Friday, September 30, 2011

St. Jerome, Patron of Scripture Scholars and Translators - SCRIPTUREFEST in Edmonton - New Book on Liturgical Year of Saint Mark ("B")

Caravaggio, St. Jerome Writing

Saint Jerome, Priest
& Doctor of the Church

O God, who gave the Priest Saint Jerome a living and tender love for Sacred Scripture, grant that your people may be ever more fruitfully nourished by your Word and find in it the fount of life. Through our Lord.

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Last weekend, I spent in Edmonton giving presentations on Saturday at Archbishop MacDonald High School.  It was good to meet up with Archbishop Richard Smith, my associate from Halifax, Ukrainian Eparch David Motiuk and Emeritus Archbishop Joseph N. McNeil--all were magnificent hosts (including a visit to  + Richard's home on Friday evening).

It was good to see the event coordinator Susan Barylo and husband Marc and meet long-time friends, Sr. Frances MacDougall, CND and Margot Bilodeau.

On Saturday night and Sunday, I was hosted by the St. Joseph's Seminary community in their new quarters, celebrated Sunday morning Mass at the Basilica and took a long walk enjoying the lovely sunny weather.  Photos of these latter events in coming days, meantime, here are further pix of the Scripturefest day:  

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In a bit of shameless self-promotion, I would like to mention that this year's commentary on the Sunday Readings for Year B (beginning with the First Sunday of Advent), announced for the end of October, is actually due off the press any day now.

Liiving God's Word is available in a print edition at Cdn $19.95 and I believe will also be available in an e-book edition (not sure the price).

For more info or to order, go to

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Archangels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael - Capital Colour

The Saint Who Threw Satan out of Heaven

St Michael the Archangel, who along with the archangels St. Gabriel and St. Raphael and is celebrated in today’s liturgy, provides aid in the spiritual struggle fought in every human soul

The Archangel Michael is honoured as the leader of the heavenly host which threw Satan and his fellow rebels out of heaven.

Today, the Catechism of the Catholic Church stoutly maintains the existence of angels as “true of faith”: “The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of tradition.”

Angels, the Catechism elucidates, “are servants and messengers of God. Because they ‘always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven’ (Mt 18:10) they are ‘the mighty ones who do his word’ (Ps 103:20).

“The whole life of the Church benefits from the mysterious and powerful help of the angels. From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession.”

This is a development of Jewish tradition. In the Old Testament there are copious references to angels, although Michael’s status is not precisely clear. In the Book of Daniel, written c 550 BC, he is “the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people”.

Jesus Christ speaks (Mt 26:53) of having “more than 12 legions of angels” potentially at his side. And although the term “archangel” does not appear in the Bible, the reference in Revelation (12:7) to “Michael and his angels” suggests his supremacy.

In Hebrew the name Michael actually means “Who is like unto God?” The implication, which the rebellious angels learned to their cost, is that no one possibly could be like God.

In Catholic tradition, Michael serves four distinct roles. Just as he had defeated Satan in celestial combat, so he provides aid in the spiritual struggle fought in every human soul.

“With me,” the worldly Bishop Blougram explains in Browning’s poem:

Faith means perpetual unbelief
Kept quiet like the snake ’neath Michael’s foot
Who stands calm just because he feels it writhe.

Secondly, Michael is present at every deathbed, offering the hope of redemption.

Thirdly, he weighs the merits of the soul after death.

Fourthly, he stands forth as the guarantor of Christ’s promise to the Church that it will endure to the end of time.

The cult of Michael developed in Byzantine Christianity, though stories of his apparition on Monte Gargano (southern Italy) in the late fifth century helped to spread his fame in western Europe.

Around 495, a vision of the archangel in Cornwall apparently led to the naming of St Michael’s Mount. By the end of the Middle Ages nearly 700 churches in England (many of them on high ground) bore Michael’s name. His feast was even retained in the ultra-Protestant Prayer Book of 1549.

Since 1969 the Catholic Church has combined his feast day with those of Gabriel, Raphael “and all angels”. Michael, though, is still in control of the army. (

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O God, who dispose in marvelous order ministries both angelic and human, graciously grant that our life on earth may be defended by those who watch over us as they minister perpetually to you in heaven. Through our Lord.

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Last week's wonderful weather showed the local colour to great advantage. 

