Friday, December 31, 2010

December 31, "La Saint Sylvestre" - New Year's Eve: Miserere & Te Deum - Waugh on the Magi as Latecomers

Francophones know New Year's Eve as "Saint Sylvester's Day", after the saintly pope whose feast may be observed as an optional memorial this seventh day in the octave of Christmas.  This is the kind of image that comes up when one Googles "saint Sylvestre" in French:

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Here's the man who gave his name to the day and something about him:

Saint Sylvestre Ier Pape (33 ème) de 314 à 335 (+ 335)

Originaire de Rome, où il est prêtre, Sylvestre accède au pontificat en 314, à la suite du décès de son prédécesseur, Saint-Miltiade. L’empereur Constantin, qui règne alors sur l’empire d’Occident, lui apporte son soutien et sollicite même régulièrement ses conseils. Peu de temps après son élection, Sylvestre doit gérer le conflit avec les Donatistes et ce sont bientôt les disciples du prêtre Arius qui commencent à poser problème à Alexandrie, en Égypte. En 325, un important concile présidé par Constantin est convoqué à Nicée (Turquie).

Sylvestre y envoie deux légats (Victore et Vincent) et il aboutit à la condamnation de l’hérésie arienne. Durant le pontificat de Sylvestre, l’empereur Constantin fait bâtir plusieurs églises et/ou basiliques (+ 335) Saint-Sylvestre est inscrit au 2 janvier dans le calendrier d'Orient.

C'est sous son pontificat que Constantin fait édifier la basilique Saint-Jean de Latran, la basilique de Sainte-Croix de Jérusalem, la basilique de Saint-Paul hors les Murs, la basilique de Saint Laurent. Saint Silvestre intervient pour le mobilier liturgique, les ornements. Il aménagea les catacombes.

Il eût la tâche d'organiser l'Eglise dans une société enfin pacifiée. Il est un fait indéniable : il reste l'un des premiers confesseurs non martyrs dont le culte fut établi très tôt à Rome.

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These are the prayers for today's liturgical observance:

Almighty and ever-living God, who in the Nativity of your Son established the beginning and fulfilment of all religion, grant, we pray, that we may be numbered among those who belong to him in whom is the fullness of human salvation. Who lives and reigns with you.


Come, O Lord, to the help of your people, sustained by the intercession of Pope St. Sylvester, so that running the course of this present life under your guidance, we may happily attain life without end. Through our Lord.

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Today's scriptural readings at Mass constitute a playful reflection on this last day of the year and tomorrow's new beginnings: the first reading from the First Epistle of John begins, "Children, it is the last hour", while the Gospel from John's Prologue starts with "In the beginning"....

The custom followed in many places today (as with the Holy Father in St. Peter's Vatican Basilica) is to pray the Miserere (Psalm 51) in sorrow for the sins and failures of the past year and to sing, an ancient hymn equisitely explained last July 13 by Fr. Edward McNamara, LC (, the Te Deum in praise of the many blessings received and accomplished with the help of God's goodness and mercy in the past year and our hopes for the New Year: 


1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.
 Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit....

Te Deum laudamus....

We praise you O God,
we acknowledge you to be the Lord;
all the earth now worships you,
the Father everlasting.

To you all angels cry aloud,
the heavens and all the powers therein;
to you cherubim and seraphim
continually do cry:

Holy, holy, holy
holy Lord, God of Sabaoth,
heaven and earth are full of the
majesty of your glory.

The glorious company
of the apostles praise you,
the goodly fellowship
of the prophets praise you,
the noble army of martyrs praise you,
the holy Church throughout all the world
does acknowledge you:

the Father of an infinite majesty,
your adorable, true,
and only Son,
also the Holy Spirit, the counselor.

You are the King of glory, O Christ.
You are the everlasting Son of the Father.
When you took upon yourself
to deliver man,
you humbled yourself to be born of a virgin.

When you had overcome the sharpness of death,
you opened the kingdom
of heaven to all believers.

You sit at the right hand of God
in the glory of the Father.

We believe that you will come to be our judge.
We therefore pray you help your servants,
whom you have redeemed with your
precious blood.

Make them to be numbered
with your saints in glory everlasting.

