Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday, the Lord's Day - Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II, His Beatification

The Lord's Day — as Sunday was called from Apostolic times— has always been accorded special attention in the history of the Church because of its close connection with the very core of the Christian mystery.

In fact, in the weekly reckoning of time Sunday recalls the day of Christ's Resurrection.

It is Easter which returns week by week, celebrating Christ's victory over sin and death, the fulfilment in him of the first creation and the dawn of "the new creation" (cf. 2 Cor 5:17).

It is the day which recalls in grateful adoration the world's first day and looks forward in active hope to "the last day", when Christ will come in glory (cf. Acts 1:11; 1 Th 4:13-17) and all things will be made new (cf. Rev 21:5).--Dies Domini, July 5, 1998, #1

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The Coming Beatification of Pope John Paul II on May 1, 2011

Like many others Canadian bishops I was happy to hear the news of the beatification of Pope John Paul II on Divine Mercy Sunday of this year, that is May 1.

Though people have asked whether I plan to attend, I am unable to do so as on that particular day I have a full slate of activities: Confirmations in the morning; a Mass to celebrate with couples marking a significiant marriage milestone (60 years and more, 55, 50, 40, 25 and, even lower multiples of 5 years); and finally, in the evening, the Mass for Neophytes fully-initiated a week before at the Easter Vigil.

It was my privilege to meet the late Holy Father on several occasions, at the beginning of the 33rd Jesuit General Congregation in September 1983, at a Mass in his private chapel with friends in 1987 and then, at intervening periods as a bishop (on my nominaition in 1995, during an ad limina visit in 1999, at World Youth Day in 2002).  It was always an uplifting experience and in that sense he showed me the importance of the ministry of encouragement as key to the bishop's role in the Church and in his diocese.

Every one is agreed that Pope John Paul II left a major mark on the Church and on the world. His vision and energy were a continuation of the Second Vatican Council.

I was particularly struck by his encyclicals and other writings, though I found many of his publications abstruse.  Still his writings remain a lasting source of inspiration and teaching (Redemptor Hominis, Redemptoris Missio, Veritatis Splendor, his yearly letters to priests for Holy Thursday, etc.)

He was a visionary, which explains the world-wide impact of his magnetic personality; this has led many of us to treasure joyful memories of his spontaneity and creativity (the World Youth Days of Paris, Rome and Toronto stand out for me: my impressions there were one with the crowds he wowed.).

His tomb continues to draw large crowds each year, and the beatification will only serve to increase the spiritual good he began here on earth.  I hope I live long enough to travel to his canonization, which I doubt will take many more years.



  1. Dear Archbishop of Ottawa,

    Very interesting, please explain more what you
    mean by "abstruse" in Jean Paul II's writing.


    Paul-R. Lavigne

  2. "Abstruse"

    Le most of the so-called homilies in Ottawa churches