Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Visit to Holy Redeemer, Kanata - Jerome, Translator Extraordinaire

Holy Redeemer Church—Kanata, Ontario
Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year “C”)—September 28, 2013
[Texts: Amos 6:1, 4-7; [Psalm 146]; 1 Timothy 6:11-16; Luke 16:19-31]

Today's Old Testament reading and gospel present biting criticisms of luxurious living. Each faults those who possess an abundance of goods for their failure to show compassion. The psalm describes God as the champion of the dispossessed of every kind. Finally, the epistle calls to mind the commitment of the baptized to live their faith.

The prophet Amos denounced what today we would call conspicuous consumption. The seer's stinging criticism noted signs of opulence, people lying on “beds of ivory” and “lounging on couches”. He observed excess as they drank wine by the bowlful rather than from a goblet in moderation.

Amos preached his message in the second quarter of the eighth century B.C. It was a time of apparent peace that seemed to promise increasing prosperity. The Northern Kingdom dreamed of grandeurs to come (Amos 6.13-14).

Especially among the residents of Samaria—to whom the words we hear today were addressed—luxury and a certain snobbishness held sway. Beneath the superficial calm, however, a social cancer lay lurking.

Into this dream world Amos came preaching a social gospel rooted in radical faith in God alone. To those who lacked a social conscience Amos promised the first place in the coming deportation.

Faithful Samaritans ought to have cared for the poor with whom they were bound in a common faith. Instead, they cared not at all for the “ruin of Joseph”, their community of faith and culture. Their indifference would be met with a divinely-imposed recompense.

The positive side of Amos' proclamation foreshadowed that of the gospel of Jesus. He inquired of his hearers what things they possessed that they had not received from God, wondering how they could boast of them as if they were their own (cf. 1 Corinthians 4.7).

By stressing God's identification with the lot of the poor, Amos anticipated what Jesus would say, “what you did to one of these, the least of my sisters and brothers, you did to me” (Matthew 25.40).

An aspect of the teaching of Jesus regularly emphasized in Luke's Gospel is the prudent use of material possessions. Throughout Luke's narrative of Jesus' journey to Jerusalem (Luke 9.51-19.27), He offered instruction to various groups. In this case, Jesus spoke to the Pharisees who were said to be “lovers of money” (16.14) and illustrated His saying that “what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God” (16.15).

Jesus' teaching in this parable, the only one in which a character is given a proper name (Lazarus), illustrates the “everlasting dwellings” spoken of in the Parable of the Dishonest Steward (16.9). Likewise, it emphasizes the reversal of situations taught earlier about the rich and poor (6.20, 24)

The parable has two parts: in the first, Jesus taught that in the after-life there is a counterbalancing of the situation that held sway in this life; in the second, Jesus argued that even a messenger from the dead cannot effect repentance among rich people whose hearts have been hardened against the poor.

There’s a problem we have to face as we read these reflections and that is the question of God’s initiative in drawing us to himself and our response.

In his recent interview, Francis noted that men and women religious are called like Amos to be prophets. They are to show how Jesus lived on earth and proclaim how the kingdom of God will be in its perfection.

Pope Francis said, “A religious must never give up prophecy…The charism of men and women religious is like yeast: prophecy announces the spirit of the Gospel.” And yes, prophets make us uneasy.

In images, Francis returned to the patristic concept of the Church as a hospital for sinners.

“I see clearly,” he says, “that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful…The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all.”

Each of us, you see, is called to share in the new evangelization, providing that you yourself are evangelized. Pope Francis has indicated that he wants to move the church away from ideological fixations of a moralizing sort and toward proclaiming the gospel. The order of church life must be inviting people to know God in Christ first. Then comes the moral order, as a response to one’s coming to know God’s mercy, forgiveness, and joy. Often the order gets reversed and that’s where trouble ensues. This is where the issues of abortion, contraception, active homosexuality, and other life issues come in. Virtuous behaviour in these areas is a response to God’s grace, not a pre-condition to belonging to the community of God’s Kingdom and the Church.

Most people need a close walk with the Lord to understand why the Church says no to abortion, gay marriage, and contraception. Without Jesus deeply in your life, it is hard to understand these prohibitions. But how do people get to know Jesus? People get to know him by God’s people—you—evangelizing and telling them about your Lord and Saviour. By you telling a person you know what Jesus has done for us and for you in particular. You must tell that person how Jesus has saved you, loved you, and healed you. Then you must let the Holy Spirit take over as you pray for that person.

