Thursday, June 30, 2011

July 2011 Papal Prayer Intentions - Tomorrow's Sacred Heart Feast

Tomorrow is not only Canada Day but also the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the First Friday of July. Promotion of this devotion and the spirituality of the Morning Offering has been regularly entrusted by popes to the Society of Jesus. This is why I thought it good to link to the diocesan celebration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Jesuits in Canada (May 22, 2011) and my own 50th anniversary as a Jesuit with this feast at Notre Dame Cathedral tomorrow at 9AM.

The following are the papal prayer intentions for July 2011:

GENERAL •Those Suffering with AIDS. That Christians may ease the physical and spiritual sufferings of those who are sick with AIDS, especially in the poorest countries.

MISSION •Religious Missionary Women. That religious women in mission territories may be witnesses of the joy in the Gospel and living signs of the love of Christ.

Please join if you can in person or in spirit in thanksgiving for the blessings of our country Canada and for the good God has allowed Jesuits and me to do over the years.

As a Jesuit novice, Guelph 1961

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Solemnity of St Peter and St Paul - Pope 60 Years a Priest, Promoter of Eucharistic Adoration - First Papal "Tweet"

Saints Peter and Paul

O God, who on the solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul, give us the noble and holy joy of this day, grant, we pray, that your Church may in all things follow the teaching of those through whom she received the beginnings of right religion. Through our Lord.

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La Sainte Eglise associe dans une même fête la figure et le témoignage des saints Apôtres Pierre et Paul.

Leurs vies si différentes sur bien des points va converger jusqu' au martyre à Rome vers l' an 67 : Pierre y sera crucifié et Paul décapité, parce que citoyen romain.

Pierre fut le premier parmi les Douze à confesser très fortement la Foi au Christ, le Fils du Dieu Vivant;

Paul ne ménagera pas ses efforts pour mettre cette Foi en lumière et l' exposer à tous.

"Dès le début... la tradition chrétienne a considéré Pierre et Paul inséparables l' un de l' autre, même s' ils eurent une mission différente à accomplir... Avec des charismes différents, ils oeuvrèrent pour une unique cause : l' édification de l' Eglise du Christ". (Pape Benoit XVI - Homélie du 28 juin 2007).

Pierre et Paul sont nos aînés dans la Foi : tous les deux nous invitent à vivre une réelle communion d' Amour avec le Christ qui fut leur raison de vivre et de mourir!

Pierre a un jour entendu une Promesse extraordinaire dans la bouche de Jésus : "Moi, J' ai prié pour toi, afin que ta Foi ne défaille pas!" (Saint Luc 22, 32).

Cette Promesse du Seigneur est valable et efficace pour aujourd' hui : "La prière de Jésus -disait le Pape Benoit XVI- est la protection de l' Eglise. Nous pouvons nous réfugier sous cette protection, nous y agripper et placer notre certitude en elle.

Nous voulons implorer toujours ce Regard sauveur de Jésus : pour tous ceux qui, dans l' Eglise, ont une responsabilité; pour tous ceux qui souffrent des confusions de notre temps; pour les grands et les petits : Seigneur, regarde-nous toujours à nouveau et relève-nous de toutes nos chutes, et prends-nous dans Tes Mains bienveillantes...

Oui, Sa Promesse est vraie : les pouvoirs de la mort, les portes de l' enfer ne tiendront pas contre l' Eglise qu' Il a édifiée sur Pierre et que, précisément de cette façon, Il continue d' édifier personnellement". (Homélie du 29 juin 2006 à saint Pierre de Rome).

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This has been a very busy week for the Holy Father. Beginning with the celebration of Corpus Christi last Thursday (and again on Sunday). In a way a symbol of his pontificate has been his helping the Church recover Eucharistic adoration as part of our devotional life (not unlike Blessed John Paul II helping us recover true Marian devotion).

* * * * * *

Yesterday, Pope Benedict signalled his embrace of new technology by sending out the first papal message on Twitter, simultaneously launching the new Vatican web portal (from which the photos with text are taken):

Pope Sends First Papal Tweet

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This morning, the pope celebrated his 60th anniversary of priestly ordination and conferred the pallium on metropolitan archbishops from around the world, including Mgr Gerald Cyprien Lacroix of Quebec, Primate of the Canadian Church.  Here is his stunning homily:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

"Non iam dicam servos, sed amicos" - "I no longer call you servants, but friends" (cf. Jn 15:15).

Sixty years on from the day of my priestly ordination, I hear once again deep within me these words of Jesus that were addressed to us new priests at the end of the ordination ceremony by the Archbishop, Cardinal Faulhaber, in his slightly frail yet firm voice.

According to the liturgical practice of that time, these words conferred on the newly-ordained priests the authority to forgive sins. "No longer servants, but friends": at that moment I knew deep down that these words were no mere formality, nor were they simply a quotation from Scripture. I knew that, at that moment, the Lord himself was speaking to me in a very personal way.

In baptism and confirmation he had already drawn us close to him, he had already received us into God’s family. But what was taking place now was something greater still. He calls me his friend. He welcomes me into the circle of those he had spoken to in the Upper Room, into the circle of those whom he knows in a very special way, and who thereby come to know him in a very special way. He grants me the almost frightening faculty to do what only he, the Son of God, can legitimately say and do: I forgive you your sins. He wants me – with his authority – to be able to speak, in his name ("I" forgive), words that are not merely words, but an action, changing something at the deepest level of being.

