Last evening's celebration of the Archdiocesan Feast Day was a joyous celebration. The entry of the Ark of the New Covenant was moving moment. As with two years ago when we began the installation service with a vigil of prayer, it was swelteringly hot and the cathedral was like a sauna.
Amid people fannning themselves with the order of service leaflets, praise was sung to God for the blessings of this Year of St. Paul and petitions were raised to the heavenly throne for abundant blessings to our youth and--through them to the whole diocese, indeed our country-- for everyone to grow in knowledge of Our Eucharistic Lord and in zeal for spreading Good News as part of the Mission of Jesus today.
Second Anniversary of My Installation
A few photos follow to bring back memories of June 25-26, 2007 to mind. Native drummers prepare for the smudging service of purification at the Vigil Service, with words of welcome from various ecumenical, religious, civic officials as well as from the youth.
Early the next morning, I prepare to knock on the door to gain admittance to the Cathedral and, in the language of Canon Law, "take possession of" the cathedral and church of Ottawa. After all the installation formalities, presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Luigi Ventura, the first solemn Eucharist is celebrated in Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica. I am wearing the double-barred Metropolitan Archbishop of Halifax's cross in these photos. One does not often see the pectoral cross I wear (there are several beautiful ones in the Ottawa treasury), as it is generally worn inside (especially when the pallium is worn outside). After the Installation Mass and the chance to greet the priests, religious and faithful, there was a luncheon at the Ottawa Congress Centre (now being torn down--I see the progress every day on my way to the office--to be rebuilt for an April 2011 opening).
Then, it was back to Halifax for the evening and a quick packing routine to arrive in Rome late on the evening of June 28 so as to receive the pallium from Pope Benedict XVI on the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, June 29, 2007. With farewells in Halifax and Yarmouth, June 21 and 24, it was quite a breathless week!
At lunchtime today, we had a Prayer Service at the Diocesan Centre to give thanks to the Lord for the blessings of this Pastoral Year 2008-2009 and to ready ourselves for the Summer Break and to get planning of activities to highlight the Year of the Priest.
Visit of Bishop Felix Toppo, S.J. of Jamshedpur, India
This evening, I hosted a brother Jesuit bishop, whom I had met at the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church in Rome last October. He is visiting a priest of his ministering in the Gatineau Diocese, Fr. Gyan Topno.
He will also speak this weekend at Holy Redeemer Parish, Kanata this weekend and at St. Isidore's Parish South Marsh/Kanata next weekend. Accompanied by his financial officer, the youthful Fr. David Vincent, we had a pleasant dinner with cordial and frank conversation about the challenges of his diocese and the political and religious forces at work in Indian society.
Bishop Toppo's visit is part of the Missionary Co-op Plan of the Ottawa Archdiocese whereby missionary dioceses or religious entities may share our common faith in the homily and present their needs for the information of, and possible support by, two parishes.
There is a rotation each year and it helps all to become aware and take part in the missionary dimenions of the Church's life.
Left to right: Fr. Gyan Topno, Fr. David Vincent, myself, Bishop Felix Toppo, SJ