Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Holy Father's Intentions for September 2010 - Lower Town Urban Art

Tomorrow is the beginning of September and there is a change in the Pope's monthly prayer intentions. Here are the new ones (September 2010):

•General Intention: The Word of God as Incentive for Social Development. That the proclamation of the Word of God may renew people's hearts, encouraging them to work toward authentic social progress.

•Mission Intention: End of War. That by opening our hearts to love we may put an end to the wars and conflicts which continue to bloody our world.

* * * * * *

Urban Mural in Lower Town/La Basse Ville

At my Sunday visit to Ottawa's Patro, I saw notices of the dedication of a large mural at the Park located at 400 Clarence Street, in effect right next door.

So, I spent a few minutes searching it out and then taking photograph's of the interests of the youth who painted the mural.

Hope they brighten up your day, as they did mine:

Monday, August 30, 2010

Visit to the "Patro" of Ottawa (Paroisse Sainte-Anne)

Yesterday, I presided at the installation of frere Edouard Ntiyankundiye, c.b.y. as the administrator of Paroisse Sainte Anne in Lower Town.

We had thought that the church, which suffered the collapse of its west transept in spring 2009 and recently has been undergoing repairs, would have been the venue for this service when planning began for it earlier in July.

Initially, hopes had been raised that parishioners would be able to return for Sunday Mass on August 15.

However, City of Ottawa inspectors recently expressed ongoing concerns about safety issues for those entering the church. So occupancy of the church by parishioners has been put off yet again; it is hoped occupancy can be restored by the early fall.

The church, built in 1873 and possessed of a heritage site designation, is no longer completely surrounded by the barrier of a fence, but some parts of the grounds are off limits as repairs continue.

Scaffolding is visible next to the rectory:

The new parish priest's ministry was duly inaugurated and a reception was held in the Patro d'Ottawa, near the church, where Lord's Day Masses and Feast Days have been celebrated since the church was closed to parishioners last year.

Now, it is my hope to return for a Thanksgiving Mass to celebrate the return of parishioners to their church, once inspectors give the green light indicating all is safe.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday 22C: The Call to Humility - Sisters of Sainte-Marie de Namur

Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year "C") August 29, 2010 "THOSE WHO HUMBLE THEMSELVES WILL BE EXALTED" [Texts: Sirach 3:17-18, 20, 28-29; [Psalm 68]; Hebrews 12:18-19, 22-24a; Luke 14:1, 7-14]

Around the year 180 B.C., Jesus the son of Sirach, gave instruction on wisdom to the youth of Jerusalem. His counsels and maxims told how one could become a success in life. How one could please God and other people.

Modesty and humility were part of the ideal toward which the would-be wise person aspired. For these virtues were a reflection of Israel's God who had chosen to be close to the poor and needy ("Father of orphans and protector of widows is God in His holy habitation. God gives the desolate a home to live in; He leads out the prisoners to prosperity").

Sirach pointed out that the humble person "will be loved by those whom God accepts". Within God's household, then, all should come to share a single outlook. Sirach's principle was: "the greater you are the more you must humble yourself; so you will find favour in the sight of the Lord".

Gospel humility is not the fawning humility of a Uriah Heep in Dickens's David Copperfield. Rather, true humility is that which acknowledges one's primary status as that of a creature of God. Each person is made in the divine likeness and constantly receives all good things from God: life, abilities, achievements, all that one has come to have and possess ("to the humble the Lord reveals His secrets").

Therefore, no one claims talents or endowments--or the achievements which these allow one to accomplish--as anything other than divinely-bestowed gifts, to be used for God's glory. The honour or status that a person receives through recognition by others is put into true perspective only when one realizes that the only true standing is that which one has in the eyes of God.

In the ancient world, meals were important social ceremonies where little was left to chance. In Luke's gospel, we find observations that people noted where and with whom one ate (5:29-30), whether one performed hand-washing rituals before meals (11:38) and where one sat to eat.