I know that behind these words lies his suffering for us and on account of us. I know that forgiveness comes at a price: in his Passion he went deep down into the sordid darkness of our sins. He went down into the night of our guilt, for only thus can it be transformed. And by giving me authority to forgive sins, he lets me look down into the abyss of man, into the immensity of his suffering for us men, and this enables me to sense the immensity of his love. He confides in me: "No longer servants, but friends". He entrusts to me the words of consecration in the Eucharist. He trusts me to proclaim his word, to explain it aright and to bring it to the people of today. He entrusts himself to me. "You are no longer servants, but friends": these words bring great inner joy, but at the same time, they are so awe-inspiring that one can feel daunted as the decades go by amid so many experiences of one’s own frailty and his inexhaustible goodness.

"No longer servants, but friends": this saying contains within itself the entire programme of a priestly life. What is friendship? Idem velle, idem nolle – wanting the same things, rejecting the same things: this was how it was expressed in antiquity.

Friendship is a communion of thinking and willing. The Lord says the same thing to us most insistently: "I know my own and my own know me" (Jn 10:14). The Shepherd calls his own by name (cf. Jn 10:3). He knows me by name. I am not just some nameless being in the infinity of the universe. He knows me personally. Do I know him?

The friendship that he bestows upon me can only mean that I too try to know him better; that in the Scriptures, in the Sacraments, in prayer, in the communion of saints, in the people who come to me, sent by him, I try to come to know the Lord himself more and more.

Friendship is not just about knowing someone, it is above all a communion of the will. It means that my will grows into ever greater conformity with his will. For his will is not something external and foreign to me, something to which I more or less willingly submit or else refuse to submit. No, in friendship, my will grows together with his will, and his will becomes mine: this is how I become truly myself.

Over and above communion of thinking and willing, the Lord mentions a third, new element: he gives his life for us (cf. Jn 15:13; 10:15). Lord, help me to come to know you more and more. Help me to be ever more at one with your will. Help me to live my life not for myself, but in union with you to live it for others. Help me to become ever more your friend.

Jesus’ words on friendship should be seen in the context of the discourse on the vine. The Lord associates the image of the vine with a commission to the disciples: "I appointed you that you should go out and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide" (Jn 15:16).

The first commission to the disciples, to his friends, is that of setting out – appointed to go out -, stepping outside oneself and towards others. Here we hear an echo of the words of the risen Lord to his disciples at the end of Matthew’s Gospel: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations ..." (cf. Mt 28:19f.) The Lord challenges us to move beyond the boundaries of our own world and to bring the Gospel to the world of others, so that it pervades everything and hence the world is opened up for God’s kingdom.

We are reminded that even God stepped outside himself, he set his glory aside in order to seek us, in order to bring us his light and his love. We want to follow the God who sets out in this way, we want to move beyond the inertia of self-centredness, so that he himself can enter our world.

After the reference to setting out, Jesus continues: bear fruit, fruit that abides. What fruit does he expect from us? What is this fruit that abides? Now, the fruit of the vine is the grape, and it is from the grape that wine is made. Let us reflect for a moment on this image.

For good grapes to ripen, sun is needed, but so too is rain, by day and by night. For noble wine to mature, the grapes need to be pressed, patience is needed while the juice ferments, watchful care is needed to assist the processes of maturation.

Noble wine is marked not only by sweetness, but by rich and subtle flavours, the manifold aroma that develops during the processes of maturation and fermentation. Is this not already an image of human life, and especially of our lives as priests? We need both sun and rain, festivity and adversity, times of purification and testing, as well as times of joyful journeying with the Gospel. In hindsight we can thank God for both: for the challenges and the joys, for the dark times and the glad times. In both, we can recognize the constant presence of his love, which unfailingly supports and sustains us.

Yet now we must ask: what sort of fruit does the Lord expect from us? Wine is an image of love: this is the true fruit that abides, the fruit that God wants from us. But let us not forget that in the Old Testament the wine expected from noble grapes is above all an image of justice, which arises from a life lived in accordance with God’s law. And this is not to be dismissed as an Old Testament view that has been surpassed – no, it still remains true.

The true content of the Law, its summa, is love for God and for one’s neighbour. But this twofold love is not simply saccharine. It bears within itself the precious cargo of patience, humility, and growth in the conforming of our will to God’s will, to the will of Jesus Christ, our friend. Only in this way, as the whole of our being takes on the qualities of truth and righteousness, is love also true, only thus is it ripe fruit. Its inner demand – faithfulness to Christ and to his Church – seeks a fulfilment that always includes suffering.

This is the way that true joy grows. At a deep level, the essence of love, the essence of genuine fruit, coincides with the idea of setting out, going towards: it means self-abandonment, self-giving, it bears within itself the sign of the cross. Gregory the Great once said in this regard: if you are striving for God, take care not to go to him by yourselves alone – a saying that we priests need to keep before us every day (H Ev 1:6:6 PL 76, 1097f.).

Dear friends, perhaps I have dwelt for too long on my inner recollections of sixty years of priestly ministry. Now it is time to turn our attention to the particular task that is to be performed today.

On the feast of Saints Peter and Paul my most cordial greeting goes first of all to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I and to the Delegation he has sent, to whom I express sincere thanks for their most welcome visit on the happy occasion of this feast of the holy Apostles who are Rome’s patrons. I also greet the Cardinals, my brother bishops, the ambassadors and civil authorities as well as the priests, the confrères of my first Mass, religious and lay faithful. I thank all of you for your presence and your prayers.

The metropolitan archbishops appointed since the feast of Saints Peter and Paul last year are now going to receive the pallium. What does this mean? It may remind us in the first instance of Christ’s easy yoke that is laid upon us (cf. Mt 11:29f.).

Christ’s yoke is identical with his friendship. It is a yoke of friendship and therefore "a sweet yoke", but as such it is also a demanding yoke, one that forms us. It is the yoke of his will, which is a will of truth and love. For us, then, it is first and foremost the yoke of leading others to friendship with Christ and being available to others, caring for them as shepherds.

