Thursday, December 26, 2013

Un évêque chez les Sœurs – A Christmas Visit to the Motherhouse

L'archevêque d'Ottawa, Monseigneur Terrence Prendergast, a suivi les traces de ses prédécesseurs, le matin de Noël, en célébrant la messe pour les Soeurs de la Charité d'Ottawa, à la chapelle de la maison mère de cet ordre religieux, sur la rue Bruyère. Cette tradition a débuté au milieu du 19e siècle, alors que le premier évêque d'Ottawa, Monseigneur Eugène-Bruno Guigues, est allé rendre visite à la fondatrice des Soeurs de la charité d'Ottawa, Soeur Élisabeth Bruyère.

Dans son homélie prononcée devant une cinquantaine de religieuses et quelques invités, Monseigneur Prendergast a demandé à l'assistance de prier pour les victimes de la guerre, particulièrement en Syrie et au Sud-Soudan, où un conflit armé fait encore rage, ainsi que pour les personnes éprouvées par les catastrophes naturelles, notamment les Ontariens et les Québécois qui sont encore sans électricité, à la suite de la tempête de verglas des derniers jours. [Le Droit, Ottawa, 25-26/12/2013]

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Following a tradition begun by the first bishop of Ottawa, I spent yesterday morning at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity of Ottawa for Christmas Day Mass, a visit to the frail elderly sisters in the Infirmary (we sang Christmas carols) as well as a retirement community and the whole household for a festive dinner. A reporter from our local newspaper Le Droit was present and the story above is the shortened online version of what appears in today's print edition.
Last year, because of an outbreak of gastro-intestinal flu among the elderly sisters, the visit was put off until the Epiphany, so resuming the tradition this year was a delight.  On the way home, Mgr Daniel who was accompanying me and I dropped in to visit Mgr Landriault, who lives in the Elisabeth Bruyere residence nearby; he was in great form as he had been able to be vested to concelebrate Mass with Mgr Cazabon in the hospital chapel. Some other pictures from yesterday:

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Saint Peter Canisius, Master Catechist - "O Rising Dawn"

St Peter Canisius, whose optional memorial may be kept today (in Switzerland and Jesuit houses it is observed on April 27) revitalized a Church that had grown lazy in bringing the faith to people.

One of the most important Jesuits of the 17th century, Pieter Kanis did much to revitalize the Church in the German-speaking borderlands that come under the influence of Protestant ideas.

A Doctor of the Church, he served in the Society of Jesus at a time when it was credited with saving the Catholic faith in much of Germany, Switzerland, Bohemia ad Moravia.

Born in the Habsburg-controlled Netherlands in 1521 (the region would become part of the Dutch Republic in 1549), he lost his mother very early and his father, a wealthy magistrate, sent him to study at the University of Cologne. There he come under the influence of Peter Faber, one of the founders of the Society of Jesus, and Canisius became the first Dutchman to join the order.

A skilled preacher and writer, he re-invigorated a Church that had grown lazy in bringing the faith to ordinary people. He travelled around the German-speaking world, especially its colleges – a dangerous task that earned him the nickname “the Second Apostle of Germany” (the first being the Anglo-Saxon Boniface). He even turned down the offer of becoming Bishop of Vienna because he wished to continue his travels.

The Dutchman also had a strong influence on Emperor Ferdinand I, who came close to going over to the other side when his son and heir, Maximillian, became a Protestant. Had the Holy Roman Empire itself gone along with the rising tide, then Catholicism could have ended up as a fringe, southern European faith.

Much of the success of the Counter-Reformation was due to Catholics imitating the methods of Protestants, and Canisius’s great success was to produce the “German Catechism”, by which the basics of Catholics were made available in German so that all Germans could understand it. Moving to Augsburg in 1559, he preached and preached and preached, winning back hundreds of Protestants to the faith, and establishing the Jesuits as the most effective agency of the Catholic Church, feared and admired in equal measures. Even after a stroke left him paralysed at the age of 70 he continued to preach and wrote for another eight years until his death.

Canisius was beatified in 1864 and canonized in 1925. He is buried in the grounds of the Jesuit college in Fribourg.

