Tuesday, January 24, 2012

St. Francis de Sales - Les Confirmations d'Embrun, Rockland

The Patron Saint of Catholic Communications, St. Francis de Sales produced and printed pamphlets explaining the faith and left them as flyers at households to win them back with love to the practice of the Catholic faith when many were scandalized by the corruption and failure of the church's leaders and were being attracted by Protestant tendencies. His winning ways won back many. 

Today he would no doubt make use  of social media to keep in touch with his flock and draw others to Our Lord in new evangelizing methods.  Please pray for us bishops, priests and others who, to share the faith, blog , use Twitter and Facebook--that we may be motivated by Christ's values alone.

On this day each year, the Pope releases a message for World Communications Sunday (that of the Ascension or the Seventh Sunday of Easter, this year May 20, 2012). 

This year's theme is
Silence and Word: Path of Evangelization:

Silence is an integral element of communication; in its absence, words rich in content cannot exist. In silence, we are better able to listen to and understand ourselves; ideas come to birth and acquire depth; we understand with greater clarity what it is we want to say and what we expect from others; and we choose how to express ourselves. By remaining silent we allow the other person to speak, to express him or herself; and we avoid being tied simply to our own words and ideas without them being adequately tested. In this way, space is created for mutual listening, and deeper human relationships become possible. It is often in silence, for example, that we observe the most authentic communication taking place between people who are in love: gestures, facial expressions and body language are signs by which they reveal themselves to each other. Joy, anxiety, and suffering can all be communicated in silence – indeed it provides them with a particularly powerful mode of expression.

Silence, then, gives rise to even more active communication, requiring sensitivity and a capacity to listen that often makes manifest the true measure and nature of the relationships involved. When messages and information are plentiful, silence becomes essential if we are to distinguish what is important from what is insignificant or secondary. Deeper reflection helps us to discover the links between events that at first sight seem unconnected, to make evaluations, to analyze messages; this makes it possible to share thoughtful and relevant opinions, giving rise to an authentic body of shared knowledge. For this to happen, it is necessary to develop an appropriate environment, a kind of ‘eco-system’ that maintains a just equilibrium between silence, words, images and sounds.

The process of communication nowadays is largely fuelled by questions in search of answers. Search engines and social networks have become the starting point of communication for many people who are seeking advice, ideas, information and answers. In our time, the internet is becoming ever more a forum for questions and answers – indeed, people today are frequently bombarded with answers to questions they have never asked and to needs of which they were unaware. If we are to recognize and focus upon the truly important questions, then silence is a precious commodity that enables us to exercise proper discernment in the face of the surcharge of stimuli and data that we receive.

Amid the complexity and diversity of the world of communications, however, many people find themselves confronted with the ultimate questions of human existence: Who am I? What can I know? What ought I to do? What may I hope? It is important to affirm those who ask these questions, and to open up the possibility of a profound dialogue, by means of words and interchange, but also through the call to silent reflection, something that is often more eloquent than a hasty answer and permits seekers to reach into the depths of their being and open themselves to the path towards knowledge that God has inscribed in human hearts.


O God, who for the salvation of souls willed that the Bishop Saint Francis de Sales become all things to all, graciously grant that, following his example, we may always display the gentleness of your charity in the service of our neighbour. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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Saint François de Sales, Évêque de Genève (1567-1622)

Prêtre (1593), missionnaire dans le Chablais calviniste (1594-1597), il devient évêque coadjuteur (1599) puis titulaire (1602) de Genève, avec résidence à Annecy. Il applique à son diocèse les méthodes préconisées par le concile de Trente. En 1610, avec Jeanne de Chantal, il fonde l'ordre de la Visitation, à la fois contemplatif et actif. Il donne l'essentiel de sa direction spirituelle dans son Introduction à la vie dévote (1609). Sa spiritualité souriante mais exigeante, portée par un grand talent littéraire, se retrouve dans Traité de l'amour de Dieu (1616) et Entretiens spirituels (posthume). Canonisé en 1665, il a été déclaré docteur de l'Église en 1877. (www.larousse.fr)

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Récemment, j’ai présidé quelques célébrations du sacrement de la Confirmation pour les jeunes de deux paroisses vers l’est d’Ottawa: presque une centaine dans chaque communauté.  

Voici quelques photos :    

Paroisse Saint Jacques (Embrun):

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Paroisse Très-sainte Trinité (Rockland)

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