds of members who have been part of Pioneer Council 485 over the past 115 years have grown in Christian faith and virtue as a result. They—and you, this generation—have provided invaluable service to the Church and other charitable works. You have upheld the principles of charity, unity, fraternity, and patriotism as high ideals for your sons and fellow parishioners to emulate.

We can look back with fondness on some highlights. This council spearheaded the establishment of the Knights of Columbus in Ontario in1900, three years before you formed councils in Kingston, Cornwall and Peterborough, and four years before there was an Ontario State Council. In 1953, Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent was your guest speaker with 400 in attendance. There were 1,000 members in the single Knights of Columbus English-speaking Council in Ottawa. Although your number has fallen to fewer than 200, your golf tournament has allowed you over a dozen years to donate more than $100,000 to the Heart Institute. The Foundation makes many other donations to worthy causes.

I encourage you to seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance to discern what He is calling your council to today. He has a plan for you individually and corporately. Don’t hold onto the old days, but seek the new adventures He is calling you to.

Works of Christian charity and justice, Pope Francis and our bishops, chaplains and priests keep reminding us, must issue from our being disciples of Jesus, rooted in him through prayer, reflection, and study. Columbia magazine is a rich monthly treasure trove of aids to our growth in Christ. Read it and the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the lives of the saints. Prayerfully reflect on what the Lord is calling you to be as dynamic Catholic men for today.

I note that you have three round-tables: here at St. Basil’s, at St. Elizabeth’s and at Sheng Shen (Holy Spirit) Chinese Catholic Parish. That last one may inspire you to bless more new Canadians at our Catholic parishes (Vietnamese, Korean, Polish, Sagrada Familia Hispanic, Croatian and other ethnic and national linguistic groupings) with life as a Knight.

May God continue to bless you with energy, zeal, and growth for many years to come!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Jesuit Father Lawrence Brennan Served in Northern Ontario

Father Lawrence Edward Brennan died peacefully in the Lord on January 15th at the Ajax-Pickering Hospital. He was in his 88th year, a priest close to 55 years and in religious life for nearly 70 years.

Lawrence Brennan was born on June 8, 1927 in Regina, Saskatchewan, the son of Daniel Brennan and Jessie Mullins. His older brother Joseph (now serving at the Jesuit Pre-Novitiate in Darjeeling, India) entered the Society of Jesus in 1942 and three years later Lawrence followed him to the Novitiate at Guelph, Ontario.

After taking First Vows in 1948, Mr.Brennan  did the usual two-year programme of collegial studies in the Juniorate before moving to Toronto to study Philosophy at the Jesuit Seminary. In 1954, he began his long ministry to the Native People of Northern Ontario when he was assigned to teach at Garnier Residential School in Spanish, Ontario. After labouring there for three years (it closed in 1958), he returned to Toronto in 1957 to study Theology at the Jesuit Seminary, then located at 403 Wellington Street West.

Father Brennan was ordained in Toronto on June 19, 1960; his last year of formation in ascetical studies— the Jesuit Tertianship—followed in 1961 at St. Beuno’s in Wales.

On his return to Canada in 1962, Father Larry was sent to Holy Cross Mission at Wikwemikong on Manitoulin Island; he thrived in Northern Ontario. He spent three years at Wikwemikong, eighteen years at Heron Bay, and lastly, thirteen years at Armstrong, for a grand total of thirty-seven years (which includes his Regency, teaching as a Jesuit scholastic).

Father Larry’s final appointment saw him move to the La Storta Jesuit Residence in Pickering, beginning in 1996. He was involved in pastoral ministry and served at the Martyrs Shrine during the summer season from 1996 to 2009. In both locales he was renowned for his grocery shopping, looking for bargains, oft-times buying foodstuffs that were past their ‘best before’ date.

Father Brennan was greatly appreciated by the Native People at Heron Bay who made him an Honorary Chief; he was a character possessed of special traits. It was in the early 1960s that he decided that the Volvo automobile would be best for his transportation needs. The last one, which he bought in 1993, served him faithfully until 2012 when he donated it to a refugee. It was in sparkling condition with no sign of rust or dents.

As well, he was a fount of knowledge, not only about the Native Peoples apostolate and on the Canadian Martyrs, but also on Jesuits and on the history of the Jesuit Province. Never shy at expressing an opinion on a variety of topics, his mind was clear to the very end of his life. He had been looking forward to presiding at the René Goupil Jesuit Infirmary Christmas Eve Mass, with his moose-skin chasuble and Honorary Chief head-dress, when he was hospitalized on December 23rd.

