Friday, April 17, 2015

What do Charlton MA, Fargo ND Haddon Hts NJ, Huntley IL & Saginaw MI have in common?

Answer: With Houston, Oklahoma City and Syracuse (and 11 dioceses in Canada), they are satellite host sites for the NEW EVANGELIZATION SUMMIT taking place on Friday evening, April 24 and Saturday, April 25, being broadcast from the Ottawa Convention and Events Centre.

NEW EVANGELIZATION SUMMIT is a conference to inspire Catholics and help them live out their personal call to evangelize. 

Featuring world-class Catholic speakers such as Dr. Scott Hahn, Fr. Michael Gaitley, Dr. Ralph Martin, Patrick Coffin, JoEllen Gregus, Fr. James Mallon, Ken Yasinski and Michael Dopp.

To find inspiration, encouragement, training and connect with other Catholics, check out this video: ( 

For details and register for any site go

From St John's to Vancouver, 11 sites will simulcast Ottawa's NEW EVANGELIZATION SUMMIT

NEW EVANGELIZATION SUMMIT is a conference to inspire Catholics and help them live out their personal call to evangelize. 

Featuring world-class Catholic speakers such as Dr. Scott Hahn, Fr. Michael Gaitley, Dr. Ralph Martin, Patrick Coffin, JoEllen Gregus, Fr. James Mallon, Ken Yasinski and Michael Dopp

Friday evening, April 24 and Saturday, April 25, transmitted live from the Ottawa Conference and Event Center, which is sold out.  

The following dioceses and locations will be host sites in CANADA for the SUMMIT; details for schedule in respective time zones, locations and cost, consult:
Vancouver, BC (Archdiocese of Vancouver) -

Cornwall, ON (Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall) -

Saskatchewan, SK (Diocese of Saskatoon) -

St. Thomas, ON (Diocese of London) -

Chelmsford/Sudbury, ON (Diocese of Sault Ste Marie) -

St. John's, NL (Archdiocese of St. John's) -

North Bay, ON (Diocese of Sault Ste Marie)- or call: 705-724-1368

Prince George, BC (Diocese of Prince George) -

Amherstburg, ON (Diocese of London) -

Terrace, BC (Diocese of Prince George) -

Winnipeg (Archdiocese of Saint Boniface) - (Francais) (English) OR

To find inspiration, encouragement, training and connect with other Catholics, check out this video: ( and register for any site

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Eight Sites in USA (Camden, Houston, Oklahoma City, Syracuse...) to host New Evangelization Summit April 24-25

NEW EVANGELIZATION SUMMIT is a conference to inspire Catholics and help them live out their personal call to evangelize. 

Featuring world-class Catholic speakers such as Dr. Scott Hahn, Fr. Michael Gaitley, Dr. Ralph Martin, Patrick Coffin, JoEllen Gregus, Fr. James Mallon, Ken Yasinski and Michael Dopp. 

Friday evening, April 24 and Saturday, April 25, transmitted live from the Ottawa Conference and Event Center, which is sold out.  

The following dioceses and locations will be host sites in the United States for the SUMMIT; details, times in respective geographic zones, locations, cost, consult:

Oklahoma City, OK (Archdiocese of Oklahoma) - 

Haddon Heights, NJ (Diocese of Camden) - 

Fargo, ND (Diocese of Fargo) -

Huntley, IL (Diocese of Rockford) -

Saginaw, MI (Diocese of Saginaw) -

Syracuse, NY (Diocese of Syracuse) -

Charlton, MA (Diocese of Worcester) -

Houston TX, (Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston) -

To find inspiration, encouragement, training and connect with other Catholics, check out this video: ( and register for any site at:

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Father Béla Somfai, Jesuit Moralist

Father Béla Somfai, S.J. died on April 6, 2015 at the Jesuit Infirmary, René Goupil House, in Pickering, Ontario.  He was in his 83rd year of life and had lived nearly 63 years as a Jesuit.
Béla Somfai was born in Hungary on August 5, 1932.  He entered the Society of Jesus in Hungary on September 14, 1952.  After his initial formation, he began his study of philosophy at the Gregorian University in Rome where he earned a licentiate. 

In 1959 he came to Regis College, then located at 403 Wellington Street, to begin his theological studies.  When Regis moved up to Bayview Avenue, he moved to Willowdale and was ordained a priest on June 18, 1961 by James Cardinal MacGuigan in the large, beautiful chapel of the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse, Morrow Park. 