In the coming days leading to Thanksgiving Day, some of these charming treasures of nature will be featured.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sunday 27A: The VINEYARD in the Bible

Philip Uffenbach (1566-1636), Parable of the Tenants and the Vineyard Owner

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year "A") - October 3, 2011

[Texts: Isaiah 5.1-7 [Psalm 80]; Philippians 4.6-9; Matthew 21.33-43]

Three scriptural texts today—the reading from Isaiah, the psalm and Jesus' gospel parable—speak of God's vineyard.  The vineyard represents both God's chosen people Israel and the church.

It is unclear when Psalm 80 was written or which calamities caused Israel to cry out, “O Lord God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people's prayers?” and to beg, “restore us, O God, let your face shine that we might be saved”.

The Greek Bible adds a superscription to the psalm “concerning the Assyrians”, referring to the conquest of Samaria in 721 B.C.

Still, as one commentator observed, “whatever the historical setting, the psalm in its continued use belongs to the repertoire of the afflicted people of God on their way through the troubles of history” (J.L. Mays).  Or, in the words of the Protestant reformer Calvin, “This is a sorrowful prayer, in which the faithful beseech God that he would be graciously pleased to succour his afflicted Church”.

This lamentation reminds God of past saving deeds as a prelude to pleading for divine intervention in the present dire circumstances.  Thus, the exodus is narrated as a transplantation of God's vine from bondage in Egypt to the Promised Land: “You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it.”

Israel flourished in its new habitat, and grew luxuriantly, culminating in the vast Davidic kingdom which extended from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates (“it stretched out its branches to the Sea and its shoots to the River”).

After such promising beginnings, the psalmist wonders how God could allow the vine to be devoured, ravaged by the beasts of the field.  At times biblical thinking fails to distinguish between primary and secondary causes, so that the actions of an enemy of Israel are attributed to God, “Why then have you broken down its walls...?”

The question receives no answer; instead the psalmist reiterates Israel's plea, “Turn again (=repent), O God of hosts...have regard for this vine, the stock that your right hand planted”.

Isaiah's “Song of the Vineyard” addressed what went wrong with God's planting, Israel.  Singing a harvest time song, the prophet told on his friend—“my beloved”—God's behalf how the divine vinedresser did everything necessary to succeed in viniculture (“he dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines”) and made it secure (“he built a watchtower in the midst of it”).

Having “hewed out a wine vat in it”, God had hopes that Israel's grapes would be lush and the wine sweet. Instead, the vineyard produced “wild grapes” and sour wine.  Israel yielded “bloodshed” and “a cry” instead of the fruits God expected (“justice” and “righteousness”).  The disappointed owner (“what more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it?”) decided to let the vineyard go to rack and ruin until a more promising time.

It has been suggested that in today's gospel Jesus followed an old form of synagogue address, producing a part of the Scripture lesson for the day (Isaiah 5.1-2), illuminating it with a parable and underscoring his words with further biblical passages such as Psalm 118.22 and Daniel 2.34-35, 44-45, which follow the close of today's gospel reading (Matthew 21.44-46).

So today's gospel parable becomes an allegory that speaks about faithlessness and judgment and in which many elements have symbolic value (e.g. vineyard=Israel; householder=God; tenant farmers=leaders of Israel; fruit=what is owed God; rejection of the servants=rejection of the prophets; sending and rejection of the son=sending and rejection of Jesus; tenants punished=Jerusalem destroyed; new tenants=church).

The judgment Jesus pronounced after the interpretation of his parable, “therefore..., the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the Kingdom” has been seen as implying that the church takes Israel's place as God's chosen. 

Strict attention to details of the parable suggests it is the religious leaders who are rejected, and no conclusion may be drawn about God's continuing relationship with his people Israel.  Implied in the parable's judgment, however, is a warning to the church, especially its leaders, to show fruits of righteousness and so escape condemnation.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

St. Vincent de Paul - Le Renouveau du PATRO d'Ottawa

Aujourd’hui nous fêtons le grand patron des pauvres de toute sorte, Monsieur Vincent—c’est à dire, St. Vincent de Paul. 
Nous sommes bénis ici à Ottawa avec la présence des Religieux de St. Vincent de Paul (RSV), qui se sont engagés auprès des démunis de la Basse Ville depuis le temps de Mgr Marie-Joseph Lemieux, o.p., qui les a invité à Ottawa en 1957 pour diriger le Patro d’Ottawa et toutes les activités y associées.