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O Soleil levant, splendeur de justice et lumière éternelle, illumine ceux qui habitent les ténèbres et l’ombre de la mort : viens, Seigneur, viens nous sauver.

    O Radiant Dawn, splendour of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Meet the Church’s Newest Saint: PierreFavre—Feast August 2

Peter Faber (Favre) was St. Ignatius Loyola's first recruit. He was born on April 13, 1506, in the village of Villaret, Savoy. As a youth he shepherded his father's flock on the high pastures of the Alps and had no other education than what one receives at home. He was endowed, however, with an extraordinary memory; he could hear a sermon in the morning and then repeat it verbatim in the afternoon for his friends. He longed to go to school, but his family was too poor, and years later he wrote in his Memorial that in his sadness at not being able to study, he wept himself to sleep every night.

Peter's parents heard his weeping and finally acquiesced to his wishes and sent him in 1516 to a small school operated by the parish priest seven miles away. The 10-year-old quickly learned to read and write and the following year went to La Roche, a dozen miles away, where he remained until he went to the University of Paris in 1525.

Peter arrived in the French capital about October of that year and resided at the College of Sainte-Barbe, where his roommate was Francis Xavier. Francis had just come from Navarre and was the same age as Peter. Both gave themselves to their studies, beginning with philosophy and advancing to theology. In October 1529, they accepted another roommate, Ignatius Loyola, who had been in Paris for over a year, and of whom it was said that whoever came into contact with him invariably changed for the better.

Ignatius had difficulties with Greek so Peter tutored him in Aristotle. While Peter served as Ignatius' guide in academic matters, Ignatius served as Peter's guide in spiritual matters. Now in his mid-twenties, Peter was still undecided about his future. Should he be a lawyer? A teacher? A priest? A monk? It was while living in Paris that he learned of Ignatius' plan to follow Christ. This was what Peter needed to give direction to his life. Under Ignatius' influence he decided to become a priest, and shortly before his ordination Ignatius led him through the Spiritual Exercises for a period of thirty days….

On August 15, 1534, the feast of our Lady's Assumption, Ignatius and his six companions met in the crypt of the Chapel of Saint-Denis on Montmartre, and while Fr. Faber celebrated Mass—he was the only priest among them—each pronounced his vows….

When Ignatius returned to Spain for a period of convalescence, Fr. Faber was left in charge of the group. They left Paris in November 1536 and arrived in Venice in January of the following year to find that Ignatius had arrived before them. While waiting for the sailing season to the Holy Land to open, they worked in two of the city's hospitals. In March Ignatius sent Fr. Faber and the others to Rome to request Pope Paul III's approval of their proposed journey. Though His Holiness readily granted their request, he at the same time informed them that it was unlikely that the group would get there, because war with the Turks seemed imminent. Fr. Faber and companions returned to Venice; since the pope's fears proved correct, he and Ignatius directed their steps toward Rome in November to offer their services to the pope. The pope responded by appointing Fr. Faber to Rome's Sapienza University, where he lectured on theology and Scripture until May 1539.

[After a stay in Parma, Fr. Faber] was instructed to accompany Dr. Pedro Ortiz, Emperor Charles V's representative to the religious colloquy to be held between Catholics and Protestants at Worms in Germany. They arrived in Worms in late October, and though it was a Lutheran city Fr. Faber set about preaching, hearing confessions, and giving the Exercises. The colloquy was late in starting and when it did begin on January 14, 1541, it lasted only four days, for the emperor then transferred it to Ratisbon (today's Regensburg). Fr. Faber moved to Ratisbon in February and spent the next six months working among the Catholic faithful there. He was not directly involved in the theological discussions, but he followed them closely and sent letters to Fr. Ignatius describing the events taking place in the city.

Fr. Faber had more requests from priests, prelates, and princes to make the Spiritual Exercises than he himself could handle, and he wrote Fr. Ignatius that there was enough work in Ratisbon for ten more Jesuits. The colloquy's momentum, unfortunately, began to slow down and when it came time to discuss the Eucharist and Christ's real presence, a point bitterly disputed among the participants, the colloquy collapsed and the emperor's fond hope of unifying the Catholics and Protestants met a sad end….