A man of prayer, Father Larry Brennan was devoted to the time-honoured forms of Catholic piety – holy hours, the Rosary, Stations of the Cross, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, litanies, feast day vigils, etc. In fact, he often led these devotions for his fellow Jesuits in the Infirmary Chapel.

The wake service for Father Brennan will take place on Tuesday, January 20 from 7 to 9 PM (with a Prayer Service at 8 PM) and the Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday, January 21 at 10:30 AM—both in the St. Ignatius Chapel at Manresa Retreat House, Pickering, ON. Following the funeral, burial will take place at the Jesuit Cemetery, Guelph at 2:30 PM.

R. I. P.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Hungarian-Canadian Brother Feigl

Brother Rudolf Feigl S.J. died on Thursday, January 8, 2015. He was 93 years old and in his 71st year of religious life in the Society of Jesus.

Rudolf Feigl was born on November 23, 1921 and entered the Novitiate of the Society of Jesus in Hungary on September 5, 1944.

Having arrived in Canada as an immigrant in 1954, Brother Feigl served in Hamilton for four years at Saint Stephen Church, pronouncing his Final Vows as a Jesuit brother on February 2, 1956.

From 1958 he worked in Courtland, Ontario where the Hungarian Jesuits in exile had a residence, serving  at the community of Saint Laszlo Church as Minister (manager of temporal matters), cook and pastoral assistant for fifteen years.

In 1973, he was sent to Toronto, where he served at Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Church. One of his main duties was to organize the altar servers. He became “the Brother” for the altar boys, who loved him dearly.

In 2007, he retired to Hamilton and resided at Saint Elizabeth Villa there until his death. 

The funeral was celebrated at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church, Toronto, this afternoon, Saturday, January 17 at 2 PM.  His remains will be interred in Courtland.

Requiescat in pace.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

New Chaldean Eparch for Canada

Today, His Holiness Pope Francis appointed Reverend Chorbishop Emanuel Shaleta, currently Parish Priest of the Chaldean Parish of St. George in Michigan as Eparchial Bishop of the Chaldean Eparchy of Mar Addai of Toronto.

Aujourd’hui, Sa Sainteté le pape François a nommé le Révérend Chorévèque Emanuel Shaleta, présentement curé de la Paroisse chaldéenne St-George au Michigan, comme évêque éparchial de l’Éparchie chaldéenne de Mar Addai de Toronto. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Cent ans de la Naissance de Mgr Plourde - Centennial of the Birth of Archbishop Joseph-Aurèle Plourde

Archbishop Plourde died a week short of his 98th birthday on January 5, 2013. Today marks the centennial of his birth. To commemorate this milestone, the homily at his funeral is reproduced below:
Nous nous rappelons de Mgr Plourde, huitième évêque et septième archevêque d’Ottawa à l’occasion du centenaire de sa naissance en republiant l’homélie à ses funérailles :

Sur les armoiries de Mgr Plourde – qui ont déjà été gravées sur le tombeau dans lequel son corps sera déposé, dans la crypte de cette cathédrale – on remarque qu’une étoile y tient une place de premier choix. Cette étoile représente « Stella Maris, l’étoile de la mer », cette Marie, Mère de Dieu, qui attire les croyants à son Fils tout comme l’étoile de Bethléem attira les Mages à l’Enfant Jésus. Les derniers papes ont reconnu en Marie l’étoile qui saura nous guider dans la nouvelle évangélisation, celle qui est capable de ramener les chrétiens qui se sont éloignés du Christ et de son Église dans la maison qui est leur.

Archbishop Plourde’s coat of arms is already etched onto the sarcophagus in the crypt below this cathedral that will soon enclose his mortal remains. On it, a star is prominently displayed. It is a depiction of Stella Maris, the Star of the Sea, a symbolic illustration of Mary. She helps draw each believer to Christ, just as the Star of Bethlehem drew the Magi to the Christ Child. Recent popes have seen in Mary the lodestar of the New Evangelization, needed now to draw errant Christians back to their true home.

Joseph-Aurèle Plourde, disciple of Christ, priest, and bishop, died in the Christmas season on the eve of the Epiphany, when followers of Jesus are full of joy at his manifestation as God Incarnate. Our Lord God, by his very appearance in a human body, began to put an end to the reign of sin. This he would definitively overcome by his death and resurrection, giving all believers hope for a homeland where we “need no star to guide, where no clouds God’s glory hide.”