This brings us to a further meaning of the pallium: it is woven from the wool of lambs blessed on the feast of Saint Agnes. Thus it reminds us of the Shepherd who himself became a lamb, out of love for us. It reminds us of Christ, who set out through the mountains and the deserts, in which his lamb, humanity, had strayed. It reminds us of him who took the lamb – humanity – me – upon his shoulders, in order to carry me home.

It thus reminds us that we too, as shepherds in his service, are to carry others with us, taking them as it were upon our shoulders and bringing them to Christ. It reminds us that we are called to be shepherds of his flock, which always remains his and does not become ours. Finally the pallium also means quite concretely the communion of the shepherds of the Church with Peter and with his successors – it means that we must be shepherds for unity and in unity, and that it is only in the unity represented by Peter that we truly lead people to Christ.

Sixty years of priestly ministry – dear friends, perhaps I have spoken for too long about this. But I felt prompted at this moment to look back upon the things that have left their mark on the last six decades. I felt prompted to address to you, to all priests and bishops and to the faithful of the Church, a word of hope and encouragement; a word that has matured in long experience of how good the Lord is.

Above all, though, it is a time of thanksgiving: thanks to the Lord for the friendship that he has bestowed upon me and that he wishes to bestow upon us all. Thanks to the people who have formed and accompanied me. And all this includes the prayer that the Lord will one day welcome us in his goodness and invite us to contemplate his joy. Amen.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"The glory of God is man fully alive!"--St. Irenaeus of Lyon - The Addolorata Sisters 50 Years in Ottawa

Irénée de Lyon ou saint Irénée (en grec ancien Εἰρηναῖος Σμυρναῖος / Eirênaĩos « pacifique » Smyrnaĩos « de Smyrne »), est le deuxième Évêque de Lyon au IIe siècle entre 177 et 202.

Il est un des Pères de l'Église. Il est le premier occidental à réaliser une œuvre de théologien systématique. Il rédige ses œuvres afin de présenter la doctrine catholique contre les thèses gnostiques

De culture et de langue Grecque, Irénée est né à Smyrne en Asie Mineure vers 130. Il témoigne avoir connu saint Polycarpe, qui lui-même avait connu l'apôtre Jean.

Arrivé en Gaule vers 157, il s'associa aux travaux de Pothin, premier évêque de Lyon. Quand Pothin périt victime d’une persécution de Marc Aurèle, en 177, Irénée fut choisi pour le remplacer.

Son épiscopat est marqué par une forte expansion missionnaire : un grand nombre de diocèses furent fondés par des missionnaires envoyés par Irénée. C'est le cas de Besançon et Valence qui doivent à l'évêque de Lyon leurs premiers pasteurs.

Soucieux de l'unité de l'Église, il met en valeur son nom d'homme de paix (Εἰρηναῖος). C'est ainsi qu'il intervient auprès du pape lors de la querelle autour de la date de Pâques. Dans une partie de l'Asie, on célèbre Pâques le 14 Nisan, comme les juifs. Ailleurs, Pâques est fêtée le dimanche suivant.

Après plusieurs tentative de résolution au cours du IIe siècle, le pape Victor Ier veut mettre un terme à cette dispute. Vers 190, il se décide à excommunier les asiates. Par son intervention, Irénée (qui fête lui-même Pâques le dimanche) lui enjoint de laisser chaque Église libre dans les matières qui ne portent pas sur la Foi. Le conflit ouvert est ainsi évité. Les Églises orientales prendront progressivement et pacifiquement l'usage majoritaire.

Il meurt à Lyon en 202 après la publication d'un édit de persécution par Septime Sévère. D'après les témoignages tardifs de Jérôme au Ve siècle et de Grégoire de Tours au VIe siècle, il serait mort martyr à cette occasion.

Ses reliques sont conservées dans l'église Saint-Irénée auprès d'autres martyrs de Lyon depuis le Ve siècle malgré le sac de l'église par les protestants du baron des Adrets en 1562. (Source : Wikipédia)

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Saint Irenaeus
Bishop and Martyr

O God, who called the Bishop Saint Irenaeus to confirm true doctrine and the peace of the Church, grant, we pray, through his intercession, that, being renewed in faith and charity, we may always be intent on fostering unity and concord. Through our Lord.

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On Trinity Sunday, I joined many of the benefactors, relatives and friends of the Addolorata Sisters, who are located across Booth Street from St. Anthony of Padua Parish in a 10 o'clock concelebrated Mass of Thanksgiving marking the 50th anniversary of their arrival in Canada and Ottawa.
That afternoon, I attended the festive Golden Jubilee dinner held in the Sala San Marco on Preston Street.
Yesterday, I celebrated Mass in their convent oratory, as we bade farewell to their superior, Suora Pastore and her assistant before their return home.  Their ministry takes the form of a Day Nursery.
The photos follow in the above sequence:


Monday, June 27, 2011

St. Cyrille d'Alexandrie - St. Cyril, bishop & doctor of the Church

Cyrille adolescent étudia pendant cinq ans, de façon très intensive, au monastère Saint-Macaire au désert de Scété, qui était alors un grand centre d'études théologiques. Là, dit le Synaxaire, « le Seigneur lui donna la grâce et l'intelligence du coeur ». Il fut ensuite appelé à Alexandrie par son oncle maternel, Théophile, patriarche d'Alexandrie de 384 à 412 ; Cyrille, ordonné prêtre, se distingua rapidement par son éloquence et devint célèbre à Alexandrie.

A la mort de son oncle, Cyrille lui succéda le 17 octobre 412 sur le siège de saint Marc, qu'il allait occuper pendant trente-deux ans.

