Saturday, November 21, 2009

New Bishop for Antigonish - The Presentation of Mary - Planning the 90th CWL National Convention

Most Reverend Brian Dunn (left), named today Ninth Bishop of Antigonish, on the day of his episcopal ordination (October 9, 2008) in Grand Falls, NL as auxiliary bishop to Bishop Jean-Louis Plouffe of the Diocese of Sault Sainte Marie (right).

Pope Benedict XVI today moved to fill quickly the vacancy in the Diocese of Antigonish, Nova Scotia created by the sudden resignation in scandalous circumstances of Bishop Raymond Lahey on September 26.

Bishop Brian Dunn, 54, was born in St. John’s, NL and received a Master of Divinity degree from St. Peter’s Seminary, University of Western Ontario. Ordained to the priesthood in 1980, he has received a Licentate degree and Doctorate in Canon Law from Saint Paul University, Ottawa and the University of Ottawa. In 1996, he completed a Masters in Theology at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

Father Dunn's priestly ministry in his home diocese included service in Grand Falls-Windsor, St. Brendan’s, Harbour Breton, Holyrood and Harbour Main; he has also been extensively involved in teaching and lecturing at Halifax's Atlantic School of Theology, Saint Paul University and St. Peter’s Seminary.

On his nomination, I told Bishop Dunn how helpful serving as an auxiliary can be in learning the ropes, as it were, of episcopal ministry. Just last month he told me how much he enjoyed his meetings with the people in the English sector of the Sault diocese, especially carrying out the Episcopal Visitation. Little did he know how soon he would be asked to take on a difficult challenge! However, he has a wonderful disposition that fits him well for what lies ahead.

Ad multos annos, Bishop Brian!

May Our Blessed Mother Mary, whose Presentation in the Temple we celebrate today, intercede with her Son to obtain for him ghe many graces he will need to help with the healing and renewal of the Roman Catholic community on Cape Breton Island and in the mainland counties of Antigonish, Guysborough and Pictou.

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Mary's Dedication to God's Service

Today the Church celebrates the memorial of the Presentation of Mary. The three feasts of the birthday of Our Lady, the holy Name of Mary and her Presentation in the Temple correspond in the Marian cycle with the first three feasts of the cycle of feasts of our Lord: namely, Christmas, the Holy Name of Jesus, and His Presentation in the Temple (February 2).

"Sacred Scripture contains no text concerning the event commemorated in today's liturgy. For something of a historical background one may consult the apocryphal works, particularly the Protoevangel of St. James (ch. 4:1ff).

"After an angel had revealed her pregnancy, Anna is said to have vowed her future child Mary to the Lord. Soon after birth the infant was brought to the sacred precincts at which only the best of Israel's daughters were admitted. At the age of three she was transferred to the temple proper (7:2). According to legend, here she was reared like a dove and received her nourishment from the hand of an angel (8:1).

"In the East, where the feast, celebrated since the eighth century, is kept as a public holiday, it bears the name, 'The Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple'. It was introduced at Rome by a Cypriotic legate to the papal court of Avignon in 1371. In 1472, Sixtus IV extended its observance to the whole Church. Abolished by Pius V, it was reintroduced some years later (1585)."

Excerpted from Pius Parsch, The Church's Year of Grace

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For God and Country: When I went to Halifax as archbishop in 1998, one of my first acts was to meet with representatives of the Catholic Women's League of Canada (CWL) who asked for my authorization to bid for the National Convention in August 2006. I was happy to oblige even though it seemed so far off.

It arrived before we knew it and it was a wonderful celebration of the zeal and energy of these women of God, so devoted to their country and all that contributes to life, family and society. We get some sense of what they are about from their Mission Statement on the CWL website:

The Catholic Women's League of Canada is a national organization rooted in gospel values calling its members to holiness through service to the people of God. The CWL offers women an opportunity for Faith, Fun and Fulfilment in the service of God and Canada.

As it turned out, the three Nova Scotia dioceses acted as hosts (putting it on is quite a challenge!) We all had a grand time, as one also does at annual conventions at the diocesan and provincial levels.

On my arrival in the Ottawa Archdiocese, I was delighted to learn that hosting the convention was in the works: this time for the 90th Anniversary of the CWL's establishment from August 8-11, 2010.

A couple of days before the convention formally begins, I will host the fifty or so leaders to a reception in my residence.

Two of the local planning representatives came by to visit with me yesterday: Colleen Randall and Diane Curley, who have made arrangements for the convention to be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

In our meeting, we agreed on some liturgical issues: that the Opening Mass would be celebrated at St. Patrick's Basilica (rather than in the cathedral, due to Sunday Mass schedules), with the closing liturgy to take place at Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica on Wednesday, August 11.

From all I have heard, it promises to be a great convention.... All CWL members, spiritual advisors, bishops are invited to attend!

Colleen Randall (left) and Diane Curley (right); note the 90th Anniversary pin I am sporting on my left lapel

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