O Lord save your people
and bless your heritage.
Govern them and lift them up forever.

Day by day we magnify you,
we worship your name,
world without end.

Vouchsafe, O Lord,
to keep us this day without sin.

O Lord have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us.
O Lord, let your mercy be upon us,
as our trust is in you.

O Lord, in you have I trusted,
let me never be confounded.

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The Origins of the Te Deum

The Te Deum, an ancient Latin hymn in rhythmical prose, is probably a compilation of three sources. In fact, there are triple rhythms and three distinct melodies within the one piece. In many ways it resembles another ancient liturgical prose hymn, the Gloria in Excelsis Deo.

The chant melodies are from pre-Gregorian and Gregorian styles. Polyphonic versions have been composed by, among others: G. Palestrina, G.F. Handel, Henry Purcell, Ralph Vaughan Williams, M.L. Cherubini, Benjamin Britten, H. Berlioz, A. Bruckner and A. Dvorak. Numerous English translations have been made, including one by the poet John Dryden (1631-1700). The popular "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name," originally a 1775 Lutheran hymn in German, is also based on the Te Deum.

We present the Latin version and the translation published in the 1975 Liturgy of the Hours. For the sake of clarity we have divided it into the three parts mentioned above.

"Te deum laudamus te dominum confitemur / Te aeternum patrem omnis terra veneratur / Tibi omnes angeli Tibi caeli et universae potestates / Tibi cherubim et seraphim incessabili voce proclamant / Sanctus sanctus sanctus dominus deus sabaoth / Pleni sunt celi et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae / Te gloriosus apostolorum chorus / Te prophetarum laudabilis numerus / Te martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus / Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur ecclesia / Patrem inmense maiestatis / Venerandum tuum verum unicum filium / Sanctum quoque paraclytum spiritum

"Tu rex gloriae christe / Tu patris sempiternus es filius / Tu ad liberandum suscepisti hominem non horruisti virginis uterum / Tu devicto mortis aculeo aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum / Tu ad dexteram dei sedes in gloria patris / Iudex crederis esse venturus / Te ergo quaesumus tuis famulis subveni quos pretioso sanguine redemisti / Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis gloria numerari

"Salvum fac populum tuum domine et benedic hereditati tuae / Et rege eos et extolle illos usque in aeternum / Per singulos dies benedicimus te / Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum et in saeculum saeculi / Dignare domine die isto, sine peccato nos custodire / Miserere nostri domine miserere nostri / Fiat misericordia tua domine super nos quemadmodum speravimus in te / In te domine speravi non confundar in aeternum"

"You are God: we praise you; You are the Lord: we acclaim you; / You are the eternal Father: All creation worships you./ To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, / Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: / Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might,/ heaven and earth are full of your glory./ The glorious company of apostles praise you./ The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. / The white-robed army of martyrs praises you. / Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you:/ Father, of majesty unbounded, / your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, / and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

"You, Christ, are the king of glory,/ the eternal Son of the Father./ When you became man to set us free / you did not spurn the Virgin's womb. / You overcame the sting of death, and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. / You are seated at God's right hand in glory./ We believe that you will come, and be our judge./ Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, / and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.

"Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance./ Govern and uphold them now and always./ Day by day we bless you./ We praise your name for ever. / Keep us today, Lord, from all sin. / Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy. / Lord, show us your love and mercy; / for we put our trust in you. / In you, Lord, is our hope: / And we shall never hope in vain."

As we mentioned, we are probably dealing with three distinct hymns in one. The first is directed toward the Father and ends with a Trinitarian doxology. It could be a rare survivor of the hymns that were popular before the Council of Nicaea in 325. There are probable references to this hymn in the writings of St. Cyprian of Carthage and in the Passion of St. Perpetua, which would make its composition earlier than the year 250.

The second part, entirely Christological, is evidently later and reflects the controversies surrounding the fourth-century Arian heresy. It is also the more-perfect composition faithfully respecting the rules of Latin rhetoric.

The third section is formed from a series of verses from the Psalms. It is possible that these were originally versicles added as a litany at the end of the hymn. Something similar happens today when we add the versicle "You gave them bread from heaven …" after the Tantum Ergo. Eventually this litany also became part of the hymn itself. Indeed, in the Milanese Ambrosian rite the Te Deum ends with the "Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis gloria [Munerari]." The present rubrics also allow this part to be omitted in the Roman rite.

