Saturday, October 31, 2009

Weekly Photo Round-Up: 2nd Archbishop's Dinner & Ottawa General Hospital Pastoral Care



The Ottawa General Hospital began as a small enterprise at the hands of Elisabeth Bruyere to care for the sick--with three beds. It has grown immensely from its roots in the area surrounding the Cathedral and the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity: employing thousands of employees.

Now, the Smyth Road Campus is constantly under construction (the new cancer wing is going up; with my chaplaincy team's access, I was privileged to view the very large Intensive Care Unit, including quiet rooms for family consultations and rest and a chaplain's office on the unit, etc.)

The visit was on Thursday, when the annual bazaar was being held in the main corridors near the main Information Desk. I was met by Father Jean Baptiste DeCoste, who has been at the hospital more than ten years and by his parishioner at St. Margaret Mary Church, where he handles weekend ministry, Lay Pastoral Worker John Moran, as well as by Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care and Social Services Director Karen Nelson.

After Mass, we had a delicious lunch and a tour of the hospital, including a chance for chatting with volunteers and hospital visitors.

Here are some photos of the day's visit.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Opening of Vatican Exhibit on Jesuit Missioner Matteo Ricci

THIS YEAR MARKS THE 4TH CENTENARY OF THE DEATH OF THE JESUIT MISSIONER MATTEO RICCI. An exposition opens today at the Vatican; Sarah Delaney of Catholic News Service has the details below.

As well, I have tracked down other details of the world-wide observance from the Jesuit Portal in English and French.

The challenge of enculturating the Catholic Christian faith in China 400 years ago was premature; the Second Vatican Council spoke more positively of this effort to show that our faith can be manifest in many different cultural expressions.

The important aspect of discerning true from false cultural expressions of the faith remains the ongoing task of church leaders.

Vatican honors Jesuit missionary to China, Father Matteo Ricci by Sarah Delaney (Catholic News Service)

A new Vatican exhibit highlights the life of a Jesuit missionary whose extraordinary intelligence, culture and open-mindedness helped him bring Christianity to imperial China four centuries ago.

The exhibit is part of a series of events marking the 400th anniversary of the death of Father Matteo Ricci, an Italian Jesuit who spent 28 years evangelizing, absorbing Chinese culture and bringing Western science to the faraway Asian continent.

The show, which was to open Oct. 30 in the Braccio di Carlo Magno hall in St. Peter's Square, is titled "On the Crest of History, Father Matteo Ricci (1552-1610): Between Rome and Peking" (the name formerly used for the Chinese capital Beijing).

It was Father Ricci's scientific acumen and enthusiasm for cultural exchange that won the trust and admiration of the Ming Dynasty Emperor Wanli. The relationship ensured that he and his Jesuit brothers would have the freedom to evangelize, the show's organizers explained in a news conference at the Vatican Oct. 28.

A proficient cartographer, Father Ricci was perhaps most appreciated for the maps of the world he made for the Chinese, who at the time had little knowledge of the other continents, said Antonio Paolucci, director of the Vatican Museums and head curator of the exhibit.

The maps Father Ricci drew, as well as many of the European scientific instruments he brought to amaze and share with his Chinese hosts, are among the many items on view in the show.

"Matteo Ricci went to China and seduced the Chinese, offering himself as a man of science: a cartographer, an astronomer, a mathematician," and by bringing instruments like astrolabes and mechanized clocks, Paolucci said.

"He was honored and admired," immersing himself so much in Chinese culture that "he became more Chinese than the Chinese," Paolucci said.

Father Ricci also translated many works, including a Catholic catechism into Chinese and the teachings of Confucius into Portuguese, which Paolucci explained was the lingua franca of the time.

Born in 1552 in Macerata, in central Italy, Matteo Ricci entered the Jesuit order in 1571. After years of study, he sailed to India, where he was ordained in 1580.

After first traveling to Macao, in 1582 he and another priest established a Jesuit residence in Zhaoqing, a city in the Guangdong province. The order encountered difficulties and hostility over the next few years, but Father Ricci was instrumental in eventually opening more residences for Jesuit missionaries.

In 1601, after overcoming many obstacles, he arrived in Beijing, where he was admired and befriended by the elite of the city. There he stayed until his death at 58. The emperor made an unheard-of concession, allowing Father Ricci, a foreigner, to be buried in Beijing.

Bishop Claudio Giuliodori of Macerata said that Father Ricci's "extraordinary missionary adventure brought him to build, for the first time in history, a true bridge of dialogue and exchange between Europe and China."

