Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pope's Prayer Intentions for September 2009; 375th of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec

The following are Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for this month of September

General: Knowledge of God's Word That the word of God may be better known, welcomed and lived as the source of freedom and joy.

Missionary: Christians in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar That Christians in Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar, who often meet with great difficulties, may not be discouraged from announcing the Gospel to their brothers and sisters, trusting in the strength of the Holy Spirit.

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As the Ottawa priests drew near to Cap-de-la-Madeleine and the Shrine of Our Lady, they could not help noticing the many signs gracing the highways and various buildings drawing attention to the founding of Three Rivers/Trois Rivieres 375 years ago.

What I like about the logo is the way the number seven (often written by Europeans with a bar through it to distinguish it from the number one) reveals the cross planted by French settlers from earliest days.

The top of the seven becomes a torch giving light and hope for the future (a veiled image of the fire of the Holy Spirit?)

As I explore the streets around the basilica, the Catholic legacy is palpable (e.g. rue de la Madone, rue des Oblats, rue du Moulin-des-Jesuites, rue du Pere Castonguay, rue des Jesuites--all within a short five minute walk from rue Notre-Dame).

Let us pray that Our Lady, as the Star of the New Evangelization will intercede for us to find the way to the new evangelization, one that as Pope John Paul II suggested in "Ecclesia in America", would be new in its "ardor, methods and expression".

As the theme of the Synod preceding this Apostolic Exhortation indicated, the goal of all our pastoral activity should be to lead to an "Encounter with the Living Christ: the Way to Conversion, Communion and Soliarity in America"

A curiosity I came across touches on the origin of the name

Although Trois-Rivières was founded in 1634, its location was known to the French since 1535, when Jacques Cartier stopped here during a trip along the St. Lawrence and planted a cross on Île Saint-Quentin. It wasn't until 1599, however, that the name Trois-Rivières was first used by a geographer working for Champlain, Sieur Depont Gravé, who confirmed the name in 1603.

While navigating the river in the direction of Montreal, Sieur De Pont Gravé noticed a first tributary followed by a strip of land, then a second tributary followed by a strip of land, and finally a third tributary that he took to be a different river altogether. He was not yet aware that two large islands (Saint-Quentin and De La Poterie) divided the Saint-Maurice River into three branches at the spot where it flowed into the river.

The name Trois-Rivières was used over the years and became official in 1931. A major fur trading post during the first twenty-five years of its existence, Trois-Rivières was the cradle of a large number of voyageurs, explorers and coureurs des bois: Nicolet, Hertel, Godefroy, Radisson, des Groseillers, Boucher and Lavérendrye are the most famous of them.

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Some Images from the First Two Days of the Priests' Retreat

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