La semaine passée, j’ai eu le privilège d’assister avec mon vicaire épiscopal et membres des communautés religieuses à la dédicace du renouveau des locaux du PATRO. 

Voici quelques photos :  

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O God, who for the relief of the poor and the formation of the clergy endowed the Priest Saint Vincent de Paul with apostolic virtues, grant, we pray, that afire with that same spirit, we may love what he loved and put into practice what he taught. Through our Lord.

Monday, September 26, 2011

THE CANADIAN MARTYRS, Secondary Patrons of Canada - The Holy Father Speaks of Mission - Father Hoffmann [RIP]

Saints Jean de Brébeuf, Isaac Jogues, prêtres
& leurs compagnons martyrs

Tu as voulu, Seigneur, que la parole et le sang de tes martyrs Jean de Brébeuf, Isaac Jogues et leurs compagnons, sanctifient les débuts de l’Église en Amérique du Nord; Fais que se lève partout à leur prière, une moisson de chrétiens chaque jour plus abondante, Par Jésus Christ.

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Vers le milieu du XVIIe siècle (1542-1649) une vaillante légion de Jésuites travaillait, dans le Canada encore à peu près sauvage, à la conversion de peuplades féroces, parmi lesquelles étaient surtout les Iroquois. Alors s'ouvrit pour les missionnaires ce que l'on a justement appelé "l'ère des martyrs".

La première victime fut le Père Antoine Daniel qui fut percé de flèches, achevé d'un coup de feu, dépouillé de ses habits et jeté dans le brasier de sa chapelle devenue la proie des flammes (1648).

Quelques mois plus tard, le Père Jean de Brébeuf et le Père Gabriel Lalemant subissent à leur tour les plus affreux supplices. On pique d'abord le Père de Brébeuf avec des alènes rougies au feu, on promène sur ses membres des tisons embrasés, on lui enlève la peau de la tête en forme de couronne. Pour l'empêcher d'exhorter ses fidèles, les bourreaux lui coupent les lèvres, la langue et le nez, lui fendent la bouche jusqu'aux oreilles, enfoncent un fer rouge dans sa gorge; ils coupent des lambeaux de sa chair, les font rôtir et les mangent sous ses yeux. Ils jettent ensuite de l'eau bouillante sur sa tête, enduisent son corps de résine et le font griller lentement; enfin, un chef Iroquois lui arrache le coeur, le dévore et boit le sang du martyr. Le Père Lalemant subit un supplice du même genre pendant seize heures et eut enfin le crâne fracassé à coups de hache.

Le Père Isaac Jogues aurait pu se soustraire une première fois au martyre en 1642; mais il ne voulut pas se séparer de ses chrétiens, prisonniers des Iroquois. Après des supplices aussi inouïs que variés, il fut arraché à la mort et ramené en France. Mais son coeur était resté au Canada. Il y revint en 1646, et y reçut bientôt la palme d'un martyre glorieux.

Au nombre des autres victimes des Iroquois furent, en 1649, les Pères Charles Garnier et Noël Chabanel, Jean de la Lande et René Goupil, massacrés dans l'héroïque exercice de leur apostolat.

Le Pape Pie XI béatifia ces admirables martyrs, dignes de ceux des premiers siècles en 1926 et les canonisa en 1930.

Quelle est divine la religion qui inspire de tels courages et suscite de tels apôtres! (--Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, Tours, Mame, 1950)

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O God, who chose to manifest the blessed hope of your eternal kingdom by the toil of Saint John the Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues and their companions and by the sheding of their blood,  grant graciously that, through their intercession, the faith of Christians may be strengthened day by day. Through our Lord. 

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The Church’s mission has its origins in the mystery of the triune God, in the mystery of his creative love. Love is not just somehow within God, he himself is love by nature. And divine love does not want to exist in isolation, it wants to pour itself out. It has come down to men in a particular way through the incarnation and self-offering of God’s Son. He stepped outside the framework of his divinity, he took flesh and became man; and indeed his purpose was not merely to confirm the world in its worldliness and to be its companion, leaving it completely unchanged. The Christ event includes the inconceivable fact of what the Church Fathers call a commercium, an exchange between God and man, in which the two parties – albeit in quite different ways – both give and take, bestow and receive. The Christian faith recognizes that God has given man a freedom in which he can truly be a partner to God, and can enter into exchange with him. At the same time it is clear to man that this exchange is only possible thanks to God’s magnanimity in accepting the beggar’s poverty as wealth, so as to make the divine gift acceptable, given that man has nothing of comparable worth to offer in return.