In a message to the Diocese of Macerata inaugurating the anniversary celebrations, Pope Benedict XVI wrote that it was Father Ricci's great respect for Chinese traditions that "distinguished his mission to search for harmony between the noble and millenary Chinese civilization with the Christian novelty."

The exhibit is divided into two parts. The first section highlights the Jesuit order and scientific knowledge of the time; it includes an immense painting from 1619 of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, by Peter Paul Rubens and scientific instruments from the 16th and 17th centuries, including astrolabes, telescopes, early mechanical clocks, and Ptolemaic and Copernican models of the earth.

The second part of the exhibit is dedicated to Father Ricci's stay in China; it includes displays of his translations and examples of documents he wrote in Chinese, Portuguese and Italian; Chinese tapestries; 17th- and 18th-century Chinese statuary; and a colorful early-20th-century altar honoring Confucius that belongs to the Vatican Museums.

The show is scheduled to remain open until Jan. 24.

Vers les 400 ans de la naissance de Matteo Ricci

Dimanche, le 17 mai, à Macerata, lieu de naissance de Matteo Ricci, ont été inaugurées officiellement les célébrations en préparation du quatrième centenaire de la mort de Ricci à Pékin, le 11 mai 1610. En vue de ce rendez-vous, partout les initiatives se multiplient. Pour l'instant nous en signalons trois :

- Le 6 mai, le pape Benoît XVI, a écrit une lettre à l'évêque de Macerata, mons. Claudio Giuliodori, dans laquelle il met en lumière l'homme « animé d'une foi profonde et d'un esprit culturel et scientifique », qui « dédia de longues années de son existence à tisser un dialogue favorable entre l'Occident et l'Orient, conduisant en même temps une action de radication de l'Évangile dans la culture du grand peuple chinois. Son exemple reste encore aujourd'hui le modèle d'une rencontre entre la civilité européenne et chinoise ». Et il ajoute : « Je m'associe donc volontiers à tous ceux qui rappellent ce fils généreux de votre terre, ministre obéissant de l'église, et messager intrépide et intelligent de l'Évangile du Christ ».

- Le 18 juin, à Rome, a présenté Matteo Ricci, un jésuite dans le Règne du Dragon, un DVD réalisé par Gjon Kolndrekaj. Il s'agit de la reconstruction des moments saillants de la vie du grand missionnaire jésuite, de ses découvertes, de ses efforts « qui l'ont rendu protagoniste du dialogue entre foi et culture », comme le dit l'auteur. De nombreuses reprises du documentaire ont été réalisées pendant un voyage récent en Chine organisé à ce propos. De nombreux interviews complètent et aident à situer le personnage dans son époque et en indiquer l'actualité aujourd'hui. Le DVD sera accompagné par un livre offrant le profil essentiel de la vie du Ricci, et incluant de nombreuses illustrations.

- Le Macau Ricci Institute, dirigé par la Compagnie à Macao, a voulu rappeler la date de la mort du Ricci par une rencontre qui parcourt les phases de sa vie, de son arrivée en Chine, à travers les différentes étapes de son parcours, jusqu'à l'arrivée à Pékin, où il resta de 1583 au 1610. Au « forum », dirigé par le père Arthur Wardega, directeur de l'Institut de Macau, a participé le missionnaire du PIME, le père Gianni Criveller, spécialiste des questions chinoises, qui a mis en lumière quelques aspects moins connus du missionnaire de Macerata. La soirée s'est conclue par un concert.

Towards the 4th centenary of Matteo Ricci's birth

Celebrations in preparation of the fourth centenary of the death of Matteo Ricci officially began on Sunday the 17th of May in Macerata, Italy, the place of his birth. Matteo Ricci died in Peking, on the 11th of May 1610. With a view towards that anniversary, a number of remembrances took place; here are three of them.

- On the 6th of May Pope Benedict XVI wrote a letter to the Bishop of Macerata, Claudio Giuliodori, in which he underscored the point that Matteo Ricci, "provided by a profound faith and extraordinary cultural and scientific genius [who] devoted many years of his life to weave a profitable dialogue between East and West while he was working at the same time to plant the Gospel in the culture of the Chinese people. His example still remains today a model of positive encounter between European and Chinese culture." He added, "with pleasure, I join those who remember this generous son of your country, diligent minister of the Church, intrepid and bright messenger of Christ's Gospel."

