CATHEDRAL BASILICA OF NOTRE-DAME, OTTAWA, ON
The Episcopal Ordination of
Most Reverend Scott McCaig, CC
Most Reverend Scott McCaig, CC
Feast of the Visitation
of the Blessed Virgin Mary—May 31, 2016
of the Blessed Virgin Mary—May 31, 2016
[Texts: Zephaniah 3.14–18 (Isaiah 12); Ephesians 6.10–20; Luke 1.39–56]
Chers frères et sœurs dans le Seigneur, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
Yesterday, the United States observed Memorial Day. Americans remembered military personnel who died for their country’s security. The story of a priest-chaplain who was injured in Mosul, Iraq while accompanying his men befits our gathering this evening.
Lt. Col. Father Timothy Vakoc passed away in June 2009 after being grievously hurt by a roadside bomb in 2004 just after saying Mass. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and lost his left eye. For five years, he lapsed into comas and suffered numerous infections.
Father Tim was known for his ministry of intentional presence to fellow soldiers, and, after the attack, his witness to the value of human life, his prayer, and his ministry to a community who cared for him. Father Tim once wrote, “The safest place for me to be is in the center of God’s will, and if that is in the line of fire, that is where I will be.”
This military chaplain’s heroism reflects the heart of the Gospel. The disciple is willing to lay down his life for his brothers. He lives the mystery of the Cross.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the promulgation of the Apostolic Constitution Spirituali Militum Curae (“On the Spiritual Care of Soldiers”), which led to the creation of the Military Ordinariate in Canada. This has mandated a full-time bishop to assist chaplains in their mission to military personnel and their families. The bishop stays in touch with the spiritual health of his chaplains. He energizes and encourages them in difficult times.
The Military Ordinary plays a key role in nurturing the vocation of each chaplain. Pope Francis continually reminds us that this vocation must take precedence over a military career. The Padres—as military chaplains are known—must be witnesses to the joy of the Gospel. These men and women build bridges and foster dialogue by embodying divine mercy. The Holy Father challenges us to grasp this truth ever more profoundly in this Jubilee Year of Mercy.
At the time of his nomination, Bishop McCaig favoured today for his episcopal ordination. He was drawn to this feast day of Our Blessed Mother Mary’s Visitation, the last day that crowns the month that the Church devotes to her.
Marian devotion inspires many virtues. The Visitation illustrates Mary’s selflessness. In her womb, Mary brought Jesus, the Saviour of the world, to Elizabeth pregnant with John the Baptist, so that they might taste the joy of meeting their Lord.
Finally, in this gospel passage, the Holy Spirit compels Mary to praise God’s marvels. This is a powerful model for Bishop Scott, who for years before his ordination has prayed this praise of God at Vespers.
Je viens de décrire les idéaux de l’aumônier et de l’Ordinariat militaire. Cependant, quelle vision apporte le nouvel Évêque militaire, Mgr Scott McCaig ? Notons qu’il a été pendant dix ans Modérateur d’une société de vie apostolique de prêtres, les Companions of the Cross.
La seconde lecture (Éphésiens 6, 10-20), proclamée il y a quelques instants et choisie par Mgr McCaig, nous donne de saisir en peu mieux le charisme des Compagnons de la Croix.
Paul, dans son Épître aux Éphésiens, transmet plusieurs exhortations qui font appel non seulement aux habits du soldat de Christ, mais surtout à l’unité d’esprit et de cœur qui lie les disciples de Jésus dans la paix.
Les prêtres qui proclament la Parole de Dieu, comme le font les Compagnons de la Croix, vivent de la grâce de Dieu. Engagés dans la mission, au cœur de l’Église, ils se laissent orienter par le point de repère qu’est l’Esprit Saint et par le Christ qu’ils adorent dans le Saint-Sacrement.
De plus, la fidélité des Compagnons de la Croix repose sur cinq autres piliers. Ils doivent, entre autre, se laisser guider par la gloire émanant de Marie, l’ « Épouse de l’Esprit » et brillante étoile de la nouvelle évangélisation. Ils sont aussi inspirés par la sagesse spirituelle des énoncés et des écrits de leur fondateur, le Père Bob Bedard. Il est renommé pour cette maxime « Give God Permission », « Accordez la permission à Dieu ».