The Church likewise owes her whole being to this unequal exchange. She has nothing of her own to offer to him who founded her. She finds her meaning exclusively in being a tool of salvation, in filling the world with God’s word and in transforming the world by bringing it into loving unity with God. The Church is fully immersed in the Redeemer’s outreach to men. She herself is always on the move, she constantly has to place herself at the service of the mission that she has received from the Lord. The Church must always open up afresh to the cares of the world and give herself over to them, in order to make present and continue the holy exchange that began with the Incarnation.

In the concrete history of the Church, however, a contrary tendency is also manifested, namely that the Church becomes settled in this world, she becomes self-sufficient and adapts herself to the standards of the world. She gives greater weight to organization and institutionalization than to her vocation to openness.

In order to accomplish her true task adequately, the Church must constantly renew the effort to detach herself from the “worldliness” of the world. In this she follows the words of Jesus: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (Jn 17:16). One could almost say that history comes to the aid of the Church here through the various periods of secularization, which have contributed significantly to her purification and inner reform.

Secularizing trends – whether by expropriation of Church goods, or elimination of privileges or the like – have always meant a profound liberation of the Church from forms of worldliness, for in the process she has set aside her worldly wealth and has once again completely embraced her worldly poverty. In this the Church has shared the destiny of the tribe of Levi, which according to the Old Testament account was the only tribe in Israel with no ancestral land of its own, taking as its portion only God himself, his word and his signs. At those moments in history, the Church shared with that tribe the demands of a poverty that was open to the world, in order to be released from her material ties: and in this way her missionary activity regained credibility.

History has shown that, when the Church becomes less worldly, her missionary witness shines more brightly. Once liberated from her material and political burdens, the Church can reach out more effectively and in a truly Christian way to the whole world, she can be truly open to the world. She can live more freely her vocation to the ministry of divine worship and service of neighbour.

The missionary task, which is linked to Christian worship and should determine its structure, becomes more clearly visible. The Church opens herself to the world not in order to win men for an institution with its own claims to power, but in order to lead them to themselves by leading them to him of whom each person can say with Saint Augustine: he is closer to me than I am to myself (cf. Confessions, III, 6, 11). He who is infinitely above me is yet so deeply within me that he is my true interiority. This form of openness to the world on the Church’s part also serves to indicate how the individual Christian can be open to the world in effective and appropriate ways.

It is not a question here of finding a new strategy to relaunch the Church. Rather, it is a question of setting aside mere strategy and seeking total transparency, not bracketing or ignoring anything from the truth of our present situation, but living the faith fully here and now in the utterly sober light of day, appropriating it completely, and stripping away from it anything that only seems to belong to faith, but in truth is mere convention or habit.

To put it another way: for people of every era, not just our own, the Christian faith is a scandal. That the eternal God should know us and care about us, that the intangible should at a particular moment have become tangible, that he who is immortal should have suffered and died on the Cross, that we who are mortal should be given the promise of resurrection and eternal life – to believe all this is to posit something truly remarkable.

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This summer through a variety of circumstances, I missed learning until recently of the death on July 31 (St. Ignatius Day) of Father George Hoffmann, the last living Jesuit of the four priests who had interviewed me for entrance into the Society of Jesus in 1961(the others were Fathers John Cass, Patrick G Malone and Thomas “Pops” Moylan). 
On Saturday in Edmonton one of the participants in SCRIPTUREFEST spoke to me of the positive impact Father Hoffmann had had on his faith education at Loyola College, so I resolved to give a brief report in coming days.  As Father George was ordained at the Martyrs Shrine, their feast today seems an appropriate occasion to speak of a man who, except in recent years when he was reclusive, was regularly a man of encouragement to me. 
Here are some details of his life and passing:  
GEORGE R. HOFFMANN, S.J. died peacefully on July 31, 2011 at Pickering, Ontario at the age of 87 and having passed 69 years in Jesuit life.
Father Hoffmann was born in Munich, Germany on March 28, 1924 and entered the Society of Jesus at Guelph on July 30, 1942.
Ordained a priest on June 19, 1955 at Martyrs' Shrine in Midland, Ontario, he served as a professor of philosophy and theology at Loyola College, Montreal and Saint Mary's University, Halifax, then provided pastoral care at Manresa Retreat House in Pickering and at the Martyrs' Shrine in Midland, Ontario.
His funeral took place on August 3 at 11 o'clock in the St. Ignatius Manresa Chapel, Pickering, and interment followed that afternoon in the Jesuit Cemetery, Guelph, Ontario.
Requiescat in pace