There are many theories regarding the author, especially with respect to who composed the second part and added it to the older first part. The most likely candidate is Nicetas (circa 335-414), bishop of Remesiana, now Bela Palanka in present-day Serbia. This zealous missionary bishop's poetical talent was acknowledged by contemporaries such as St. Jerome and St. Paulinus of Nola, as well as Gennadius writing about 75 years later. Nicetas' authorship is attested by about 10 manuscripts, the earliest from the 10th century and mostly of Irish origin. It is likely that Ireland's isolation could have kept alive an older attribution, whereas in continental Europe the hymn was attributed to more famous names such as St. Hilary and St. Ambrose. A more detailed discussion of the question of authorship and translation of the text can be found in the online Catholic Encyclopedia.

The earliest evidence for the use of this hymn in the Divine Office is found in St. Caesarius of Arles in 502. St. Benedict (died 526) also prescribed it for his monks. The general rubrics of today's Divine Office direct the recitation of the Te Deum before the concluding prayer of the Office of Readings on all Sundays outside of Lent, during the octaves of Easter and Christmas, and on solemnities and feasts.

It is also common to sing the Te Deum as a hymn of thanksgiving to God on special religious and civil occasions. Religious occasions would be such as the election of a pope, the consecration of a bishop, the canonization of a saint, religious profession, and other significant occasions.

In many traditionally Catholic countries it is still common for civil authorities to assist at a special Te Deum on occasion of a royal coronation or presidential inauguration, for peace treaties and significant historical anniversaries. This tradition was sometimes ruled by strict protocol. For example, when General Charles de Gaulle triumphantly entered a liberated Paris during the Second World War the canons of Notre Dame Cathedral debated if the recognized French leader was also the legitimate head of state. The Te Deum could only be sung for the legitimate head of state, and the legal situation was confused. Therefore, when the general entered the cathedral the canons diplomatically received him by singing the Magnificat.

Finally, the Te Deum is traditionally sung on December 31 in thanksgiving for the year about to end. The Church grants a plenary indulgence to those who participate in public recitation of the Te Deum on this day.

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In preparation for Sunday's celebration of the Epiphany:
The Magi as Patrons of Latecomers

Giotto di Bondone (1266-1337), The Magi Doing Homage to the Christ Child (Cappella Scrovegni, Padova)

“You came at length to the final stage of your pilgrimage and the great star stood above you. What did you do? You stopped to call on King Herod. Deadly exchange of compliments in which there began that unended war of mobs and magistrates against the innocent!

“Yet you came and were not turned away. You too found room before the manger. Your gifts were not exactly needed, but they were accepted and put carefully by, for they were brought in love. In that new order of charity that had just come to life, there was room for you. You were not lower in the eyes of the holy family than the ox or the ass.

“You are my especial patrons... and patrons of all latecomers, of all who have a tedious journey to make to the truth, of all who are confused with knowledge and speculation, of all who through politeness make themselves partners in guilt, of all who stand in danger by reason of their talents… For His sake who did not reject your curious gifts, pray always for the learned, the oblique, the delicate. Let them not be quite forgotten at the Throne of God when the simple come into their kingdom.”

Helena’s apostrophe to the Three Magi, from Evelyn Waugh’s Helena

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Seasonal Gatherings (continued) - Opening of CCO's Rise Up! Conference in Montreal

Our Lady, Mother & Patron of Priests
(on the occasion of the Christmas Season Luncheon for Ottawa Priests)

Grant, we pray, almighty God, that the newness of the Nativity in the flesh of your Only Begotten Son may set us free, for ancient servitude holds us bound beneath the yoke of sin. Through our Lord.

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In the neighbourhood of Place des Arts....

we find the Hyatt Regency Hotel in the Place Desjardins Shopping and Office Complex...