- On the 18th of June in Rome there was the presentation of a DVD Matteo Ricci, a Jesuit in the Kingdom of the Dragon, prepared by Gjon Kolndrekaj. As the author notes in the introduction, the DVD recounts the most important moments of the life of the Jesuit missionary and his discoveries "which made him a protagonist for dialogue between faith and culture." Many scenes of the documentary were shot during a recent trip to China. Numerous interviews help to locate the person in his time and to show his present-day importance. The DVD is accompanied by a book with many illustrations and a short presentation of Ricci's life

- The Macau Ricci Institute, directed by the Jesuits in Macau, organized a forum in which the various stages of Ricci's life are remembered, from his arrival in China until his entrance into Peking, where he lived from 1583 to 1610. Father Gianni Criveller, PIME expert on Chinese issues, participated in the forum, which was directed by Father Artur Wardega, director of the Macau Institute. The forum underlined some lesser known aspects of the Italian missionary. The day concluded with a concert.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Photos from the Blessing of the New St. Francis Xavier High School

Yesterday, I attended the blessing of St. Francis Xavier Catholic High School in Riverside South.

Father Daniel Hawkins, M.S.F., Pastor of St. Leonard's, Manotick and Episcopal Vicar Father Joseph Muldoon were in attendance, as were numerous Ottawa Catholic School Board officials.

Political leaders from federal, provincial and muncipal levels of government, as well as numerous students, parents and friends of the school with those involved in the $42M school's land purchase and construction.

Sister Shelly Lawrence, R.S.C.J., chaplaincy team leader and a long time acquaintance from my days teaching at Atlantic School of Theology (in Halifax she was in my New Testament courses as a novice sister) prepared the brief but meaningful blessing ceremony.

During my remarks, bringing greetings from the Archdiocese of Ottawa, I was delighted as a Jesuit to fill in some details of Xavier's life and character and how they continue to speak to students today.

Herewith, some photos before and after the ceremonies in the gymnasium; the school photography team promises some photos of the speeches, prayers, blessings, etc.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Feast of the Apostles Saints Simon and Jude - Logo of St. Vincent de Paul Society - Address to Benefit Dinner on Benedict XVI's Caritas in Veritate

Jude is so named by Luke and Acts. Matthew and Mark call him Thaddeus. He is not mentioned elsewhere in the Gospels, except, of course, where all the apostles are mentioned.

Scholars hold that he is not the author of the Letter of Jude. Actually, Jude had the same name as Judas Iscariot. Evidently because of the disgrace of that name, it was shortened to "Jude" in English.

Simon is mentioned on all four lists of the apostles. On two of them he is called "the Zealot." The Zealots were a Jewish sect that represented an extreme of Jewish nationalism. For them, the messianic promise of the Old Testament meant that the Jews were to be a free and independent nation. God alone was their king, and any payment of taxes to the Romans—the very domination of the Romans—was a blasphemy against God.

No doubt some of the Zealots were the spiritual heirs of the Maccabees, carrying on their ideals of religion and independence. But many were the counterparts of modern terrorists. They raided and killed, attacking both foreigners and "collaborating" Jews. They were chiefly responsible for the rebellion against Rome which ended in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

Holiness does not depend on human merit, culture, personality, effort or achievement. It is entirely God's creation and gift.

God needs no Zealots to bring about the kingdom by force.

Jude, like all the saints, is the saint of the impossible: only God can create his divine life in human beings.

* * * * * *

The St. Vincent de Paul Society in Canada:

Yesterday's blog entry used an old Vincentian logo. An up-to-date Vincentian was kind enough to send me the new logo and its explanation. Herewith, both of these:

NEW ST, VINCENT DE PAUL LOGO: The Confederation of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul proposes a logo. However it is up to each National (Superior) Council to authorize the use of the Society's logo within its jurisdiction. This logo has been adopted by the National Council of Canada.

The logo has the following meaning:

The fish is the symbol of Christianity and, in this case, represents the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

The eye of the fish is the vigilant eye of God seeking to help the poor in our midst.

The crossing at the tail or the tie-knot represents unity and oneness among members and also the union with the poor.

The circle bounding the logo signifies the global or worldwide stature of the SSVP,
an international Society.

The words serviens in spe mean to serve in hope, the hope that comes from Our Lord Jesus Christ.


The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a lay Catholic organization whose mission is:
To live the Gospel message by serving Christ in the poor with love, respect, justice and joy.


The Mission of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul implies that as Vincentians we
• see Christ in anyone who suffers
• come together as a family
• have personal contact with the poor
• help in all possible ways

Saint Vincent et Anne d'Autriche
Saint Vincent présente les premières filles de la charité à la reine Anne d'Autriche. Tableau de frère André, religieux dominicain, dans l'église de sainte Marguerite à Paris, XVIIIe siècle.

