Monday, May 31, 2010

The Visitation of Mary - The Liturgical Response, "And with Your Spirit"

Our Lady of Walsingham (famous English shrine to Our Blessed Mother)

Today's Feast of the Visitation is of medieval origin; it was kept by the Franciscan Order before 1263, and soon its observance spread throughout the entire Church.

Previously it was celebrated on July 2. Now it is celebrated between the solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord and the birth of St. John the Baptist, in conformity with the Gospel accounts. Some places appropriately observe a celebration of the reality and sanctity of human life in the womb. The liturgical color is white.

The Visitation recalls for us the following great truths and events: The visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth shortly after the Annunciation; the cleansing of John the Baptist from original sin in the womb of his mother at the words of Our Lady's greeting; Elizabeth's proclaiming of Mary—under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost—as Mother of God and "blessed among women"; Mary's singing of the sublime hymn, Magnificat ("My magnifies the Lord") which has become a part of the daily official prayer of the Church.

The Visitation is frequently depicted in art, and was the central mystery of St. Francis de Sales' devotions.

* * * * * *

The Visitation - "And Mary rising up in those days went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda" [Lk. 1:39].

How lyrical that is, the opening sentence of St. Luke's description of the Visitation. We can feel the rush of warmth and kindness, the sudden urgency of love that sent that girl hurrying over the hills. "Those days" in which she rose on that impulse were the days in which Christ was being formed in her, the impulse was his impulse.

Many women, if they were expecting a child, would refuse to hurry over the hills on a visit of pure kindness. They would say they had a duty to themselves and to their unborn child which came before anything or anyone else.

The Mother of God considered no such thing. Elizabeth was going to have a child, too, and although Mary's own child was God, she could not forget Elizabeth's need—almost incredible to us, but characteristic of her.

She greeted her cousin Elizabeth, and at the sound of her voice, John quickened in his mother's womb and leapt for joy.

I am come, said Christ, that they may have life and may have it more abundantly. [Jn. 10, 10] Even before He was born His presence gave life.

With what piercing shoots of joy does this story of Christ unfold! First the conception of a child in a child's heart, and then this first salutation, an infant leaping for joy in his mother's womb, knowing the hidden Christ and leaping into life.

How did Elizabeth herself know what had happened to Our Lady? What made her realize that this little cousin who was so familiar to her was the mother of her God?

She knew it by the child within herself, by the quickening into life which was a leap of joy.

If we practice this contemplation taught and shown to us by Our Lady, we will find that our experience is like hers.

If Christ is growing in us, if we are at peace, recollected, because we know that however insignificant our life seems to be, from it He is forming Himself; if we go with eager wills, "in haste," to wherever our circumstances compel us, because we believe that He desires to be in that place, we shall find that we are driven more and more to act on the impulse of His love.

And the answer we shall get from others to those impulses will be an awakening into life, or the leap into joy of the already wakened life within them. -Excerpted from Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God

* * * * * *


"If the Holy Spirit were not in our Bishop [referring to Bishop Flavian of Antioch] when he gave the peace to all shortly before ascending to his holy sanctuary, you would not have replied to him all together, And with your spirit. This is why you reply with this expression….reminding yourselves by this reply that he who is here does nothing of his own power, nor are the offered gifts the work of human nature, but is it the grace of the Spirit present and hovering over all things which prepared that mystic sacrifice." (St. John Chrysostom, Homily on the Holy Pentecost)

In Advent 2011 (we now presume), the new English translation of the Roman Missal will come into effect in Canada. To prepare for this, catechesis will be necessary.

One of the major changes will be the response "And with your spirit" said several times at Mass in response to the bishop, priest (or deacon's) greeting, "The Lord be with you". Here is a treatment of this text from the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It may be freely reproduced on condition that the copyright by the USCCB is acknowledged.

[Commentaries for a popular understanding of elements of the Liturgy are provided here and may be reproduced freely with the customary copyright acknowledgement by our readers (source:]

Perhaps the most common dialogue in the Liturgy of the Roman Rite consists of the greeting:

Priest: Dominus vobiscum.
People: Et cum spiritu tuo.

Since 1970, this has been translated as:
Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.

As a part of the revised translation of the Roman Missal..., the translation of this dialogue has been revised, to read:

Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.

Since it is clear that the change to “and with your spirit” is a significant and wide ranging change in a longstanding liturgical practice, the following questions are provided to clarify the reasons for the change and the meaning of the dialogue itself.

1. Why has the response et cum spiritu tuo been translated as "and with your spirit"?

The re-translation was necessary because it is a more correct rendering of et cum spiritu tuo. Recent scholarship has recognized the need for a more precise translation capable of expressing the full meaning of the Latin text.

2. What about the other major languages? Do they have to change their translations?

No. English is the only major language of the Roman Rite which did not translate the word "spiritu". The Italian (E con il tuo spirito), French (Et avec votre esprit), Spanish (Y con tu espíritu) and German (Und mit deinem Geiste) renderings of 1970 all translated the Latin word spiritu precisely.

