Thursday, March 18, 2010

St. Cyril of Jerusalem - Visit to Msgr. Paul Baxter School and lunch with staff at Mother Teresa High School - St. Patrick's Day in Ottawa

Today's liturgy permits the optional memorial of Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem (ca. 313 – 386), who was banished from his see on three occasions.

With St. Athanasius and others, he belongs to the great champions of faith in the fight against Arianism. Famous as a teacher and preacher, he has left a series of catechetical instructions that constitute a priceless heirloom from Christian antiquity.

Of the twenty-four extant discourses, nineteen were directed to catechumens during Lent as a preparation for baptism, while five so-called mystagogical instructions were given during Easter time to make the mysteries of Christianity better known to those already baptized.

St. Cyril's writings are a good place to begin in one's inquiry into the orthodox Catholic faith and the teachings of the early church. Here is an excerpt from his Catechetical Lectures On the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is very fitting meditation material for Lent.

36. Let us not then be ashamed to confess the Crucified. Be the Cross our seal made with boldness by our fingers on our brow, and on everything; over the bread we eat, and the cups we drink; in our comings in, and goings out; before our sleep, when we lie down and when we rise up; when we are in the way, and when we are still(6). Great is that preservative; it is without price, for the sake of the poor; without toil, for the sick; since also its grace is from God. It is the Sign of the faithful, and the dread of devils: for He triumphed over them in it, having made a shew of them openly(7); for when they see the Cross they are reminded of the Crucified; they are afraid of Him, who bruised the heads of the dragon(8). Despise not the Seal, because of the freeness of the gift; out for this the rather honour thy Benefactor.

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Visiting Msgr. Paul Baxter Elementary School

The Monsignor Paul Baxter School community believes that a Catholic school is one in which the teachings of Jesus Christ are integrated into the day-to-day curriculum and social fabric of school life. The strength of our school comes from the Catholic faith that the staff, students and community share. We aspire to have our students develop a way of living that embodies the life of Jesus Christ.

The staff and students of Monsignor Paul Baxter School have many opportunities to pray and demonstrate their Catholic faith. These opportunities include: school-wide and classroom liturgies, retreats, fundraising for charities and community service.

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A lunch break with staff at Mother TERESA Secondary School

Since I had already visited Mother Teresa High School and its students in the 2007-2008 academic year, we did not hold an assembly this time, but instead accepted an invitation to have pizza for lunch with the faculty in their staff room:

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St. PATRICK'S Day Festivities

St. Patrick's Day involved presiding and preaching at the 10:30AM Solemnity at St. Patrick's Basilica, sharing in the festive clergy lunch and, after an afternoon of sessions of the Bishops' Conference Permanent Council (including hosting the Nuncio), I dropped by the newly refurbished Irish Embassy residence to bring greetings to Ambassador and Mrs. Declan Kelly.

Yesterday was one of the mildest St. Patrick's Dys on record; when I was a kid, we regularly anticipated a snowstorm on the 17th of Erin

Erin go braugh!

"Erin go braugh" is a phonetic version of "Éirinn go brách," which in Irish (Gaelic) means "Ireland Forever." It was an Irish blessing used to express allegiance to Ireland. It could also translate as "Ireland 'till doomsday," "Ireland until eternity," "Ireland until the end (of time)" or "Ireland until the Day of Judgment."

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

... the clergy luncheon followed Mass

At the Irish ambassador's residence

...the Ambassador (left) in conversation

Many worm green for the occasion

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