Pliny the Younger's Letters critiqued the meal etiquette of his day, noting that the amount and quality of food depended on how close one sat to the host: "some very elegant dishes were served up to himself and a few more of the company; while those which were placed before the rest were cheap and paltry".

Jesus exposed the grasping dispositions that motivated both host and guests. Though some think He simply counselled guests how to play the game more shrewdly ("so that when your host comes, he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher'"), Jesus did not suggest the guest take a place several notches below his or her station. Instead, Jesus advised His disciples to take the "last place".

The "honour" or "glory" each would receive resided as much in God's presence as in their standing among mortals whose perspective was limited. Jesus hints at the end-time reward of heaven: "for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted [by God]".

Likewise, Jesus' advice to hosts is directed at God's end-time rewards. Hosts are prone to being hooked by the reciprocity system, thinking "those I invite must invite me in return; I will benefit not only from good meals but also by the honour and status associated with the wealthy and powerful".

Gospel values require that one not invite "your friends or your brothers or relatives or rich neighbours" but "the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind". Because these cannot repay you now, their patron--God!--will repay you at the "resurrection of the righteous".

Following the advice of Jesus means entering into a new value system where God does the rewarding and continues giving generously.

God's abundant giving also underlies the passage from Hebrews. There the Christian assembly is invited to see itself joining God's festal gathering where all share the status of "the firstborn who are enroled in heaven" and "the spirits of the righteous who have been made perfect" by the "new covenant" God established through Jesus.

This is not a frightening reality--as one might imagine the encounter at Mount Sinai was--but implies being part of an assembly permeated by joy and peace.

* * * * * *


Hier matin, le vicaire pour les réligieuses et réligieux du diocèse, l'abbé Daniel Berniquez et moi sommes allés visiter nos voisines du 101 rue Parent à l'occasion d'une visite de la Supérieure Générale, Sr. Rejeanne Roussel, SSMN.

Après la messe à la mémoire de Saint Augustin, on a pris un léger petit déjeuner, en partagent des informations sur le plan international et des nouvelles de la communauté au Canada.

"Un esprit dynamique de simplicité et de joie a permis aux Soeurs de Sainte-Marie de Namur de répondre aux besoins changeants de l'Eglise.

Je crois qu'en continuant à lire les signes des temps, en accompagnant ceux qui sont dans le besoin ou qui souffrent, en nous tenant comme des phares d'espérance et en vivant les béatitudes, nous pouvons rendre différent ce monde vulnérable.

Veuillez nous soutenir par votre prière."

--Sr. Rejeanne Roussel, SSMN (www.ssmn-e.com)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

St. Augustine, Bishop & Teacher of the Church - Cardinal Ouellet Takes Up His Post in Rome

Today in the liturgy, the Church rightly celebrates the memorial of one its greatest theological minds and spiritual writers, Saint Augustine (November 13, 354 – August 28, 430).

The Confessions or The City of God alone would be a monument to any author, but there are hundreds of other writings of this striking personality that have shaped the Church as he defended the truth ["Veritas in the painting] against the manifold errors of his day (Donatists, Pelagians, etc).

* * *

Renew in your Church, we pray, O Lord, the spirit with which you endowed your Bishop Saint Augustine that, filled with the same spirit, we may thirst for you, the sole fount of true wisdom, and seek you, the author of heavenly love. Through Christ our Lord.

* * *

My favourite excerpt from the Confessions is the text for the Office of Readings for today's memorial:

Urged to reflect upon myself, I entered under your guidance the innermost places of my being; but only because you had become my helper was I able to do so. I entered, then, and with the vision of my spirit, such as it was, I saw the incommutable light far above my spiritual ken and transcending my mind: not this common light which every carnal eye can see, nor any light of the same order; but greater, as though this common light were shining much more powerfully, far more brightly, and so extensively as to fill the universe. The light I saw was not the common light at all, but something different, utterly different, from all those things. Nor was it higher than my mind in the sense that oil floats on water or the sky is above the earth; it was exalted because this very light made me, and I was below it because by it I was made. Anyone who knows truth knows this light.