* * * * * *

Allocution de l’Archevêque au/Archbishop’s Remarks at the
2nd Archbishop’s Benefit Dinner/ 2ième Souper-Bénéfice de l’Archevêque
Archidiocèse d’Ottawa/Archdiocese of Ottawa
Hampton Inn—Ottawa, ON
27 octobre/October 27, 2009

Révérends Pères,
Chères Sœurs,
Chers membres et amis
de l’Archidiocèse d’Ottawa
et amis des pauvres,

Your Excellencies,
Reverend Fathers,
dear Religious Sisters,
dear Members and Friends
of the Archdiocese of Ottawa
and good friends of the poor:

A teacher at one of our Catholic schools was teaching the Ten Commandments to grade ones. After explaining the commandment “honor thy father and thy mother,” she asked “Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?”

Without missing a beat one little boy answered, “Thou shall not kill.”

Obviously, it’s not always easy to teach the first and the greatest commandment, that of charity. And yet this is what our Holy Father has set out to do—urgently and powerfully—in his latest letter to the People of God.

Dans les toutes premières lignes de sa dernière lettre au Peuple de Dieu Caritas in veritate, le Pape appelle la charité la force motrice derrière tout développement humain. L’amour, dit-il, est une force extraordinaire qui conduit les gens à s’engager avec courage et générosité dans les œuvres de justice et de paix.

Et elle est une force qui trouve son origine en Dieu, qui est Amour éternel et Vérité absolue. En adhérant au plan de Dieu, chaque personne trouve et suit la vérité, et dans la vérité, elle devient véritablement libre.

The Pope’s letter was published in July as the leaders of the G8 met near Rome to consider the global economy; it expresses in a novel way the Church’s social concern to a globalized world at the beginning of the 21st century.

Caritas in veritate does not try to offer technical solutions to the enormous social problems of the modern world. …Instead, it recalls the fundamental principles that are indispensable for human progress and development in the coming years.

Nous sommes ici ce soir au service de la même cause identifiée par le Pape dans son message. Votre présence ce soir est témoin de votre générosité et de votre souci pour les pauvres, et de votre espoir en un avenir meilleur. Ce temps d’incertitude économique fait appel à ce qu’il y a de meilleur en nous alors que nous tendons la main vers les autres.

Lorsque plusieurs sont frappés par la chute de l’économie aux niveaux planétaire et local, nous ne pouvons pas demeurer simples spectateurs. En leur nom, je vous remercie de vous préoccuper de leur sort.

Notre attention se porte ce soir d’une façon particulière sur les Bergers de l’Espoir et la Société Saint-Vincent de Paul, deux manifestations du désir de se faire proche des autres alors qu’ils sont dans le besoin.

Mais afin de nous tenir près des autres, nous devons savoir où nous nous tenons. Une des vraies innovations de la lettre encyclique est le lien que le Pape fait entre « éthique sociale » et « éthique de la vie ». Il avance que la lettre de Paul VI, Populorum Progressio – dont le 40e anniversaire est souligné par Caritas in veritate – doit être lue conjointement avec l’autre encyclique majeure et tant controversée de ce Pape, Humanae Vitae.

Benoît dit que l’ouverture radicale à la vie que le Pape Paul défend dans Humanae Vitae doit être la source d’inspiration de la doctrine sociale de l’Église, qui a pour but de promouvoir l’épanouissement intégral de la vie commune à tous les plans.

Le Saint-Père clarifie encore davantage ce point lorsqu’il commente que les sociétés qui dés-accentuent la vie, même au point de promouvoir la contraception artificielle et l’avortement, souffrent de difficultés économiques très concrètes.

Pope Paul VI had said that to understand the great concern for the development of peoples, especially those in the Global South, manifested in the late 1960s, one needs to see this process as the world’s response to a call from God.

For God wishes the full human development of every single person on the planet. And this should be the interest and goal of all human efforts towards the eradication of poverty, the alleviation of suffering and concern for the planet.

If each of us is interested in the integral human development of every other person, then we need to recognize his or her dignity because created in the image and likeness of God. As well, we need to feel a sense of solidarity with them.

In this ground-breaking encyclical, Benedict XVI introduces into the theory of economic exchange the principle of gratuity which is a characteristic of human beings at their best.

De façon remarquable, le Pape insiste sur le fait qu’aux côtés de la logique contractuelle du marché (je donne afin de recevoir), et la logique légale du domaine politique (je donne parce que suis obligé de donner), il doit y avoir une logique de pure gratuité (je donne simplement parce qu’il est bon de le faire). Sans ce troisième élément, tant l’économique que le politique sont transférés sur quelque chose moindre que le parfaitement humain.