Personnalité très forte, d'une grande habileté et muni d'une excellente formation intellectuelle, théologique et spirituelle, Cyrille était armé pour assumer un patriarcat difficile, car les hérésies continuaient à déchirer l'Eglise. Il fut en conflit avec le Néoplatonisme, les Juifs d'Alexandrie et surtout le patriarche de la capitale byzantine, Nestor, initiateur d'une nouvelle controverse christologique autour du mystère de l'Incarnation ; après des échanges épistolaires, le concile d'Ephèse fut réuni en 431, et finit par condamner la doctrine nestorienne.

Les controverses donnèrent à Cyrille maintes occasions d'exposer et de définir sa foi, qui reste la référence, commune à tous les chrétiens, de l'orthodoxie. Il établit que Dieu le Verbe est d'une seule nature, d'une seule essence, incarnés. Il, fut le chantre de la Theotokos - la Mère de Dieu - ; l'Eglise lui doit également la définition de la date de Pâques, une liturgie utilisée occasionnellement par les Coptes et qui reflète peut-être les plus anciens textes attribués à saint Marc, et des études théologiques, exégétiques et apologétiques d'une ampleur et d'une importance considérables. Saint Cyrille est invoqué dans la liturgie copte.

Drapé dans sa dignité imposante de Patriarche d'Alexandrie, Cyrille est un personnage dont émane une grande force. Tenant d'une main la croix copte qu'il porte également sur sa couronne, il s'appuie, d'un geste ferme et protecteur, sur la colonne qui symbolise la foi orthodoxe, dont il est devenu le porte-parole par ses formulations théologiques ; il est lui-même une colonne de l'Eglise, un pilier de la foi, pour ses contemporains mais aussi pour toute la chrétienté.

« Cyrille le Sage, le Maître, tu es devenu l'Educateur de tout le troupeau composé des chefs des Eglises du Christ-Roi. Tu as rédigé des paroles pures, puisées à la source de l'Ecriture sainte inspirée par Dieu. Tu es l'image vivante de la vertu et tu es revêtu d'humilité. Tu es devenu semblable aux apôtres Pierre et Jean (...) Tu es la colonne de feu qui éclaire, et le pilier du Ciel. » Livre IX, p. 119.

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Saint Cyril of Alexandria
Bishop and Doctor of the Church

O God, who made the Bishop Saint Cyril of Alexandria an invincible champion of the divine motherhood of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, grant, we pray, that we who believe she is truly the Mother of God may be saved through the Incarnation of Christ your Son. Who lives and reigns with you.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

CORPUS DOMINI: La Fete Dieu - My Ottawa Anniversary

The Solemnity of the
Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament have left us a memorial of your Passion, grant us, we pray, so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood that we may always experience in ourselves the fruits of your redemption.

Who live and reign with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, of forever and ever.

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Du site web de l'archidiocèse:


Le 26 juin marque le 4e anniversaire du ministère pastoral de Mgr Prendergast à Ottawa.

Nous l'assurons de nos prières et nos meilleurs voux en cette heureuse occasion! Il convient que cet anniversaire soit marqué par des rites particuliers.

Nous vous demandons d'ajouter cette intention au début de la Prière universelle lors des messes du 25 et 26 juin prochain:

«Pour notre évêque Terrence, pasteur de notre Église diocésaine, afin qu'il annonce l'Évangile avec fidélité et courage et qu'il soit au milieu de nous le témoin vivant de la charité du Christ, prions le Seigneur.»

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From the archdiocesan website:


:June 26, 2011 marks the 4th anniversary of the installation of Archbishop Prendergast as Archbishop of Ottawa. Please be assured of our continued prayers for you in your ministry.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Bible Summit Logo 2011

Today finds me in the Big Apple to take part in this special Bible festival, giving the homily at the Opening Mass this morning and offering a workshop on Lectio divina twice in the afternoon.

"Bilingual" here means English and Spanish, so, with the help of two priest-associates who translated my text and went over the pronounciation with me, I will take a run at three short paragraphs in the homily in Spanish. 

Here is how the program puts it in the language of Cervantes: 

La Cumbre Biblíca Católica De Nueva York - “Encuentre a Jesús - La Palabra Viva”
Saturday, June 25, 2011 / Sábado, 25 de Junio, 2011
New York Catholic Center (Cathedral High School entrance): 350 East 56th Street, New York City

Meet today’s leading Scripture scholars:

•Unfold the topics raised in the historic Synod on the Bible at the Vatican.
•Share ideas and insights on bringing Sacred Scripture into the lives of all Catholics.

Conozcan famosos escritores y maestros bíblicos de nuestro tiempo:
•Descubra los temas que sobresalieron en el histórico Sínodo en la Biblia en el Vaticano.
• Comparta ideas y conocimientos para llevar las Sagradas Escrituras a todos los Católicos.
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Blogging will resume on my return: there are lots of events recently that have gone without reports, photos.  I hope to make up for that next week.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Saint Jean Baptiste, patron spécial des Canadiens français

Collect for the Nativity
of Saint John the Baptist

O God, who raised up Saint John the Baptist to make ready a nation fit for Christ the Lord, give your people, we pray, the grace of spiritual joys and direct the hearts of all the faithful into the way of salvation and peace. Through our Lord.

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Saint Jean Baptiste,
patron spécial
des Canadiens français

Saint Jean Baptiste a été déclaré patron spécial des Canadiens français le 25 février 1908 par le Pape saint Pie X. Voici un extrait de sa déclaration:

«Lorsque Notre vénérable Frère I‘ Archevêque de Québec, ville du Canada, Nous a présenté, au nom de la Société Saint-Jean--Baptiste fondée dans cette même ville, des lettres ou on Nous demandait de déclarer, en vertu de Notre autorité, le saint Précurseur patron des franco-canadiens, jugeant que cela pouvait être grandement profitable aux intérêts de la vie catholique en ce pays, nous avons décidé de faire droit à ces prières.

