Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mass for Parliamentarians; Remembering Fr. Brian Massie, S.J.

Sean O'Sullivan was one of the youngest MPs ever elected to the House of Commons and a great supporter of former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. Later, after several terms in Parliament, he sensed God calling him to the priesthood and studied at the Beda College in Rome.

Cardinal Gerald Emmett Carter ordained him a priest and named him Director of Vocations, encouraging him in the establishment of Serra House, Toronto's discernment house for men contemplating serving in the priesthood.

Father Sean was also responsible for a widely-noticed promotion of the priesthood, with large billboards showing the Crucified Lord Jesus whose cross towered over Toronto and Christ's invitation, "Dare to Be a Priest Like Me!"

Father O'Sullivan wrote his biography (Both My Houses) about serving in the House of Commons and the Lord's House In it he wrote how a major demand of his accepting a call to the pristhood was that of going to his former opponents and asking their pardon for any ways in which his total devotion to his party and principles had hurt them.

When he died a young man, his former colleagues determined to set aside a room for prayer and recollection for MPs and their staffs in the East Block, to allow for prayer for peace and reconciliation as part of the challenge of striving to serve the common good.

Today for the second time, I celebrated Mass for parliamentarians and staff members in the O'Sullivan Room. The altar bears the beaver on its front, testimony to his role in having the beaver designated an Canadian offical signal.

It is my hope that such opportunities to pray with our representatives will help foster the values of the faith embodied by Sean O'Sullivan in his service to his country and his God.

Later in the day I flew to the Toronto City Centre Airport to attend the Memorial Mass this evening at Our Lady of Lourdes Church for the repose of the soul of Father Brian R.H. ("Buzz") Massie, my Jesuit ordination classmate.

The church was filled with family members and associates from Brebeuf College School, Camp Ekon, Our Lady of Lourdes, fellow Jesuits and former Jesuit members, whose lives were touched by Fr. Brian.

The presider was Jesuit Provincial Father James (Jim) Webb who had worked with him at Brebeuf and in Jamaica, and the homilist was Father Peter McIsaac, Superior of Jamaica's Jesuits and Pastor of St. Anne's Church in Kingston. He spoke movingly and with humour of Buzz's ability to allow the power of Christ to work through him and his weaknesses to heal, strengthen and encourage others.

At the close of the Mass, I was invited to share a few remembrances of Buzz from the time we were in high school together in Montreal (1957-60) and teaching there (67-68), our years in the novitiate and juniorate (61-64) and in theology (1969-73) when we shared so much in the classroom, at the bridgetable, in the chapel, in ministry to youth. Finally, I recalled our final meeting in Winnipeg in February of this year.

May he rest in peace, and may his family and friends be comforted in their loss.

1 comment:

  1. the mass with the MPs is beautiful and renews in the the knowledge of the need to pray for the work they do! thank you sharing that with us.