Lorsque nous agissons selon le principe de gratuité, nous entrons dans le monde du don gratuit que Dieu nous fait dans la création. « L’amour en vérité », dit le Pape, « met l’homme devant l’expérience étonnante du don. La gratuité est présente en nos vies sous un grand nombre de formes différentes, mais elle est souvent méconnue à cause d’une vision purement consommatrice et utilitaire de la vie. L’être humain est fait pour le don, ce qui exprime et rend présente sa dimension transcendante. »

Sometimes, we in Canada give the impression we believe all social services ought to be provided by the State and that there ought to be no need for food banks or shelters such at the Shepherds of Good Hope provide. And would that food banks and shelters were not needed! But being engaged and committed to assisting with the work of St. Vincent de Paul, clothing depots and an occasional or ongoing contact with the poor becomes a blessing to us and our fellow volunteers.

In his first encyclical, Deus caritas est (God is love), Pope Benedict pointed out the risk of the state providing everything and soon “absorbing everything into itself” producing “a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person—every person—needs: namely, loving personal concern.

“We do not need a state that regulates and controls everything—he said—but a state that, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need.

"The Church is one of those living forces: She is alive with the love enkindled by the Spirit of Christ. This love does not simply offer people material help, but refreshment and care for their souls, something that often is even more necessary than material support.”

Thank you for being part of this humanizing movement and for allowing yourselves to be touched by the poor in our midst, the friends of our God.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Looking toward This Evening's 2nd Annual Benefit Dinner

Yesterday, I was the keynote speaker for the Priests Seminar in the Toronto Archdiocese. It was held at the Nottawasaga Inn near Cookstown. As I will return for the second session in the second week of November, my report and photos will be presented on my return on November 12.

This evening, October 27th at 7:00 pm, I will host the Archbishop’s Second Annual Charity Dinner at the Hampton Inn and Conference Centre, 200 Coventry Road, in Ottawa. Seven hundred and thirty (730) guests are expected to attend this sold out event. I am grateful to all who will attend and for their generous donations at this time of economic downturn and need.

Here is the press release in English and French:


Two groups have been chosen as beneficiaries of this year’s fundraising event: The St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Shepherds of Good Hope.

The Shepherds of Good Hope, who direct a number of works to support the economically and socially disadvantaged in the City of Ottawa, have the following mission statement: “The Shepherds of Good Hope is a God-centered healing community which welcomes and values people of all faiths and beliefs. In fulfilling our Mission, we support and accept one another with joy, dignity, and respect. Our belief in the power of love and prayer guide all our actions. In providing support, our intent is to ease suffering with gentleness and compassion, to restore dignity, and to connect individuals with a feeling of home inside themselves where they can experience safety, inner peace, and self love.”

The St. Vincent de Paul Society is an international lay Catholic organization founded in 1833 in Paris, France. The Ottawa Central Council consists of 22 Parish Conferences with 275 volunteers, known as Vincentians. The mission of the Society implies that, as Vincentians, they see Christ in anyone who suffers, they come together as a family, have personal contact with those in need and help in any possible way. The Society does this by carrying out home visits. In 2008, 998 home visits where completed serving 3941 persons within the Archdiocese of Ottawa. The Vincentian special works program includes: twinning, emergency relief, prison ministry, soup kitchens, food banks, advocacy and community stores.


Ce soir à 19 h, Mgr Terrence Prendergast, s.j. sera l’hôte du Deuxième souper-bénéfice annuel de l’Archevêque, au Centre de conférences du Hampton Inn Ottawa, 200 chemin Coventry à Ottawa. Sept-cent-trente (730) invités sont attendus pour cet évènement qui se déroulera à guichet fermé.

Deux groupes qui travaillent auprès des plus démunis ont été choisis pour profiter des revenus de cet évènement : La Société Saint-Vincent de Paul et Les Bergers de l’Espoir.

Les Bergers de l’Espoir, qui comprend des programmes conçus pour aider ceux et celles dans le besoin de la ville d’Ottawa a comme énoncé de mission :

« Les Bergers de l’Espoir est une communauté de guérison centrée sur Dieu qui accueille et valorise les gens de toutes les religions et croyances. Dans l’accomplissement de notre mission, nous nous soutenons et nous nous acceptons les uns les autres avec joie, dignité et respect. Notre croyance dans la puissance de l’amour et de la prière guide tous nos gestes. Notre but en offrant du soutien est d’atténuer la souffrance avec douceur et compassion, rétablir la dignité et rapprocher les personnes à un sentiment d’un chez-soi intérieur où ils pourront vivre dans la sécurité, la paix intérieure et l’amour de soi. »