Sunday, September 25, 2011


O God, who make known your almighty power above all by pardoning and showing mercy, bestow, we pray, your grace abundantly upon us, and make those hastening to attain your promises heirs to the treasures of heaven. Through our Lord.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bienheureuse Emilie Tavernier-Gamelin - CCSTA Gathering in Ottawa - Travel to Edmonton for Scripturefest

À Montréal au Canada, l’an 1851, est décédée la bienheureuse Émilie Tavernier, religieuse. Après la mort de son mari et de ses enfants, elle se dévoua auprès des indigents et fonda la Congrégation des Sœurs de la Providence pour le service des orphelins, des vieillards et des aliénés.

Par le Pape Jean-Paul II, sa vertu héroïque fut promulguée le 23 décembre 1993 et, après la reconnaissance officielle d'un miracle attribué à son intercession, le 18 décembre 2000, le Souverain Pontife proclame sa béatification le 7 octobre 2001, la proposant au peuple de Dieu comme un modèle de sainteté, par une vie toute vouée au service de ses frères et sœurs les plus démunis de la société.

Sa fête liturgique était fixée au 23 septembre, jour anniversaire de son décès en 1851, mais depuis que la fête du Padre Pio est inscrit ce jour la, elle est fêtée le 24 septembre au Canada.

«Plus vous ferez mémoire de Mère Gamelin, plus vous vivrez de son esprit. Vous trouverez toujours dans ce souvenir la source de charité qui unit les cœurs, la force qui produit le dévouement et le désir de pratiquer les vertus qui ont brillé en elle, surtout dans l'exercice de la charité.» (Mgr Ignace Bourget, 4 septembre 1876)

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The CCSTA/ACCEC is holding a consultation on Catholic Education at the Ottawa Marriott Hotel from Thursday evening until this afternoon.  I joined them for an opening Liturgy of the Word yesterday morning.

Some photos:

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Today, I am in Edmonton for several talks on Scripture; blogging will be lighter for a few days, especially as I shall be on retreat at Villa Madone, Cap de la Madeleine, QC, with the Ottawa English Sector Priests next week on my return from the west.


Click here to download the ScriptureFest poster

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Annual Red Mass - Saint Padre Pio - Blessing of the New Columbarium at Hope Cemetery - Mgr Landriault a 90 ans!

Yesterday, the Annual Red Mass was celebrated at Notre Dame Cathedral for members of the judiciary, legal profession, legislators, etc.

Here is a photo taken on the steps of the Basilica following the Mass (courtesy of Deborah Gyapong), followed by the text of my homily:

Red Mass – Votive of the Holy Spirit
Notre Dame Cathedral, Ottawa--22nd September 2011
[Haggai 1.1-8; Psalm 149: “The Lord delights in his people”; Luke 9.1-9]

In the Red Mass we invoke the gifts of the Holy Spirit – minds illumined by the Spirit of wisdom, hearts strengthened by the Spirit of courage – upon those who work in the law courts, the legal profession, the broader justice system, and, in a particular way in the nation’s capital, upon those who legislate in Her Majesty’s name for the common good of the Canadian people.

In a happy gift of Providence, this evening the Red Mass is being offered in St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto, and in Holy Rosary Cathedral in Vancouver. Across this broad land, we call down the power of the Holy Spirit, that it may renew the face of this land, where the Lord holds dominion from sea to sea.

What is the Spirit saying to the Church and to the world this evening, particularly the legal world? In the passage from Luke just read, the Lord Jesus sends out the Twelve to preach the Gospel, assuring them that they need not rely on earthly provision, but on God’s Providence for their mission. We can glimpse the beginnings of the Church’s mission to the world, that Jesus sends His followers into all the town and cities, to bear witness to all who live there.

For the Christian disciple, this “sending out” is not a mere geographic commission, but one that takes him into all the different worlds of our common life. That includes the legal world. There are no worlds in which the Christian can set aside the faith – or to be more accurate, can set aside Jesus Christ. The Christian lawyer, the Christian judge, the Christian parliamentarian, the Christian police officer, the Christian prison guard – all these must bear witness to the Gospel as a fundamental and essential requirement of discipleship.