Et nous le faisons d'autant plus volontiers que Nous avons une grande confiance dans le secours et I ‘intercession de ce saint que, depuis son origine, le peuple canadien n'a cessé d'honorer d'une piété toute particulière.

C’est pourquoi - Nous voudrions que cela soit pour le plus grand bien, pour le bonheur et la prospérité de l'Église canadienne et de tous les catholiques de ce pays -, par Notre autorité suprême et par les présentes, après en avoir conféré avec nos vénérables Frères les Cardinaux de la sainte Église romaine, préposés aux affaires de la Propagande, Nous établissons, Nous constituons et Nous proclamons saint Jean Baptiste patron spécial auprès de Dieu des fidèles Franco-canadiens, tant de ceux qui sont au Canada que de ceux qui vivent sur une terre étrangère. »

Thursday, June 23, 2011

St. Etheldreda or Audrey - Dedication of Divine Infant Church

The Catholic Herald in the UK features a Saint of the Week; here is this week's featured saint:

St Etheldreda (whose optional memorial may be kept on June 23rd in England) helped establish religious life as an acceptable vocation for ex-queens and princesses.

Etheldreda (636-679), otherwise known as Aethelthryth or Audrey, became the most popular of all the Anglo-Saxon women saints.

She was the daughter of Anna, King of the East Angles, described by the Venerable Bede as “a very devout man, noble in mind and deed”. Evidently his example was not lost on his five children, four daughters and one son, every one of whom was recognised as a saint.

Indeed, the sisters helped to establish the religious life as an acceptable vocation for ex-queens and princesses in England.

Notwithstanding her early and irrefrangible determination to live in perpetual continence, Etheldreda was married off at about the age of 16 to Tondberht, from an important Fenland family.

When Tondberht died three years later, Etheldreda retired to the Isle of Ely, which had been her dowry, and for five years practised her devotions in seclusion.

In 660, however, political necessity demanded that Etheldreda should marry again, this time to Egfrith, a young prince of Northumbria. She insisted, and Egfrith agreed, that this marriage also should be chaste.

After 12 years Egfrith, no longer a boy prince but a powerful king, began to chafe against this restriction. Etheldreda, unyielding, turned for support to St Wilfrid who, notwithstanding bribes from Egfrith, advised her to withdraw to the convent at Coldingham in Northumbria. There she received the veil from Egfrith’s aunt, St Ebba.

A year later, in 673, Etheldreda founded a double monastery at Ely on the site of the present cathedral. Egfrith, for his part, married again, and later had the satisfaction of undermining Wilfrid’s authority by dividing his archdiocese of York into four parts.

Etheldreda, meanwhile, lived in extreme austerity, forswearing sleep in order to pass her nights in prayer. When she developed a tumour on her neck she attributed it to the vanity of wearing necklaces in her youth.

Seventeen years after her death Etheldreda’s body was discovered to be incorrupt, while her neck seemed to have healed. The miracles reported at her shrine soon turned Ely into a centre of pilgrimage.

In 970, after Danish depredations, Ely was re-founded and lavishly endowed as a monastery for monks only; subsequently it became the richest abbey in England after Glastonbury.

Etheldreda’s remains, along with relics of her sisters, were twice moved, in 1106 and in 1252, to new shrines, the last of which was suppressed in 1541.

The monastic church at Ely became a cathedral in 1109, which helped spread Etheldreda’s fame: 12 churches in England were dedicated to her. St Etheldreda’s in Holborn, dating from around 1250, was the town chapel of the bishops of Ely until 1570.

The life and merits of Etheldreda were the favourite study of medieval writers, and many notices of her are still extant. She is represented in art with the emblems of Royalty, and of her rank as abbess, sometimes with a book and, sometimes, a crown of flowers, or crowned with a crosier and budding staff. At Ely Cathedral, the lantern columns represent her asleep, her head in a nun's lap, a book in her hand with a tree blossoming above her. She is sometimes known by the pet name of Audrey.

The word “tawdry” derives from the poor quality of the merchandise, not least the necklaces, sold at “St Audrey’s” annual fair.

* * * * * *


This dynamic parish, whose boundaries are the same as those of the 150-year old Paroisse Saint-Joseph nearby, will be consecrated this evening at 7 o'clock. 

Starting as a Catholic Community worshipping in Convent Glen school in 1979, the parishioners of DI (the short-hand designation by which it is known) have shown their dedication by building a church very quickly (construction started and was completed in 1986--25 years ago).  Their mortgage payments were completed several months ago, making them debt-free.

Some statistics: in their short history there have been up to May 1, 2011, 6899 baptisms, 7682 Confirmations, 1090 marriages, 764 funerals, one religious profession and 12 permanent deacons ordained.

The parish is bursting at the seams and its many members require more space for meetings and activities. Word has it that an building extension is being contempated to cope with the growth.

Congratulations to pastor Father Frank Brewer Best and parishioners on your accomplishments; best wishes to one and all!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

St. John Fisher, bishop & martyr -

Since last year, we featured Paulinus of Nola and Thomas More--saints who may be recalled within optional liturgical memorials this day--here are a few notes on today's martyr-bishop, associated with the saint better-known in our time, Thomas More:

Saint John Fisher (c. 19 October 1469 – 22 June 1535) was an English Roman Catholic Scholastic, Bishop, Cardinal and martyr. He shares his feast day with Saint Thomas More on June 22 in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints and July 6 on the Anglican calendar of saints.

