Returning from a morning hike on two of the National Capital Commission's pathways (Voyageurs on the Gatineau side of the river and the Ottawa River route), I checked my email messages and learned that my ordination classmate (June 10, 1972) had died of pneumonia in Victoria General Hospital, Winnipeg yesterday morning.
Fr. Brian Massie (Buzz to his friends) and I were students at Loyola High School, Montreal, where he (a Torontonian) was a boarder and I a day-hop student in the late 1950s. He entered the Jesuits in 1960 and I a year later, but as sometimes happens in Jesuit training, we ended up in the same priestly ordination class.
We had seen one another for supper at the Jesuit Community of St. Ignatius Parish in Winnipeg in February when I gave a series of talks to the Catholic school teachers on the Year of St. Paul; he was in frail health then and his breathing was laboured.
What a lovely, compassionate priest he was, one who touched so many at Brebeuf High School, Willowdale, ON; at Camp Ekon (Muskoka), which he founded for leadershp training and a Catholic experience of camping (Ekon--the one who carries the heavy burden--was the Native Peoples' nickname for St. Jean de Brebeuf), one of the eight North American Jesuit Martyrs; at St. Andrew Parish, Thunder Bay, ON, St. Peter Claver Parish, Kingston, Jamaica where he became an advocate for prisoners on death row; at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Toronto and St. Ignatius, Winnipeg where he ministered to people of every age and status!
Breath on me breath of God
So I shall never die.
But live with you the perfect life
In your eternity.
His funeral will be in Winnipeg on Friday, with a memorial Mass at Toronto's Our Lady of Lourdes Parish on the evening of May 26. R.I.P.
Catholic Education Week is usually in late April, early May (this year May 3-9). This year's theme from the Ontario Catholic School Trustees' Association is "Good News for All" based on the text from Romans 10:15: "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news".
I will develop this theme of Catholic education in other blog entries during this week. For today, I wish to note that we had representatives of the Ottawa Catholic School Board (administrators, trustees, staff, teachers and some students) for the Annual Mass at the Cathedral, after which Mr. Jamie McCracken presented awards to those who had made an outstanding contribution to Catholic education in the schools of the Ottawa Board.