Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Archbishop Ventura to be Nuncio in France - The Servants of the Cross Renew Their Promises - Photos from PEI


Il Santo Padre Benedetto XVI ha nominato Nunzio Apostolico in Francia S.E. Mons. Luigi Ventura, Arcivescovo titolare di Equilio, finora Nunzio Apostolico in Canada.


This morning’s Vatican Information Service published the official notice of the nomination of Canada’s Apostolic Nuncio, Most Reverend Luigi Ventura, as the next Apostolic Nuncio to France, a widely-expected transfer that had been speculated on in the Catholic blogosphere since early summer.

Archbishop Ventura was named to Canada in June 2001, following earlier postings as Nuncio in Chile (1999-2001), Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Niger(1995-1999) and arrived in Ottawa on September 10, 2001, the eve of 9/11.

Since that time he has endeared himself to the bishops of Canada by his fraternal support, delightful candour and commitment to his ministry of representing the Holy Father and the Holy See among us. He has also been close to some of the new movements in the Church, such as but not limited to, Catholic Christian Outreach(CCO), Famille Marie-Jeunesse, Communion and Liberation (CL), Emmanuel and the Neo-Catechumenal Way.

Archbishop Ventura was the Nuncio for Toronto’s 17th World Youth Day in 2002 and was pleased to welcome Pope John Paul II to Canada on that occasion. He has a particular interest in the idealism and zeal of youth, so he was pleased to accept my invitations last October, while I attended the Synod of Bishops, to preside at the commissioning service for youthful missionaries of NET Canada and NET Ireland and to receive the renewal of their missionary commitment on CCO Foundation Day (October 18).

During his time in Ottawa, His Grace has overseen a complete retrofit of the Nunciature, which was badly in need of updating: water and heating, electrical currents, etc. The chapel has been refurbished and the grounds renewed. His successor—let us pray for the one whom the Lord has chosen—inherits an up-to-date physical plant.

We can be sure Archbishop Ventura will not miss Ottawa’s winters and snowfalls, but he will miss the geography he has become acquainted with and the people he has gotten to know as, over the years, he has assisted Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI in renewing the episcopacy of our country. His is quite an accomplishment: seventy nominations and transfers (with a few more in the pipeline) —all in the space of eight years!

I know I speak for many when I say we will miss him; certainly I shall. May the Lord bless and further his zeal for the Kingdom in service now to the Catholics of France, “the eldest daughter of the Church”.

May Our Lady intercede for him in his new mission.

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Last Tuesday evening, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, I was pleased to preside at the Eucharist at Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish, during which Stephanie Koch of Edmonton made her first promises as a member of the Servants of the Cross, an association of Christ’s faithful who aspire to become a religious community inspired by the charism and spirituality of the Companions of the Cross. As well Anna Chan, the foundress, and Monique Bisson, her associate, renewed their promises for another year.

Deacon Michael Schumacher of the Edmonton Archdiocese and a friend of Stephanie from their days at the John Paul II school of evangelization at Radway, AB (now closed) and recently ordained Companion of the Cross Deacon David Bergeron, CC assisted; many priests of the Companions of the Cross concelebrated the liturgy and many of the faithful attended to support this fledgling apostolic group.

On their website, the Servants of the Cross describe themselves as “committed to live and spread the message of evangelization as Fr. Bob Bedard, our Spiritual Father, envisions” it. That “message is simple: God loves us, and He sent His Son to die for our sins to prove it. He wants everyone to know it. In response, the Lord wants us to follow the Gospel, to choose to be in an intimate and close relationship with Him”.

Each woman in the community believes “the message of evangelization must be shared with others, with the world, and this is why we exist as a community. We have committed ourselves to this call”.

They look to Mary their Patroness for her assistance and intercession, striving “to remain close in relationship with her as she guides us in our vocations. We hear the call to be like Mary and we desire to abandon ourselves to her words, Do whatever He tells you. We seek to respond to this self-abandonment as our Mother did in her own fiat…so that by her perfect example, we too may have a servant's heart as we live out the spirituality of the Companions of the Cross.”

For more information on these remarkable women or to contact the foundress, Anna Chan, consult their website, www.servantsofthecross.ca.

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A warm Maritime welcome was given to new Charlottetown Bishop Richard J. Grecco and the family, brother priests and bishops who came for his installation ceremony in St. Dunstan's Cathedral Basilica. Herewith a selection of images of our arrival and the historic event of the installation of the diocese's 13th shepherd.

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