I pray that all of us here today, especially those who have taken part in this program supporting women dedicated to the spiritual motherhood of priests may share the faith and serve the poor, enter fully into these sacred mysteries that we are celebrating at this Lord’s Day Mass. On this Saturday, which honours Our Blessed Mother, let us ask Mary’s aid in being drawn to her Son so that we, in our turn, may draw others to him.

Photo credit: David Chan

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September 30 features the annual memorial of Saint Jerome, inspiration and patron of those engaged in scriptural translations and the teaching of Sacred Scripture.

Leonardo da Vinci’s, St. Jerome in the Wilderness (c. 1480) in Rome’s Vatican Museums.

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A Prayer of Saint Jerome for Christ's Mercy

O Lord, show Your mercy to me and gladden my heart. I am like the man on the way to Jericho who was overtaken by robbers, wounded and left for dead. O Good Samaritan, come to my aid. I am like the sheep that went astray. O Good Shepherd, seek me out and bring me home in accord with Your will. Let me dwell in Your house all the days of my life and praise You for ever and ever with those who are there. Amen.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ottawa Priests' 2013 Retreat at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Cape

Our annual priests’ retreat (this year for the English Sector priests) brought together some thirty-plus diocesan and religious priests at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Cape (Cap-de-la-Madeleine, QC) in the diocese of Trois-Rivières.

Our leader was a layman Michael Dopp, president of Ministry of the Redeemer, a service to the Church, based in Ottawa, that assists Catholics to share their faith, taking up the new evangelization proposed by recent popes. He invited us to seek our own holiness through morning presentations on the theological virtues of faith, hope and love, and helped us see how to develop these same virtues in parishes, indicating how they can give energy to sharing the good news with others—helping “disciples” to become “apostles”.

When a bishop or priest makes the presentations, he usually delivers the homily at each retreat Mass. However, in this year’s circumstances, priests shared reflections with their peers in the homily: Fathers Frank Brewer, Jessimar Tapia and Brian Hennessey.

Our evenings were given over to celebrating the sacrament of reconciliation, an exchange with me on concerns in the archdiocese and an evening of Eucharistic adoration in the Old Shrine Chapel. On the latter occasion Father Carl Reid gave the reflection, and hymns were sung in Ibo by our Nigerian priests and out of the Anglican patrimony by Fr. Reid.

The Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Quebec held their fall plenary in the same retreat centre (Residence Madone) so via interactions in the dining-room and on the grounds each group agreed to pray for the other for our mutual spiritual benefit. The bishops were addressing important issues such as Bill 52, which opens the door to euthanasia, as well as the Charter of Quebec Values, both proposed in the National Assembly by the governing Parti Quebecois.

Early in the retreat, we were shocked to hear of the devastating OC Transpo bus collision with a Via Rail train in Barrhaven. The news became known to us just before Mass and so we were able to offer Mass for the victims, their families, first-responders and all touched by this tragedy.

Fr Steve Lemay with his Bishop, Mgr Luc Cyr

On Thursday some of us met Father Steve Lemay, pastor of the church in Lac-Mégantic, who had come to share with the bishops his experience of the sorrows and graces of this summer’s train derailment, explosion and fire. He thanked us for the support that came to his community from many Catholics across Canada.

Our closing Mass took place Friday morning in the chapel where 125 years ago (on June 22, 1888) a wondrous happening was reported: the opening of the eyes of the statue of Our Lady in the presence of three witnesses—a key layman, the parish priest and the Franciscan friar, Blessed Frederic Janssoone, beatified 25 years ago by Blessed Pope John Paul II.

We return to our parishes and ministries renewed in spirit, ready to address the challenges we face and, with God’s grace, to take part more deliberately in the task of evangelization. Please continue to pray for us.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Holy Korean Martyrs in the Church of Korea's Month of Martyrs

Today is the feast of Ottawa's Korean Parish, Holy Korean Martyrs, who are being celebrated in extensive fashion as the following excerpt from the UK's Catholic Herald indicates:

Although few know about these historical events outside Korean Christian circles, up to 8,000 Catholics were martyred during persecutions in Korea in the 19th century in the last great period of oppression before the age of Communism and Islamism.