Fisher was executed by order of King Henry VIII during the English Reformation for refusing to accept him as Head of the Church of England and for upholding the Catholic Church's dogma of papal primacy.

Our saint was born in 1469 in Beverley, England and studied theology at Cambridge University where he later became Chancellor. He was named Bishop of Rochester at the age of 35. He was good friends with Thomas More, Chancellor of England under Henry VIII. Bishop John Fisher was known for his unpretentious and modest lifestyle as well as his love for the poor.

Fisher openly opposed King Henry VIII's divorce of Catherine of Aragon and rejected the King's claim to be head of the Church in England. Along with Thomas More, John Fisher was imprisoned and their subsequent executions were only a few days apart.

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The armorial bearings of Cardinal John Fisher: "I will make you fishers of men" (Mark 1.17)

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O God, who in martyrdom have brought true faith to its highest expression, grant graciously that, strengthened through the intercession of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More, we may confirm by the witness of our life the faith we profess with our lips. Through our Lord.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

St. Aloysius Gonzaga, patron of AIDS care-givers - Cirque du soleil's TOTEM

St. Aloysius Gonzaga's outstanding quality was his radiant purity and the Church praises this perfect innocence with the words, "Thou has made him little less than the angels." Baptized as he left the womb because his life was in danger, he made a vow of chastity at the age of nine. When he was sixteen he joined the Society of Jesus and died at the age of twenty-three in 1591 as a result of his devoted nursing of the plague-stricken.


The people who mass-produce statues and holy cards have done St. Aloysius Gonzaga no favours. The standard image of the saint as a frail, doe-eyed novice has given us the wrong impression. Yet Aloysius deserves a revival, especially as the patron saint of teenagers.

The time and place where he grew up—16th-century Italy—is not very different from 21st century America. It was a lax, morally careless, self-indulgent age. Aloysius saw the decadence around him and vowed not to be part of it. He did not, however, become a kill-joy.

Like any teenage boy, he wanted to have a good time, and as a member of an aristocratic family he had plenty of opportunities for amusement. He enjoyed horse races, banquets and the elaborate parties held in palace gardens. But if Aloysius found himself at a social function that took a turn to the lascivious, he left.

Aloysius did not just want to be good, he wanted to be holy; and on this point he could be tough and uncompromising. He came by these qualities naturally: among the great families of Renaissance Italy, the Medici were famous as patrons of the arts, and the Borgias as schemers, but the Gonzagas were a warrior clan. While most Gonzaga men aspired to conquer others, Aloysius was determined to conquer himself.

Aloysius wanted to be a priest. When he was 12 or 13, he invented for himself a program he thought would prepare him for the religious life. He climbed out of bed in the middle of the night to put in extra hours kneeling on the cold stone floor of his room. Occasionally, he even beat himself with a leather dog leash. Aloysius was trying to become a saint by sheer will power. It was not until he entered the Jesuit novitiate in Rome that he had a spiritual director—St. Robert Bellarmine—to guide him.

Bellarmine put a stop to Aloysius’ boot camp approach to sanctity, commanding him to follow the Jesuit rule of regular hours of prayer and simple acts of self-control and self-denial. Aloysius thought the Jesuits were too lenient, but he obeyed. Such over-the-top zeal may have exasperated Bellarmine, but he believed that Aloysius’ fervour was genuine and that with proper guidance the boy might be a saint.

To his credit, Aloysius recognized that his bullheadedness was a problem. From the novitiate he wrote to his brother, "I am a piece of twisted iron. I entered the religious life to get twisted straight."

Then, in January 1591, the plague struck Rome. With the city’s hospitals overflowing with the sick and the dying, the Jesuits sent every priest and novice to work in the wards. This was a difficult assignment for the squeamish Aloysius.

Once he started working with the sick, however, fear and disgust gave way to compassion. He went into the streets of Rome and carried the ill and the dying to the hospital on his back. There he washed them, found them a bed, or at least a pallet, and fed them. Such close contact with the sick was risky. Within a few weeks, Aloysius contracted the plague himself and died. He was 23 years old.

In the sick, the helpless, the dying, St. Aloysius saw the crucified Christ. The man of the iron will who thought he could take Heaven by sheer determination surrendered at last to divine grace. — Saints for Every Occasion, Thomas J. Craughwell

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O God, giver of heavenly gifts, who in Saint Aloysius Gonzaga joined penitence to a wonderful innocence of life, grant, through his merits and intercession, that, though we have failed to follow him in innocence, we may imitate him in penitence. Through our Lord.

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An ideal summer evening for heading to the big top


Some of the Cirque du soleil cast in Montreal

From family and friends who had attended Cirque du soleil shows in the United States and Canada, I had heard positive reviews and recommendations.  So, I was happy to join high school classmates taking in the circus in the Old Port of Montreal area (itself a fascinating instance of urban renewal) for a night out during our 50th anniversary reunion.

With Classmate Al Radl from Linz, Austria

The show TOTEM (with a loose theme of evolution and featuring out-takes on Charles Darwin) was eye-popping and engaging: the amazing feats on the high wire and other performances of dexterity were thrilling.  We all had a grand time. A circus without animals, this production makes up for their absence with a large number of actors playing the role of animals!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Arrival of Summer and Corpus Christi - Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time Collect

This week, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ.

In much of the world, the celebration is on next Sunday, but in some lands it remains on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday, that is on Thursday of this week.

In Rome, for example, the Holy Father will accompany the Blessed Sacrament in a procession on Thursday evening from St. John Lateran to St. Mary Major. 

