Today, the Church's calendar allows for two possible optional memorials: two Ukrainian bishop-martyrs, including Blessed Nykyta Budka, the first Ukrainian bishop in Canada, named 100 years ago, and Blessed Vasyl Velychowsky or St. Cyril of Alexandria (370-444), fifth century bishop and martyr.
Blessed Bishop Vasyl (Basil) Velychkovsky, C.Ss.R., Bishop and Martyr (Ukrainian) Born June 1, 1903, Died June 30, 1973; appointed as bishop of this underground church in Lviv, Ukraine. Secretly ordained as Bishop in 1963; beatified on June 27, 2001.
Blessed Bishop Nykyta Budka (Greek-Ukrainian) Born June 7, 1877 [Poland], Died October 1, 1949 Soviet concentration camp].
Ordained on October 25, 1905; first bishop for Ukrainian Catholics on July 15, 1912 in Canada. Beatified June 27, 2001 in Ukraine.
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All-powerful and ever-living God, through whom faith draws perseverance and weakness strength, grant that, as you gave your Martyrs Nykyta and Vasyl the courage to witness to the Gospel of Christ even at the cost of their lives, we may have the courage to live in faithful witness to you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.
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Saint Cyril of Alexandria was the Patriarch of Alexandria in Egypt and an able theologian. As bishop and doctor, he became the glory of the Church in Egypt. During the Council of Ephesus, he defined the oneness of person in Jesus Christ and the divine maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary against the heresy of Nestorius.
O God, who made the Bishop Saint Cyril of Alexandria an invincible champion of the divine motherhood of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, grant, we pray, that we, who believe she is truly the Mother of God, may be saved through the Incarnation of Christ your Son. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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The Diaconal Ordination of Matthew Keshwah
The Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist - June 23, 2012
Eglise Sainte-Marie, Orleans, ON
“THE LORD CALLED ME BEFORE I WAS BORN”
[Texts: Isaiah 49.1-6 [Psalm 139]; Acts 13.22-26; Luke 1.57-66, 80]
Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, mes chers frères et sœurs dans le Seigneur,
Matthew, l’un de vos proches ou de vos amis va être admis à l’ordre du diaconat. Je voudrais vous rappeler à quel degré du ministère il va accéder.
|The Promise of Obedience ("to me and my successors")|
Ayant reçu le don de l’Esprit Saint qui le fortifie, le diacre apportera de l’aide à l’évêque et à son presbyterium, dans le ministère de la Parole, de l’autel et de la charité, en se montrant le serviteur de tous.
Institué ministre de l’autel, il proclamera l’Évangile, il préparera le sacrifice eucharistique, il distribuera aux fidèles le Corps et le Sang du Seigneur.
Il lui reviendra en outre, selon la mission reçue de l’évêque, d’exhorter aussi bien les incroyants que les croyants, de les instruire dans la foi, de présider aux prières, d’administrer le baptême, d’assister au nom de l’Église au mariage et de le bénir, de porter le viatique aux mourants et de présider au rite des funérailles.
Consacré par l’imposition des mains transmise depuis les Apôtres, et plus étroitement uni à l’autel, il s’acquittera, au nom de son évêque ou de son curé, du ministère de la charité. En tout ceci, qu’il agisse, avec l’aide de Dieu, de telle façon que vous reconnaissiez vraiment en lui le disciple de celui qui est venu non pour être servi mais pour servir.
Now, dear son, Matthew, you are to be raised to the Order of the diaconate. The Lord has set an example that what he has done, you also should do. You should strive to fulfill the call of Jesus in the manner of the saint whose birth we commemorate this day.
Today’s solemnity shows us that John's prophetic call to serve both Israel and the nations lay hidden within the designs of God. It was issued before his birth, as he was being carried in the womb of Elizabeth. This motif is echoed by the psalmist who says, “My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret”. All of us here today—but you particularly, Matthew—should grasp that our vocation begins in the mystery of God’s saving plan for each of us.