O eternal Truth, true Love, and beloved Eternity, you are my God, and for you I sigh day and night. As I first began to know you, you lifted me up and showed me that, while that which I might see exists indeed, I was not yet capable of seeing it. Your rays beamed intensely on me, beating back my feeble gaze, and I trembled with love and dread. I knew myself to be far away from you in a region of unlikeness, and I seemed to hear your voice from on high: “I am the food of the mature: grow, then, and you shall eat me. You will not change me into yourself like bodily food; but you will be changed into me”.

Accordingly I looked for a way to gain the strength I needed to enjoy you, but I did not find it until I embraced the mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who is also God, supreme over all things and blessed for ever. He called out, proclaiming I am the Way and Truth and the Life, nor had I known him as the food which, though I was not yet strong enough to eat it, he had mingled with our flesh, for the Word became flesh so that your Wisdom, through whom you created all things, might become for us the milk adapted to our infancy.

Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.

[Saint Ambrose baptizing Saint Augustine by Benozzo Gozzoli (c. 1464-65), apsidal chapel, Sant'Agostino, San Gimignano, Italy]

* * *

Flood the Path with Light,
God of our life,
there are days when the burdens we carry
chafe our shoulders and weigh us down;
when the road seems dreary and endless,
the skies grey and threatening;
when our lives have no music in them,
and our hearts are lonely,
and our souls have lost their courage.

Flood the Path with Light,
turn our eyes to where the skies are full of promise;
tune our hearts to brave music;
give us the sense of comradeship
with heroes and saints of every age;
and so quicken our spirits
that we may be able to encourage
the souls of all who journey
with us on the road of life,
to your honour and glory.
[attributed to St. Augustine]

* * * * * *


Unless there has been a change in plans, today sees Cardinal Marc Ouellet begin his new ministry in Rome. His Eminence is pictured left with Deborah Gyapong at a final interview in Quebec prior to his departure for Rome.

August is usually a quiet time in Rome but the memorial of the great Bishop of Hippo and Doctor [i.e. Teacher] of the Church seems a particularly apt occasion for His Eminence to begin his new duties. He will be searching out candidates for episcopal office to recommend to the Holy Father according to certain criteria.

In his interview with Deborah Gyapong, Cardinal Ouellet, described the kind of ecclesial leaders he senses the Church of Christ requires in this particular moment of salvation history: bold “men of faith” who have “the guts to help people live it out.”

A bishop has to lead the community, so he needs a deep supernatural vision as well as the capacity to assess the political, cultural, and sociological context.... Above all, a bishop must be “audacious in proposing the Word and in believing in the Power of the Word and the power of the Spirit.”

“We have to dare to speak to the deep heart, where the Spirit of the Lord is touching people beyond what we can calculate,” said Ouellet. “We need spiritual discernment and not just political calculation of the risk of the possibility of the message being received.”....

The need for unity and solidarity goes far beyond any political statements, he said, but involves a personal commitment that rises beyond a dogmatic faith to an “existential faith that means spiritual discernment of the presence of God and of God’s will.”

We are in a world where the Christian heritage being strongly contested, so we have to recognize that and propose it better, though not through an attempt to restore the past, he said.

“We have to tell people about the Crucified and Risen Lord, who is shaping the Church today, with people faithful to His Word, to His Divine Presence and to the community he wants to see living of His Spirit.”

A bishop must always take a personal approach, he said. Bishops not only must state dogmatic positions, they must believe in them deeply, “then you have the power of conviction.”

“If you state it only formally and in the end you do not really want to see it applied because you don’t believe that it is possible that people accept it, you are in trouble for the transmission of the message,” he said.

Bishops must also be close to people, he said. Being spiritual does not mean keeping a distance.

