Tuesday, September 8, 2009

THE NATIVITY OF MARY; A Quarter Century since Canada's First Papal Visit; New Pastor at St. Anthony's, New Rector at St. Patrick's Basilica

The Nativity of the Virgin Mary by Pietro Cavallini (1250-c.1330; active 1273-1308), Italian painter and mosaic designer, engaged mainly in Rome, where he must have been the leading artist of his day. His two major surviving works are mosaics of the Life of the Virgin (Santa Maria in Trastevere, signed and dated 1291) and a fragmentary fresco cycle, the most important part of which is a Last Judgement (Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome).

Nine months ago, Mary was immaculately conceived in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, by her father St. Joachim.

The Feast of that Immaculate Conception, 8 December, is a much greater Feast than today's; but we recall Mary's birthday, too--the birth of the woman destined by God from the beginning of time to be born of the House of David and the Tribe of Judah, the women whose enmity toward Satan was spoken of as far back as Genesis, the woman whom St. John saw crowned with stars and with the moon at her feet, the woman whom God chose to bear His Son and bring life to the world.

With today's Feast, the line between the Old and New Testaments has been crossed; the New Covenant is imminent!

Today's Feast is one of the only three birthdays honored in the liturgical year (the others being that of St. John the Baptist and that of Jesus Christ Himself, all three born without original sin, though only Mary and Jesus were free from sin at the moments of their conceptions).

We know little about Mary's birth and youth, most of our information coming from the apocryphal Gospel of the Nativity of Mary (translated from the Hebrew by St. Jerome, A.D. 340-420), the Protevangelium of St. James (dated to ca. A.D. 125), and the visions of various mystics through the years.

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This is the stone marker erected in Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica after Pope John Paul's Pastoral Visit to Canada September 9-20, 1984, notably his stay in Ottawa at the end of that voyage, September 19-20.

There are markers like it all over Canada. In the next twelve days, brief excerpts from some of the late Holy Father's addresses during that stay will, it is hoped, recapture the beauty and joy of his presence among us.

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New Parish Leaders

On Saturday, I presided at the installation of Father Javier Ramirez, O.S.M., a native of Colombia, as the new pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish for the Italian Faithful (at Booth and Gladstone [Via Marconi]).

Some photos of the event:

In the sacristy after the Mass; Father Ramirez is in the centre with the blue clerical shirt.

In the hall for refreshments: what an array of choices!

A parishioner with Msgr. Luca LoRusso from the Nunciature, who helps out regularly at Sunday Mass.

Some photos from the installation at the Sunday, 12:15 Mass of Father Richard Siok as Rector of St. Patrick's Basilica (on Kent between Nepean and Gloucester):

Father Siok touches the Book of the Gospels as he completes his Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity before his installation as Rector of St. Patrick's Basilica

Following the formalities of the installation rite at the beginning of Mass, the congregation rejoices in singing the Gloria

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