Joseph-Aurèle Plourde, chrétien, prêtre, évêque et disciple du Christ, est décédé pendant le temps de Noël, la veille du jour de l’Épiphanie, alors que les cœurs sont remplis de joie devant la manifestation de Jésus Christ, Dieu fait homme. En prenant chair parmi nous, notre Seigneur a déjà commencé à mettre fin au règne du péché.

Les lectures que nous avons choisies pour cette messe viennent soulager notre peine. Elles nous aident à prier le Seigneur de bien vouloir recevoir, pardonner et accompagner notre frère—notre pasteur, notre guide, notre ami, celui  avec qui nous avons travaillé à la Vigne du Seigneur—dans les doux pâturages qui sont siens, et lui accorder de connaître le bonheur éternel comme il l’a promis à ses disciples.

La vie de tous chrétiens se déroule durant la période de temps qui se situe entre les deux grands événements de l’histoire : le mystère pascal du Verbe de Dieu fait chair, sa mort et sa résurrection, et le retour du Seigneur qui viendra accomplir dans la gloire le plan de Dieu pour ses disciples.

La liturgie nous rappelle que nous devons être attentifs. Le Seigneur Jésus reviendra à la fin des temps, certes, mais il se manifestera également à nous au moment de notre mort, au sujet de laquelle, comme ce fut le cas pour Mgr Plourde, nous ne connaissons ni le jour, ni l’heure.

Le concile Vatican II dont nous célébrons le cinquantième anniversaire cette année, et auquel Mgr Plourde était fier d’avoir pu participer, nous rappelle avec insistance que le moment le plus important dans la vie de tout chrétien est le moment de son baptême – car c’est à ce moment-là qu’il est transformé alors qu’il renonce au péché et participe à l’amour du Christ.

Pour Joseph-Aurèle Plourde, le huitième dans une famille de onze enfants, cela s’est déroulé il y a près de 98 ans. C’est au moment de son baptême qu’il a entrepris son long pèlerinage de chrétien.

Plus tard, au moment de sa confirmation, il reçut la force de l’Esprit Saint qui lui permit d’accomplir sa mission. La fréquentation des sacrements de la Réconciliation et de l’Eucharistie permit à  Joseph-Aurèle de se rapprocher du Seigneur. Jeune adulte, Joseph-Aurèle entendit l’appel du Seigneur à devenir prêtre et plus tard il répondit généreusement à l’appel de l’Église qui l’invita à servir le peuple de Dieu comme évêque, rôle apostolique qu’il exerça pendant 48 ans.

Baptismal imagery permeates Christian funerals. The lit paschal candle symbolizes Christ’s presence among us. The celebrants wear white garments. Our brother also wears white in his coffin. This reminds us that we are clothed with the new life of Christ at baptism.

A rich sacramental life, the precious Word of God, and deep personal prayer stirred our brother, Joseph-Aurèle Plourde. He expounded on these in his ministry, gave conferences about them in his retirement, and wrote about them in several publications.

We have many memories of this intricate man. He could be at the same time hospitable, crusty, humorous, tender, and brilliant. But these stories must await another occasion.

For now, I would like to situate the man and his achievements in the context of faith. God accompanies us through the darkest valley—even the shadow of death. He does not abandon us. Our Lord is there to guide us with his crook and his staff. He anoints our heads with oil. He causes our cups to overflow. And he endows us with his goodness and mercy all the days of our life.

C’est ce rôle de Bon Berger que Joseph-Aurèle Plourde, ce successeur des apôtres, s’est efforcer de remplir tout au long de son ministère. En tant que président de la Conférence des évêques catholiques du Canada puis membre fondateur  de ce qui est devenu l’Assemblée des évêques catholiques de l’Ontario, Mgr Plourde exerça son rôle de pasteur en coopération avec les autres pasteurs de l’Église, cherchant toujours à encourager les autres à accomplir fidèlement la mission dont nous parle saint Paul dans la deuxième lecture (2 Timothee 1, 8b-14). Ce texte nous raconte comment le prêtre-évêque est prêt à souffrir avec le Christ pour proclamer l’Évangile en comptant sur la force que Dieu donne, sur celui qui nous a sauvé et nous a appelé à cette vocation sainte, non à cause de nos bonnes actions mais à cause de son propre projet et de sa grâce.