3. Has the Holy See ever addressed this question?

In 2001, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments published an instruction entitled, Liturgiam authenticam, subtitled, On the Use of Vernacular Languages in the Publication of the Books of the Roman Liturgy. The instruction directs specifically that: “Certain expressions that belong to the heritage of the whole or of a great part of the ancient Church, as well as others that have become part of the general human patrimony, are to be respected by a translation that is as literal as possible, as for example the words of the people’s response Et cum spiritu tuo, or the expression mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa in the Act of Penance of the Order of Mass” (Liturgiam authenticam, #56).

4. Where does this dialogue come from?

The response et cum spiritu tuo is found in the Liturgies of both East and West, from the earliest days of the Church. One of the first instances of its use is found in the Traditio Apostolica of Saint Hippolytus, composed in Greek around AD 215.

5. How is this dialogue used in the Liturgy?

The dialogue is only used between the priest and the people, or exceptionally, between the deacon and the people. The greeting is never used in the Roman Liturgy between a non-ordained person and the gathered assembly.

6. What does the priest mean when he says “The Lord be with you”?

By greeting the people with the words “The Lord be with you,” the priest expresses his desire that the dynamic activity of God’s spirit be given to the people of God, enabling them to do the work of transforming the world that God has entrusted to them.

7. What do the people mean when they respond “and with your spirit”?

The expression et cum spiritu tuo is only addressed to an ordained minister. Some scholars have suggested that spiritu refers to the gift of the spirit he received at ordination. In their response, the people assure the priest of the same divine assistance of God’s spirit and, more specifically, help for the priest to use the charismatic gifts given to him in ordination and in so doing to fulfill his prophetic function in the Church.

8. What further reading could you suggest on this dialogue?

For those who wish to pursue this issue from a more scholarly perspective, they might consult:

• J.A. Jungmann, S.J., The Mass of the Roman Rite: Its Origins and Development, trans. F.A. Brunner C.Ss.R. (Westminster, MD: Christian Classics, 1986), 363.

• Michael K. Magee, The Liturgical Translation of the Response “Et cum spiritu tuo”, Communio 29 (Spring 2002) 152-171.

• W.C. Van Unnik, “Dominus Vobiscum:” The Background of a Liturgical Formula, in A.J.B. Higgins (ed.), New Testament Essays (Manchester, University Press, 1959) 270-305.

© United States Conference of Catholic Bishops • 3211 Fourth St NE • Washington DC 20017 • 202.541.3060 • All rights Reserved

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Trinity Sunday - St. Joan of Arc - L'Institut Jeanne d'Arc d'Ottawa

El Greco, The Trinity

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (Year "C") May 30, 2010


[Texts: Proverbs 8:22-31 [Psalm 8]; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15

In today's gospel, Jesus describes the role of the Holy Spirit in the Church in the following words, "He will guide you into all the truth".

The Spirit speaks the truth from Jesus in order to glorify Him. Yet all Jesus possessed had come to Him from the Father; and Jesus' sole desire was to glorify the Father. In these glimpses into the interior dynamics of God, disciples grasp the selfless life of the Trinity. Each Person of the Trinity is unique; yet each is oriented to the Others.

Still, people only know the inner life of God from God's movement towards them in creation (first reading) and in the way they have actually been saved (second reading). Here, again, Christians discover the way in which the Persons of the Trinity selflessly work together `for us men and for our salvation' (Nicene Creed).

Proverbs noted that divine Wisdom was present with God in the creation of the universe, "delighting in the human race". The sage author of Proverbs issued a plea that humans discover the way to life. Early on, Lady Wisdom preached and uttered prophetic judgments, denouncing folly and uttering scorn against ignorance. But in chapter 8, Wisdom became an evangelist, tenderly pleading her case. Choosing for or against wisdom, in Lady Wisdom's view, is a matter of life and death.

The majesty of creation which this passage depicts, reaches its climax with the assertion that God delights in being present with His children. Christians may infer that, since this is so, God delights even more in those who have been re-created as the brothers and sisters of Jesus. This came about through Christ's gift of himself on the cross, a sacrifice out of love for both the Father and for us.

In Romans, Paul told believers that the Spirit makes them fearless in the face of difficulties through the Father's saving activity (`God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us'). The first part of Romans (chapters 1-4) was devoted to showing how, in salvation history, men and women had become alienated from God by the rebellion of sin.

As long as they remained in this condition--which they could do nothing to undo--sufferings and anything that suggested the prospect of death were to be feared. For these brought with them the threats of judgment and condemnation for sin which would follow. Paul brought his history of sin to an end with the Good News that God had done what human beings could not do: reconciled sinful humanity by putting forth Jesus as the expiation of our sins (4:25).

