Thursday, July 16, 2009

Huntsville Parish; the G8 Next Year at Deerhurst; Death of Fr. Adrian Visscher, SCJ

Vacation time at Lake of Bays is quite leisurely, including a daily 9:30 Mass at St. Mary of the Assumption church in Huntsville. Over the years I have been coming this way, there have been a number of changes of the clergy here in the heart of the Muskoka tourist region, though the numbers are down this year (Pembroke Bishop Michael Mulhall served there on two occasions).

Currently, the pastor is Father Gerard McMahon, assisted by Father Stan Witczak. The one priest parish that includes missions of Blessed Kateri Tekakitha at Baysville and summer Masses at Dwight, now includes the missions of St. Patrick's Chapel at Kearney and Holy Spirit church in Burk's Falls.

Dropping in at the local barbershop this morning after Mass, I learned that the hottest event this summer is Friday night's Midnight Madness shopping extravaganza: merchants will fill the streets with their wares from 6pm-midnight and young people who have gone away to study will be welcomed home.

There is hope that next year's G-8 Summit (June 25-27, 2010) at nearby Deerhurst Lodge will bring an infusion of interest and renew visits from Americans who are now being discouraged by the requirement of a passport to cross the "longest undefended border in the world" (as it used to be known).

Even on vacation, news of the deaths of loved ones and associates enters one's life. Yesterday, I learned of the recent death of a cousin, Raymond Barone, 62, in St. Petersburg, Florida (a relative I had never met, though I am acquainted with his sisters Alice, Rita and Laurie though not his brother Frank--our family on my mother's side is widely-scattered across the southern USA).

Also news came of the death of a Sacred Heart Father Adrian Visscher, in Ottawa on July 14 (October 10, 1930 - July 14, 2009). Fr. Adrian made his first profession September 8, 1952 and was ordained a priest on July 21, 1957.

He came to Canada in 1961 from The Netherlands and was the Provincial Superior for the Anglo-Canadian Province from 1968 - 1974. From 1970 - 1994 he was professor at the Institute of Pastoral Studies at St. Paul University in Ottawa. From 1994 - 1999, he was the Director of Pastoral Services for the Children's Hospital in Eastern Ontario (CHEO).

A new side of Fr. Adrian emerged from his work with the children who were sick: he became a stained glass artist. He encouraged others to use this medium as an expression for their creativity and in the process a caring community of artists emerged.

Fr. Adrian was a natural born leader whose insightful, compassionate and decisive heart aligned him with those who were most vulnerable.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

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