Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Last Canon/le dernier chanoine: Mgr Jean Fairfield (1915-2010) - The Ottawa Mass of CHRISM tonight at 7:30

Photo: Canons of the Chapter of the Holy Saviour in Brugues, Belgium

Roman Catholic Canons (from Wikepdia):

A canon (from the Latin canonicus, itself derived from the Greek κανονικος "relating to a rule") is a priest who is a member of certain bodies of the Christian clergy subject to an ecclesiastical rule (canon).

Originally, a canon was a cleric living with others in a clergyhouse or, later, in one of the houses within the precinct or close of a cathedral and ordering his life according to the orders or rules of the church. This way of life grew common (and is first documented) in the 8th century.

In the 11th century, some churches required clergy thus living together to adopt the rule first proposed by Saint Augustine that they renounce private wealth. Those who embraced this change were known as Augustinians or Canons Regular, whilst those who did not were known as secular canons.

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Ottawa's Last Titular Canon

Before Mgr Fairfield died on March 26, less than a day after Mgr Lariviere, they were the only two remaining canons of the Cathedral Chapter of Notre Dame, Ottawa. Thus, their deaths mark the passing of an era. Our resident student in Canon Law indicated that my successors and I have the next 100 years to renew the chapter; otherwise, it falls into desuetude.

The Code of Canon Law (#503) describes the chapter this way: "A chapter of canons, whether cathedral or collegial, is a college of priests which performs more solemn liturgical functions in a cathedral or collegial church." This explains the stalls in Notre Dame Cathedral.

Furthermore, "a diocesan bishop is to confer canonries only upon priests outstanding in doctrine and integrity of life, who have laudably exercised the ministry" (#509.2)

The following obituary notice regarding Mgr Fairfield's passing "to the house of the Father," in French and English, gives some measure of the man I came to know on my arrival in Ottawa, until frail health required his transfer to the John Paul II residence and, a little later, to Residence St-Louis in Orleans.

While he was in residence here, we frequently spoke of his sojourn in Rome and of the themes of his doctoral thesis, the catechetical program found in the works of Pope St. Leo the Great. Priests have spoken to me of his conferences to seminarians, arguing that they ought to be preserved for posterity's sake; perhaps they will be confided to the Archives of the Archdiocese.

Mgr Jean Fairfield at St. Anne's Church, August 2002 (photo by Édouard Champagne)

A la douce mémoire de Mgr Jean Rémi Fairfield qui nous a quitté paisiblement dans son sommeil, à la résidence St-Louis, le 26 mars 2010. Il était âgé de 93 ans.

Mgr Fairfield est né à Rigaud, le 27 novembre 1916. Son père Venceslas Eugène Fairfield et sa mère Marie-Anna Villeneuve eurent sept enfants: Henri prêtre, Laurent, René, Alphonse, Lorette, Dolorès et Jean Rémi. Tous et toutes sont maintenant décédés.

Il fit ses études au Petit et Grand Séminaire d'Ottawa. Il compléta des études supérieures en philosophie et en théologie à l'Université d'Ottawa, ainsi qu'à l'Angelicum, Rome. Sa thèse fut basée sur les écrits de St Léon-le-Grand.

Mgr Fairfield fut ordonné prêtre le 7 juin 1941, par l'Archevêque de Montréal, Mgr Joseph Charbonneau.

Professeur de philosophie et de théologie au Grand Séminaire de 1943 à 1964, il en devint le supérieur en 1965.

En 1967 il fut nommé curé de la paroisse de l'Ascension à Hawkesbury où il y demeura pendant 25 années. En février 1982 il reçu le titre de Prélat d'honneur de sa Sainteté.

Il a pleinement et sincèrement vécu son sacerdoce et il s'est toujours fait un devoir d'être un prêtre exemplaire au service de ses fidèles.

Il laisse dans le deuil ses paroissiens de l'Ascension ainsi que ses confrères et amis nombreux. Sa famille étant complètement décimée, ses neveux et nièces Huguette et Gilles; Pierrette, Pierre, Monique; Maurice, Denise, Micheline, Joseph, Pierre et Hélène sont attristés par son départ.

Ami de la nature, ornitologue à sa façon, fervent de pêche et de ski de fond, il lègue à ses proches de merveilleux souvenirs.

Son neveu, Joseph Pagé, tient à remercier les personnes qui lui ont permis de jouir d'une retraite très agréable à l'Archevêché d'Ottawa, à la Résidence Jean-Paul 11 et à la Résidence St-Louis.

Le service funêbre sera célébré en l'Eglise St-Joseph d'Orléans le 6 avril 2010 à 10h00 heures.

Les visites auront lieu à la maison funéraire Kelly au 2370, boulevard St- Joseph, le 5 avril 2010 de 14h00 à 16h00 heures et de 19h00 à 21h00 heures.

Lors de la cérémonie qui aura lieu au cimetière St-Alphonse de Hawkesbury, le vendredi 16 avril à 14h00 heures, Mgr Fairfield retrouvera alors sa famille pour un séjour de paix et de tranquilité.


In memory of Msgr Jean Rémi Fairfield who passed away peacefully at Résidence St-Louis on Friday March 26th, 2010 at the age of 93 years.