Now Paul turns to the experience of finding peace with God. Because their status as sons and daughters of God comes by faith and through Jesus, Christians can "boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God". Far from fearing suffering, the Christian's daily tribulations lead to an inner transformation of life through sharing in God's life through faith, hope and love.

The Christian's conviction that such hope is not deceptive issues from the Holy Spirit dwelling in the heart of each believer. The dynamic of salvation history reveals the plan by which the Trinity entered into and continues to enter the lives of God's people.

In the farewell discourse Jesus offered His testament to His disciples. He revealed that the Word He spoke to them would serve as the guiding principle for the apostles' and the Church's future. The power of the Word to guide Christian lives is the fruit of the Holy Spirit's work.

The Spirit actualizes (makes real here and now) the Word spoken by Jesus in the past, so that it might be life-giving in the Church. Even the way the Spirit carries out this mission is reminiscent of Jesus. For the Spirit points beyond -- to Jesus, just as Jesus always pointed beyond Himself to the Father.

And this, paradoxically, is to Jesus's glory, revealing as it does how obedient He was to the Father's will. For the Christian, the way to his or her glory is by way of entering into the dynamic of the Trinity's life so that ultimately God might be "all in all" (1 Corinthians 15-28).

* * * * * *


This year's observance of the feast of Joan of Arc is not permitted because of Sunday's solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. But here are a few aspects of her story:

St. Joan of Arc is the patroness of soldiers and of France. On January 6, 1412, Joan of Arc was born to pious parents of the French peasant class, at the obscure village of Domremy, near the province of Lorraine. At a very early age, she heard voices: those of St. Michael, St. Catherine and St. Margaret.

At first the messages were personal and general. Then at last came the crowning order. In May, 1428, her voices "of St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret" told Joan to go to the King of France and help him reconquer his kingdom. For at that time the English king was after the throne of France, and the Duke of Burgundy, the chief rival of the French king, was siding with him and gobbling up evermore French territory.

After overcoming opposition from churchmen and courtiers, the seventeen year old girl was given a small army with which she raised the seige of Orleans on May 8, 1429. She then enjoyed a series of spectacular military successes, during which the King was able to enter Rheims and be crowned with her at his side.

In May 1430, as she was attempting to relieve Compiegne, she was captured by the Burgundians and sold to the English when Charles and the French did nothing to save her. After months of imprisonment, she was tried at Rouen by a tribunal presided over by the infamous Peter Cauchon, Bishop of Beauvais, who hoped that the English would help him to become archbishop.

Through her unfamiliarity with the technicalities of theology, Joan was trapped into making a few damaging statements. When she refused to retract the assertion that it was the saints of God who had commanded her to do what she had done, she was condemned to death as a heretic, sorceress, and adulteress, and burned at the stake on May 30, 1431. She was nineteen years old. Some thirty years later, she was exonerated of all guilt and she was ultimately canonized in 1920, making official what the people had known for centuries. Joan was canonized in 1920 by Pope Benedict XV; her feast day is May 30.

St. Joan of Arc's story has a special significance in Ottawa for among the religious congregations present here the Institute of St. Jeanne d'Arc is of diocesan foundation. Some years ago, after a dearth of applicants, the institute decided not to accept new members.

Here are few points about its historic origins:

L'Institut JEANNE D'ARC d'Ottawa

Les Sœurs de l’Institut Jeanne-d’Arc constituent l’une des rares communautés religieuses de langue française à avoir été fondées en Ontario. Il y a eu, bien entendu, la fondation des Sœurs Grises de la Croix en 1845, par Élisabeth Bruyère, mais cette communauté s’est détachée des Sœurs Grises de la Croix de Montréal pour s’implanter à Bytown (Ottawa).

En novembre 1910, Albina Aubry et Laura Chartrand fondent un foyer pour jeunes filles à Ottawa. Au début, il s’agit d’une succursale du Foyer Notre-Dame, ouvert à Montréal en 1903, mais il s’en détache le 1er mars 1913 et prend le nom d’Institut Jeanne d’Arc.

Sœur Marie-Thomas d’Aquin (née Jeanne-Lydia Branda) fonde la congrégation des Sœurs de l’Institut Jeanne d’Arc d’Ottawa, érigé canoniquement le 7 octobre 1919 par Mgr Charles H. Gauthier, archevêque d’Ottawa.

Jeanne-Lydia Branda voit le jour le 13 août 1877 à Saint-Romain-la-Virvée (France). Elle entre chez les Sœurs de Saint-Dominique en 1899, se rend à Lewiston (Maine) en 1904, prononce ses vœux en 1906 et prend le nom de sœur Marie-Thomas d’Aquin.

Elle arrive à Ottawa en 1914, crée la revue Jeanne d’Arc, qu’elle dirige jusqu’en 1957, puis fonde la congrégation des Sœurs de l’Institut Jeanne-d’Arc en 1919. Elle en est la supérieure jusqu’en 1942.