In July 1544 Fr. Faber was assigned to Portugal at the request of King John III, who wanted him to pursue establishing the Society in that country. Fr. Faber spent the next two years in Portugal and Spain. Then in the spring of 1546, Pope Paul appointed him one of the papal theologians at the ecumenical council being held at Trent. Fr. Faber again had to set about traveling, but his health was greatly weakened from the frequent bouts of fever that he had suffered over the past years. He wanted to visit Fr. Ignatius before going to Trent in northern Italy so he sailed from Barcelona and made his way to Rome, arriving on July 17. He had not seen Ignatius for seven years and their greeting was as warm as the Italian sun above them. Before Fr. Faber had a chance to set out for Trent, the fever again attacked him.

Though only 40 years old, he knew that his end was coming and waited for it peacefully. On July 31 he made his confession, and on the morning of August 1 he heard Mass and received the last sacraments. That afternoon, while in the company of Fr. Ignatius, the gentle Fr. Faber went to God in the company of the angels to whom he was singularly devoted. Fr. Faber was buried in the church of Our Lady of the Way in Rome, but when the church of the Gesù was being erected in 1569 on the site of the former church, Fr. Faber’s remains and those of other early Jesuits were reinterred.

On September 5, 1872, Pope Pius IX, acknowledging the cult that had been paid to Peter Faber in his native Savoy, confirmed it by apostolic decree and declared that he was among the blessed in heaven. Pope Francis announced the canonization of Peter Faber on December 17, 2013. Peter Faber’s memorial is celebrated on August 2.


Father, Lord of heaven and earth, who revealed yourself to Peter Faber, your humble servant, in prayer and in the service of his neighbour, grant that we may find you and love you in everything and in every person. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

by Joseph N. Tylenda, SJ—Jesuit Saints and Martyrs, 2nd Edition © 1998 Loyola Press

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ordinariate Priestly Ordinations in Ottawa's Notre Dame Cathedral

Opening Remarks at the Ordination of Ordinariate Priests
Bryan Kipling Cooper, Douglas Hayman, John Hodgins, James Tilley
Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, Ottawa, ON
Feast of St John of the Cross—December 14, 2013

It is my honour to preside at today’s ordination and to extend a warm welcome all who have come to Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica this morning.

It is a pleasure to welcome back to our midst Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, who exercises oversight of a far-flung diocese embracing the United States and Canada. He will give the homily.

Regrettably, Father Lee Kenyon of Calgary, Dean of the Canadian Deanery of St. John the Baptist, cannot be with us due to a recent fall; Father Carl Reid will exercise his role in witnessing to the suitability for Holy Orders of Bryan Kipling Cooper, Douglas Hayman, John Hodgins and James Tilley.

These married men, who are accompanied by their wives and family members, have been granted permission by Pope Francis to exercise the priestly office in the married state.

Today, the church’s liturgy commemorates the Carmelite priest and doctor of the Church, John of the Cross. Most of his life he experienced the grace he prayed for: “to suffer and to be despised.” Toward the end of his life, even his adversaries acknowledged his sanctity. The basic idea behind his mysticism is that the soul must empty itself of self in order to be filled with God, that it must be purified of the last traces of earthliness before it is fit to become united with God. The “Dark Night” is a period of heavy trials where God perfects the soul.

Kipling, Douglas, John and James, my sons, your lives have been ones of commitment and patient witness as your credentials were studied, your competencies honed and your commitment tested. Clearly, your formation and ministry in the Anglican tradition have provided you solid spiritual bedrock on which you have been shaping your lives since you entered into full Communion with the Roman Catholic Church. You are witnesses to Christ and to the truths of Catholic Christianity–often at a cost to yourselves.

Coming into communion with the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate, you bring with you the spiritual patrimony of the Anglican Church. Now, your ministry will extend to strengthening bonds of friendship and communion between the Catholic Church and ecclesial communities of the Anglican and other Christian traditions.

St Ignatius of Antioch in writing to Blessed Polycarp outlined your task: “Be preoccupied about unity, for nothing is better than this. Help others along, as the Lord helps you. Bear with all out of love, as indeed you do. Find time for unceasing prayer. Ask for more wisdom than you have. Keep your spirit awake and watch.”

We ask God’s blessing on you, your families and the varied ministries you will exercise. May Our Lord bless you abundantly and Blessed Mother Mary intercede for you. Joyfully, I propose that we remember one another at the altar of the Lord.