Born November 27th, 1916 in Rigaud, QC, he was the son of the late Venceslas Eugène Fairfield and Marie-Anna Villeneuve and one of seven children: Fr. Henri, Laurent, René, Alphonse, Lorette and Dolorès, all whom have predeceased him. His studies began at the “Petit et Grand Séminaire d’Ottawa” followed by higher studies at the University of Ottawa in philosophy and theology as well as at the Angelicum, Rome.

Msgr Fairfield was ordained June 7th, 1941 by the Archbishop of Montreal, Mgr Joseph Charbonneau. He began his career as a professor in philosophy and theology at the “Grand Séminaire d’Ottawa” from 1943 to 1964; he became superior of the Seminary in 1965.

He was appointed parish priest of l’Ascension Parish, Hawkesbury in 1967 and served until 1992. In February 1982, he was granted the title “Prelate of honour” by the Pope (with the title of Monsignor).

He leaves to mourn him his nieces and nephews Huguette and Gilles, Pierrette, Pierre, Monique, Maurice, Denise, Micheline, Joseph, Pierre and Hélène, as well as former parishioners of Ascension Parish.

Msgr Fairfield was a nature lover, a self-taught ornithologist, an avid cross country skier and fisherman. His nephew Joseph Pagé thanks all who shared with him a very happy retirement at the Ottawa Archbishop's Residence, the John Paul II Residence and the St-Louis Residence.

Friends and family may pay their respects at the Kelly Funeral Home, 2370 St-Joseph Blvd., Orleans, Monday April 5th, 2010, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. The funeral liturgy will be celebrated on Tuesday April 6th, 2010 at l’église Saint-Joseph Church, 2757 St-Joseph Blvd., Orléans at 10 a.m. Interment will be held at 10a.m. on Friday, April 16th at St-Alphonse Cemetery, Hawkesbury

Requiescat in pace

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The UNITY of bishop, priests and people at the CHRISM Mass

The Mass of Chrism occurs once a year in the cathedral of each diocese. It is one of the most solemn and significant liturgies of the church. During these Masses, local bishops bless the oil of catechumens, the oil of the sick, and the oil of chrism.

The first of these (OC = oleum catechumenorum) is used for adult catechumens and infants.

The second (OI = oleum infirmorum) is used for anointing the sick of the parish, whether before or after the enter hospital for serious surgery, or the elderly in the parish, nursing homes or their own homes.

The sacred oil of chrism (SC = sacrum chrisma) is used by the clergy for baptism, confirmation, the ordination of priests and bishops or in the consecration of altars.

All three are basically olive oil; to the chrism is added a spicy perfume, generally balsam, which graces the air with a sweet scent. When I first began to celebrate confirmations as a bishop in Mississauga, I would note that the sweet scent of balsam would get deep into the pores of my thumb and fingers; occasionally I would get a whiff of its sweet scent as I fell asleep.

[Of course, for pastoral reasons, another vegetable oil or perfume may be used.]

From the very beginning of the Church, bishops have blessed oil, as they baptized catechumens at the Easter Vigil and prepared new chrism for the occasion. When they blessed the chrism, they blessed the other oils as well.

In order not to overextend the length of the Easter Vigil with ritual, bishops blessed these oils at the previous celebration of the Eucharist, that is on Holy Thursday. This also allowed time to transport vessels of oil from the cathedral to all the churches in the diocese. Now in some diocesan celebrations, priests and/or parish representatives receive their sacred oils at the close of the Chrism Mass and bring them to their home parish or chapel (e.g. in hospitals, prisons, etc).

For more than a thousand years, bishops blessed the oils at the cathedral Holy Thursday liturgy, but in 1955 Pope Pius XII added a separate Mass earlier in the day at the cathedral for that purpose, the Mass of Chrism.

Today, the Chrism Mass may be anticipated, that is celebrated on a different day shortly before Holy Thursday (Monday to Wednesday evenings in Holy Week are the most popular) to give the celebration independence and so that large numbers of people may join the priests for this special concelebrated liturgy.

Since the bishop is the only minister in the diocese who may consecrate chrism, this Mass highlights his ministry and the union of all the parishes and smaller faith communities with him. Though he cannot baptize and confirm all the candidates for these sacraments in all the parishes of the diocese, there is a sense in which the Apostle of the local church becomes symbolically present in the chrism which the priests and deacons use.

More recently, this Mass of Chrism recognizes the ministry of priests, particularly important in this Year of the Priest.

The bishop invites the members of his presbyterate to renew their commitment of service and to receive the prayers and support of the people.

The Mass of Chrism gathers the faithful of the diocese at their mother church with their shepherd to prepare for celebrations of Christ in all the churches of the diocese all year long.

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The WAY OF THE CROSS (Sixth Station): Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee.
R. Because by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

The WAY OF THE CROSS (Seventh Station): Jesus Falls the Second Time

A preparatory prayer before making the Way of the Cross:

My Lord Jesus Christ,
Thou hast made this journey to die for me with love
and I have so many times unworthily abandoned Thee;
but now I love Thee with my whole heart,
and because I love Thee,
I repent sincerely for having ever offended Thee.
Pardon me, my God,
and permit me to accompany Thee on this journey.
Thou goest to die for love of me;
I wish also, my beloved Redeemer,
to die for love of Thee.
My Jesus, I will live and die
always united to Thee.