Tuesday, March 2, 2010

31st Annual "Salon du Livre" (Gatineau) - Pope Benedict's March Prayer Intentions - Father Ryan speaks on Caritas in veritate

Although Gatineau is part of the National Capital Region and I often find myself driving over the Alexandra and Portage interprovincial bridges (often as a shortcut around traffic in front of Parliament Hill), I have rarely attended events there.

On Friday evening, however, I was invited to be a presenter when the Church's Communications et Societe juries invited me to take part in presentations on winning books in the spirituality and society realm.

Thus, did I come to attend the 31e Salon du livre de l'Outaouais - 25 au 28 février, 2010 at the Palais des congrès de Gatineau.

The Archbishop of Gatineau, Mgr Roger Ebacher was also a presenter and a brother bishop, Emeritus Archbishop of Rimouski Bertrand Blanchet one of the laureates for his recent book on bioethics.

Mgr Ebacher, left and Madame Danielle Bougie make presentation to Mgr Blanchet, right

I took the opportunity to visit the booths which featured a vast array of books in every field and of every sort in the French language.

I met numerous priests and religious in my browsing, as well as parishioners from Paroisse St-Remi, Ottawa and Paroisse St-Benoit Labre, Wendover.

As well, I found myself unexpectedly spenting quite a bit more on books than I had imagined. Scattered about are photos from my excursion.

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The Holy Father recommends the following universal intentions for March:

General - The World Economy: "That the world economy may be managed according to the principles of justice and equity, taking account of the real needs of peoples, especially the poorest."

Mission - Churches in Africa: "That the Churches in Africa, may be signs and instruments of reconciliation and justice in every part of the world."

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Father Bill Ryan Speaks on the Holy Father's Third Encyclical

Last evening at St. Paul's University, I joined a good throng who came to hear a Harvard-trained Jesuit economist speak on Pope Benedict XVI's 2009 encyclical on the world economy and social order Charity in Truth (Caritas in veritate). He suggested that heeding the teaching contained in it could unleash a revolution of love that would tranform our world.

As this is also the theme of this month's papal prayer intention, the Apostleship of Prayer (http://www.apostleshipofprayer.org/reflectionsMonthly.html) offers the following reflection:

Speaking of last year's global financial collapse, Pope Benedict said "it was precisely from this root of covetousness that the crisis sprang" (General Audience, April 22, 2009). Economic and political solutions can go only so far to fix the economy. What is needed is a spiritual solution to a spiritual problem: prayer.

The Holy Father asks us to pray that the economy be managed with justice and equality, mindful of the "needs of peoples, especially the poorest." It is the poorest who are most forgotten and denied their rights to what is necessary for life - food, shelter, and medical care.

Lent is a good time to pray and give alms. Can we sacrifice something so we can give something more to others?

Can we see all of humanity with the Heart of Jesus, recognizing our solidarity in one family? We pray for the development of a truly Christian world economy.

Pope Benedict concluded his third encyclical, Charity in Truth, with these words:
"Development needs Christians with their arms raised towards God in prayer... Development requires attention to the spiritual life, a serious consideration of the experiences of trust in God, spiritual fellowship in Christ, reliance upon God's providence and mercy, love, and forgiveness, self-denial, acceptance of others, justice and peace. All this is essential if 'hearts of stone' are to be transformed into 'hearts of flesh,' rendering life on earth 'divine' and thus more worthy of humanity" (Ezekiel 36:26).

Jesus once said, "Man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man." Today we might alter those words to say, "Man was not made for the economy, but the economy for man." In other words, what is primary is the sacred human person made in God's image and likeness.

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A Lenten Prayer over the Faithful

Graciously hear the cries of your faithful, O Lord, and relieve their weariness of soul, that, receiving forgiveness, they may ever rejoice in your blessing. Though Christ our Lord.

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