Montreal's Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte came to welcome the delegates to his archdiocese (shown with Keynote Speaker Father Tom Rosica, CSB and Jackie O'Donnell, in charge of the convention):

Old and young, clergy and lay, enjoying the offerings of the food court, etc:


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

5th Day of Christmas, St. Thomas Becket, Martyr Bishop - Seasonal Receptions: Sems and Some Discerning Priesthood

Saint Thomas Beckett Archevêque de Cantobéry,
martyr (+ 1170)

Il était né à Londres d'une famille normande. Il fit de bonnes études à Londres et à Paris et le roi Henri II Plantagenêt choisit ce brillant sujet comme chancelier. Enchanté de son administration, il le fait nommer archevêque de Canterbury, pensant ainsi résoudre les difficultés qu'il connaît avec les évêques de son royaume.

Thomas change du tout au tout. De fastueux, il devient ascétique; de servile, il se trouve bientôt en conflit avec le roi, qui veut imposer sa loi par-dessus celle de l'Eglise romaine. Il invite les pauvres à sa table et prend l'habit de moine. La querelle s'envenime au point qu'il doit s'enfuir en France. Il rejoint alors l'abbaye cistercienne de Pontigny en Bourgogne.

Il regagne Canterbury en novembre 1170, et c'est là que, dans sa cathédrale, peu avant Noël, quatre familiers de roi vont l'abattre devant l'autel après qu'il eût refusé de lever les excommunications qu'il avait portées contre les évêques trop dociles à l'égard du roi.

Autre biographie:

Fils de Gilbert et Matilda, un couple issu de la noblesse de Normandie et installé à Londres, où son père occupe un emploi dans le commerce. Thomas est d’abord confié aux moines de l’abbaye Merton, puis il étudie à Londre et à Paris, avant de rentrer en Angleterre à l’âge de 21 ans. Lorsque son père décède, il se retrouve dans une situation financière difficile et commence à travailler comme clerc pour l’archevêque Thibaud de Canterbury, lui aussi originaire de Normandie. Ce dernier s’attache rapidement à Thomas et décide de le prendre à son service régulier.

Dès lors, il lui demande de l’accompagner dans ses déplacements à la cour, où le jeune Henry II Plantagenêt ne tarde pas lui aussi à le prendre en sympathie. Thomas décide de partir étudier le droit canon et le droit civil successivement à Bologne et Auxerre. De retour dans son pays, il est consacré archidiacre de Canterbury et est bientôt chargé de plusieurs missions diplomatiques auprès du roi de France.

En 1155, il est nommé chancelier d’Angleterre et il s’acquitte de sa charge avec beaucoup de sagesse et d’intelligence. Sept ans plus tard, et après avoir été ordonné prêtre, il abandonne sa charge à la chancellerie pour succéder à Thibaud (décédé en 1161) comme archevêque de Canterbury.

Dès lors, il modifie son style de vie, délaissant les habits luxueux pour se vêtir à la manière des moines. Il prend bientôt des mesures pour régler les nombreux problèmes qui perdurent au sein du clergé, ce qui provoque des frictions avec le monarque. Les divergences de points de vues débouchent bientôt sur un véritable conflit, qui oppose les deux hommes sur deux points principaux : la juridiction de l’église et de l’état sur les membres du clergé soupçonnés d’avoir commis des délits et sur la liberté d’en appeler à Rome.

Toute tentative d’en arriver à un accord s’avérant impossible, Thomas choisit de s’exiler en France, où il demeure pendant 6 ans, installé au monastère cistercien de Pontigny. Henry ayant menacé de chasser de son royaume tous les moines cisterciens s’ils continuent à offrir l’hospitalité à Thomas, celui-ci déménage chez les bénédictines de l’abbaye Sainte-Colombe de Sens, qui bénéficient de la protection du roi de France, Louis VII. Plusieurs tentatives de médiation avec le pape Alexandre III échouent et c’est finalement après avoir fait couronner son fils par l’archevêque d’York qu’Henry propose la paix.

Thomas rentre alors en Angleterre, où il est accueilli avec réticence par le clergé, mais la situation se dégrade à nouveau très rapidement après que le pape ait décidé d’excommunier tous les évêques d’Angleterre déclarés coupables d’avoir usurpé les droits de l’archevêque de Canterbury. Henry se trouve alors en Normandie lorsqu’il apprend la nouvelle.