La Société Saint-Vincent de Paul est une association internationale de catholiques laïques fondée en 1833, à Paris, en France. Le Conseil central d’Ottawa regroupe 22 conférences paroissiales et compte 275 bénévoles, appelés « vincentiens ». La famille vincentienne voit le Christ dans toute personne souffrante; elle prend contact personnellement avec les démunis et les aide de multiples façons, et particulièrement par leurs visites à domicile. En 2008, elle a effectué 998 visites, et a aidé 3941 personnes dans l’archidiocèse d’Ottawa. Elle offre aussi divers programmes spéciaux d’intervention : jumelage, secours d’urgence, soutien aux prisonniers, soupe populaire, banques alimentaires, activisme et magasins communautaires.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Yesterday at the 10:30 Eucharist in Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, members of the St. Thomas More Lawyers Guild and representatives of the legal profession and judiciary were present in the sanctuary.

Last year's service was at the Noon Mass and so was predominantly in English; this year at the francophone liturgy, most of the readings, prayer and the bulk of the homily were in French.

MESSE ROUGE – SOCIÉTÉ JURIDIQUE SAINT-THOMAS-MORE, 30e dimanche du temps ordinaire (B) – 25 octobre 2009 - Basilique-Cathédrale Notre-Dame, Ottawa, ON; [Textes : Jérémie 31, 7-9 (Psaume 125/126); Hébreux 5, 1-6; Marc 10, 46b-52]

A warm welcome to the jurists and lawyers who have come for this Mass to invoke the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit on the judiciary for the new Michaelmas sessions. The colour red of the concelebrants symbolizes the Holy Spirit (just as red is worn on Pentecost).

Lorsque l’artiste a voulu personnaliser la Justice, il a créé la statue d’une femme, yeux bandés et tenant une balance à la main : la Justice, impartiale, ne faisant pas acception des personnes. Or en ce dimanche où nous soulignons la Rentrée judiciaire, l’évangile nous présente Jésus rendant la vue à un aveugle qui a un nom, Bartimée.

En Marc, cet épisode est situé après que Jésus ait annoncé à trois reprises à ses disciples sa mise à mort prochaine. Et les versets qui suivent relatent l’entrée triomphale à Jérusalem que nous lisons le Dimanche des Rameaux.

Si vous vous souvenez bien, l’évangile des six derniers dimanches, nous a fait découvrir qu’il est humainement impossible de « marcher à la suite de Jésus » : il faut en effet perdre sa vie, tout quitter, être fidèle à l’engagement du mariage, prendre la dernière place…

Recalling the gospel of Mark read these past six Sundays, we recall the challenge of Jesus to follow him “on the way”. This is a constant struggle as we learn to accept the teaching of Our Lord on poverty and the use of riches, as well as on power and honour. We also resist Jesus’ teaching on marriage and divorce, the family and our children—as well as all other relationships that need to be purified by the Paschal Mystery. We discover ourselves to be like Bartimaeus the blind man, spiritually blind and in need of Christ’s healing and illumination.

Dans la Bible, l’aveugle est l’image même de la pauvreté puisqu’il dépend des autres pour tout. L’homme assis au bord de la route se rend compte qu’une foule bruyante passe. Il apprend qu’elle accompagne Jésus de Nazareth. Il a entendu parler de cet homme qui a guéri des malades. Il veut attirer son attention. Et sa seule façon de se faire remarquer est par la voix – il crie. Et la foule veut le faire taire.

Malgré les bruits ambiants, malgré les tentatives de le réduire au silence, Jésus a entendu le « kyrie, eleison » de Bartimée. Il arrête sa marche et il demande aux disciples de l’appeler, ceux mêmes qui ont voulu le faire taire. Tout appel de Jésus passe par la médiation de l’Église.

Le dialogue qui suit peut paraître superflu : « Que veux-tu que je fasse pour toi? » N’est-ce pas évident? L’homme est aveugle! « Rabbouni, Maître, que je voie. » Et Jésus lui dit : « Va, ta foi t’a sauvé. »

Nous ne sommes pas ici en présence d’un simple miracle de guérison. Pour Marc, toute la scène est baptismale et le vocabulaire utilisé le confirme. Les gens ont dit à Bartimée : « lève-toi », mot grec qui se traduit aussi par « éveille-toi », « ressuscite! » Et bien que la question de Jésus puisse paraître étrange, elle souligne que le candidat doit faire sa profession de foi personnelle. Le baptême, au temps de Marc, était appelé « l’illumination », le sacrement de l’ouverture des yeux.