“The Lord has given us his own heart to be a presence of His heart in the midst of the people,” the cardinal said. “So we have to be aware of that and cultivate what we call holiness, unity with Him, daily unity, in a way that is very human and very spiritual.”

He advocated an ascetical attitude in prayer to maintain purity of heart. “The love of the people is fulfilling the life of the priest.”...

Ouellet called for openness to new movements in the Church, and expressed hopes those already in Quebec, such as Famille Marie-Jeunesse, Catholic Christian Outreach, and the Eucharistic movement around the Youth Summit/Montee Jeunesse will “multiply.”

“I believe deeply there will be a new evangelization,” he said.

The Cardinal also called for a new intellectual dynamism, especially a reform of education to “recapture the spirit of Christianity and “create a new Christian culture.”

“We need intellectuals for that, theologians, philosophers, Christians who really believe in the Gospel and share the doctrine of the Church on moral questions,” he said.

“We have suffered from this mentality of dissent” that is “still dominating the intelligentsia.”

“There is no real discipleship there, real discipleship,” he said. “The discipleship that is emerging is from those who believe and who really love the Church.”

* * *

Mgr Lacroix Quebec Administrator

Meantime, yesterday the bishops of Canada were informed that Auxiliary Bishop Mgr Gerald Cyprien Lacroix has been chosen diocesan administrator for the Archdiocese of Quebec until the nomination of a successor to Cardinal Ouellet.

Best wishes to, and prayers for, Bishop Lacroix as he assumes these new responsibilities.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Memorial of St. Monica - Gathering of Seminarians, Vocations Team

Andrea del Verocchio, Saint Monica

O God, who console the sorrowful and who mercifully accepted the motherly tears of Saint Monica for the conversion of her son Augustine, grant us, through the intercession of them both, that we may bitterly regret our sins and find the grace of your pardon. Through our Lord.

* * * * * *

Today the church remembers Saint Monica, a saint especially revered by mothers because of her tireless prayers for the conversion of her wayward son, Augustine, was born of Christian parents in Tagaste, North Africa in 333, and died in Ostia, near Rome, in 387. She was married young to a government official, Patricius, who was not a Christian, and had a bad temper, though she bore her burdens patiently, and their life together was relatively peaceful. Three children were born to, Augustine, Navigius, and a daughter, Perpetua.

Augustine, the eldest son, though brilliant, was, according to his own account, a lazy and dissolute youth whose bad behavior caused his mother much grief ­ especially so after he went away to school at Madaura and to Carthage. Although Patricius became a Christian not long before he died, Augustine persisted in his pursuit of pleasure, and, as a nineteen-year-old student, joined the heretical Manichaean sect. When he began to spout heresies, Monica became alarmed, and intensified her efforts to bring him to Christ. In the Confessions, Augustine recounts Monica's dream which consoled and encouraged her:

"In her dream she saw herself standing on a sort of wooden rule, and saw a bright youth approaching her, joyous and smiling at her, while she was grieving and bowed down with sorrow. But when he inquired of her the cause of her sorrow and daily weeping (not to learn from her, but to teach her, as is customary in visions), and when she answered that it was my soul's doom she was lamenting, he bade her rest content and told her to look and see that where she was there I was also. And when she looked she saw me standing near her on the same rule." (Confessions, Book III, 9.14).

During this anguished period of prayer for her son, Monica consulted a bishop who had himself been a Manichaean before he became a Christian. He declined to intervene with Augustine, whom, the bishop correctly observed, was not open to hearing the truth. She persisted tearfully, but he refused to intervene.

Nevertheless, the bishop consoled Monica that "the child of those tears shall never perish", which she took as a sign from God. Though he continued in his heresies for nine years, Monica followed Augustine to Rome and then to Milan.in an effort to rescue her son from his errors. In Milan she met Ambrose, who helped lead Augustine into the true faith.