Dans un terrible accès de colère, il fait alors une déclaration qui sera lourde de conséquences : « mais personne ne réussira donc jamais à me débarasser de ce prêtre turbulent! ». Quatre chevaliers qui assistent à la scène décident alors de traverser la Manche pour se rendre directement à Canterbury. Le 29 décembre 1170, accompagnés d’un bataillon de soldats, ils se présentent à la cathédrale et demandent à parler à l’archevêque, bien décidés à l’assassiner, croyant ainsi obéir à la volonté du souverain et convaincus d’avoir son appui.

Ils pénètrent dans la cathédrale et se saisissent de Thomas, qu’ils traînent jusque sur les marches de son autel avant d’abattre à plusieurs reprises une lourdre épée sur sa tête. Durant les quelques minutes que dure son agonie, il est en prière. La mort de Thomas provoque un choc très grand dans toute la chrétienté et Henry est alors contraint de faire acte public de pénitence. Thomas est canonisé seulement deux ans après sa mort par le pape Alexandre III.

Saint-Thomas Becket est le patron du clergé séculier.

Lecture : Quelle est donc la raison de la mort de Thomas Becket ? A y bien regarder, il est mort pour ce qui est la cause de l’antagonisme entre le monde et l’Église. L’Église est établie dans tous les pays pour s’adresser à tous, aux grands et aux petits, aux personnes de tout rang et de toute condition. Pour diriger et, en un certain sens intervenir en conscience, et dans le cas de misère morale des princes que le monde adule dès leur petite enfance, pour promulguer aussi la loi et enseigner, ce faisant, la foi.

Là est le conflit : le monde n’aime pas recevoir de leçons. Les rois d’Israël n’aimaient pas les prophètes. L’Église peut, elle aussi, en venir à s’opposer au monde et à s’élever comme témoin contre lui.

Tel fut le conflit entre le monde et Thomas Becket--Bienheureux John Henry Newman, Sermon (

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O God, who gave the Martyr Saint Thomas Becket the nobility of spirit to give up his life for the sake of justince, grant, through his intercession, that renouncing our life for the sake of Christ in this world, we may find it in heaven. Through our Lord.

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Christmas Seasonal Prayer for December 29

Almighty and invisible God, who scattered the darkness of this world by the coming of your light, look, we pray, with serene countenance upon us, that we may acclaim with fitting praise the greatness of the Nativity of your Only Begotten Son.  Who lives and reigns with you.

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Christmas Seasonal Receptions

At this holy season, there are regular receptions that I delight in attending.  Tomorrow there will be one for the priests of the Archdiocese.

Here are photos taken at a reception in my residence, after Mass in the Archbishops' Chapel, a few days before Christmas when some of the seminarians were able to attend, accompanied by some men who are discerning a priestly vocation.

Father Tim Mccauley, the vocation director, some members of the Vocations Committee and some of my staff joined in for the festive gathering.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Holy Innocents - Christmas Celebrations at Notre Dame, Sisters of Charity

Normally, the Paschal Mystery comes to the fore in the Christmas Season with the feast of the Protomartyr Saint Stephen. However, his feast this year was displaced by Sunday's celebration of the Holy Family.

Thus, today's feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs, introduces the mystery of suffering into the joy of God's incarnation in Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

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O God, whom the Holy Innocents confessed and proclaimed on this day, not by speaking but by dying, grant, we pray, that the faith in you which we confess with our lips may also speak through our manner of life.  Through our Lord.

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Christmas Season Photos
There have been lots of photos taken recently and, while I am in Montreal this week, even more are being taken. 
So, here are some of the Christmas Masses at Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica celebrations on Christmas Eve (7PM and Midnight), followed by some pictures taken during my visit with the Soeurs de la Charite d'Ottawa followed the Christmas morning Mass. 
Others will follow during this week while I make a few posts as I visit family in Montreal for a couple of days.


Monday, December 27, 2010

St. John the Apostle and Evangelist - Installation of Most Reverend Lionel Gendron as 5th Bishop of St. Jean-Longueuil


El Greco, St. John the Evangelist (circa 1598)

O God, who through the blessed Apostle John have unlocked for us the secrets of your Word, grant, we pray, that we may grasp with proper understanding what he has so marvelously brought to our ear. Through our Lord.