In Montreal, though the feast is celebrated on Sunday, for several years there has been restored a Thursday procession from Mary Queen of the World Cathedral to St. Patrick's Basilica.  This year matters are a bit more complex because the Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist occurs on Friday, June 24 and the secular festivities of "la fete nationale" begin on the evening of the 23rd.  So the procession has been advanced this year to Wednesday evening, June 22.

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Tomorrow is officially the first day of summer and in the Church's vision Christ is the radiant sun who shines on all of our lives.

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Collect for the
Twelfth Week of Ordinary Time

Grant, O Lord, that we may always revere and love your holy Name, for you never deprive of your guidance those you set firm on the foundation of your love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Trinity Sunday -

God our Father, who by sending into the world the Word of truth and the Spirit of sanctification make known to the human race your wondrous mystery; grant us, we pray, that in professing the true faith , we may acknowledge the Trinity of eternal glory, and adore your Unity, powerful in majesty. Through our Lord.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bishop Mikloshazy's Jubilee of Priesthood - 80th Year

Several weeks ago, I was able to visit with Bishop Attila Mikloshazy in the Jesuit Infirmary at Pickering, ON.  He is in pain due to significant and multiple ailments, which required his recent transfer to Rene Goupil House from St. Augustine's Seminary where he had served as Dean, professor of liturgy and historical theology, all the while carrying on his ministry of encouragement to Hungarian expatriates around the world who were able only with difficulty to maintain contact with the Church in Hungary.

My teacher at Regis College, where he had taught before transferring to the Faculty of Theology at the University of St. Michael's College (where he also for a time served as Dean), we have shared many conversations over the years, especially since my nomination as a bishop (he was one of the co-consecrators at my episcopal ordination).

Congratulating him on his recent 80th birthday (on April 5) and his forthcoming Golden Jubilee of priestly ordination (today), he gave me the card he had printed for the occasion which has the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the front and on the obverse not his date of birth but of his baptism (April 26, 1931) and priesthood and the words "the future is bright" (an eschatological hint, for that was an aspect of his courses on Theological Anthropology).

Please join with him, his confreres and many friends in giving thanks to the Lord on this day and during this year, and pray for his well-being in these days of physical infirmity, which he unites with the sufferings of Christ for the sake of the Church (Colossians 1.24).

Ad multos annos!  

Friday, June 17, 2011

High School Reunion, LHS '61 - Visit to St. Monica Church

This is my official high school graduation photo (Loyola High School, Montreal, class of '61) so we are all marking the 50th anniversary at a reunion today and tomorrow (some actually got started on the festivities yesterday).  I've missed the earlier reunions, so it should be interesting.

Blogging will be lighter in the next few days.

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Last weekend, besides celebrating adult Confirmations at the Cathedral on Sunday, I also visited St. Monica's Parish in Nepean. 

Some photos from Saturday evening:


Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Coming Sunday: The Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity - Death of a Fellow Novice

Trinity Sunday (Year “A”) – June 19, 2011 THE DEEPEST MYSTERY OF OUR FAITH [Texts: Exodus 34:4b-6,8-9 [Daniel 3]; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; John 3:16-18]

The Faith of the Catholic Church: Answering Your Questions About Your Faith is a synthesis popularizing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, edited by Bishop David Konstant of Leeds, England (Ottawa: Novalis, 2001). It describes the Trinity as “the deepest mystery of our faith” and says that in revealing Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God teaches us something about His nature.

“The Catholic faith consists in the veneration of the one God in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity, without confusion of person or division of substance. There are three distinct Persons in God: the Person of the Father, the Person of the Son, and the Person of the Holy Spirit. However, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one God, equal in glory, and coeternal in majesty” (#17,p. 23).

What this vademecum of Catholic belief summarizes in answer to the question “Who is God?”, the liturgy of today's solemnity addresses in prayers and praise.

The preface for today's Mass declares, “we joyfully proclaim our faith in the mystery of Your Godhead. You have revealed Your glory as the glory also of Your Son and of the Holy Spirit: three Persons equal in majesty, undivided in splendour, yet one Lord, one God, ever to be adored in Your everlasting glory”.

The opening prayer praises God the Father who sent His Word “to bring us truth and your Spirit to make us holy...through them we come to know the mystery of your life”. It then begs God to "help us worship you, one God in three Persons, by proclaiming and living our faith in you”.

Today's scriptural readings give hints of what the Church came to understand about God in the first four centuries of its existence. These credal formulations came about as church councils—bearing the famous names of Chalcedon, Ephesus, Nicaea—met to answer inadequate assertions about the God whose life Christians shared.

For example, Paul's closing words in his second epistle to the Corinthians, which serve as an opening formula at Mass, tell of the life of God as it is experienced in Christian life and worship. His blessing-greeting invokes on believers a renewal of God's favour first encountered in the proclamation of the Good News concerning Jesus Christ (“the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ”).

This messenger from heaven, God's Son, revealed the Father's compassion for all who dwell in the world. For it was God's care and concern for mortals (“the love of God”) which sent him to carry out his ministry.

Finally, those who accept Jesus' message are brought to share in fellowship with others and to experience, in the church community on earth, the bond which the Holy Spirit represents in God's own life (“the communion of the Holy Spirit”).

This union among believers is to become manifest in concrete actions: “put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace...greet one another with a holy kiss”. Paul regularly associates God with peace and reconciliation. This, he says, must overflow into harmonious relations among believers.

In the churches he served, Paul adapted a social convention that became known as the “holy kiss”—like the greeting of peace used in church life today—(cf. 1 Thessalonians 5.26; Romans 16.16). The values of the ancient family, namely solidarity, mutual trust, emotional identification and self-sacrifice in pursuit of common interests, are appropriate virtues for the community that models its interior life on the harmony of the Trinity.