A few months after his conversion, Augustine, Monica and Adeodatus, set out to return to Africa, but Monica died at Ostia, the ancient port city of Rome, and she was buried there. Augustine was so deeply moved by his mother's death that he was inspired to write his Confessions, "So be fulfilled what my mother desired of me--more richly in the prayers of so many gained for her through these confessions of mine than by my prayers alone" (Book IX.13.37)

An account of Monica's early life, her childhood, marriage, her final days and her death, is given in Confessions Book IX, 8-12. He expresses his gratitude for her life:

"I will not speak of her gifts, but of thy gift in her; for she neither made herself nor trained herself. Thou didst create her, and neither her father nor her mother knew what kind of being was to come forth from them. And it was the rod of thy Christ, the discipline of thy only Son, that trained her in thy fear, in the house of one of thy faithful ones who was a sound member of thy Church" (IX.8.7).

Centuries later, Monica's body was reburied in Rome, and eventually her relics were interred in a chapel left of the high altar of the Church of St. Augustine in Rome.

* * * * * *

The day now approaching whereon she was to depart this life (which day Thou well knewest, we knew not), it came to pass, Thyself, as I believe, by Thy secret ways so ordering it, that she and I stood alone, leaning in a certain window, which looked into the garden of the house where we now lay, at Ostia; where removed from the din of men, we were recruiting from the fatigues of a long journey, for the voyage.

We were discoursing then together, alone, very sweetly; and forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, we were enquiring between ourselves in the presence of the Truth, which Thou art, of what sort the eternal life of the saints was to be, which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man. But yet we gasped with the mouth of our heart, after those heavenly streams of Thy fountain, the fountain of life, which is with Thee; that being bedewed thence according to our capacity, we might in some sort meditate upon so high a mystery.

And when our discourse was brought to that point, that the very highest delight of the earthly senses, in the very purest material light, was, in respect of the sweetness of that life, not only not worthy of comparison, but not even of mention; we raising up ourselves with a more glowing affection towards the ‘Self-same’, did by degrees pass through all things bodily, even the very heaven whence sun and moon and stars shine upon the earth; yea, we were soaring higher yet, by inward musing, and discourse, and admiring of Thy works; and we came to our own minds, and went beyond them, that we might arrive at that region of never-failing plenty, where Thou feedest Israel for ever with the food of truth, and where life is the Wisdom by whom all these things are made, and what have been, and what shall be, and she is not made, but is, as she hath been, and so shall she be ever; yea rather, to ‘have been’, and ‘hereafter to be’, are not in her, but only ‘to be’, seeing she is eternal. For to ‘have been’, and to ‘be hereafter’, are not eternal. And while we were discoursing and panting after her, we slightly touched on her with the whole effort of our heart; and we sighed, and there we leave bound the first fruits of the Spirit; and returned to vocal expressions of our mouth, where the word spoken has beginning and end. And what is like unto Thy Word, our Lord, who endureth in Himself without becoming old, and maketh all things new?

We were saying then: If to any the tumult of the flesh were hushed, hushed the images of earth, and waters, and air, hushed also the pole of heaven, yea the very soul be hushed to herself, and by not thinking on self surmount self, hushed all dreams and imaginary revelations, every tongue and every sign, and whatsoever exists only in transition, since if any could hear, all these say, We made not ourselves, but He made us that abideth for ever—If then having uttered this, they too should be hushed, having roused only our ears to Him who made them, and He alone speak, not by them, but by Himself, that we may hear His Word, not through any tongue of flesh, nor Angel’s voice, nor sound of thunder, nor in the dark riddle of a similitude, but might hear Whom in these things we love, might hear His Very Self without these (as we two now strained ourselves, and in swift thought touched on that Eternal Wisdom which abideth over all);—could this be continued on, and other visions of kind far unlike be withdrawn, and this one ravish, and absorb, and wrap up its beholder amid these inward joys, so that life might be for ever like that one moment of understanding which now we sighed after; were not this, Enter into thy Master’s joy? And when shall that be? When we shall all rise again, though we shall not all be changed?