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Aujourd’hui, le peuple de Dieu du Diocèse de St. Jean-Longueuil fêtera l’inauguration du ministère de leur nouvel évêque, Mgr Lionel Gendron, p.s.s

dans la cathédrale de St. Jean-sur-Richelieu a 14h30:

Ad multos et faustissimos annos!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Holy Family as Models for Humanity -

Holy Family Sunday (Year "A") - December 26, 2010 CHRISTIAN FAMILY LIFE: ADAPTABLE AND HOLY [Texts: Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14 [Psalm 128]; Colossians 3:12-21; Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23]

The Holy Family (Raphael, 1483-1520)

Family life has constantly undergone change throughout history. Our own time is no exception. Despite pressures of all kinds, families show wonderful resilience in adapting to new requirements. Christian families have always seen in the Holy Family of Nazareth a model of mutual respect, a household where rights and duties were balanced and harmoniously lived out.

The reading from Sirach expresses a type of Israelite wisdom that found expression in maxims. These describe the duties of children towards their parents: respect, honour, obedience, understanding, and help in old age. The blessings promised those who reverence their parents include long life, forgiveness of sins and being firmly rooted as persons.

Ben Sira seems to have been the first biblical author to develop a commentary on the commandment “Honour your father and your mother”. Prior treatment of familial duties in the Book of Proverbs had been scattered and couched mainly in negative terms. In his positive treatment the sage had in mind primarily adolescents living at home. But it is clear that the teaching extends to adults with elderly parents (“help your parents in their old age ... even if their minds fail, be patient with them”).

In Colossians, Paul typifies Christian life in its outward expression: compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, support, pardon, peace, openness to God's Word and prayer. The Apostle then goes on to show how these are lived out in the mutuality of Christian family life.

The latter part of the epistle (“Wives, be subject to your husbands ... Fathers, do not provoke your children or they may lose heart”) forms the introduction to a type of teaching on life in a household known as the Haustafel (German for “household code”).

Such sets of instructions for the various members of a household—husbands and wives, parents and children, masters and slaves—are found elsewhere in the New Testament (cf. Ephesians 5:21-6:9; 1 Peter 2:18-3:7; Titus 2:1-10; 1 Timothy 2:8-15; 6:1-2).

These Christian “codes” have been praised as creative adaptations by the Church of noble sentiments from the surrounding culture. Others have castigated them as the introduction of bourgeois values into Christian life.

Recent research suggests that the household code, while it has affinities with similar instructions from the Hellenistic world, is a Christian creation based on patterns inherited from Judaism. The New Testament writers seem to have emphasized, in the first instance, the subordinate members (wives—children—slaves) because they were in a difficult social situation. In the circumstances that prevailed in Colossae, they were particularly prone to economic and other forms of suffering.

Though historically these texts have been misused, this has occurred because men—the husbands, fathers and slave owners—have failed to heed the overarching disposition that should characterize their relations with others.

The principle governing all behaviour serves as an introduction to the listing of each person's duties: “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him”.

The injunction addressed to wives to “be subject/be subordinate” causes difficulty today until one realizes that the goal of this attitude of humility is not ultimately the woman's husband but God (“as is fitting in the Lord”). For their part, husbands are to “love your wives and never treat them harshly”.

For, in the end, all members of the household are subject to Christ and God. This may be why, in the epistle to the Ephesians, husbands and wives are placed under the same rule, “subordinate yourselves to one another!” (Ephesians 5:21)

The gospel today recounts the flight into Egypt and the Holy Family's return to Palestine after the death of Herod the Great. We see how Jesus, Mary and Joseph are a model for every kind of family experience, including that of refugees, exiles and migrants. Joseph is depicted as spontaneously obedient to divine messages received from “an angel of the Lord”.

However, when he returned to Judea, Joseph was left to draw his own conclusion that living under Archelaus would not afford Mary and Jesus the security they needed. Accordingly, Joseph moved his household to Nazareth in Galilee. Though the Scriptures afford believers maxims, household codes and other guidelines, living one's life in holiness demands personal reflection and decision-making in light of them.