Father Somfai taught for a year (1965-66) at Loyola High School in Montreal and then went on to do doctoral studies in moral theology at the University of Ottawa, where he earned a PhD.  He was awarded an S.T.D. degree from St. Paul University.  While still working on his doctorate, in 1967 he was a member of the faculty of theology of Loyola College in Montreal.  In 1969 he began teaching moral theology and medical ethics at Regis College in the Toronto School of Theology at the University of Toronto. 

During his service at Regis, he became the Dean of Theology and also Prefect of Studies in the English-Canadian Jesuit Province.  When he retired from Regis in 1994, he returned to Hungary where he taught moral theology in the diocesan seminary of Szeged and at Sapientia College in Budapest for ten years.  
In 2014, he returned to Canada and took up residence at St. Elizabeth Parish in Toronto, where over the years he had done occasional pastoral ministry.  Ill health caused him to be assigned to René Goupil House in Pickering in early 2015.

Father Béla Somfai was a very careful thinker, rooted in church teaching, keenly aware of the latest scientific developments and philosophical approaches, and always attentive to contemporary problems and pastoral needs.  He taught his students to think and to pastorally care for people in their struggles.  For 25 years at Regis College, the responsibility of forming young Jesuits as pastoral ministers fell largely upon his shoulders.  He taught moral theology after Vatican II, at a time when textbooks were not available, and so he made the latest and most credible journal articles on contemporary issues the basis for much of his teaching. After his return to Hungary, in order to assist his students, he wrote three books in Hungarian – on ethics, on sexual ethics and on medical ethics.

A wake service will take place at Rosar-Morrison Funeral Home (Sherbourne & Wellesley, Toronto) from 11am-3pm on Sunday, April 12; there will be a wake that same evening from 7-9pm at St. Ignatius Chapel, Manresa Retreat House (Prayers at 8 o’clock).

The Funeral Mass will be celebrated Monday, April 13 at 11am at St. Ignatius Chapel of Manresa Retreat House, Pickering, ON, with a reception to follow.  

At a date to be determined, there will be a Memorial Mass in Hungarian at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church, Toronto; burial will be in the Jesuit plot in Courtland, Ontario.

Requiescat in pace.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Homily & Photos of St Patrick's Day

St. Patrick’s Day Liturgy—St. Patrick’s Basilica—Ottawa, Ontario—Tuesday, March 17, 2015

[Texts: Isaiah 61.1–3 (Psalm 98.1–3, 7–8a, 10); 1 Peter 4.7–11; Luke 5.1–11]

Last weekend, I was in Toronto where revellers celebrated St. Patrick on many street-corners. On-line, I saw photos of the St. Patrick’s Day parade here in Ottawa. Leading the images was one of St. Patrick himself. Irish traditions, dancing, and celebration attract many people.

Today, we come together to celebrate the basic reality of St. Patrick. He grew up in a Christian family in Roman Britain. He suffered hardships as a youth captured by pirates and sold into slavery in Ireland. He miraculously escaped. He returned to Ireland with the good news of Jesus Christ, which he had come to embrace in the desert of his solitude when a slave.

The principal scriptural readings today help us understand Patrick’s vocation to take good news to the Irish. Our Lord called Peter, James, and John to leave family, possessions, and professions, to catch people in God’s great fishnet. Patrick had to leave his family, homeland, and former way of life to serve as the herald of Good News in Ireland. He gave himself utterly to shepherding his flock, the flock of Christ the true Good Shepherd.

Patrick shared the gospel of life with those who had been oppressed, broken-hearted, captives and prisoners. Fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah, Patrick the foreigner offered the liberty and the true freedom issuing from the way of life proclaimed by Jesus. He declared the blessing of God’s year of grace and favour, of comfort to those in mourning, God’s gift of a garland instead of ashes, and a mantle of praise in place of a faint spirit.

In his brief Confessions, Saint Patrick says that he grew up as an “unbeliever.” He was from a wealthy family in Roman Britain, and his forebears were Christians. Although the priests of the Church tried to “remind us of our salvation,” Patrick and his companions paid no mind to God. They lived according to their wishes. They were like the people of our day who abandon their Catholic Christian upbringing and who need the New Evangelization.