Such things was I speaking, and even if not in this very manner, and these same words, yet, Lord, Thou knowest that in that day when we were speaking of these things, and this world with all its delights became, as we spake, contemptible to us, my mother said, ‘Son, for mine own part I have no further delight in any thing in this life. What I do here any longer, and to what end I am here, I know not, now that my hopes in this world are accomplished. One thing there was for which I desired to linger for a while in this life, that I might see thee a Catholic Christian before I died. My God hath done this for me more abundantly, that I should now see thee withal, despising earthly happiness, become His servant: what do I here?’ (Confessions, IX.)

There follows St Monica’s final sickness, and then her passing. Finally, in , St Augustine writes:

On the ninth day then of her sickness, and the fifty-sixth year of her age, and the three-and-thirtieth of mine, was that religious and holy soul freed from the body. . . . For we thought it not fitting to solemnise that funeral with tearful lament, and groanings; for thereby do they for the most part express grief for the departed, as though unhappy, or altogether dead; whereas she was neither unhappy in her death, nor altogether dead. Of this we were assured on good grounds, the testimony of her good conversation and her faith unfeigned (Confessions, IX.xi-xii).

* * * * * *


In a few days the new seminarians will be reporting for their orientation programs and, a few days later, returning candidates for the priesthood will be taking up studies again or entering upon the pastoral internship year.

So it was that several members of my staff, the vocations committee and some residents joined with most of the seminarians [a couple were absent] for a brief gathering yesterday afternoon and evening.

There was Mass in the Archbishops' Chapel, followed by supper on the patio at my residence and, for those who had not yet taken part, a brief overview of the history of the Archdiocese through visiting the formal reception rooms at 143 St. Patrick Street.

Please join in prayers of gratitude for the new men who have been accepted into the priestly formation program, keeping them and their formators at the seminaries and parishes in thought and prayer.

Ongoing prayers for vocations are still needed for the many other future priests we need.

The Vocation Director Father Tim Mccauley guides the Quo Vadis meeting to reflect on vocational matters on the Third Friday of each month. Men interested in discerning a vocation to priestly service of God's people in this forum or by private encounter may contact Father Tim Mccauley (tmccauley@archottawa.ca or [613] 738-5025, ext. 218) for help in discerning a possible call.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mother Teresa at 100! - CCO National Staff and Board Meet

One hundred years ago today, Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born in Albania. To mark the occasion the United States of America is issuing a commemorative stamp as have other nations.

After entering the Loretto Sisters in Ireland, and spending her first years as a religious teaching in Darjeeling India, she was inspired, in responding to "a call within a call" to found the Missionaries of Charity some sixty-four years ago on September 10, 1946.

Known to the world as Mother Teresa, the sari-habited nun proclaimed the joy of serving Christ in the "poorest of the poor", even as she experienced deep interior spiritual desolation, a profound test of faith (cf. her spiritual notes in Come Be My Light).

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate died on September 5, 1997 and, in record time for modern recognition for sanctity, was beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 19, 2003.

* * *

The Missionaries of Charity, the religious order founded by Blessed Mother Teresa, has no set plan for the future, revealed the current Mother Superior.

In an interview released on Monday by Fides news agency, she said that Mother Teresa left them only with her constant advice: to become ever more holy.

German-born Sister Mary Prema spoke with Fides as the 100th anniversary of Blessed Mother Teresa's birth, celebrated on Aug. 26, approaches.

Mother Teresa's "only goal" of loving Jesus and transmitting that love to others is the legacy she left to the Missionaries of Charity, said Sr. Mary.

Asked what major challenges the order under her direction expects in the future, she answered that the Missionaries of Charity don't make plans too far in advance. "We try to remain open to what God asks of us," she explained.

"Only Jesus will tell me what is the next step. So, in the spirit of Mother, I'm not the one who controls things. God is the one who decides."

Mother Teresa, she explained, "never gave us any indications of future plans besides the fact that we should always strive to become more holy! This was her constant advice."