[Photo credit: Deborah Gyapong]

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Queen of America!

O Virgin of Guadalupe,

Mother of the Americas,

grant to our homes the grace of loving

and respecting life in its beginnings,

with the same love with which

you conceived in your womb

the life of the Son of God.

Blessed Virgin Mary,

Mother of Fair Love,

protect our families so that

they may always be united

and bless the upbringing of our children.

Our hope, look upon us with pity,

teach is to go continually to Jesus,

and if we fall

help us to rise again and return to Him

through the confession of our faults

and our sins in the Sacrament of penance,

which gives peace to the soul.

We beg you to grant us a great love

of all the holy Sacraments,

which are, as it were,

the signs that your Son left us on earth.

Thus, Most Holy Mother,

with the peace of God in our consciences,

with our hearts free from evil and hatred,

we will be able to bring to all others

true joy and peace,

which come to us from your Son,

our Lord Jesus Christ,

who with the Father and the Holy Spirit,

lives and reigns for ever and ever.


- (Pope John Paul II.)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Today's Saint Calls Us to Pray for Syria - Movie on Mary This Friday

This article from Saint of the Week at the Catholic Herald  telling us of today's optional memorial of St. John of Damascus, doctor of the Church, reminds us to keep the people of Syria, particularly Christians there, in our thoughts and prayers.  Let us continue to pray for peace in this war-torn land:

Iohannes Damascenus, or Yuḥannā Al Demashqi, also known as the “golden speaker” (literally “streaming with a gold”) for his ability to write and argue, was a Syrian monk who made a crucial difference to the Church and without whom Eastern Orthodoxy might not have retained its attachment and beauty.

Born in 675 or 676 in the Syrian capital into a prominent family, the Mansour, his grandfather Mansur Bin Sargun had surrended the city to the Muslims, but Damascus continued to be effectively run by a Christian civil service for hundreds of years, and John’s father Sergius served the caliphs, as did John after him. One of the great polymaths of the age, John had particular skill in law, theology and music, writing hymns that are still used in Orthodox liturgy. Revered across Christendom, the Orthodox Church refers to him as “the last of the Fathers” while the Catholic Church regards him as a Doctor of the Church, in particular, the Doctor of the Assumption because of his writings on that subject.

Syria had been the land where followers of Jesus first called themselves Christian and it was steeped in the Hellenistic culture in which the faith developed.

His learned father had insisted that John “learn not only the books of the Muslims, but those of the Greeks as well” and he grew up at least partly speaking Greek, and earning a Hellenic education. His tutor may have been Cosmas, a Sicilian Greek kidnapped by Arabs, although the biography is sketchy, and Cosmas probably also taught John’s childhood friend, St Cosmas of Maiuma,

John grew up to become a major opponent of the iconoclasts, then gaining ground in the court of Constantinople. In 726 Emperor Leo III ordered that images should not be venerated, against the wishes of the patriarch, and St John undertook a defence of holy images, gaining a reputation as a writer and influencing the Second Council of Nicaea.

John left Damascus in his 40s to become a monk, partly due to the increasingly Islamic atmosphere of Damascus, and he died in Palestine on December 4, 749, at the Mar Saba monastery outside Jerusalem.

He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Leo XIII in 1883.

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New motion picture on Saint Mary's life to play
at the Ottawa Family Cinema on Friday evening
On Friday, December 6 at 7 pm, the Archdiocese of Ottawa and the Ottawa Family Cinema will be showing the new motion picture Mary of Nazareth at the Ottawa Family Cinema, 710 Broadview Avenue, Ottawa. This true story uses a historic backdrop to tell the story of Saint Mary – the mother of Jesus; one of the Church’s most beloved and well-known saints.
Its message is as timely today as when Jesus was born. It is the story of one who’s simple and humble “yes” led to the transformation of the world, who’s heart was pierced as with a sword and who was welcomed into heaven.
For tickets – $8 in advance or $10 at the door, or $6 in advance for Ottawa Family Cinema members or $8 at the door for members – visit or call the cinema at 613-722-8218. For more information, contact Ted Hurley at or call him at the Diocesan Centre at 613-738-5025, ext. 231.