The reading from Exodus reveals God's compassionate nature, offering a glimpse of what Moses came to know of God's inner life. On Mount Sinai, Moses learned that God's essence was compassion, “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”. God is loyal, putting up with a great deal, even Israel and the Church's reneging on commitments to live as God's holy people.

Jesus' words to Nicodemus have long been recognized as a summary of the divine salvific plan, so that “John 3:16” on billboards or bumper-stickers has become a shorthand expression of the fundamental truth concerning God: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life”.

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(November 24, 1924-June 15, 2011)

When my novitiate classmates gathered for a festive dinner in Toronto in April to mark our golden jubilee in the Jesuit Order, our lone brother novice companion was not able to be present due to physical infirmity. 

Yesterday, Brother Gerald Horan passed away at the Jesuit Infirmary in Pickering. We scholastic novices--candidates for the priesthood--were all teenagers when we entered the Order; Brother Gerry was in his mid-thirties.

Born in Montreal on November 24, 1924, Gerald Horan entered the Jesuits on February 15, 1961.

After first vows in 1963, he attended the Brothers' Juniorate programme in Milford, Ohio and two years later was assigned to Guelph where he was a mechanic and carpenter.

Before being assigned to Regis College in Toronto, he completed his last year of training, Tertianship, in the Detroit Jesuit Province.

After Regis he was sent to Longlac, Espanola and then to Thunder Bay to work among the First Nations Apostolate. It was while in Longlac that Br. Gerry took his final vows.

In 1984 he was moved to Hevey Residence in Toronto where he worked until he was assigned to Pickering, Ontario in 1990.  He often led the retreatants at Manresa Retreat House in the Way of the Cross and the rosary (see photo above). 

The wake will be at Manresa Retreat House on Sunday, June 19 from 7-9PM and the funeral on Monday, June 20 at St. Ignatius Chapel of Manresa Retreat House at 10:30 PM and burial at the Jesuit Cemetery, Guelph at 2:30PM.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Pope Benedict's 60th Anniversary of Priesthood - New Oriental Bishops for Canadian Catholics

Sixty years ago this month (the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul), Joseph Ratziger was ordained to the priesthood.

In gratitude to God for the many blessings that have come to him and to the Church in Germany and the Church Universal during his many years of ministry, prayers and other acts of devotion are being offered to God in thanksgiving. 

In the Ottawa Archdiocese, as elsewhere in the world, the focus is on Eucharistic adoration, with intercessions for an abundant number of men to follow in his path in the Sacred Priesthood.

We pray that the Holy Father may have many more and happy years of service to God's people.  Ad multos et faustissimos annos! 

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In recent days, the Holy See has made provision for the pastoral care of Catholics of the Chaldean and Armenian rites. 

When the CCCB gathers in October for our annual plenary, I hope to meet Eparch Maroudian, but I am alreadyt familiar with Archbishop Hanna Zora of the newly established Chaldean eparchy, as he often helped out with the celebration of Confirmations in the western pastoral region of the Archdiocese of Toronto when I served there as auxiliary bishop (1995-1998). 

Since his parish was in Etobicoke, part of my pastoral area of responsibility, from time to time he came to my office in Mississauga to discuss matters of mutual interest.  Additionally, during the Toronto World Youth Day of 2002, a large part of the Halifax delegation attended catechetical sessions in his Church of the Good Shepherd then under construction.

As first eparch of the new Eparchy of Mar Addai (Saint Addai) he will enjoy the title of Archbishop-bishop since for many years he has not been serving in his original archdiocese of Ahwaz in Iran.

A few more details from media reports: 


Pope Benedict XVI has erected a new Chaldean Catholic eparchy in Toronto and named Archbishop Hanna Zora, who has worked with Catholics in Toronto for nearly 20 years, as its head.

The new eparchy, or diocese, will be known as the Eparchy of Mar Addai.

In making the announcement, the Vatican said there are 38,000 Chaldean Catholics in Canada. Archbishop Zora, 72, and four priests have been involved in the pastoral care of Toronto-area Catholics, the largest community.

On May 28, Chaldean Catholic officials consecrated Good Shepherd Chaldean Church in Toronto.

Led by Archbishop Zora, the growing Toronto Chaldean community rented out churches and parish halls to celebrate Mass before the construction of the church in 2001. Masses were held in the parish hall, however, until 2009, when the church was partially consecrated, meaning that Mass could be celebrated in the parish but that an official consecration was still required.

Archbishop Zora was born in Batnaia, Iraq, March 15, 1939. He was ordained in 1962 and worked in various Iraqi parishes before being transferred to Iran in 1969.

He worked in the Chaldean Archdiocese of Ahwaz, and in 1974 was elected archbishop of Ahwaz, while remaining an Iraqi citizen. He worked on developing buildings for local Catholics to use. During the Iran-Iraq war, he established a special aid station for the injured.

In February 1987, he left Iran for advanced studies in Rome. He studied canon law at the Pontifical Urbanian University. He also studied at the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies and the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music.

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On May 23, 2011, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archpriest Mikael Mouradian, as Bishop of the Eparchy of Our Lady of Nareg for the Catholic Armenians in the United States and Canada.

Bishop-elect Mouradian succeeds Bishop Manuel Batakian, I.C.P.B., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same eparchy has been accepted by the Holy Father.

Before his appointment, Archpriest Mikael Mouradian was the vicar of the Institute for the Patriarchal Clergy of Bzommar, Lebanon and superior of the convent of Notre Dame of Bzommar. The bishop-elect was born in Beirut, Lebanon in 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1987.

The Eparchy of Our Lady of Nareg, based in New York, of the Armenians includes 3 000 Catholics in Canada and two parishes, in Toronto and Montreal, three priests and two permanent deacons.

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