Such Christian witness is not easy when there are many voices which say that it is somehow out of bounds for Christians to behave as such in the public square. It is not easy, but filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Christian today must have the wit, the wisdom, and the courage to do just that. Let me put it to you more strongly still: If those who enjoy prestige and power in our society – judges, lawyers, Members of Parliament and Senators – give a weak witness to their faith, what model does that offer for the many others who look up to you and aspire to follow you?

This Christian witness attracts attention, as St. Luke tells us: Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on … And he desired to see [Jesus].

In the attitude of Herod, a man of public authority and not a follower of Jesus, we can see something of the attitudes of the state to the Christian faith. Herod had executed an innocent man, John the Baptist, because he dared to speak the truth about marriage. Herod’s father had ordered the slaughter of the innocent boys of Bethlehem to eliminate a perceived rival power. So we see that the fearsome power of the state can be unleashed against men and women of faith, which takes place around the world even to this day. Yet Herod is also intrigued, and he wants to see Jesus, perhaps just out of curiosity about all that is going on, but more likely because he intuits that this Jesus of Nazareth may just have something interesting to say about our common life together.

Our common life, our parliamentary and legal life, does need the contribution of faith. The law can mete out harsher punishments, but even the harshest punishment cannot convert a heart. Legislators and judges both ought to know that, for example, prisoners are more likely to be rehabilitated if their hearts are touched by faith even if their bodies are kept in prison. More broadly, the whole construct of our democratic institutions requires a foundation deeper than it can provide for itself. Democratic procedures need to be grounded in a vision of the human person which can sustain them. Politics and the law cannot generate this vision without reference to the transcendent which lies beyond their competence. Politics and the law need the contribution of the world of faith and, in our Canadian context, the particular contribution of the Christian vision of the human person. The rule of law needs the world of faith.

This year the Catholic Church rejoiced in the beatification of Pope John Paul II, who made this argument persuasively not only against the totalitarian tyrants of his time, but against those who strip our common life in the West of its religious dimension. He wrote these strong words twenty years ago:

“Authentic democracy is possible only in a State ruled by law, and on the basis of a correct conception of the human person. Nowadays there is a tendency to claim that agnosticism and sceptical relativism are the philosophy and the basic attitude which correspond to democratic forms of political life. Those who are convinced that they know the truth and firmly adhere to it are considered unreliable from a democratic point of view, since they do not accept that truth is determined by the majority, or that it is subject to variation according to different political trends. It must be observed in this regard that if there is no ultimate truth to guide and direct political activity, then ideas and convictions can easily be manipulated for reasons of power. As history demonstrates, a democracy without values easily turns into open or thinly disguised totalitarianism.” (Centesimus Annus #46)

The words of Blessed John Paul sting precisely because the truth sometimes stings. On matters of who is entitled to live or die, on the status of marriage and the family, on the critical issue of religious liberty – the totalitarian impulse is not absent from Canada. We see in Herod the totalitarian impulse fully developed.

The restraint on that impulse is the rule of law, which is entrusted to your hands as a service to the common good. That service to the common good requires the unique and indispensable contribution that our Christian heritage has made, and continues to make, to Canadian life.

As this parliament and the courts open anew in these weeks, may the Holy Spirit guide you in your work.

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Translation of the Remains of Padre Pio from the original church to the New Church
(at San Giovanni Rotondo)

Collect of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio), Priest

All mighty ever-living God, who, by a singular grace, gave the Priest Saint Pius a share in the Cross of your Son and by means of his ministry renewed the wonders of your mercy, grant that, through his intercession, we may be united constantly to the sufferings of Christ, and so brought happily to the glory of the resurrection. Through our Lord.

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On Sunday, September 18, a bright sunny day, several hundred people attended the blessing of the new Jardin de la Resurrection/Garden of the Resurrection columbarium area (in front of Holy Family Mausoleum, which recently acquuired a new representation of Jesus, Mary and Joseph).

Here is the bilingual prayer of blessing, followed by several photos of the Liturgy of the Word service, the Blessing of the Columbarium, Greeting of the Faithful and Reception under the awning:
Prayer of Blessing for a Columbarium
Bénédiction d’un nouveau columbarium

God of endless ages, through disobedience to your law we fell from grace and death entered the world; but through the obedience and resurrection of your Son you revealed to us a new life.

You granted Abraham, our father in faith, a burial place in the promised land; you prompted Joseph of Arimathea to offer his own tomb for the burial of the Lord.