The majority of Israelite names, like ancient Semitic names in general, had readily understandable meanings. Parents consciously chose such names, which could be translated into sentences, to describe the identity of, or aspirations they had for, their child. The name “Zechariah” means, “The Lord remembers” and your name Matthew means “the gift of God”, while “John” means “God has been gracious”.
John's name was assigned him by the angel Gabriel when Zechariah was told that his wife would conceive and bear a son in her old age. Though Zechariah had been rendered mute for his momentary unbelief, Elizabeth in a wondrous manner had arrived at the divinely appointed name. She insisted on naming her son John.
John's birth is mentioned only cursorily so that attention may be given to the drama of his naming and the end of Zechariah's speechlessness. When Zechariah wrote “His name is John”, people were amazed, Zechariah's tongue was loosed and he began praising God, uttering the Benedictus (Luke 1.68-79), which the Church prays at Lauds every morning. We too should have mouths full of praise for all that God has done and wishes to do in our lives!
Le deuxième des « Chants du Serviteur » d'Isaïe faisait à l’origine référence à un chef spirituel Israélien du VIe siècle avant Jésus-Christ. Pourtant, il trouve des résonances dans le ministère de Jésus (il évoque la Passion de Jésus dans la Semaine Sainte) et dans la carrière de Jean.
Les paroles du Baptiste étaient comme une flèche aiguisée, pénétrant les cœurs des croyants de son époque. Comme pour le « serviteur souffrant », le travail de Jean doit lui avoir semblé vide et frustrant. Mais Dieu le rassura, lui promettant : « Je vous donnerai comme lumière aux nations comme mon salut pourra atteindre l’extrémité de la terre ».
Dans le passage des Actes, Pierre décrit la conclusion de la carrière de Jean comme étant altruiste, son humilité le menant à parler de Jésus : « Que croyez-vous que je suis ? Je ne suis pas Lui. Non, mais un vient après moi; je ne suis pas digne de détacher le lacet des sandales à ses pieds ».
Just as at the time of the winter solstice—December 25—when the course of the sun begins to rise in the northern hemisphere, the Church celebrates the birth of Christ, the shining sun born from on high and the true light of the world, so, at the summer solstice—June 24—when the course of the sun begins to decline, the Christian community recalls the birth of John the Baptist, who, though not himself the light, bore witness to the light (cf. John 1.6-9).
John himself testified, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3.30), a saying that the Church's liturgy has applied to the location of these feasts in the solar calendar and that stands as an invitation to all who perform ministries in the Church—to point people to Christ Jesus rather than to themselves.
|"Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach."|
Au moment où vous accédez librement à l’ordre du diaconat, il faut, comme les disciples choisis par les Apôtres pour le ministère de la charité, que vous soyez un homme estimé de tous, rempli d’Esprit Saint et de sagesse.
Matthew, my son, you will exercise your ministry committed to the celibate state: know that celibacy is both a sign of pastoral charity and an inspiration to it, as well as a source of spiritual fruitfulness in the world. Compelled by the sincere love of Christ the Lord and embracing this state with total dedication, you will cling to Christ more easily with an undivided heart. You will free yourself more completely for the service of God and man, and minister more effectively in the work of spiritual rebirth.
Firmly rooted and grounded in faith, you are to show yourself chaste and beyond reproach before God and man, as is proper for a minister of Christ and of a steward of God’s mysteries. Never allow yourself to be turned away from the hope offered by the Gospel.
Now you are not only a hearer of this Gospel but also its minister. Holding the mystery of faith with a clear conscience, express by your actions the word of God which your lips proclaim, so that the Christian people, brought to life by the Spirit, may be a pure offering accepted by God. Then on the last day, when you go out to meet the Lord you will be able to hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.”
[Photos courtesy of Christopher Choquette and Joe Goski]