Avec saint Paul, Mgr Plourde nous dit à nous tous qui sommes rassemblés autour de lui  aujourd’hui : « Prends comme modèle les paroles véritables que je t’ai communiquées, tiens bon dans la foi et l’amour que nous avons dans la communion avec Jésus-Christ. Garde les bonnes instructions qui t’ont été confiées, avec l’aide du Saint-Esprit qui habite en nous. »

Il n’y a pas de don ou de talent qui ne puisse être mis à contribution par le Seigneur au service de son Église. Mgr Joseph-Aurèle Plourde a mis ses talents d’analyste des questions sociales au service des pauvres d’ici et d’ailleurs. Il a défendu la dignité et les droits des travailleurs et de la population francophone de l’Ontario, surtout en ce qui a trait à l’accès à l’éducation en français. Comme l’a fait Mgr Plourde, il est important encore aujourd’hui d’encourager les jeunes hommes à mettre leurs talents au service du peuple de Dieu.

Always sociable, Archbishop Plourde enjoyed company. He would love a card game, particularly bridge, followed by sharing food. He would have no trouble accepting the Lord’s invitation to the eschatological banquet at the end of time that Isaiah foretold in the first reading (Isaiah 25.6-9).

In the gospel (John 15.9-17), we recall the invitation Joseph-Aurèle Plourde received to be in relation with Jesus, not as a servant, but as a friend. In his ordination homilies and ministry, he invited those called to be deacons, priests, and bishops to become Jesus’ companions and friends. Our entire church is to become a fellowship of disciples and friends in the Lord who would go forth and bear fruit, fruit that will last. This is what Archbishop Plourde had in mind as he encouraged the people of his diocese, at the start of his ministry in Ottawa, to confide in him their thoughts, fears, and hopes.

In this Year of Faith, let us be grateful for this wonderful High Priest, whom God called to himself at the end of a lifetime of service. Let us pray that Christ the Good Shepherd bless him with a merciful reward. May the Saviour lead him to the springs of eternal life, which he contemplated, preached, and yearned for from his earliest days until his final breath.

Alors que nous contemplons le mystère de l’Épiphanie, rappelons-nous que « les Mages ont suivi l’étoile, et ainsi ils sont parvenus jusqu’à Jésus, jusqu’à la grande Lumière qui éclaire tout homme venant en ce monde (cf. Jn 1, 9) Comme pèlerins de la foi, les Mages sont devenus eux-mêmes des étoiles qui brillent dans le ciel de l’histoire et nous indiquent la route. » (Benoît XVI, Homélie pour la solennité de l’Épiphanie, le 6 janvier 2013)

Rendons grâce à Dieu pour Mgr Plourde qui à l’exemple des Mages a guidé son peuple avec courage et générosité. Imprégné de l’amour  de Dieu, il est devenu lui-même une étoile cherchant toujours à le faire connaître aux autres et à le faire aimer.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

L'Eglise de Rimouski en deuil

Mgr Pierre-André Fournier a perdu conscience soudainement à l’archevêché, peu après avoir béni une assemblée d’une vingtaine de personnes hier, samedi 10 janvier. Il a été transporté d’urgence à l’hôpital de Rimouski, où son décès a été constaté à 12 h 35. Il n’avait pas repris conscience.
L’archevêque de Rimouski avait subi quatre pontages coronariens le 17 décembre dernier à l’hôpital Laval, à Québec. Le chirurgien lui avait également remplacé une petite partie de l’aorte. Par la suite, il a reçu un stimulateur cardiaque. Mgr Fournier avait été transféré à l’hôpital de Rimouski peu après le jour de l’An et il était revenu chez lui, à l’archevêché, lundi dernier.
Benoît Hins, vicaire général du diocèse et ami proche de l’archevêque, précise que Mgr Fournier semblait pourtant bien se porter et il avait même repris ses activités. Il avait célébré la messe depuis son retour.
Son décès a plongé l’archevêché dans la consternation. « Il est parti avec nous, entouré des gens qu’il côtoyait régulièrement à l’archevêché. Nous sommes tous en état de choc », explique Benoît Hins.
Âgé de 71 ans, Mgr Pierre-André Fournier était l’archevêque du diocèse de Rimouski depuis septembre 2008. Il avait alors succédé à Mgr Bertrand Blanchet qui avait pris sa retraite. Mgr Fournier était originaire de Plessisville.
Une grande cérémonie dont les détails seront connus ultérieurement sera organisée pour lui dire un dernier adieu. Le décès de Mgr Pierre-André Fournier plonge dans le deuil l’ensemble des 103 paroisses du diocèse de Rimousk