Thursday, April 23, 2009

April 23--Thursday, Easter Week 2--Grieving a Deacon; Celebrating Centre Miriam, Confirmations and Birthdays

This was a day to catch up a bit on office correspondence and to begin to meet with priests about impending nominations (they will have been contacted earlier by me or one of my episcopal vicars, but now the crunch time is coming). Tentative planning needs to be resolved in a list of clergy moves that should be announced by Pentecost at the latest, possibly a week or two earlier. The great rule of thumb is that nothing is definitive until it appears in print...! There can be and have been last minute changes in the past, despite rumours and speculation. So mum's the word!

As I cannot attend tomorrow morning's funeral of one of our permanent deacons, Richmond Hotte, I dropped into the funeral parlour to visit with his widow, two daughters and one granddaughter he leaves to mourn his passing. Stationed at Paroisse Saint-Remi in Ottawa's west end, Richmond had suffered a stroke last year and was making a good recovery, but was unable to withstand the effects of a second stroke on Palm Sunday. His widow shared with me his intention to unite his sufferings with those of Christ during Holy Week and of his interior consolation to realize would be called home to the Lord in the Easter Octave. He died on April 15, aged 62. R.I.P.
This afternoon I had the joy of visiting Centre Miriam, a simple place of encounters in Orleans that assists women--mainly of francophone background--tempted by abortion or in need of food, clothing, or with caring for the child they have determined to bring to birth and to keep.

Very few today decide that the best option for them is adoption, which is why is the theme of our celebration of the Diocesan Week for Life this year (May 10-16).

The Miriam Centre staff also aid those grieving the loss of a child through abortion, miscarriage, illness or other condition (sudden infant death syndrome). It was a joy to meet the two staffers (a Daughter of Wisdom and a laywoman) and the many volunteers who, over twenty years, have defended life and assisted those troubled by a pregnancy or the challenges of rearing an unexpected child.

Confirmations this evening for sixty-two youngsters from Paroisse Sainte-Marie, Orleans, a large suburban parish. Four other celebrations have been scheduled on Saturday and Sunday to accommodate the two hundred other candidates (I preside again on Saturday evening; the episcopal vicar and vicar general will handle the others). Their pastor, abbe Michel Pommainville was celebrating his 56th birthday today--he was born the same day as my younger brother John--both of them 399 years after William Shakespeare, also born this day!

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