Marc rappelle le rôle du disciple : suivre Jésus. Vous l’avez remarqué sans doute, après que l’homme eut recouvré la vue, Jésus lui dit : « Va… » Or voilà que « celui-ci se mit à suivre Jésus sur la route ». Au lieu d’aller, il vient. Tout laisse croire qu’il le suivra jusqu’à Jérusalem, lieu de sa passion et de sa mort.

Mark saw in Bartimaeus the type of the real believer: ignoring threats, he calls Jesus to his help and leaps towards him when Christ calls. As soon as he can see, he follows Christ on the road towards his passion. For the evangelist as for each and every Christian, baptism is truly the passage from blindness to sight, from darkness to light.

Dans la première lecture, tirée du prophète Jérémie, nous avons entendu ce cri : « Seigneur, sauve ton peuple! » Et Dieu promet de faire revenir son peuple. Ce verbe a un double sens : revenir de captivité et revenir vers le Seigneur, comme à un père retrouvé. Ce second sens est toujours d’actualité pour nous.

La lettre aux Hébreux nous présente le Christ, grand prêtre choisi par Dieu, établi comme intercesseur, comme avocat auprès du Père pour tous les hommes et les femmes accablés d’épreuves. En Jésus nous découvrons le modèle parfait de celui qui écoute, qui entend, et qui donne voix.

In the second reading from the Epistle to the Hebrews we are urged to cling to the truth that Jesus is our advocate, the one who always pleads our cause as he intercedes for us at the right hand of the Father.

En effet, Jésus interpelle Bartimée à demander. Il respecte celui au service duquel il se met. Il lui révèle qu’il a déjà en lui les clés de sa propre guérison – sa foi.

Notre assemblée est composée de personnes qui viennent de partout : fidèles de tous âges et de nombreux pays, hommes et femmes engagés dans le processus judiciaire pour défendre les droits et la dignité des personnes, l’intégrité de la société, l’épanouissement des valeurs partagées.

Nous avons toujours parmi nous des catégories de gens qui ne réussissent pas à se faire entendre. Et des gens qui veulent les faire taire.

En ce dimanche d’octobre, Jésus me demande : « Que veux-tu que je fasse pour toi? » Quelle sera ma réponse?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Weekly Photo Round-Up: the CCCB Plenary Assembly - Synod of Africa concludes in Rome - Cardinal Turkson leaves Ghana for Rome

Left: Newly-elected CCCB President Pierre Morissette of Saint-Jerome, QC addresses his brother bishops, invites all to unity

Right: Military Ordinary Bishop Theriault shows off new bilingual prayer book (Armour of Faith/Armure de foi) for Canada's military personnel

Toronto Auxiliary Bishop John Boissonneau presides at Vespers, assisted by National Liturgy Office Director Father William Burke

Deacon Gerald LeBlanc, whom I ordained for the Halifax Arch-diocese, is now Secretary for the Atlantic Episcopal Assembly

Regina Archbishop Daniel Bohan, who is also a regular blogger (, and Edmonton Eparch David Motiuk

Left to right: Father Donald Bolen (V.G. of the Regina Archdiocese), Trois-Rivieres Bishop Martin Veillette, St-Hyacinthe Bishop Francois Lapierre and Laval University Professor Reverend Gilles Routhier participate in a panel discussion on Anglican-Roman Catholic relations

Recently appointed Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatiere Bishop Yvon-Joseph Moreau, o.c.s.o. thanks the bishops for their warm welcome

Montreal Auxiliary Bishop Lionel Gendron, p.s.s. and Valleyfield Bishop Luc Cyr

Bishops converse between business sessions at the CCCB Plenary

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Pope Benedict XVI and the Synod Fathers concelebrated the closing liturgy for the Second African Synod this morning at the Vatican.

As has been the custom, this Synod publishes a Message to the Church reflecting on the experience of coming together in prayer and dialogue, in anticipation of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation. The first draft, entitled "The blessings of God are still abundant", is hopeful. Here are excerpts from the introduction and beginning sections:


1. It was a special gift of grace and like a last will and testament to Africa when the Servant of God Pope John Paul II, towards the end of his life, on November 13th, 2004, announced his intention to convoke a Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.

This same intention was confirmed by his successor, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, on the 22nd of June, 2005, in one of the first major decisions of his pontificate. As we gather here for this Synod, from all countries of Africa and Madagascar and the adjacent Islands, with brother bishops and colleagues from all continents, with and under the Head of the Episcopal College, with the participation of some fraternal delegates from other Christian traditions, we thank God for this providential opportunity to celebrate the blessings of the Lord on our continent, to assess our stewardship as Pastors of God’s flock, and to seek fresh inspiration and encouragement for the tasks and challenges that lie ahead.