Ils exercent leur ministère, fidèles au Magistère de l’Église. Ils s’attachent particulièrement au successeur de Pierre duquel les sages conseils concernant la vie sacerdotale les interpellent. En même temps, les Compagnons conservent un rapport étroit avec les évêques. Les évêques assurent la succession apostolique et établissent la direction et l’orientation dans leur ministère.
Zephaniah’s appeal to “Daughter of Zion” we believe is fulfilled in Mary. Her prayer echoes the prophet’s message of a world of peace, of overturning worldly expectations, and of God’s abundant blessings on the poor and the needy. The “poor” include all the “little ones” who live on the margins of Church and society. God exalts the Native peoples; the urban and rural indigent; prisoners; the mentally ill; the homebound infirm and elderly; and the veterans who suffer from PTSD, some of whom are homeless.
Bishop Scott chose Juxta crucem cum Maria (“Near the Cross with Mary”) as his episcopal motto. He notes that Mary’s Magnificat includes the paradox of the Cross. The Cross is the means to the fullness of life and joy with God. Blessed Mother Teresa exhorted us to stand with Our Lady near the Cross. Our new bishop trusts that Mary will give her children “her spirit of loving trust, total surrender, and cheerfulness.”
So, dear brothers and sisters, with these thoughts in mind, let us consider carefully the nature of the rank in the Church to which our brother Scott McCaig is about to be raised.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, who was sent by the Father to redeem the human race, in turn sent twelve Apostles into the world. They were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, to preach the Gospel, and to sanctify and govern all the peoples gathered into one flock. Moreover, that this office might remain to the end of time, the Apostles chose helpers for themselves.
Through the laying on of hands, by which the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders is conferred, they handed on to their successors the gift of the Holy Spirit, which they had received from Christ. In that way, the tradition handed down from the beginning through the unbroken succession of Bishops is preserved from generation to generation, and the work of the Saviour continues and grows even to our own times.
In the Bishop surrounded by his Priests, our Lord Jesus Christ himself, having become High Priest forever, is present among you. For, through the ministry of the Bishop, Christ himself never fails to proclaim the Gospel and to administer the sacraments of faith to those who believe.
Through the Bishop's exercise of his duty as father, Christ himself adds new members to his Body. Through the Bishop's wisdom and prudence, it is Christ who leads you in your earthly pilgrimage toward eternal happiness.
Gladly and gratefully, therefore, welcome our brother whom we, the Bishops, now admit into our college by the laying on of hands. Revere him as a minister of Christ and a steward of the mysteries of God. He has been entrusted with the task of bearing witness to the truth of the Gospel, and with the ministry of the Spirit and of justice. Remember the words Christ spoke to the Apostles: “Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me”.
And now, dear brother Scott, who have been chosen by the Lord, consider that you are chosen from among men and appointed on their behalf for those things that pertain to God. The title of Bishop is one of service, not of honour, and therefore a Bishop should strive to benefit others rather than lord it over them. Such is the precept of the Master: the greater should behave as the least and the ruler as the servant.
As has been your custom on mission trips, brother Scott, preach the word in season and out of season; reprove with all patience and sound teaching. As you pray and offer sacrifice for the people committed to your care, devote yourself wholeheartedly to seeking every kind of grace for them from the fullness of Christ's holiness.
In the Church entrusted to you, be a faithful steward, moderator, and guardian of the mysteries of Christ. Since you are chosen by the Father to rule over his family, be mindful always of the Good Shepherd, who knows his sheep and is known by them, and who did not hesitate to lay down his life for them.
Exhort the faithful to work with you in your apostolic labour; do not refuse to listen willingly to them. Never relax your concern for those not yet gathered into the one fold of Christ; they too are entrusted to you in the Lord. Never forget that you are joined to the College of Bishops in the Catholic Church made one by the bond of charity and therefore you should have a constant concern for all the Churches and gladly come to the support of Churches in need.
And so, keep watch over the whole flock, in which the Holy Spirit appoints you to govern the Church of God: in the name of the Father, whose image you represent in the Church; and in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, whose office of Teacher, Priest, and Shepherd you will discharge; and in the name of the Holy Spirit, who gives life to the Church of Christ and by his power strengthens us in our weakness.