Sous le pseudonyme de Marie Sylvia et de Jeanne-Louise Branda, Mère Marie-Thomas d’Aquin publie divers recueils de poésie, dont Vers le bien (1916), Vers le beau (1924), Vers le vrai (1928) et Reflets d’opales (1945).

Membre de la Société des auteurs canadiens et de la Société des poètes canadiens-français, elle reçoit la croix de la Légion d’honneur en 1956. Elle est décédée à Ottawa le 17 mars 1963.

L’Institut Jeanne-d’Arc n’a œuvré qu’à Ottawa. Il s’est voué principalement à la protection des jeunes filles en offrant diverses formes d’aide, dont le cours commercial dispensé de 1920 à 1957.

La communauté oeuvrait depuis un édifice de la rue Sussex. Son emplacement fait jadis partie du «mille historique» de la Commission de la capitale nationale. Aujourd'hui, les Sœurs ont leur résidence principale sur la rue Princeton dans l'ouest d'Ottawa.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Christian Initiation of Children - Season of Priestly Ordinations - A Bishop's Non-Magisterial Teaching (about the Stanley Cup Finals)


On Wednesday evening, I travelled to Kanata for the annual "Alleluia" Mass, celebrated with the children of Holy Redeemer Parish who this spring celebrated their First Reconciliation (confession) and, during the Easter Season, received their First Holy Communion.

While it was a few days beyond the Easter Season's close (to accommodate my schedule), this Eucharist gives all the families whose members took part in the Christian Initiation of Children to come together with fellow parishioners and other families for this joyful occasion.

We had joyful music, an honour guard provided by the Knights of Columbus, photos for those who wanted such, souvenir cards of the archbishop (some of which got autographed--I felt briefly like a celebrity) and, wouldn't you know it, fruit juices, cake and other sweets (even some fresh fruits and veggies). Herewith some photos taken following Mass:

A couple of children join me in cutting the celebratory cake

Father Pierre Champoux and the C.I.C. team at Holy Redeemer

* * * * * *


Lots of our priests are celebrating the anniversary of their priestly ordination in late May or early June (my 38th anniversary is on June 10th). So presiding at priestly ordinations is always a joyous occasion for me (or any bishop).

Today at 10 am in Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, I will ordain David Bergeron of the Companions of the Cross a priest. A native of Granby, Quebec (in the St. Hyacinthe Diocese), he was ordained a deacon there by Mgr Francois Lapierre last September. His first Mass will be celebrated on Sunday in his home parish. The ordination ceremony today will be bilingual.

David Bergeron prepares the chalice at Mass shortly after his diaconal ordination

Left: John Meehan, SJ
Right: Teofilo [Teo] Ugaban, S.J.

Next Saturday at 10am in Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Toronto, I will ordain two Jesuit confreres to the priesthood:

John Meehan from Antigonish, Nova Scotia (a professional historian, whose book entitled, The Dominion and the Rising Sun, was awarded the Prime Minister's Award when it was published in Japanese) and Teofilo Ugaban who was born in the Philippines and immigrated with his family to Vancouver (and who possesses a striking gift as a painter).

Please pray for these men (and others being ordained these days) and for the fruitfulness of the ministry, which they will devote to God's people in the coming years.

* * * * * *


Most Reverend Thomas John Paprocki, when Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago kept up his pick-up hockey skill playing in nets; he has even skated with the Blackhawks and the Nashville Predators.

When named Bishop of Springfield in Illinois (he will be installed on June 22--well after the Stanley Cup is awarded), he made the following comments at his first press conference:

"My favorite sport is hockey; I still play hockey. I am a goalie. My nickname is, the 'Holy Goalie.'

"If you’re trying to figure out how my mind works, you should know that most hockey players say that goalies are different. I get enjoyment from standing in front of a hockey net and having people shoot pucks at me at 100 miles per hour. I am used to taking shots. With that in mind, I will now take your questions."

Not only that he has produced his very own GUIDE TO THE 2010 STANLEY CUP FINALS BETWEEN THE CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS AND THE PHILADELPHIA FLYERS; naturally this presentation does not constitute magisterial teaching; take it all with a grain of salt, says another hockey fan who has been through the wringer with the series that took us to the finals. Herewith the Holy Goalie's guide:

Here are a few points to keep in mind as the Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers face off against each other in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Final Series:

The Blackhawk Indian head logo has been called by many as the best logo in professional sports. It is a respectful and dignified depiction of a real person, Chief Black Hawk, who headed an Indian tribe that roamed the plains of the Midwest.

The Philadelphia Flyers logo is officially described as “a black P-Wing with an orange circle in the middle.” On April 4, 1966, co-owner Bill Putnam announced there would be a name-the-team contest and that orange, black and white would be the team colors. Wanting what he referred to as "hot" colors, Putnam's choice was influenced by the orange and white of his alma mater, the University of Texas, and the orange and black of Philadelphia's previous NHL team, the Quakers. Also announced on April 4 was the hiring of a Chicago firm to design the team's arena.