During his comfortable and dissolute early years, Patrick ignored God. But, everything changed after he was captured by pirates. In his days of slavery, he cried out to God from his loneliness, shepherding his master’s flock in a wild and strange land. He found God in Christ in this time of grace. In the silence of the fields and forests, he prayed and “more and more did the love of God and my fear of him and faith increase,” for “the Spirit was burning in me at that time.”

In the company of the local people, he learned the Gaelic language fluently. The same Christ who drew him in prayer impressed the faces of the pagan people of Ireland upon his soul.

When he escaped and returned to Britain, he was determined to dedicate his life to Christ. Then, Christ called out to Patrick. In a mystical experience, he heard the Irish people calling him back to the edge of the world: “We beg you, holy youth, that you shall come and walk again among us.” This calling drew Patrick, but fear and love of his own homeland and family inhibited him. He had reason to fear. His subsequent mission was full of grief and opposition, despite its awesome success.

Patrick was often tempted to flee the struggles and return home. But, he knew that Christ was present for him in the Irish people to whom he had been sent.

Today, our consideration of St. Patrick’s vocation leads us to keep in mind the struggles of the Church in Ireland. The Church seeks to be purified of past sins and failings. The Church strives to present again the Good News of Jesus Christ as a brilliant jewel worth embracing. We are mindful of the many confused young people among us. Like Patrick, they heard the gospel story, both at home and in school, without yet encountering Christ. Please pray that St Patrick’s Lord may draw them to himself and to His Church.

On several occasions, Pope Benedict spoke of the spiritual “desertification” of our age. In his opening homily, at the beginning of the Year of Faith, the Holy Father told us, “This void has spread. But it is in starting from the experience of this desert, from this void, that we can again discover the joy of believing, its vital importance for us, men and women. In the desert we rediscover the value of what is essential for living; thus in today’s world there are innumerable signs, often expressed implicitly or negatively, of the thirst for God, for the ultimate meaning of life…Today, more than ever, evangelizing means witnessing to the new life, transformed by God, and thus showing the path.”

Pope Francis challenges us to joyfully help people to come to know Jesus Christ. He encourages us with these words: “I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not for him or her” (EG, nr. 3).

The purpose of evangelization is not the transmission of a doctrine, but an encounter with a person, Jesus Christ. We witness it in the great arc of history, from the time of the apostles to the great evangelizing bishops like Patrick and Boniface, through the periods of zealous missionary outreach by congregations of men and women in the 16th and 19th centuries to the new lay movements of our time.

That personal encounter is possible only because Jesus is risen and alive. He desires to walk alongside every believer, as on the first Easter afternoon he walked with two disciples on the road to Emmaus. They recognized him in the “breaking of the bread,” and they shared their joy with others.

The best place to end our reflection on this annual observance of St. Patrick is to see this Eucharist as the culmination of the gratitude we have for God’s presence to us here this morning. As we feed on Christ’s Body and Blood, the heavenly food we receive to strengthen us in living our faith and commitment to Jesus, we treasure the centrality of our Lord Jesus Christ in our lives. This profound relationship links us to Patrick and all the saints and scholars of Erin.

In the prayer known as Saint Patrick’s Breastplate, we decree that God’s Providence rules over us through Christ’s abiding presence on our daily pilgrimage to the Kingdom of the Father:

            Christ with me
            Christ before me
            Christ behind me
            Christ in me
            Christ above me
            Christ on my right
            Christ on my left
            Christ when I lie down
            Christ when I sit down
           Christ when I arise.

Photos: Paul Lauzon

Friday, February 20, 2015

R.I.P. Father Francis McEvoy, 84

Fr. Francis McEVOY died on Friday, February 20, 2015 in Ottawa.

Born on January 1, 1931 in Osgoode Ontario, he was ordained to the priesthood on September 24, 1966 at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Osgoode.

He exercised his priestly ministry in the following parishes: St. Maurice, Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady of Fatima, St. Isidore, St. Elizabeth, St. Margaret Mary and St. Ignatius in Ottawa.

After his retirement in 1996, Fr. McEvoy continued in active ministry in many parishes where he was of great assistance.

Visitation will be on Tuesday, February 24th from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Daley Family Funeral Home at 6971 Bank Street. 

The funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, February 25th at 10 a.m. at St. Patrick Basilica, 281 Nepean St., followed by a reception in the Scavi.

Please remember him and his family in your prayers.