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O God, who were pleased to give us the shining example of the Holy Family, graciously grant that we may imitate them in practicing the virtues of family life and in the bonds of charity, and so, in the joy of your house, delight one day in eternal rewards.  Through our Lord.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ - Solennité de la Nativité de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ - Message de Noel 2010

O God, who gladden us year by year as we wait in hope for our redemption, grant that, just as we joyfully welcome your Only Begotten Son as our Redeemer, we may also merit to look upon him confidently when he comes again as our Judge.  Who lives and reigns with you.

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By Saint Robert Southwell

Come to your heaven, you heavenly quires!
Earth hath the heaven of your desires;
Remove your dwelling to your God,
A stall is now His best abode;
Sith men their homage do deny,
Come, angels, all their faults supply.


His chilling cold doth heat require,
Come, seraphim, in lieu of fire;
This little ark no cover hath,
Let cherubs' wings his body swathe;
Come, Raphael, this babe must eat,
Provide our little Toby meat.

Let Gabriel be now His groom,
That first took up His earthly room;
Let Michael stand in His defence,
Whom love hath link'd to feeble sense;
Let graces rock when He doth cry,
And angels sing this lullaby.

The same you saw in heavenly seat,
Is He that now sucks Mary's teat;
Agnize your King a mortal wight,
His borrow'd weed lets not your sight;
Come, kiss the manger where He lies;
That is your bliss above the skies.

This little babe so few days old,
Is come to rifle Satan's fold;
All hell doth at His presence quake,
Though He Himself for cold do shake;
For in this weak unarmèd wise
The gates of hell He will surprise.

With tears He fights and wins the field,
His naked breast stands for a shield,
His battering shot are babish cries,
His arrows, looks of weeping eyes,
His martial ensigns, cold and need,
And feeble flesh His warrior's steed.

His camp is pitchèd in a stall,
His bulwark but a broken wall,
The crib His trench, hay-stalks His stakes,
Of shepherds He His muster makes;
And thus, as sure His foe to wound,
The angels' trumps alarum sound.

My soul, with Christ join thou in fight;
Stick to the tents that He hath pight;
Within His crib is surest ward,
This little babe will be thy guard;
If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy,
Then flit not from this heavenly boy.
Source: The Poetical Works of the Rev. Robert Southwell.
William B. Turnbull, Esq., ed.; London: John Russell Smith, 1856. 100-102.

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Archevêque et Sœurs de la Charité ensemble

Noel 2009 chez les Sœurs de la Charité d’Ottawa

Depuis le temps de Mgr Bruno Guigues et Mère Elisabeth Bruyère, l'évêque d'Ottawa célèbre la messe du jour de Noël avec les religieuses, une coutume qui se poursuit aujourd'hui.

MESSE DU JOUR DE NOËL Maison-mère des Sœurs de la Charité d’Ottawa, 25 décembre 2010.
[Textes : Isaïe 52, 7-10; Psaume 97(98); Hébreux 1, 1-6; Jean 1, 1-18]

« Le Verbe a habité parmi nous »

En songeant au grand mystère de l’Incarnation, nous sommes émerveillés devant la miséricorde de Dieu. Le Verbe de Dieu « né aujourd’hui… »

Jésus est né du sein de Marie. Et Joseph a accueilli l’Enfant comme son propre fils. Il lui a donné son nom; il a protégé l’Enfant et sa mère à travers de lourdes menaces et jusqu’en exil. Au cours des ans, Joseph enseignera à Jésus son métier. Jésus est né et a grandi – il a appris à être homme – au sein d’une famille.

Le Fils de Dieu s’est fait l’un de nous à ce moment précis de l’histoire humaine parce que les temps étaient accomplis, mais aussi parce que Marie et Joseph lui ont offert leur foi profonde et leur vie concrète. En pensant à ce mystère, un mot a retenu mon attention. Il ne se trouve pas dans l’évangile, mais la réalité qu’il décrit est présente : le mot foyer?

Dans un premier sens, on nomme foyer la partie de l’âtre d’une cheminée où se fait le feu. Mais le foyer est aussi le feu même qui brûle dans une cheminée. On appelle foyer le lieu où l’on vit, le domicile familial. Et la famille elle-même s’appelle foyer. Le foyer est le point central d’où quelque chose provient. Et en sciences physiques, le foyer est le point de convergence des rayons lumineux après réflexion sur un miroir ou après passage à travers une lentille.