● It was co-owner Ed Snider's sister Phyllis who ended up naming the team when she suggested Flyers on a return trip from a Broadway play. Ed knew immediately it would be the winning name, since it captured the speed of the game and went well phonetically with Philadelphia. On August 3, 1966, the team name was announced. Of the 11,000 ballots received, more than 100 selected Flyers as the team name and were entered into a drawing to select a winner. 9-year-old boy Alec Stockard from Narberth, Pennsylvania, who had spelled it "Fliers" on his entry, won the drawing and was declared the winner.

● The Blackhawks were called the Portland Rose Buds before a coffee baron in Chicago, named Frederick McLaughlin purchased the team in the mid 1920's. McLaughlin moved the team to Chicago and was awarded a NHL franchise on September 25, 1926. The team name came from its first owner, Major Fredrick McLaughlin. As a commander of the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion of the U.S. Army's World War I Expeditionary Force, the Major belonged to the 86th Blackhawk Division and felt a great affection for the name. He also was aware of the history of Chief Black Hawk. After McLaughlin named the team, his wife Irene, designed the unique Black, Red, and White striped uniforms with the head of Chief Black Hawk on the logo.

● The grit and determination of the Chicago Blackhawks is epitomized by defenseman Duncan Keith, who lost seven teeth when he was hit in the face by a puck in last Sunday’s game that clinched the semi-final series against the San Jose Sharks. He only missed four shifts and ended up playing a game-high 29 minutes, 2 seconds and assisted on the tying goal. Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said, "He's a warrior." His defense partner said, "Seeing him suck on some gauze there really gave us a lift.”

● Flyers goalie Michael Leighton came up through the Chicago Blackhawks organization. After the Hawks drafted him 165th overall in 1999, he played for them sparingly in 2002 and started 33 games for the struggling squad the next season. But a lockout and an injury in the minor leagues derailed him. After being traded, he played with several other teams before being claimed off waivers by the Flyers on January 11, 2007. On May 22nd, Leighton became the first Flyer to record three shutout wins in the Conference Finals against the Montreal Canadiens.

● Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi was born on August 29, 1983 in Vantaa, Finland. Niemi played junior hockey for Kiekko-Vantaa from 2000 until 2005, when he turned pro with the Pelicans of the Finnish hockey league. He played three seasons with the Pelicans before signing with the Chicago Blackhawks as an undrafted free agent in 2008. After playing in the minors, he made the Blackhawks roster last Fall. Niemi won the starting goaltender job for the Blackhawks near the close of the 2009-2010 NHL regular season.

● The Flyers made the playoffs by the skin of their teeth by beating the New York Rangers in a shootout in the last game of the regular season. They were on the brink of elimination against the Boston Bruins, down 3 games to 0 before coming back to tie the series, then were down 3 goals to 0 in game seven before rallying to win. This is a tough team that doesn’t give up, but the Blackhawks are loaded with talent and they haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1961, so they are hungry.

● The Holy Goalie’s pick: Blackhawks in 5.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fr. Gerald Leclaire loved India, Bhutan - Photos of St. Joseph Sesquicentennial Celebration

Reverend Gerald LECLAIRE, SJ [R.I.P.]

On Pentecost Sunday, we lost another veteran missionary to India and Bhutan, Father Gerald Leclaire at the age of 81 and in his 63rd year of Jesuit life. His funeral will take place this morning at Ignatius Chapel, Manresa Retreat House, Pickering, with burial this afternoon at the Jesuit Cemetery in Guelph.

Born in Montreal, Quebec, the son of Jean-Alphonse and Adelaide Culleton, he attended D’Arcy McGee High School before entering the Society of Jesus at Guelph on September 7, 1947. After philosophy in Toronto, he studied history at the University of Toronto for 3 years.

In 1957 he was missioned to Darjeeling, India, with ordination taking place on March 22, 1961. His priestly ministry began in Gayaganga as co-pastor, and then a year later (1965) he moved to St. Joseph’s College in Darjeeling to become Rector and Prefect of Studies. His teaching centred on history and theology.

Fr. Leclaire, in 1978, accepted a posting to the Kingdom of Bhutan. He became principal of Sherubtse School in eastern Bhutan. For 11 years he carried the burden of this school and then in 1989 he returned to St. Joseph’s College as principal and lecturer. He was appointed Rector in 1997, a post he held for only two years before suffering a massive stroke while on a visit to Canada.

Fr. Leclaire, despite his debilitating stroke which robbed him of speech, always enjoyed visitors at Pickering and he could be seen outdoors on his motorized cart whizzing around the property; he did this almost daily, weather permitting. He bore his heavy cross with equanimity and courage and was an example to many who were his companions at the infirmary.