In May 1984, 103 martyrs were canonized and this month the Catholic Church in South Korea is holding a “month of martyrs” with the support of Pope Francis. The first conversions in the traditionally Confucian country began in the late 19th century, around the time when the first Christian books written in Chinese were imported in 1777. By the time a Chinese priest arrived at the end of the century he found about 4,000 Catholics – none of whom had ever seen a priest. The faith had been maintained by aristocratic laymen, the only people who could read at the time, who had sent a delegation on foot 750 miles to Peking asking for a priest. They got two, but they soon returned and it was another 40 years before the arrival of Fr Mauban, Paul Chong Hasang, Augustine Yu Chin-gil and Charles Cho Shin-chol. Missionaries faced extreme penalties if caught and travelled only at night.

The first Korean priest, Fr Andrew Kim Taegon, was executed in 1846 aged only 25. Other martyrs included Paul Chong Hasang and his father Augustine, Peter Yu tae-chol, John Baptist Yi and Thomas Son Chason.

What especially irked traditional Koreans was that this new faith seemed to undermine class distinctions, encouraging the poor to mingle with their betters. By the time the persecutions had ended in 1866, there were only 20,000 Catholics left in the country, while the vast majority of martyrs were lay people....

Read more at:

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Ottawa Prayer Vigil for Peace in Syria - Photos de la Vigile de Priere pour la Paix en Syrie, le Monde

The Prayer Vigil for Peace in Syria was held yesterday afternoon from 1:00 to 4:30 PM in Saint Patrick Basilica.

Ottawa's Chapter of Communion and Liberation animated the first hour, with readings, reflections and hymns/devotional songs.

The Queenship of Mary Community animated the second hour with a French-English recitation of the Rosary and a sung version of the Divine Mercy Chaplet around 3 o'clock.

A francophone musician, Pascal Gauthier, led the third hour with meditative songs and antiphons.

I was very pleased with the turn out; alternating with six other confessors, there were quite a few confessions herard, offering individual reconciliation to many.

The Mass that followed at 4:30 featured penitential attire in purple vestments and solemn music led by the parish choir. 

Here are some photos, courtesy of Paul Lauzon

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Vigile de priere/jeune pour Syrie - 07 IX - Prayer Vigil & Fast for Syria


Ce samedi 7 septembre, les fidèles sont invités à se joindre à Mgr Terrence Prendergast, s.j., archevêque d'Ottawa, dans la prière à la basilique Saint Patrick, 281, rue Nepean, Ottawa. À compter de 13 h, il y aura exposition du Saint-Sacrement, suivie de la récitation du chapelet et d’autres prières. Des prêtres seront également disponibles pour entendre les confessions à partir de 15 h 30. Ce temps de prière se terminera par la bénédiction du Saint-Sacrement, suivie d’une messe présidée par l'Archevêque à 16h30.

Dimanche dernier, le pape François a désigné ce samedi 7 septembre comme journée de prière et de jeûne pour la paix en Syrie. Il nous invite à nous unir à lui alors qu’il présidera une soirée de prière de 19 h à 23 h (heure de Rome) sur la place Saint-Pierre.

Mgr Prendergast invite les fidèles à se joindre à lui, ce samedi 7 septembre, dans le jeûne et la prière pour la Syrie, soit chez eux, soit dans leur église paroissiale, soit dans les autres lieux de culte, particulièrement à la basilique Saint Patrick.

Cette fin de semaine, les fidèles sont également invités à donner généreusement lors d’une collecte spéciale au bénéfice des réfugiés et des victimes de la crise actuelle en Syrie.

L'Archidiocèse d'Ottawa compte plus de 394 500 catholiques romains et dessert plus de 100 paroisses.

Ottawa, September 5, 2013


This Saturday, September 7, the faithful are invited to join the Most Reverend Terrence Prendergast, SJ, Archbishop of Ottawa in prayer at St. Patrick’s Basilica, 281 Nepean Street,Ottawa, beginning at 1 pm with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Rosary and other devotions. Confessors will also be available from 3:30 pm on. This special period of prayer will conclude with Benediction and be followed by Eucharist, to be presided by the Archbishop, beginning at 4:30 pm.

Last Sunday, Pope Francis requested that the faithful fast and pray for peace in Syria this Saturday, September 7, uniting ourselves with him as he prays from 7 to 11 pm (Rome time) in St. Peter’s Square.

Archbishop Prendergast is inviting the faithful to join him this Saturday, September 7th, in a day of fasting and prayer at home, in churches and oratories, and especially at St. Patrick’s Basilica for special intercessions for Syria.

The faithful are also asked to give generously during a special collection at all Masses this weekend for those suffering in Syria or seeking refuge in neighbouring countries.

The Archdiocese of Ottawa is home to more than 394,500 Roman Catholics and serves more than 100 parishes.