It is now fifteen years since the First Assembly in 1994. The teachings and directives of the Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Africa have not ceased to be a valid guide for our pastoral efforts. In this follow-up assembly, however, the Synod has been able to concentrate on a theme of the greatest urgency for Africa: our service to reconciliation, justice and peace in a continent that is very much in dire need of these graces and virtues.

2. We started our work here with an inaugural celebration of the Holy Eucharist, presided over by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, invoking the Holy Spirit to "lead us into all truth" (Jn 16:13). On that occasion, the Pope reminded us that the Synod is not primarily a study session. Rather, it is God’s initiative, calling us to listen: listen to God, to one another and to the world around us, in an atmosphere of prayer and reflection.

3. As we prepare to disperse to our various places of assignment, with renewed commitment and courage, we wish to address this message to the whole Church, Family of God, especially to the Church in Africa: to our brother bishops on whose behalf we are here; to the priests, deacons, religious and all the lay faithful, and to all whose hearts God may open to listen to our words.


4. We live in a world full of contradictions and deep crisis. Science and technology are making giant strides in all aspects of life, equipping humanity with all that it takes to make our planet a beautiful place for us all. Yet tragic situations of refugees, abject poverty, disease and hunger are still killing thousands on a daily basis.

5. In all this, Africa is the most hit. Rich in human and natural resources, many of our people are still left to wallow in poverty and misery, wars and conflicts, crisis and chaos. These are very rarely caused by natural disasters. They are largely due to human decisions and activities by people who have no regard for the common good and this often through a tragic complicity and criminal conspiracy of local leaders and foreign interests.

6. But Africa must not despair. The blessings of God are still abundant, waiting to be prudently and justly employed for the good of her children. Where the conditions are right, her children have proved that they can reach, and have indeed reached, the height of human endeavours and competence. There is much good news in many parts of Africa. But the modern media often tend to emphasize bad news and thus seem to focus more on our woes and defects than on the positive efforts that we are making. Nations have emerged from long years of war and are moving gradually along the path of peace and prosperity. Good governance is making appreciable positive impact in some African nations, challenging others to review past and present bad habits. Signals abound of many initiatives seeking to bring effective solutions to our problems. This Synod, precisely by its theme, hopes to be part of such positive initiatives. We call on all and sundry to join hands to address the challenges of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace in Africa. Many are suffering and dying: there is no time to waste.


7. Our office as bishops obliges us to consider everything in the light of faith. Soon after the publication of EIA, the bishops of Africa, through the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), published a pastoral letter, with the title: "Christ our Peace" (cf. Final Document of the Plenary Assembly of SECAM at Rocca di Papa, 1-8 October 2000, published in Accra, 2001). During this assembly, we have frequently reminded ourselves that the initiative for all reconciliation and peace comes from God. As the Apostle Paul declares: "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself." This is done by his gratuitous gift of pardon without condition, "not counting their trespasses against them" and thus introducing us to his peace. (cf. 2 Cor 5:17-20) As for justice, this too is God’s doing, through his justifying grace in Christ.

8. In the same passage, St. Paul goes on to say that God is "entrusting to us the message of reconciliation", and has indeed appointed us "ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us". This is the exalted mandate that we have received from our merciful and compassionate God. The Church in Africa, both as family of God and as individual faithful has the duty to be instruments of peace and reconciliation, after the heart of Christ, who is our peace and reconciliation. And it shall be able to do this to the extent that she is herself reconciled to God. Her strategies for reconciliation, justice and peace in society must go beyond and deeper than how the world handles these matters. Like St. Paul, the Synod calls on all the people of Africa: "We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God" ( 2 Cor 5:20).

In other words, we call on all to allow themselves to be reconciled to God. It is this that opens the way to genuine reconciliation among persons. It is this that can break the vicious circle of offence, revenge and counter attack. In all this, the virtue of pardon is crucial, even before any admission of guilt. Those who say that pardon does not work should try revenge and see. True pardon promotes the justice of repentance and reparation, leading to a peace that goes to the roots of conflict, making friends, brothers and sisters out of former victims and enemies. Since it is God who makes this kind of reconciliation possible, we must give adequate place for prayer and the sacraments in this ministry, especially the Sacrament of Penance.

Let us continue to keep Africa in our thoughts and prayers.


Yesterday, the last working day of the Synod, the Holy Father named Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, Archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana to succeed Cardinal Renato Raffale Martino as President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
A scripture scholar who received his doctorate at Rome's Pontifical Biblical Institute, His Eminence is a charming man who speaks an elegant Italian. We worked together last year on media relations at the Synod on the Word of God.