As Mother Superior she continues to follow the example of Mother Teresa as the head of the order, making informed decisions based on discussion and considering all the information available, she explained.

In responding to the challenges offered by the world in her day, the founder had a way of listening to Jesus and to the world, recalled Sister Mary. "She was very generous towards God and towards those suffering beside her. In this, we want to imitate her."

Remembering the strong witness of the founder, she said, "Through her life, her work, her charisma, she brought those around her to God. She did not preach, but she testified with her own life."

People continue to approach Sister Mary today to recount their experiences of moments shared with Mother Teresa. Many, she said, Hindus included, were only in her presence for a short time, but "that one moment changed their lives forever."

While they may not have converted, she said, "they began to see their lives and their work with different eyes and have become other people, living in a different way, based on love and mercy, within their own families."

Asked when the blessed might be canonized, Sr. Mary said she didn't think that it was important.

"Everyone knows that she is a saint - both Hindus and Christians here in Calcutta and in most places where we are present - this is beyond doubt. Everyone expects a miracle … but Mother Teresa was the same miracle for the world and humanity."

* * *


The National Executive of CCO is meeting at the Diocesan Centre, August 25-26.

Members have come from Dartmouth, Gatineau, Ottawa, Saskatoon, Calgary, Vancouver and San Diego to consider long-term strategy and issues such as recruitment and retention of missionaries, training needs, benefits, etc.

CCO this coming academic year will expand to the University of Calgary and, in Halifax, the team will widen its scope from Dalhousie University to embrace also Saint Mary's University (www.cco.ca).

The National Staff members of CCO are meeting at this time, for a more extended period, until August 31, which affords the Board and Staff the opportunity to interact at Mass, meals, praise and worship, some common sessions.

A very dynamic Spirit-led movement as may be seen in these photos:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

OM: St. Louis de France, St. Joseph Calasanz - Barbecue Time

Today, along with the Wednesday of the 21st week in Ordinary Time, the Church's liturgy also permits the celebration of one of two optional memorials: that of a saintly French monarch or the Spanish founder of a religious community that offered free education to the children of the poor:

Grâce aux Chroniques écrites par Joinville, ami très proche du Roi, la mémoire populaire française garde de Louis IX l'image d'un souverain rendant la justice à l'ombre d'un vieux chêne proche de son château à Vincennes.

Saint Louis a en effet frappé ses contemporains par son sens de la justice, sa profonde piété et sa grande charité envers les pauvres.

A vingt ans, il épouse Marguerite de Provence et leur amour sera tendre et fidèle. Quand il part pour délivrer la Terre Sainte en 1248, il s'embarque avec elle. Le roi est fait prisonnier. Une fois libéré et rentré dans son royaume, il y entreprend de grandes réformes en particulier l'interdiction du duel judiciaire.

Il fonde des hôpitaux et des monastères. Il réalise son grand projet : construire la Sainte-Chapelle comme une châsse de lumière et de vitraux destinée à recueillir des reliques, surtout la Couronne d'épines qu'il a acquise auprès de l'empereur latin de Constantinople. Il donne à sa soeur, la bienheureuse Isabelle, le terrain de Longchamp pour y fonder une abbaye de religieuses de Sainte-Claire.

Son royaume connaît une période de plein développement culturel, intellectuel et théologique. Saint Louis aime recevoir à sa table saint Bonaventure et saint Thomas d'Aquin. Avec Robert de Sorbon, il fonde la Sorbonne (1257). Il suit avec attention l'achèvement de la cathédrale Notre-Dame et surtout les grandes rosaces (1255) et les porches (www.nominis.cef.fr).

Son plus grand souci est de pacifier, de réconcilier les ennemis et d'éteindre les conflits, en particulier entre la France et l'Angleterre (1258). Mais il rêve de retourner en Terre Sainte et de convertir le sultan d'Egypte. Il n'ira pas plus loin que Carthage, l'actuelle Tunis. La maladie a raison de lui le 25 août 1270.