In a spirit of hope we earnestly ask you to look upon this columbarium and bless it + so that, while we commit to their resting places the earthly remains of our brothers and sisters, their souls may be taken up into paradise.

May this become a sacred shrine, a place of pilgrimage to remind us of what we already believe: that life is transformed into new life; and that all the holy dead shall rise in the splendor of your glory to live with you for ever and ever.

Dieu de qui vient tout réconfort, tu as voulu que ton Fils unique soit déposé dans un tombeau neuf d’où il se relèverait, vainqueur de la mort et gage de notre résurrection à venir.

Voilà pourquoi, Seigneur nous te prions : par la puissance de ta bénédiction, que ce nouveau Jardin de la résurrection construit dans ce cimetière pour recevoir les cendres des défunts soit un lieu de repos et d’espérance ; qu’en ce lieu, nos frères et sœurs reposent en paix jusqu’au jour où ils se relèveront immortels lors de la venue glorieuse de ton Fils ; qu’en ce lieu, la pensée des vivants s’élève vers l’espérance d’éternité ; que de ce lieu monte vers toi la prière pour ceux et celles qui reposent dans le Christ et pour célébrer sans fin ta miséricorde.

Par Jésus, le Christ, notre Seigneur. Amen.

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Nos prières et meilleurs vœux accompagnent Mgr Jacques Landriault, évêque émérite de Timmins, qui réside dans notre résidence Jean-Paul II à Ottawa, à l’occasion de son 90ieme anniversaire aujourd’hui!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

THE POPE IN GERMANY - St. Maurice & Companions, martyrs - Visite à la Paroisse St-Sébastien

Our prayers accompany Pope Benedict on his pastoral visit to his homeland (September 22-25)

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In Switzerland today, a memorial of St. Maurice may be made at Mass; likewise at Ottawa's St. Maurice Parish.

Romulo Cincinnato, 1583: The Martyrdom of St. Maurice

St. Maurice was an officer of the Theban Legion of Emperor Maximian Herculius' army, which was composed of Christians from Upper Egypt. He and his fellow legionnaires refused to sacrifice to the gods as ordered by the Emperor to insure victory over rebelling Bagaudae. When they refused to obey repeated orders to do so and withdrew from the army encamped at Octodurum (Martigny) near Lake Geneva to Agaunum (St. Maurice-en-Valais), Maximian had the entire Legion of over six thousand men put to death.

To the end they were encouraged in their constancy by Maurice and two fellow officers, Exuperius and Candidus. Also executed was Victor (October 10th), who refused to accept any of the belongings of the dead soldiers.

Saint Maurice became a patron saint of the Holy Roman Emperors. In 926, Henry I (919–936), even ceded the present Swiss canton of Aargau to the abbey, in return for Maurice's lance, sword and spurs. The sword and spurs of Saint Maurice were part of the regalia used at coronations of the Austro-Hungarian Emperors until 1916, and among the most important insignia of the imperial throne. In addition, some of the emperors were anointed before the Altar of Saint Maurice at St. Peter's Basilica. In 929 Henry I the Fowler held a royal court gathering (Reichsversammlung) at Magdeburg. At the same time the Mauritius Kloster in honor of Maurice was founded. In 961, Otto I was building and enriching the cathedral at Magdeburg, which he intended for his own tomb.

To that end, in the year 961 of the Incarnation and in the twenty-fifth year of his reign, in the presence of all of the nobility, on the vigil of Christmas, the body of St. Maurice was conveyed to him at Regensburg along with the bodies of some of the saint's companions and portions of other saints. Having been sent to Magdeburg, these relics were received with great honour by a gathering of the entire populace of the city and of their fellow countrymen. They are still venerated there, to the salvation of the homeland.

Maurice is traditionally depicted in full armor, in Italy emblazoned with a red cross. In folk culture he has become connected with the legend of the Spear of Destiny, which he is supposed to have carried into battle; his name is engraved on the Holy Lance of Vienna, one of several relics claimed as the spear that pierced Jesus' side on the cross.

Saint Maurice gives his name to the town St. Moritz as well as to numerous places called Saint-Maurice in French speaking countries.

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Dimanche le 18 septembre, j’ai présidé la messe durant laquelle monsieur l’abbé Jean-Pierre Fredette a été installe comme curé de la paroisse Saint-Sébastien, Ottawa.

Voici quelques photos prises par Benoît Martin à l’occasion :