Eternal rest grant to him, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon him.

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.

* * * * * *

Sesquicentennial of St. Joseph's Parish, Orleans

There were many photos taken at Saturday's 150 anniversary Mass at Paroisse St. Joseph, Orleans.

One CD of photos reduced a 1000+ collection to 150 chosen photos.

This selection is necessarily more limited.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

St. Augustine of Canterbury - Press Conference in Quebec

Today's optional memorial features St. Augustine, Archbishop of Canterbury (Died AD 604). Also known as St. Augustine the Less to distinguish him from his illustrious namesake from Hippo, Augustine was chosen by Pope Gregory the Great as leader of the mission sent from Rome for the evangelization of the English. He landed in the Isle of Thanet in the Spring of AD 597 and, within a year, Aethelbert, King of Kent, was baptized with several thousand of his subjects.

The foundation of Canterbury Cathedral was laid five years later, supposedly, on the site of an old Roman Church. Augustine was consecrated by Vergilius, Archbishop of Arles and became the first Archbishop of Canterbury.

The alienation between the British Church and the Italian missionaries might have been averted had Augustine recognized the consideration that was due to the Church which had existed in Britain for three centuries, and had been more tolerant of the diversity between British and Roman usage.

Augustine laid the foundation stone of the Monastery of St. Peter & St. Paul outside Canterbury, later known as St. Augustine's, in the year of his arrival and there he was buried. He died on 26th May, traditionally in AD 604, but possibly as late as 609. (Edited from G.M. Bevan's "Portraits of the Archbishops of Canterbury" [1908])

* * * * * *

The Debate about Abortion is ON

Photo credit: Le Soleil, Patrice Laroche

Tuesday evening, I flew to Quebec City to join Cardinal Marc Ouellet at a press conference to attempt to change the climate on the matter and to reduce the number of abortions by inviting governments to offer greater assistance to women (couples) who find themselves in difficulties because of an unintended pregnancy rather than only facilitating access to abortion.

Here are the texts given by the Cardinal (in French) and by me (in English):

Le débat sur l’avortement est ouvert et il ne faut pas en avoir peur. 100 000 avortements par année au Canada, plus de 25 000 au Québec, c’est beaucoup trop. On pourrait les réduire de moitié si seulement les femmes en détresse à cause d’une grossesse inattendue étaient accueillies, informées et accompagnées avec compassion et solidarité dans leur choix.

Mes interventions pour une culture de la vie ont fait l’objet de toutes sortes d’interprétations depuis une dizaine de jours dans la presse francophone et anglophone du Canada. C’est pourquoi je tiens à clarifier le sens de mon engagement dans le débat actuel sur l’avortement. Je vous remercie d’avoir répondu à mon invitation et de me permettre de recentrer le débat sur l’essentiel. Les cas très exceptionnels ne doivent pas nous empêcher de voir la triste réalité de l’avortement devenu trop répandu.

Je remercie Mgr Terrence Prendergast, archevêque d’Ottawa, de se joindre à moi pour lancer un appel à la solidarité avec les plus démunis de notre société : l’enfant à naître et la femme qui se trouve contrainte de recourir à l’avortement.

Je précise d’entrée de jeu que mon commentaire pour la défense de l’enfant innocent, même en cas de viol, était motivé par le désir de rappeler la dignité de la femme en toutes circonstances et le respect qui est dû à toute vie humaine naissante. Je constate qu’on a retenu et interprété seulement une partie de mon message. J’attire ici l’attention sur l’autre partie, dans l’espoir que le public prenne conscience du véritable enjeu de ce débat : l’appui à la femme enceinte de la part de l’homme, de la famille, de la société.

Je n’ai dit nulle part que je condamnais la femme qui avait eu recours à l’avortement. J’ai même dit le contraire en parlant directement à l’une d’entre elles sur les ondes d’une émission de télévision. Je n’ai déclaré aucune femme criminelle parce qu’elle avait subi un avortement. Je sais très bien que la responsabilité ultime de cette décision morale relève de la conscience personnelle qui agit en fonction de divers facteurs, dont l’intention de la personne et les circonstances. Dieu seul est juge de la conscience de chacun et chacune parce que Lui seul peut mesurer tous les éléments de chaque cas.

Mon propos a toujours été de rappeler la norme morale objective avec la préoccupation de sauver la vie de l’enfant innocent et d’épargner à la mère les conséquences graves d’un avortement délibérément provoqué : c’est précisément le souci de la santé physique, psychologique et spirituelle de la femme en difficulté qui a motivé mes interventions. Je suis très désolé que mes propos, déformés ou cités hors contexte, aient pu causer des souffrances additionnelles aux femmes qui font face à des situations semblables. J’espère que ces mises au point serviront à assainir et à recentrer le débat.

