Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Presentation of the Lord: World Day of Consecrated Life ; Vietnamese Lunar New Year ; Ottawa Priests in Rome

For some years now, the Feast of the Presentation of the Temple is also celebrated as the World Day of Consecrated Life, honouring the religious men and women who serve the Lord and his Church as sisters, brothers and priests.

As I was leaving the meeting of Vox Clara this evening on my way to an engagement for supper I passed St. Peter's Square and caught sight of the thousands of religious leaving the Vatican Basilica after Solemn Vespers: 

In Ottawa, because of my absence from the diocese today, I have scheduled Mass and luncheon with the religious of our Archdiocese and those who wisht to come out in support of them at Holy Cross Church next Monday at 11AM.

All are invited to offer prayers for generosity to be found among our young people so that they are able to say "yes" to a call from the Lord to serve his people in this special state of life in which they live their baptism joyfully.

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Every year since my arrival in Ottawa, representatives of the Our Lady of La Vang Parish for the Vietnamese faithful come to exchange New Year's greetings for the Lunar Year. 

The delegation came last Monday before I left for overseas.  Since I had just visited with the Chinese Catholic Community, I said, "oh, it's the Year of the Rabbit" and they said, "no, for us it is the Year of the Cat".

To the delight of the residents of my home, they also shared with me some of their delicacies and the fruits of their homeland:

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Yesterday was a long day: early rise and travel to Tel Aviv, then a flight to Munich and transfer to a flight for Rome, only I missed the connection by minutes as the flight from Ben Gurion Airport was delayed 40 minutes.

The folks at Lufthansa were very kind and arranged for a short haul flight to Frankfurt and the last flight of the day from Frankfurt to Rome.  I arrived at the Pontifical North American College at 1 AM, but glad to get there instead of sleeping in an airport hotel. 

By comparion with the many bishops whose flights to the USA and Canada were cancelled by the snow storm, I felt blessed. 

Here is a pile of boarding passes and other materials symbolizing what happened:

After a short sleep-in this morning, I joined our two Ottawa priests serving in Rome at their house for pranzo, the midday meal: Fathers Jose Bettencourt (left) and Daniel Paquin (right):

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