Monday within the Octave of Easter
O God, who give constant increase to your Church by new offspring, grant that your servants may hold fast in their lives to the Sacrament they have received in faith. Through our Lord.
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|Icon of St. Mark the Evangelist (Emmanuel Tzanes, c. 1657)|
O God, who raised up Saint Mark, your Evangelist, and endowed him with the grace to preach the Gospel, grant, we pray, that we may also profit from his teaching as to follow faithfully in the footsteps of Christ. Who lives and reigns with you.
The Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist is not observed this year as it falls in Easter Week, each day of which is a solemn celebration of the Risen Lord.
However, it was on his feast day in 1995 that I was ordained a bishop in Toronto's St. Michael's Cathedral by Archbishop (later Cardinal) Aloysius Ambrozic, the co-consecrators being the late Bishop Thomas Fulton (who had ordained me a deacon and a priest in December 1971 and June 1972) and Bishop Attila Mikloshazy, S.J., who had been my professor of liturgy and theology at Regis College. Long-time friend, Archbishop James Martin Hayes of Halifax gave the homily on that joyous occasion.
So I thank the Lord for these happy, fulfilling and challenging sixteen years in episcopal service. the last four here in Ottawa.
However, this is also the year of another personal anniversary, that of Fifty Years in consecrated life. My confreres, Brother Gerald Horan and Fathers R. Frank Obrigewitsch, Joseph G. Schner and I entered the Society of Jesus at Ignatius College in Guelph, ON in 1961.
|Mass of Thanksgiving in St. David's Church, Maple|
On April 13, several hundred family, friends and benefactors of the English-speaking Jesuit Province came together in the Toronto area to attend the Jesuit Provincial's Dinner (a fund-raising event in support of the young men in formation and the seniors in the Province Infirmary, who include quite recently Bishop Mikloshazy).
While all the jubilarians are in mind (we have men celebrating 50, 60, 70, 75 and 80 years in the order, as well as 25, 50 and 60 years in the Priesthood), the emphasis falls on the Golden Jubilarians. Here are some photos taken on the occasion (thanks to Marc de Assis, S.J.):
|Left to right: niece Patricia Lawson, brother Vince, sisters-in-law Barbara and Renee|
|with nephews Tim Prendergast and Mark Bayfield|
|the family table...|
|grace before the meal...|
|with friends Vicki, Leanne, Fr. Tom (back) and Ann (seated)...|
The recurrence of anniversaries remind us of our gratitude owed, in my case I am truly thankful to God and Our Lord Jesus Christ, to my family and to so many who have been involved in my priestly formation and whom it has been my pleassure to meet in the various place where my ministry has taken me (principally in Guelph, New York, Montreal, Toronto, Halifax, Regina, Rome, Jerusalem, Ottawa).
The words of St. Paul express the prayer I treasure--"I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now" (Philippians 1.3-5)--as do the words of the psalmist, which find an echo in my heart this day and this year:
What shall I return to the Lord
for all his bounty to me?
I will lift up the chalice of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord,
I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.