Tuesday, October 13, 2009

101-Year Old Priest Dies - Benemerenti Medal Awarded - Dead Sea Scrolls and Ten Commandments

The oldest priest living in the Archdiocese of Ottawa, Pere Henri-Marie Guidon, S.M.M. died on Thursday, October 8 in his 102nd year, after 83 years of religious life with the Montfort Fathers and 77 years in the priesthood.

From the obituary published in Le Droit:

Le Père Guindon est né le 23 janvier 1908, à Plaisance (QC). Ses activités pastorales furent nombreuses et à l'échelle mondiale, soit au Canada, ou en Amérique du Sud, soit à Rome. Durant une période de 12 ans, il fut Secrétaire à la Nonciature Apostolique (Ottawa).

Il laisse le souvenir d'un apôtre marial comme prédicateur de renom, comme conférencier recherché, et comme écrivain prolifique. Pendant une quinzaine d'années, il s'est dévoué comme prédicateur et animateur à la Grotte Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes (Vanier), à Ottawa.

En plus de ses confrères montfortains et de sa parenté, il laisse dans le deuil Madame Jacqueline Nadeau qui, avec grand dévouement, prenait soin de notre confrère.

Que Notre Dame, qu'il a si bien servie, le présente à son divin Fils.

There will be visitation an hour before the funeral, scheduled at Notre Dame de Lourdes (Vanier) on Wednesday, October 13 at 11 AM. R.I.P.

* * * * * *


At last Friday's Catholic Community Day celebration by the Ottawa Catholic School Board, I announced to the more than three thousand teachers, administrators and support staff that Pope Benedict XVI had awarded the Benemerenti Medal to Jamie McCracken, the School Board's Director for the last seven years (who has announced his retirement at the end of this school year) for distinguished service to Catholic Education in the Archdiocese.


An exhibition of unparalleled significance, Dead Sea Scrolls showcases one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century.

Discovered in between 1947 and 1956 by Bedouin goat-herders in a series of caves off the north-western shore of the Dead Sea, the Scrolls were authored between 200 BCE and 68 CE. Over 900 separate documents were unearthed, pieced together from over 100,000 scroll fragments.

Among these ancient manuscripts are the oldest-known copies of the Hebrew Bible, hymns, prayers and other important writings. They are a link to the ancient Middle East and to the birth of Judaism and Christianity. Over 200 biblical manuscripts are more than a thousand years older than any previously known copies of the Hebrew Bible. The Dead Sea Scrolls have enabled scholars to understand the textual history of the Bible and have provided new information on theological debates at the dawn of Judaism and Christianity.

Created by the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Royal Ontario Museum, Dead Sea Scrolls unearths the intriguing tale of their discovery, examines the environment in which they were found and explores the science and technology which helped to decipher them. The exhibition also paints an extraordinary picture of this period in history through artefacts, multi-media and much more.

Photo left: Book of War, 20-50 CE in Hebrew, discovered in Cave 11 in 1956. Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority, photographs Tsila Sagiv & Clara Amit.

Last week, during the Ontario Bishops' Meeting several of us used Wednesday afternoon's free period to take in the Royal Ontario Museum's exhibition on the Dead Sea Scrolls (it opened on June 27, 2009 and runs through January 3, 2010).

This week, there is a special viewing of the Deuteronomy scroll with the Ten Commandments, available for only 80 hours of viewing and which will elicit a great of commentary. All to the good I would say. I recall the only time I taught a university course on the Old Testament, when we came to the Decalogue, the whole class could only come up with nine of the ten--the missing one was the prohibition against adultery!

The ways of numbering of the Ten Commandments is itself complicated.

The phrase "Ten Commandments" is generally used to refer to similar passages in Exodus 20:2–17 and Deuteronomy 5:6–21.

Some scholars distinguish between this "Ethical Decalogue" and a different series of ten commandments in Exodus 34:11–27 that they call the "Ritual Decalogue". Although Exodus 34 contains ten imperative statements, the passages in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 contain fourteen or fifteen.

However, the Bible assigns the count of ten to both lists.

Various denominations divide these statements into ten in different ways, and may also translate the Commandments differently.

Abbreviated Catholic Ten Commandments:

1.I, the Lord, am your God. You shall not have other gods besides me.
2.You shall not take the name of the Lord God in vain
3.Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day
4.Honor your father and your mother
5.You shall not kill
6.You shall not commit adultery
7.You shall not steal
8.You shall not bear false witness
9.You shall not covet your neighbor's wife
10.You shall not covet your neighbor's goods

Abbreviated Protestant Ten Commandments:

1.You shall have no other gods but me.
2.You shall not make unto you any graven images
3.You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain
4.You shall remember the Sabbath and keep it holy
5.Honor your mother and father
6.You shall not murder
7.You shall not commit adultery
8.You shall not steal
9.You shall not bear false witness
10.You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbor

Lots to think about here! Though admission is a bit on the pricey side, the exhibition is well worth a morning or afternoon of exploration.

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