Ce qui fait un foyer, c’est l’âme qui y habite, et non pas sa structure. La lumière qui y habite est perçue de l’extérieur. Isaïe dit : « ils voient de leurs yeux le Seigneur ». Or on voit parce qu’il y a de la lumière. « Éclatez en cris de joie… » Chacun, chacune est « porteur de bonnes nouvelles » s’il annonce par sa vie paix et bonheur.

Le monde est le lieu où Dieu parle. Certains n’acceptent pas de se laisser interpeller par la Parole. D’autres l’accueillent et reçoivent grâce à elle une vie nouvelle qui les transforme. Cette Parole nous transforme quand nous communions au Verbe dans l’oraison, et surtout quand nous communions au Pain de vie. Si nous sommes foyer accueillant, nous nous laisserons transformer de l’intérieur.

Il y a quelques semaines, le Saint-Père a mis sur pied le Secrétariat pour la nouvelle évangélisation. Selon lui, l’Église a plus besoin de témoins que de maîtres. C’est là le rôle de chaque personne consacrée qui, par son être même, porte l’enthousiasme de la jeunesse ou le témoignage de qui a vu et expérimenté Dieu pendant de longues années.

Marie et Joseph ont été constitués en couple, en un foyer pour accueillir Emmanuel, Dieu-avec-nous. L’Incarnation a pu se réaliser parce qu’ils étaient prêts à recevoir le Fils de Dieu. « Être foyer », c’est faire place à qui vient – dans ma maison, dans ma vie.

« Tu es mon Fils, aujourd’hui je t’ai engendré… Je serai pour lui un père… » Communiquer est dans la nature même de Dieu. Dieu se révèle désormais pleinement par son Fils. Il s’adresse à nous. Dans le Fils, parole et action sont inséparables.

Selon Hildegarde de Bingen, Dieu s’incarne sans arrêt dans le processus de renouveau présent et agissant au cœur de l’univers. Pour elle, l’incarnation du Verbe n’est pas qu’un point particulier sur le parcours de l’histoire, mais elle se réalise à chaque instant.

Voilà mon vœu de Noël : qu’en nous approchant, l’autre fasse l’expérience d’un foyer. Un être qui accueille le Christ et d’où irradient lumière et chaleur. Un lieu où il fait bon se reposer, reprendre force pour aller à son tour transmettre la joie. Que votre maison, vos lieux communs soient des havres où l’on fait l’expérience de l’amitié. Qu’à force de contempler le Seigneur, vos yeux réfléchissent sa bonté, sa bienveillance, sa tendresse.

Les saints parmi nous – En plus des saintes et saints reconnus officiellement comme tels, nous connaissons des personnes qui accueillent le Christ dans leur vie et qui irradient sa présence et son action. À leur exemple, faisons de même!

Joyeux et Saint Noël!

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Message de Noël de Mgr l’Archevêque

Voici mon message de Noël enregistré par le département de Communications sociales de l’Université St. Paul. Avec mes vives remerciements….

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve - St. Bonaventure Confirmands - MERRY CHRISTMAS / JOYEUX NOEL!

Prayer for December 24 (The Morning Mass)

Joseph and Mary Travel to Bethlehem 

Come quickly, we pray, Lord Jesus, and do not delay, that those who trust in your compassion may find relief at your coming. Who live and reign with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

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Le samedi avant mon départ pour Irlande, j’ai présidé la célébration de Confirmations à la paroisse St. François d’Assise.

C’était le dimanche de la joie (Gaudete) et la cérémonie fut joyeuse aussi.

Après la messe, j’ai visité avec les capucins et on a partagé un souper festif.

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

O Emmanuel - December 23, 2010

O ANTIPHONS - "O Emmanuel..."

O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Saviour of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God.

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December 23: Advent Weekday Prayer

Almighty everliving God, as we see how the Nativity of your Son according to the flesh draws near, we pray that to us, your unworthy servants, mercy may flow from your Word, who chose to become flesh of the Virgin Mary and establish among us his dwelling. Who lives and reigns with you.

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