Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pastoral Day; Mgr Drainville chez nous; A Jesuit Scholastic Visits

The English Pastoral Day took place from 10am-2pm under the direction of the Episcopal Vicar, Father Joseph Muldoon. Our guests speakers included in the first instance Father Bill Burke (Antigonish Diocese), Director of the National Liturgy Office of the CCCB.

His topic was the Third Revision of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM3). He noted that there is continuity with the earlier versions but also added emphases on the importance of transcendence in liturgy, the sacral character of our liturgical language, the important role of the priest, etc. A most irenic and positive presentation.

Ms. Jan Bentham and Mr. Brad Moleski in charge of faith education in the Ottawa Catholic School Board gave an overview of the theme of being Good Stewards of God's creation this year and next; the new chaplaincy leaders' guidelines from the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario (ACBO); the importance of the virtues in Catholic character education; the need to stress Catholic symbols and traditions in our schools; the significance of Adult Faith Education for teachers, staff in the schools.

Finally before lunch, Jules Dagenais and Ted Prowse who work in Planned Giving gave a brief expose of the opportunity we have to let people know they can make a significant gift to the diocese or their parish in their wills and in other ways that have advantages to benefit the donors.

After lunch (the dreaded time) the Neo-catechumenal Way Team offered their presentation in English and Father Tim McCauley spoke on Vocations.


Bishop Gerard Drainville, retired bishop of Amos, arrived yesterday to participate in the March for Life. He once wrote a Pastoral Letter on Gardening and its contribution to society and the family. He also shared with me his Pastoral Letter on Abortion.


Matthew Livingstone
, a Jesuit scholastic who is doing his regency (pastoral internship) as a teacher at Campion College, Regina) dropped by for supper and to bring me up to date on his year teaching at the college where I served as a visiting prof twenty years ago now (as Daniel Hannin Jesuit Visiting Professor, 1988-89).

He is getting ready to go to Damascus, Syria for ten weeks of work on Arabic and Muslim-Christian relations, especially in philosophy, the subject dear to his heart. We took the one-hour walk across the Alexandra (Interprovincial) and Portage Bridges and along Wellington Street (past the Supreme Court, Peace Tower and other monuments). It was a lovely day with a gorgeous sunset: the opposite of the rain, etc foretold for tomorrow's March for Life.


  1. Your Grace:

    It was my pleasure to attend the recent Pastoral Day in the company of Fr. Anthony as a representative of St. Catherine of Siena parish. I was very impressed with the presentation of Fr. Burke. His talk was very informative and positive.

    Unfortunately, I was not similarly encouraged by what I heard from Ms. Jan Bentham on the current state of Catholic instruction in our local Catholic school system. I received most of my education including university (St.Dunstan's 69)in the Catholic school system and my 3 children attended Catholic schools. For some time, I have been concerned that the quality of Catholic instruction in our schools has deteriorated substantially. The presentation by Ms. Bentham served to increase my belief that secularism and relativism are being taught in place of the Catholic faith.

    I appreciate that this is a lengthy and complex topic but would suggest that the emphasis on "environmentalism" and "character development" are not suitable substitutes for core Catholic teachings regardless of professed attempts to link them to the Faith. For example, the chief proponents of the environmental movement Al Gore, Maurice Strong and Michael Gorbachev are apostles of paganism where there is a "mother earth" and each person is a god. Our children are being conditioned to accept the need for a one world government to be followed by one world religion. This so called character curriculum is likewise insidious. Developed and promoted by the same people who go rid of the Lord's Prayer in the Ontario Legislature. The talk by Ms. Bentham was a series of confusing acronyms representing the programs which have replaced a simple teaching of the Faith which would then enable the individual to make informed decisions on life's challenges. Instead, we have the likes of Dalton McGinty determining what our children should learn and what constituted good character.

    My daughter who has a Master's degree, several years teaching experience including teaching at a private Catholic school in California, recently applied for a teaching position which she did not get in the Ottawa Catholic school system. At the interview, not a single question about her religious beliefs was asked and the name of our Lord and Savior was never mentioned. I do not know a single teacher at our local school, St. Catherine's who attends mass on any kind of basis and very, very few children do either. The local principal does not respect the priest or the wishes of the faithful congregation. Recently, the organization of Catholic school principals had Stephen Lewis as their guest speaker despite his record on abortion and population control. I think our system is in crisis and should be reformed or the pretense eliminated.

    Your truly,

    john Grant

  2. I am afraid you don't know the half of it, John. My husband and I have had four children in the Ontario Catholic School system in recent years, and I think the word "Catholic" in the title is a bad misnomer.

    Reminds me of what has happened to the Jesuit Order within the church.....Anyone read "Goodbye, Good Men"?