Car débat il y a et il doit y avoir, même si une motion à Québec et une affirmation du premier ministre à Ottawa vont dans le sens contraire et refusent de rouvrir la législation sur l’avortement.

Je déplore cette attitude de plusieurs de nos représentants qui ne semblent pas vouloir regarder en face l’injustice que notre pays cautionne en n’accordant aucune protection juridique à l’enfant dans le sein de sa mère. Notre pays est à cet égard un cas unique dans le monde. Beaucoup l’ignorent et croient vivre dans l’un des pays les plus avancés dans le domaine des droits humains. Or, nous n’avons de leçon à faire à personne en ce domaine. Nous devrions même nous ouvrir à ce qui se fait ailleurs afin de mieux voir ce qu’il nous faudrait améliorer pour protéger les enfants encore sans voix qui espèrent voir le jour.

Avec mon collègue, archevêque d’Ottawa, qui entretient lui aussi, comme moi, des rapports plus étroits avec les gouvernants, je m’adresse à la conscience de mes compatriotes, femmes et hommes, pour que nous réclamions un jour ensemble que le vide juridique actuel en matière d’avortement, un état de chose injuste, soit modifié en notre pays.

Cependant, tenant compte de l’impasse politique et juridique dans laquelle nous vivons, je lance un appel avec mon collègue d’Ottawa pour qu’une campagne de sensibilisation et des programmes d’aide aux femmes en détresse se développent davantage en notre pays. Il manque beaucoup d’information, d’accompagnement et d’aide financière, pour que les femmes enceintes soient mises en situation de faire un choix éclairé. Il importe beaucoup qu’à tous les niveaux, gouvernemental, médical et social, des programmes d’aide plus efficace pour les femmes en situation de grossesse difficile soient mis en œuvre afin que le plus grand nombre possible parmi elles puissent éviter l’avortement.

Le débat actuel nous place d’une façon inattendue devant un choix de société qui peut dépasser les clivages habituels et rallier le plus grand nombre. La présence des jeunes dans ce débat révèle une nouvelle sensibilité qui n’est plus celle d’il y a vingt ans. L’expérience des familles a aussi beaucoup changé, mais le fait demeure que la venue d’un enfant apporte au foyer beaucoup de bonheur.

Cette valeur s’ajoute à tout un patrimoine de solidarité sociale pour les plus démunis qui fait notre fierté et qui réclame du Québec et de toutes les provinces du Canada un nouveau choix. Il appartient désormais à tous et toutes de réfléchir à ce choix. N’ayons pas peur de ce débat qui configurera l’avenir de notre peuple.

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Life: the inalienable right

Photo credit: Canadian Press

1) Two weeks ago, nearly twelve thousand people gathered on Parliament Hill and thousands more in several Canadian cities to stand up in defence of the unborn. These people represent many in the silent majority who are on the side of life. The significant Pro-Life caucus of our Federal Government works quietly, day after day, to keep human life at the top of the Government agenda.

2) To be actively in favour of life is to contribute to the renewal of society through the promotion of the common good. It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop. There can be no true peace unless life is defended and promoted.

3) We must never lose sight of the atrocities against the unborn, the untold and too-seldom spoken of pain and lingering anguish experienced by those who have been involved in abortions; doing otherwise has severely narrowed our national discourse about moral values in the public square.

4) Whatever is opposed to life itself, whatever violates the dignity of the human person, whatever insults human dignity … all of these things and more poison human society. Concern about abortion and the implications for the mother and her child does not excuse indifference to those who suffer from poverty, violence and injustice. We must strive to see the whole picture, not with tunnel vision. We cannot ignore the other great challenges faced by humanity today. But that is not our topic today.

5) For, the right to life is primordial. In Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical, Caritas in Veritate, (Charity in Truth), the Holy Father addresses clearly the dignity and respect for human life: “Openness to life is at the centre of true development… When a society moves toward the denial or suppression of life, it ends up no longer finding the necessary motivation and energy to strive for man’s true good. If personal and social sensitivity toward the acceptance of a new life is lost, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away.”

6) Favouring the cause of life is not an activity for a political party or a particular side of the spectrum. It is an obligation for everyone: left, right and centre! If we are in favour of life—pro-woman, pro-child, pro-family, we must engage the culture around us and offer positive solutions. It is this positive purpose that has brought me here today to join with Cardinal Ouellet to make an appeal on behalf of women who find themselves without helpful alternatives when they face an unanticipated pregnancy and on behalf of the child the woman carries in her womb.

7) All across Canada, there are public, Catholic and Christian centres that reach out to help those in distress over pregnancy and new life. The outstanding work of Birthright cuts across all religious and sectarian lines and stands for life. Many cities, from Vancouver to St. John’s, have crisis pregnancy centres which provide safe places, welcome, and options for young women and men to preserve, protect and uphold the life of the newly conceived child as well as their own human dignity. There, ordinary people reach out to those in crisis and distress to save lives.