* * * * *

C’est avec regret que nous vous faisons part du décès de M. l’abbé Francis McEVOY, âgé de 84 ans, décédé le vendredi 20 février 2015 à Ottawa. 

Né le 1er janvier 1931 à Osgoode en Ontario, il a été ordonné prêtre le 24 septembre 1966 à la paroisse St John the Evangelist à Osgoode.

Il a exercé son ministère aux paroisses Saint Maurice, Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady of Fatima, Saint Isidore, Saint Elizabeth, Saint Margaret Mary et Saint Ignatius à Ottawa.

Ayant pris sa retraite en 1996, l’abbé McEvoy a continué un ministère actif dans plusieurs paroisses.

Sa dépouille mortelle sera exposée au  Daley Family Funeral Home au 6971, rue Bank le mardi  24 février de 15h à 17 h et de 19 h à 21 h. 

Les funérailles auront lieu le mercredi 25 février à 10h à la Basilique St. Patrick, 281, rue Nepean à Ottawa suivi d’une réception au scavi.

Souvenons-nous de lui et de sa famille dans nos prières.

Requiescat in pace.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Ash Wednesday Homily—Saint Patrick Basilica
Ottawa, ON—February 18, 2015
[Texts: Joel 2.12–18 (Psalm 51 [50]); 2 Corinthians 5.20–6.2; Matthew 6.1–6, 16–18]

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

Living “in the world” without being “of the world” is a great challenge to Catholic Christians. The world keeps sending us messages contrary to the teaching of Christ and his Church. We need only reflect on the recent Supreme Court decision. It struck down the prohibition of doctors helping their patients commit suicide. This will gradually induce Canadians—including Catholics—to take the easy way out, to flee the message of the Cross, when facing pain or disease.

Many Christians seem to have embraced moralistic therapeutic deism as their code of life. This is a diluted Christian faith. This belief system agrees that God the creator exists and watches over us. But, he just wants us to be good and nice to each other, as taught by most world religions. The goal of life, in this view, is to be happy. God does not have to be involved except to solve a problem. And, oh, by the way, good people go to heaven when they die.

Many people—young and old—have picked up this philosophy from school, church and society in general. Somehow, we disciples of Christ are not calling them to embrace the full, joyful reality of the Good News. Instead, they have come to believe that Christianity is not a big deal, that God requires little, and the church is not unlike a helpful social club filled with nice people.

The motivational speaker Matthew Kelly says that the biggest threat to our being “dynamic Catholics” is that we settle for three “isms”. They sap the power of the gospel.

“Individualism” tempts us to demand, “What’s in it for me?” before any spiritual exercise.

“Hedonism” dictates, “If it feels good, I’ll do it!” and shuns the opposite, anything that costs, like fasting, abstinence, prayer, and the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

Minimalism leads many Catholics to ask, “What is the least I can do?” (to be saved….)

 If we pick up only worldly messages on our spiritual antennae, we miss out. So, join me in tuning in to today’s spiritual exercise of receiving the ashes on our foreheads and of heeding Jesus’ call in the gospel. Let’s make prayer, fasting and almsgiving an integral part of our life.

Lent is a journey of prayer, penitence and Christian asceticism. It begins with the imposition of ashes. By taking part in this penitential act today, we admit that we are sinners before the holiness of God. We show a desire to express our belief in the Gospel as good choices.

We perform gestures of penitence. We fast today and on Good Friday, and we abstain from meat on these days and the other Fridays of Lent. We commit ourselves to pray and give alms. Jesus tells us that these have value when they express a desire to do them only for God’s eyes. We commit to avoid evil and to follow the right path.

In Lent especially, the confessional offers a space to speak to God, heart-to-heart, to seek his healing and help, and to get off our chest whatever needs to be forgiven. Priests celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly here at Saint Patrick’s Basilica and in other parishes. As well, a special day for Confessions will be held on Friday, March 6, when our churches will have additional hours for confessions.

Today’s Gospel prescribes almsgiving as a penitential practice that blesses our neighbour. We are to share our goods with the less fortunate and to offer generous service to the needy.

Each of us will make our own intentions for a Lenten exercise. Whatever they may be, I pray that this Lent may be a fruitful time of growth for you. If we enter Lent with this outlook, we will celebrate the Easter mysteries in joy, with minds and hearts renewed.

Photos: Paul Lauzon