* * *

O God, who brought Saint Louis from the cares of earthly rule to the glory of a heavenly realm, grant, we pray, through his intercession, that by fulfilling our duties on earth, we may seek out your eternal Kingdom. Through our Lord.

* * * * * *

St. Joseph, Founder of the Piarists

Goya, The Last Communion of Joseph Calasanz

From Aragon, where he was born in 1556, to Rome, where he died 92 years later, fortune alternately smiled and frowned on the work of Joseph Calasanz. A priest with university training in canon law and theology, respected for his wisdom and administrative expertise, he put aside his career because he was deeply concerned with the need for education of poor children.

When he was unable to get other institutes to undertake this apostolate at Rome, he and several companions personally provided a free school for deprived children. So overwhelming was the response that there was a constant need for larger facilities to house their effort.

Soon Pope Clement VIII gave support to the school, and this aid continued under Pope Paul V. Other schools were opened; other men were attracted to the work and in 1621 the community (for so the teachers lived) was recognized as a religious community, the Clerks Regular of Religious Schools (Piarists or Scolopi). Not long after, Joseph was appointed superior for life.

A combination of various prejudices and political ambition and maneuvering caused the institute much turmoil. Some did not favor educating the poor, for education would leave the poor dissatisfied with their lowly tasks for society!

Others were shocked that some of the Piarists were sent for instruction to Galileo (a friend of Joseph) as superior, thus dividing the members into opposite camps. Repeatedly investigated by papal commissions, Joseph was demoted; when the struggle within the institute persisted, the Piarists were suppressed. Only after Joseph’s death were they formally recognized as a religious community.

No one knew better than Joseph the need for the work he was doing; no one knew better than he how baseless were the charges brought against him. Yet if he were to work within the Church, he realized that he must submit to its authority, that he must accept a setback if he was unable to convince authorized investigators.

Even in the days after his own demotion, Joseph protected his persecutors against his enraged partisans; and when the community was suppressed, he stated with Job, to whom he was often compared: “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:21b).

While the prejudice, the scheming, and the ignorance of men often keep the truth from emerging for a long period of time, Joseph was convinced, even under suppression, that his institute would again be recognized and authorized. With this trust he joined exceptional patience and a genuine spirit of forgiveness.

* * *

O God, who adorned the Priest Saint Joseph Calasanz with such charity and patience that he laboured tirelessly to educate children and endow them with every virtue, grant, we pray, that we who venerate him as a teacher of wisdom may constantly imitate him, for he worked in harmony with your truth. Through our Lord.

* * * * * *


In August before folks return to school and to regular ministry, I invite my Jesuit confreres in Ottawa and those who happen to be passing through over to a barbecue on the residence's patio.

This year these included Jesuit Provincial Father Jim Webb; Father Bill Russell of the New England Province; Father Bill Robins originally from Winnipeg and for many years missioned to Kathmandu, Nepal, on home leave to celebrate his Golden Jubilee as a Jesuit and visiting his sister and nieces in the Capital).

In addition, those in attendance included two Jesuits moving this week to Toronto: Father William (Bill) Ryan, who has been in Ottawa since 1984 and Jason Vaz, a scholastic who recently completed his philosophical studies at Dominican University College.

Left to right: Jason Vaz, William Ryan

Father Ryan will have a lead role at the Jesuit Forum for Social Faith and Justice, while Jason will pursue a further degree in education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (O.I.S.E.)

Some photos of the visitors and the priest-residents:

Barbecued spare ribs, corn on the cob, salads and good company!

Left to right: Fathers Joseph Muldoon, E.V., Vernon Boyd, S.J., Jim Webb, S.J.

Canon Law students Father Lawrence Raisen (Diocese of Tyler, TX) and Deacon Hugues Bokouamanga, S.J. (Congo-Brazzaville) brace themselves for the new term at St. Paul University