8) What His Eminence and I are asking today is that governmental agencies take on their proper role in affording help for pregnant women in distress—and others affected by new life in the womb—to reduce the extraordinarily high number of abortions in our country.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Memorial of St. Philip Neri - Handing the Ark of the New Covenant over to Montreal

Philip Romolo Neri (Italian: Filippo de Neri) (July 22, 1515 – May 25, 1595), also known as Apostle of Rome, was an Italian priest, noted for founding a society of secular priests called the "Congregation of the Oratory".

Saint Philip, one of the glories of Florence, was born of an illustrious Christian family in that city of Tuscany, in 1515. His parents lived in the fear of God and the observance of His commandments, and raised their son to be obedient and respectful. Already when he was five years old, he was called good little Philip. He lost his mother while still very young, and it seemed he should have died himself when he was about eight or nine years old. He fell, along with a horse, onto a pavement from a certain height. Though the horse landed on top of him, he was entirely uninjured. He attributed his preservation to a special intervention of God, destined to permit him to dedicate his life to the service of God.

He fled from a prospective inheritance to Rome, where he desired to study, and there undertook to tutor the two sons of a nobleman who offered him refuge. He led so edifying a life that word of it reached Florence, and his sister commented that she had never doubted he would become a great Saint. He studied philosophy and theology, and after a short time seemed to need to study no longer, so clear were the truths of God in his mind. He always kept the Summa Theologica of Saint Thomas Aquinas near him for consultation; this and the Holy Bible were his only books.

Saint Philip seemed surrounded by a celestial splendor, the effect of his angelic purity, which he never lost in spite of the many dangers that surrounded him; he came victorious from every combat, through prayer, tears and confidence in God. He often visited the hospitals to serve the sick and assist the poor. At night he would go to the cemetery of Saint Callixtus, where he prayed near the tombs of the martyrs.

He attracted a number of companions who desired to perform these devotions with him. He loved young boys most of all; he wanted to warn them against the world’s seductions and conserve their virtue in all its freshness. He would wait for them and talk to them after their classes; and many whom his examples impressed consecrated themselves to God. Assisted by his excellent confessor, he founded a Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity for the relief of the poor, convalescents, and pilgrims who had no place of refuge. He gave lodging to many in the great jubilee year of 1550, even receiving several complete families in the houses he had obtained.

At the age of 36 he was not yet a priest, and his confessor commanded him under obedience to receive Holy Orders, which he did in the same year of 1551. He joined a society of priests and heard many confessions. Saint Ignatius of Loyola called him Philip the Bell, saying he was like a parish church bell, calling everyone to church, but remaining in his tower — this because he determined so many souls to enter into religion, without doing so himself. He himself was about to follow Saint Francis Xavier’s renowned examples, by going to India with twenty young companions, but was advised by an interior voice to consult a saintly priest. He was then told that the will of God was that he live in the city of Rome as in a desert.

The famous Society of Saint Philip, called The Oratory, began when a group of good priests joined him in giving instructions and conferences and presiding prayers; for them he drew up some rules which were soon approved. He became renowned all over Italy for the instances of bilocation which were duly verified during his lifetime. Many holy servants of God were formed in the Oratory, a society of studious priests, made ready by ten years of preparation in the common life for a service founded on sacerdotal perfection. Saint Philip died peacefully in 1595 on the Feast of Corpus Christi at the age of 80, having been ill for only one day. He bears the noble titles of Patron of Works of Youth, and Apostle of Rome. (source:

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The on-line Wiki Source has an entry, Maxims and Sayings of Philip Neri: one for each day of the year; herewith thoughts for the last ten days of May:

22. If we find nothing in the world to please us, we ought to be pleased by this very not finding anything to please us.

23. He who wishes to attain to perfection must have no attachment to anything.

24. It is a good thing to leave the world and our possessions to serve God, but it is not enough.

25. The greatness of our love of God must be tested by the desire we have of suffering for His love.

26. Let us strive after purity of heart, for the Holy Spirit dwells in candid and simple minds.

27. The Holy Spirit is the master of prayer, and causes us to abide in continual peace and cheerfulness, which is a foretaste of Paradise.

28. If we wish the Holy Spirit to teach us how to pray, we must practise humility and obedience.

29. The fruit we ought to get from prayer, is to do what is pleasing to the Lord.

30. A virtuous life consists in mortifying vices, sins, bad thoughts, and evil affections, and in exercising ourselves in the acquisition of holy virtues.

31. Let us be humble and keep ourselves down:- Obedience! Humility! Detachment!

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The Montreal Youth Ministry/Mission Jeunesse delegation prepares to re-enter Notre Dame cathedral to accept the Ark of the New Covenant from the Ottawa delegation

The bishops at the closing liturgy show off their Montreal Montee Jeunesse tee-shirts

The Ottawa bearers of the Ark of the New Covenant prepare to hand it over to the Montreal team